Dear Praying, Helping Friends:
Some things never change. And the biggest thing I can think of that can never change is the love of God for sinners He calls to Himself in the gospel. Look at this awesome statement in Romans 1:1-5: “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God – the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the nations to the obedience that comes from faith. And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.”
To use the vernacular, this “blows me away.” For it addresses the greatest need of the greatest of sinners with the greatest plan that could be designed to meet this need, then be carried out by the greatest One ever to come into this world Who now shines forth in the greatest message a man can ever hear and who, by it, can be lifted from the pit of hell to glory with God forever. What else, really, is there to talk about? Or live or die for? So let’s talk about this mission work in the Hungarian lands that God is now doing by His Spirit based on the eternal sacrifice of His Son for sinners – this mission work for which “you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ” have been moved to pray for and support. God is doing great things in Hungary, Romania and Ukraine through our 16 young Hungarian men who are well trained in Reformed theology and Presbyterian church government and preaching Christ faithfully.
So we begin with our 16 Hungarian men, trained at our school (Karolyi Gaspar Institute of Theology and Missions) who continue to be guided by our mission after graduation. Even some of our best supporters here in the USA and elsewhere (Canada, Scotland and Germany) do not know how much ongoing guidance we have of the work. It involves everything (the men, their lives, their families, the education of their children, their congregations, their evangelizing the lost and building up believers – all the programs in which they are involved.) These programs include everything happening in our 22 congregations, the ongoing work of our school, publications, camps and conferences and much else – and involves the spending and monitoring of all funds raised here and spent on these programs. But since we are now in the middle of summer and well into our summer camp season, let me now expand on just this program.
June 27-July 2 (Worker’s Camp in Romania) All the men in Romania and Hungary and their wives and children (51 people) attended this camp. It was very blessed. Each day started with personal devotions, then a prayer meeting for the men and wives separately, after which the children’s day started. Then devotions for the whole group with singing and prayer. The men then evaluated the Bible message of the previous night and morning, discussing it technically and spiritually while the women studied The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace. At 11:00 am the men heard lectures based on The Shepherd Leader by Tim Witmer while the women prepared lunch. The afternoon had reports from the field, an afternoon lecture, some free time before supper, then evening devotions for all with singing and prayer. It was a great time for the men as they learned how they could better do the work of ministry and guide their flocks while sharing their struggles and encouraging one another. And a great time for the wives as well. The children also had special programs where they were taught many practical things and encouraged in the Lord, relishing the whole camp experience and time with the other children.
July 4–9 (English Camp in Hungary) The purpose of this camp was to teach the gospel through lessons in English. Some 42 people attended, mostly non-Christians who learned English from the three best English teachers in our church. As the students learned English they got a lot of Scripture. At the end of the camp, Imre Szoke gave a gospel message. Some of the parents heard the gospel this way, some for the first time. This camp also gives us new contacts we can follow up. Pray for them. (Children’s camp in Romania) This camp was attended by 30 children and done in two age groups. The teaching was done by four of our men as their wives and other members helped with the cooking and games and supervision of the children during excursions from this mountain top setting. The children had 11 messages, one to introduce the commandments and one for each commandment. Every message showed the nature of sin, then the offer of Christ to be the Lord and Savior of sinners. Each child learned two Bible verses for each commandment (a total of 22 verses). Some went beyond this, memorizing whole chapters of the Bible. Every child had a workbook he could take home after camp. In the workbooks, the children had to answer seven questions for each lesson. They received points for everything they did and, at the end, were able to use them to “buy” Christian books and some small toys. Some of these children had no previous contact with the Bible. (Children’s camp in Ukraine) This camp had 45 children. Some aspects of it were different than in Romania, but we used the same guidelines to have a spiritual, well organized camp where the children heard the Word of Life, some for the first time. The leaders of both these camps praise the Lord and thank you for prayer for them. The children listened and behaved very well (even those from homes without discipline!) There were also no accidents or health problems of any kind.
July 11-16 (Youth Camp in Romania) This camp had 25 young people, 2/3rds for the second or third time, 1/3rd for the first time. Some seemed to be true believers, though at the beginning of their Christian life, but most were not yet converted, so the focus had to be on the key points of the gospel, the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, and need for the grace of God. This year we did this by using people from the OT and NT who met God whose lives were changed or, sadly, not changed when they rejected the truth. Most of these young people showed serious interest in the teaching. We also asked Gabor Curcubet to give two lectures on creationism since what they get in their state schools is the same as or worse than what we get in our state schools here. (Youth camp in Ukraine) Here we had 41 young people at our first camp for youth, 26 boys and 15 girls. We are thankful that the campers were very well behaved and God provided good food and good weather and kept everyone from disease and accidents. Also for all the helpers from our church membership. It was a blessed week where the youth were open to hear and believe God’s Word. Pray they may really turn to God and become Christ’s true disciples. And for our follow up of these campers and the rest of our camps (we have 12 more!!!)
Finally I want to say that the last two months were amazing from the standpoint of buying, remodeling or constructing properties. We paid for everything on the new Budapest building (and had our first service June 5 with 57 in attendance). We finished construction (in June) of the main building at our camp and conference center in Ukraine. And finished phase #2 of remodeling the main building at our school in Hungary and began construction on a new property in Erdo, Romania. This means four projects are now done and, since we had to add two more, still have three to go. I can only extol the greatness of God in doing all this. At the same time, let me say we need you to persevere with us in special giving for a few more months so we can finish all seven of these projects. Those remaining are: (1) Finishing construction in Erdo, Romania ($30,000 yet needed) (2) Repairs and insulation work on Imre Szoke’s house in Miskolc, Hungary ($11,500 needed) (3) Purchase of a home in Barkaszo, Ukraine we hope to use as a meeting hall. We looked a year and found nothing, only a $30,000 house we felt was too much to pay until a place just as nice (for $9,500 !) appeared. All in all, we need $51,000 for these last three projects this year. If you have not given anything this year, there is still time. Please hurry! Both your prayers and giving are greatly needed. We urge you to give with rejoicing. And be wise in knowing that moth and rust or thieves can take from you what you ought to be laying up in heaven.
Yours in His faithfulness,
Bob and Clara Rapp