Summer Camp Results – 2014

SUMMER CAMP RESULTS – 2014

HUNGARY

Date of Camp Name of Camp Purpose of Camp Attendance
1. July 14 – 19 

(Balatonalmadi)

English camp Teaching the gospel through English lessons. TC:31, M:4 + NM:27, A:18 +  CY:13, S:3
2. Aug. 4 – 9 

(Balatonalmadi)

Children’s camp Evangelizing children. 

Ages: 6 – 12.

TC:45, M:7 + NM:38, A:12 +  CY:33, S:4
3. Aug. 4 – 9 

(Miskolc)

English camp Teaching the gospel through English lessons. TC:60, M:5 + NM:55, A:20 + 

CY:40, S:5

4. August 16 

(Budapest)

Men’s conference Teaching our men and giving them a special opportunity for fellowship. TC: 21, M:15 + NM:6, A:21 + 

CY:0, S:0

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

1. The theme of this camp was the book of Jonah taught in English. Filep Eszter and Illés Eszter had two groups – children (beginners) and young people (intermediates).  Gyula (pastor) presented the gospel to all who attended and, additionally, met and talked with the parents of those attending.  He plans to follow up on these contacts with visits where possible.

2. This children’s camp was a very blessed time.  We taught stories from Genesis (creation, fall, Cain and Abel, the flood) and applied them.  The children loved the camp.  We hope some of these parents will also start to attend our meetings.

3. The theme here was also the book of Jonah.  During the camp Imre had the opportunity to talk with people – mainly the parents of the children.  He also delivered a Bible message at the end.  The attendees received Bibles and tracts at the closing ceremony.  This camp gave us an opportunity to meet new people and have good contact with them.

4. This one-day camp was for our male members and sympathizers.  Imre first spoke on the dangers of sexual temptation, then Gyula on the importance of convictions.  Later Misi spoke about men and their strengths as men.  All were glad to hear and discuss these important matters, and expressed their joy in having fellowship together.

UKRAINE

Date of Camp Name of Camp Purpose of Camp Attendance
1. July 7 – 12 

(Kuklya)

Children’s camp Evangelizing children. 

Ages: 7 – 11

TC:64, M:0 + NM:64, A:0 + CY:64, S:14
2. July 14 – 17 

(Kuklya)

Adult camp To help our members to grow in holi-ness. TC:47, M:37 + NM:10, A:27 + CY:20, S:6
3. July 17 – 19 

(Kuklya)

Camp for young  couples, families Training husbands and wives (church members/sympathizers). TC:41, M:21 + NM:20, A:23 + 

CY:18, S:8

4. July 28 – Aug. 2 

(Kuklya)

Youth camp Evangelizing teenagers. TC:30, M:0 + NM:30, A:0 + CY:30, S:10
5. August 4 – 10 

(Kuklya)

Camp for young  Chris-tians To help our youth to grow in holiness. TC:20, M:9 + NM:11, A:0 + CY:20, S:7
6. August 11 – 16 

(Kuklya)

Ukrainian language camp (for ethnic Hungarians) Teaching gospel lessons through the use of the Ukrainian language. TC:21, M:0 + NM:21, A:9 + CY:12, S:6

1. Thanks to the Lord for this children’s camp and a huge attendance, 23 for the first time.  We taught the children about Jesus Christ and had many group discussions.  These discussions helped us see what they understood in the lectures. We tried to show them why they need to believe in Christ. They were very open and had many questions. PTL for the helpers who did a great job.

2. 3. The first 3 days were for older people and the following 3 days for young couples.  Both camps were very useful.  Laszlo Lehel taught on Nehemiah and applied it well.  Members and nonmembers made friendships.  It was a very blessed week.

4. We evangelized these 30 teenagers, of whom 23 were boys!  Amazing!  Many of these young people had good questions. They would like to follow Jesus, but worldly things tend to keep them back.  We were glad they talked about their struggles.

5. The young Christians camp was a very blessed camp.  Szőke Imre gave excellent teaching from God’s word.  We had many good discussions.  Non-members could also learn the Word of God and the meaning of true faith in Christ.

6. Thanks be to God for this camp. We reached new children and their parents and first taught them about Joseph in Hungarian, then some Christian teachers we enlisted spoke about Joseph in Ukrainian. The children were all very active in studying. We daily set before them the need for repentance and saw some of them turn to Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

ROMANIA

Date of Camp Name of Camp Purpose of Camp Attendance
1. June 23 – 28 

(Szováta)

Camp for our men and their wives Training and fellowship for our men and their wives. TC:56, M:56 + NM:0, A:24 + CY:32, S:2
2. June 30 – July 7 

(Szovata)

Children’s camp Evangelizing children. 

Ages: 7 – 11

TC:27, M:0 +  NM:27, A:0 + CY:27, S:10
3. July 14 – 21 

(Szovata)

Evangelizing camp for                       teens Evangelizing teenagers. 

Ages: 12 – 17

TC:34, M:0 + NM:34, A:0 +   CY:34, S:8
4. July 21 – 28 

(Szovata)

Teaching camp for Chris- tians Training church members, encouraging sympathizers. TC:54, M:31 + NM:23, A:38 + CY:16, S:3
5. July 28 – Aug. 4 

(Szovata)

Camp for young 

couples, families

Training husbands and wives (church members/sympathizers). TC:44, M:25 + NM:19, A:23 +   CY:21, S:13
6. July 28 – Aug. 2 

(Sepsiszentgyorgy)

English camp Teaching the gospel through English lessons. TC:70, M:3 + NM:67, A:2 +     CY:68, S:5
7. August 4 – 9 

(Szekelyudvarhely)

English camp Teaching the gospel through English lessons. TC:18, M:0 + NM:18, A:0 +     CY:18, S:4
8. August 11 – 15 

(Marosvasarhely)

English camp Teaching the gospel through English lessons. TC:34, M:0 + NM:34, A:0 +     CY:34, S:6
9. August 18 – 24 

(Szovata)

Camp for young people Evangelizing and teaching young people. Ages: 18 – 35 TC:31, M:6 + NM:25, A:0 + CY:31, S:5

1. Our men received much spiritual encouragement from the messages and fellowship. We also got good guidelines for studies of the OT that can be a great help in preaching the OT. We also received good guidelines for a study of the end times as well.

2. By God’s grace we observed God’s work in the children who were at the camp. They were eager to listen to God’s word. And by talking to them about their problems we could lead them to Jesus. They also told us that they are going to read the Bible at home and begin to attend our church’s Bible studies for children.

3. These young people from non-Christian backgrounds got a taste of biblical Christianity. Some of them experienced the light of the gospel for the first time in their lives. Many of them were moved by messages about individual Christians in the Bible.

4. The Lord blessed this effort to bring church members in different age groups together and help them come into deeper Christian fellowship with each other. The attendees of this camp realized there might be many kinds of “little” but dangerously false beliefs in their everyday lives which can hinder them in their spiritual growth.

5. The families who attended this camp were touched by the Word of God and its call to men, wives and children to be family responsible. Many of our members realized again how important it is to live in a godly family way in order to glorify God.  Non-member families were touched by the godly fellowship and the Bible-based teaching they could hear.

6. The theme of this large camp was the story of Jonah.  Some of the attendees were first-timers. The daily program started with a short devotion where Szabolcs covered themes such as God’s love, sin, faith, repentance and, at the end, gave God’s call to receive the Gospel. This was followed by five hours of English lessons and one hour of play, needlework and singing.

7. Gábor (pastor), Gabriella (wife) and the teachers had deep discussions with the attendees, especially at breaks and after the daily lectures ended.  One boy went back to visit Gábor’s family and play with his children.  He told him that the English Camp was the best thing in his life until now.  Another young man and his father also went back to visit Gábor and talk with him.

8. 9. The campers at this camp not only learned about the book of Jonah in English, but got the main teachings of Scripture in Hungarian from the devotions led by Sandor (pastor). They also got song sheets and a workbook to record the teaching from Jonah.  The next and last camp this summer has just started, but it is going very well with much spiritual fruit expected.

