As part of Lehigh Presbytery-Worldwide Ministries covenant and partnership with the Hungarian Reformed Church in Romania, we are hosting two global interns from Romania. Csongor Tussai is from the Hungarian Reformed Church-Transylvania District and Sara Antal Forizs from the Hungarian Reformed Church-Kiralyhagomellek District.
These two young adults are here for four weeks, July 18-August 17, 2019. The first two weeks they will share their culture and heritage with the youth at Kirkwood Camp. On the weekends they will be staying with their host families, worshiping a the local churches and seeing the sights in the U.S. Joe & Noralee Manzek from the First Presbyterian Church of Easton has graciously offered to host Sara Antal Forizs. Bill and Diane Bryson from the College Hill Presbyterian Church of Easton has graciously offered to host Csongor Tussai. We are grateful for their willingness to open their homes and having a heart for mission. They have made both Sara and Csongor feel welcomed and part of their family.
On Saturday, July 20, 2019, Worldwide Ministries of Lehigh Presbytery hosted a welcome dinner with the Moderator of Lehigh Presbytery, Deb Prince.
Sara Antal Forizs attends the Partium Christian University in Romania and taking classes in the Faculty Arts program. She has experience as a supervisor at a children’s camp in Romania. She speaks and understands English, Romanian, and Hungarian. She enjoys jogging, crafting, hiking, and swimming.
Csongor Tussai has graduated high school. He is studying and working on his pilot’s license to become a private pilot. He has worked as a youth leader at the local YMCA and has experience organizing their summer camps. He speaks and understands English, Romanian, Hungarian, and German. He enjoys working with youth, outdoor activities, and flying.
The Summerton, South Carolina community was damaged by flooding in 2015 and then again in 2016 by Hurricane Matthew. Strong winds and rain from the hurricane just added to the devastation caused by the previous year’s floods. The Summerton Presbyterian Church worked with the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Program to bring volunteers to their are to help with the recovery and rebuilding efforts.
The Helping Hands Volunteers of Lehigh Presbytery were part of this effort and made their second trip to Summerton on April 14-21, 2018.
On this trip volunteers were tasked with working on two houses. A small group of volunteers made short work of their assignments on the first house and finished up on Monday. Later in the week a small group went back to clean up the house so the homeowners could move back in. A job well done!
The majority of the volunteers worked on the second house which had a more extensive list of tasks to complete. A few headed to the roof where they removed shingles on one half of the roof, replaced the plywood sheathing, installed new tar paper and shingles, and attached the aluminum flashing.
Another group of volunteers were inside the house where they removed a rotting sub-floor and one rotted floor joist in one room. They then installed a new floor joist and laid down a new sub-floor. What came next was to install underlayment and laminate flooring in a few rooms.
Others were busy removing and installing insulation and sheetrock in a room. They applied a coat of joint compound to the ceiling and wall and installed some freshly painted moldings. A new back stoop was constructed and installed with steps and railings.
After a long week of labors, the volunteers were able to have some down time to enjoy a pontoon boat ride around a swamp in the area. The swamp they toured was formed by damming the Santee River. The swamp is part of Lake Marion (which is named after the Swamp Fox of the Revolutionary War–Francis Marion). It was a beautiful sight to behold. There were large Cypress trees, alligators, cormorants, ospreys and many other interesting and often beautiful things.
The volunteers are grateful for the prayers and support from Lehigh Presbytery. They were able to accomplish a lot of work in a short amount of time. This was all made possible by your generous donations and the tireless time and dedication of our Helping Hands Care Team and Volunteers.
Wouldn’t you like to be part of this mission/ministry?
We invite you to become a member of the Helping Hands Care Team to help plan and coordinate these mission trips; or join us as a volunteer by sharing your time and talents; or you can help by sending a donation to further this mission to help those in need!
If you feel you don’t have the skills to volunteer, you may be wrong…..we have members on the team that can teach you the skills you need. It is not as hard as you think!
You generous donations go a long way to give out “helping hands” the ability to reach out to others in need. They have met so many people and have given them renewed hope. Thank you!
