Author Archives: ronseck

An Incredible Month of Travel and Ministry in the Balkans

Forgive me!  This blog article is much longer than any I have ever written.  The reason is that some incredible things happened in the last month as Jeannie and I traveled through the Balkan countries, ministering in Albania, Bosnia and Macedonia.   We were too busy to write blogs as events happened.  So, I thought it best just to tell the story in chronological order, meaning the most recent events are reported last.  I’ve tried to include lots of pictures to break up the reading.  Please hang on until the last article. It may be the most exciting of all.

Teaching CHE to Students at Albania’s International School of Theology and Leadership (ISTL)

One of Community Health Evangelism’s and CHE EuroNet’s chief goals is to change the paradigm Evangelical Christian churches, denominations and mission agencies use in ministering to the poor and marginalized to a more Biblical, wholistic and fruit-bearing approach.

CHE Course syllabus

A key way to do this is by engaging young and future Christian leaders with CHE strategy and methodology before they fall into the rut of aid-driven and spiritual-focus-only ministries.

Ron and Jeannie had a rich opportunity to do this September 23 to 27 when they taught an introductory CHE course at the International School for Theology and Leadership (ISTL) in Tirana, Albania.  Along with Agron Aga, Director of CHE Albania, they led 35 Christian college students through fifteen hours of Community Health Evangelism’s Biblical basis, principles, strategies and methods.  

In the process the three instructors eschewed the common college practice of lecturing in favor of using CHE’s village teaching methods

ISTL students engage in a CHE lesson exercise

of problem-posing dramas, Q and A, discussion, small group discovery Bible study, role-play, art work and story telling.  The participation was often lively and enthusiastic.

After the training course the students went home to introduce their new CHE concepts to their churches and leaders throughout Albania.  After three weeks they will return to Tirana and the ISTL to take a final exam on this crucial subject.  CHE Albania will follow up on the students and their churches, hoping to mobilize some of them for further training next spring in how to begin their own CHE community programs.  Pray for fruit to come through these newly- trained, future Christian leaders in Albania. 

Wow!  That Was Quite a Change!  The 2019 CHE EuroNet Gathering.  Learning to “Abound.”

The Rafaelo Resort on the Adriatic Coast, site of this years CHE EuroNet Gathering.

Each fall CHE Teams from Central Europe and the Balkans that make up the CHE EuroNet have a Gathering of workers and board members.  We meet together for in-service training, networking, fellowshipping, inspiration and sharing of best practices.  

It is my absolute favorite meeting of the year!  And I enjoy my part as CHE EuroNet Coordinator in planning it.  This October people from Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Slovakia, the US and the Roma nation who have given their lives to serve Jesus by serving the poor lived and interacted as God’s family for 5 days.

The last two years we held our Gathering at rustic camp facilities in Serbia and Bosnia.  This year was CHE Albania’s turn to play host and

CHE Workers look on as Eno Demiral teaches on Disciple Making Movement, with the Adriatic Sea in the background.

they came through with a resort on the Adriatic Sea at super-low, off-season rates!  Paul once wrote the Philippians that he had learned how to live humbly most of the time and how to live abundantly some of the time.  This was our turn to live abundantly.  The resort rooms were super, our meeting room was first-rate with a view of the sea-side, the water was very swimmable for October and the food was tasty and abundant.

On top of that we were treated to a challenging and vision-stimulating two-day training on the Disciple Making Movement and Discovery Bible Study Methods by Eno Demiral of Global Nomads.  Keith Holloway, World Challenge’s CHE Director, gave three

Ron, Eno Demiral, Keith Holloway and Agron Aga at the 2019 Gathering

Randy Schmor talks with Keith Holloway, Jeannie speaks with Eszter Daroczi-Csuhai

encouraging messages designed for CHE workers.  Jon and Tanya Parks from Slovakia facilitated an evening of worship and renewal and Ron led a closing Communion service.  Randy Schmor, Director of Gateway Teams, was also on hand to help CHE Teams plan for summer mission teams.

Close to 75 persons attended all or part of this year’s Gathering.  We are growing as a network!  