 

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May, 2014

Dear Praying, Helping Friends:

Greetings in Him who died for us and now lives in us by His Spirit, calling us to serve Him by spreading His truth throughout the world according to His “discipling” standards in Mt. 28:18-20.  As I write this letter, we are very close to seeing the Hungarian work be fully self-supporting, self-governing and self-propagating.  The Lord led me to go to Hungary in 1990 and now, 24 years later, we are on the verge of seeing this.  In some circles, “retirement” is not a word ministers and missionaries like to use.  But the other day I read it in Numbers 8:23-26.  “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell this to the Levites: Men 25 years old or more shall serve in the work at the Tent of Meeting (where God meets His people), but at the age of 50, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer. They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at the Tent of Meeting, but they themselves must not do the work.’ ”

So there comes a time when God’s servants in ministry must “retire” from the work to which God once called them.  It must go to younger men.  The scaffolding must come down – so the building can function as it should.  I believe this will happen December 31 this year – at age 82.  That’s 32 years past the time the Levites had to retire!  But the Lord is making His will plain in this.  First, our Hungarian brothers want to take this step.  And, in a sense, we have already turned the entire government of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Central & Eastern Europe (RPCCEE) over to them.  Second, this has always been the goal of the work – from the time I first went to Hungary.  Third, world social and political conditions dictate that our Hungarian brethren must now be in charge of everything.  Fourth, Clara’s health and aging and mine require this.  Lastly, the Spirit of Christ strongly confirms this in our hearts.

As for the Bride, she is nearly ready for this, her day.  In the last three months, since we last wrote you, we have not only seen more people come to Christ, but the entire church continues to grow in knowledge and obedience to Christ.  The home schooling of our children grows.  More and more people are listening to our men’s sermons on the internet.  We still have unusual conversions taking place.  And as the RPCCEE grows, more and more self-support comes from our 24 congregations. However, this giving, though it has gone from 50% to 60% in the last 12 months, must reach 75% before we can safely stop supporting our school and the church.  For once we reach 75% self-support, mission funds which already are there can help the church the rest of the way.  But not until then.  So what is critical now is that our church’s 60% self-support move to 75% – and happen by the end of this year.

And the Lord has given us a solution to this problem!  In addition to growth in the other 23 congregations of our church, our Budapest congregation has a field of two million people and is growing so fast that, if it keeps growing like this in the next few years, it can be a great help in making up the shortfall in some of our other congregations.  So what does the BP congregation need to do this?  It needs to double its space – get a meeting hall that can handle 120 people instead of the current 60 people.  It needs 4 to 5 rooms for Sunday School space and nursery care.  And some extra land on which to build once this space becomes too little.  The beautiful thing about this is that the congregation in BP has a field of two million people it can reach and, as it grows, can assist our 23 other congregations in Hungary, Romania and Ukraine.  Half of these congregations have only a dozen members (remember, they started from zero).  So the BP congregation can be a mother church to these others.  But for this to happen it must keep growing.  And to keep growing means finding a new property.  The current property is worth $120,000.  And the kind of property we need would run at least $250,000.  This means we need at least $130,000 in the next five months to buy and move in October – this in addition to the $75,000 needed for the next three quarterly budgets. What a prayer need this is!  What an opportunity for you to help!

Turning to general trends in the RPCCEE, we are rejoicing that 1) Our students in the distance education program of our school are growing in their ability to reach unbelievers with the Gospel and counsel believers in the Word.  2) Home Schooling in all three countries is going well.  Gabor Curcubet in Romania is still working with members of the Chamber of Deputies to have Home Schooling openly recognized.  And at a recent conference, 14 new families decided to home school their children, and some of these are interested in our church and want to attend.  3) We are moving forward in the training of some men to become REs (ruling elders).  4) We had outstanding Easter conferences in Hungary and Romania– with a total of almost 200 people, of whom 1/3rd are not yet members, but moving in this direction.  The messages were timely, spiritual and practical, resulting in much blessing.  5) Our webpage now has over 2,000 of our pastors’ sermons and is being heavily used.  In fact, several of these hearers have started to attend our services.  PTL!  6) Mihaly Siko was recently able to sell his apartment in downtown Debrecen and use these funds to buy a property in a good residential area with two buildings– one for his growing family and one that eventually can serve as a meeting hall for his growing congregation.  This did not cost the mission anything.  7) In Ukraine, the Hungarian Session decided to let Geza Demeter take a secular job and, instead, use the funds we were giving him to help a promising young man named Attila Orosz (one of our students).  This arrangement is working out very well.  8)  It is personally very encouraging for me to hear all our congregations reporting on a work of God’s Spirit in their midst in converting sinners and building up believers in the faith.

Please take special note of our supplement this time.  This year we expect to have 19 summer camps in Hungary, Ukraine and Romania.  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 upon the people God sends.  These 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.  It is a time when they can get away from the grind of life, face their sins, gain the grace of repentance and faith in Christ and go home changed people.  Pray that God will be pleased to do this work again this year and protect all the campers and staff from injury and illness.  God’s blessing is not an automatic thing.  Pray fervently for the convicting work of God’s Holy Spirit in the lives of many.

Some of you have asked about our work in Ukraine in light of the Russian invasion there.  In a few words, Putin is a ruthless dictator with the support of most in his country, including the apostate Russian Orthodox Church.  World Magazine says, “Thanks to an endless stream of propaganda…his image has been transformed over the years from a cold Soviet KGB officer into… a leader worthy of leading Russia into a new era…. More than this, he is heralded as the protector of Christendom.” (5/17/14)  The Prophet Daniel and John in Revelation had something to say about the spirit of Antichrist toward the end of this age.  They also spoke of the heroism of God’s people, His bride, in these days.  Pray, then, that God would strengthen our people in Ukraine to witness to many that an evil, uncertain world calls for a safe haven.  And that haven is Christ – He who said, “I am the light of the world” and “I am the good Shepherd.”

Turning back to finance, we are coming closer and closer to the time we must exit the work.  This means we must give our people what they need to keep growing until they can be as self-supporting as they are self-governing and self-propagating – and do this by the end of this year.  Think of it!  After 24 years of work, God is telling us to make an exit.  But we are not there yet.  We have one more task to accomplish before everything falls into place.  And because the Bride belongs to Him who died and rose and is coming again for her, and because He is worthy of this joy, we have the unspeakable privilege of using our earthy goods to help bring this to pass.  So let us all be very generous in the next seven months, run this race, and finish it together at the end of this year!  Soli Deo Gloria.

Yours in His faithfulness,

Bob & Clara Rapp

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May 2014 Supplement Letter

SUMMER CAMPS – 2014

Miskolc/Balatonalmadi/Budapest, HUNGARY

 

Date of the Camp

Name of the Camp

Leaders and Helpers

The Purpose of the Camp

 

July 7 – 12

(Miskolc)

English camp L: M. Mariann

H: O. Marika

Teaching the gospel through

English lessons.

July 14 – 19

(Balatonalmadi)

English camp L: B. Gyula

H: M. Mariann

Teaching the gospel through

English lessons.

Aug. 4 – 9

(Balatonalmadi)

Children’s camp L: B. Gyula

H: B. Klára

Evangelizing children.

Ages: 6 – 12

August 16

(Budapest)

Men’s conference L: Sz. Imre, Sz. Péter

H: S. Mihály, B. Gyula

Teaching our men and having

fellowship.

SUMMER CAMPS – 2014

Kuklya, UKRAINE

 

Date of the Camp

Name of Camp

Leaders and Helpers

The Purpose of the Camp

July 7 – 12

(Kuklya)

Children’s camp L: L. Bertalan

H: G. Istvan

Evangelizing children.

Ages: 7 – 11

July 14 – 17

(Kuklya)

Adult camp L: L. Bertalan

H: G. Istvan, L. Lehel

To help our members to grow in holiness.
July 17 – 19

(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 28 – Aug. 2

(Kuklya)

Youth camp L: L. Bertalan

H: G. Istvan, O. Attila

Evangelizing teenagers.
August 4 – 10

(Kuklya)

 

Camp for young Christians L: L. Bertalan

H: G. Istvan, O. Attila

To help our youth to grow in truth and holiness.
August 11 – 16

(Kuklya)

Ukrainian camp L: L. Bertalan

H: G. Istvan

Teaching the gospel through Ukrainian lessons.

SUMMER CAMPS – 2014

Szovata/Szekelyudvarhely/Sepsiszentgyorgy, ROMANIA

 

Date of the Camp

Name of Camp

Leaders and Helpers

The Purpose of the Camp

June 23 – 28

(Szováta)

Our men and wives’ camp L: K. Ferenc

H: Sz. Péter

Training and fellowship for our men and wives.
June 30 – July 7

(Szovata)

Children’s camp L: M. Sándor, L. Lehel

H:  Z. Csaba

Evangelizing children.

Ages: 7 – 11

July 14 – 21

(Szovata)

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

H: M. Eva, Sz. Zelma

Evangelizing teenagers.

