Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Reading on a Small Screen

Last week I finished reading "The Prodigal God" by Timothy Keller.
I love Tim Keller's writing style, I love what he is doing in NYC, planting churches with young professionals. I think he is an example worth following.

"The Prodigal God" is based on the parable of the prodigal son, but in the book, Keller explains that the parable isn't primarily about the immoral son, but about his self-righteous older brother. Jesus spoke this parable to the Pharisees, and his point was that both the younger brother, the prodigal son, and the older brother, who stayed at home, and was very upset when the father forgave the prodigal son and received him back, were both sinners - they both were guilty of the same thing: not truly loving the father, but only wanting his wealth, the inheritance. But the older brother - the self-righteous one - was in a more dangerous situation than the younger brother, because he didn't recognize his sin. And the irony of the story, is that at the end of it, the "good" brother is outside of the father's house, whilst the "bad" brother is in the father's house, sharing in the feast, because he repented of his actions and sought out his father.
Essentially, in the book, Keller is pointing out the heart of man - that all men are sinful, even the "good" moral ones, as well as the heart of God - that he is loving and forgiving and receives those who humble themselves and seek him.
I really liked the book a lot; it was a quick read, but had a very powerful message.

This was also the first book I've read on my iPod.
I wanted to buy a copy of this book last time I was in the states, but didn't like the $20 price tag - but the other day I was looking at Amazon.com's Kindle program for iPhone/iPod and Windows, and noticed that the Kindle version of "The Prodigal God" was only $10, and no shipping, so I tried it out.
I actually didn't expect to like reading books on my iPod - I hate reading PDF books on my computer, but I found that I actually liked it. I ended up reading at times I wouldn't usually pull out an actually printed book, like when waiting in line at the post office, or before bed, and I ended up not minding the small screen at all. Kindle is set up really well, with lots of options, and it was nice to use.

So, since that went so well, I downloaded another Timothy Keller book - "Counterfeit Gods" on Kindle too, which I have also really been enjoying.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Eger Rally

One great thing about Eger, is that there is always something going on. During the summer, there is some kind of festival happening every weekend - from the most obvious: the wine festival, even to things like a coffee and cigar festival.

One of the biggest events of the year is the Eger rally. It's a pretty big deal; most of the teams are from Hungary, but there are very many from Slovakia, and some from Poland, Czech Republic and Romania too. Here's the website for it - which has video of the racing on it too.

Every year we've always talked about going and checking it out, and this year we finally went down to the main square for the closing ceremony. Here are some pictures of the cars coming into the main square:

Cute Nate Comments

  • "Night-night outside" (he loves the garden)
  • "Oh NO sister!" (when she cries)
  • "Cross-Jesus-Owwies" (during teaching about Easter)
  • While visiting Nyiregyhaza church service-"Good pray bácsi!, pray to GOD! (points finger up), (then whispers to Balázs)-Jesus!
  • "More dirt" (sandbox);
  • "Where are you Thomas?, where are you James?" (when looking for his trains).

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Here are some recent pictures of Felicia, looking cute and doing her thing :)

Nate played with bubbles for the first time yesterday, and LOVED them. He did it for more than an hour...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Felicia - Back to Neurology

Today we took Felicia back to the Margit Hospital in Budapest for a scheduled check up in the Developmental Neurology department. It has been one month since she came home from the hospital and we have been doing the physical therapy with her to help her heal.
Ma vissza vittük Felíciát a budai Margit Kórházba kontrol vizsgálatra a Fejlődés Neurológia osztályba. Egy hónapja haza jött a kórházból és csináljuk vele a fizioterápiát, hogy segítsünk neki meggyógyulni.

We met with the neurologist who has been working with Felicia, and she did some tests to check her reflexes, her muscle tone, and how well she pays attention and focuses on objects - basic brain functions.
Találkoztunk azzal a neurológussal aki Felíciával foglalkozik, és ő megvizsgálta, megnézte Felícia automata reflexeit, az izmai tónusát, és azt, hogy mennyire tud figyelni - tehát, alapvető agyi funkciókat.

