February, 2017

Please click on the below link to read the latest newsletter regarding the Hungarian work.

http://www.reformatus.net/en/files/ReportFebruary2017.pdf

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March, 2016

Dear Praying, Helping Friends:

So much has happened since November when I thought this letter would be a simple prayer sheet!  But that won’t happen – not with a new field before us as I retire from Hungary!  But before saying anything else, let me say that the work in Hungary is ending on a very happy note.  I was concerned for awhile that our church, the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Central & Eastern Europe (RPCCEE), had one serious, unresolved issue.  It involved the non-communicant (infant baptized) teens of our church and their lack of pastoral care from the Session of the church.  Yes, our teens have been and continue to be home schooled and, so, have a fine home environment.  Yes, they have very good summer camps and other programs.  And, yes, this has been a good formula for them until recent years.  Unfortunately, neither the Session (nor I) saw the need for these teens to get additional care upon becoming teens.  That is, care from the Session, working with the parents, to help them learn Christ in a personal way, then move through the steps of discipleship toward communicant membership in the church.

This got my attention when the Hungarian Session’s August report came and I learned that one of our teens had gone to Abu Dhabi on a four-year scholarship to New York University.  I was stunned at this since he was 18 and not ready for church membership, yet allowed to go far from home to a secular university like NYU without any connection to our church.  Somehow we missed Ephesians 4:9-16 and other such passages in the Bible about the visible church of Christ.  So I wrote the Session.  They initially thought they were already doing all they could do for our teens.  But then, to their credit, they also saw that something critical was missing in our ministry to the teens of our church.  PTL that, although I had to exit the Hungarian work December 31, the Session kept moving forward on this and is now in contact with Rev. Chris Walker of Westminster PCA here in Lancaster.  Chris is associate pastor of youth in our church.  He not only understands the importance of reaching our youth in their early teens.  He can discuss this with the RPCCEE in detail – and how to do it there.  So he and his wife (Kate), Lord willing, will be going to Hungary the third week of May (May 16-20).  Not only will Chris meet and interact with all seven on the Session, but all 16 pastors (and some of the wives) from all three countries (Hungary, Ukraine, Romania) where the RPCCEE has its 24 congregations.  This is thrilling!  Thank you for your prayers!  The Hungarian church still has a bright future.  Pray now for Chris’ trip.

As this was happening, my spinal stenosis (lower back) was worsening.  Also, after Christmas Day had ended, I had difficulty breathing all night long.  That morning, for the first time ever, I checked into the ER of a hospital.  Thankfully, initial tests showed no heart attack.  But a test (Holter monitor) taken the next week showed a serious arrhythmia.  The doctors were ready to give me a pacemaker and drugs to control Tachybradycardia.  But I asked for time to get daily exercise and do better with my stress.  A month later, my back was better.  I also had a much better monitor reading.  I am now scheduled for a third monitor test in three months, then go from there.  Please keep me much in prayer.

In early January I wrote Rev. Chang in Korea (about his new seminary) and told him my trip to Korea in May was off, but he could come here.  That was Monday, January 11.  On Wednesday he wrote and said he and his granddaughter (whom he needed to interpret) would arrive Friday at the Harrisburg airport.  The Lord wonderfully provided lodging and meals for them through friends, giving us four days to discuss ways to help his work in Korea.  We now have a good plan in place and, PTL, it shouldn’t be stressful like Hungary since I won’t need to build a new seminary or guide graduates in a newly developing church.  Work, yes, but manageable, low-stress work.  Enough to keep me in my calling at age 83, but not enough to interfere with good exercise and paying attention to my health.

You may remember I went to Korea in 1967 and was led by the Lord to found a new theological seminary called Westminster Theological Seminary (WTS).  We started with 12 students and, by 1992, had a student body of 300 and almost 1,000 graduates, most of whom had new churches in Korea or missionary work abroad (21).  This school was greatly prospered by the Lord, who used my writings in Korea to awaken Christians to the world-wide ecumenical movement (WCC) and its unbiblical “social gospel” – also called “liberation theology” – a twin to Communism and its ideological front Socialism.  I became well enough known in Korea that my school was informally called “ra-bo-do” (my Korean name) seminary, and the church that grew out of it ra-bo-do” church. Then came 1992 when I switched to Hungary, turning the work over to trusted friends.  The school did well the next five years, but then got government approval in 1997 to operate as a postgraduate school named Westminster Graduate School of Theology (WGST).

But this “step forward” was a mistake, for it set the school on a path it could not financially maintain.  So as time wore on, it was more and more tempted to look for a financial solution to a non-financial problem.  Things kept getting worse.  Around 2007 the school made contact with a rich Korean business lady who seemed to want to help it.  This led to the purchase of a large new building costing $18 million.  Someone sent me pictures of the new school, one picture showing the new “Rapp Hall.”  And because I was working in Hungary and knew nothing of the situation, I appreciated this gesture.  It seemed to recognize my strict stand for the Word of God.  Indeed, it was meant to be that. Alas! It seems this helping lady wanted more than to help at a distance.  According to my information, after a year of confusion as to who was in control, she sued the man who thought he was in charge.  He had no money for drawn-out litigation, which opened the way for her to come in as head of the Board of Trustees.  And one of her first actions was to open the way for girl students to be ordained as ministers of the gospel.

I still knew nothing of this when the school and its Alumni Association (AA) invited Clara and me to fly there last year for a vacation and speaking at the school.  I gladly accepted, then providentially learned of this sad state of affairs from another source and advised the school I would still like to come, but would need to include, as part of one of my lectures, material explaining why the ordination of women to the ministry is unbiblical.  This quickly led to being disinvited.  After that, I heard from Rev. Chang, my student who graduated in 1985 (and again in 1987 with a master’s degree).  This is why I was planning to go to Korea this May to see him and then, when I could not, asked him to come here instead. He had started a new school circa 2005 when he saw the way things were going, using the old name WTS.  So the school with the new name (WGST) is not the school I knew. How can a school use the word “Westminster” in its name (after the historic Westminster Confession of Faith) and, at the same time, embrace women’s ordination and fire a teacher for teaching the biblical doctrine of election, and want less Bible in the curriculum – to be replaced with non-theological courses such as health and social need?

Pray now that WGST will drop my name as its honorary president and remove it from the door going into “Rapp Auditorium”.  And for this new theological seminary (WTS) which has arisen from the ashes of the other.  And for the Alumni Association.  Too many of its older members, my old students, are still sending their young people to the wrong school.  We now hope, the Lord helping, to send vital theological materials to Korea to be translated into Korean and printed there – for the sake of all Korea and biblical Korean missionary work all over the globe.

Yours in His faithfulness,

Bob & Clara Rapp

FINAL NOTE.   This will be the last newsletter posted here.  Future letters will be emailed only to those committed to this work.  If you want updates, please follow the above financial information, giving a gift and your email address.  Thank you, one and all, for your wonderful help until now.

 

Posted in 2016 | Comments Off

November, 2015

November 24, 2015

Dear Praying, Helping Friends:

In July, 1960, I had just graduated with an S.T.M. from Faith Theological Seminary, having two goals for the next 12 months – raise support for Brazil and begin my Th.D. studies at Grace Theological Seminary.  And now I can say that, after 55 years on four mission fields under three different boards, my God and my Savior, the Lord Jesus, never failed to sustain me.  And there was another constant.  The Lord always gave us a wonderful group of churches and supporters who held us up in prayer and gave faithfully to the work.  So to you who are still with Clara and me at the end of this journey, I want to say, God will never forget your loving prayers for us and your giving to this, His sacred work.  We also want to give special thanks to the five men who comprise our last and final board, Westminster Biblical World Mission.