Ages: 12 – 17

July 21 – 28

(Szovata)

Teaching camp for young Christians L: Sz. Péter, K. Ferenc

H: T. Sándor

Training our young church members, encouraging Christian sympathizers.
July 28 – Aug. 4 (Szovata) Camp for young couples, families L: Sz. Péter, Sz. Attila

H: K. Ferenc

Training husbands and wives who are church members or sympathizers.
July 28 – Aug. 2

(Sepsiszentgyorgy)

English camp L: S. Szabolcs

H: F. Eszter

Teaching the gospel through English lessons.
August 4 – 9

(Szekelyudvarhely)

English camp L: C. Gábor

H: F. Eszter

Teaching the gospel through English lessons.
August 11 – 17

(Szovata)

 

Evangelizing and teaching camp for older adults L: T. Sándor, Z. Csaba

H: K. Ferenc

 

Evangelizing unbelievers, training Christians

(older adults)

August 18 – 24

(Szovata)

 

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

H: L. Lehel

Evangelizing and teaching young people.

Ages: 18 – 35

Pray earnestly for these 19 camps and our 16 church planting pastors in Hungary: Imre Szoke, Gyula Bagoly, Mihaly Siko, Peter Szabo.  Ukraine: Bertalan Lorinc, Attila Orosz, Istvan Gal.  Romania:  Attila Szasz, Sandor Molnar, Lehel Laszlo, Ferenc Kovacs, Kalman Kovacs, Gabor Curcubet, Sandor Tamas, Szabolcs Simon, Csaba Zolya.  Please use your bookmarks for this or, if you need one, let us know.

Pray for other ways our church (Reformed Presbyterian Church of Central & Eastern Europe) is seeking to win the lost: (1) Training our members to witness (2) Giving thousands of calendars (w/ Scripture) and Bibles every December (thanks to the Reformed Presby. Church of Scotland) (3) Bible studies in peoples’ 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 24 congregations (11)Teaching 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. 5-12).

 

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February, 2014

Dear Praying, Helping Friends:

This morning, before trying to write you about the work in Hungary, I had my devotions, using my One-Year Bible.  Being a bit behind in the program, I read the parts from the OT, NT, Psalms and Proverbs for January 13.  And, as often happens, these seemingly unrelated parts came together in a stunning way.  The section from Matthew 9:18-38 spoke of the desperation of some who came to Christ for healing.  Psalm 11 spoke of “the LORD in His holy temple” as the refuge for His people in the difficulties of this life.  Genesis 28:1–29:35 spoke of Jacob’s fleeing to Mesopotamia to escape Esau’s plan to kill him.  And Proverbs 3:11–12 said, “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline nor resent His rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those He loves, as a father the son He delights in.”  These diverse parts of Scripture all had a common theme.  We live in an evil world where we need the LORD more than we can know and, so, God gives tribulation to those He loves so that, in this life, they will turn to Him not only to be saved from His wrath due to their sins, but understand that He is good and His gospel mercy endures forever.  And, so, learn to trust and follow Him in this dangerous world and keep on following Him until they reach the end of their pilgrimage – the glory of God in heaven, Mount Zion, the Celestial City of God.

This very much relates to the work in Hungary.  The last 23 years have been a great struggle, a struggle from 1990 onward, first to start our school in 1992, then find teachers and students, then separate the chaff from the wheat, then in 1996 start sending some of them out to share the good news of Christ to others in Hungary, Romania and Ukraine.  Then help these new congregations with all kinds of ministry:  personal evangelism, pastoral counseling, evangelistic services, Hungarian literature, camps and conferences, home schooling, etc.   Organizationally, this has involved creating a Hungarian Session (an embryonic Presbytery for our unorganized congregations).  And, during these years, to work so the congregations would grow more and more in self-support and, so, be ready for self-governance some day.  And this is where we now are – waiting on the Lord, without Whom we cannot build His church, to see these two things (self-support and self-governance) come together and end up with one healthy, mature church in these three countries – one church with two presbyteries and 16 licensed or ordained pastors whose congregations are either fully organized or mission churches waiting to be organized.  For this to all fall into place, we estimated a year ago that our 24 unorganized congregations should reach 85% in giving toward the total needed by their 16 pastors in their work.

Right now our congregations are giving about 60% of this amount.  And this is the year we believe we need to turn everything over to the national church.  This could be a problem except that we hope this year to have a good harvest of new members helped by the Romans course started two years ago.  This should bring the church to about 70% self-support.  In addition, we have a special fund for Hungary which we hope to turn over to the church later this year.  If this fund continues to grow as we pray it will, it should be enough to meet the shortfall in congregational giving for the next 3 years so that, when it is used up 3 years from now, our church will have reached the 100% self-support level.

And what about the church itself?  Even if it has enough money, is it ready to govern itself in the next few years?  After all, the average age of the seven men on the Session is 38 years.  And this group of young men will not have any outside body to counsel them.  This could be scary.  But this is Christ’s church, and He will guide them – as they are careful to look to Him and walk in the fear of the Lord.  So let us pray for them that they would be guided by the fear of the Lord and not their own wisdom.  See Isaiah 39:1-7 where King Hezekiah’s pride was an offense to God and, so, had a worse effect on his kingdom (Judah) than the entire Assyrian army could inflict on it.

It is also encouraging that God continues to use His Word to reach the lost, especially the Romans course.  For some years, our primary method of personal evangelism was “friendship evangelism.” I used this phrase with our men to encourage them to focus more on personal evangelism and less on other methods.  But as time went on, we found that this approach did not allow our men to begin where the gospel begins, that is, with God’s righteousness and the total depravity of all mankind.  As a result, the people they wanted to reach learned how to accept their friendship and politely filter out the rest.  God then showed me that, to get past this problem, we needed something that would allow God’s own Word to be the starting point.  And this is how we came upon the Romans course, given not as a lecture, but as a short course where interested people would first do the reading, then be mentored by us to understand the key idea of each chapter.  This had two immediate results.  1) It turned the focus of people away from the human messenger to the message itself and required them, if they accepted the course, to read God’s Word.  2) It also saved our men a lot of time when they could tell people about the course and let them decide whether they wanted it or not!  So I now dislike the phrase “friendship evangelism” and do not use it.  It does not begin with the fallen nature of the human race and God’s wrath upon sin.

I should also say that this method of evangelism has tended to energize our men’s ministries.  Their preaching and teaching tend to be more into the Word and, at the same time, better applied to the people they work with.  So they work with the elderly in homes for the elderly, with the mentally ill in psychiatric hospitals, with many young people, and with people who have all kinds of problems arising from man’s sinful nature.  Our men can also see and explain to others how the righteousness of God dovetails with His infinite kindness in the gospel – and how salvation is not just an escape from hell, but living under the beautiful lordship of Christ during the days of our pilgrimage on earth.

By the way, our church, Westminster Presbyterian (PCA) in Lancaster, PA is finishing a series on the Holy Spirit with aspects that are new even to me – new in the sense of deeper application to my own life.  For the last 3 months, this Sunday School class in our church has been listening to DVDs by Sinclair Ferguson on the Holy Spirit.  I got some of this at seminary, but not like this – looking at the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the OT (starting with Genesis 1:1,2), then in the life and ministry of Christ, then in the life of the believer.  It is especially wonderful to see how the work of the Holy Spirit in all these areas is rooted and grounded in His own person and special place within the Trinity.  I must get this material to our men in Hungary, Romania and Ukraine, for I did not give it to them earlier (not like this), having arrived at this level of understanding and application only at this time in life.

Sinclair Ferguson wrote a book called The Holy Spirit in 1996.  It was good.  But after that he had time to reorganize this material and put it together in better form.  It is now available in DVD format in 12 separate lessons.  It is very interesting, breathtaking in fact.  And available from Ligonier Ministries under the title Who is the Holy Spirit? Get it if you can for yourselves and your church.

In summary, going back to page one and the current stage of the work, we need you to continue to pray fervently for Clara and me and our 16 men and for this transfer of everything from here to our church there.  We also need you not only to keep giving, but give with greater zeal if you can until I can say we no longer need your giving.  And if you love this work but have not given for a time, why not give us something now so that, when this year is over, you will have had a part in the financial side of this ministry during this final leg of the journey!

Yours in His faithfulness,

Bob and Clara Rapp

 

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November, 2013

Dear Praying, Helping Friends:

This year is almost history; 2014 is almost here.  As you know, we hope next year not only to turn the entire work over to our Hungarian brethren, but leave them in good enough financial condition to make it the rest of the way without us.  This will probably happen toward the end of next year since they will not only need your financial support until then.  They will need time to organize their 24 congregations in Hungary, Romania and Ukraine into two presbyteries as part of one church.  So we will need your faithful prayer support until then, first for our men, then for the Mission and Clara and me.  We will need good health and special wisdom and grace in the next 12 months.

