Happenings

Back to Hungary after Four Fabulous Months in the States!

Ron and Jeannie returned to snowy Hungary on Monday, March 5, after spending 4 months in the United States.  The US stay was a little longer than normal because it was to be bookended by a CHE Vision Seminar near Show Low, Arizona the first week in November and a TOT1 for Native Americans the last week of February.  Due to organization complications the TOT1 had to be postponed, but that did not detract from a very busy and productive time in the States.

Some of the highlights were:

  • Celebrating the third birthdays of Kings Calvin and Milo. “Let them eat cake!”

    spending quality time, birthdays and holidays with our daughter Jessy, son-in-law Bob, and our three fabulous grandchildren, Moxie, Calvin and Milo.

  • hosting a wonderful, neighborhood Christmas open house for about 25 to 30 people.
  • facilitating a CHE Vision Seminar at the Ignite headquarters near Show Low, Arizona for about 30 participants, mostly Native American.  Big Al Taufete’e, Director of Ignite, a true CHE champion, organized the event and will help bring together Native Americans for a future TOT1.
  • visits to North American Baptist Churches in Kansas (Emmanuel Baptist Church of Marion

    Pastor Josh Wesner and his awesome family in Marion, Kansas

    and First Baptist Church of Durham), South Dakota (Calvary Baptist Church of Aberdeen) and Illinois (Immanuel Baptist Church of Kankakee) during the month of February.

  • time spent with the faculty at Sioux Falls Seminary where we worked together on producing a Masters in Community Development, Bible and Theology Program for advanced workers in the Global CHE Network.  Nate Helling and Nathan Hitchcock mentored Ron and Terry Dalrymple, Executive Director of CHE, for almost six hours on the fine points of their innovative Kairos program and creating “targets and artifacts” for the 2 to

    Jeannie with Larry Moser, organizer of the NAB Phoenix gathering.

    3 year Masters Degree.

  • being in Phoenix, near Terry, gave Ron the opportunity to tap into his vast wealth of knowledge and experience as they collaborated to develop the Masters Program.
  • presenting our ministry at the annual gathering in February of NAB folks living or wintering in the Phoenix area.
  • helping to promote NAB Gateway short-term mission teams to Hungary for this summer and fall with Randy Schmor.  Want to know more?  Contact Ron or Randy.
  • working with Steve Liberti of Proclaim Ministries and Laci, Feri and Marijana to organize a two-week August 2018 music and arts outreach in Hungary and Serbia.
  • Aleksander (Sasha) Cipra, Director of EZZ Bosnia

    Communicating with NAB churches and donors so that MEK Hungary was able to hire Feri Oláh full-time and with non-NAB churches and donors so that Sasha Cipra is able to continue as salaried Director of EZZ Bosnia for the present. (Thank all of you very, very much for helping make these things happen!)

What’s happening in March?  Ron and Jeannie are making plans to visit our teams in Serbia and Hungary to see new and established projects and catch up in-person on our CHE team members.

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Categories: A Good Story, Happenings, Travel

CHE EuroNet Holds Visions Seminars in Macedonia and Montenegro

Veles, Macedonia and Podgorica, Montenegro were the sites of two very promising CHE Vision Seminars held by CHE EuroNet during the month of February.

Three years ago the CHE EuroNet was formed of existing and new Community Health Evangelism (CHE) teams in Central Europe and the Balkans.  The Vision of CHE EuroNet is to plant new teams and new CHE projects in every country of Central Europe and the Balkans by 2020.  Each team pledged to engage whatever resources they had to help reach this goal.

The Vision Seminar in Veles was too large for the church!

On February 10, members of the CHE Albania, MAI Albania, ZZ Serbia team, as well as CHE partner, Dr. Ture Huhtamaki of Finland, facilitated the introductory training for almost 50 church members and leaders from Macedonia.  CHE Central Europe Partners provided much of the finances for this much larger-than-expected group of trainees.  The Vision Seminar was scheduled to meet in Pastor Jimmy Simon’s home church, but had to move to a local restaurant because of the size of the crowd.