Let me begin this last letter with fresh news from our fourth field – the Hungarian work in Hungary, Romania and Ukraine.  And begin there with news about our congregation in Budapest, Hungary.  Our pastor there, Peter Szabo, seems to be doing well, thanks to your prayers.  His cancer seems not to have spread and is being carefully checked every six months.  The Lord has also given Peter energy to direct the work of refurbishing our new three-story building there and keep up with all his pastoral work, including a network of Bible studies throughout the city.  But this congregation is the fastest growing of our 24 congregations.  So it was urgent that Peter find an associate pastor to help him in ministry.  And the Lord, unknown to us, began to do this five years ago when a pastor in the liberal HRC (Hungarian Reformed Church) felt he had to leave that church.  In doing so, he and his wife had to leave behind them all their friends and financial security.  This could have destroyed them, but they joined our Miskolc congregation where they were given encouragement and time not only to recover, but find a way back into ministry.  This fine Christian man will now help Peter, whose move to Budapest is happening as I write you.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

We have also had a very good development in our church’s newest congregation in Ungvar, Ukraine.  I said in August how this group learned of us – then in July became part of our church, the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Central and Eastern Europe.  Since they did not have any Reformed background, we spent extra time with them, making sure they understood the sovereign, unchanging nature of God’s covenant of grace for His elect throughout the ages.  This enabled this group to understand that OT saints were saved by the same divine grace as NT saints.  And even though the sign of the covenant in the NT is different than the sign in the OT, since the covenant itself is the same, children in this age should be baptized just as children were circumcised in OT times.  As a result, after giving more instruction to these parents about their covenantal responsibilities toward their children, we had a first-time-ever baptism of more than one child in a service.  Nine children were baptized last month, becoming non-communicant members.  The goal is that they now be taught and trained by their parents and, in time, be saved and spiritually built up by fellow believers in Christ’s body, the church. (Eph. 4:9-16)

A third development was four great conferences held in October.  The first took place in Romania where all 16 of our church planting pastors and their families (from Hungary, Romania and Ukraine) met for an important time together, partly for fellowship, partly for strengthening in the Word, partly to work on the future organization of the RPCCEE.  We are drawing closer and closer to the time when we can have one presbytery for Hungary and Ukraine, and one for Romania.  And, with this, fully organize congregations in each presbytery as soon as they are 100% self-supporting and have at least one ordained minister and one ruling elder.  Everything will fall into place when we have enough organized congregations like this in each presbytery area.  Then, following this particular conference, we had three blessed Reformation weekend conferences in Hungary, Romania and Ukraine, the total number attending being 250 — 2/3 rds of them being our members and 1/3rd of them interested non-members.  So much good Bible instruction and spiritual fellowship made it a time of great blessing and profit for all!

A fourth development is that we are now making a special effort in our church to have our teens begin to work toward being members of our church as soon as they clearly understand the doctrine of God’s grace to sinners through faith in the atoning blood of our Lord Jesus. We need to understand that those who are truly converted already belong to the invisible body of Christ and should, as early as possible, be equipped to win others to Christ and serve Him in a multitude of ways with one focus, as Paul taught in Phil. 3:2-11.  And, then, when ready, become members of the visible church of Christ, receive the sacrament of communion, and work alongside fellow believers in the evangelization of the world.  Pray that the Session of the RPCCEE would be empowered to fully implement this emphasis and program in the near future. In other words, let’s not neglect our young people, especially when they become teens and “no longer think as children” but can grasp strong doctrine and be as devoted to Christ as someone much older in physical years.  See I Cor. 13:11 and Luke 2:42, 46-47.  It is easy to forget that Jesus, as a man, had to go through the same stages as the rest of humanity.  And that, at age 12, his human nature began to impel Him to think and associate with the rabbis of His day and be mindful of His father’s house.

Let me now turn to the “shape” of things going into next year.  First of all, there comes a time when the umbilical cord must be cut.  This means an end to all financial support for the regular expenses of the work of the RPCCEE.  But for a time this new child will need some special help.  So we still envision helping in some special projects next year as long as they do not involve retying the umbilical cord.  Second, for Clara and me, this represents an opportunity to reverse a process where our assets were being drained and our financial future (retirement) threatened, the details of which I gave in my August prayer letter.  So the bottom line is: we need your best financial effort until December 31.  We need this to add to a fund which the Hungarian work might need in time for special projects.  We also need funds for Clara and me that will give us a fresh stream of income in retirement – enough to keep us from further draining our assets over the next few years.  So please help all you can in the next six weeks, including some help for one more Christmas offering for our 16 pastors and their families.

To make this crystal clear, we are not asking any more help from any church or person after December 31.  This has been our goal since the start of the Hungarian work.  But several supporting churches and persons have said to me, “We hear you, but what if we have some extra funds and still want to send them to you next year?”  So I’m saying, “Well, if you are so constrained and able, we will treat your giving as sacred as ever and use it well.”  And, indeed, I have one new project.  The Lord willing, I must travel to Korea next May.  The situation of the seminary I founded there in 1967 is such that I must correct some things by publicly asking that my name be dropped as its honorary president and removed from the doorway to the main auditorium called “Rapp Auditorium”.  I am also praying about helping a new school there (led by a former student) that is worthy of my endorsement and help.  So this trip will involve some cost.  The Lord may (not “will” but “may”) also guide me to help this new school with some distance teaching, a public endorsement and financial help – since it is new and struggling and in need of scholarships for some worthy students who want to prepare for the gospel ministry.

Yours in His faithfulness,

Bob (and Clara) Rapp

P.S.  This prayer letter will be my last.  I hope to send out a simple prayer sheet next year.  It will not be posted on this site.  So if you want it, please give me your email address (it will never be used for any other purpose nor appear in any kind of group copy).  Send it to me at the above address and tell me who you are and why you want it.

 

Posted in 2015 | Comments Off

August, 2015

Dear Praying, Helping Friends:

Greetings in the name of our great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus.  In 1952 He called me to be a missionary to the nations while an engineering student at Penn State University.  This journey is nearly over.  Not in serving Him, but to being on the front line of “making disciples of all the nations.”  At age 83, Clara and I are more than ready for this.  We are also awed at His faithfulness over the years – in Brazil, Korea, Pakistan, then 25 years in Eastern Europe.  And so thankful to you who physically could not go, but have gone with us through your precious prayers and sacrificial giving.

We’ve had some important developments in the Hungarian work in the last three months.  First, we now have a new congregation in Ukraine.  Until now, all our congregations (save one) were started by church planters trained at our school and sent to areas where no one was waiting to receive them or help them in the work.  In this case, however, the Lord raised up some people in Ungvar, Ukraine to study the Bible – rare in Europe where there is little hunger for the Word.  Then, after a few years of searching the Scriptures on their own, this little group heard of us, contacted us, then decided a year ago they wanted to be part of our church, the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Central & Eastern Europe.  They first took our Romans course, then our discipleship/membership course and loved the teaching.  And as this was happening, we came to know them better and better.  And saw them inviting new people to join them in what they were hearing and learning.  This process culminated in personal interviews with those who seemed to be soundly converted.  In July, we received 7 adults as communicant members and 4 children as non-communicant members of our church.  The children have a basic understanding of the gospel, but, of course, need to grow in years and in the faith before they can become communicant members.  The addition of these 11 new people puts our total church membership at a little over 300.  So this little group of new believers is a great blessing to us, just as our church is a great blessing to them.

