A Christmas update from Levente

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A Christmas update from Levente

Founder and President
December 2015



“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

This prophecy resonated with me in these days. The government rests on the shoulders of the one who arrived only as a little child. A young boy will carry the world on his shoulders and authority will be in a tiny boy’s hands. The one who is meek and humble will take over the government. I only mention it as an aside that the government will be on his shoulders, and not in his legs or in his feet, like we people use it to passionately wield every legitimate or seized power. See that the Son is not reigning by trampling down and humiliating, but is in fact carrying the government. So He is practicing every kind of authority and power shoulder to shoulder, and not despising anyone. Moreover, He even carries patiently his unworthy disciples’ multitude of sins and failures and all of their burden. It also gently teaches me in this Messiah-prophecy, that He who arrives as a new-born child, it is He who will be called Wonderful Counselor. Not in vain, the wise disciple says: “If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.” (1Cor 3:18). He who arrives as a powerless man, He will be called the Mighty God. He, who is only a fragile Son this time, will be the Everlasting Father. What a promise! That the counselor should be an infant, the wise should be a fool, and who is a father, first of all should be a child. Only the teachable man can teach, only the humble can govern, only the weak who accepts his vulnerability can be strong. And the one who is killed by violence’s henchmen, let Him be the Prince of Peace! God becomes a man, the one who is Spirit (and Truth) Himself –behold, He takes on a body, so many wonderful and peculiar paradoxes, so many reversed ways… Just like the crazy lesson about happiness: the eight fold way to happiness and blessing begins with their own opposites: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…” or “Blessed are those who mourn…”. So this road, that had such a crazy beginning at Christmas, leads us to the true happiness which the believer has in Him.

Rev. Levente Horváth (PhD)
Founder and President

Looking back on 2015

10eves unnep

With God’s help, three short term therapies, five aftercare and follow up types of programs, one post-therapy camp, one survival camp, and one children’s camp could take place at Bonus Pastor. This year we also celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Therapy Center. We are grateful for the many local and international participants at the event and for the prayer backing of our supporters. We would also like to mention here two partner organizations closely related to our ministry. One is the Philothea Club, which organized some children’s camps at Ozd, in which some BP staff members took part on a volunteer basis, and the other one is the Good Shepherd Association, which organized seven kinship courses, most of them at Ozd, but also in other parts of the country. We hope and trust that the Lord is reaching a lot of people’s lives through our mutually supportive ministries.
In Matthew 22:1-14 our Lord Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a king who prepares a wedding feast for ​his son. It is an enormous privilege to be invited and to also be his messengers. Throughout the year 2015 the BPF has continued to serve among addicts, among those who admit that they do not have any merit in being accepted to the King’s table. The Board has been refreshed with two new members. There has not been any turnover at staff level, however we hired a personal assistant (Orsi) to our Cluj office in order to help our president, and we intend to hire two more people: an office manager to the headquarters (replacing Peter who will get a child care leave) and a new therapy worker to our Therapy Center in Ozd.
There has been an intense communication in our attempt to renew the Castle. We had a good start with our Dutch supporters in​ the matter of installing a water filtering system​ so​ that the Therapy Center may have more reliable​ and usable water from the deep well. Recently we had a meeting with the board of the BPF Netherlands, and there is some hope that we’ll be able to continue this project at the beginning of the next year.I look back to my directorship since March with gratitude on one hand and with the feeling that we could have achieved more. More in ​the​number of clients in the Therapy Center, more in ​the ​matter of fundraising. Unfortunately we will not​ have the​ benefit of the state subsidy beginning ​in January 2016, which means a deficit of​ 11,000 USD in our budget​ and so we will​ need to work harder to fill this gap from other sources. For the next year we also plan to have some training sessions with the aim of team building, improving professionalism and working on ​helping the team to be better aligned ​with​ the​ primary ​vision and the mission of the BPF​ as a Christ-centered ministry of the gospel to those who are lost in Romania​.

