Istvan Varga & Rozalia Makai website

(1903 - 1987)


        In the little Hungarian town of Kemer, Transylvania, the Jewish mother of eight, was expecting a child again. He was born on October 30th., 1903. So far all her deliveries were safe. Thus, she didn't worry at all. However, this delivery turned out to be extraordinarily difficult. Since it took place in the home, the midwife and husband were trying to help as much as possible. Then, when the little boy was about to be born, the midwife whispered to the husband:
"I'm not sure your wife will survive." That drove the distrought man to his knees. In his agony he prayed:
"Lord, if you save my wife's life, we will raise this son to be a rabbi."
The Lord performed a miracle. The mother's life was spared. As a result, the parents tried to fulfill their promise. Therefore, as soon as little Arpad was able to read and wite, they sent him to Hebrew or Sabbath school to study the Scriptures. There he received an excellent education in the commandements, Jewish history, the prophecies, and promises... In the meantime, he also attended the local public school. That was not easy though because most of his classmates stayed away from him, or made fun of him, threw stones at him, or beat him up; just because he was Jewish.

There were only a few boys in class and in town, who treated him nicely. They even invited him to their church. These were the local Baptist boys. They were different from the others! They didn't ostracise him, nor mock him, nor hit him. "Why are these boys different?" - Arpad began to wonder. And since he wanted to find out more about them, he visited their church a few times. He enjoyed himself there. But when his parents found out about it, they forbid him to ever go to church again. He obeyed, but walked in front of the church as often as possible, just to hear the songs which he later began to whistle at home.
As time went by, Arpad finished his education in Kemer, Transylvania and the parents had to decide whether to send him away to school or to find an apprenticeship which would eventually turn into a job. Since they could not afford to send him to school, they sent him to Budapest, Hungary to learn a trade.

In 1917 it was not easy though to find even an apprenticeship though. Yet, after a lot of searching, Arpad found one in a little printing shop for a linotype printer. The printing shop was in the basement of a combination of apartment house and church building. Later it turned out that it was a Baptist printing shop and was owned by the Baptist Chruch on the first floor and his boss was a converted Jew belonging to that church. Arpad started to seriously work and study in the apprentice-school. He enjoyed every moment of it. During this time, he also had the priviledge of renting a little room for himself in the attick of the same building. Since in those days, people worked six days/week, he only had to find some entertainment for himself one day/week. That did not create a problem for him either because he just started to attend the church in the same building, for that reason. Thus, he worked, lived, and found his entertainment in the same building. Soon Arpad became an excellent linotype printer. His work involved the printing of the whole Bible, and sound theological books.
Then, to take care of his health and/or avoid lead poisoning, he tried to get out into the fresh air as much as possible. For that reason, he started to take big walks in the neighborhood park called Almássy Place. There he met a young man, who came to Budapest from Transylvania also; and the two became friends. His name was John Gabor. Soon John began to talk to him about the Bible telling him that Jesus is the Messiah who died on the cross for our sin so that we should not have to go to Hell; rather receive a place in Heaven. Futhermore, that all we have to do is believe in him, receive him into our heart, and ask him to forgive our sin. Then, he will immediately move into our heart, forgive our sin, and give us a place in Heaven; as a gift. He even opened his Bible and read:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
Arpad was impressed. He knew that the Jewish Bible talks about a Messiah. He also knew many things about Jesus from church and from his printing work. But personally, nobody talked to him about these things, so far. Janos Gabor continued to talk to him every time they met though. As a result, Arpad began to seriously ponder: "Is Jesus truly the promised Messiah, or not?" Then, one cold, Saturday night, he decided that he wants to know the truth and will not go to bed, till he finds the answer. Therefore he got out his Bible (he already purchased for himself) and began to compare the Old Testament prophesies about the Messiah with the New Testament reports on Jesus. Then, when he found that according to the Old Testament the Savior, or Messiah was supposed to be born in Bethlehem; to a virgin; be called a Nazarene; die a cruel death; come back to life in three days; etc., and all of these and others happened exactly the way they were foretold; he fell on his knees and accepted Jesus as his own Messiah inviting him into his heart. At this time he was 16 years old already.
The next day - being Sunday - he went to church and told the elders what happened to him during the night and asked them to baptize him and accept him into their membership. After a trial period, he was baptized and accepted. But Arpad began to witness immediately. From then on, he not only went to the park to be on the fresh air and to talk to his friend but also to gather some children together, take them to church and hold Sunday School for them. He immediately wanted to share Christ with others in and out of church.
In return, God gave him the gift of teaching and preaching. As soon as the church accepted him, baptized him and realized his gift, they let him preach at home and sent him out to preach in their daughter church as well. Thus, - although he didn't become a Jewish rabbi - he still served the Lord with all his heart. Therefore we may conclude that the Lord answered the prayer of the father; even if it was not exactly the way he had hoped. And he did it even without making it possible for him to send Arpad to rabbi school.