The doctor was pleased to see that Felicia is gaining weight (she called her a little fatso :)) and that she has made significant improvement over this past month.
What the doctor said was that Felicia is doing well, but she is not totally fine yet. In her estimation, if we continue doing the physical therapy, there is a 90% chance that Felicia will be totally fine, and have no symptoms whatsoever. She also said that the 10% change of her having a disability would only be a slight physical disability and not a mental disability, as it seems that her mind is totally fine. One of the signs that her mind is well, is that she smiles, and smiles in response to people talking to her - something babies with mental problems do not usually do.
Az orvosnő örült annak, hogy Felícia sokat hízott (kis duci babának hivta :)) és hogy jelentősen javult az elmúlt hónap alatt.
Az orvosnő azt mondta, hogy Felícia jobban van, de még nem tökéletes. Ő úgy gondolja, hogy ha folytatjuk a fizioterápiát, 90% az esélye annak, hogy Felícia teljesen rendben lesz, és teljesen tünet-mentes lesz. Ráadásul, az a 10%-nyi esély, hogy maradandó sérülése lesz, az csak mozgássérülés lenne, nem értelmisérülés, mivel úgy néz ki, az értelme teljesen rendben van. Az egyik jele annak, hogy az értelme nem sérült meg az, hogy mosolyog, és akkor mosolyog ha valaki beszél hozzá - ami egy olyan dolog amit az értelmisérült babák általában nem tesznek.

We are so thankful to God for this good news! When she was born they told us there was a VERY SLIGHT chance that she would survive and be totally fine - and now, they are telling us that there is a very slight chance that she will have any problem at all. The miracle that God has done in healing our little girl is amazing, and we are so humbled by it and thankful for it!
Annyira hálásak vagyunk az Úrnak ezért a jó hírért! Amikor Felícia megszületett, azt mondták nekünk, hogy NAGYON KICSI az esélye annak, hogy túl fog élni és tejlesen rendben lesz minden - most már azt mondják nekünk, hogy nagyon kicsi az esélye annak, hogy bármilyen baja is lesz. Ez a csoda, amit az Úr tett, hogy meggyógyította a kislányunkat, egyszerűen bámulatos, és nagyon hálásak vagyunk érte!

We will continue to do the physical therapy until the doctors determine that she doesn't need it any more. It is a lot of work and very tiring, but at least it is effective and is helping her to get better.
Thank you for your continued prayers for Felicia's total healing. God is answering these prayers and is very gracious to us. God bless you all!
Továbbra is folytatjuk a fizioterápiát, mindaddig amíg az orvosok meg nem mondják azt, hogy többé nincs rá szükség. Nagyon sok munka és nagyon fárasztó, de legalább eredményes és segít neki, hogy meggyógyuljon.
Köszönjük, hogy továbbra is imádkoztok Felícia teljes gyógyulásáért. Az Úr meghallgatja az imáinkat, és nagyon kegyelmes hozzánk. Isten áldjon meg benneteket!

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new m every morning; great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.
(Lamentations 3:21-24)
De ha újra meggondolom, reménykedni kezdek:
Szeret az ÚR, azért nincs még végünk, mert nem fogyott el irgalma: minden reggel megújul. Nagy a te hűséged!
Az ÚR az én osztályrészem - mondom magamban -, ezért benne bízom.
(Jeremiás siralmai 3:21-24)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


On Sunday evening we went to Nyíregyháza for the ordination service of the new pastor of the Calvary Chapel there.
Our friend Jancsi started that church back in 2003, about the same time that I started praying about coming to Eger. When Jancsi first started the church, Rosemary and I used to go with him sometimes for the Bible studies on Wednesday nights.