Second, we rejoice in the ongoing spiritual and membership growth of our other congregations.  Our Budapest congregation is doing especially well.  Budapest with its two million people is a great mission field, and we are using every possible means to proclaim the gospel of our Lord Jesus – through personal witness, home Bible studies, books translated into Hungarian, a quarterly magazine, sermons on our web site, and our summer camps.  In the late 19th century the Hungarian Reformed Church was still a good church, but in the early 20th century, it went into a death spiral due to liberal teaching and spiritual coldness, first in the seminaries, then in the congregations.  It is now our privilege to tell people of an infallible book where they can get “true truth” about eternal salvation through the Lord Jesus.  Yes, our work has been slow, but, thank God, our church is living and growing in three countries (Hungary, Ukraine and Romania) and going to self-support at this time.  And if you could visit our congregation in BP, you would see many young people with growing families, who love and understand the Scriptures, rejoice in the grace of God in the gospel, and are hard at work in sharing it with others.

The new building, by the way, is being nicely remodeled.  And the congregation is doing most of the work itself.  Work on the first floor is now done, leaving us with a fine worship hall.  The second floor, with separate access, is perfect for our pastor (Peter Szabo) and family and nearly finished as well.  And the third floor, also with separate access, will be used for Sunday School rooms and as a counseling center for Peter.  But we have an urgent prayer request here.  Peter was recently found to have a melanoma cancer.  Two weeks ago, it was surgically removed with lab testing to see if it had spread.  We just got the initial results and, PTL, they are good.  But please keep Peter much in prayer, that he might be spared from this life-threatening disease and be able to continue as pastor of his flock.

Third, we are thankful to the Lord for progress in coping with this new law in Hungary that requires very young children (age 3 to 6) to attend state-run kindergartens.  Parents can get exemptions for this under certain circumstances, but it takes a lot of work to do this.  We, of course, do not want to battle the government in this, but we do need to help parents who want to keep their children at home during their early years so to educate them in the Christian faith and not leave this essential task of parenting to the secular state. Please pray for our efforts in this very important matter.

Fourth, we just finished our summer camp programs in Hungary, Ukraine and Romania.  We had 832 campers in 20 camps!  Eight of the camps helped Christians grow in Christ, and 12 taught non-Christians (mainly children and teenagers) what the Bible says about God and sin and becoming a new person in Christ.  Can you imagine camps where non-Christians heard 12 messages from the Bible and memorized 24 verses in one week’s time?  With notebooks to take home and be examined by their parents?  And some  noticeably turned to the Lord and spoke of going home to live new lives for Christ.  So the camps went well.  Thank you for prayer for the spiritual ministry of these camps, also that all summer long, in all three countries, we did not have a single injury, illness or disciplinary problem.  Please continue to pray for those who attended as we follow up on them in the next few months.  And be sure to read the attached supplement to get important details about each camp, then praise God for the results.

Fifth, I am happy to say this mission work will no longer need your financial help after Dec. 31.  Late last year we spent $200,700 on the Budapest project.  And this summer, $50,000 on other congregations – two new heating systems, a roofing job, one insulation, two wall reconstructions, and three new vehicles.  So the Hungarian work is virtually self-supporting.  It has all the buildings it needs (in top condition) and its 15-car fleet updated.  The church now meets 90% of its operating budget and, in a year, can reach 100%.  So we recently released to the church the emergency funds ($155,000) we were holding for them.  $40,000 of this can cover the 10% shortfall we expect the church to have one more year, leaving them $115,000 for other needs that could arise.  This is amazing, going from the fall of the iron curtain in 1990 when there was nothing like our church in the Hungarian lands, to a school where we started to train young men for the Christian ministry, then to this – all in the span of 25 years!

Yours in His faithfulness,

Bob and Clara Rapp

 

Posted in 2015 | Comments Off

August Suplement

SUMMER CAMP RESULTS – 2015

HUNGARY

 

Date of Camp Name of Camp Purpose of Camp Attendance
1. July 13 – 17 

(Miskolc)

English camp Teaching the gospel through English lessons. TC:40, M:5 + NM:35, A:2 +  CY:38, S:5
2. July 20 – 24 

(Balatonalmadi)

English camp Teaching the gospel through English lessons. TC:25, M:9 + NM:16, A:12 +  CY:13, S:4
3. Aug. 3 – 8 

(Balatonalmadi)

Children’s camp Evangelizing children. 

Ages: 6 – 12.

TC:28, M:19 + NM:9, A:6 +  CY:22, S:6
4. Aug. 10 – 14 

(Balatonalmadi)

Evangelizing camp for 

teens

Evangelizing teenagers. It was canceled because of the lack of attendants
5. Aug. 17 – 20 

(Miskolc)

Camp for young 

couples, families

Training husbands and wives who are 

church members or sympathizers.

TC:59, M:40 + NM:19, A:33 + 

CY:26, S:3

6. August 21 – 23 

(Miskolc)

Summer conference Teaching our church members, 

fellowship. Evangelizing new people.

TC:93, M:66 + NM:27, A:65 + 

CY:28, S:4

TC = Total Campers       M = Members       NM = Non-Members       A = Adults       CY = Children or Youth       S = Staff

1/2 The purpose of these camps was to reach young non-Christians who wanted to learn English, whose parents didn’t mind if the Bible was used for this. They just wanted their children educated!  So the lessons were in English, but at times during the day, Hungarian was used to be sure the lesson was learned.  This method is also a big “ice breaker” in building new relation-ships.  Some in our church once took their first steps to Christ this way.  Their interest in English then shifted to interest in Christ!  At the same time, the teaching is done very professionally, and this year included several American English teachers.

3/ This camp was to evangelize children.  More members (non-communicant) came than NMs, but this work has just begun, and it takes children to draw children.  Pray for this small beginning.  This is how things must start in Hungary!

5/6 The first of these two camps was a wonderful opportunity for couples to hear about their roles in marriage under God and toward one another in light of His Word.  A third were not members, but this teaching will help them follow Christ more faithfully in the days ahead.  The second camp was like the first and went deeply into God’s work of sanctification in the life of the true believer.  Pray that those who came will continue to grow in the abundant grace of God in the gospel of His Son.

UKRAINE

 

Date of Camp Name of Camp Purpose of Camp Attendance
1. July 6 – 9 

(Kuklya)

Adult camp To help our members to grow in holi-ness. TC:50, M:39 + NM:11, A:25 + CY:25, S:4
2. July 9 – 11 

(Kuklya)

Camp for young  couples, 

families

Training husbands and wives (church members/sympathizers). TC:54, M:42 + NM:12, A:26 + CY:28, S:4
3. July 13 – 18 

(Kuklya)

Children’s camp Evangelizing children. 

Ages: 7 – 11

TC:45, M:5 + NM:40, A:0 + 

CY:45, S:8

4. July 20 – 25 

(Kuklya)

Children’s camp Evangelizing children. 