Ture, Marijana Cizmanski, Agron Ago and Patriot Hoxhaj are now coordinating with Pastors Jimmy Simon and Sokrat Apostolos to organize the one-week conference  (TOT1) for new CHE trainees in Macedonia.

A small-group break-out session at the Vision Seminar in Podgorica

On February 20, Marijana and Agron met again in Podgorica, along with Dianne McNary from Slovakia.  This time they facilitated the one-day Vision Seminar for 18 church leaders of Montenegro, a country with only about 250 born-again believers.  The leaders here have decided to send about 5 trainees to the TOT1 in Macedonia.

Please pray… 

  • for fruit to come out of these two important gatherings,
  • for the scheduling of the CHE TOT1 in Macedonia
  • and for the participation of 20 to 25 church workers who have a passion to do wholistic outreach and community development as part of their strategy to reach and disciple the poor of Macedonia and Montenegro.
  • for more Macedonians and Montenegrins to be reached with the life-liberating Good News.
Categories: A Good Story, Happenings, Training

Introducing Our Newest MEK Full-Time Team Members, Feri and Judit Oláh

Judit and Feri Oláh

It is with great joy that we announce to you the hiring in January of our newest full-time MEK Hungary team member, thanks to the generous pledges of 7 of our North American Baptist churches.  His name is Feri Oláh and he recently wrote down his testimony, “A Roma Journey,” for us to share with you.  I can’t think of a better way of introducing him to you than in his own words:

My name is Ferenc Oláh and I am 44 years old.  I live in Zsámbok, Hungary with my wife, Judit, and our three children.   I have served as a pastor in the local Evangelical Church for 18 years and also work as a mason.

I was born into a large family with 8 children. The Catholic religion was important to my parents and because of this I had to be attend Catholic religion classes.  I really liked the Bible stories but they did not touch me deeply. My mother talked to us all the time about God, but I did not know the Lord in a personal way.

My mother got cancer when she was 37 years old. I think that was the first time that I remembered to pray to God.  After one year of struggle my mother died and left me and two of my younger brothers alone with our dad.  I was 14 years old at that time.  After I lost my mom I tried to find my peace and comfort in religion, but I did not find it.

Later I went to Budapest, to a high school where I lived.  There I got to know sin deeply.  I also joined a Boxing club, where I could fight with my anger, sadness and spiritual and physical pain.  Not too much later my nose was broken and I had to finish my boxing career.  After this I didn’t have any chance to drive down my anger, so I tried to find relief in night life.   But I got to the point, when that was no longer enough.

At this time I met my wife and one year later our first daughter, Szabrina, was born.  They gave me a reason to live.  But three years later we found out that Szabrina was sick.  This broke my heart and I felt again the old pain about my mother’s death.

Not much later, like 3 months, we met with a young man, who spoke to me about the love of God. He asked me if I knew and believed how much God loved me.  After this question I felt angry and I answered, „If God loved me that much He would not have taken away my mother and He would not have let my daughter be sick.”

He answered me with the story of Job, how much he needed to suffer, but still he was faithful to God. The man’s eyes were glowing differently than ours.  He asked if we wanted him to talk more about God at another time.  We told him to come any time to our house.  After this, we met weekly.  We came to know God and His plan for our lives more and more.

I understood in 1998 at Easter, how much God loved me and how He sent His Son, Jesus, to wash away my sins and how Jesus paid with His blood on the cross.  I gave my life to Christ.   A new life began in me.  At that time many Roma gave their lives to Jesus and our church was formed.

Feri teaches at an Easter meeting last year in Boldog

God placed me in His service: in the beginning in worship and children’s ministry.  Then, after two years, I became one of the leaders in our church.  After our church founder was led to another ministry, my brother and I took over that role with all the joy, trouble and responsibility.   God led me through many struggles and falls in those 19 years, but I also experienced God’s overflowing grace in my life, which cleansed me, raised me and strengthened me.

I wanted to know God better and His plan deeper and His will for my life more fully, so I did a two-year Bible school.   I believe that God has called me to my nation, to minister to Roma people.  In the last few years, I was invited to start many Roma churches or encourage them, even beyond our Hungarian borders.