It was good to be there and see the work God is doing. The last time we were at one of their services was 5 years ago, when we still lived in Debrecen, and I taught at their Sunday night service! They now have a great meeting place in the city center, and some wonderful people in the church. The Lord has raised up Gábor Gulyás to be the new pastor, and it was a blessing to get to be there and pray for him and the church as they make this next step.

Here are some pictures - all taken by Tibor Kun

Jewish Cemetery in Eger

There are very few Jews in Eger. Probably it would be better to say that Eger doesn't have very many Jews any more, because at one time there was a significant Jewish population here, which is now almost completely gone.

In Eger there were two synagogues - one which was very large, but neither of which are currently functioning - and a Jewish cemetery. Obviously some of the Jewish population left Hungary and went to Israel or the United States - others weren't so fortunate in how they ended up leaving this region... Eger is not so far from Krakow, and I have heard stories from people here about the sad fate of Jews from this area during World War II.

Here are some pics of Eger's Jewish cemetery. Notice that the writing on the gate is in English; I would guess that is for the sake of the Jewish families who now live abroad, and don't speak Hungarian, who come to visit the graves of their ancestors who used to live in Eger.

Jewish Cemetery
Jewish Cemetery

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Felicia - Rosemary's Perspective

To put it short - my pregnancy was healthy, Felicia was healthy up until I went into labor. Then they couldn't find her pulse when I arrived at the hospital.
I had an emergency c section, and she was close to death with an apgar score of 1, she was completely blue and had her lungs and stomach full of meconium. The neonatal doctor saved her life by quickly cleaning her lungs out, pumping her full of drugs and intubating her to give her oxygen. No one thought she would survive.
When I woke from surgery, they brought her into my room in an incubator for me to see her and touch her, and basically say goodbye. She was taken to a special ICU unit in Budapest where they did hypothermia treatment for 72 hours, cooling her body to reduce brain damage and other damage she would have from the time she was without oxygen.

Nick and I were in shock. I then had nothing that I could do except lay in the hospital and recover and get strong enough to travel and be with my son, Nate, who is 2 1/2 and doesn't understand the confusion and doesn't deal with change well. I could only pray and rest. I had seriously no time to worry - but I was in shock and carried by all your prayers to be in God's grace each moment of the day. Nick was strong and took charge of the family, and traveled to Budapest to see Felicia. Both our phones rang all day long as we answered questions and talked about our daughter.

It was disturbing for me to have to say over and over again that my daughter was near death - and to quietly thank people who didn't know what to say and would tell me not to worry and that she would be fine. God had not yet answered prayers to heal Felicia, so those were empty promises people gave to make me feel better. Nick and I felt alone - but very strong in the love of God.

We were so encouraged to hear how many people were praying. We know that God did finally answer those thousands of prayers from all over the world to heal Felicia. We were told on day 4 the first good news about her - that she was improving; it was the first time I cried. On day 7, we were finally told that she will surely survive and her lungs will be healed. I cried again. I still was trying to prepare myself for a child with special needs and possible brain damage.

I have a hard time in an ICU unit. I have visited there too many times - with my mom and dad who have already passed away. My dad had juvenile Parkinson's and finally died of pneumonia. My mom had a bacterial infection in her lungs for years and she also succumbed to pneumonia. Felicia now had pneumonia, and I was glad that she would live - but concerned.

When I was being prepared for the emergency surgery, I was amazed at how quick they were and also that Felicia was able to receive such good medical care in the best unit in Hungary. I knew God was with us, and looking back now, I could see how He took care of so many details along the way to save her life. In preparation - I had planned on staying home for the labor as long as possible, but I started worrying that something was wrong when my labor sped up, so we called my doctor and immediately went in. Had we waited 10 more minutes, she would surely not have survived.
The neonatal doctor on duty in Eger that day was doing training in the Budapest ICU with babies with the same lack of oxygen that Felicia had. She was very experienced and was also the one to treat Felicia all week long in the unit in Budapest. She told us that she felt like Felicia was her own daughter.