Many of you know Clara is a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church (PCA) here in Lancaster, PA, and I am a member of its presbytery.  A few days ago, our church asked me for an updated description of our ministry.  I wrote: “Bob has been in missionary service 53 years, the last 23 in Hungary.  He went there in 1990, then organized Karolyi Gaspar Institute of Theology and Missions (KGITM) in 1992 to train selected Hungarian men for the work of planting new congregations in Hungary, Ukraine and Romania.  He and his mission now have 16 church-planting pastors who oversee the 24 congregations of the developing Reformed Presbyterian Church of Central & Eastern Europe (RPCCEE).  Bob continues to advise our 16 church planters (ages 31 to 45).  But, more and more, his work has turned to helping the RPCCEE be organized into two presbyteries with at least some fully organized congregations.  Progress toward this has been good, and it is hoped this effort can be completed in 2014, at which time Bob’s mission hopes to turn the entire work, including its properties, over to the national church.”

In trying to explain what is now happening, I have started to use this extended metaphor: Twenty three years ago (1990), as the Communist iron curtain was coming down in Europe, we filed a flight plan in South Korea for an airport in Hungary.  The Master of this flight plan called it “An Amazing Work in Hungary.”  We did not know that it would take 23 years to complete this flight, only that we were to leave and fly toward Hungary!  In 1992, still in the air, the Master radioed us and arranged for a mid-air transfer of an important piece of equipment called KGITM (Karolyi Gaspar Institute of Theology & Missions) which greatly helped us maintain our course.  Then in 1998 the Master made a mid-air transfer of an even more important piece of equipment called the RPCCEE.  After that we often wondered if we would ever land.  And in 2005, we nearly had a mid-air collision with another plane, but the Master encouraged us and kept us from all danger.  A year ago, we saw our destination in the distance.  Then, eight months ago, the strangest thing happened.  The Master told the pilot (the Mission and me) to switch seats with the co-pilot (the Session of the RPCCEE).  We had expected to do this after landing, but not before!  However, the Master insisted on this.  So here we are, with the more experienced (but less rested) pilot in the co-pilot’s seat and the less experienced (but better rested) pilot at the controls!  Our Master knows what He is doing!  We always believed this, but we still radioed Him back and asked Him to have His church praying that we might have a safe, smooth landing.  We have also been much encouraged by remembering the name He gave our flight plan, “An Amazing Work in Hungary.”

Last week I was reading Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians.  God had used Paul as His instrument to bring His Word to the synagogue in Thessalonica where some of the Jews believed and many more God-fearing Greeks believed.  In his letter, he reminded them: “As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you (when we were with you), but we were gentle among you, like a mother, caring for her little children.  We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” (1:6-8)  Later in his letter, he told them, “For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His kingdom and glory.” (2:11, 12)  After this, however, Paul addresses them, no longer as a mother or father to sons, but as a brother to brothers – a very special kind of brother, an older brother in the Lord who is anxious to give counsel and, in fact, gives them this admonition, “Brothers, I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.” (5:27)  So as we now read this letter of Paul to the Thessalonians, we are reminded, when Paul first met them and gave them the gospel, they were his children in the faith.  Now they are his younger brothers, growing in the Lord and able to make their own decisions.  At the same time, he urges them, “Brothers, we (earlier) instructed you how to live….  Now we ask you in the Lord Jesus and urge you more and more how to live.  For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.” (4:1, 2)  This is the kind of relationship the Mission now wants with its brethren in the Hungarian lands.  We do not want to lord anything over them.  At the same time, we pray that when we see something in their reports where we can give them godly, worthwhile counsel, they will delight in it and grow all the more in wisdom and grace.  Please, therefore, pray for all of us and for a safe and glorious landing of this plane with this flight plan called “An Amazing Work in Hungary.”

You may have observed that I twice said “24 congregations” – not “23 congregations.”  This is because we have yet another congregation, this one in Kolozsvar (Cluj), Romania.  This new congregation, like the one we started in Vulkan, Romania earlier this year, is a congregation of ethnic Romanian people (whose native tongue is Romanian).  As you may know, all our earlier congregations were composed of Hungarian people living in Hungary, Romania and Ukraine.  This goes back to a century ago when Hungary was a much larger country  with land that is now a part of Romania, Ukraine, Slovakia and Serbia.  In any case, we now have two congregations in Romania for ethnic Romanians.  PTL!

Some of you have been asking, so here’s a little update on Clara and me and our health.  Please pray for the energy and health we need for the work as well as the wisdom we need for it.  As I said in the July issue of our prayer letter, Clara had a very serious allergy earlier this year which seemed to upset her auto-immune system.  She is now a lot better with this though she still has some lesser issues from it.  But she is pretty much able to live the active life she has always had.  My major problem is a back condition for which I am getting physical therapy and am better.  My other problem is a leaking mitral valve, but my heart doctors are watching this, and I am mostly able to live the active life I’ve always had.  As for our spiritual lives, we are both doing well.  I am personally having a heart revival, spending more time in Scripture and prayer than I could when I was sitting in the pilot’s seat.  It is unspeakably precious to have more time with the Lord and, so, be strengthened in the inner man.

Now this important financial note.  We need you very much to maintain your current level of support and keep it up through all of 2014 unless we say otherwise.  In addition to this, we need your help to give our 16 men a Christmas bonus at this time.  This will not only help them meet their end-of-the-year expenses, but give them something extra for their families at this time.  This is an important time of year when you can help and make a difference.  Please mark your gift “Pastors’ Bonus”.  Our Lord calls this kind of giving laying up treasure in heaven.

One last thing.  For many years Clara and I have been putting out six prayer letters/year like clock-work.  Every issue entails a huge amount of work.  Writing it is only part of the process, for after that comes the printing, folding, envelope preparation and stuffing and other means of distribution.  Meanwhile our bodies need to slow down even more.  So with your patience we propose to write and send you four letters next year, in February, May, August, then November.

Yours in His faithfulness,

Bob & Clara Rapp

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November 2013 Supplement Letter

SUPPLEMENT  TO  THE  NOVEMBER  PRAYER/NEWSLETTER  (11/25/2013)

This supplement has recent general news, then news about our 16 Hungarian pastors and their main prayer needs (often implied in the news).  Please continue to use the bookmarks we distributed earlier this year.

HUNGARY

Imre Szoke (EEM-ray SO-kay)  Imre traveled a lot in October and November to minister in other congrega-tions and, with Gyula Bagoly, continued to update the Hungarian translation of Pink.  His congregation is doing well.  Attendance now runs over 30 people (please remember that all our congregations grow from zero, then must wait until people are converted and discipled!!)  A new youth Bible study was started this fall and is growing.

Peter Szabo (PEE-ter SAW-bow)  In November Peter’s congregation in Budapest grew by four, three as new members, one as a transfer from one of our congregations in Ukraine. The services are also growing.  Twenty-five attend the Bible studies on average; 40-45 people come on the Lord’s Day.  On one occasion 60 came, requiring some young members to stand (we now have more chairs!).  This included four university students whom Peter has since enrolled in the Romans course.  Pray for Budapest’s two million people.

Gyula Bagoly (JEW-law BAW-go-ee)  Gyula continues to minister to two congregations in southern Hungary with a combined attendance of almost 40.  This means he travels every week some 45 miles between the two congregations.  He also speaks at conferences, helps edit our books, has three people in Almadi in the Romans course and five in Kaposvar in the same.  He and Imre also do all of the teaching of our KGITM students.

Mihaly Siko (MEE-high SHE-ko)  Misi’s new work in Debrecen is very difficult.  This city was earlier called “Protestant Rome” when it was a bastion for the Reformation against the apostasy of Rome from the faith.  Now it also is apostate from the faith.  The HRC there has beautiful historical buildings and a theological seminary, but they are now monuments to the unbelief of man.  In spite of this darkness, Misi is doing a great work with a tiny group (6-8 people) that is growing.  Be sure that no American missionary could ever do a work like this.  It reminds us of what Ezekiel faced in his day (please read Ezekiel 2:1-7!!)

ROMANIA

Ferenc Kovacs (FAIR-ents KOH-vatch) has four young daughters and reminds me of “Philip the evangelist, one of the seven, who also had four unmarried daughters who testified of the gospel.”  Acts 21:8, 9.  He says, “Sara and I are thankful for the help of the Mission in providing Christian textbooks for our home schooling families.  Sara continues to help me in addition to doing her housekeeping and supervising the studies of the girls.” Ferenc recently combined his Bible study groups in two villages outside their city into one group with 19 now attending.  Keep praying for Ferenc as pastor, Session member, and camp and conference director.  Sandor Tamas (SHAWN-door TAWM-awsh)  Sandor continues to work in the heavily Roman Catholic city of Csikszereda and its one HRC church (very liberal). Pray God would strengthen him in his work with people.  PTL that the sister of one of his members recently professed faith in Christ and is standing firmly in the truth.