István R. Szabó, ThDr


Our foundation offers hope not only for those, who are already in trouble, but also takes part in preventing the problems. It’s well known today that family behavioral patterns are handed on from one generation to the other. According to this, what kind of perspectives can a child have who is raised by parents who have several types of addictions? 17 years ago, we started ourchildren’s camps with the purpose of providing another possibility for living their lives. Originally they were only for addicted parents’ children. Since then, we also accept to the camps other disadvantaged children, but still focusing on those for whom drug- and alcohol abuse is very real. We have camps for three age groups, the one for the youngest (8-12 year olds) is organized by Bonus Pastor alone, the other two (for 13-16 and 17-20 year olds) are organized in collaboration with the Philothea Club ministry.
Our main goal is to make it possible for the children to talk about their feelings and experiences, to open up at least in front of their fellow sufferers, because these children usually remain silent in everyday life, with their problems being unspoken. We also go to schools, churches and parent’s clubs to do prevention work, but the camps are the truly evangelizational, community forming, experience based and personality developing places.
The children’s camps are preceded by at least 3-4 meetings of colleagues, where we plan the program and pray together for the effectiveness of the camp. Beyond the discussions about addictions and Biblical stories and the interactive group programs, we plan lots of games, so that we offer the children as many positive experiences as possible. For example this year gymnastics, handcrafts, folk dancing, group games with water, film watching nights, a “chariot race”, a treasure hunt, football, skits, and going on a hike gave the children opportunities for simple happy experiences. But we also held a more serious sanitary education presentation for them.
Our greatest challenge during these camps is when, among 40 participants, we find 5-6 especially difficult cases: children, who demand almost the whole attention of one staff member all the time. One example was a boy from Oradea, who always wet himself, who didn’t want to participate in the activities, who showed antisocial behavior and who even started off to run home. Amazingly, he had been our returning guest for years. Today he’s an adult. According to our latest information about him, he’s not consuming alcohol or drugs, he managed to finish his required schooling, he has a girlfriend and he has good hope of being able to live a normal life.
Thus, we have encouragement that our prevention camps are effective. Perhaps the best proof is that about 80% of the volunteers who work in the children’s camps were themselves participants when they were young. This is probably a key part of the success God has given us: the authentic, open and loving staff. However, the future retaining of the children’s camps depends on the question of gathering sufficient financial support for them. If you want to make a targeted donation for this, you can add the note: ‘for BPF children’s camps’ to a website donation at PayPal (click here).

Pilbath IstvanHere is the story of a resident at Ozd in the long term therapy center and who recovered from his alcoholism just this year:

“The story of my addiction started with social drinking, spending time with friends. In that time, I was working in a dental technician laboratory, living in good financial circumstances.  I got married, and I am father of a splendid boy. My wife is a beautiful, intelligent woman, whom I love so much.
Looking back in time, I realize that I suffered from alcoholic addiction about five years, but I could not recognize and accept this in that time.  I started to consume more and more alcohol, I did not assume any responsibility for my actions, I lied, and hurt all those persons who were the most precious to me. I tried to stop drinking, and I succeeded for several months. In March 2012 my father died unexpectedly, and I started to drink again.
I participated two times in short therapy programs, but my abstinence was far too short. I took the initiative and I went even into the hospital by my choice, but it was no help. When my father died I was working in another city, about 35 km from my home, with a flexible working program, so I drank. Day by
day I lost all my real friends, with only my drinking pals remaining. The serious, reliable young man, who I had been, was transformed into Nobody, who only knew how to lie. My wife became tired of my drinking all the time, being irresponsible, being indifferent, and talking bad language, being rough and insulting all the time. We decided to divorce.  Because of my ego and my false self-image, I was even proud of myself because I was divorcing. On the 4th of September 2014 two of my friends died from alcoholism. It put me to thinking. I saw my situation as beyond hope, and I felt that everything was indifferent for me and that nothing had any sense.
On the 7th of October I took a decision, I decided to participate in the long therapy program of Bonus Pastor in Ozd. Time passed by and it turned out that this decision, this foundation, the Therapy Center, the people serving there, my fellow residents, and through them God saved my life. At first I did not believe that there could be any help for me, but then hope began to rise in me. I started to hope that not everything was lost. My first time away from the program ended with relapse. I felt that I was so strong at that point, but the first wind blew me away. I went back to the Therapy Center in Ozd, still consuming alcohol, and then the real therapy started for me.
Against my collapse back into drinking, I received love, understanding and trust from the staff of the
Therapy Center, from my colleagues and from my family, all of them continuing to be near me, supporting me all the time. After the full nine-month therapy program I am a different person. My value system is completely different, I feel that I have a real self-image, as my self-knowledge has grown. I started to get back the trust from the people around me. I received back my wife, and we are a couple again and I got back my son. After I arrived home, in two weeks I found a job, where I have been promoted already several times.  I received my driver’s license again (it was revoked because I was driving and drinking). Step by step I am seeking to rebuild my life again. Life out of Therapy Center is hard, after being accustomed to the security of life in the Therapy Center, but I have my purposes and I will not give up.
I am thankful for every person I met during the last 9-11 months, and I am thankful to God for the reality of His grace in my rebirth.”

