At the end of an exhilarating year and just back from Eastern Europe, I hope this letter finds you: doing well, preparing for a Christ-centered Christmas and encouraged with God’s continuing and expanding work through 4D.
Here are just a few recent highlights:
Ondra, in Czech Republic, continues his club and church planting ministry and is responsible for 4D’s LeaderXpress (a website providing resources for youth workers throughout his country and neighboring Slovakia). He is also the coordinator and translator for a nationwide stewardship program being launched in partnership with Czech Evangelical Alliance, Compass and 4D. In addition, a different partnership (Promise) is connecting with hundreds of Czechs who are seeking God on the Internet and asking for follow-up and help. Another first is Josh McDowell’s “Handbook on Counseling Youth,” which is expected to be in print within the next four weeks; a 4D initiative in partnership with the largest Czech Christian publisher Navrat. And continuing ministry in the public schools is just one more way to share the Good News.
Rei and his 4D team in Romania continue to be used as a strong, local, church-based ministry. They and their model are an inspiration and source for equipping leaders throughout the country. If God provides extra funding, Rei hopes to add more Internet ministry and staff to especially help seekers get connected with trained volunteer e-coaches, small groups, and ultimately local churches that welcome and nurture new followers of Christ.
Jozsef and Csilla are being used by God in Hungary. Henryk heads up an amazing media ministry in Poland.
And the newest 4D Partner I want to introduce to you, is in Transylvania, Romania. Levente Horvath, who earned his doctorate in missions in the UK, also is connected as an expert resource in missions to the well-respected Reformed Seminary in Debrecen, Hungary. But to Levente, life is not only about theory and academics. It’s about helping churches to be missional – to reach out with the love of Christ in order to see lost people redeemed and restored. Christmas to Levente is not about getting, but about passing on God’s love and grace to those in need.
I have known Levente and some of his key staff for 30 or 35 years. We were “long distance friends” who didn’t meet very often. It was Stuart and Beth Ferguson (4D International Staff), who lived and worked in Transylvania, who cultivated the relationship, resulting in Levente and his board of directors asking to be an official 4D Partner.
The ministry is called “Good Shepherd Romania.” It’s about helping churches to be missional, publishing resources (including authors like Timothy Keller), student ministry among the two million Hungarians living in Romania, and a unique residential recovery program for addicts.
It’s often easier to reach out to people within our comfort zone. Jesus did not. And, aren’t we glad! Good Shepherd’s ministry brings hope and redemption through Jesus mostly to alcoholic addicts.
Alcoholism is a big problem in Romania, where a bottle of vodka costs the same as a loaf of bread. Especially in the villages, it’s quite common for families to self-produce — and consume — close to one hundred gallons of vodka a year. And lives that are on a path of destruction often pull others along with them.
4D’s partner, Good Shepherd, provides a place where churches and families can take people in need, in order to participate in a residential recovery program. Shorter programs are ten days. Many of the programs are in Hungarian, but some also in Romanian. In the last few years over 700 people participated with a success rate of over 70 percent. That’s about 500 people, both men and women!
About 40 percent of the cost is being paid by the family or sending church, which gives them a stake in the program, often resulting in much needed prayers and follow-up programs.
On average, the subsidy paid by Good Shepherd is about $400 and with a success rate of over 70 percent, the cost has been about $500 per successful participant.
Levente did not look for a comfortable job when he got involved. It was clearly God’s calling and empowering that made him a messenger of God’s Good News to those desperate and in need. What an inspiration!
As a 4D friend and partner, I want to thank you for being part of God’s amazing journey for us this past year. I also ask you to join hands and help our partners to move forward in 2013.
With much appreciation from the many you have ministered to in Jesus’ name,
Together on His team,
P.S. Please help us move forward in 2013 through your prayers, partnership and year-end gift. A Matching Gift will make your giving go even further in sharing God’s Good News on earth. 4D means “for Deo/God” and it is Him we want to serve, especially this Christmas season when we celebrate God’s great gift to us.