because it was already stuffed 😂😂😂
Hello Loved Ones!
Wondering why we started this post with a kids joke? Well because while home in the States, we were recently told this joke by a two year old little girl (shout out to Derek and Michelle for raising a beautiful aspiring comedian) and knew we had to find a place for it in this update! Also, it's a catchy title don't you think?
Alright, let's get to it... I know we say this every time but this time, there is a lot to catch you up on from these past few weeks! First though, take a minute to check out some footage from yesterday's "This is the Day" event at Puskas Arena in Budapest! We brought 10 students from the village with us! These "10" will also be apart of our week-long trip to Lake Balaton in a couple of weeks.
In the next few minutes we have together, our goal is to do the following:
Share about our time back home in Michigan
Give a Special Thank You to some special people
Shine a Personal Spotlight to help you get to know the people we are serving with here in Hungary
Provide you with updates on the Café
Look Forward with you at the rest of the summer season and share a bit of what the fall will look like
Bring you into our Prayer Requests
July in Michigan
We recently spent a couple of weeks at the beginning of July back home in Michigan. In short, our time was absolutely incredible. We were able to see our closest friends and of course enjoy family, we met new family members (Baby Blake and Baby Iris), and Cullen was able to be apart of his good friend Alex's wedding :) Congrats Alex and Sarah!
In addition to all of this awesomeness, God gave us a couple of special interactions that we'll hold onto for a very long time. We took some time to record each of these interactions so that we can share them with you all and hold onto them! Enjoy!
A Special Thank You
Scott & Ericka Hayes
Starting with our last post, we decided it would be important to take some time to acknowledge some important people that have helped us along the way. Recently, when we were back in the States, we had a chance to catch up with Scott and Ericka Hayes. Actually, we had multiple chances. We had lunch and hung out at their house wit their beautiful children. There is something very special with how the two of them have always taken time to be there for us: to support us and give us whatever we need to help us along our way. We were recently reminded of our wedding night and heard a story that we didn't know about. Of course, we were the first to leave the party. Driving off into the "sunset" as newlyweds, leaving the tear-down and clean-up to our friends and family. What we didn't know until recently, was that Scott and Ericka Hayes were 2 of the last people to leave. This story exemplifies who they are and what they mean to us. Thank you to our pastors and friends Scott and Ericka Hayes. We couldn't do this without you.
In our first personal spotlight, we introduced you to Krisztián (our amazing social worker and friend). With this second personal spotlight, we would like to introduce you and tell you more about Miki. Miki is our friend, the pastor of Tatárszentgyörgy Baptist Church. He has played many roles in additions to these including social worker, school pastor, construction product lead deputy director of communications, talented baker, and most importantly: husband to Erika and father to Ábel and Arón. Miki works incredibly hard for the people of this village (as you can see by the many job titles he carries). He works tirelessly to create and promote programs for the young people and is well-known by the many families that he has served and visited throughout this village. He and his family are committed to spending their lives in Tatárszentgyörgy working and serving as God's hands and feet. Something that we have especially appreciated about Miki is his sense of humor. He works hard and many people only see the serious and task-driven side of him. But we are fortunate enough to see the big-hearted, joyful man that Miki is. It is a gift to know Miki and we are thankful for him.
As many of you know, this has been an exciting and faith-building season for us. The project has been an enormous challenge financially and added a lot of work to all of our plates. Miki has basically taken on a part-time job as he guides communication and contracts between the local workers, Géza, Sarah, and I. Additionally, as a result of the war next door, the Hungarian currency has grown extremely weak, causing prices of materials and labor to soar.
In spite of all this, we've continued to plow forward. We've tried to keep you all involved with each big step we take... If you have not already, please check out the café tab for fresh videos and other project related updates, there is quite a bit of detail and transparency included. The videos are updated weekly. Also, here is a button that will take you to the webpage we created for if you or someone you know are interested in giving specifically towards this project:
Basically, here is where things stand. The construction and renovation of the inside downstairs level of the building should be completed per our contract with the builder by the end of August. At that point we are relying upon promised funds that have not yet arrived yet to pay the builder for his work. Following the completion of this first phase, this construction phase, we will then wait patiently to see what is offered from a second Kingdom Advancement Grant that we are applying for from Trinity church. While we were home in Michigan, the Trinity team was gracious enough to spend time with us in person, talking through this project and taking note of how they could help us more. This was a really special meeting for us that showed how committed Trinity has been and currently is to the work we are doing in Hungary alongside Géza and Ildikó. That being said, there is a process they must follow and we are not the only global partners who are applying for financial assistance.