This year’s news about the drug therapy center:

stab a rehabban

In 2015 we have had 25 residents join in the drug therapy center program in Ozd, while 20 moved out of it. On average we have had 11 residents present. We are happy to see that although most of those who come only plan to be here for 3 months, “tasting the therapy” makes them prolong their contracts. It’s also good news, that more than half of the ones leaving the center (11 persons) are abstinent. The ones wh
o have a supporting environment when they go home, family or a support group, have much better possibilities for starting and continuing in a new life.
We have been trying some significant innovations in the therapy center. We did a six-month trial of changing the shifts by introducing a combination of one and two day-long shifts to help alleviate the need for two colleagues to be present every afternoon on shorter shifts. In starting the new work schedule (we were actually copying a partner institute’s model), we added the help of a volunteer (a former resident) for night shifts, weekends and a lot of other activities. The idea and the practice of volunteering seem to be a good experience, although we have learned that there are some things to improve. Another innovation is that Kyle Ferguson, the international staff volunteer who is responsible for the ongoing work on the property, has introduced the residents to an integrated work program in the forenoons. Every week there’s a resident responsible for leading work, under Kyle’s supervision and coaching. The residents discuss the work objective and then plan and prepare the related tasks in advance. This is a great challenge for lots of the residents, but also a great opportunity to develop their skills in decision making, reliability and in taking responsibility and initiative. We recently added a new staff member in the drug therapy center, András Ambrus, who is doing his job with great openness and dynamism. Teaching and training him was additional work for us, but we are encouraged that it is a good investment.

onkentesekDuring 2015 we were thankful to have the opportunity to host two volunteer teams in Ozd. One came in September from the congregation in Virginia, USA that sent the Ferguson family to BPF. While their main objective in traveling to Ozd was to encourage the Fergusons in their ministry, they still had plenty of interaction with the Therapy Center Residents, working alongside them for the plum harvest, and also took on a few construction projects around the BPF property. Later in October a volunteer team from Halle, Germany arrived for a 10 day stay in Ozd. This team comes every year and focuses their attention on renovating the Castle although this year in particular they made several improvements to the BPF property in general. We are especially grateful that they added a UV Light filter to our water system improving the water quality significantly. We were really excited to see the volunteer teams interacting with the Therapy Center Residents more than in previous years. Due to some BPF initiatives designed to bring the residents and volunteers together the two groups were able to come together in participating in work together, sharing a few meals and devotions, and of course playing several football matches. We were also particularly encouraged to see a young woman who was participating in the German volunteer team receive Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior while in Ozd and be baptized in the Reformed Church there. What a blessing and encouragement these two teams were to us as they joined with us in the work of the ministry in very real ways.
(For more information about the volunteer work team program please contact Kyle Ferguson at fergusonfamily08@gmail.com.)

Some Bonus Pastor staff are involved in holding kinship discipleship courses, too. One of the American participants in the 2015 international (English-speaking) kinship course and his wife reported on their experience: “We had wanted to attend the course since we heard about it, and we were glad to have the chance. We did not know what to expect, but we heard good things from others, and we were not disappointed. The course is good for helping us to see ourselves, how we relate to God and to each other. It caused us to raise all kinds of questions about how we’re applying deep Biblical truths to our lives. Even though we “know” things with our heads, we find that when we look at our lives (as this course helps us to do), we do not seem to “know” those truths in the way we live. I consider this course as family therapy for the dysfunctional family of God, and good family therapy includes assessing both personal and relational aspects. We want to take more of the courses to help us continue this process. Taking one course was only an appetizer. It seems best for people who have at least some knowledge or background in Christianity, but generally Christians of all ages should find something to challenge them in it.”

We would appreciate​ your joining us​ in prayer in the following areas​:

  • Give thanks for the clients in all the short therapies in 2015 and also in the long term therapy, the staff members, the old and new Board members
  • Give thanks for the developments regarding the plans ​for​ the rebuilding of the Castle
  • Give thanks for all the supporters in 2015 and also for God’s financial provisions, too

 ​and please ​pray for:

  • Wisdom for the Management Team to coordinate the activities of the BPF
  • More clarity in matter​s​ of vision and​ mission for the staff
  • Better use of resources (human, property, material, financial, buildings)
  • Finding​ ​the necessary resources for the year 2016
  • N​ew staff members who will​ prove to be the best ones we could​ ​recruit for ​needed positions
  • Gathering sufficient financial support for the retaining of the children’s camps

We would like to invite you to strengthen your relationship with us, because your friendship means much to us. It is a great encouragement to know that you pray for us. If you would like to be strengthen your partnership with us, or perhaps are curious and interested in how we are pursuing and practicing our ministries, then we would invite you to prayerfully consider joining us in Romania through participation in one of our volunteer work teams or through one of the other forms of volunteer service that we can offer. We can also recommend participation in our international Kinship Discipleship training course, which will take place on August 8-14, 2016. (https://kinshipcourse.wordpress.com/eventsprogramsunits/)

The Bonus Pastor team wishes you a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year A.D. 2016!

staff group photo

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Posted by on Dec 23, 2015 under report, update