In July 2016 we moved to Hungary in order to fulfil God’s call to teach and minister all over Central and Eastern Europe.
If you’d like to know why we took this step and how you can support us, here’s the story of how God has been leading our family…
Hannah and I always knew we were going to be at Ellel Ministries Pierrepont (UK) until April 2016, but we never knew what was going to be next for us. About 3 years ago I was in prayer and I saw a vision of our family driving through mainland Europe in a large car (larger than the estate car we had at the time anyway). The car was moving through Germany and pointed towards Hungary. It came with a strong sense that we would be preaching the gospel and ministering to people all over mainland Europe. I saw this same vision 3 times in the space of about 6 months. The third time I saw it I felt the Holy Spirit tell me to call a missionary lady I know in Austria (whom I hadn’t spoken to for about 2 years) and tell her about the vision. About two weeks later I finally got around to it, I emailed her asking if I could give her a call. When I got on the phone to her she told me that about 2 weeks earlier she had felt like she should call me, had tried about 5 times and couldn’t get hold of me so gave up! When I told her the vision she said it rang true in her spirit and she encouraged me a lot with scriptures and prayed for us.
Over the next few months I spoke to this lady a few times and eventually she said “why don’t you and Hannah come over here to Vienna and just spend a week praying for more direction from the Lord”. I then spoke to my pastor and two of my leaders at Pierrepont and they felt it was a good idea. So I prayed and asked the Lord when we should go, and I felt He gave me some dates (4-7 September 2014). Amazingly, this turned out to be the only week Hannah’s parents were free to come over from Germany and look after our kids. So, I booked flights from the 3rd – 8th September to make sure we were there for all the days the Lord had said. I also booked a hire car.
(meanwhile our car broke down and we had no money for a new one… within 2 months God had provided us with a car just like the one I saw in my vision!!)
As the date for our trip drew nearer I started to feel strongly that there was going to be more to our trip than simply ‘praying’. I felt that the Lord was going to open a door for us to teach or minister somewhere. Anyway, about 6 weeks before we were due to go, we got an email from an American couple whom we knew were leaders in Ellel in Hungary but we didn’t really know what they did. In their email they said they would be coming to Pierrepont very soon and would like to meet with us for coffee. Before they came I looked them up online and was amazed to see that they don’t work for Ellel Hungary at all, but that they are the directors of a team called Ellel ‘CEED’ which stands for ‘Central and Eastern Europe Development’. Basically they live in Hungary but their job is to drive round to lots of different countries in Eastern Europe that don’t already have Ellel Centres and take the message of the gospel and God’s power to restore broken lives to the people there, and more importantly they train up the local people in these countries to do it themselves. When I realised this I could see that they do exactly what we were doing in the vision I saw!
When this couple came to our house for coffee, they told us about how God is opening doors all over the place, particularly in Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Czech Republic at the moment. They said their biggest problem right now is that they simply don’t have enough people to do all the work!
I told them about my vision and they said we should consider going over there one weekend to join them on one of their trips. After a little while I told them we had flights booked to Vienna and asked if they happened to have anything on that weekend. It turned out they did, and it just so happened that the timings of the flights we had booked were absolutely perfect to enable us to get to Vienna, drive to Budapest and then leave for Serbia the next morning. After the trip we were able to get back to Vienna International Airport just in time for our flight home. We couldn’t have planned it better if we had tried!
As the months after that trip went on we felt God saying we should push the door on joining the Ellel ‘CEED’ team. After speaking to various leaders they said they would love to wholeheartedly welcome us under two conditions: 1) We join a local church and get as involved as possible (even though we will often be on the road at weekends) and 2) That we raise 100% of our own financial support like the other members of that team have to do. As the person with responsibility to provide for my family, as you can imagine, I panicked a bit at first, wondering where on earth the money is going to come from!! However, as we have been praying about this God has given us Psalm 27 and Psalm 37 to affirm to us that He is our provider and that we can trust Him. So we made the commitment to go. We left the UK on the 16th of April and took a 3-month sabbatical because we’d done about 7 years of ministry without a proper holiday! We arrived in Hungary on the 12th of July 2016 and our first priority is to find a school, kindergarten and a house to rent (somewhere near Budapest).
Prior to our move, I went to minister in Serbia and Romania (as you may have seen in our newsletters) and it struck me how desperate the people seem to be for the streams of living water that the Holy Spirit brings.
It is also quite apparent that the people are in deep need of emotional healing and encouragement to step out and use the gifts God has given them. It’s amazing to see the way the Spirit of God gently ministers to them and the tears that come as he heals and softens their hearts.
After I had spent a few months panicking about where the finances to support our family would come from, the Lord then showed me that if He is calling us to go, He has also called particular people to support us. Over the last year or so, various people have heard about what we are doing and have said they would like to support us financially. We have now been living in Hungary for more than a year and have never lacked anything. We feel that this is a great confirmation that we are doing the right thing and we are very thankful to the friends, family and supporters who are giving generously to enable us to fulfil this vision. We are also thankful to God for giving us the courage to step out in faith, for encouraging us through hard times and for giving us so many opportunities to serve people here in Central and Eastern Europe.
If you are reading this story and are interested in joining our support team, we are looking for people who can support us in the following three ways:
1. Prayer – There would be no formal agreement but we would send you updates every now and then and would hope you would set aside a bit of time each month to pray specifically for our family and for the work we are doing.
2. Encouragement – We would love to be in sporadic personal contact with you. This may mean sending emails every now and then or paying you a visit if we are nearby. The encouragement that flows out of relationship is likely to be very important for us in the beginning, especially since we will barely know anyone and don’t speak the language!
3. Finances – Our support team is mostly made up of people who have chosen to give a small monthly amount. If you would like to join, the amount is entirely up to you and you can find out how to give on our support page (this page also has regular updates on how far we have got with our support raising).
Please do pray for us as we continue on this new adventure and step into deeper water when it comes to trusting God for every aspect of our lives. Our prayer is that many lives will be impacted as we travel and share the message of the gospel. Since we have been here we have ministered in Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and the Czech Republic. Thanks for reading our story! For ongoing news, you are welcome to sign up for our newsletter.