Our God answers prayers. He hears all our prayers. He answers them too. But not always the way we think he should. Rather in a way it will glorify his name and bless the people involved most. For after all, Arpad did become a rabbi, or teacher.


Young Arpad became more and more popular as he continued to preach in his own and in the Totfalu church (the daughter church). In the meantime, he continued to print and study more and more theological books, and naturally read his Bible regularly also. These resources enabled him to provide excellent teaching to the neighborhood children and adults as well.
His parents did not agree with his conversion and did not follow in his footsteps. (Only one of his younger brothers became a Christian later.) But they did not disown him. Thus for a while he was able to visit them and witness to them. But since Transylvania was part of Romania at that time, he could not see them too often. Thus, they - most likely - died without the Savior. Then, at the age of 27, he was ready to get married. Therefore he began to pray for, and actively seek a "help meet" within the church. One day, he did something he would not recommend anyone to do. This is what happened: During a young people's prayer meeting, while the leader urged the participants to approach the throne of God individually and aloud; he silently asked God to point out to him the girl he should marry by inspiring that girl to be the first to pray. The nineteen years old Vilma Schäfer prayed first. Arpad accepted the Lord's guidance, and asked Vilma to marry him. On July 30th 1930, they were married and moved into one of the apartments in the church building. From that day forward, they served the Lord together. Then, a year and a half later, their first and only child, Irma was born. They loved her and pampered her. But at the same time, they raised her in a strict manner and according to Biblical principles.
When Irma became two years old, her doctor recommended that the family move out of the City of Budapest to the suburbs for, she needed more fresh air. Therefore, they Moved to Sashalom and built a little house there. For several years, they continued to attend the church in Budapest though. But when Irma started school, they decided to join a nearer church in Rákosszentmihály in order to spare her the late Sunday night travels and exhaustion. There the services of Arpad were even more needed because the church could not afford a paid preacher. Thus, Arpad became one of the main preachers.
During the first few years, three of the members took turns to preach. Then, two of them, and finally Aprpad was left to do it all by himself; due to the death of the others. The church continued to grow. Of course, Arpad continued to work at the printig shop as well. He supported his family from that job and preached for free. Since his job did not leave much time for him to prepare his sermons, he got up five o'clock a few days each week to do that. He was a good teacher who was able to teach his listeners deep truth without speaking above their heads. Everyone was able to understand him and was blessed. He used many illustrations. Children and adults alike, liked that. He was good with the young people too. He and Vilma took special interest in their training. Some of them he taught to witness, others were taught by Vilma to play an istrument and urged to join the orchestra, or sing and join the choir. In due time, she taught Irma to play the mandolin also. From then on, she became an active orchestra member as well.
As a result of their diligent work, 20 young people received the Savior at once in 1942, when a guest evangelist gave an invitation. Then later, a group of three or four followed in their footseps. However, during the 40s the Jewish persecution began to touch the life of the little family. First, they had a hard time to find a gymnazium (college preparatory high school) for Irma to be accepted at. Then, Arpad was twice drafted into the "Labor Force" of the Hungarian army and forced to walk around with his white arm band (indicating that he was a converted Jew) wherever he went. In addition, in his private life he had to endure the antisemites' and Hitler worshippers' ridicule and wrath. Still, he continued to be strong. He even put his enemy to shame with his loving and forgiving spirit. In other words, whether he was at work, in the Labor Camp, at home, or in church; his words and actions continued to preach about the love and forgiveness of the Lord.

