Christmas 2020

Dear Special Partner,

Blessings from Budapest, Hungary once again.

Christmas!  It always been one of our favorite times of the year.  We always think of our own childhoods so many years ago for me, growing up in Wisconsin and Colorado and Brenda in Florida.

Our own families, who probably didn’t have much, but made Christmas so special for us as kids.

This Christmas will be our 24th Christmas in Hungary.  So nice.  Its usually cold here and sometimes snow on the ground and lights on the houses.  Our house will be decorated in our own traditions that we brought from America to make it feel so nice.

Of course this year, like most places around the world will be different.  For the first time our youngest daughter Audrianna will not be with us. She will stay in America and probably celebrate it with my family (Jim) in Colorado.  She is not allowed to come to Hungary because of border closures because of the Covid Virus.

But our 26 year old daughter Alexandra is with us here in Hungary so we will have her with us. So nice.  Our other three kids and their families will stay in Orlando and Nashville. We are so happy for them and a little sad for us.

But we will totally enjoy this Christmas Season.  We are soooo blessed.

We wish you an amazing Christmas. We pray you totally enjoy your Christmas Season.  I know we will… God has blessed us so amazingly we never take it granted.

We are EXPECTING GREAT things in 2021 as we continue to minister throughout the nations of Eastern Europe.

Merry Christmas to all from us here in Budapest.

Jim and Brenda

November 2 2020

Dear Friends,

On November 8 we celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary.  Yes, on November 8, 1980 in Gainesville, Florida we said “I do.”  Florida girl with a Colorado guy.  So nice.

At the end of every Summer here in Budapest we can’t help but be reminded that it was the end of the summer back in 1997 that we left the USA to first moved to Budapest. 

We think of those days when we moved here with our four children, that we thought we would be here, maybe 1 – 3 years.

Now we are starting our 24th year here and continue to love it and feel this is where we are supposed to be in God’s plan for our lives.

We are still here but three our our four children now live in the US and we have three grandkids.

As we always say, thank you for helping us reach this part of the world with the gospel. In the midst of all that is happening in the United States and around the world, the gospel goes forward. 

Special Note From Brenda…

It is such a blessing to have our daughter, Alexandra here with us. She and I love to go for walks together and we both love music. But she is a daddy’s girl, he has a special place in her heart!

We are so thankful that even though we are 5,000 miles from the rest of our family, we are able to spend time with them through video chat and internet phone calls.

Its neat to watch online at least and hanging out with our younger son in Nashville and his family on their back porch and listen to our 3 1/2 year old grandson tell knock-knock jokes, play games with him and play peekaboo with his baby brother and watch his face light up and and hear him squeal!!! That is so special, even if it is via video chat.

Also it’s so awesome to watch online our older son and his family at the beach and to see our 5 year old granddaughter in Florida ride a wave in with her Daddy on a boogie board!

On her 5th birthday we were there at her party and saw the excitement on her face as she opened the presents we sent her and hear her sweet voice as she chatted with us via video chat! Special memories!

Also talking with our youngest daughter, Audrianna, who lives in West Palm Beach, as she was walking on the beach, I could hear the waves splashing on the shore. It’s almost like we are walking together. But not quite. We have had some great conversations!

Of course it’s not the same as being there in person but we are so thankful to stay connected and we feel so close to our kids, such a gift from God!

Jim and Brenda

August 20, 2020

Dear Friends,

We are so enjoying our summer here in Budapest. Of course we miss seeing our families in the US but we have made the decision not to dwell on things we can’t really control.

Mexican Food is my favorite (Jim) kind of food and I can never have too much of it. So for my birthday Brenda took me to the local Mexican Restaurant here in Budapest called La Iguana.. As you can imagine it’s just a little different than maybe what you might find in the US but we love it. Of course I had Chicken Fajitas and Brenda some kind of Tortilla dish.

We think you will enjoy the three minute video below. We share just a little of how we travel over here and show some of the neat people we get to work with. Just click the video Link here.

Click Here or the Photo Below to Watch The 3 Minutes Video

As we always say, thank you for helping us reach this part of the world with the gospel. In the midst of all that is happening in the United States and around the world, the gospel goes forward. 

