Sunday, December 28, 2014

a great joy at church today

today was a joyous day at church. Gábor Gulyás taught the our Sunday morning service. Gábor became a Christian at our church about 10 years ago. He came to church through a girl, Anna, who, in 2008, would become his wife. Because of a job opportunity he moved to the north eastern region of Hungary many years ago. At the time we weren't happy to see Gábor leave but little did we know that God had a great plan when Gábor left. Since Gábor left Szeged he has become the pastor of Golgota Nyíregyháza.  

Gábor is just one of the many who have come through Golgota Szeged in the last 14 1/2 years that I've pastored this church. He is the 2nd guy who has gone out from our church to become a pastor of a Golgota church here in Hungary.

 He, along with countless others, who have come & gone at Golgota Szeged, are my crown & joy as Paul talked about in Philippians 4, because I know that so many are serving Jesus all over the world after their time here in Szeged.

 He taught a wonderful message this morning from Mark 5 about the woman who had a flow of blood from 12 years but how Jesus made her whole, please take 45 minutes to listen to this great message.



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

thrown for a curve

as everyone knows, life doesn't always work out the way we want. In times like this we say that "life has thrown us for a curve". Well, life has thrown our family for a curve. As many of you might know, Odi has scoliosis. It's something that runs in her family. Her father has it, as do her siblings. Though many people say that Zara and Kiera look like me, I'm glad they've inherited their Mom's beauty.
While I'm very happy for that, we've always hoped that this is curvature of the spine is the one gene that our kids wouldn't inherit. 

unfortunately, this is not the case. In late August, Odi showed me a difference in the symmetry of Zara's back. We called our pediatrician and were referred to a specialist. Tonight, I took the girls to see the specialist. He confirmed what we saw, that Zara does have a curvature in her spine. It's similar to the curvature in Odi's (upper spine). Since we were there, I asked the doctor to look at Kiera. He said that she has some curvature in her lower spine. 

even though we were expecting this, it still weighs heavy on our hearts. 

so what now? the doctor wants to do an x-ray on Zara to confirm the degree of the curvature in her spine. After that, he will prescribe physical therapy & swimming therapy for her. With Kiera it's a little more unclear outside of physical therapy. 

we'd like to ask you, if you're reading this, to pray for us, but especially for Zara & Kiera. Please pray that God would give us wisdom moving forward with treatment for our kids and that God would heal them of this, if that is His will. 

thank you for joining with us!

kyle & odi

Sunday, October 5, 2014

a word to our sponsors

you've probably heard the phrase "now a word from our sponsors" during a tv event. We have something a little different, we have a word to our sponsors. 

as you know we are a missionary family serving God & His people here in Szeged, Hungary. In large part, we are able to do what we do because of the support of churches in America and individuals. One of the churches that supports us, Calvary Chapel Vista, has recently changed over to a new online giving system. If you received an email from them then you've got nothing to worry about. But, if you haven't received an email form them then please go to this link to make sure everything is set up.

 https://secure-q.net/MyProfile/Add/CCVista
 

 If you didn't get an email, then I'd like to ask you to consider trying this link and supporting us and the work that the Lord is doing here in Szeged. God is doing great things in this part of the world & your support helps!

 love & blessings,
 
 kyle & odi

Friday, August 22, 2014

als ice bucket challenge

video
this last week I unexpectedly saw my name tagged in a post on Facebook by my long-time friend Jeremy Foster. Turns out he was challenged to take the ALS ice bucket challenge. I had seen this thing go viral but really didn't pay any attention to it until I was called out. After looking into this, I accepted Jeremy's challenge. now, according to the rules of the challenge, I did make a donation. 

since then, I've seen quite a few Christians who've been posting blogs & articles about why they won't participate in this because the ALS Association supports embryonic stem cell research. This has outraged Christians & pro-life groups. After looking into this a little more and reading about how a Catholic diocese discourages participation, a spokesperson for the ALS confirmed that the ALS does fund one study involving embryonic stem cells using money from one specific donor.