For example, one day his young Hitler-worshipper brother-in-law - who was not an antisemite though and loved Arpad a lot - came home dead tired from a Nazi youth meeting, while Arpad was in their home. In a few minutes, he tried to take off his "Hitler boots" but did not succeed. Frustrated, he complained. At that moment Arpad, instead of making fun of him, or chastising him; went over, patiently bent down and pulled them off his feet. His brother-in-law blushed. The nonverbal "preaching" of Arpad touched his heart.
Arpad was first drafted into the Labor Unit of Hungary in 1943. At that time he was stationed nearby in Kobanya and eventually discharged. Then, in 1944 he was drafted again and sent into the countryside to Sződ and later to Almasfuzito. At the latter two places, his wife and daughter tried to visit him each week-end. A young man from church usually accompanied them in order to provide some help in case an air raid would disturb their travel. (Such things did happen!) But in December, Arpad's company was sent back to Budapest. He immediately notified his family to look for him in Budapest at the Scotch Mission Building, where they were stationed; instead of Almasfuzito. Vilma and Irma were glad to comply. They were happy that once again, he will be nearby. They even asked the church to praise God for this and asked them to continue to pray for him. They did. Then, a gentleman went even further. He offered to do more than just pray. He was a member of the church and also a soldier. He offered to lend his army uniform to Arpad so that he may put it on secretly in the rest room and quietly slip out of the building or escape; looking like a regular soldier. For, he already knew that Hitler plans to deport all Jews to Germany and eventually exterminate them.
However, Arpad did not accept the kind offer. He was grateful, but was not willing to risk the life of his friend to save his own. Instead, he stated: "If God wants to save me, he can do it without me doing anything illegal." Then asked Vilma to do him a favor. Namely, to take his warm underwear with her, wash it and bring it back the next day. She was glad to do that. But, the next day when she and Irma came to see Arpad with the clean underwear; Arpad and his unit was nowhere to be found. A doorman answered the bell and told them that the whole unit was taken to an undisclosed place. Vilma was distraught. She very rarely cried in front of her daughter because she wanted to influence her to stay brave. But at this time she could not help but sob. She blamed herself for not bringing in the underwear sooner and worried about her husband's and her own and Irma's future. Then, in a few days she received a post card from Arpad informing her that he was O.K. Of course, Vilma could not believe every word, but she still calmed down some. After that, seven months of silence followed. "Did he die in that crowded train where there was no air, no facilities and not even enough space for the dead and dying to collapse? Or did he pass out during one of the long marches they had to endure and left to die? Or was he put into the gas chambers; never to return?" - Vilma and Irma mussed.

Soon the war was over and Vilma received a verbal message. A gentleman came to her door. He came from Dachau. He was Arpad's younger brother who was deported to the same place from Transylvania along with 22 other family members who all died in the gas chambers. He explained that by "accident" he met Arpad in the concentration camp and although they did not right away recognize each other, soon they embraced each other realizing that they were brothers. Then, when the war was over and the Americans took over, Arpad developed Typhoid fever and ended up in a hospital. There he nursed him, till he was well enough to be left alone. Then, - on his way home - he decided to stop by at Vilma's house to tell her and Irma that Arpad is coming home soon! Vilma and Irma were overjoyed.
Still, a few weeks went by before Arpad could walk home from Germany. First, he stopped by an Uncle's place in downtown Budapest to borrow some decent clothes. He didn't want to scare his family by arriving dressed like a scare crow. Then, rushed home. When he arrived, only Vilma was there. Irma was in school. But the two were overjoyed and their joy only increased when she arrived.
Arpad did not talk much about his experiences in the concentration camps. He could not talk about them. His memories were too painful. But eventually it turned out that - even during the hardest times - he did not loose heart. Instead, he preached the Gospel by encouraging the dying; strengthening the weak; from his meager ration feeding the hungry; and relating to his tormentors with a forgiving spirit. Once again, he preached verbally and nonverbally. However, he was only able to do these because Christ, the Messiah lived in his heart, strengthened and used him. Also, because instead of escaping he took upon himself to suffer with his own, be deported, and - depending on God's support - live the life of Christ wherever he was sent. After all, who else could God have used to encourage the suffering Jews in those death camps, if not another Jew who knew the Messiah? And who could have provided a more powerful witness to the forgiveness and love of the Savior than someone who practiced forgiveness himself? Such a high calling could have only been fulfilled by someone who made his vocation to be a preacher of God's Word in word and deed. Arpad was such a man. Are you such a person also? Am I?