Since we moved here in 1997 we have lost track of how many times we have traveled to all these countries that we work and minister in.

In the first years we moved here there were very few highways in Hungary and Eastern Europe. So we took trains a lot. That was and still is so nice.

Now there are highways going in all different directions from Budapest. Here they call highways “Autópálya” (Hungarian) or use the German word, “AUTOBAHN.”

Now it’s pretty easy, even going to Slovenia or Serbia for the day and may other countries and coming back in the same day. There are speed limits on the highways. It’s usually 130 kilometers per hour. Which is in the low 80’s in mph.

The highways are very safe and we love to take them everywhere. Sometimes we take the trains or even fly as it’s pretty convenient. Budapest has direct flights to to all the major cities in the countries of Eastern Europe.

Fortunately we both love to travel so rarely do we get tired of going to so many places. The nice thing about living in Budapest in the center of Eastern Europe is that when we do travel we usually are not gone for more than one or two nights. We so like “our own Bed and Pillows.”

In Awe of HIS Faithfulness!

Jim and Brenda

June 3, 2020

Dear Friends of CMI,

We probably like you are so looking forward to this summer and all the things that have gone on in the world in March, April and May.

Even though we are thousands of miles from the USA here in Hungary, are hearts go out to so many in America.

But in the midst of all this we have been moving forward to what we feel God has called us to do Eastern Europe.  The COVID-19 situation is mostly over here in Hungary and Eastern Europe although people are still vigilant.

Throughout the last few months the borders in almost of Europe were closed to non-citizens of each country.

Now they are open and we are free to travel to the countries of Eastern Europe.  So in the coming weeks we will be going to Bulgaria, Slovenia, Slovakia and Albania.  Brenda is thrilled to traveling with me on some of these trips.

We still believe that this will be an amazing year of ministry and reaching so many with the gospel.

Personal Family Update . . .

  • Some of you where aware that two of our kids in America had lost their jobs becuase of the virus situation.  We are thrilled to tell you that now they are doing fine and are getting back to work.
  • This will be the frist summer in 23 years that we will not be going back to the US for several weeks.  We usually go back to visit our kids, grand-kids, families, take a vacation and speak at churches. Maybe later this year we can do this.

So we are going forward and expecting great things this summer here in Hungary.

Thank you for standing with us in all we do.

Jim and Brenda

May 7, 2020

Dear Special Friends,

WOW, how the world has changed in the last month!

With the COVID-19 passing through Europe and the USA and so many nations, we have seen such massive changes in everyone’s everyday life, work, and even the church.   

But as we heard one Pastor say;, “This should be the church’s finest hour.” In so many places it is so awe inspiring to see and hear the impact that Christians and local churches are making in their communities.

You may not hear much about these stories on the NEWS or in the Media, but it is happening. Sometimes through the online streaming of services or through Food Banks and a thousand other ways. So many amazing stories. So many lives touched.

We here in Hungary are also impacted by this but at the same time we try to continue to do what we feel God has called us to over here as missionaries.

Hungary also has social distancing, but most businesses are open or are opening and most people, including us wear masks as we go out in public.

The borders to most of the countries are opening.

It’s the same throughout all of Eastern Europe where we are in contact with so many of our friends from Poland to the north to Bulgaria and Albania to the very south.

It’s amazing to see the response of so many churches, adapting so quickly to online services.

We also attend church online over here.. But we so look forward to being able to be back in churches in person to be able to worship with so many of our friends.

Still working  all over Eastern Europe.

During these times when many people feel so unsettled and stressed, we are continuing to work with so many here in the countries of Eastern Europe to show them that the answer in the times of crisis is to turn to God.

This year we will see many new churches started in these nations. Thank you for helping us do this.

IN the Midst of all this there is an “air of expectancy” in the people. Expecting great things from God.

How Our Family is Impacted by Covid-19

Three of our four children live in America and this has impacted all three of their lives too.

Our youngest daughter, Audrianna lost her job and our son, Nathan who has his own business has had just about all work stopped for the next few months. Our son, Ryan who lives in Nashville and works for the Dave Ramsey Financial Organization is now working from home.