Read more: http://www.wjla.com/articles/2014/08/roman-catholic-diocese-in-ohio-discourages-als-ice-bucket-challenge-106325.html#ixzz3B9DZBzOE

what I read from this is that money raise from the "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge" doesn't go to support research involving embryonic stem cells. 

so my question is, "why are Christians making such a big issue out of this?" Really, I don't understand. I think this is drawing attention to a cause that affects many people. 

this leads me to my next question. If Christians are so enraged at this, then shouldn't people be giving back their iPhones, iPads, MacBooks and stop watching Disney movies & visiting Disney parks because of their support of the homosexual community? Shouldn't people stop buying things that are produced in parts of the world where child labor is used & the Communist party rules? Or are well all content to over look these things cause they're far from home?

so my conclusion is this, I can't change the research that companies do that I don't agree with, but I can stand by those who are suffering. I can't change the policies of those companies or governments that I don't agree with, but I'm willing to use these products if they enable me & my family to live a better life and help us spread the Gospel. I'm going to continue to visit Disneyland as long as I live cause I think it's simply awesome & one of the highlights of my life was taking my kids there earlier this year. 

these are my thoughts. Feel free to disagree & share with me why!


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer 2014 update

we've been back from California for a few months now and a lot has happened. Let us give you a brief update on life and ministry here in Szeged.

church news

we really hit the ground running because as soon as we got back we we quickly approaching Easter and the city-wide, multi-church "Easter in the Park" service. We were doing all we can to get the word out and get churches involved. We advertised on Facebook and Szeged's local radio station ran radio spots every hour in the week leading up to Easter. The weather the week before Easter was chilly and rainy. The forecast called for showers on Easter Sunday. So much so that I said if it's raining at 1pm we will cancel the event. God was very gracious to us the temperature was nice and mild and we had no rain that day. 
 In total we had 9 churches participate in the Easter in the Park event and a few hundred people showed up for the event. It might not seem like a lot but we were very encouraged to see many Christians come and also many non-Christians. We estimate that there were about 200 Christians and about 100 non-Christians at this event. We rejoice that the Gospel was preached & the body of Christ in Szeged was encouraged. We also look forward to what Jesus is going to do in this city as His people come together as His church to be about His work.


myself & some of the other pastors involved in the Easter in the Park service

a picture of our multi-church worship team (4 churches represented here)



preaching about the death & resurrection of Jesus


we walked away from the event rejoicing that Jesus made it happened & we also learned a lot about what we want to do next year. For a first time, we believe it was a great success.

 a few of the churches that participated in the Easter in the Park followed up by having a Pentecost Picnic in Pentecost Sunday. It was wonderful time of hanging out and getting to know each other better.

 some of the leaders of Golgota Szeged were blessed to attend the annual calvary chapel leadership conference in vajta last month. We were greatly blessed and encouraged by the fellowship and the teachings of Pastors Brian Brodersen (Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa) & David Guzik (Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara).

 by the end of this month, we will reach a real milestone at Golgota Szeged. One of the hallmarks of Calvary Chapel is our chapter by chapter teaching through the Bible. It's been 14 years in the making but by the end of the month we will complete our first journey though the Bible. It will be the first complete teaching through the Bible in Hungarian & English that we know of and it's completely free through our website. We know that God has used our through the Bible teaching to reach Hungarian speakers as far away as Canada and Sweden. Now that we're coming to a completion of teaching through the Bible the thought has gone through my head of "what now?" Well, it seems that the Lord is leading us to make some changes in our Wednesday night service. We are going to dedicate one Wednesday a month to prayer, worship, and communion. We just want to have a time where we are open to the moving of the Spirit amongst us. During the other weeks we will start a teaching rotation which will include me and some of the other elders and teachers in the church. We will pray about and pick a book of the Bible to teach together. I think this will be a great opportunity for others to grow in their gifts and it will also allow me more time to focus on the Sunday message. 

 our cell groups are on break now but we're looking forward to relaunching them in September when school starts up. We always have a new influx of students at the end of August / beginning of September so we want to try to get as many people plugged into the cell groups as possible. 

 in the fall we might have the opportunity to host a couple of outreach groups. Should these opportunities pan out then we look forward to going into schools for conversational English classes. 

family news

probably the biggest news on the family front was that I (Kyle) became a Hungarian citizen on May 8th. I am now a dual-citizen. Last year the Hungarian government changed the law & I was able to apply on the basis of marriage. I felt it was something I wanted to do since I've lived half my life in Hungary. 