With the end of World War II and Hitler out of the way, the little family was hoping never to be persecuted again. But they were wrong. For, soon it turned out that their situation did not change at all. Only the reason for their persecution and the type of persecutors changed. So far they were persecuted because of Arpad's Jewish backgroung although at the age of 16 he accepted Jesus as his Savior and became a Christian by conviciton. At this time they persecuted him and his family for being just that; practicing Christians.
What happened? As soon as Arpad returned home from Germany, he began to preach in his church at Rakosszentmihaly, again. In addition, he started to attend evening classes at a Budapest Theological Seminary as well. At the same time, he continued to work in a Reformed printing shop too, which was soon confiscated by the new communist government. When the church opened up, more and more people came back and the work went well. In the printing shop however, - after the confiscation - the religious printing marerials were exchanged for governmental documents and papers while the management was replaced too.
Arpad worked hard at both places. Once again, he prepared his sermons in the early week-day hours; while at work he produced - what they called - 150%. In other words 50% above avarage. Still his life became harder and harder due to what now was the religious persecution of the government till one day they decided to prevent him from preaching altogether. What happened was this: In 1950, the government passed a law according to which only licenced preachers were allowed to preach. Since Arpad held a secular job as well and was not a full-time preacher; he did not get a licence. However since the need was great in his church the members begged him to continue to serve. Arpad tried to comply with their request but from then on did not preach from the pulpit rather kneeling down in front of the first row, delivered his messages in the form of a prayer. This went on undectected for a while till the communist party sent out a spy to one of the elderly members. He acted like an honest seeker who is looking for a good church. The lady was pleased that she could witness and gladly shared with him the fact that her church is one of those he would want to join because, their leader, Arpad Fulop is a good teacher.
Within a few days Arpad was in trouble. His trouble began with the printing shop's manager ordering him to come to work at night when there was no night shift. Arpad became suspicious but followed instrctions only to find out that - when he arrived - the shop was locked. Still, he did not give up that easily. Since the shop was situated in a half-basement, he walked around the building and shook every door and every window to see if one or the other would not open somehow. After a lot of trials, he found one rest room window unlocked. Immediately, he climbed in and finished his "quota" for the day. From then on he snuck into the shop before closing and hid in the rest-room till everyone was gone; then, finished his work of the day.
However, one afternoon, when he was walking toward the building before closing time, he met his manager in the front yard. Immediately the man began to screem: "Mr. Fulop! Why are you sabotaging? Why aren't you finishing your job as you used to?" Arpad continued to walk toward the boss and when they were face-to-face in a soft voice replied: "Sir, I am not sabotaging. I finished my job and more; as always. If you want to see what I produced, I'd be glad to show you." Then added: "However, may I ask you to do me a favor? I heard that you will be transferred to another shop. Would you please take me with you? You are such a great manager that I would like to stay with you." These words melted the boss's heart and he began to whisper saying:
"Mr. Fulop: stop preaching in the outskirts of Budapest; namely in Rakosszentmihaly! You see the government wanted to incarcerate you so you will not be able to preach there anymore. But they didn't want the free West to find out that they persecute Christians. Therefore they needed a reason to prosecute you. Thus, they asked me to prove that you are sabotaging. Under these pretenses then, they could have done with you whatever they wanted to. This is why I asked you to come to work at night and locked you out so you would not be able to finish your job. If you have to preach at all, go to a little country church where nobody is watching you. But please, please do not preach in your present church any more! Never, ever! Now, you better do what I said; else both of us will end up in jail."
Arpad quietly thanked the man for his advice and followed his recommendation. He never, ever preached in the church of Rakosszentmihaly again. Instead, he found a little country church in the town of Veresegyhaza where there was no preacher and the need was great. From then on he only preached there.

