Winter Events and Happenings

I have not been as diligent as I intended to be at actively blogging.  There only seems to be so much time in a day.  We have been incredibly busy this spring with English classes, Bible studies, Roma projects, weekend retreats, visiting missionary friends in Kyiv, . . .  Busy and active is good but it has left little time to be behind a computer and with no internet at home it has been difficult to be an active blogger on life, work, and culture here in Ukraine and Hungary.  I hope in the next weeks before our busy summer camp season begins that I will be able to get pictures, stories and updates up and available on this website.

I want to focus a minute and look back at February.  All winter and spring we have kept busy with English classes, Bible Studies, Roma project and interacting with students and young adults in various ways.  We hope and pray that through not our own efforts, but through God and the work of the Holy Spirit, that God has used us to be a Christ-like example, sharing the Gospel, mentoring and encouraging the faith of the many young people who we come into contact with.  You can read more about these activities in other individual blogs and in our newsletter.  If you have not received our newsletter, you can find it here on the website; ask to be on the mailing list.  Some of you will still be getting our latest newsletter sent to you as I have had a difficult time finding the time to get it send out to everyone.  Please accept my apologies for this.

Here in this blog I hope to share about a few events that happened in February that I have not blogged or written about in our newsletter.

One local ministry I want to highlight is the Peterfalva/Tivadarfalva church congregation’s Soup Kitchen.  Three times a week food is prepared and delivered to elderly people and people in need.  We do not have any involvement in this project.  However, I was asked by the Dutch organization that funds this project if I could go and take photographs for them.  The food is delivered to seven different villages by car, bicycle, and foot.  I went two different days to watch and take photographs of the food preparation by the kitchen staff and the delivery of the food.  The staff is local except for one volunteer.  Her name is Wiebke Bartels.  She is from Hamburg, Germany and she is doing a volunteer year with an organization from out of Germany in between high school and university.  She has come to Ukraine and lives at the Peterfalva Reformed High School.  She spends her time visiting elderly people in the village, delivering food, spending time with students, and working in a Roma kindergarten.  We have enjoyed getting to know her this year.

A second happening: in the last weekend of February we took a group of students from the Peterfalva Reformed High School to Budapest for a weekend Bible Knowledge competition.  The students competed in games and events against teams from other Reformed High Schools from Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia.  We enjoyed going and watching the competition and spending the weekend with the students.  On our return trip to Ukraine late Saturday night, our van broke down along the highway and we were stranded on the highway.  I called a friend who looked through a Hungarian Reformed church directory and he called the nearest pastor to see if he could come and assist us.  Not only did they come late on a Saturday night, they towed us to a mechanic, they provided us and all the students with lodging for the night in the church manse, fed us supper and breakfast the next morning.  Following the Sunday morning church service we were able to borrow a van from a friend of ours and return the rest of the way to Ukraine with the students.  The following week we were able to go back and get our van.  The assistant pastor of the church was led to Christ through an English camp and it has been upon the heart of the church to begin a week long English/outreach camp in their city.  They invited us to help them organize this and now we have another English/outreach camp to teach at and organize this coming summer.  God works in mysterious ways sometimes.

Please visit our photo galleries or this link to see pictures from these events and other programs from January and February.

 http://iccdabroad.org/photo-galleries/2015-people-sites-and-projects-in-january-and-february/

About Eric Hoeksema

Stacey, my wife, and I are located in western Ukraine, living with and working among a Hungarian population in Transcarpathia, Ukraine.

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