In February, we deepened our knowledge in the books of the New Testament. For two weeks we were studying the Gospel of Matthew. A teacher from the United States developed our understanding of the concept of the kingdom of God. We learned about the differences and similarities between the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven and the Gospel of Grace. The lesson on cartography was the most memorable of all: we learned to draw a New Testament Palestinian map. I never thought that drawing simple maps could be that easy!
The following week we learned about the gospel of John. A teacher from Ireland helped to understand the uniqueness and theological meaning of the Gospel of John. One of the more interesting tasks was to memorize eleven verses from the Gospel of John in four days. At first, I thought it is impossible. But at the end of the week, almost all students and we as well managed to learn them perfectly in this short period of time!
In February, we continued the services we started in January. God provided great opportunities to put theological knowledge into practice, make new friendships, and encourage other brothers and sisters in Christ.
Since the end of January when some restrictions had gone down, I began serving with a group of students in a youth group at the Budapest Church on Friday evenings. There, we spend time with local youth, we have worship and a word sharing time. Last Friday, I had the opportunity to share the word of God together with a second-year student, who is a refugee from Myanmar. Thank God for a wonderful opportunity to serve! Through this ministry, I am increasingly learning how to make warm contacts with foreign believers and how to maintain those relationships.
Due to quarantine restrictions, we still gather at the home church. We can gather up to ten people at most, which makes the worship small but very cozy. Gabrielė continues to lead the worship, and I shared a sermon for the first time in my life. Based on God’s word, I encouraged to maintain humility and gratitude to God during this difficult time.
Lately, God has been teaching us to serve financially to the needs of others. Each year, the Word of Life Bible Institute contributes to one Christian mission that needs financial support. Last year, the institute raised money to bring Christian books to Middle East countries. This February, the institute decided to gather support for two second-year students. These students are refugees from Myanmar who grew up in the Czech Republic and came to the Bible Institute to deepen their theological knowledge and know the word of God. Their goal is to be missionaries in Myanmar. At the end of the school year, they will travel to the Mission Center in the Philippines and from there to Myanmar. We are happy to contribute to God’s work in Myanmar, at least in this way.
We went on a couple of trips this February. I knew nothing about the first trip until the last moment. It was planned by Gabrielė for our wedding anniversary. We met the paper anniversary in Miskolc, 2-hour drive away from the BI. Most of the places were closed due to quarantine, but we still took a walk around the incredibly beautiful surroundings of the Lillafüred manor. The next day we drove to Bükk National Park and were able to take a walk in a beautiful river valley flowing with small waterfalls near the town of Szilvásvárad. After leaving on Saturday, we returned to classes on Monday.
At the end of the month, we went to Budapest – the capital of Hungary. We have been in Hungary for five months now, but we have not yet had the opportunity to go to Budapest just two of us. Thus, the purpose of the trip was to have a day-lasting date for just us and to walk around the Old Town of Budapest. We started the day with a 5-kilometer walk around the János-hegy ridge. Climbing to the very top (500 m high) we saw a wonderful, sunlit panorama of the whole city of Budapest. We then drove to Margarita Island and took a 15-kilometer walk through the Old Town, along the bank of the Danube River. After a full day of adventures and walking, we came back to the car exhausted and after an hour we were back at home.
Searching for our calling
Since January Gabrielė and I started thinking and praying about what we want to do in our future after the studies. Recently, we have begun thinking more and more about missionary work. After the winter break, we had a lot of talks with missionaries around us about their life, work, and service. Deeper we got into it more we questioned ourselves: what is mission work? Could we do it? Is God calling us to be missionaries? And by answering those questions we are trying to understand if this path is for us.
We have noticed that Christian activities such as evangelism or planning children’s summer camps are much more fruitful if they are organized by people who can devote themselves to it full time. We also see that there is a great shortage of such employees in Lithuania.
So far, we are determined to stay in Hungary for one more year so we can continue to study and serve. We have realized that now that most of the ministries take place online, it is the best time to invest in a personal relationship with God and grow into His word. And is there a better way to spend the pandemic than investing in a life-changing Bible study?
I am still working a quarter-shift remotely to have some stable income. The first five months of study made it quite easy to combine work, study, and services, most of which took place online. But at this point, as the quarantine restrictions are changing and there are more places to serve, I have begun to notice that I am no longer able to do everything. So I am left with the choice to either concentrate on the job or to serve.
Together with Gabrielė, we tried to answer this question in prayer. Seeing how God uses us and blesses the ministry, we realize that we need to focus on it as much as possible.
Until the end of spring, I will try to continue work and serve. But with the summer coming, Gabriele and I will have to do an 8-week ministry in camps and at that point, I will no longer be able to work.
After the ministries, during the last summer month, we plan to share our vision of ministry with people and look for our ministry partners.
Please keep us in prayer for our search for calling. Thank you for your prayers and support. As Paul bade farewell to Timothy and Titus in his epistles, so we wish you, “Grace be with you all.”