We were hanging in limbo, not sure what would happen. We couldn't be angry - at whom? What would that accomplish? We didn't "fall apart"; we had too much to take care of - Nate and Balázs, for example. We put one foot in front of the other each day - and in each moment of the day, we were focused and trusting God. What else could we do? Nothing else made sense to us except to go on and do our best. We could only pray and Nick wrote each day so that others would pray for our daughter and family.

I felt nothing at the time. I was in shock. I didn't know what would happen, and accordingly, how I should feel - grieve, rejoice, what? My tears began to flow with relief as Felicia improved. She was called the miracle baby by every doctor she came in contact with, even in the best hospital in Hungary. As we talked to the doctors and medical staff, it became more and more clear to me what had happened and how big of a miracle she is. I came home, and started to educate myself online, and I just became amazed. The tears began to flow more and more as I am thankful that God gave us back our baby girl and I feel so humble that He would do this for me, for us. We were preparing for the worst - and then we came out with the best.

After the stress of the situation, we are now dealing with the emotional part. Nick and I were exhausted as well.
I spent 1 week with Felicia in a developmental neurology unit where they tried to determine how much damage she has - and she amazingly has minor muscle tone problems that show some lack of oxygen in her brain. We were taught a unique physical therapy to give her at home, 6 times a day for 30 minutes. She does exercises to stimulate her brain and cause it to repair itself. Its quite a lot for us - we are able to manage 4 times of therapy a day. Nate is learning to love his baby sister, and we are learning to be very disciplined with our time.

Thank you for your prayers. It gave us our daughter back, in an amazing way.
Please pray for us to manage her therapy, which will be adjusted each month when we go for check ups to her neurologist in Budapest. Its hard for Nate, and Nick and I are so tired. As Felicia grows up, only then will it show if she is developing well or has problems.


Saturday, March 13, 2010


This past February I held our church’s second “vision meeting”. I want to have these once every 6 months to talk about where we are at as a church, what is the direction we believe God is calling us to move forward in, and how people can be involved in that.
One of my shortcomings is that I am not very good at communicating with people. I have often made the mistake of not letting people know what is going on, or what the plan is; I just assume that they are on the same page – but often they aren’t… So, I realized that I need to work on communicating better with people – including the church, and these meetings are one of the ways I've started doing that.
Since we started this, the results have been very fruitful. People appreciate being brought up to speed on what’s going on, it makes them feel more involved in the church community, like they really are a valuable participant and not just a butt in a chair. It also results in us working together, as one unit, rather than everybody just going different directions and doing their own thing.
At this last vision meeting we talked about a lot of outreaches we would like to do this year, as well as some bigger, long term plans. One of the guys in our church, Peti, had it on his heart that we would pray and fast as a church, and he organized a prayer and fasting chain. I was glad to see his initiative and the church working organically - something I have been seeing more and more, and which I consider a good sign of maturity and a healthy church.
This week 13 people in the church have been taking part in the fast. This has been a really good thing for our church, and it is something I hope will become a regular practice for us.

There are many reasons why fasting is a good and helpful practice for believers. Here are a few:
  1. When you fast, you are teaching yourself to withstand temptation. You are essentially placing a temptation before yourself by denying yourself something, and by doing so you are strengthening yourself. You are teaching yourself to say no to temptation by placing a temptation before yourself, so that you when you are faced with an actual temptation, you will know how to withstand it, because you have trained yourself in saying no to your flesh.
    The point is that we would become master over our flesh, rather than allowing the demands of our flesh to dominate our lives. Fasting can help to break the hold that your flesh's demands have on your life.
  2. Fasting makes you better appreciate what you have. You realize how much you take God's grace for granted and how blessed you really are, when you go without something. We can take for granted the fact that we always have food to eat and a roof over our heads; choosing to fast from something makes you more thankful for what you have.
    John Piper, in his book "A Hunger for God" talks about fasting for the purpose of having greater compassion for the poor and hungry.
  3. Fasting adds a dynamic to prayer. Fasting which isn't done together with focused prayer is nothing more than a diet! The point of fasting is that it would add a dynamic to your prayer life. You give up something physical to spend time with the spiritual. You deny your flesh to nourish your spirit, and your outer, fleshly man becomes weak as your inner, spiritual man gets stronger, and you do spiritual work in your now strengthened inner man.
    In Mark 9, Jesus alluded to the idea that fasting should be a regular part of our lifestyle, and that there are something which will not change if we don't spend time in dedicated prayer and fasting. It is a bit of a mystery how exactly this dynamic of fasting works, but I'm willing to take Jesus at his word on it, and do it even if I don't completely understand the mechanics of it.
What are your experiences with prayer and fasting?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