The people in the Veresegyhaza church were extremely thankful that someone was willing to serve there. Of course, Arpad became even busier than ever because from then on he not only had to get up early on week days to prepare his sermons, but also on Sundays in order to travel long distance to this little country church. In addition, he also came home late on Sundays because he was preaching there both in their morning and evening services. Still, he was glad to do that. Not only because this way he was able to avoid incarceration but also because he believed that once again, God allowed this hardship in his life in order to bring glory to his name and bless Arpad and his family through it all. He preached there for six years.
And what happened to the Rakosszentmihaly church? By the time Arpad had to leave them, they could afford to invite a paid preacher and did so. As a result, their problem was solved also and God' work did not suffer at all.
In fact, - according to Arpad - God used the persecutors and persecution for sending him to a new field where the need was greater than around Budapest. Thus, although the communists caused a lot of pain for him and his family during the days of persecution, the Lord turned everything into blessings. He always does that with his own if only they seek his will above all. He'll do it for you too, my suffering brother or sister!


Although Arpad was glad to serve in Veresegyhaza; after six years the Lord sent him on anyway. This is what happened: One night during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, his son-in-law found out that the next morning a truck would be available on which they could take a ride to the border, in order to escape from Hungary. He also found out that several of their friends were planning to take a ride on it also for that purpose. Since during the revolution no public transportation was available, and under communist rule nobody owned a car; they were going to use this opportunity to get to the border. The news of this opportunity sounded like a miracle to them. Still, they had a hard time to decide whether to go or stay.
Arpad's wife and son-in-law were ready to escape. They were tired of the persecutions. But Arpad and his daughter were more on the cautious side. Thus the little family did not decide that night. However, next morning when they turned on their little short wave radio and heard that even more Russian troops were coming into Hungary to defeat the revolution; they too were ready to flee. Quickly they got dressed, put some important papers in a paper sack, and a little food, and ran to meet the truck. (By then Irma and her Husband, Mike who lived with her parents, had a 3 years old daughter, and Irma was four months pregnant again.)
They reached the truck just in time before it left. However that one only took them to Angyalföld. There they had to take another one which took them one town off the border the same day. When they arrived one town off the border, the truck-driver let them off and told them that from there on they are on their own. But they didn't know where they were, nor which way the borders were. None of the others knew either. But most of them started to walk in a direction they thought it should be and escaped the same night anyway. Arpad and family however, were talked out of continuing their trip by a local man who had pity on them. He actually approached them himself and invited them to spend the night at his house and promised to help them to cross the border the next day. The family accepted this kind stranger's invitation and spent the night in his kitchen. He did not ask for anything in return. He just wanted to help the poor refugees.
Then, early next monring the man went ahead to the final town and called back to let them know that the coast was clear and they could follow him. (He only had a phone because he worked at the railroads. No one else had one, those days.) He also told them to follow the railroad tracks and he will meet them half way and give them further instructions.
Within an hour they met. He then took them to the final town and put them up in a house whose owners they never even met. There he told them to wait till nightfall again.
By the time it got dark, the house and the town was filled with wall-to-wall potential escapees. When it got dark, a local man appeared at the door and told the people to form a long line, keep quite, and follow him. Irma happened to get at the head of the long line. Thus, all others had to walk with her speed as a pregnant women. That was a miracle also.
The air was crisp and their walk was long. But finally they reached the border without harm. The guide said farewell, they gave him all their Hungarian money and some jewelry (although he did not ask for anything) and ran across as fast as they could. Suddenly the crowd became noisy and extremely happy. Some kissed the free soil, some jumped up in the air, some of them said a silent prayer.
With this they arrived into the free Country of Austria where in the nearest town they were fed then transported to a temporary shelter and the next day to a camp in Vienna. When they arrived there Arpad recommended that they look up the local Baptist Church. They did and the church immediately invited them to move into their Sunday school room promising to put some cuts up for them and take care of them. They accepted the invitation. Since they now lived downtown Vienna, it was easy for them to commute to the American Embassy by street car and apply for, and work on, their immigration to the US. Thus, within three weeks their immigration papers were prepared, and they were able to board a plane to the country of their dreams: The United States of America. Arriving here, they were put up in an old army camp called Camp Kilmer in NJ. (All Hungarian refugees were temporarily lodged and kept at that camp.) There they had to wait till they found a sponsor in order to get out. Arpad and family asked the Pastor of the First Hungarian Baptist Church of New York, The Rev. George Balla, to sponsor them. He did. Thus by December 14th, 1956 they arrived into the great city of New York and - for a month - were put up and cared for by church members.
Then, since Arpad found a job already in a Hungarian printing shop, and his son-in-law in RCA, the family was able to move into their own apartment and be self-supporting.
At the same time, they joined the First Hungarian Baptist Church of New York also and became active members. Arpad began to teach the Hungarian adult Sunday School, while the rest of the family served in other capacities. Then, in a year or so, he was invited to preach in Hungarian at a little bi-lingual Baptist Church in Garfield, NJ. He accepted. Once again, during the week, he gladly worked in a printing shop and on Sundays commuted by subway and bus to the church. Thus, God called Arpad away from Hungary but put him to work in the USA where the need was even greater for someone being able to preach in Hungarian, than there.
Then, in 1963 something else happened. Rev. Balla, the pastor of the New York church had a heart attack and collapsed on the pulpit. He recovered but not enough to preach. Therefore, the church invited Arpad to become their preacher. Since by then, the Garfield church didn't need a Hungarian speaker anymore because all of the members were able to speak and understand English, Arpad accepted this invitation and preached there till he reached 70 years of age, or in other words for ten years. At the same time, he worked in the printing shop up to that time also. He enjoyed serving the Lord for free or for just a little honorarium and supporting himself and wife (or family) from the printing job to the end.