Eighteen months ago I was invited to lead singing and worship at an evangelistic outreach in Boldog with the MEK team.  God showed us then that our vision and goals are the same as MEK’s.  I believe that in the current situation among the Roma that  their communities and society can only change if they place their faith in Christ alone.  I think it is very important to instruct  them with the Word of God so they can rise up out of their poor conditions.

I have experienced that many mission agencies want to help the Roma in their struggles by giving them aid.  But this doesn’t cause a change in their thinking, but only helps them keep doing and living the same way they used to.  The vision of MEK is totally different, and I agree totally with it. The Roma don’t need financial or humanitarian aid and help all of the time, but rather change in their roots.

I believe that God will bless my work and ministry with MEK.

Feri joins fellow Roma CHE workers, Mirko Kis (Serbia) and Kalmán Hamza (Hungary).

Note:  The hiring of Roma workers is of prime importance to MEK. Too often non-Roma Christians sit in committee meetings to decide what is best for their ministry to do for the Roma people, without having any Roma present!  This leads to waste of time, money and other precious resources.  It also demeans the Roma themselves and hinders their growth.

It is MEK’s conviction that the Roma nation will not be won by Hungarians or Americans, but by mature Roma believers, like Feri and his wife, Judit, and children, who know the culture, world-view, mind-set, habits, fears, hopes and beliefs of their people first-hand.

Feri Oláh is a seasoned Roma worker who has prepared himself for full-time Christian work.  He understands the principles of wholistic community outreach and development.  He will be a vital member of MEK Hungary.

Categories: A Good Story, Gypsy People, Happenings

Eleven NAB Churches Form Partnerships with ZZ Serbia or MEK Hungary

MEK Hungary and ZZ Serbia and Ron and Jeannie Seck are rejoicing greatly this week in the middle of January!  Seven North American Baptist churches have pledged to become supporters of Laci and Eszter Daroczi-Csuhai and MEK Hungary.  In addition, four NAB Churches have pledged to support ZZ Serbia and Marijana Čizmanski.

Laci, Eszter, Simi and Jeannie with Pastor David Curtis of Salt Creek Baptist Church, Oregon

These pledges were made after Laci, Eszter and Marijana were able to meet with these churches, their leaders and Mission Boards in 2017 to hear reports of the work and their plans for the future.

Because the churches (and several individuals) made their pledges before January 15, the NAB International Office was also able to rewrite their own Grants of support for MEK and ZZ.  The increase in support will help both agencies see their visions realized to expand their staff and their ministries to the poor in 2018.

In addition to financial support, a number of these churches are exploring with ZZ and MEK how they can former deeper and more meaningful partnerships.  Randy Schmor of NAB Gateway Teams is involved with the 11 congregations, Laci, Eszter and Marijana and Ron and Jeannie in making this happen.  Already churches are engaging with Randy in forming short-term mission teams to help meet community development project goals this year.

The churches involved in these exciting developments are:

Marijana talks with folks after a missions banquet in Detroit, Michigan

MEK Church Partners

Hillside Baptist Church, Dickinson, ND

West Meadows Baptist Church, Edmonton, AB

Grace Baptist Church, Kelowna, BC

First Baptist Church, Vernon, BC

Bethany Baptist Church, Richmond, BC

Salt Creek Baptist Church, Salt Creek, OR

Fellowship Baptist Chapel, Sterling Heights, MI

ZZ Church Partners

Fellowship Baptist Chapel, Sterling Heights, MI

Brandon Valley Baptist Church, Brandon Valley, SD

Oak Hills Baptist Church, Sioux Falls, SD

Bismarck Baptist Church, Bismarck, ND

If you or your church would like to have information on how you can become a partner in this growing outreach to the impoverished and marginalized communities and individuals of Central Europe, contact Ron Seck at ronseck@gmail.com.

Categories: A Good Story, Happenings, Travel

You Could Join A “GATEWAY” Short-Term Team and Help Us in Hungary in 2018

MEK Hungary needs short-term team workers in 2018 for some very key projects they are doing with the leadership of the Roma villages in Zsambok and Boldog in 2018.  Randy Schmor and NAB Gateway Teams will be organizing and equipping these teams for their exciting and strategic missions.  Laci and Eszter Daroczi-Csuhai, our NAB National Workers for MEK Hungary, will be the on-field supervisors.