3 Years

Marika is here in Eger helping us around the house and with the kids, and she reminded me that 3 years ago today she got married to her husband Bernie!
Their special day was special for me too, as it was the first wedding I ever officiated.
Here's a picture of the happy couple from the big day 3 yrs ago:

Happy Anniversary Bernie and Marika! May God bless you with many more happy years together; may He make your marriage strong and an example and blessing to those around you.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Goodbye to Romance

Randy Rhodes was one of the best guitar players ever. He played guitar for Ozzy Osbourne on his first two solo albums. After Randy Rhodes died in 1982, Ozzy was still famous, but his music wasn't nearly as good. In 1986, Ozzy recorded a live album, which was a tribute to Randy Rhodes, and when I was in 8th grade, I bought that album on cassette at a used record store in Arvada.
Randy Rhodes az egyik legjobb gitáros volt, aki valaha élt. Ő gitározott Ozzy Osbournenak az első két szoló albumán. Miután Randy Rhodes meghalt 1982ben, Ozzy még mindig híres volt, de a zeneje sokkal rosszabb lett. 1986ban, Ozzy csinált egy élő koncert felvételt Randy Rhodes megemlékezésére, és amikor 8.os voltam megvettem azt az albumot használtan, kazettán, egy colorádói zeneboltban.
I listened to that record all the time, and one of the songs on it was called Goodbye to Romance. I always assumed that song was written about a romantic relationship and a break-up, but that didn't totally make sense, because the main chorus line was: Goodbye to romance, goodbye to friends... A while later I read an article about how Ozzy had actually written that song after leaving Black Sabbath - it was him saying goodbye to his friends that he had worked with in the band.
Nagyon sokat hallgattam azt az albumot, és volt rajta egy olyan dal, hogy Goodbye to Romance. Én mindig úgy gondoltam, hogy ez a szám biztos valamilyen romantikus kapcsolatról szólt ami tönkrement, de nem igazán stimmelt, mert a refrain szövege az volt hogy: Goodbye to romance, goodbye to friends... Később olvastam egy cikkben, hogy Ozzy akkor írta azt a dalt amikor elhagyta a Black Sabbatht - tehát így búcsuzott el a barátaitól akikkel együtt dolgozott a zenekarban.

Shane and Marianna Daniels moved away from Eger last week to Szolnok, where Marianna is from, and where they hope to plant a church. Shane moved out to serve with us here in Eger 3 and a half years ago, and seeing him leave was kind of a "Goodbye to Romance" type of experience.
We're thankful for Shane's time here in Eger and that God sent him to us for a time, and although we're sad to see him leave, we're even more excited for what God has in store for the future. Our church has a new worship leader, Dani, and we are glad to see new churches being established and the Gospel being preached.
Shane és Marianna Daniels (vagy Dánielsz Sejn és Marianna???) elköltöztek Egerből Szolnokra a múlthéten. Marianna onnan valósi, és ott szeretnének majd gyülekezetet alapítani. Shane eljött Egerbe 3 és fél évvel ezelőtt, hogy velünk dolgozzon, tehát elbúcsuzni tőle egy olyan "Goodbye to Romance"-féle feeling volt. Hálásak vagyunk azért hogy Isten ide küldött Sejnt hozzánk egy ideig, és bár szomorú dolog elbúcsuzni tőle, még inkább izgatottan nézünk előre, és várjuk, hogy Isten mit tartogat. A mi gyülekezetünknek van egy új dicsőítés vezetője, Dani, és örülünk, hogy új gyülekezetek jönnek létre és hogy az evangéliumot hírdetik.