Eno, Keith, Jon and Tanya and music team and CHE Albania, especially Blerta Kamberi, thank you all for making this a fantastic and memorable Gathering.

 

The Third Roma Network Conference Was Held in Sarajevo, October 9-12

Members of the Hungarian delegation meet at the Roma Network Conference

After the CHE EuroNet Gathering, Ron and Jeannie drove to Sarajevo, Bosnia to attend the third Roma Network Conference.  Held every three years, this conference brings together leaders who work in various Roma ministries throughout Central Europe and the Balkans.

The Conference theme was Partnering and morning sessions involved trainings on how to form effective partnerships within the region.  Ron and Jeannie had the joyful opportunity to participate in Hungarian, Bulgarian and Macedonian regional networking, partnering and planning sessions. They were encouraged to see throughout the conference that wholistic mission

Ron networks with Hungarian delegates

concepts akin to CHE’s are beginning to gain a foothold in the thinking of a number of leaders. 

Some of them openly acknowledged the failures of old aid-driven, top-down approach to poverty and Roma work

Networking is a key purpose of these meetings and Ron and Jeannie were able to make and renew some important contacts, particularly with workers in Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.  We are praying that these will lead to some significant meetings and partnership discussions in the near future.

 

Come Over to Macedonia!   A New Door of Ministry Opening in North Macedonia

Ron and Macedonians survey new poor communities

Our last stop on this four-week road trip was North Macedonia and on-site visits with new and potential CHE project sites with our new CHE partner there.   

This Macedonian band of trained evangelists, church planters, disciple makers and church leaders has established churches of various sizes in some 35+ communities in North Macedonia.  Now they want to use Community Health Evangelism to go deeper into many of these communities to transform lives and whole communities in Jesus’ name.  They began their first two CHE village programs last fall.

Our primary purpose was to visit two Roma Muslim communities numbering over 1000 people that could be their next program site.  Both communities are struggling with lack of water in this very dry year.  The little water they have is contaminated and making them sick.  The sewage runs down their dirt streets and garbage is not collected.  Men work for bare, minimal wages and few children attend school. 

A Roma mother washes dishes with scarce and contaminated water

It was reported that the new Imam is telling them they must now come to the new mosque regularly if they want to be buried in the cemetery.  The local CHE-trained pastor is visiting homes in the 2 communities, sharing Jesus and the vision of community development.  The village leaders we met with said they were ready to work together with us and the Lord to solve their communities’ desperate needs.

In November, CHE trainers from Albania will lead Macedonian workers in intensive training to begin this development project.  These trained workers will then begin the village entry process.

In May 2020 we plan to bring a team from the US to help CHE workers and these two villages build temporary container-style community centers for use during their development process.  Randy Schmor of Gateway Teams (rschmor@nabconf.org) and Erv VanVeldhuizen will be organizing this build team.  If you are interested in details, contact Randy.

Ron’s partners seek permission from Roma village leaders to take first steps in the development process.

The challenges here are many: garbage pollution, contaminated water, poverty, lack of community unity, great spiritual needs.

Categories: A Good Story, Gypsy People, Happenings, Photos, Training, Travel

Team Builds a Container Community Center in Serbia without Containers!

So, what do you do when you have an international team coming to build a shipping container building to help your Roma community in its development efforts and you can’t find shipping containers? 

This challenge faced Marijana Čizmanski, Director of ZZ Serbia, who had planned for over a year to turn two twenty-foot shipping containers into a much-needed 20 foot by 16 foot community center in the Roma section of Donji Petrovci, Serbia in September.  But, as a team of 18 men and women from Serbia, Macedonia, Hungary and the US were preparing to descend on the site to do the work, one thing was still missing — the shipping containers.  None that size were available anywhere in Central Europe!

Two steel frames were fabricated and shipped to the work site.

Marijana began to pray and then went to the shipyard nearby.  The Lord led her to a man whose shop built frameworks for shipping-container-styled buildings!  Just days before the building team arrived, two large custom-built steel container-frames were delivered to the job-site in Donji Petrovci.  If you go through the toll booths near the city of Ruma, you will see the damage that the oversized-load did to one of the booths!  But that’s another story.