The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain (PCOM), with the help of a grant from the Lehigh Presbytery and the Synod of the Trinity, sent a mission team comprised of eight parishioners to Cardenas, Cuba, from May 8 to May 15, 2018. This was the eighth mission trip since 1998 that the PCOM has sent to Cardenas. The team carried with them more than $40,000 worth of medicines that they donated to their sister church in Cardenas, the Juan G. Hall Reformed Presbyterian Church.
The mission began in 1998 when the PCOM decided to donate medicines to Cuba after learning of the shortages there created by the U.S. embargo. A three-member mission team carried medicines, obtained from MAP International, to a church they learned about from a local pastor who had recently visited there. The personal and spiritual relationships that were created during the first visit have grown stronger over the past twenty years. In addition to return to Cardenas seven times since the, the PCOM has brought Cubans to visit the Water Gap church on two occasions. Pastor Alison Infante Zamora of the Juan G. Hall Church visited the PCOM in the summer of 2017.
In addition to approximately $39,000 worth of medicines obtained from MAP International, the 2018 mission team took additional medicines donated by the PCOM congregation and a local physician. They gave those medicines to the church in Cardenas, where two members of the congregation who are physicians will oversee their distribution to local residents. While the team was in Cardenas, they participated in the weekly activities of the church.
Cardenas is a city of 120,000 people. Some elderly parishioners struggle to make it to church on Sunday morning, so smaller worship communities, called Pastorals, meet weekly to serve them. Members of the mission team participated in these worship activities in homes throughout the city. Team members also visited and dined with parishioners in their homes.
One of the team members was the pastor of the PCOM, the Rev. Sherry Blackman. Pastor Blackman took a prominent role in the mission, offering multiple prayers and giving the sermon at the Sunday morning church service. Of the eight team members, four are musicians. Individually and together with Cuban musicians they contributed to the rich musical component of the trip through their performances. Other team members contributed in their own unique way to the success of the trip.
Through daily contact with the Juan G. Hall congregation in their homes and in the church, team members learned of the hardships and challenges faced by Cubans on a daily basis.
Food shortages are endemic. Many homes are crumbling around their owners because of the lack of building supplies or the lack of money with which to buy supplies. (One of their friends has to sit up at night when it rains because the roof leaks on her bed.)
While the Cuban government offers excellent, and free, medical care, medicines, medical supplies, and medical equipment reman difficult to get. Perhaps the most sobering reality for Cubans is the lack of opportunity for young people. There are friends, who, because of Cuba’s free higher education, have degrees in engineering and other professional fields, yet who work in the tourism industry because doing so gives them access to foreign currency through tips. Hope is in short supply.
Yet the members of the Juan G. Hall Church in Cardenas maintain a positive and happy attitude. Of the lessons learned on this trip–perhaps the most important–was that material wealth is not a prerequisite for happiness.
2015 was the first summer as a joint camping ministry between Lehigh and Philadelphia Presbyteries, and it was an incredible success. They are blessed to have this unique combination of traditions, with both Brainerd and Kirkwood’s respective histories blending into a new, and unique, living community.
As of January 2016, Kirkwood started operating with a new Board of Directors, as well as a new on-site Director, to grow their reach as a ministry. As a part of this, they have built two brand new cabins identical to Carr Cabin, and have updated a ton of key aspects to their facilities and property. Of course, all of this has been made possible by the generous support of the presbyteries they serve, individuals and families who identify with their mission, and a huge assistance from their volunteers.
Folks from Lehigh and Philadelphia Presbyteries were invited to the dedication of the two new cabins. The dedication took place on Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. Participants were given an opportunity to check out the camp and become acquainted with the facilities by being able to stay overnight for a nominal fee. Then wake up to enjoy a worship service on Sunday morning at the Gorman Roof Chapel.
A small dedication ceremony took place on Saturday, before the unveiling of the new names for the cabins.
Tommy Campbell, Camp Director helps unveil the names of the two new cabins built this year at the camp. In honor and memory of Camp Brainerd, the first cabin was named Brainerd Cabin and the second was named Lehigh.
Many folks from Lehigh and Philadelphia joined in to dedicate these two new cabins. Afterwards they enjoyed a delicious dinner provided by Ben Hooper of the Catasauqua Presbyterian Church.
Don’t forget the summer camping season is just around the corner. It is a wonderful opportunity for youth to make new friends in a safe, non-judging environment and check out the new cabins and programs. Watch for details after the first of the year.