Sometimes it’s a challenge being so far from them during these times. But we are thankful to see how God is providing and will provide for them during these times.

They will come out stronger when this is all passed we are sure.

What We Are Watching during the “Stay at Home”,

Like millions around the world and here in Hungary, with the “Stay at Home” orders, during these days we have have been doing more reading, walking, running, and watching some TV too.

Brenda is not a big TV watcher and usually only watches it when I have it on.

Here is some of the things we are watching.

  • The Last Alaskans
  • PBS Baseball Series
  • Lark Rise to Candleford
  • HGTV
  • The Masters Golf – (reruns)
  • Jane Eyre
  • Black and White Movies
  • The Andy Griffith Show

We still believe that 2020 will be an amazing year.

In Awe of His Faithfulness,

Jim and Brenda

March 30, 2020

Hello Friends,

Coronavirus...This word is all over the internet, the news, and social media.

The words “GLOBAL PANDEMIC” sound like something from the movies.

I’m sure most of us have never heard “WASH YOUR HANDS” so much in our lives.

We are able to keep up not only with the NEWS here in Hungary, but also in Europe and of course the USA. Neither Brenda nor I are big news watchers. In fact rarely have we had the news on in the last 10 years here in our house in Budapest.

Brenda was supposed to go to Nashville last week (see video below for a two minute update from Budapest) to see our new grandson, Jamie Robert Puhr, who was born to our son Ryan and his wife Katie. But because of all the airline/travel issues she canceled her plans.

Here in Hungary, like America, things are changing daily. Even today they closed the schools.

They also closed the borders to other countries around us today.. Hungarian citizens can come and go but other nationalities cannot. Hungary borders SEVEN countries,. Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Ukraine and Slovakia.

There are few cases of the virus in Hungary as of today. I think we saw today that there were 29 cases. One person has died who had the virus.

In the midst of this we have total PEACE. The authorities also closed down meetings of over 100 people So like many in America yesterday, we watched our church service here in Hungary online. It was great that were able to do this but we did miss being with everyone.

So we expect this to be over with soon, and people’s lives will get back to “normal”.

In the meantime in the coming weeks people here in Hungary, like in America, are concerned about their jobs, groceries, etc, and all that was once normal in their lives.

There is much to get “nervous” about. But we go forward trusting in OUR GOD.

So thank you for thinking of us, praying for us, supporting us, in this time of uncertainty.

You may want to watch the TWO minute video update from Brenda that was made on March 13.  Lots of things have changed since them, but it will give you insight into things over here.

In Awe of His Faithfulness

Jim and Brenda

Brenda is at Szabadság Tér, which is Liberty Square in English, here in Budapest. The US Embassy is to her left and a Statue of Ronald Reagan is also in the Square here in the middle of Budapest. This was made around March 13 so lots of things have changed since then.

March 2020

Hello Special Friends,

Sometimes I wish you could be with us as we serve over here in Budapest and Eastern Europe. We think you would be amazed, just as we are, when you meet some of the people from all these countries we get to work with. They have such passion to reach their communities and nations with the Gospel. Its contagious.

Even though we work with 10 languages, most of the people we work with speak some English. But still after all these years of serving here, we are still so thrilled to visit churches where the worship is in Slovenian, Polish, Hungarian, Bulgarian and other languages.

Sometimes we recognize the Worship Song and sing along in English.

But even when we don’t know the words or the songs, it often gives us chills to know we are a part of seeing this church started and so many people impacted with the Gospel.

This year we are looking to see another THIRTEEN churches started. We invest $4000 in each of these churches. We have the finances for four of them already.

2020 is already an amazing year. But the best is YET TO COME!

Amazing things happening in Albania… 

Hervin and Sedika are some of the people we work with in Albania. We helped them start their church in the Capital City of Tirana back in 2001.

Since that time we have helped them start an additional twelve churches throughout Albania.

When you partner with us… You are also reaching Albania… Even this year we want to see at least TWO MORE CHURCHES started there.