Please read about each team project.  If you have an interest in possibly participating, contact the people listed as soon as possible.

  • Over 60 children attended the summer camp in Boldog in 2016. They are looking forward to a Gateway Team in 2018

    A two-week outreach for Roma children in the morning and adults in the evening in the village of Zsambok, Hungary, June 24 to 30; and in the village of Boldog, Hungary, July 1 to 7.  The 2 camps will feature a VBS-style program for the children, on-the-job training of Christian Roma to produce a similar camp, ESL training and cultural exchanges.  We are looking for qualified teachers to help lead this team.  Older teen-agers are encouraged to apply.  If you would like to know more about this project, contact Ron (ronseck@gmail.com) or Randy Schmor (rschmor@nabconf.org)

  • MEK Hungary would like to outfit a portable Community Center like this portable church in Romania made from two shipping containers.

    A one to two week team in September 2018 to outfit two shipping containers to become a portable CHE Community Center/Church Facility.  Men and women with skills in carpentry, electrical work, plumbing, metal working, dry-walling and painting are needed for this unique project.  Our team leader will be retired industrial arts intructor Erv VanVeldhuizen from Dickinson, ND (emvanveld@icloud.com).  Contact Erv if you would like more information about this short term team.

  • Do you know how to build a greenhouse or how to do greenhouse farming? We need your help in 2018.

    A one to two week team in the fall 2018 to construct a greenhouse and teach fundamentals of greenhouse farming to a Roma community.  Money for the greenhouse has already been donated.  If you are interested in this project or know of someone with greenhouse skills that might be, contact Ron (ronseck@gmail.com) or Randy Schmor (rschmor@nabconf.org).

Categories: Happenings, Training, Travel | Leave a comment

“Wow! The last four months have been filled with exciting, challenging, faith-growing and Kingdom-building events!”

Jeannie and I haven’t even had time to report to you about all the things that have been going on!  So, let’s give you some brief highlights in word and picture as the year 2017 comes to an end:  (Remember, CHE stands for Community Health Evangelism, a strategy for doing wholistic outreach and development among the poorest of the poor.)

DECEMBER —  Jeannie and I have been enjoying being in our Phoenix home, playing with our growing grandchildren and celebrating the holidays.  We have also been taking care of ministry items that are difficult to handle while in Central Europe.  We will be visiting churches in January and February.

Behold! The Festival of Hats- 2017! Meet “Taco” Moxie.

Introducing “Burger-Meister Calvin”

It’s Santa Milo!

NOVEMBER 3-4  — We flew home to Phoenix from Budapest on October 30.  We dropped our bags and headed to the Ignite Christian Training Center near Show Low, Arizona.  There we presented a CHE Vision Seminar to 36 Native Americans and those who work with them.  A week-long CHE TOT1 training course is now on the drawing board for the end of February.  If you would like to attend, please contact us at ronseck@gmail.com.

Entering Ignite Christian Training Center near Show Low, Arizona

OCTOBER 19-25— We drove from Batonyterenye, Hungary south to Skopje, Macedonia (about 550 miles) to pick up Finnish CHE workers, Dr. Ture and Ingvar Huhtamaki.  From there we turned east to the city of Stip.  We have been praying for three years for an open door to establish CHE Teams in Macedonia.  Now Dr. Huhtamaki, a retired Pediatrician and Fida worker, is providing the contacts to do so.  We spent the weekend with Jimmy P.G. Simon, a remarkable, energetic and committed Nigerian, who has planted 19 churches in eastern Macedonia.  We visited and spoke in ten of those congregations and identified several communities that would be ready for a CHE project.  We are now going to hold a CHE Vision Seminar for Macedonian church leaders on Saturday, February 10th.  Marijana Čizmanski, ZZ Serbia Director, will be the lead facilitator.

 

Before Sunday morning service in one of Pastor Jimmy Simon’s 19 churches in eastern Macedonia

Dr. Ture Huhtamaki and his wife Ingvar are helping CHE get established in Macedonia.