Using a truck with a crane designed to pick up illegally parked cars, the two frames were wrestled into place side-by-side so that construction could be begun on the building.

The work crew first joined the steel frames and built the wood floor

It is worth mentioning the names of the hard working crew that participated in turning the framework into a functioning building in less than two weeks between August 30th and September 13th.  Wes, Rob, Joel, Troy, Aaron, Julia, David and Jo came from the US under the leadership of Erv and Marty VanVeldhuizen.  Ron, Jeannie and Laci traveled from Hungary.  Tevche, Dimce and Zlatko also came from Macedonia to help.  Marijana, her sister Tamara and the folks from Donji Petrovci represented Serbia.  We totally thank all of these dear people for their hard, dusty, muscle-aching and sweaty work

While the majority of this team was engaged in the building project, a smaller team spent each day on an equally

Tevche tells a Bible story to the children. Both tents were often full of parents and kids.

important venture: doing Christ-centered learning and play activities with the children of the village as well as visiting with parents.

The new building has now been dedicated to the Lord for use as a place where the children and adults of the community can meet for church, CHE training, Children’s CHE Club, women and men’s meetings and community social events.  Marijana is truly excited about the great possibilities.  

 

 

That’s enough reporting.  Let’s let some pictures tell their “thousand words” stories.

Steel siding for ceiling and walls are installed, insulation and studs added.

Aaron Barger makes a list of hardware for Marijana to go and try to find.

Rob Grunden screws down the roof.

The trim is made for us on the spot! Praise the Lord!

Dimce (R) translates as Troy gives dimensions for trim strips to a master craftsman.

 

A new Community Center for Donji Petrovci in two weeks! Thank you, Lord!

Every CHE Development project needs a “champion” or “Person of Peace.” In Donji Petrovci, that’s Vukitca, our cook.

Celebrating with chicken wings and Romani Lecho soup. Joel Gensler chows down.

Dedicating the building to the Lord’s use. From left, Erv, Marty, Vukitca, Joel, Marijana, Vukitca’s daughter and grandchildren, Ron, Vukitca’s husband, Dusa.

Categories: A Good Story, Gypsy People, Happenings, Photos, Travel

Report on Fruitful Summer Camps in Serbia and Hungary

Hot summer days in Central Europe means day camps in our Roma/Gypsy villages for our CHE community development teams (Zdrava Zajednice (ZZ) Serbia and Misszió az Egészséges Közösségekért (MEK) Hungary).

On the way to day camp in Donji Petrovci

DONJI PETROVCI, SERBIA

Sometimes spiritual breakthroughs happen in the midst of trials.  Marijana Čizmanski and her ZZ Serbia team recently held a four-day camp in their village of Donji Petrovci.  The children here are very poor, often abused and most do not go to school.  There is much anger, fighting abuse and neglect.  

On the first day of camp one of the children stole a valuable smart-phone out of the purse of a ZZ Serbia team member.  He ended up senselessly destroying the phone and all the important saved data on it!  Because of this incident, no one in the village expected the team to

What a great day! Hot dogs and clowns!

come back the next day, but they did.  When the villagers asked why they returned, the team said that it was because of the love of Jesus.  The ZZ worker who had lost her phone and data also returned.  The mother of the boy who had destroyed it came up to her and pled with her, “Please remove the curse that you placed on my son.”

“What curse?” the worker replied.

“The one you put on him for destroying your phone,” the mom answered.

 

“Hello!” from the campers at Donji Petrovci.

“I didn’t put a curse on him,” the worker said.

“Why not?” she asked.

“Because I love your son,” the worker said.

“Why?” she asked

“Because Jesus does,” was the worker’s answer.

Marijana reported the the spirit in the camp and with the children changed dramatically after that. 

Pray for the “gates of Hell” to be broken down in Donji Petrovci.

A busy day in Apc, Hungary

APC, HUNGARY

Laci and Eszter and their MEK Hungary Team ran three camps this summer in the villages around Hatvan.  Several weeks ago they went into the new community of Apc, near Hatvan, by invitation of the village’s social worker.  The 3-day Bible camp was well-received and the village has asked the MEK Hungary team to return and begin on-going ministry ther

Pray for more open doors!