During Communism, Albania was one of the most closed countries in the WORLD. Now there is so much opportunity…

Jim and Brenda

January 2020

Dear Friends,

2020…  Wow… We feel this is going to be another amazing year for us as we serve here in Budapest and all of Eastern Europe.

Every year in January as we make plans for the year we look to see how we can be most effective in making an impact on the nations we work in here in Eastern Europe.  Since the year 2000, 20 years ago we have worked with key pastors in these countries to help them start churches.

Since the year 2000, we have seen over 300 new churches started.  Sometimes they are the only church in the town.

So this year once again we will look to start between 12 and 15 new churches.  They will be started in Albania, Poland, Bulgaria and I’m sure others.  We are already working with pastors and making plans.

We will continue to invest $4000.00 in each of these new churches to help them get started. We have the finances for two of them already.

When we look back to January 1982 when we left the USA to begin as missionaries, we are amazed at all the places we have been able to serve, like Costa Rica and Russia.  Now we are in our 23rd year here in Hungary and we are more in AWE then ever.  Thank you for helping us do this.

So we are EXPECTING great things in 2020.

In Awe of His Faithfulness,

Jim and Brenda

December 2019

Dear Friends,

We absolutely love the Christmas Season. Like most families we have fond memories of what Christmas was like when we were kids.

 

This year our two daughters, Audrianna and Alexandra, will be with us here in Budapest.  Audri, will fly to Hungary next week from Florida.

We will so miss our sons and their families as they will stay in America but we will cherish our times with our daughters and our friends here in Budapest.

This will be our 23th Christmas here, so as you can imagine by now our Hungarian Christmas is the new normal for us. We have spent Christmases in Costa Rica and even three Christmases in Moscow when we lived there in the early 90’s.

Most people are surprised when we tell them how much we love spending Christmas in Budapest.  But we really do love it.

We have learned to embrace the Christmas traditions of Hungary and look so forward to them each year. 

One of the most fun things to do is spend time in downtown Budapest. The streets are amazingly beautiful with lights and decorations and festivals and “Christmas Markets”.

There are lots of beautiful handmade Christmas decorations and gifts. It’s fun to see all the unusual and unique things they have. There is also an endless variety of foods and drinks, places where everyone sits outside and eats and all this takes place quite often when its FREEZING COLD and SNOWY.

We often find local coffee shops or a STARBUCKS to drop in to get warm.

A Special Merry Christmas from Budapest,

Jim and Brenda

November 18, 2019

Dear Special Friends,

Wow, just a few weeks are left in this, what has been another amazing year of minister here in Budapest and all of Eastern Europe.  As we look back at these past few months even we never ceased to be amazed that all that has happened. In places like Sofia, Bulgaria, Tirana, Albania, Pozinak, Slovakia, and a dozen other cities and towns in our part of the world.

On November 8, we celebrated our 39th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY. We took the day off and went to a town on the very western part of Hungary close to Austria called Sopran and totally enjoyed the day. We even found and AMERICAN TYPE BARBECUE restaurant in the town.

Look at us so many years ago in the photo with the horse from back in the 80’s when we were first married.  What a ride our life has been.  We look back on where God has taken us and we feel amazing blessed to do what we do.

We are even now looking to what God will do in 2020…We know it will be above and beyond what we can even think. And we get to be a part of it. So humbled we are.

THANKSGIVING  – So even though they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in Hungary, WE WILL.  Brenda

will go to the local butcher in our town and order a Turkey.  They are always so will do to this for us.

I our stores we cannot get complete Turkeys like in America so we have to order them.  She will put it in the over on Thursday morning and by noon our house will have the smell of our Thanksgivings that we both grew up with.  We will celebrate with friends that will come over that day and will will play games and even watch the AMERICAN FOOTBALL games that come on live in the evening our time.

Then in December will be begin to prepare for our 23rd CHRISTMAS here in Budapest.  Our daughter Audrianna, who lives in Florida will come to Budapest so it will be so nice.

Thank you for helping us do what we do. We well realize we could not do what we do without so many people helping us.

With THANKSGIVING in our Hearts.

Jim and Brenda