 since 2009 Odi has been on maternity leave & has been at home with the kids. (Maternity leave in Hungary is 3 years - YES 3 years!!!!) When Kiera turns 3 in August, Odi's maternity leave will be over. This last year the amount of money she has received has dropped 50% from the previous year (the 1st two years are about 70% or your salary & the last year is a fixed $130 for everyone). With this ending we're going to have to make a decision about the future. Should Odi look for a job or not? (right now we are both teaching private English to private students - another option would be taking on more students??)) We'd like if she could stay at home & focus on family, the kids, and the worship ministry but a lot of that depends on finances. One of our hopes in CA was to raise some support to make this possible. As of today, we haven't seen an increase in our support that would allow this to be possible so  we’d like to ask you, if you’re reading this to prayerfully consider joining with us in the work of the Kingdom of God here in Szeged but partnering with us financially. We’re looking to raise more money which will enable me to continue to travel to encourage other pastors, as well as invest in the work of the Kingdom of God here in Szeged. It will also enable Odi to spend more time focusing on being the main worship leader at Golgota Szeged so she can translate new songs into Hungarian for the benefit of the body of Christ not just in Szeged but all over Hungary.

so if you'd like to join with us you can send your tax deductible donations through either Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa or Calvary Chapel Vista. 

 here is the info through Calvary Chapel Vista on their website. you can give here (http://www.calvaryvista.com/give-2/) you just need to follow the process and when it asks for the donations put the amount in the "missions" box and in the memo note that it's for "Kyle & Odi Eckhart in Szeged, Hungary". They then will get that to us with our regular monthly support the beginning of each month.

 through Calvary Costa Mesa, you can give here (https://www.easytithe.com/f/?k=6SSHN0DEHB4KG6DH) all you need to do here is go down the scroll down list to my name and the money will be sent to us.

thank you for prayerfully considering this!

praise reports

we’re thankful to God for the amazing Easter in the Park service we had & the participation of 9 churches.

we praise God for a continued commitment by the churches in Szeged to work together for the Kingdom of God

we praise God that many are able to download the messages taught at Golgota Szeged via our website and that our reach goes far beyond our walls.

 for the encouragement that our leadership team received at the annual leadership conference

prayer requests

for a fresh outpouring of God's Spirit upon Golgota Szeged

for more people to know Jesus in Szeged

for God’s provision for us and for the church here in Szeged

for more open doors to minister to people in the name of Jesus here in Szeged

that we'd have more people join the cell groups for the fall semester


much love in Jesus,

kyle, odi, zara, kiera


Sunday, March 30, 2014

2014 spring update

Dear Friends,

 I’ve just realized that it has been about 6 months since we’ve given you all an update on what is happening here in Szeged. Please let us take a few minutes of your time to let you know what’s going on.

family news

as we ended 2013 we weren’t really looking forward to Christmas as this would be the first Christmas without Odi’s little sister Emi. What we didn’t know is that last Christmas would be even less joyful as my Dad passed away on December 23rd. Though he had COPD and had health issues, his passing came as a sudden shock to our family. 

as many of you know, we brought my Dad over to Hungary in the fall of 2010 to live near us after a lot of difficult things happened in his life. though he really never liked living here, he did enjoy being close to us and his grandkids. 

to honor his life, and the fact that near the end of his life he opened his heart to Jesus, we had a memorial service for him here in Szeged at the end of January. My Dad always said that he wanted to be cremated and to have his ashes spread in the Pacific Ocean. So after my Dad went to be with the Lord, I began looking at how we could fulfill his wish. There are many companies that preform ash scattering services but they aren’t cheap. After much research I found out that because my Dad was a veteran (he served in Vietnam) he was entitled to burial in any military cemetery or that the US Navy or US Coast Guard would preform a burial at sea free of charge. 

with that knowledge we planned a trip to CA. This would be the first time in 4 years that we had gone to California as a family. Needless to say with a 2 year old & a 4 year old we were expecting an adventure but to be honest, things, especially the plane trips, went much better than we expected. 
Legoland

we spend 5 1/2 weeks in California and had such a great time. The time we were able to spend reconnecting with friends & family was so very precious to us. We regret that we weren’t able to see more of you because even though 5 1/2 weeks sounds like a long time, it really flew by. 

we are thankful that we were able to fulfill my Dad’s wish in regards to his burial, and that we were able to reconnect with so many friend & family after so many years.

church news

 while we were gone, we really didn’t worry about the church here in Szeged a whole lot, simply because of the wonderful people that God has raised up in the church to do the work of the ministry in our absence. We were so blessed that the elders of the church & other men in the church were preaching and teaching while we were gone. We’re also thankful to our friends from other churches here in Szeged & the surrounding area who came to serve Golgota Szeged in teaching the Word of God.
at LAX on the way back to Hungary

we got back to Szeged this last Friday and on Saturday I was blessed to speak at a national Baptist youth conference. The topic they gave me was how to react when someone hurts you. I was blessed to talk to about 100 kids about how to ask for forgiveness when they hurt someone and also how to extent forgiveness when they are hurt. I was so blessed to be able to talk to these kids from all over Hungary about this.