Sandor Molnar (SHAWN-door MOLE-nawr)   Sandor Molnar and Eva had a third girl in August.  The baby is doing nicely. Sandor actively cares for his congregation.  Some of his members have very challenging and stressful situations and need much counsel.  Sandor also evangelizes outsiders very zealously and recently finished the Membership Course with one couple.  Pray God would continue to use Sandor both as pastor and evangelist.

Gabor Curcubet (GAW-bore COUR-koo-bet)   Gabor continues to teach on Acts and reports his members are growing spiritually, including several recent converts.  Gabor and one of his men (a future RE) are planning a week-long evangelistic series this winter – always a good time when scattered family members are home.  He has good conversations with old friends, one an atheist who, for the first time, listens to biblical teaching.  He is also grateful for the spiritual development of one who, for years, has been attending our services, but vowed never to take her membership out of the HRC.  God is also using Gabor’s creation materials on the internet.

Lehel Laszlo (LEH-hell LOSS-low)   Lehel also has a fine RE prospect in his congregation who helps him in his pastoral/mission work.  This man is studying Berkhof’s Systematic Theology while his wife teaches songs from our songbook to the congregation.  Lehel had 17 people from his two congregations attend our recent fall conference.  He continues to guide five in the Romans course and plans to start the Membership Course with three.  He has just started to preach from Paul’s letter to the Philippians at the Lord’s Day services.

Attila Szasz (AW-tee-law SAWS)  Attila writes: “By God’s grace, some new people started the Romans course.  And one started taking the Membership Course after finishing the Romans course.  This lady attended our Friday meetings five years and never showed any more interest.  She was not even open to personal visits and seemed hopeless. But a year ago she started attending the Lord’s Day meetings and early this year she agreed to be visited at home (after her husband died).  She is now very zealous and enthusiastic about every meeting.  She keeps daily contact with the other church members where, over the phone, they discuss the daily reading in the One-Year Bible and have prayer fellowship.  Another important development is that, beginning last month, we started meetings for Romanian-speaking people on the Lord’s Day evening.  God gave us a key couple for this, and they are now regularly inviting and bringing others to come.”  PTL and pray.

Csaba Zolya (CHA-baw ZOH-yah)  Csaba now has 11 people in the Romans course.  So many good things are happening in Csaba’s congregation that it is hard to know where to begin!  As one example, however, a lady who was attending our services died in October.  Csaba had the service in our sanctuary. More than 60 people came, including people from the HRC church in Vulkan who had never been to our services.  Pray!

Szabolcs Simon (SAW-bolch SHE-moan)   Szabolcs’ labors are also being greatly blessed.  He has continued on I Thessalonians and says, “It is a good reminder for us to live in the light of Jesus’ return.”  They also started a singing group where outsiders who are not yet interested in other meetings are welcome. (This is not a choir group, just a chorus group.)  Szabolcs has four in his Romans course and three in his Membership Course.

Kalman Kovacs (KALL-mawn KOH-vatch)   Kalman handles many of Ferenc’s services for him.  He is also very busy visiting people.  He has 12 in the Romans course, four of whom are doing very well.  And eight in the Membership Course.  Pray God by His Spirit would breathe through His Word as Kalman guides them.

UKRAINE

Bertalan Lorinc (BEAR-taw-lawn LOR-eents)  In addition to his work with the fall conference, Berci continued the Romans course with nine people and the Membership Course with seven.  It is amazing how people can be spiritually dead for so long and seemingly impossible to reach, but once they begin to study Paul’s letter to the Romans, some begin to awaken from their sleep of death.  Keep praying for them. Berci also has a prospective RE in training.  Interestingly he is using R. C. Sproul’s theological materials with him.

Istvan Gal (ISHT-vawn GALL) Istvan is still following up people who are contacts from some of our camps this past summer.  Pray for his two congregations, one in Zapszony (where he lives) and one in Barkaszo.  We asked for fruit for Istvan in our last supplement, and the Lord has certainly answered.  Keep praying.

Geza Demeter (GAY-zah DEM-eh-ter)  Geza has no congregation of his own, but helps both Berci and Istvan in their ministries and did most of the lecturing at the fall Reformation conference.  He also has a great opportunity to do Romans work with many people.  Unfortunately he is often sick in the winter months.  Pray that God would deliver him from frequent sickness this winter.

 

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September, 2013

Dear Praying, Helping Friends:

We’ll start this letter as the last one, only this time it’ll be about me (not Clara) and the Lord’s loving way with me.  My lower back has been bothering me several months, and it really got my attention when a general numbness started spreading down my left leg.  My GP then ordered an MRI.  It showed a disc fragment (herniation) between the L3/L4 spinal vertebrae.  The Lord was good to give me an early opening with a local neurosurgeon.  Meanwhile, I checked online and found a clinic in the Philadelphia area where endoscopic surgery is performed to remove disc fragments like this one.  I then visited this clinic where they made a convincing case I needed back surgery, the cost of which would be $18,900.  Clara and I don’t have money like this to spend, but we agreed to pool our savings and find the money if surgery was really necessary.  But one week later, I saw our local neurosurgeon.  He advised no surgery and, instead, physical therapy.  Not only that, he explained why back surgery was not the right way to go.  Many disc fragments dissolve themselves, he said.  And, in my case, the steady decrease in numbness down my left leg over the past month showed it was doing just this (something the clinic in Philadelphia did not mention!)  He then put me on physical therapy.  How we praise the Lord for this, not only financially, but for the way my back is now responding to physical therapy.  In fact, the therapy is helping me with balance and several other issues related to my physical well-being.  PTL!

Clara’s physical health and age and my physical health and age relate very much to the Hungarian work.  Last March, I was still under a heavy load of reporting from the fields – and there seemed to be no release from this duty, particularly in view of the fact that our 16 men on the field still seemed to need my guidance in a wide array of issues.  However, as I explained in my May letter, three things happened the last week of March: 1) Clara developed a serious health disorder 2) My workload in answering the weekly reports of the men was reaching the breaking point 3) the Session of our church over there wanted a change in the system – one that would reduce their reporting and give them more autonomy.  Our Mission (we have five wonderful men on our board) and I felt that the Lord was in this, and since then have made some big changes.  This way has some new challenges, but it is a big step in the right direction as the Mission and I seek to disengage entirely from the work sometime in 2014.  But from now until then, it is imperative our Mission remain as a consultative body to the Session (our first five ordained Hungarian men).  It is also important we keep funding the work until it reaches 85% self-support, at which point we can, with the aid of a special fund there, safely exit the work.  Now I usually save my prayer requests and financial needs for the last paragraph of my letter.  But this time I’m going to say here that we need 1) ongoing fervent prayer for Clara and me and our total well-being and for our 16 Hungarian men and wisdom, zeal and success in all aspects of their work. (See the supplement for their needs.)  As for 2) financial support, we need you to persevere with us until well into 2014 at a time when we will advise you to stop giving.  BUT NO LET-UP UNTIL THEN, PLEASE!

Turning to the work, the Lord gave us a tremendous year of summer camps in Hungary, Romania and Ukraine.  In fact, we added two more camps, a total of 24, with most camps geared to reaching new people for Christ with the gospel of His saving grace and His lordship over their lives.  I have been privileged to work for the Lord in four fields since 1960 – Brazil, South Korea, Pakistan, and now this one.  In Brazil, I did evangelism, church planting, and seminary teaching.  In South Korea, the Lord helped me start a new school of theological education where the entire focus was the school.  In Pakistan, I founded another seminary and a country-wide literacy campaign for Christians to read the Bible.  In this Hungarian work, the Lord helped me start yet another seminary and, what was new, fund the work of selected graduates and personally guide them to do all that an American missionary can do – and much more.

And now, praise God, this work in Hungary, Romania and Ukraine – with its new 23 congregations – is bearing more and more fruit.  We received one new adult member into our church (Reformed Presbyterian Church of Central & Eastern Europe) in the last two months and, better, we now have 18 people in our Membership Course, more than any time I can remember.  We also had children born into our church, two to our pastors.  On August 24, Sandor and Eva Molnar welcomed a girl, Johanna, into their home.  And on September 12, Mihaly and Zita Siko gained a boy, Balint.  This brings to 44 the number of children to our 16 Hungarian pastors.  We must bring them also to the Lord Jesus Christ, and this is why we have catechetical instruction for all the children of our church, including the children of our pastors.  This is also why all our children, at least all our pastors’ children, are receiving a Christian education which, for practical and spiritual reasons, means homeschooling.