At age 70, he and his wife moved to Palm Bay, Fl. There once again, they joined a little bi-lingual church and Arpad began to teach the Hungarian Sunday School with a friend till the age 78. Then he developed Parkinson's Disease and could not teach any more. That didn't mean though that he stopped to witness altogether. But let me tell you more about that next time. Right now, I would only like to point out that since Arpad completely surrendered his life to God at age 16, the Lord was able to send him where the need was the greatest all through his life; even to the far country of the USA. Then used him and blessed his work. This is how he became a refugee and preacher of the refugees as well.

God is willing to send you and me where there is a need also, if only we are willing to completely surrender ourselves to him and serve him in whatever capacity. We can count on that! For, he who called Simon and Andrew into his service, calls us too saying:
"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matthew 4:19)


Arpad was very happy in Florida. First, because he was still able to serve the Lord. Second, because there he picked up the hobby of gardening and the climate was perfect for that. He was actually able to plant and harvest twice a year. He grew delicious, fresh tomatoes, green peppers, squash and other things. But one day, after eight years, he fell and broke his right wrist. Afterwards, he was never the same. He began to trip and fall more often and drag his feet some. As a result, he had to give up gardening.
Soon, he began to become forgetful as well. At that time, he had to give up Sunday School teaching also because he noticed that from one moment to the other he would forget what he wanted to say. In the begining, Vilma tried to encourage him to keep on keeping on. However, after visiting one doctor after the other and finding out that he was suffering from a strange type of Parkinson's Disease; she too had to give in.
From then on, Arpad's health quickly deteriorated. He fell more often; and had a hard time to concentrate or speak. Till, he could not walk nor speak at all any more and needed total care.
However, he was still able to witness. For, during those days he witnessed with his action because whenever people came to visit him expecting to find a sad, discouraged, cranky man they found him to be happy, trusting, friendly and patient. He did not complain or hold grudges against God or people. Although he could have drowned himself in self-pity, or could have blamed God for allowing the cruel SS soldiers to mistreat him and possibly cause his illness, or even the communist government of Hungary for causing him a lot of stress. But he didn't. Thus, people who went to visit him with a trembling heart went home encouraged just by watching his attitude. In other words, his attitude and actions preached louder than any of his sermons could have.
I'm not saying that he resigned himself to his illness and gave up. Not at all. On the contrary, he demonstrated a very healthy will to live and desire to become well. As a matter of fact, his will to live was almost contagious. What I am saying instead is that he was very patient.
His suffering lasted for five years. During those years his elderly, weak but faithful wife took care of him, bathed him, fed him, walked him, and took him to church. Many people recommended that she should put him into a nursing home, else one day she may collapse. But she didn't listen to them. Instead she asked God to grant her the strength to take care of her beloved till the end. And God granted her request.
Of course his daughter and son-in-law were helping Vilma as much as possible. In addition, when Arpad's situation became real bad, they talked her into hiring a lady to help her out each day and his doctor sent a nurse out to bathe him and change his linen. Such help made her life much easier. Still, the responsibility of caring for Arpad rested mainly on her shoulders.
