Dear Praying, Helping Friends:
Seven weeks ago, three unusual things all happened at once. Clara developed a yet undiagnosed health disorder. My workload in answering the weekly reports of the men had reached the breaking point. Then we got an appeal from our men to ease our reporting system. These three things signaled a need to streamline a heretofore essential system. The Session of our church will now report for all the men – and once a month instead of once a week. This gives me more relief than even the men. The first report was 16 pages long, full of good information about the ministry overall and each man. First, on the ministry:
1/ A dangerous tax situation involving our main property in Miskolc, Hungary was averted – at least for now. 2/ Students in the distance education program of our school must learn and give the Romans course to others as part of the program. 3/ Home Schooling in all three countries is going well. Gabor Curcubet in Romania is working with the President of the Educational Committee of the Chamber of Deputies to have Home Schooling openly recognized. A country-wide HS conference is also being planned. 4/ Our church plans to ordain as TEs (teaching elders) Peter Szabo (Budapest, HU) in June and Bertalan Lorinc (Ukraine) in July. 5/ The work of preparing REs (ruling elders) continues. 6/ The Easter conferences in all three countries went very well. The attendances were good and the messages were timely, spiritual and practical, resulting in much blessing. 7/ One person was excommunicated last month, and three were approved as new members. 8/ A new webpage with 1,700 of our pastors’ sermons was recently started. Joy! This page is being heavily used – more than 66,000 downloads since it began!
Turning now to our 16 men, let me use the same order as the bookmarks you earlier received:
Imre Szoke: His congregation is doing well. Relationships between members are good. Those who have come out of cults are growing in grace. And one member has started a weekly meeting for university students. Imre is now preaching on Philippians. Pray for his children and their yearly exams in June.
Peter Szabo: Just finished a series on Exodus, is now preaching from Hebrews. Has six in his membership course, three of whom are near finishing. Meets regularly with six people in the Romans course. Also has two members directing Bible studies (for a teen group and a college dorm group).
Gyula Bagoly: Was working with a yoga teacher several years. Sadly, this “teacher” never turned to Christ. Happily, some of this man’s followers have left him and turned to Christ. Gyula also works with Imre on a second Hungarian edition of Pink’s The Sovereignty of God. Pray for his two congregations.
Mihaly Siko: He works in a city fogged over with a high degree of religiosity (read Athens). But it grows slowly. Misi attends two secular clubs where he can witness freely, has a Bible study in two retirement homes. Pray for good contacts and conversions. He and Zita are expecting a second child in September.
Ferenc Kovacs: Leads two Bible study groups, one congregation. Has lately spent much time counseling, training his members. In addition, gives guidance to all the other men in Romania. Directed the Easter conference and now prepares for the summer camps in Romania. Pray for wisdom and strength for him.
Sandor Tamas: Has three small children (the last two were twins). At the moment, this takes extra time from his schedule. His is already a hard field, but Sandor perseveres. Pray that God’s Word through him would be powerful in many. Recently the sister of one of his two members became a believer in Christ.
Sandor Molnar: His congregation had their first wedding (two of our members). This couple had a struggle with their parents to have a truly Christian wedding, but God helped. The parents were moved and very happy with the result. Sandor’s members help him in ministry, having regular meetings with children and in a large hospital. Has five in the membership course, four due to be members soon.
Gabor Curcubet: Continues his series on Galatians and, during the week, helps his members understand,
then give the Romans course to others. Has five in this course himself, three of whom are growing wonderfully in faith and knowledge. Pray that Gabriella (wife) would recover from recent sickness.
Lehel Laszlo: His congregation is very active and doing well – spiritually and in numbers. Also has a Lord’s Day service 8 miles away in a Gypsy village. And a weekly Bible study in a third location. Recently, of the 10 people he has in the Romans course, two became believers.
Attila Szasz: Saw one of his members excommunicated last month, but in the Romans course has a new and serious person and, among those in this course, one who became a believer and wants to become a member. Several bookstores in his city are selling our 24 books much faster than before. Attila also works with a large library in the city which has accepted our books, even put them on its online database.
Csaba Zolya: Although he has not received any new members for some years, this situation is changing because of the Romans course and because Csaba has a new group (Romanian speaking) which is meeting amid great enthusiasm. His Hungarian congregation is active too. Pray for Csaba’s heart condition.
Szabolcs Simon: The inner dynamics of his two congregations are very good. Excellent teaching, much prayer, good cooperation and love among the people, a zeal for outreach, the use of music in many different ways. One couple (among our members) is engaged and preparing for marriage in August.
Kalman Kovacs: Helps Ferenc Kovacs in innumerable ways. A tremendous associate pastor. He must be in order to help Ferenc as he does. Has 20 people in the Romans course, four in the membership course.
Bertalan Lorinc: Slated for TE ordination in Ukraine this summer. Has 19 in the Romans course. Hopes to enroll 14 more soon. These people hunger and thirst for truth. Is giving the membership course to 5.
Istvan Gal: Has two congregations, specializes in work with youth. Three of the youth help with many kinds of great programs. Pray for two families (of the church) where the relationship needs to improve.
Geza Demeter: Has no congregation of his own, but helps the other men and spends much time finding and guiding new people in the Romans course. Pray God would make him very fruitful in this work.
Please take special note of the supplement this time. This year we expect to have 5 camps in Hungary, 7 in Ukraine and 9 in Romania (a total of 21 compared to 18 last year). Please pray fervently for all these camps and keep this chart in your Bible. Pray that the Lord of the harvest would pour out His Spirit in power, first upon the teachers and their teaching, then the people God sends. These evangelism camps are times when God speaks to people. The outside world gets shut out, and unbelievers often hear more of the Word in one week than all year long. Peter Szabo, our pastor in Budapest, was not only converted to Christ in them, but experienced Romans 12:1, 2 through them. Prayer Summary: 1/ Pray for Clara’s health and thank the Lord we have a new reporting system – though the other system was greatly used of God for many years. Only the Lord knows all the ways the work was shaped by it. 2/ Pray for our 16 men and 23 congregations. And as you pray, please pray not only for items specifically mentioned, but for those the information seems to point to as a prayer need. 3/ Pray fervently for these camps!
Turning to finance, we are coming closer and closer to the time we can and should exit this work. When I earlier said 2014, I was thinking more of the age and health of Clara and myself, the world economy, and social/religious trends in the world. But as of now, I believe we are right on target – sometime next year. The Romans course has had a strong impact – and we seem to have finished all land buying, construction and heavy renovation. But please remember that this “stretch run” implies a unique challenge. We need, more than ever, prayer for wisdom, patience and grace from God to walk by faith alone and not by sight. We also ask you to continue, for now, to labor with us in your giving. Lastly, a special word on our book-marks. They are meant to be a help in prayer, and we still have 600 on hand due to a printer’s overrun (at no more cost to us). Please ask us for more if you can use them. We will send you any amount, but we prefer to send you at least 10 (for yourself and friends).
Yours in His faithfulness,
Bob & Clara Rapp