It was my privilege to introduce homeschooling in 2000 not only to our men and others in our church, but eventually, in the case of Hungary, Romania, and western Ukraine, to people outside our church.  So Imre Szoke now coordinates all home schooling in Hungary.  And in Romania, Gabor Curcubet, was my hand-picked man to develop the Romania Homeschooling Association.  I was glad to see Gabor mentioned in the September 7 issue of World magazine (p. 60) as follows: “In Romania it is legal to enroll children in a school outside Romania and teach according to a foreign method – if that method is a legal one in that foreign country.  Some 200 Romanian homeschooling families follow this process.  Romania Homeschooling Association president Gabor Curcubet told me: ‘The main problem with enrolling children in schools outside Romania is that children must learn in English and parents must know English in order to teach their children.  The majority of Romanian families don’t speak English at all and most of the rest don’t speak English well enough to teach their children.  We would like to legalize homeschooling to help the Romanian families homeschool their children legally and in the Romanian language.’ ”  What this means is that, while homeschooling is not yet legal in Romania, our church in still the reason that 185 families outside our church now homeschool their children in that country.

The “mother” ministry of our church is our school, Karolyi Gaspar Institute of Theology and Missions.  We currently have eight students.  It’s a Distance Education arrangement where the students do their course work mainly at home, but come about twice a year to our mission center for a week of testing and an evaluation of their progress.  This means they are all going at a speed that fits their home circumstances, including their employment.  Of special interest to me is that we have two students who are making very good progress and ardently desire to become pastors.  Pray for them.  This means that even though the Mission will exit the work next year, we will want to make provision for these two young men and others like them so there can be a constant source of men of God for the gospel ministry there.

A final word about God’s work of conversion in our midst the last two months.  This marvelous work of God’s Spirit which Jesus compared to the wind when he said, “You neither know whence it comes and whither it goes” – it is mysterious, yet it is God’s promise to all who pray for souls and give His Word faithfully to the lost and rest upon Him to give new birth in Christ.  Almost all our church members have come out of the darkness of unbelief into the light of Christ under our own ministry.  For there is no other Reformed church in the Hungarian lands faithful to the Word from which we might receive members. (The most striking evidence of the darkness in the Hungarian Reformed Church is that it does not have a single missionary in its membership of two million people that it supports to go into the world to preach the gospel.)  So it is only by conversion, mostly under us, that our membership is being built.  Pray, then, for our 16 pastors in Hungary, Romania and Ukraine.  Hoping you still have the bookmarks we sent you earlier, please keep using them and the attached supplement.

Yours in His faithfulness,

Bob and Clara Rapp

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September 2013 Supplement Letter

SUPPLEMENT  TO  THE  SEPTEMBER  PRAYER/NEWSLETTER  (9/24/2013)

This supplement has news and the prayer needs of our 16 Hungarian pastors and is meant to be used with the bookmarks distributed earlier this year.  If you need a bookmark, please let me know.  “The fervent prayer of a righteous person avails much.” (James 5:16)

HUNGARY

Imre Szoke (EEM-ray SO-kay)  In July and August, Imre was active in three of the five camps in Hungary.  One of them was new, for boys only.  The main topic was “What does a biblical man look like?”  Some 14 boys came.  It was a precious opportunity to reach these boys who are entering manhood who, apart from God’s Word, could not know how to live out their next stage of life.  Next came the summer conference for Imre and our members in Hungary – though some who came were not members.  Over 70 adults and dozens of children came and were blessed.  Imre is still preaching to his Miskolc congregation from Philippians.  New people are coming to every service and some keep coming.  One of our members, a former Jehovah’s Witness, has been bringing another JW with him to the services.  Pray for these many new contacts Imre has.

Peter Szabo (PEE-ter SAW-bow)   In addition to helping at the camps in Miskolc, Peter was able to progress with his Basic Gospel (Romans course) contacts.  One of his contacts recently confessed to him a secret sin and is now beginning to call upon Christ to save him.  Peter also has three people finishing our MC (Membership Course).  The hope is that all three will soon be members.  Pray for all these people, that God would continue to use Peter as a pastor and evangelist to Budapest’s two million people.

Gyula Bagoly (JEW-law BAW-go-ee)  Gyula continues to minister to two congregations and to people who are considering the Christian faith and taking the Romans course.  He also helped at our conference in Miskolc where he had two lectures, one on perseverance, one on the last chapter of Nehemiah and Nehemiah’s reforms among the people of his day.  Gyula also spent time preparing the fall budget and helped us purchase a new car for Bertalan Lorinc in Ukraine.  He also helps Imre on an updated translation of Pink’s The Sovereignty of God.  Pray God would bless his many contacts with people – believers and unbelievers.

Mihaly Siko (MEE-high SHE-ko)  Earlier this month the Lord gave Misi and Zita a baby boy.  In August two of Misi’s members were married in Ukraine.  Misi helped at the wedding.  He and Zita also sang Christian music for it.  It is good this newly wed couple decided to return to Debrecen where they can greatly help Misi in his ministry.  Misi also has two people in the Romans course.  Pray for him – that God would empower him in this city once called “Protestant Rome” but which now is in desperate need of the light of the gospel.

ROMANIA

Ferenc Kovacs (FAIR-ents KOH-vatch)  Ferenc was fully occupied with camp work in Romania in July and August.  Let me speak only of the last three camps: (1) The camp for young couples and families was well attended – 22 adults and 21 children.  Two-thirds of these were from our church; a third were not. The topics related mostly to the Christian family and child rearing, though some time went for personal growth.  During the lectures and discussions, the older children took care of the children of the campers, which was a great testimony to the parents – as they could see the fruit of godly rearing and home schooling in the children.   They were amazed at how our children are so different from worldly families.  (2) Evangelizing and teaching older adults.  This camp had 14 people, but was very profitable since they were not yet members, but very much enjoyed their time and went away with much to think about.  (3) Evangelizing and teaching camp for young adults.  This camp had 33 campers, mostly non-members.  Ferenc spoke on the life of Elijah, and Szabolcs on Christian courting and preparing for marriage.  The campers were greatly drawn to the lectures and were often deeply affected by hearing about dangers in their lives, problems they already knew about, but didn’t understand.  Ferenc said: “It was joyful to hear many give their testimony how our camps helped them repent and turn to the Lord.  Maybe this was our best camp in Szovata this summer.”  Pray God will continue to work in the hearts of all these who came to our camps this summer in Szovata, Romania.

Sandor Tamas (SHAWN-door TAWM-awsh)   Sandor is working in the heavily Roman Catholic city of Csikszereda.  Pray God would help him in his work with people.  And for the sister of one of our members there who recently professed faith in Christ and needs special grace to remain firm in her faith.

Sandor Molnar (SHAWN-door MOLE-nawr)  The biggest event for Sandor Molnar and Eva last month was the birth of a baby girl.  Sandor did work in their home to prepare it for her.  He also turned his garage into an office and counseling room and started using it to counsel people, members and non-members.  He finished the membership course with one couple (though only the wife is ready) and continues the MC with one other person.  Pray that God would continue to use him both as pastor and evangelist.

Gabor Curcubet (GAW-bore COUR-koo-bet)   Gabor continued his teaching series on Acts and reports that his church members are growing spiritually.  This includes several who are recent converts to Christ.  Gabor organized an English camp with 11 participants where the main subject of the camp was the life of Daniel.  He also had a Photo Camp where he and a member of his congregation taught 9 young people interested both in photography and the Bible.  In the area of homeschooling, Gabor organized a highly successful conference August 31 with more than 80 people (60 families represented) attending.  Some key educators in the country were there as well.  Gabor also helped his wife put into Romania her book on HS, then gave copies of it to all at the conference.  Many wrote back, saying what a great encouragement the conference and book were to them.  Pray for wisdom, strength and grace for Gabor as pastor, HS coordinator, and evangelist.

Lehel Laszlo (LEH-hell LOSS-low)   Lehel’s congregation is doing well.  He has continued to preach from the book of Psalms at his worship service.  Lehel and Judit’s children enjoyed the summer, spending a lot of time at the camp in Szovata, helping in various ways there.  Lehel continues to guide people in the Romans course.  Several are showing good evidence of new faith in Christ.  Lehel also has a fine member who can soon be a good ruling elder.  Pray for Lehel in all his contacts.  His congregation is growing nicely.

Attila Szasz (AW-tee-law SAWS)  On the Lord’s Day, Attila continued on the life of Joseph.  Midweek on the parables of Christ.  Friday night on the miracles of Christ.  His congregation then participated in the largest yearly event held for Hungarians in the region.  This year 170,000 people came to it, and our people not only had a book table with all kinds of attractive literature, but live programs for children.  The organizers of this event attended some of these programs and, in this way, the news about us went out to thousands by radio, newspaper and the internet.  Pray God would help in the follow up of these new contacts.

Csaba Zolya (CHA-baw ZOH-yah)  Csaba continued his series on I Timothy with his Hungarian congregation   and started a series on Jonah with his Romanian congregation.  He has 11 people he is working to enroll in the Romans course.  In August Csaba had a serious infection problem with his teeth.  It eventually took an opera-tion to solve the problem.  Pray for Csaba’s health and God’s blessing on his work with people.