Please pray for our church as we transition, and please pray for Shane and Marianna in Szolnok, that the word of the Lord would spread throughout Hungary and that there would be a great harvest of souls.
Kérlek, imádkozzatok a mi gyülekezetünkért, ahogyan átmegyünk ezeken a változásokon, és kérlek, imádkozzatok Sejnért és Mariannáért ahogy Szolnokon vannak, hogy az Úr igéje terjedjen Magyarországon és hogy nagy aratás legyen!

Sunday, March 07, 2010


Here are 2 videos we took today - one of Felicia and one of Nate.

Felicia and Rosemary -

Nate likes puppies...a lot. As you can see in the video, he even has a puppy on his shirt.
Today he wanted to drink his water like a puppy. I'm not sure where he learned this - I'm guessing it was from seeing a dog do it.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Felicia - Week 6

Felicia is now 6 weeks old. She's a very calm baby, sleeps well, loves to eat, and she's super cute :)
Felícia már 6 hetes. Nagyon nyugodt kisbaba, jól alszik, szeret zabálni, és nagyon cuki :)

We are doing the physical therapy with her, and we can tell she is getting stronger and making progress. We will go back to the developmental neurologist at the end of this month; we're interested what they will say about how she is doing. She seems perfectly normal to us - truly a miracle.
Csináljuk vele a fizióterápiát, és látjuk, hogy fejlődik és erősödik. Vissza megyünk a fejlődés neurológushoz a hónap végén, és kiváncsiak vagyunk, hogy akkor mit fognak róla mondani. Nekünk teljesen egészséges és normálisnak tűnik - egy igazi csoda.

We are very blessed to have Marika Winkelmann here from Germany to help us for 10 days. Marika's husband, Bernie, was a member and elder of our church when we first got started here. Marika is helping with so much, and it frees us up a lot to have her help.
Nagy áldás a számunkra, hogy Winkelmann Marika eljött hozzánk Németországból 10 napra. Marika ferje, Bernie, tagja és elöljárója volt a gyülekezetünknek amikor itt elkezdtünk. Marika sok mindenben segít, és nekünk sokat jelent.

Here are some pictures of Felicia doing her physical therapy:
Képek Felíciáról, ahogyan csinálja a fizióterápiát:

Brother and sister at bed time:
Tesók lefekvéskor:

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

An Easier Way

I am a bit behind with my seminary studies because of what we went through with Felicia. I was given an extension for my two final assignments which were due at the beginning of February; my new deadline is this Friday, and I still have a lot of work to do.

Rosemary forwarded me an email yesterday that just might have solved my problems. Apparently, there is an easier way to get a university degree than by studying and spending weeks writing research papers!

Here's what the email said:

You are nominated for a Ph.d
If you are looking for a fast and effective way to get a diploma,(non accredited) this is the best way out for you.
Provide us with degree you are interested in.
Call us right now on:
For US: 1.718.989.5746
Outside US: +1.718.989.5746 "Just leave your NAME & PHONE NO. (with CountryCode)" in the voicemail.
Our staff will get back to you in next few days!

I'm nominated? How lucky is that???!!!
This is almost as lucky as when that Nigerian guy wanted to deposit all his father's money in my bank account!
Man, if only more people would know about this, people could stop wasting their time reading books and get down to the real business that people with Ph.d-s should be up to: writing reference books, doing experiments in laboratories, being professors, leading universities, finding cures for cancer...

On second thought, calling internationally is expensive, and I'm already half way done with my assignments...