 

 

“Bring them in!” Volunteers bring kids to camp in Boldog

BOLDOG, HUNGARY

Around 25 children attended the camp in Boldog, which featured both morning meetings as well as evening programs for the children’s parents.  The evening activities included arm-wrestling, folk dancing, games, karaoke, testimonies and food.  We were all very pleased with the growing number of volunteers, both from the community and the nearby-churches, who helped run the camp.  Many of the children now say they “have Jesus in their heart.” 

Pray for genuine conversion!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laci does a CHE Lesson on the dangers of smoking in Zsámbok. Roma children often start this habit as early as 12 years old.

ZSÁMBOK, HUNGARY

The Zsámbok camp was held in partnership with the Zsámbok Evangelical Church where Feri Olah of our MEK Staff is the pastor.  Over 40 campers were present for the first day’s theme which was ‘follow Jesus and be healthy (spiritually and physically).”  The second day students learned about “Satan’s illusions that trick us and make us sick.”  The third day focused on “walking with Jesus.” 

Please intercede on behalf of these children who grow up daily where Satan dwells and for our Teams who are constantly engaged in spiritual warfare on behalf of these village people.

Campers in Apc want the MEK Team to return

“If I don’t smoke, I can save the money and put it in this bank I am making.”

Ivan “puffs” on a cigarette and shows how just one smoke can turn the cotton brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Campers at Zsámbok wish Ron and Jeannie a “Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary!”

Categories: A Good Story, Gypsy People, Happenings, Photos, Training

Kelowna, BC Church Leaders Take Romania-Hungary Vision Trip

Pastor Zsolt Albert, Brent Iseli, Horst Grams and Darryl Seres of Grace Baptist Church, Kelowna, B.C. outside a shipping container Roma church in Biharia, Romania

Ron and Jeannie got back to Europe on July 30th, in time to meet a 3 man delegation from Grace Baptist Church in Kelowna, B.C.  Grace Baptist, like many churches in the NAB, is interested in developing a partnership with a church and/or ministry in Central Europe.  

Darryl shares his Hungarian roots in testimony at Biharia Baptist Church, Romania while Brent waits to preach

It was Ron’s privilege to take Pastor Brent Iseli, Darryl Seres and Horst Grams on a 9-day Vision Trip through Transylvania, Romania and central Hungary.  They visited potential Hungarian Baptist Union of Romania church partners and projects in Tomasi, Biharia and Turde, Romania.  They also toured  Camp Falcon Rock, the joint project of the HBU of Romania and the NAB, with NAB missionaries Paul and Tanya Gericki and Vern and Gloria Wagner.  

In Hungary the trio had the opportunity to experience what Roma village ministry is like by

Darryl helps finish a craft project at the Boldog day camp.

participating in the morning and evening summer camp program in Boldog, Hungary with Laci and Eszter Daroczi-

Horst enjoys a Roma soup cooked in a kettle over an open fire in Boldog

Csuhai.  They are returning to Kelowna with a much better sense of the great needs of this part of Europe and perhaps a clearer vision of where the Lord wants them as a church to become a partner.  

If your church is interested in a Vision Trip in Central Europe to learn how you too can become a more involved partner in missions, contact Randy Schmor, Director of Gateway Teams or Ron Seck (ronseck@me.com).

Categories: A Good Story, Happenings, Travel

A Big “Thank You” to the 11 Churches We Visited in May and June

Jeannie and I say, “Thank you so much for your hospitality and interest in our ministry,” to the eleven churches that we visited in Arizona, Kansas, North and South Dakota, Minnesota and Pennsylvania between May 5 and June 9. 

All of you, except for the churches in Pennsylvania, also had the opportunity to meet Marijana Čizmanski, Director of ZZ (CHE) Serbia and our NAB national missionary in Serbia, and to hear her passion for her work among the Roma/Gypsy people of her nation.  You were all such a genuine encouragement to her and she certainly appreciates your partnership and looks forward to future opportunities to work together.