An example of why CHE is needed among the Roma of Macedonia. Four families live in this condemned house. The latrine is to the right of Dr. Huhtamaki


On our way back home we spent two days near Novi Sad, Serbia with Marijana, surveying Roma communities and meeting potential partners.  Our hearts were thrilled as we witnessed two communities opening wide to her and ZZ Serbia.  Pray especially for the destitute Roma village of Bangladesh, for its leader Faday, and for a potential Christian partner and community worker we met who longs to work there and see development take place.

Marijana Čizmanski is looking at this building as a potential Community Center for a CHE project in a Roma village outside Novi Sad. The building has already been donated for community work.

OCTOBER 15 — Laci and Eszter, Ron and Jeannie made CHE presentations to leaders of the Soltvadkert Baptist Church and other Christian agencies working with Roma communities in south-central Hungary.  They are now expressing interest in our next CHE training conference in Hungary next April 15 to 20 at Balatonfoldvar.  If you would like information about this training conference contact Ron at ronseck@gmail.com.

OCTOBER 10-14 — Jeannie and I flew to Tirana, Albania to spend four days hanging out with the CHE Albania Team.  It was a time of celebration!  Two years ago, CHE Albania, our flagship Team in Central Europe, lost their sole financial supporter.  Ron and several fellow NAB’ers have been working with them since then to find new sustainable partnerships.  This year God brought them together with a new major partner, World Poverty Solutions, as well as several others.  Praise God, they are again on solid footing support-wise.

Jeannie hangs outs with members of the CHE Albania Team on the way to the seaside city of Sarande

The gorgeous coast of Albania at sunset

Jeannie and Ron beside the “Blue Eye” in Albania.

OCTOBER 6 TO 8 — All of our MEK Hungary Teams met for their annual planning retreat at Lake Balaton.  The highlight of this weekend was having Randy Schmor, Director of NAB’s Gateway Teams and Steve Liberti, NAB Missionary with Proclaim Ministries join us.  Randy helped us plan a host of short-term Gateway team projects for 2018.  Read the article about these projects to see the one you might want to join in 2018.

Steve led us in planning a two-week Proclaim music camp and concert outreach campaign for Zsambok and Boldog, Hungary and Novi Sad, Serbia for August, 2018.

SEPTEMBER 22-24The CHE EuroNet Network held its second retreat for CHE Team and Board members at Boračko Jezero, Bosnai.  Ron currently serves on the Global CHE Networks Representative Council and as CHE’s Central Europe Coordinator.  In this position he is responsible for overseeing the expansion of CHE into new nations and regions of Central Europe and the Balkans.

He was also tasked with forming the CHE EuroNet Network of all CHE Teams operating in these countries and bringing them together annually for a time of refreshment, inspiration, sharing best practices, team building and training.

This year 27 of us gathered from 6 nations at a rustic retreat facility near a beautiful mountain lake in southwestern Bosnia.  These folks are all pioneering new wholistic development ministries with the Roma/Gypsy and greatly appreciated the opportunity to draw encouragement from one another and from our Lord Jesus Christ.

Twenty-seven CHE workers from Albania, Bosnia, Serbia, Hungary and Slovakia participated in this year’s CHE EuroNet Gathering in Bosnia.

 

 

 

Laura supervising the making of palacsinta pancakes for Palacsinta Night in Boldog.

 

 

SEPTEMBER 8 TO 10 — Our MEK (CHE) Central Hungary Team and the leaders from the Roma community in Boldog presented their second annual outreach festival.  Two nights featured Christian films and one night Ron preached a Gospel message.  Music and favorite foods also highlighted each evening.  Twenty-five Roma signed up for follow-up visits or courses.  Laci and Eszter Daroczi and Feri Olah, MEK Central Team members, are currently holding weekly Alpha Course classes with those who are interested.

Jeannie tells a story to onlookers in Boldog. Eszter is translating.

Categories: A Good Story, Gypsy People, Happenings, Photos, Training, Travel | Leave a comment

Help Support Our Newest Roma MEK Team Member, Ferenc Oláh

Feri Oláh teaches an evangelistic Bible Study on Easter Sunday

The search for a faithful, mature Roma worker to add to our MEK Staff in central Hungary has led to a truly wonderful candidate, Ferenc Oláh.

