Happenings

TWO-WEEK MUSICAL OUTREACH WITH “MERCY STREET” COMING TO SERBIA AND HUNGARY CHE SITES IN AUGUST

Roma love music, almost anything they can dance to.  They love musicians and instruments.  Many aspire to be musicians themselves, one of the few avenues for economic and social advancement for them.  When Roma become believers, some wish to become Christian musicians, creating a true Roma/Gypsy worship style.

Mercy Street’s music team will be coming to Hungary and Serbia in August!

Enter MERCY STREET, a professional band of musicians, into CHE’s community development strategy.  For two weeks, August 13 to 27, sixteen Mercy Street members, including professional musicians, technicians, and stage workers will join CHE in Hungary and Serbia.  In towns such as Zsambok, Boldog, Gyögyös and Hatvan in Hungary and Becko Gardista, Donji Petrovac and Novi Sad in Serbia, where CHE teams are at work, they will do outreach, music and instrumental instruction, busking and concert performances.

We ask you to begin interceding now for the

Mercy Street will be performing in Boldog, Hatvan, Zsambok and Gyöngyös in Hungary

The Synagogue in Novi Sad, Serbia

Mercy Street and CHE teams and these upcoming outreach music schools, busking and concert performances.  Pray especially for Gyögyös, one of the devil’s true strongholds and for community concerts at the Culture Center in Hatvan and the Synagogue in Novi Sad.  We will give you more updates soon.

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Categories: A Good Story, Happenings, Photos

Stip, Macedonia and Jánoshalma, Hungary Taking Huge Next CHE Steps

Stip,  Macedonia and Jánoshalma, Hungary were the sites of very positive CHE follow up meetings recently for Ron and Jeannie and other Community Health Evangelism team members.  

In Stip we met with Pastor Jimmy Simon and leaders from the Galilee foundation who we trained in May.  God is doing great things in Macedonia through this amazing team of committed Kingdom

Members of the Galilee Foundation in Macedonia work hard on their Case for Support as Pastor Jimmy looks on.

servants.  In the past 10 years they have planted 27 churches in the eastern, southern and western parts of their country. All of this was accomplished by volunteers without consistent outside support or partners.  Their goal is to reach every unreached Macedonian village with the good news of Jesus Christ.

After taking CHE training they believe this wholistic mission strategy will be key to achieving their vision.  Even before our recent arrival their leaders were already dreaming of many different CHE projects.  Some of them are quite creative and most of them are faith-challenging.  

Our purpose was to spend two working days helping the Galilee Foundation get a good start on an important document called a Case for Support.  This document will tell the history and accomplishments of the Galilee Foundation as well as their visions for the futures potential partners.  It will define the location, need, purpose, model and resources needed for each of their CHE projects.  

In order to accomplish the Foundation’s ambitious vision, it will need committed and sustainable CHE partnerships.  Their Case for Support will help introduce them and their plans to interested, potential CHE-oriented mission agencies who are working in or entering the Balkans.  They will then have opportunity to meet with some of these agencies at the CHE EuroNet Summit and Gathering Meetings, September 12 and 13 near Nis, Serbia.

György Bayer and team members from Jánoshalma take their first CHE training module.

Jánoshalma team members will take advanced training this fall.


On a smaller but equally diligent scale, György Bayer and his Roma team have planted 10 small house churches
in Roma neighborhoods in the city of Janoshalma in south Hungary.  After their CHE TOT1 training in April, György’s team wants to attempt some family-based CHE projects in neighborhoods where they have house churches.  Their vision is to engage the poor people there in a more wholistic, Christlike manner.  We spent several days after Macedonia with these willing servants doing preliminary neighborhood surveys and casting vision.  In the fall we will return to train workers to be family-based community developers.  

Please pray for these pioneering projects in Macedonia and Janoshalma, Hungary.  They are only a few of the new Roma and poor communities our CHE teams are now entering.  More to come in future reports. 

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

NAB Gateway Team Has “Great Expectations” as It Serves in Hungary

Annemarie, Trish, Jeannie, Jocifína, Tracy, Cathy and Laci after the morning camp in Boldog

Jesus took his twelve disciples on a missions trip.  One night he told them to get in their boat and take him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.  A huge storm on the lake almost swamps their craft.  Jesus calms the waves and wind and the team lands on the far shore.  Two demoniacs meet them.  The 12 weary disciples watch Jesus heal the 2 ferocious men, see $300,000 worth of pigs rush down a hill and drown themselves and witness the irate villagers ask Jesus to leave.  Then they cross back over to the other side of the Lake — the same night.