Laci and Eszter Daroczi-Csuhai, Directors of MEK (CHE) Hungary and NAB Hungarian national missionaries, will be making a similar church visitation tour in February-March 2020.  If your church would like to host them and hear about their transformational work among the Roma of Hungary, contact Ron (ronseck@me.com).

One of the super great parts of a church-visit trip are all the incredible people you get to meet.

Jim Bishop of Oak Hills Baptist Church, Sioux Falls, SD, shares some of his secrets for raising greater amounts of vegetables with Marijana

Roy and Helen Shore of Calvary Baptist in Easton, PA have a passion for missions and the gift of hospitality!

Karl and Anne-Marie Johnson of Apple Valley, MN, shared wonderful stories and food with us.

Categories: A Good Story, Happenings, Travel, Uncategorized

Ron and Jeannie Have Big 50 Year Anniversaries in 2019

1969 was a very significant year in US history: the Viet Nam War was raging, college campuses were the scene of many protests and shut-downs, we landed on the moon for the first time and Woodstock became a legend.  It was also the year I graduated from Princeton, Jeannie and I got married and I began seminary and Christian ministry.

It’s fifty years later and time for us to celebrate these events, so
we will be taking some time off this summer to do so, beginning with my Princeton 50th Class Reunion, May 30 to June 2 in Princeton, New Jersey.  Please pray that Jeannie and I and our Christian classmates will have open opportunities to tell of the wonderful things Jesus has done in our lives over the last 50 years.  

We will then have a reunion with folks from our youth group we pastored at our first church in Pennsylvania.  (You know you’re getting old when the members of your former youth group are all near retirement age and have grandchildren!)

 

In July, we will have a family gathering in Utah to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. Our actual wedding day was August 16, but we will be back
in Hungary then.  
Jeannie and I rejoice in our 50 very blessed years together.  It’s been awesome.

We will head back to Europe July 30th after fulfilling a promise to our granddaughter, Moxie, to be at her 7 birthday party on July 28.

Categories: A Good Story, Happenings, Travel

The “Baton” is Passed in Kansas City as Ron and Jeannie Tour US Churches

Ron and Jeannie Seck are currently in the United States.  April 28 to 29 Ron had the opportunity to participate in the Global CHE Network Representative Council meetings in Kansas City.  He was privileged to serve on the Council for the last 6 years as they helped  grow the Community Health Evangelism network (now called CHE EuroNet) in Central Europe and the Balkans.  We were all thrilled to see Agron Aga, an Albanian and director of CHE Albania, now take Ron’s seat on the Council.

Agron Aga (bottom row, second from left) is the new CHE International Representative Council member for Central Europe

After this, they participated in the 6th annual International Wholistic Missions Conference in KC where they led two workshops with Agron Aga and Marijana Čizmanski, director of ZZ Serbia.

We are now on tour visiting partner churches in Kansas, Arizona, South and North Dakota, Minnesota and Pennsylvania, introducing them to Marijana and the outreach and community development work she and her ZZ team are doing in Serbia.  

When Ron and Jeannie return to Europe on August 1 they hit the ground running with two summer camps and 2 mission teams arriving that month.

Please remember them in your prayers with all of their traveling.

Categories: A Good Story, Happenings, Travel

A Report on New Community Outreach Projects in Romania, Serbia and Macedonia

A very invigorating part of Ron’s ministry as CHE Central Europe Coordinator is mentoring new teams and strategizing and launching new development and outreach projects in poor Roma communities.  In April Ron and Jeannie went on a 18 day, eye-opening trip to explore 8 new projects, one in Romania, two in Serbia and 5 in Macedonia.

Pastor Zsolt and a member of the Roma Church in Parhida, Romania

We started in Romania where Pastor Zsolt Albert has planted a Roma church in the community of Parhida from which he would like to begin a community development project.  As Ron was presenting to the church group that Sunday, a family burst into the room announcing that their daughter had just given birth to a still-born baby.  (The infant mortality rate among Roma is twice as high as among Romanians.)  It was encouraging to see the close-knit body of believers share in the family’s shock and grief.  This is a solid core for a CHE project.  Pastor Zsolt needs a church partner to launch his dream program here.

