Dear Brothers and Sisters in our Messiah,
While it has been a long time since our last newsletter, for which we apologize, we are very excited to take this moment to share and update all the latest events at Ari'EL Hungary. First however, we would like to thank you for your support and continued prayers for us and for our ministry.
At the end of 2017, we finished the first part of our Bible study entitled: Revelation: Future Prophetic Events which is based on the book, Footsteps of the Messiah by Dr. Fruchtenbaum. We started this teaching back in October 2016. Ivan taught this topic in great detail, which gave the attendants more time to understand and read the relevant bible verses. We also showed pictures pertinent to the course, which were taken on our two Israel study tours with Dr Fruchtenbaum. In 2018 we will study the Messianic Kingdom. Since January of this year two couples as well as a Messianic believer joined our bible study.
In the Summer of 2017, we attended, on a weekly basis, a Jewish teaching series on the “Shulchan Aruch”, which are the codes of Jewish law. This was organized and taught by our Jewish friend Gabor who allows us to use the space in his art gallery for the Bible study and fellowship. We were the only Gentile participants among the Jewish people. This was a good opportunity to build new connections with unbelieving Jewish people.
In Ariel’s Fall (autumn issue) magazine, Rita’s article describing the early history of anti-Semitism, was published. A Jewish believer responded to the article: “I had been called a Christ killer and dirty Jew when I was young. Thank you so much for writing about the errors which have been taught and passed down through the centuries.”
We also had opportunity to engage in a long discussion with our dear friend Mariann who is a Holocaust survivor, as well as her friend. We spoke about salvation faith in Yeshua.
We were privileged to have two young guests with us, both acquaintances from Camp Shoshanah: AnnaMae and Ariane. We had a great time with them.
One of the most interesting fellowships we had was with a missionary couple from the United States. This is indeed a marvelous story. They are from Hungary; the man was my (Ivan’s) classmate at Catholic high school. He was one of the worst students. We hadn't seen each other for the last 35 years. But somehow, through the high school mailing list, he recognized my name and saw that we have a ministry. Some years ago, he and his wife became missionaries in Los Angeles in the poorest slum section of the city. He teaches soccer to the Spanish children and they share the gospel. Their testimony was heartbreaking. They enjoyed our messianic fellowship and teaching. Now they follow us on our Home and Facebook pages. They wrote this note to us: “We are following your weekly bible teachings. It was no accident that when we met up you happened to be teaching on discipleship. We took this as an encouragement to rectify some of our ways and habits. We saw this as a correction from the Lord that we were waiting for, for a long time. As we saw a huge amount of suffering we wanted to do more and more for Him and at the same time we tended to forget our personal, intimate relationship with Him. We are grateful that you continue to share your teachings which obviously contain a lot of study and hard work. Thank you. It was so good to fellowship with you.
We are continuing our Messianic fellowship meetings and have been studying the following topics: The right motivation in the Christian life: The correlation between salvation and discipleship: Are disciples born or made? These are hotly debated topics and we also explored the problems that come with Lordship salvation. We have also studied other topics such as: Whose work brings sanctification? : When the religious system wins over the biblical message: Does free grace lend itself to false security? : Judgments: every believer gets his reward before the Bema-seat. And as has already become tradition with us, this year we will once again have a Passover demonstration for our fellowship and for others who are ready to participate.
At the end of the year a friend of ours visited with his family. We had great fellowship, took communion together, and then had the privilege of baptizing his 19 year old daughter in our bathroom (see the picture). She is a professional figure skater, who participated in the Olympic Games this year. What a way to end off a year of blessings!
One member from our bible study, who is a Jewish believer and whose family lives in Shanghai said she is very thankful for the studies and the fellowship. She regularly sends the links of the mp3’s to her daughter. Her daughter is a believer and is the wife of the leader of the Jewish community in Shanghai. Her sons are also believers.
A Holocaust survivor, Suzanne, visited our fellowship and liked it very much. She was first with us first at a Pesach (Passover) demonstration earlier in this year.
We are continuing our weekly bible reading with our Jewish friends. Only God knows if we will see the results of this investment, but we are very thankful to be able to do this kind of evangelism and have good connections with Jewish people. In fact, one of our Jewish friends, Gabor invited us to his home for Sukkoth where Ivan blew the shofar for the fourth time. This man had invited other Jewish friends to his home for this event as well as for the celebration of Hanukah, when he explained the traditions surrounding this feast and invited us all to eat delicious Hungarian – Jewish doughnuts.
Our most important upcoming event of the year’s first half will take place in May when we will have our fourth Messianic conference with Dr. Fruchtenbaum. The date is: May 22-27, 2018. This year we are blessed to have the organisation Midnight Call helping us out. They will provide the venue for the conference, which is centrally located in Budapest. They will also help to advertise for this event. The topic will be “The Life of Messiah from Jewish Perspective”, focusing primarily on the trial, death, burial and resurrection of Yeshua. It will also include studying the opening events found in the book of Acts, centering around the Feast of Weeks. Ivan will be translating for Dr. Fruchtenbaum. We have already worked the PowerPoint slides into a bilingual version which will be a great help with the teaching. Please pray for this important event.
We worked on the correction of the booklet The Three Messianic Miracles. It is complete and ready for publication. We are hoping that the printed version will be ready for the conference.
A believer who was surfing the internet looking for a Messianic fellowship in Hungary came across our Homepage and realized she knew us for ten years. We had actually gone to the same congregation at one time. She first read Israelology, and then borrowed the Footsteps book from us. Both these books proved to be a great blessing to her and from that time on she has been following our teachings and bible studies through the website.
Ivan continues sharing the teachings from our Messianic Fellowship (in written and mp3 formats) on our Home and Facebook page. There are between 100 - 200 visitors who come onto our homepage blog.
Ivan is still working full time as a music teacher at a secondary school. In May, Noemi will finish high school and will then begin university. Please pray for her final exams in May. Rita continues to write articles about rising anti-Semitism in Hungary. Her health has improved a lot. Praise God.
We are very thankful for your prayers and for your interest in our ministry. We are praying for you to have a blessed year in 2018. Shalom to all of you.
Ivan, Rita and Noemi