Ages: 7 – 11

TC:51, M:4 + NM:47, A:0 + CY:51, S:10
5. July 27 – Aug. 1 

(Kuklya)

Youth camp Evangelizing teenagers. 

Ages: 12 – 15

TC:21, M:6 + NM:15, A:0 + CY:21, S:6
6. August 3 – 8 

(Kuklya)

Camp for young  Chris-tians To help our youth to grow in holiness. TC:16, M:6 + NM:10, A:4 + CY:12, S:4
7. August 10 – 15 

(Kuklya)

Ukrainian language camp (for ethnic Hungarians) Teaching gospel lessons through the use of the Ukrainian language. It was canceled because of the lack of attendants

1/ Lehel Laszlo from Romania went to Ukraine for this first camp of the Ukraine camp season.  It proved to be a time of great strengthening for our members.  We also had some NMs (non-members) who came and were challenged to give their lives to Christ, grow in holiness and, as part of this, be members of Christ’s visible church on earth.

2/ Lehel stayed on for this camp.  It was very helpful to members and NMs in regard to husbands and wives working as “heirs together of the grace of life.” (I Pet. 3:7)  The NMs could also see, by example, the importance of being part of Christ’s church.

3/4 These two camps evangelized children ages 7-11.  The first was for children in the Berezszasz region where Berci Lorinc is pastor.  The second was for children from Zapszony, Barkaszo and Ungar where Istvan Gal is pastor.  These camps had almost 100 children, many for the first time.  This shows how, in Ukraine, many non-Christian parents want their children to hear God’s Word.  Pray for these children, that they would come to Christ, grow in faith and, some day, be part of our church.

5/ This camp was for teenagers, mostly NMs.  As elsewhere in the world, these teenagers are beset with all kinds of temptation and sin.  PTL they were very open to God’s Word and the challenge to come to Christ and live in and by His grace.

6/ This last camp in Ukraine was for young people – young in years and Christian experience.  Mihaly Siko came from Hungary to give them an abundance of good teaching.  Not a large number (16), but a very important camp.

ROMANIA

 

Date of Camp Name of Camp Purpose of Camp Attendance
1. June 22 – 26 

(Szováta)

Camp for our men and their wives Training and fellowship for our men and their wives. TC:69, M:69 + NM:0, A:28 + CY:41, S:0
2. June 29 – July 6 

(Szovata)

Children’s camp Evangelizing children. 

Ages: 7 – 11

TC:34, M:13 +  NM:21, A:0 + CY:34, S:11
3. July 13 – 19 

(Szovata)

Evangelizing camp for                       teens Evangelizing teenagers. 

Ages: 12 – 17

TC:44, M:17 + NM:27, A:0 +   CY:44, S:8
4. July 20 – 26 

(Szovata)

Teaching camp for Chris- tians Training church members, encouraging sympathizers. TC:42, M:30 + NM:12, A:37 + CY:5, S:5
5. July 27 – Aug. 2 

(Szovata)

Camp for young 

couples, families

Training husbands and wives (church members/sympathizers). TC:38, M:31 + NM:7, A:17 +   CY:21, S:6
6. July 27 – 31 

(Szekelyudvarhely)

English camp Teaching the gospel through English lessons. TC:16, M:0 + NM:16, A:0 +     CY:16, S:4
7. August 3 – 7 

(Sepsiszentgyorgy)

English camp Teaching the gospel through English lessons. TC:47, M:2 + NM:45, A:2 +     CY:45, S:6
8. August 10 – 14 

(Marosvasarhely)

English camp Teaching the gospel through English lessons. TC:28, M:2 + NM:26, A:0 +     CY:28,  S:7
9. August 17 – 23 

(Szovata)

Camp for young people Evangelizing and teaching young people. Ages: 18 – 35 TC:30, M:10 + NM:20, A:8 + CY:22, S:6

1/ This was the first of our 20 camps (in all three countries) – a spiritual retreat for our 16 pastors and their families after the home schooling year ended.  HS is very heavy on the wives, also their husbands (the pastors) who must help them in it.  All 16 families (from all 3 countries) came (save one family), and they were greatly refreshed.  PTL.

2/ This camp was for children where both M and NM children were blessed.  Some NM children asked many questions about personal salvation, were moved to ask Christ to come into their hearts, and shared this with others.

3/ One of our largest youth camps ever in Romania.  The main theme was : the “I am…” words of Christ.  We saw many changes in the attitude of the campers.  God’s Word touched others, who now are thinking about their lost condition.

4/ This camp was well attended and meant to train our members in the faith, but some NMs were also much influenced by the lectures on the Christian life; how to live for Christ and confront the world, the flesh and the devil.

5/ This camp was a great time to teach our church families (and some NMs who were there).  In addition to the lectures, there were good group discussions, times of prayer, singing, and walks in the forest.  Everyone was thankful for the time.

6/7/8 These three camps were like the ones in Hungary.  The campers heard the gospel in English, then some became more excited about it than the English they were learning!  This will give us many contacts to follow up in coming months.  Pray!

9/ This last camp in Romania was greatly blessed.  We saw God at work not only in young believers, but in NMs not yet converted.  Every evening 3 to 5 young people gave testimony to Christ’s work in their lives.  They also urged NMs to dedicate themselves to the Lord and join a biblical church.  Some NMs then spoke of their desire and decision to do this very thing..

 

Posted in 2015 | Comments Off

May, 2015

Dear Praying, Helping Friends:

Greetings in Him who has the “whole wide world” in His hands!  Including South Korea and Central & Eastern Europe!  In my February letter I asked you to pray for Clara and me in our travel to South Korea April 23 to May 4 and for messages I would bring at the school I founded in 1967 and headed the next 25 years.  But that trip never happened.  One week later, I learned my school, left in good hands in 1992, had seriously departed from the faith, highlighted by the fact that the head of the Board of Trustees was a woman ordained to the ministry.  When I heard this, I sent a message to this lady and asked her board for permission to include, in my lectures, something from the Bible about women’s ordination.  I was then disinvited.  But I needed to ask (and not lecture on this without permission) since the school is no longer mine to run and, with the Alumni Association (AA), was paying for our travel and hotel expense.

After this, the AA, upon hearing I had been disinvited by the school, wanted me to come all the more (to lecture at a different location).  I would have accepted, but by the time things could be sorted out, it was too late to prepare for this new arrangement.  So I am now praying about going this fall, but some things must fall into place.  Most of all, I need clear direction from the Lord Himself that He wants me to go.  Please be much in prayer about this!  I need to know that this is His will.  Pray also for the school I pioneered that it might return to the faith.  And for the AA that it might use its influence to help make this happen.  And for another school and group of churches which has recently contacted me and wants to be what my school once was in its stand for the truth.  I will let you know more about this in my August letter – or before then if I have your email address and can reach you this way.

One thing is certain.  All that the Lord did from 1967 to 1992 in the hearts and minds of more than 1,000 of my students has not been lost.  Nor was anything seriously lost in the 10 years after this when I was in Hungary, focused on the new work there.  For when I was in Korea with Clara in 2002, the school seemed to be doing very well.  Nor have the hundreds of new congregations started by my students and now in conservative Presbyterian churches been lost.  But I am still burdened about this and would love to see our “first-born” return to the faith.  After all, its name is Westminster Graduate School of Theology, and the main auditorium is named “Rapp Auditorium.”  Please pray earnestly!