Szabolcs Simon (SAW-bolch SHE-moan)   Szabolcs just started a new series on I Thessalonians, after finishing Acts.  He was very busy July and August helping Ferenc at various camps in Szovata.  His congregations are doing very well.  Believers are being tested, but standing firmly in the faith.  One joyful event took place in one of his congregations, the wedding of two of our members in Sepsi.  There was also an English camp in Sepsi which the Lord blessed.  Pray for Szabolcs since his schedule is a very busy one.

Kalman Kovacs (KALL-mawn KOH-vatch)   Kalman took all of Ferenc’s services on the Lord’s Day and mid-week.  He was also very busy visiting people.  He currently has 15 in the Romans course, 6 of whom are doing very well.  And 8 in the Membership Course.  Pray God would powerfully use His Word through Kalman.

UKRAINE

Bertalan Lorinc (BEAR-taw-lawn LOR-eents)  Berci’s wife worked hard to start homeschooling their second son this fall.  Berci himself was extremely busy with the camps in Ukraine.  In August alone, there were three camps: (1) a camp for youth above age 14 with 26 attending (2) one for young Christians where 16 youth came (3) a Bible/Ukrainian camp where the Bible was taught in the Ukrainian language. (Our people in Ukraine speak Hungarian to one another, so Ukrainian is a second language to them.)  Some 18 adults and 10 young people attended.  This was a new idea and very successful.  Pray now for the follow-up of these people.

Istvan Gal (ISHT-vawn GALL) Istvan also worked hard for all 7 camps in Ukraine this summer. He is grateful that, busy as he was with the camps, he could work with several people in the BG (Romans course).  Pray God would bless all his work – pastoral ministry and time with people in the BG course.  One beautiful thing is the way many of Istvan’s young people gave so much of themselves to help at the camps this summer.

Geza Demeter (GAY-zah DEM-eh-ter)  Geza helps the ministries of both Berci and Istvan.  He was also very active in all the camps, giving a lot of teaching time at the camps.  It is a blessing to see how our three men in Ukraine work together so well.  Pray for Geza’s ongoing ministry in reaching out to many with the Romans course now that the camping season has ended.  This is a golden opportunity.

 

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July, 2013

Dear Praying, Helping Friends:

Greetings in Christ our Lord and Savior!  The first news is that Clara is so much better.  We also have a diagnosis.  Clara had ACD (allergic contact dermatitis), and the allergen was the chemical in poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac.  But Clara did not get this by skin contact, rather by taking Ginkgo Biloba capsules as an “herbal supplement” to improve memory.  You see, the herbal supplement business, unlike other drug businesses, is unregulated.  So you cannot know how much of the chemical in the leaves of the Ginkgo Biloba tree is in the capsule.  It can also build up in your body and, at some point, cause a violent reaction (as shown with laboratory animals).  Clara had a rash (and severe itching) all over her and a tremendous loss of energy.  There were times she could hardly stand up.  So much unlike our Clara!  And after many blood tests and a tissue biopsy, two family doctors and two specialists were still stumped.  But I did some reading (Wikipedia), learned of this, and had her stop taking it.  We also saw a second dermatologist who, when I mentioned Ginkgo Biloba, said: “Oh, yes, that could be it.” And, sure enough, a few days later, we saw improvement, and in early June Clara and I could travel to Illinois and Tennessee.  Our second dermatologist still wanted to do patch testing.  We just got those results, and all 76 allergens proved negative (Ginkgo Biloba is not patch tested).  So we thank the Lord for sending this affliction since He does all things well and, in this case, used it to reinforce the fact that now is the right time to follow the Hungarian men in their desire to assume ultimate responsibility for the work.

Which leads to this new phase of the work.  As I said two months ago, the men now want to go at it on their own.  So we agreed to this.  We still get quarterly financial reports and a budget, but in a much more simplified form.  We still hear about the work of our 16 men, but only once a month and only as part of one report from the Session (our five ordained men).  And the new system is working well – all things considered.  It is also letting me recover from years of hard work that was very necessary but beginning to kill me.  So that this new field development (and Clara’s health problem) showed me His will in this matter.  Only He could do something like this – just as He appeared to Paul in Corinth and showed him that it was His will for Paul to remain in that city for a time.  But we hope to continue as a consultative body for a time since the church there (RPCCEE) is far from being organized.  Ruling Elders need to be ordained so that some congregations can be organized, allowing presbyteries to be organized (having a mix of organized congregations and mission congregations and ordained men from each of the two presbytery regions).  We also hope to continue as a consultative body when complex cases of church discipline arise, for there will be new and unusual cases of church discipline.  In fact, we just had one such case, and the Session needed our help in this.  So we are now reviewing this with them.

Speaking of church discipline, I recently had the luxury of reading a book – The Korean Pentecost.  It has two parts, one part written in 1910 about events leading up to the great Pyongyang revival of 1907, one part about the years leading up to WWII when American missionaries were jailed by the Japanese, then sent home, at which point the hammer of the Japanese military came down hard on the church.  But one section (in the first part) gripped me.  As American missionaries in 1910 were trying to turn the young church over to the nationals, they found that the Koreans, if well trained, could usually do everything they could do as well or better.  There was one area, however, where this was not true.  After an incident requiring church discipline, the writer (the Rev. William Blair of the Presbyterian Mission) said: “Church discipline is where the real test comes.  This is where the Korean Church most needs us.  They can win converts and preach the gospel better than we can.  They can build churches and support them.  But they wait most of all for us to come and bring back those who have fallen away, who refuse their pleading.  Only on one’s knees, by prayer and entreaty and tears, can such work be done.” (p.49)

The circumstances in the Korean mission situation over 100 years ago differ somewhat from our current situation in Hungary. But not by much.  First of all, it is as hard for Hungarians to discipline Hungarians as for Koreans to discipline Koreans.  Indeed, in the case of our dear brothers in Hungary, they grew up in the Communist era when the family was considered an enemy of the state.  Contrast this with the Confucianist ideal in Korea where the father (and parents) and older people were held in high esteem.  So, basically, our Hungarian men never lived in a cultural tradition where authority should never be set aside without appeals first being made to address a problem.  The miracle of our work to date is that we could go as far as we did in instituting important reforms and many good programs.

And what reforms and programs?  First, as soon as the Communist iron curtain went up, we went there (1990) and started a new school (1992) where we chose the students we wanted and set the discipline and rules for godly living and study – no democracy since we were paying for everything.  So when we thought some were ready, we graduated them, then decided who among them to support for church planting.  We taught them how to marry well, how to raise their newborn babies, how to train and educate (home school) their older children.  We singled out those we thought were ready for ordination, then created a Session to work with us in the discipline of members in the new church.  We showed this new Session how to keep minutes and do its business.  We helped them develop a Book of Church Order, understand the principles of godly music in worship, plan a worship service and make bulletins for it.  We instituted catechetical instruction, tithing for members, and a church-wide standard for daily Bible reading – followed up by monthly pastoral visits.  We guided the publication of 25 books in Hungarian, encouraged the camp and conference programs, and led the changeover at our school from resident study to distance education.  We created a course for membership 12 years ago and, more recently, the Romans course as a critical bridge from the spiritual darkness of unbelievers to the membership course.  We did this because we understood the need for spiritual change in people before they could really understand the membership course.  We could go on and on, including our funding, at a cost of over a million dollars, to build homes and meeting places for our 16 men.  We have given them so much, and now it is their turn to use it well and keep improving on what we have put in place.  Pray for them in this.

We are pleased to hear from the Session, once a month, about progress in the church, including the camps this summer.  The supplement will give you details on the work of each man.  Please continue to use your bookmarks as a help in praying for all 16 men in light of this letter and information in the supplement.

One of our churches recently asked for more details about our financing of the Hungarian work.  I was happy to write them and explain our Mission has three accounts.  The first is our “General Fund” which covers the Mission’s own modest expenses and is handled by the Mission itself without taking anything from the other accounts.  The second account is the “Rapp Missionary Fund” where 100% of all funds so indicated go to us and our operating expenses.  In practice, we have not emphasized our needs because they are usually met without mentioning them.  The third account is “Hungary” and, again, all these funds go to Hungary.  Nothing is used by the Mission itself or by us (though if we needed them, we could use them).  I know of no other mission that has the practice of sending 100% of its gifts to the field if they are designated for the field (Hungary).  With this in mind, we urge our donors to keep supporting the work generously until we indicate, maybe late this year, that this situation is changing.  In fact, we expect to authorize spending for a new car in Ukraine in September (at a cost of $12,000 to $15,000).  Please be in prayer about this.  God bless you all.  We love you so much.

