The full Summer/Fall 2002 newsletter is now available by following the leaf at the bottom of this page that says 2002. This newsletter never did make it to your homes on paper, sorry. Thanks for taking the time to be here at our web-site! Rachel.
January Update: Finally some Direction!
First, we want to thank you for your many felt prayers for us through what our Uncle Wes wisely called our ‘crossroads’. That’s exactly what we’ve been at, with many roads open before us, and the hard choice of which to take. What made it even harder was that many of these roads seemed right, many people would understand and approve of each choice – but what way did our Lord wish us to go? We’ve also seen that the Lord could okay many options, and would probably bless whichever we chose – so it came back to us. One thing we have felt strongly about since the beginning was not wanting to disrupt our children’s lives any more than will be absolutely necessary, so we have been looking at not moving anywhere until after the school year is over.
Since we wanted to remain in Szeged until summer, we began to look about for fellowship opportunities within driving distance. This led us to the semi-nearby Calvary Chapel in Backa-Topola, just across the border in Yugoslavia. Taiwo Onasoga is the pastor there, and we are both old friends with his wife, Zsuzsa, from Bible College days. Zsuzsa has visited often when she comes to Szeged monthly or so for shopping, leaving their son Mark to play with our boys. It was a natural choice to visit the Onasoga family and their church on Christmas day. We were also able to join them without children on New Year’s Eve which was a wonderful time of fun and fellowship. We were deeply touched on our Christmas visit by the state of their church building, by the very real needs in neighboring Yugoslavia. So close, but so very different and still suffering. We knew fairly soon that we would be helping that church in Backa-Topola, we just haven’t been sure how exactly God wanted us to do that. We were open to consider moving there – that part of Yugoslavia was once part of Hungary, and Hungarian is heavily spoken, there are even fully-Hungarian schools, so the change would not be that hard for our boys. We have at least been planning on attending that church, calling it our home church for the time being, and looking to Taiwo as our pastor. The distance is about an hour and a half, with the border in between. We have been warmly welcomed, and invited to spend some Saturday nights with the Onasoga family – the other weeks we have planned to get up early and drive on Sunday morning.
Last weekend we spent our first weekend in Backa-Topola, and had a wonderful time Sat. evening and Sunday. It was as we left on Sunday, during one of the most bitterly cold days of the winter so far, that our van began to have problems. We ended up having to stay over Sunday night as well, and a car mechanic there eventually got our van running by late Monday afternoon. Our van runs on diesel, which can freeze in extreme temperatures – which is what was happening to cars, buses and trucks all over our region. We figured that was all that was wrong. We made it back to Hungary, and the van promptly stopped again, this time making a horrible sound. Tuesday afternoon we got the first warning that it was not just the frozen diesel. By Wednesday we knew that our van’s engine is totally dead, will need to be completely rebuilt – an intake valve broke and fell inside the combustion chamber while the engine was running.
Tuesday began the heavy talks and prayer over all this. It will cost $1000-2000 to fix our van. Is there any point in putting so much money, that we don’t have anyway, into a car, when we could possibly be moving back to the States? But if we are to stay in Europe, we would need a car. And is this a spiritual attack because we’re on the right track by helping in Yugoslavia? Or is this the Lord closing the doors, forcing us to move sooner than we were thinking? Norbi also needs a car for his computer job, which takes him all over town each day. And as things stand, we can not afford to remain here without that job. We also needed to decide some things, and decide them fast. Just one day of trying to get around by public transportation to do his job made us see how impossible that would be – Norbi is now getting home very late – 8 pm one night, and not able to return for lunch. And renting a car temporarily is just not an option here.
Through much prayer, and painful talks, we have come to some decisions. Norbi has given notice at his job, and we will be moving back to the United States, to Simi Valley, CA. With that decided, we came to the issue of when. To remain here, with no car, would mean several things. Mainly it would make it nearly impossible for us to keep in constant fellowship with the church in Backa-Topola, leaving us back in isolation here in Szeged – something we do not think we could handle until summer. And without his job, we really could not afford to remain here. We have been, for the first time since this all began, really considering moving before summer. We are looking at March, which is also when Rachel’s Hungarian visa expires.
You may be asking why we are reacting so strongly to our car breaking down. We’re not really, but we do see it as a tool God has used to communicate to us. We bought that van to be used in ministry, we could have easily bought a much newer, and smaller car for our family use – but we wanted a van to be able to transport more than just our family. And that car has been used, over and over. We wanted to continue to use that van in ministry in YU, and knowing that, it would have been very easy for God to keep that van running. Rachel’s parents had an old van that her family knew had angels, as it kept going and going long after it should have died – but it was still needed to serve the Lord. By stopping our van, God really spoke to us, releasing us from more ministry right now. We feel we’ve gotten an okay from the Lord to rest, to just live for a while, be a family. I don’t think we were accepting that very well, and so, God made it very clear.