Moving on to Hungary, we have good news about the new property in Budapest.  We had not yet signed the contract when we started using it rent-free in January.  There were problems with its ownership.  But the 85% owner let us use it while we waited for some things to be cleared up in court.  And, two weeks ago, this also was finished as expected.  We could earlier have signed an agreement with this 85% owner, but our legal counsel advised us to wait until everything was settled in court to the satisfaction of the 15% owner.  So it is with great joy I can say we are the legal owner without any strings attached.  And now can go ahead with our renovations.  It is interesting, when this building was built a few years ago, it was designed to be a social center for special occasions (weddings, birthdays, etc.)  So the entire lower floor was one large hall, which we are now converting into our worship hall with four more restrooms.  The second floor was designed in such a way that it is now makes a perfect home for our pastor, Peter Szabo.  And the third floor is perfect for Sunday school classes and small group meetings and has a separate (covered) entranceway connecting the 1st and 3rd floors.  One might say this building was predestinated for us!  At the same time, our predestinating God now loves to see us decorating it, adding more insulation, putting in new sets of windows and doors, etc.  Praise God for His planning years ago and loving care now.  And for the funds (through you) to do this so we now can focus on other vital projects such as cars and enlarging the meeting halls of some of our other 24 congregations.

Yes, we now have 25 congregations.  None of these are fully organized congregations in the sense they (1) have an ordained pastor (2) can fully support their pastor and his ministry and (3) have at least one ordained ruling elder (RE).  But six of these 25 have met conditions #1 and #2 and are close to meeting #3.  Then when these six congregations meet all three conditions, two presbyteries can be formed, one the Hungary/Ukraine Presbytery and one the Romania Presbytery of the RPCCEE.  Meanwhile, we have 25 unorganized congregations who qualify for this designation because they meet for worship on the Lord’s Day, have a pastor (licensed or ordained) and function during the week as a congregation should.  Of course, there is already a Hungarian body ruling over everything as it now stands.  It is called the Session and consists of our seven ordained pastors (the other nine are licensed to preach but do not give the sacraments.)  This Session will then dissolve when the presbyteries and local sessions come into place.

Some of the other things happening in our church in Hungary, Romania and Ukraine are:  We now have two congregations of Romanians where the Word is being preached in Romanian, not Hungarian.  We also have a new group in Ukraine which started as a Bible study, but learned of us and now wants into our church.  There is so much excitement in the group that they are telling everyone (in their city) about us.  Pray for them and the Lord’s blessing upon them as we further instruct them about Christ and the Christian life.  We also have some unusual kinds of people coming our way in all three countries, but cannot give more detail lest this bring persecution upon them.  These are spiritual miracles, the greatest of which is the new birth of sinners in Christ, then the growth of new believers in our Lord, then the creation of biblically ordered families, then godly order in the church, then the zeal of every person in our 25 congregations in witnessing to the lost.  In a few cases, we have also seen God’s works of physical healing in some of our people.  Kalman Kovacs’ (Szovata, Romania) son, Amos, was in dreadful physical condition a month ago and now is back home from the hospital living a fairly normal life.

Let me also comment on this new law in Hungary set to go into effect September 1.  It requires, unless there are exceptions, all children three and above, to attend a state-run kindergarten five days/week, four hours/day.  But this is the age when children must bond with their parents through loving discipline and not the state.  So, among other things, we have begun the process of legally registering a new association in Hungary and need your prayers for this.  The country has patriots and parents who understand the danger of this new law, but they need the encouragement and guidance of true believers in this matter.  This, in turn, will give us a great opportunity to share our faith with them.

Please note three more ways by which, in addition to prayer for the above, you can help. (1) Please keep faithfully supporting this ministry with your gifts.  We need your generous giving through the summer months until September when, the Lord willing, the Hungarian work can support itself and Clara and I can share with you some personal financial needs. (2) We need you to give us your email address if you are still getting a paper letter but have a computer (please see the slip in your paper letter). (3) Our Mission board, all five men, has asked me to ask you to pray, if it be the Lord’s will, that it might continue to function after this year by serving other Reformed projects and/or missionaries.  PLEASE GIVE THIS MUCH PRAYER.  This is one fine biblically Reformed mission board.

Lastly, please note the attached chart on our summer camps this year.  This year we have three more camps than last year, each one very much in need of your prayer.  Remember that many of our current church members came to faith in Christ and learned to grow in Him at these camps in the past.  Pray for a great work of the Holy Spirit in hearts, for God’s grace on those who teach and help, and for safety and protection from illness over everyone at each camp.

Yours in His faithfulness,

Bob & Clara Rapp

 

Posted in 2015 | Comments Off

May Supplement, 2015

SUMMER CAMPS – 2015

Miskolc/Balatonalmadi, HUNGARY


 

Date of the Camp

 

Name of the Camp

 

Leaders and Helpers

 

The Purpose of the Camp

 

July 13 – 17 

(Miskolc)

English camp L: Sz. Imre, M. Mariann 

H: B. Ashley

Teaching the gospel through 

English lessons.

July 20 – 24 

(Balatonalmadi)

English camp L: B. Gyula 

H: B. Ashley

Teaching the gospel through 

English lessons.

Aug. 3 – 8 

(Balatonalmadi)

Children’s camp L: B. Gyula 

H: B. Klara

Evangelizing children. 

Ages: 6 – 12

Aug. 10 – 14 

(Balatonalmadi)

Evangelizing camp for 

teens

L: B. Gyula 

H: B. Klara

Evangelizing teenagers.
Aug. 17 – 20 

(Miskolc)

Camp for young 

couples, families

L: Sz. Imre, Sz. Peter 

H: S. Mihaly

Training husbands and wives 

who are church members or

sympathizers.

Aug. 21 – 23 

(Miskolc)

Summer conference L: Sz. Imre, Sz. Peter 

H: S. Mihaly, B. Gyula

Teaching our church members 

and having fellowship.

Evangelizing new people.

SUMMER CAMPS – 2015

Kuklya, UKRAINE

 

 

Date of the Camp

 

Name of Camp

 

Leaders and Helpers

 

The Purpose of the Camp

July 6 – 9 

(Kuklya)

Adult camp L: L. Bertalan  

H: G. Istvan, L. Lehel

To help our members to grow in holiness.
July 9 – 11 

(Kuklya)

Camp for young couples, families L: L. Bertalan  

H: G. Istvan, L. Lehel

Training husbands and wives who are church members or sympathizers.
July 13 – 18 

(Kuklya)

Children’s camp L: L. Bertalan  

H: O. Attila

Evangelizing children. 

Ages: 7 – 11

July 20 – 25 

(Kuklya)

Children’s camp L: G. Istvan  

H: T. Tamas

Evangelizing children. 

Ages: 7 – 11

July 27 – Aug. 1 

(Kuklya)

Youth camp L: L. Bertalan  

H: G. Istvan, O. Attila

Evangelizing teenagers.
Aug. 3 – 8 

(Kuklya)

Camp for young Christians L: L. Bertalan  

H: O. Attila

To help our youth to grow in truth and holiness.
Aug. 10 – 15 

(Kuklya)

Ukrainian camp L: G. Istvan  

H: O. Attila

Teaching the gospel through Ukrainian lessons.