If we are awarded that grant, the funds would hopefully come through sometime in November. We are applying for $27,000, the amount needed to make the space operational (see the following page for specific details).
However, the challenge we are currently tasked with is obtaining additional funds for the following reasons:
We will need to pay for the final electrical installations as well as the installation of heating in the space before November. This will cost approximately $9,000.
As I mentioned, we are relying upon approximately $5,000 of promised funds that have not come through yet to pay the local builder. We want to obtain additional funds to secure a Plan B in case something happens with the promised funds or in the event that they are less than expected.
We do not have any guarantee that the award amount (if granted) from Trinity Church will be for the full $27,000 we are asking. We want to obtain additional funds to account for this possibility.
So, as you can see, this project is requiring a lot of patience and a lot faith. Sarah and I have been personally challenged with the fundraising element of this project due to the fact that we are living off of the generosity of so many and are still continuing to fundraising to ensure our time here can continue throughout our promised 3-year commitment. Lots of faith-building and lots of new experiences for us, but one thing remains clear, there is a massive opportunity here for Sarah and I to build a place for God that will outlive our time here. We know this space will impact the generations of this village and because of that, it is worth every minute and each and every penny.
August is going to be a busy month for us. The first week of August will be helping to facilitate an English and Bible camp at the school in the village and is open to all kids that are school-aged. The school is currently undergoing construction that will make this week challenging. Additionally, Sarah and I are responsible to be the go-between between the Americans and Hungarians serving at this camp as well as taking care of all of the American team's needs while they are here. The Hungarian Baptist Aid pursued a partnership with a Baptist Church in North Carolina who make up the serving team. As this is their first time coming, there are sure to be many bumps and bruises. But we are excited at the potential for the kids in our village to grow closer to Jesus and to get excited about English.
We will have a week off following this first camp, and then we will be taking 17 students from our Thursday night youth group for a week away for summer camp at Lake Balaton. We have been planning this week for many months alongside Hajni, Geri, Krisztián, Cili and Misi. This opportunity was not offered to all of our students. It is a special opportunity for those who are open to going deeper in their faith. This is also a special opportunity for these kids, because they are rarely able to travel throughout Hungary. And this will be the first time to Lake Balaton for many of them. Here are some photos of where the camp will be:
The final week in August, immediately following our village youth camp, we will be traveling to Egérszalok with our Friday night Budapest youth group. This will be a much needed opportunity for us to grow deeper with our relationships with the teenagers we see each Friday night. It will be less about structure and agendas, and more about conversations, rest, fun and looking towards the new school year.
Speaking of the new school year, we are eager to see what September will look like for our coffee house. We know the space will not be operational as a coffee house at this time, but the construction should be complete and the space should be ready for people gather inside. We are continuing to fundraise, pray and communicate with Trinity Church about a grant that will allow us to furnish and outfit the café. Our hope is, that by the end of the Fall, our coffee house will be ready for business. We have a long way to go, but are excited about what lies ahead.
In addition to our coffee house, our fall schedule will look a little different as Cullen has decided to return to Károli Gáspár University in addition to continuing in his role as the English teacher in Tatárszentgyörgy. The Fall season will require a lot of patience as we continue to explore our roles in the café once it is operational. The fall season will also offer us a new opportunity, now that we have 1 year under our belts, to go deeper and emphasize being intentional with our roles within each of the youth groups that we lead.
The final piece to share with you all as we look forward to a new season is our contributions to growing the church in our village through the 2 fellowship groups we have been a part of. We like that each group is different, and we feel good about continuing to fill supportive roles within these groups. Our job is to help Hajni and Geri, Miki and Erika create, establish and maintain Jesus-centered, thriving small groups within their homes.
As we close this update, we want to once again say thank you to each of you (for making it this far in the post!!!) but more seriously because we know how much you care about us and are thankful that you have chosen to take some time to immerse yourself in what we are up to. It means the world to us. Until next time, we'll leave you with some prayer requests. There are so many... we've tried to get them all down but there are some that we're sure we've missed. The same goes for the Answered Prayers. There are too many to count.