In Serbia, we surveyed the site in the small Roma community of Donji Petrovac, where Marijana Čizmanski and her ZZ Serbia team are now working, where a community center will be built out of shipping containers this September.  A short-term

Marijana Čizmanski surveys the site for the future community center in Donji Petrovi.

team from North and South Dakota will be assisting Marijana and the villagers in this effort.  The community center will be used for CHE trainings, community events, children’s meeting and church meetings.

Klara and Emil Kisgeci-Dudas from the REZ Serbia team took us to the agricultural village of Nadalj, north of Novi Sad, where they have been doing community visits since last fall.  We discussed strategy for a community-wide survey of the mixed Serbian and Roma population as the first phase of their outreach program this summer.

Our main objective was to spend 10 days gaining a vision of the new CHE projects being started by members of the Galilee Foundation in Macedonia.  Since their first CHE training last year, team members have begun door-to-door visitation and surveying in five very challenging communities both urban and rural.  

Adams and Marija Polikarp have moved into Bregovi to begin a community program through the Roma church plant there.  Their presence has gained the attention of local muslim leaders who have sent an Imam to Bregovi to “reconvert” the muslims who have become Christians.  Muslims in the Balkans have been largely nominal in the past, but are now being challenged and coerced to become more fundamentalist and radical by leaders sent from the Middle-East.  

Adams and Marija (left) are starting two CHE programs near Negotino, Macedonia

Delchevo is a small, economically depressed city in northeast Macedonia.  Stojan and Zorica Manovska, who oversee a small church here, are now doing home visits among the destitute Roma population.  Men make $2 per day recycling plastic bottles to supplement $25 per month government

Stojan and Zorica Manovska

checks.  Eight people or more often live in small one room room apartments without utilities or water.  Taking a bath or washing clothes involves using a baby bassinet in an outdoor privy.  The majority are generally unhealthy and without hope.  Stojan would like to quit his $200 a month job to devote himself to full-time evangelism and community development among this group.  Zorica is finishing Bible School to join him in this.

Two Roma squatter-neighborhoods totaling 1000 people sprawls up the side of a mountain on the outskirts of Prilep, Macedonia.  The people call their community Mexico because of the high crime and drug problems they face.  Mexico has no running water or sewage system.  The water supply is contaminated and the children are often sick because of it.  No children go to school here. The community is illiterate.  The only work

Alit Halidoski and a community leader from “Mexico”

involves illegally collecting wood from a distant forest and selling it in the city for a couple of dollars a day.  Alit Halidoski, from the Galilee Foundation, has been visiting homes in this community.  The leaders I met with are ready for CHE to come with the gospel and with training and sustainable solutions.   But we have a closing window of opportunity.  Radical Islam, with its tactics of intimidation, is encroaching rapidly in the region of Prilep.  Alit has already had a gun held to his head and a knife to his chest for leaving Islam and becoming a Christian leader.

The fields are white and ready for harvest.  Our job now is to pray for laborers and resources and to help find sustainable individual, church and mission agency partners to stand with these faithful, hard working nationals during the process of personal and community transformation.

Sewage runs through the community of “Mexico, ” while villagers draw contaminated water from this only water source.

Categories: A Good Story, Gypsy People, Happenings, Photos, Travel

Workers Needed for Building Project in Serbia, September 2019

How about joining a short-term work team that will be helping to transform two shipping containers into a CHE Community Center this September in Donji Petrovac, Serbia?

$_20

Help us put two of these…

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…here…in Donji Petrovac, Serbia…

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…to build something like this, a CHE Community Center for community development.

In February, 2018, Marijana Čizmanski and her ZZ Serbia team began an outreach and community development program in this extremely poor and marginalized Roma village between Novi Sad and Belgrade.  Now a secure meeting place is necessary for the children and adult work to continue and grow.

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Erv, far right, will be back with some of his 2018 crew.

The building team will again be headed by Erv and Marty VanVeldhuiezen from Hillside Baptist Church in Dickinson, North Dakota.  Erv, a retired industrial arts instructor, led the men last year that built two 40 foot shipping containers into a community center/church building in Boldog Hungary.  Erv and Marty will also be joined by several members from the 2018 team and workers from Donji Petrovac and ZZ Serbia.