Yours in His faithfulness,

Bob & Clara Rapp

 

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July 2013 Supplement Letter

SUPPLEMENT  TO  THE  JULY  PRAYER/NEWSLETTER  (7/23/2013)

This supplement has news and prayer needs of our 16 Hungarian pastors and is meant to be used with the bookmarks distributed earlier this year.  If you need a bookmark, please let me know.

THE ENTIRE CHURCH

One man (Peter Szabo, Budapest) was ordained in mid-June, and another (Bertalan Lorinc, Ukraine) was ordained July 6.  We gained six members the last two months while losing three.  We PTL for 21 camps this summer, two more than last year.  Please pray for these camps (as listed in the May supplement).

HUNGARY

Imre Szoke (EEM-ray SO-kay)  Imre was in Ukraine for the wedding of two members in June, then stayed for the monthly Bible School.  Five new people came.  Imre continues to preach through Philippians in Miskolc and teach church history mid-week.  He has two people who just started the Romans course.  Another man, a drug addict, wants to take it.  Pray for these people.  His congregation helped organize a big English camp (more than 60 applicants, mostly non-Christians) the second week of July.  Pray God will continue to use Imre as a pastor, seminary teacher, writer, and one of the coordinators of our work in Ukraine.

Peter Szabo (PEE-ter SAW-bow)   June was full of church events for Peter.  The wedding of Istvan Szanto (from Peter’s congregation) and Csilla Kovacs (Ukraine) was spread over two weekends (church wedding in Ukraine, then the civil ceremony in Budapest).  Peter preached at both events, speaking from Hosea 2:16-20.  More than 100 non-Christians attended the two events, so Peter had a great opportunity to preach God’s grace and eternal life through Christ.  It was also encouraging to see how members in both countries helped with the two services.  A little later, another member in the BP congregation became engaged to a member in Ukraine.  Topping it off was Peter’s ordination in June.  Peter continues to work with people in the Romans course and has three who are finishing the Membership Course.  Pray God will continue to use Peter as a pastor and evangelist to Budapest’s two million people.

Gyula Bagoly (JEW-law BAW-go-ee)  Gyula continues to give the Romans course to people.  In Kaposvar his people in the Romans course are showing an understanding of the gospel.  In Almadi he has been giving the course to a chronic drug addict.  Pray that God would use this man’s addiction to show him the hopelessness of life without Christ.  Gyula continues to preach on I, II Thessalonians (both congregations) and has a special series on the Holy Spirit during the week.  He and Imre continue to work on an improved translation of Pink on The Sovereignty of God.  Praise God for Gyula’s devotion to Christ.  Pray God will use him as a pastor of two congregations, seminary teacher, and one of the coordinators of our Ukraine work.

Mihaly Siko (MEE-high SHE-ko)  Misi and Zita are awaiting the baby they trust will come in early September.  Misi’s congregation in Debrecen is still small, but they were recently encouraged to gain a new member, then see the husband of this new member soften toward the faith and start the Romans course.  Pray for him.  In June Misi took part in a book fair where he gave out more than 200 Bibles and got the addresses of more than 30 people, some of whom said they were interested in our Romans course.  One of these persons has, in fact, already started the Romans course.  Pray for Misi in this new work – that God will empower him in this city once called “Protestant Rome” but now deeply in need of the light of the gospel.

ROMANIA

Ferenc Kovacs (FAIR-ents KOH-vatch)  Ferenc was able (in June) not only to visit his members, but some non-members.  However, for the most part, he was preparing for the 9 camps in Romania and getting the property ready for the first camp June 24.  Praise God for his calling to help direct the Romania work.  Pray God will use him as a pastor, coordinator, and director of the summer camp ministry in Romania.

Sandor Tamas (SHAWN-door TAWM-awsh)   Sandor is working in the difficult, heavily Roman Catholic city of Csikszereda.  Pray God would help him in his work with people.  And for the sister of one of our members there who recently professed faith in Christ as her Savior.

Sandor Molnar (SHAWN-door MOLE-nawr)   Sandor Molnar and his wife have a baby due soon, sometime

in August.  Pray for Eva as this will be her fourth caesarean section.  Sandor has been preaching on the life of

Joseph from Genesis.  Last month they had two members added to their congregation.  Both come from the liberal HRC (Hungarian Reformed Church) and, through the teaching of the Word in our church, became believers and now are very zealous Christians.  Pray God will use Sandor both as a pastor and evangelist and many will turn to Christ under his ministry.

Gabor Curcubet (GAW-bore COUR-koo-bet)   In June Gabor and his family had a lot of illness, then Gabriella contracted pneumonia.  She was rushed to the hospital where, for several days, it seemed she might not make it.  Then, after much prayer, she suddenly started to improve and left the hospital in three days.  Meanwhile, Gabor led a very successful home schooling conference in Dej, Cluj County, Romania.  Gabor was able to share the gospel with the Romanian Orthodox people who attended the conference.  More than 50 came, and some decided to start HS.  Gabor is also thankful that his son, David, is showing zeal and gifts for the ministry at the age of 16.  Toward the end of June, Gabor started the Membership Course with a young man who came to faith during the evangelism week in February, then went through the Romans Course and now openly professes faith in Christ.  Pray that Gabor will represent us well in legal matters involving home schooling and God will bless his efforts as pastor, home schooling coordinator, and evangelist.

Lehel Laszlo (LEH-hell LOSS-low)   His congregation is doing well.  Last month Lehel started preaching from the book of Psalms at the worship service and leading a study on our book Growing in Grace in the afternoon.  Their children finished their school work for the year and, so, this gives Judit more time to visit people with Lehel.  Lehel continues to lead people in the Romans course.  Two of them in particular are showing clear evidence of conversion to Christ and, so, are going into the second part of the Romans course, the part where Paul addresses his readers as believers (beginning at Chapter 5).  Another believer will soon return from Germany to continue our membership course.  Finally, one member seems to have terminal cancer, but is giving a powerful testimony to her friends and encouraging many to turn to the Lord.  Pray God will bless both of Lehel’s congregations and pour out His Spirit on these mentioned above.

Attila Szasz (AW-tee-law SAWS)   Attila is also preaching on Joseph from Genesis.  His Lord’s Day services are growing.  On Tuesdays they study the parables of Christ and Fridays the miracles of Christ.  At the time I got the June report, Attila was in Ukraine at the camp for couples and families and stayed on to help with the ordination of Bertalan Lorinc.  Attila is a zealous servant of the Lord who, thanks to God, is growing in his ministerial calling.  Pray for him, his main congregation and a small mission congregation 20 km distant.

Csaba Zolya (CHA-baw ZOH-yah)   Csaba finished Jonah with his Hungarian congregation and started a new series on I Timothy.  He continues a series on the words of Christ on the cross at the Romanian Bible Study.  Some Romanian people stopped coming to the LD worship service when they found it was not a songfest, but centered about the Word with singing that needed to exalt the Lord.  PTL that a standard is being held up.  Pray God will bless Csaba and both congregations and recent gospel meetings where many heard the Word.

Szabolcs Simon (SAW-bolch SHE-moan)   Szabolcs continues through Acts in his preaching.  Believers are being tested by unbelieving spouses and friends, but are standing as lights in a perverse generation, and the church is growing.  One girl’s mother is in deep depression, but this is causing her to turn all the more to the Lord.  There will be a wedding in August.  Pray God’s blessing on Szabolcs and his two congregations.

Kalman Kovacs (KALL-mawn KOH-vatch)   Kalman continues to help Ferenc Kovacs greatly by taking many services and doing much visiting.  He now has 18 in the Romans course.  Pray for him and these people.

UKRAINE

Bertalan Lorinc (BEAR-taw-lawn LOR-eents)   Last month Berci had much preparation for the 7 camps in Ukraine.  His two congregations are doing well.  He also organized the Bible school where 35 adults and 21 young people came (5 new).  He is now in close contact with a Catholic family and thankful that two people have recently decided to leave the liberal HRC to join our church.  Pray for him and these new contacts.

Istvan Gal (ISHT-vawn GALL)  Istvan has also been working hard for the 7 camps.  And thankful that one person finished the Romans course and started our membership course.  Pray God would bless all his work – pastoral, camp ministry, and time with people in the Romans course.  His family’s health is now good.  PTL.

Geza Demeter (GAY-zah DEM-eh-ter)   His children, like the children of our other men in Ukraine, are doing well in their home schooling which encourages local authorities, in turn, to continue to permit our men to HS their children.  Geza is working hard to invite people to the camps and is preparing to give 19 lectures at 6 of the camps.  He also has four people in the Romans course.  One of them became a Christian at Chapter 4 and, so, has moved on to Chapter 5 of Romans and beyond.  Pray that Geza would bear much fruit for the Lord.

 

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