As the days and moths passed by, Arpad became weaker and weaker. Then by December, 1986 he was not able to eat or drink at all any more and ended up in the hospital. There they pumped him up some intravenously. However, they also told the family that, his esophagus seemed to be closed down completely and unless they put a tube into his stomach surgically in order to feed him artificially; he may die of hunger.
Now, Arpad made a Living Will in his healthy days. Still, the family had a hard time to decide what to do. Consequently, they asked their Christian family doctor's advice. He recommended that they should not put Arpad through the pain of such surgery because his kidneys and lungs were gone already and the surgery would only cause him additional suffering. Instead, they should take him home and make his last days as comfortable as possible because without food and water, he will probably go home to be with the Lord within a month.
Thus, they took their beloved husband and father home and rearranging some of the furniture, made him as comfortable as possible. They seemed to succeed for, he was at peace. Hunger and thirst didn't seem to bother him at all.
Then, on Sunday, February 15th. 1987, exactly one month after his hospitalization, Arpad developed a fever. Vilma immediately called the doctor and Irma. The doctor told her that most likely, Arpad was approaching his last hours. While Irma and Mike ran over.
In the morning he still seemed to be conscious. Even though he couldn't talk, he squeezed Irma's hand when asked, and smiled. Then, when they went home to eat lunch and rest (since Irma was on crutches due to a car accident), he even waved good bye. Yet, in couple of hours, when they came back he could not communicate any more. Instead, he was just laying there breathing heavily and biting on a wet sponge eagerly. His actions still indicated to them though that he was conscious; knew what was happening to him; and had perfect faith and peace in God who was with him even "in the valley of death." (Psalms 23:4)
Irma and Mike stayed over for the night. Vilma was with him constantly and the young folks peeked in on him occasionally. Every time, Arpad seemed to be at peace but was breathing more and more rapidly. Then, around 5:00 A.M., in the presence of Vilma alone, after 4-5 extremely deep breaths, he went home in his sleep.
Vilma didn't call Irma and her husband right away. She needed to say good-bye to him alone first. But in a few minutes she called them and together they ran to his bed. There he laid peacefully like someone who is in the presence of the Lord already.

At that time, Arpad's actions and attitude during those long days of illness seemed to communicate to them the following threefold, final message:
"My Dear Ones!
1. Don't ever loose your will to live for God has a purpose with everything.
2. Don't ever give up hope, for God will always be very near.
3. At the same time, be willing to accept His will because His decisions are wiser than you think."

When Arpad's family or friends looked at him during his long illness, none of them could surmise that life is worthless and purposeless for the ill because he remained just as useful in the hands of the Lord then, as in his healthy days. He only served Him in different ways.

When Arpad was born his mother almost lost her life. At that time the parents promised God to raise him to become a Rabbi if he saves her life. God granted their request. He healed the mother and turned Arpad into, although not a Jewish rabbi, but a teacher of the Scriptures who was willing to be faithful during the hard days of several persecutions, the escape from Hungary, and this serious illness as well. He stayed useful to the end!

Remembering his life we may feel encouraged that - by the grace of God - we too may remain useful to the end. Therefore, let us heed the words of Romans 12:1
"I beseech you therefore, brethren... that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" and he will use us now and always.