SUMMER CAMPS – 2015

Szovata/Szekelyudvarhely/Sepsiszentgyorgy/

Marosvasarhely, ROMANIA

 

 

Date of the Camp

 

Name of Camp

 

Leaders and Helpers

 

The Purpose of the Camp

June 22 – 27 

(Szovata)

Our men and wives’ camp L: K. Ferenc  

H: Sz. Peter

Training and fellowship for our men and wives.
June 29 – July 6 

(Szovata)

Children’s camp L: M. Sandor, Z. Csaba  

H:  L. Lehel

Evangelizing children. 

Ages: 7 – 11

July 13 – 19 

(Szovata)

Evangelizing camp for teens L: M Sandor, Sz. Attila  

H: M. Eva, Sz. Zelma

Evangelizing teenagers. 

Ages: 12 – 17

July 20 – 26 

(Szovata)

Teaching camp for Christians L: T. Sandor, K. Ferenc  

H: C. Gabor

Training our church members, encouraging Christian sympathizers.
July 27 – Aug. 2 (Szovata) Camp for young couples, families L: S. Szabolcs, K. Ferenc  

H: Sz. Peter

Training husbands and wives who are church members or sympathizers.
July 27 – 31 

(Szekelyudvarhely)

English camp L: C. Gabor, F. Eszter  

H: B. Ashley

Teaching the gospel through English lessons.
Aug. 3 – 8 

(Sepsiszentgyorgy)

English camp L: S. Szabolcs, F. Eszter  

H: B. Ashley,

S. David & Vickie

Teaching the gospel through English lessons.
Aug. 10 – 14 

(Marosvasarhely)

English camp L: M. Sandor, F. Eszter  

H: B. Ashley,

S. David & Vickie

Teaching the gospel through English lessons.
Aug. 17 – 23 

(Szovata)

 

Evangelizing,  teaching camp for young people L: K. Ferenc, S. Szabolcs  

H: L. Lehel

Evangelizing and teaching young people. 

Ages: 18 – 35

Please pray for these 22 camps and 16 church planting pastors in Hungary: Imre Szoke, Gyula Bagoly, Mihaly Siko, Peter Szabo.  Ukraine: Bertalan Lorinc, Istvan Gal, Attila Orosz.  Romania: Attila Szasz, Sandor Molnar, Lehel Laszlo, Ferenc Kovacs, Kalman Kovacs, Gabor Curcubet, Sandor Tamas, Szabolcs Simon, Csaba Zolya.  Pray also for our church members, many of whom are helping in this camp work.

Pray for other ways our church (Reformed Presbyterian Church of Central & Eastern Europe) seeks to win the lost: (1) Training our members to reach others (2) Giving thousands of free calendars (with Scrip-ture) and Bibles every December (thanks to the Reformed Presby. Ch. of Scotland) (3) Bible studies in homes (4) Our 24 books in Hungarian (5) a quarterly magazine with sound teaching and testimonies (6) Distributing literature on market days in many cities (7) Sunday schools and special children’s meetings (8) Creationist literature and lectures in public schools (9) A Hungarian website www.reformatus.org with thousands of sermons and articles (10) Special evangelistic services in our 25 congregations (11) Teach-ing the Bible in English to unbelievers (12) Guiding people one-on-one in a personal study of Paul’s Letter to the Romans (Basic gospel – Romans 1-4 // Basic discipleship – Rom. 5-8, 12:1-2).

 

Posted in 2015 | Comments Off

Feburary, 2015

February 21, 2015

Dear Praying, Helping Friends:

Greetings in Him who loved us and gave Himself for us!  For those of you who do not know, this is to be our last year of full activity in the Hungarian work.  The Lord willing, after 55 years of mission work (in Brazil, South Korea, Pakistan and Hungary) Clara and I hope to retire this December.  It is not totally clear to me what this retirement will be like since it is hard to see myself not staying in touch with the work in Hungary.  But I do hope to be able to tell you this December that your support will no longer be necessary, though I may continue to send out an occasional prayer letter for special prayer needs.  In other words, the last major goal in this mission phase of the work will have been reached.  After starting with nothing but a vision in 1990, we 1) organized a school in 1992 to train young Hungarian men for the ministry, then 2) created a new Reformed Presbyterian denomination (RPCCEE) in 1998 and 3) now have 16 church-planting pastors and 24 congregations in Hungary, Romania and Ukraine and 4) hope, at the end of this year, to turn everything over to a national church that will be self-supporting, self-governing and self-propagating.  Only the Lord could have done all this in the last 25 years.

Let me now move to what has happened since last November.  First, we praise the Lord that our BP (Budapest) congregation was able to move to its new property (the one we wanted) on January 10 and had its first worship service there the next day.  You may remember that in November we had a delay in buying this place because the contract had problems.  But this was providential since we had no buyer for our old property until late December when we got our first offer for it. This offer was very good though it came with a condition that we had to move out in a few weeks.  But just then the main contract problem with the new property was solved.  So, overnight, our position changed to where we could sell our old property and move to our new property, taking with us all the money from our old property.  This was a stunning development.  And because the timing was so good, it was easy and inexpensive to move all our furniture from our old location to this new place – all in the same day.  Thank you so much for your prayers for us in this!  The Lord wonderfully heard your prayers and ours.

Here are the details on the cost of this move and what we still need for it.  This new property, including the $35,000 needed to refurbish it this spring, comes to $305,000.  We sold our old property for $100,000 and had $100,000 in emergency mission funds in November to add to this, leaving $105,000 still needed.  But we have seen $36,000 come in for Hungary the last 2½ months, leaving us only $69,000 still needed.  This $69,000 is covered by several members of the BP congregation in the form of 0% loans until we can raise the rest of the money here.  Let me say again that this new property should not only allow our BP congregation to expand nicely in the next 5/10 years.  It should enable them, as they grow, to help our smaller congregations become self-supporting and not run out of money when our STF (Special Transition Fund) money (already given to the nationals) is used up in the next two years.  Please, therefore, continue to give generously so this $69,000 is quickly raised and we can address other important projects (cars, enlargement of other congregations’ meeting halls, etc.) which are not included in our estimate when we say that the RPCCEE can be fully self-supporting by the end of this year.

Let me now turn to a new development which would be very troubling except that our God, who has not changed, has ordained all things for His glory and the good of His people.  A new law in Hungary has just been announced that, beginning September 1, all children three years or older must attend a state school.  This, of course, does not affect students in the schools of recognized/state-supported churches such as the Roman Catholic Church and liberal churches such as the Hungarian Reformed Church.  We are not a state-supported church, of course.  And even if we could obtain this status (and the money that goes with it), we would not want it.  In any case, only one year of kindergarten was required in Hungary until now, not three, and it was relatively easy to gain an exemption to home school on this level and higher levels.  But now, as the law reads, two years of pre-kindergarten have been added, and the steps required to gain an exemption will be much more difficult.  No one knows at this time how this will work out, but as the law now reads, this would force many more children to go to school at the age of three, spending five days/week there for at least four hours/day.  In one way, it would be a kind of glorified child-care center, yet have the potential to physically and psychologically brainwash these little children to hate what is perceived to be “intolerant” to the liberal mind.  And not only endanger young children this way, but also make it much more difficult for children grades 1-12 to get an exemption to be home schooled.