This account taught our NAB Gateway Mission Team what to expect when you take a mission trip with Jesus!  Expect to stretch your faith!  Expect the unexpected.  Expect to be flexible.  Expect people to be people.  Expect to do whatever it takes.  Expect Jesus to do great things.  

Introducing a song in English at Zsambok English Camp

With these expectations our NAB Gateway team of Cathy Jensen, Trish Terrett and Annemarie Doell from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and Tracy Haskin from Idaho, USA joined with our MEK Hungary Team and translators.  The mission: to do children and adult outreach in the Roma communities of Zsambok and Boldog, Hungary.

Forty to 50 children gathered each morning for the 3-day camp in Zsambok that focused on the theme that we can be overcomers through the power of Jesus Christ living in us.  The camp featured songs, drama, games, snacks and Bible teaching.  Tracy and Cathy worked with Ron teaching the English class while Annmarie and Trish assisted Jeannie with the craft sessions.  Feri Oláh taught the Bible applications.

Starting a home visit in Boldog

In the evenings the team visited the homes of some of the children, giving out chocolate chip cookies, something uncommon in Hungary, and other small gifts from Canada and Idaho.  Each member had opportunity to share her personal testimony of having Jesus Christ in her life and her certain hope of eternal life.  

On the final night in Zsambok, the team held a Canada evening picnic complete with home- made Canadian chili, the singing of O, Canada, and videos of the country of the Maple Leaf. 

The next three days the team followed the same pattern in the village of Boldog as we battled cold, windy and rainy weather.  The home visits and testimony sharing were a highlight and a number of children prayed with Feri Olah during the Bible classes to receive Jesus Christ.

Before the NAB Gateway Team headed home they had opportunity to visit the medieval city and fortress of Eger, enjoy the thermal baths and see the sights of Budapest.

Cathy Jensen leads the team in making “Canadian Chili.”

Thank you, Annemarie, Tracy, Trish and Cathy for coming to Hungary and serving the Roma people with us.

Children pray with Feri Oláh as parents look on, asking God for a heart of good soil so their lives will bear fruit for Jesus Christ.

Please pray, everyone, as we seek to build on the week of outreach in these two Roma communities.

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

Outreaching Macedonian Church Receives TOT1 Training

“Jimmy” Simon Polycarp came to Macedonia from Nigeria during the Communist era to study engineering.  Instead of finding Lenin, he found Jesus Christ … and became an evangelist!  Today he oversees a disciple-making ministry through 20 churches he has

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Pastor Jimmy

planted throughout his adopted country.  Always looking for new ways to reach all Macedonians with the love of Jesus Christ, Jimmy hosted a CHE Vision Seminar in February, sponsored by CHE Central Europe Partners.  The vision of wholistic outreach and development in poor communities resonated with Jimmy and his leadership team and and they arranged with us to do a CHE Training of Trainers Conference (TOT1) for key church workers, May 20 to 25 in Stip, Macedonia. 

Because of the generous giving of CHE Central Europe Partners, we were able to hold the TOT1 at the church’s youth camp/training center.  Ron and Jeannie, plus Dr. Ture Huhtamaki (Finland) and Agron Aga and Dr. Patriot Hoxhaj (Albania) facilitated the training.  Praise the Lord with us that we now have 14 newly-trained, Macedonian CHE workers for Jimmy’s 20 churches!   As we concluded the week-long training, many of these students expressed their desire and passion to begin CHE in their churches and communities.  We made plans for the further consulting, resourcing and training of this team to help get their community projects up and running.

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All in favor of coffee, raise your hand!

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A small group discussion gets intense as Agron Aga of CHE Albania looks on!

One unique feature of this CHE 35-hour course was that it had to be held entirely out-doors, since the training center was not large enough for all of us!  We thank those of you who prayed for this.  The weather cooperated perfectly, only raining at night!   PTL!

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The weather was great the final day, as it was all week, while the Macedonia students did their practice teaching.  

We have prayed since 2014 for CHE and CHE programs  to be established in Macedonia.  Thanks to your faithful support and the grace of God, we are one step closer to that reality.  Now pray for these new trainees to take the next step of engagement!

 

Categories: A Good Story, Happenings, Photos, Training, Uncategorized

Health Care Professionals Are Needed for Community Development Work among the Unhealthiest People in Europe

Approximately 13,000,000 Roma/Gypsies live in Central and Western Europe.  By comparison, Hungarians number only 9 million, Serbians about 7 million and Portuguese 10 million.

However, the average Roma/Gypsy lives 10 years less than other Europeans.  This is due to a hard, harsh, often third-world lifestyle; poor diet; detrimental habits and deficient health care.  Although Central Europe has national health-care, for the Roma it is curative and not preventative; discriminatory and prejudicial and usually used only as a last resort.  Most Roma are concerned about their health and that of their children, though generally ill-informed about how to be healthy.

