–By Rev. Rex and Linda Rinne and Sarah Berta-Somogyi; Edited by Elizabeth Ahlman
This story is based on the most recent newsletters from missionaries Rev. Rex and Linda Rinne and Sarah Berta-Somogyi.
Rev. Rex Rinne continues to hold English Language worship services about once every six weeks in the city of Győr, Hungary, where Globally Engaged in Outreach (GEO) Missionary Sarah Berta-Somogyi serves. Sarah had noticed a need for the service for quite some time. Rev. Rinne, whose role is missionary care throughout the region, agreed to hold the service. Prior to the non-communion service, which is attended by Christians of different denominations, Pastor Rinne communes LCMS personnel in attendance.
On Sunday, August 21, 2015, Pastor Rinne held another service in Győr following the Eurasia Team Meeting in Prague. Sarah says,
On our return trip from Prague, we brought 9 of the other missionaries to Győr with us to enjoy the weekend, which included a game night for students and English-language worship. It was nice to just slow down and have time to chat, and I also liked that my students could reconnect with some missionaries (like Pastor Rex and Linda Rinne, who regularly come down to do the worship service) and get to know new people.
Fellow LCMS missionaries who were able to attend included new GEO missionaries Sean Baker and Gabriel Fickenscher, who were on their way to their new positions as teachers at a Lutheran school in Tisovec, Slovakia. The weekend gave them a chance to see how a similar school based ministry is done in Hungary, where Sarah has been living and working with students for the past seven years. As the missionaries were exploring Győr together, they had several opportunities to invite people to the English language worship service. Sarah describes one encounter:
We were hanging out in McDonald’s when a teenage girl approached our table, asking if we were speaking English. We answered that we were and told her what we were doing there. She then shared that she lives in New York, but spends the summers with her grandmother in Hungary. She had really been missing the chance to worship, so she was excited when we invited her to the service. She came, and brought her twin sister and her grandmother with her.
Rev. Rinne and Linda add that as a result of the conversation with the twins and their grandmother, “one of the sisters is going to look into what Concordia University, Mequon, WI has to offer as she begins her university search. They said they’ll be back to worship when they visit their Grandmother next summer.”
Rev. Rex and Linda Rinne also had an opportunity to invite two others:
While we were getting cash from an ATM in Győr, Hungary. Rex apologized to a young woman who was waiting for us to finish our many transactions. She was smiling since she understood what we were talking about. At the end of the conversation, we invited her to the English Worship service that would take place the next day…[Soon after,] while purchasing a cover for Sean’s i-pad, the clerk asked Sean and Rex what they were doing in Győr. They told him that they were Christian missionaries and were here to lead an English speaking worship service. They invited him to come.
While these other two people did not attend this time, the seed has been planted, and hopefully they will come in the future. At the service on this particular Sunday, they had 32 people come, which was the largest number so far. Additionally, there are often different people who attend, so the service has proclaimed Christ to many more people.
Sarah says that opportunities for new visitors are always in front of them. She shares:
The day after the service, I also heard a woman speaking English as I was walking along, so I decided to chat with her and her husband. He is Hungarian, and she is British, and they split their time between the two places. I told them a little bit about me and invited them to attend the next worship, to be held in October. When I mentioned that it was at the Lutheran church, they said they knew where it is and that they would be interested in coming!
What better way for Christians to be strengthened in the faith or for non-Christians to hear the proclamation of the Gospel than in the Divine Service in which the Lord God gives His gifts to us? Please continue to pray for the English-language worship service, as well as the work of our missionaries in Central Europe.
- Learn more about and consider supporting Rev. Rex and Linda Rinne.
- Learn more about and consider supporting Sarah Berta-Somogyi.
- Learn more about and consider supporting Gabriel Fickenscher.
- Learn more about and consider supporting Sean Baker.