Let me talk about the benefits of home schooling for our home schooled children, their parents, and the nation of Hungary.  The children are very obedient to their parents, intelligent, loving toward others, and very sociable.  Should anyone, Christians at least, be surprised that this is the fruit of learning the gospel of Christ and the work of God’s Spirit in their hearts?  But this generally requires a home environment where the parents can biblically train and instruct their children.  In any case, this kind of education at home has given our families very obedient and loving children, and this has been an important part our men’s witness to their neighbors and the building of our church in three countries.  Beyond that, such children will always be a great blessing to any nation.  Romans 1 tells us that every person is born with a totally depraved heart, but biblical instruction and the work of God’s Spirit can change this.  If, however, a law is created, as in Daniel’s day, that requires God’s children to sin against God in order to please the king, it is bad law – and a curse to any nation.  It will also be the beginning of the withdrawal of God’s Spirit from that nation.  As for us, we must pray as never before, knowing that, as we pray, God will hear our crying out to Him.  As for you, our beloved prayer warriors and helpers, God will show you, too, how to pray for our men and their families and their witness to the Hungarian world.

Let me now say something about the ministry of our 16 men and their 24 congregations in Hungary, Romania and Ukraine.  God is working through His truth which they are telling many and doing this in the power of His Spirit for the salvation of His elect.  Yes, God calls all to Himself in the gospel, but there is a special call by God to His elect.  At the same time we, not knowing who the elect are, must preach the gospel to every human creature.  And as we do this, we know that, although not everyone will be saved, those who become saved are saved because God foreordained them to this – and no king, government or law can keep them from this glorious calling.  At the same time, our great King, the Lord Jesus, gave us an example in prayer that we must follow.  He who was the Son of God was also a true man.  And as a praying, Spirit-filled man, he had to fight through the hell of Gethsemane and the cross of Calvary.  So let us learn from Him to be fervent in prayer for all, including the Hungarian people.

Two weeks ago, I was surprised to hear from a Korean student of mine (class of 1984), now working as a pastor and living outside Chicago.  Our school in Seoul (Westminster Graduate School of Theology) contacted him and told him that our school and alumni association want me there for a special home coming and will pay all our expenses.  As founder and first president of the school (25 years), I could not turn them down.  So Clara and I plan to fly there April 23, returning May 4.  Please pray earnestly for us in this.  First that our 82 and 83 year-old bodies would take this trip well. (After flying to Chicago and connecting there, it will be 13 hours non-stop to Seoul.)  Then for my meetings – with the Board of Trustees, the current president and faculty of 25 professors (our school now has 300+ students), the Alumni Association, then some lectures to the students, preaching in three/four churches, and finally do a television interview.  Pray that God would be greatly glorified and that, in our weakness, the banner of the truth of His Word would be highly exalted.

Yours in His faithfulness,

Bob & Clara Rapp

Posted in 2015 | Comments Off

November, 2014

Dear Praying, Helping Friends:

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. For most of you, this is a follow-up to my August newsletter, although I wrote some of you three weeks ago and asked for special prayer about property we were hoping to buy for one of our congregations.  So let me begin here where my August newsletter left off.  I said that Clara and I would now be staying with the work until the end of next year, mainly because we still had some very important things to do, one of which was to help buy a larger property for this congregation.  After that, just three weeks ago, we received a very good offer for a property to meet this need.  So I asked for special prayer from some of you, adding that “nothing is sure until a contract is signed.”  As it turned out, we could not reach an agreement at that time.  However, the arrangement still seems to be moving ahead.  We just need more time to complete the deal.  So please continue in prayer with us about this.

Let me now touch on our finances.  First, we still need a good building for the above mentioned need.  So please continue to give toward this need.  Second, we need, early next year, to expand the meeting halls of other congregations due to a growing number of people interested in the gospel.  And buy a few cars to replace some of the 13 in our fleet – all essential to the work of our men.  Third, our men need their Christmas bonuses.  They labor hard on modest salaries.  We intentionally keep them near the level of their members so their members will imitate them and live and give sacrificially.  Nothing would hurt this work more than to have our men living well above the level of the people we are trying to reach.  When the Bible says that our Lord Jesus became poor for our sakes (2 Cor. 8:9) that we might be rich, it means He became poor in earthly things so we, through his poverty, might inherit the riches of glory.  Yet the Father never let the Son go hungry or unclothed unless it was to go hungry in the wilderness (needful for our salvation) or fast and pray for us (another ministry need) or be naked on the cross (also needful for our Lord to do His work on our behalf).  Having said this, we hope we can help our pastors again this year with a special Christmas offering.  Please help in this.  Our men need this for their end-of-the-year needs.

And let us be reminded that the goal of this work has always been to see the visible church of our Lord Jesus built in the Hungarian lands.  We cannot read the Bible aright without seeing that Christ not only died for sinners as individuals.  He came and died and rose for His church.  “And on this rock (that Christ is the Son of God who came to save His people) I will build my church…”  It is and always has been God’s will that His people be gathered into communities of the faithful who, together, would hear and obey His Word and, together, worship and serve Him aright.  The independency of His people from one another is false teaching and practice.  Indeed, as soon as sin came into the world, Christ was declared (Gen. 3:15) to be the “seed” of the woman and Redeemer of God’s elect who, as the captain of their salvation, would lead them and strengthen them against the world, the flesh and the devil.  It has always been God’s design that His people be instructed together, worship together and serve Him together – even in Noah’s day when this community, the “sons of God”, became corrupted to the point God had to bring the flood.

Job was a member of this godly community and spoke of the wicked as belonging to another community. Then God revealed Himself to Abraham, to whom the gospel was given in clear community terms, instructing him to leave Ur of the Chaldeans for a land the Lord would give him and his seed.  Moses was then called to organize Israel around the dual truths of God’s law and mercy through the blood, a community where His people would hear His Word – and worship and serve Him according to it.  It took some centuries for this OT church to develop, but David understood it when He cried out in Psalm 5: 7: “But I, by your great mercy, will come into your house.  In reverence I will bow down toward your holy temple.”  Then came our Savior – our truth, our sacrificial lamb, our holy temple – who, far from teaching against this “one body” principle, lifted it to its highest level when He spoke of His church, died for it, then appointed apostles to establish churches wherever they might preach His Word.  How can we read of Paul’s work and not see that he not only went to speak to people about Christ, but bring them together in one body to learn, worship, and serve Him in what He called His “ecclesia” (His called-out people).

When I went to the Hungarian lands in 1990, the Protestant church was in shambles.  What liberalism had not done against Christ’s body, the communists finished by killing the few remaining godly pastors.  Nothing seemed left.  But this “nothing” had a good side.  It gave us an opening to rebuild the foundations of the 16th century Reformation.  So we trained church-planting pastors, used publications to address the Hungarian world, and home-schooled our covenant children so they would not be lost to us, but join us in the fight to rebuild the church of our Lord.  We put godly order everywhere we could, not just as theory, but applied to our families and built into the life of our congregations.  And, lately, by training ruling elders so that our congregations, upon becoming self-supporting and having a Session (of at least one Teaching Elder and one Ruling Elder) over them in the Lord, they might be organized as local churches.  And, praise God, in October, we ordained our first RE in Szovata, Romania and trust we will soon have more RE’s not only in Romania, but in Hungary and Ukraine.  Then, with some of our congregations organized, we can have one functioning presbytery for Romania and one for Hungary/Ukraine.  In this way, the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Central & Eastern Europe will keep growing and growing.  A stronger and stronger body – with greater and greater dependence on Christ as its Head and one another.