Until next time, God Bless you all! We love you very much!
C + S
P.S. To the Trinity Global Missions class --- thank you for everything... and don't forget to read the rest of this update! If we know you well enough, you probably scrolled to the Prayer Requests first ;) We love you all.
· *this one will be a constant prayer request* Please continue to pray for Cullen and I: that we would continue to grow in the Lord and in our marriage together. It has been made very clear to us that our marriage is the foundation of this mission, as without it, the rest of it falls away.
· Please pray for the open hearts of our students who are attending our summer camp (August 15-21). Some of their hearts are open, but some are not. Also pray for us leaders: physical exhaustion, language barriers with the youth, hardened hearts of the kids, behavioral issues and spiritual attacks will happen for all sides. Please pray for our attitudes and our spiritual fortitude to give these kids exactly what they need to see Jesus in a new way.
· As we are responsible for the American team coming for English camp next week, please pray for good communication, low let-lag and a healthy long-term partnership to develop for this village and the American team.
· We are personally supported only through May of next year, so please pray for our fundraising. Please see our Support page (bloomingabroad.com/support) for further details on how you can support us. Thanks to all who have given their time and money for us to be able to make this possible!
· Our finances for the café are lacking for us to use the space as an operational café. Please see our Café page for further details. We trust that God can do anything, and money and resources are nothing in His eternal plan. (https://www.bloomingabroad.org/cafe-buildout)
· Please pray for continued deepening relationships with the villagers in our Fellowship Groups. Many people are more open to house groups, and we pray for open hearts and ears for the gospel!
· Continue praying for our language learning. We long to be able to communicate better with the people (and especially youth) here.
· Please pray for a friend of ours back home in East Lansing. His name is Josh and is fighting stage 4 cancer. He has 4 beautiful children and a wife. This is all very unexpected but God's fingerprints are all of this and we are believing for total healing and a complete recovery for him.
· Please pray for Hajni and Geri's house. They are stuck in paperwork and processes and we are praying that they are able to move into their new house before the summer ends.
· Please pray for a friend that I met at Wednesday evening basketball in Kecskemét. His name is Csaba (pronounced Chabah). He is battling Lyme disease and it takes a lot out of him. He has a little boy that he is committed to changing his life and health to be there for.
· Your prayers for safe travel for us and for Copper were (as stated above) answered! No hiccups or surprises or challenges met us on our way to our new home.
· We were able to drive our new car home on Monday! A lovely Ford Fiesta with so few miles, a good price and in great condition. Praise the Lord that we now have more independence and freedom!
· Our stay here in Hungary was approved! The immigration office recently approved our stay and work here until October 2023, we will then re-apply for our final year.
· We were able to launch a new youth group in Tatárszentgyörgy! The kids are LOVING worshiping and we are starting by reading John together. The youth group is also continuing to grow!
· We have both been able to settle more into our roles, and have felt a renewed sense of purpose here.
· Our End-of-Year fundraising goal was exceeded!!! This gets us even closer to having all of the funds needed for the Coffee House project and for summer camp for the village children.
· Our friends Hajni and Geri have found a house in the village!
· We have had a wonderful 3 months with our new co-worker named Krisztián! He has been an amazing answer to prayer, as he is an experienced social worker, a strong Christian and has provided Miki with more time to be the school/church pastor and a husband/father. Krisztián has also recently (early May) become a father again! PTL that everything went smoothly and mom/baby are healthy.
· We are so thankful that we were able to receive our 501(c)3 status!!
· Pastor Ron’s visit went so well! We were able to connect personally and partner with his church Family Life! They have been so supportive and generous and we are excited to see how our partnership grows.
· An English camp has been approved and planned for our Budapest youth students!
· We have now launched 2 youth groups on Thursday nights because Ifi has continued to grow!
· English classes in the village are going really well. Cullen actually started another English class for the teachers here in the village. Relationships and trust are being built and God is working.
· We started construction on the Coffee House!
· We launched Fellowship Groups!
We made it home safely for two weeks to be with friends and family
We brought 10 students to "This is the Day" concert in Budapest. This was an answered prayer to see our students take the initiative and have the desire to go to this event. They enjoyed every minute!