We still have much to do here, and continue to appreciate all your prayers. We also greatly have need of some financial help to get us back to the States. When we moved over here, we had been saving towards that very thing for three years, three years during which God really blessed Norbi in his job. We paid for all our moving expenses over here. We won’t be able to do that going back, and are humbly asking for any and all help you feel able to give. And above all, your prayers through this time will be needed even more. There are many transitions ahead, and much to prepare for in the coming months.
We pray God is blessing you all in this new year.
Norbi & Rachel
Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!
We have much to share, and much to ask you to pray about for us. First, we never were able to get out our last newsletter, done in the fall and covering summer events as well. So much has changed, that we’ve decided it would be foolish to mail it out now—but it is on our website, for those who can go and read it. We’re sorry we weren’t able to get it out to you.
We are no longer working with Kyle Eckhart at CC Szeged, and are earnestly praying about our future here in Hungary. We are in touch with Greg Opean (pastor of CC Budapest and an old friend—he is the missionary who ages ago lead Norbi to the Lord) and have his full support as we look to what God may have in store for us in the future. There are two basic options for us right now: to move on to another town in Hungary and help in another church; or move back to the States. We feel that if we are to return to the States, now would be the time—with only one child in school to make the adjustments, not all three. We had no desire to move just now, especially no desire to disrupt our kids’ lives, with both boys doing so well in Hungarian schools. Please pray for us, as it is a hard time, especially with it being Christmas. We suddenly have no church family to celebrate with, and that will be painful—especially for the children.
Both boys are doing great in school, and are now pretty well fluent in Hungarian. Joshi enjoys music lessons twice a week in kindergarten, and his teachers have raved on how smart he is—so we now know his dumb act at home is just that—an act! Siah loves school, he’s one of those kids who fully enjoy it. And his Hungarian has so greatly improved, all our fears for him have been quickly wiped away. His teacher only asks that we encourage him to speak more in Hungarian—as he understands fully, but still thinks in English and translates it word for word, which doesn’t really work grammatically. He’s also becoming very European, and loves his soccer lessons two days a week, and lives for his after school art class each Tuesday.
Anna, now 3, is still home with Mommy, we ended up deciding to wait until next September to start her in Hungarian preschool. Both Mommy and Anna fully enjoy their mornings just the two of them—’no boys!’.
God provided an excellent job for Norbi, back in computers, with flexible hours and great contacts—leading to many on-the-side jobs helping people personally with computers. This has been such a help financially, and had still left room for ministry.
Please keep CC Szeged in your prayers, and us, as we all go through this transition with us leaving. This is hard for us all, especially at Christmas. We’ve been left with no church family to celebrate with this year, and that hurts. Please pray for our kids through all this. The leadership team at CC Szeged had become their family away from family.
There is much more we cannot share, many aspects to the decisions before us. If you have any questions, or want to share anything with us, please feel free to contact us. E-mail is best, but old snail mail works too. We will try and answer all we can.
Praise Reports and Prayer Requests
“Is anyone of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise…
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:13 & 16b
- Rachel got a one year visa, good until March (they count it from her last trip across the border, not from when it is issued) - she’s finally all legal!
- Both boys’ Hungarian is excellent!
- Josiah is doing super in Hungarian 1st grade, his teacher is impressed and he loves school!
- Norbi’s job installing modems for cable internet access, and the many extra jobs he’s gotten from the contacts and the quick word-of-mouth that he 1) really knows what he’s doing; 2) is honest and, 3) doesn’t over-charge. God has provided so faithfully.
- Anna’s skin is doing so much better. She’s found much relief and help from the allergy medication, Claritin, which she takes nightly. Skin is still dry, but soo much better.
- Anna can have milk again—just no cheese, and possibly some cheese, just not all kinds. This opens so many doors—ice cream, whipped cream, pudding, etc…!
- Rachel had a health scare, and after much frustration and many Dr. visits, we know she is not pregnant, and does not need hormone therapy. She is doing so much better emotionally and physically—thank you to all who prayed from the e-mailed prayer requests.
- For us to clearly hear where the Lord wants us to go next. And then assurance and confirmation so we can make such a big move in peace and confidence.
- For our home and lives to be full of the fruits of the spirit through this hard time, that we can continue as a witness of our Lord, and not shame Him or His name.
- Wisdom for us as parents especially. We don’t desire to move during the school year, and are praying earnestly for God’s guidance in that issue. We really want what the Lord wants for the children he has loaned us—be that to be raised on the missionfield with possible uprooting every few years, or to be raised back in the States—we see pros and cons to each, and are really seeking wisdom right now.
- Both of us have heard and know distinct callings on our lives personally and as a couple, we are now seeking the Lord’s will for our family, if that is different or not.
Leaves above will lead you to the newsletters in that year - usually three or four per year. And 'Szeged Info' has just that, some interesting facts about our city.