So please pray for our 16 men and the biblical growth of their 24 congregations.  And their children who are coming along nicely in the Lord.  And for the lost who live about them in spiritual darkness.  And for a great turning of many to Christ as God’s Spirit anoints the teaching of His servants – pastors and members alike.  “Pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified,” said the Apostle Paul.  He also asked his friends to pray for him that God would give him boldness, knowing that without holy boldness people will hardly turn to Christ.

Yours in His faithfulness,

Bob and Clara Rapp

Posted in 2014 | Comments Off

August, 2014

Dear Praying, Helping Friends:

“Praise the LORD.  Praise, O servants of the LORD, the name of the LORD.  Let His name be praised, both now and forevermore.  From the rising of the sun to where it sets, let the name of the LORD be praised…. Who is like the LORD our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops to look on the heavens and the earth?  He raises the poor from the dust, the needy from the trash heap….” (Ps.113:1-8)  “When Israel came out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of foreign tongue, Judah became God’s sanctuary, Israel His domain…. Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord.” (Ps. 114:1-2,7)  “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. (Ps. 115:1)

These three psalms speak of the incomparable glory of God in His triune being, in the attributes of His greatness and goodness, and in His activity toward all His creation, especially to those who are known of Him and drawn by Him to love and fear Him.  No-one, nothing, is comparable to the triune God of the Bible in His being, His character and His acts in creation and loving redemption and keeping of His own.  And the better we understand this, the easier it is for us to keep worshiping Him all day long.

I begin this letter this way since the Hungarian work continues to progress so well.  And I find myself more tempted to think I have done something when I have done nothing but try to serve the Lord through the years – a “trying” that has availed only because of His infinite grace and perseverance, always at war with my self-centeredness, pride, impatience, and worse.  He has done it all.  At the same time, I am aware that He called me (1951) when I was a lost sinner, then called me (1952) to be a missionary to the world, then helped me stay true to this calling, sometimes sending sad events into my life to keep me from an idolatry of self.  He has privileged me to serve Him on four mission fields, each one preparing me for the next – finally sending me to Hungary in 1990 where I had the opportunity to start with nothing, go from this to a school, send some of these students to do church planting, then become a new denomination in Hungary, Romania and Ukraine.  And if you want to know where we are today, study the attached supplement and revel with me in God’s work at our camps this summer.

Please look at this supplement.  First, the number of campers jumped from last year’s 550 to 748 this year.  Second, God’s presence at the camps was really something.  He used our men’s experience in previous years to prepare them for this year – strong biblical themes, much Scripture, great discussion groups, better application than ever, and wonderful interaction between the campers.  Best of all, a work of the Spirit in all the camps.  Third, good visible results.  And, though visible results can be deceiving, eyes like the eyes of a godly parent who knows what he wants to see in his child saw many good things at every camp.  Strong attention to the Word, repentance and confession of faith in Christ (with a Romans 12:1,2 kind of response).  And no disciplinary action, sickness or accidents – also a wonderful answer to prayer.

This jump in number and deep spiritual working was especially evident in the Ukraine camps.  It seems that the Lord, along with sending Putin’s treacherous bands into Ukraine, is sending His Spirit into the hearts of these poor, beleaguered people.  So God by His Spirit gathered the largest number ever to a children’s camp in Ukraine.  And at the youth camp 23 of 30 teenagers were boys – so different from the usual where girls outnumber boys by a ratio of 2 to1.  And even at the last camp with a drawing card for ethnic Hungarians to learn the Ukrainian language– so important these days when minority Hungarians in western Ukraine must know Ukrainian in case the entire country is engulfed in war – even here the Spirit of God was at work in hearts.  For when our great God works to save, all things must work together for the good of those who are the called according to His purpose. (Rom. 8:28)

For God’s work means the Father planned it all, the Son paid the entire price for it, and the Father and Son now send the Spirit to make it happen in time.  God can do this in small or large numbers.  If in large numbers, we call it revival and conceive of it as sent by His Spirit.  But if it is only one person, we are less apt to see its stunning, supernatural quality.  But this Hungarian work comes from only one mind.  In 1990, it looked as if nothing was happening.  Yet God gave us a school, then a way to send out workers, then the ability to introduce many changes in our new denomination, the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Central & Eastern Europe (including home schooling).  And now, just as my Mission and I are ending our part, it seems to be going forward as if we were never there, though we know that the Mission and I were essential (as God’s instruments) during the first 24 years of this work.

And where are the Mission and I now?  At this year’s end, we plan to turn everything over to the national church.  Our properties will be theirs, and we will not send them any new money.  They will, however, be able to start to use our emergency fund there – enough for two more years of help for our 16 pastors until their 22 congregations can become 100% self-supporting.  But we must still aid some critical projects that we now see will spill over into next year.  The main one is the Budapest project (see my last letter) where I estimated we would need $130,000 above the selling price of our current property to buy another property.  It now appears that we will need $50,000 more to buy what we need.  So our part in this is now $180,000.  We will also need $120,000 to replace three cars in our aging fleet of 13 cars and three expansion projects for congregations that are outgrowing their meeting halls.  This totals $300,000 which, by Christmas, will only be $240,000 if current giving holds.  We will then need you to persevere with us the first 8 months of next year (up to August 31) to reach this $240,000 goal ($30,000/mo).

And since Clara and I could not lay up much for retirement all these years, we ask you, when we reach this first goal, to use the last four months of 2015 to help us by designating your giving toward our retire-ment.  In the last 10 years, Clara and I took almost no salary in order to buy the essentials for our men on the field and their work for Christ and His church. (If churches or donors designated anything for us, we used it for ourselves, but because the field needs were always critical, we appealed for them and not ourselves.)  To summarize, we ask you to persevere with us to the end of 2015, giving the first 8 months toward these special projects and the last 4 months toward a small fund of $120,000 (which we would use to buy an annuity to increase our income stream the rest of our earthly journey).

I have another request of our donors (I will contact our churches separately re. this).  Clara and I cannot continue our current system of mailing our letter/supplement in 2015.  But, beginning 2015, I can email you to keep you informed for prayer and giving.  So email your address to me or send me (regular mail) the email address of a relative or friend who can print it and give it to you.  If you absolutely cannot do this, let me know by regular mail, in which case we will make an exception. We will also make an exception for those at Westminster PCA, Lancaster (where we hand it out postage free) Summary: Please email me your email address (unless I have it now) OR write me (at the mission or our address below) and ask to be kept on our current mailing list.  It’s very simple.  I’m now 82, and Clara will be 83 in a few days. We have only so much strength.  But God be praised that we could live to see this God-prepared army cross the Jordan and enter the promised land – though we could not go in with them.

A few more words.  We now have five great-grandchildren we would like to see before we go to glory and encourage in the Lord. (All five live on the West Coast.)  Also, our one grandson, Eric Rapp, had a very complex procedure (ERCP) August 14 involving his liver.  It was helpful in giving diagnostic information, had therapeutic value, and no damage was done by this risky procedure.  Please keep praying for Eric (20 yrs) and his wonderful testimony for Christ.

Yours in His faithfulness,

Bob and Clara Rapp

Posted in 2014 | Comments Off