We met Feri when he and his family, from the nearby village of Zsambok, provided the music for the second night of the Boldog crusade last September.  Since then, Feri, his wife, Judit and two daughters, Szabrina and Judit, have been graciously assisting Laci and Eszter in Boldog.

Feri is part-time pastor of a Roma-Hungarian church in Zsambok, has had Bible school training, is a mature Christian, a strong teacher and a wonderful musician.  He is also a good construction worker, but strongly desires to be engaged in full-time Christian ministry.

We are praying and seeking support so that he can join our MEK Hungary team as quickly as possible.($10,000 per year will cover salary and taxes).  Feri is also opening the door for CHE ministry in the nearby communities of Zsambok, Jaszfenyszaru and Ture.

If you would like to become part of Feri’s support team, contact Laci Daroczi-Csuhai at daroczi60@yahoo.com.  He will share with you how you can now do this through MEK’s new US non-profit organization, CHE Central Europe.

Categories: A Good Story, Gypsy People, Happenings, Photos | Leave a comment

Neighborhood Transformation Training Scheduled for Winnipeg, June 13-15

Housing prices are going up as Filipino immigrants move into Mission Baptist’s mission field.

Rev. Sig Seidel and Mission Baptist Church are in a culturally changing community in one of  the poorest sections of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada …. and they want to be a significant part of it!  Pastor Sig longs to see his church transforming people and their neighborhoods.

They will take a step in that direction when they host a Neighborhood Transformation (or Urban CHE) Training Conference Tuesday through Thursday, June 13 to 15 at Mission Baptist Church.

Ron and Jeannie will join Master NT Trainer Garold Elston from Bakersfield, California in facilitating training that equips church leaders and members with strategies, plans, skills,  tools and resources to begin to penetrate their community effectively.

If you would like to attend this training conference or to have more information on Urban CHE, contact Rev. Seidel or Ron Seck at ronseck@gmail.com

Categories: A Good Story, Happenings, Training | Leave a comment

On the Road Again! To Western US and Canada

While we are in the States for the meetings of the Global CHE Network Representative Council and The International Wholistic Mission Conference (April 20 to May 5), Jeannie and I are taking the opportunity to visit NAB (supporting and non-supporting) churches that are hard to visit at our normal time of January and February.  Here is our up-coming travel schedule:

May 19 to 25 — Edmonton, Alberta area.

May 25 to 30 — Vancouver, British Columbia area

May 30 to June 6 — Vernon – Kelowna, British Columbia area

June 6 to12 — Dallas, Oregon area

June 12 to 16 — Winnipeg, Manitoba area

We’ve tried to contact all NAB churches in these areas to set up a meeting or coffee times.  If we missed you and you would like us to visit you on this trip, please contact us at ronseck@gmail.com

Categories: Happenings, Travel | Leave a comment

Keeping “the Net” from Getting Tangled Up

The Global CHE Network stretches across 125 nations, 600 mission groups, 3000 plus communities and over 3 million poor people being served.  How do you communicate across a global network of that size and cultural diversity?  How do you provide members with just the resources they need?  How do you continue to provide lesson plans and materials in their own language?  How do you connect workers in need with the experts they need?  How do you do this with tight security for those working in sensitive areas?  How do you deal with the road blocks that keep the network from expanding to 10,000 new villages by 2020 and then on to one million?

Those are just some of the types of questions that the 9-person CHE Representative Council grapples with in their quarterly meetings.  Ron is a current member of that council and was present for the annual meetings on April 30 to May 2 in Phoenix, AZ.  Many significant decisions were made in those days toward a vision of reaching one million new villages.

I was so humbled to be part of this gathering.  Our work in Central Europe is just taking root.  I was sitting with men and women from many nations whom God had used to spread wholistic community development movements across whole regions and nations of the world for the past 35 years.  I was able to see up-close the kind of faith that truly moved mountains.    What a privilege!

Categories: A Good Story, Gypsy People, Happenings, Training | Leave a comment

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