 One great thing that happened when we were gone was a worship conference at our church. The conference was organized by a friend who is the assistant pastor of the Pentecostal church in Szeged. Andy is from Bristol, England and has been living outside of Szeged for a good few years now with his wife. Because Andy is a musician & worship leader, his desire was to invite people from his church in Bristol to come encourage the larger body of Christ in Szeged in the area of worship. A small team came over at the beginning of March from England for this conference. It was organized by Andy but it was held in our church building. About 60 people attended the conference and all were encouraged in the worship of Jesus. We rejoice in the fact that many churches participated in this event as it was great to see the unity of the larger body of Christ here in Szeged. It’s our hope that this will be the first of many worship conferences in our region. This was really a test run. Next time we want to expand the sphere of this to churches within a 100km (60 mile) radius. 


 This worship conference was really the first step in seeing the churches of Szeged work together for the kingdom of God. The next step is happening very quickly. It’s been my desire for a couple of years now to get all the Protestant churches of Szeged together for a large Easter celebration. Last year, Easter fell early so nothing came of it, but this year Easter falls on April 20th, which is usually a good time in Hungary weather wise. My desire was to hold this Easter celebration in an open air theater in a park here in town. Before we went to California I asked a friend of mine who is involved in the media here in Szeged who I need to talk to about this. He loved the idea of what we want to do and has helped us percure the open air theater free of charge. So in the coming weeks I’ll be busy planning & promoting this city wide Easter celebration. We are praying that God would fill all 1,000 seats with people to hear the Gospel.

In the meantime we continue to rejoice at what God is doing through the English club that was started as a result of an outreach group that came from Calvary Chapel Bible College Europe last fall. While I was gone an American woman and some other English speakers from the church took on that ministry and will continue to run with it.

So we rejoice at all that Jesus has done, is doing, and will do here in Szeged!

this June, once again, we’re looking forward to taking part in the Foundations Conference which the leadership conference for leaders of Central & Eastern European churches. We’ve invited the leadership of Golgota Szeged to join us for this week of wonderful fellowship & teaching. 

support the work here in Szeged

one of the things we did while in CA was talk to people about support we need to continue to minster here in Szeged. 

we’d like to ask you, if you’re reading this to prayerfully consider joining with us in the work of the Kingdom of God here in Szeged but partnering with us financially. We’re looking to raise more money which will enable me to continue to travel to encourage other pastors, as well as invest in the work of the Kingdom of God here in Szeged. It will also enable Odi to spend more time focusing on being the main worship leader at Golgota Szeged so she can translate new songs into Hungarian for the benefit of the body of Christ not just in Szeged but all over Hungary.

so if you'd like to join with us you can send your tax deductible donations through either Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa or Calvary Chapel Vista. 

 here is the info through Calvary Chapel Vista on their website. you can give here (http://www.calvaryvista.com/give-2/) you just need to follow the process and when it asks for the donations put the amount in the "missions" box and in the memo note that it's for "Kyle & Odi Eckhart in Szeged, Hungary". They then will get that to us with our regular monthly support the beginning of each month.

 through Calvary Costa Mesa, you can give here (https://www.easytithe.com/f/?k=6SSHN0DEHB4KG6DH) all you need to do here is go down the scroll down list to my name and the money will be sent to us.

thank you for prayerfully considering this!

praise reports

we’re thankful to God for His provision for our trip to CA and for all the people in California that blessed us with everything from a car, to places to stay, to tickets to Legoland & Disneyland
Disneyland

we rejoice at all the good things that God did in Szeged in our absence

we rejoice in the partnership among churches here in Szeged

prayer requests

pray for our city wide Easter celebration that God would fill the open air theater with 1000 people to hear about the resurrection of Jesus

for God’s provision for us and for the church here in Szeged

for more open doors to minister to people in the name of Jesus here in Szeged


for God’s provision for all those from our church that want to go to the national leadership conference in June.

much love in Jesus,

kyle, odi, zara, kiera