We are still looking for a few more NAB workers who are skilled in using tools like welding machines, grinders, hammers, saws to do steel-cutting, welding, stud-frame construction, insulation and drywall.  This team will be made up of men and women from a number of NAB churches.  So ask the Lord if He wants you to be a member.

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Women from Donji Petrovac make fried bread for a CHE community event.

If you would like more information about this trip, contact Erv at emvanveld@icloud.com or by phone at 701-225-6252 or 701-260-5799.  As team leaders, Erv and Marty will be handling questions state-side, arranging airline tickets, travel, training and other preparations.  

How much will it cost?  Erv will also be able to give you a close estimate of the cost for one week (August 30 to September 8) or two weeks (August 30 to September 15) in Serbia as well as guidance on how to raise your support.   Be sure to give Erv a call.  He’s a great guy and team leader.

Categories: A Good Story, Gypsy People, Happenings, Photos, Travel, Uncategorized

The CHE Gathering Wave Is Spreading from Sea to Sea!

The Coast of Albania and the Adriatic Sea

From the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea in two weeks!   What a trip!  

Ron and Jeannie recently had two great opportunities to equip future Christian workers, pastors and church planters to use Community Health Evangelism strategies and materials to sharpen their ministries.  The first week was in Albania on the Adriatic Sea and the second in Bulgaria near the Black Sea.

In Tirana, Albania they joined CHE Albania Director Agron Aga to teach a week-long course at the International School

Counseling students at the International School of Theology and Leadership, Tirana, Albania

of Theology and Leadership, the largest Bible college in that country.  They were able to show the versatility of the Community Health Evangelism’s library of Christ-centered resource materials by demonstrating lessons that could be used in churches, schools and communities on basic community mental health issues.  Their 19 students were mainly those in the school’s counseling track.  Mental health issues are very common in poor communities and preventative health-care is urgently needed.  

Hervin Fushekati

The training team was pleased by the intensity with which the students participated in the class-room presentations, role plays and practice sessions.  President of the school, Hervin Fushekati, is looking for our team to return next fall to do a complete CHE introductory course for pastors and church planters.

Jeannie and Marijana on the Bulgarian Coast of the Black Sea

Ron and Jeannie and Marijana Čizmanski got their first peak at the Black Sea on a raw and blustery March day, before settling in at the Global Nomads training center near Burgas, Bulgaria.  Their mission was to give E.D. and his team a vision of how Community Health Evangelism could better help them plant churches in Bulgaria and along the Silk Road to China.  On Friday, E.D. took them to survey Roma urban ghettoes of about 15,000 people each in the cities of Yambol and Sliven as well as one village near their training center where they had already begun outreach.  

Since it was Friday the narrow, muddy ghetto streets were

The Roma Ghetto in Sliven, Bulgaria

packed with milling people trying to move in multiple directions.  Wedding celebrations and parades with loud Roma/Turkish music blared away.  Merry children tried to slap dirty hands with passers-by.  The smell of barbecue and burning wood and plastic filled the air.  On a side street, what appeared to be a bride-sale was taking place as older men drinking wine watched young girls dance mirthlessly to a beat.  In one setting, garbage was strewn as far as the eye could see.

In both urban settings we interviewed local Roma about conditions in their neighborhoods.  We also met with two local pastors and visited their humble church buildings, a quiet oasis from the steady din in the streets and a hope for lost people.

Ron tells a story during CHE Vision Seminar in Bulgaria

The next two days we shared how Global Nomads might make inroads into these seemingly hopeless environments by combining their Disciple Making Movement strategies with wholistic community development methods.  Christian Roma from the nearby village attended many of the meetings.

An unexpected blessing for our CHE Team was to get to know E. D. and his amazing work more fully.  We are currently researching how to incorporate Disciple Making Movement strategies into our own community work.  It turned out that E.D. is an expert in DMM, having trained over 200 active church planters.  It looks like we may be training each other’s teams in the near future.  More about that later.

Categories: A Good Story, Gypsy People, Happenings, Photos, Training, Travel

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