This is a huge window of opportunity for us who want to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God in deed as well as word to the Roma nation.  Our Community Health Evangelism (CHE) teams enter Roma communities offering them the hope of holistically healthier lives, families and communities through following King Jesus.  One area of focus is physical health through community training in preventative health care.

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Health Care Workers do community baseline health screenings, train Roma in preventative health care and develop programs that produce healthier children and adults while showing the loving care of Jesus Christ.

For us to do this effectively, however, we need trained health care professionals serving on our CHE Teams in Hungarian and in Serbian-speaking regions of Europe.  As Jeannie and I look to semi-retirement in 2020, we are praying for two NAB couples to come to Central Europe to replace us full-time.  But God is encouraging us to pray that one person in each couple is a health care professional who will be a medical presence in our Roma communities, to…

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A dental hygienist performing a oral check up during a community health screening.

  • help set up health-care screenings in Roma communities.
  • train Roma in preventative health-care,
  • develop programs that produce healthier children and adults,
  • help Roma become better advocates for themselves in the public health system,
  • train Roma to be preventive health-care volunteers in their communities.
  • bring the health-giving love and Good News of Jesus to these lost people.

If you believe God may be speaking to you about this wonderful opportunity to use your health-care skills and gifts, please contact Ron Seck via email at ronseck@me.com.  We will be happy to tell you more.

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

Ron and Jeannie, and “The Million Village Challenge”

TCD-Villages

The Million Village Strategy:  10,000 Model Development Communities will each stimulate  10 or more other communities to begin wholistic development.  They will each become the model for 10 or more.  

Between April 29 and May 4, Jeannie and I experienced a mind-and-faith-stretching week at theInternational Wholistic Mission Conference and the two days of meetings of the CHE Representative Council. As CHE Coordinator for Central Europe and the Balkans, I sit with 10 other leaders far more qualified than I on this Council.

Some of our agenda items are rather mundane, but some defy the imagination.  One of those is the Million Village Challenge.

Two thousand of the world’s people groups are still unreached with the Gospel.  Eighty-five percent of these groups reside in rural communities.  There are approximately one million villages left to be reached in the world.  Reach these and you have almost finished the goal of proclaiming the Gospel to every nation, tribe, people and language.

The Global CHE Network (GCN) of mission agencies, churches and denominations with national CHE teams working in villages in 130 nations has been uniquely positioned by God to reach these last million communities.  So, God has set before us a Million Village Challenge!

IWMC-Thumbs

For the last several years the GCN has joined with other wholistic-mission-minded groups around the world in implementing strategies to introduce Christian wholistic outreach and development into 10,000 new model communities among the unreached by 2020.  If the results from doing this follow the pattern of how the wholistic mission movement has spread to 130 nations in the last 35 years already, these 10,000 communities will be the catalyst, the light shining on the hill, showing God’s good works, that will stimulate communities around them to join the gathering wave.  This could well become the global movement that reaches the millionth village!

During the week Ron hosted a dinner meeting of mission agency leaders that have joined with the NAB and Medical Ambassadors International and are now moving into Central Europe and the Balkans to do wholistic community outreach and development.  The subject was:  How can we collaborate effectively to implement model communities in every nation of this region by 2020?  We will hold a Summit Meeting in Serbia in September to fix our strategy.  What an exciting time to be in missions!

Categories: A Good Story, Happenings, Training, Travel, Uncategorized

CHE Teams Facilitate Trainings in Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Hungary

February and March were busy months for Marijana Cizmanski, NAB International Worker and ZZ Serbia Director. In addition to starting entry work in two Roma villages outside Novi Sad, she also first traveled to Veres, Macedonia to help conduct a Community Development Vision Seminar for almost 50 church workers.  She then flew to Podgorica, Montenegro 10 days later to co-facilitate our first Vision Seminar on Christian Community Development in that nation.  In March she joined members of REZ Serbia to train Child Evangelism Fellowship workers from throughout Serbia on how to integrate children’s community health evangelism curriculum into their ministry.  The week-long course is called Children’s CHE TOT.

Marijana Čizmanski leads a discussion at Children’s CHE Training for Child Evangelism workers in Serbia

Graduates from Serbia Children’s CHE Training Week with REZ Serbia trainers Emil and Klara Kisgeci (U.R.)

In mid-April the MEK Hungary team, including Laci and Eszter, Ron and Jeannie, led a week of training for church workers from Zsambok and Janoshalma, Hungary who wish to implement CHE into their Roma communities.  Soon the MEK team will travel to Janoshalma to visit the 10 Roma house churches in the vicinity to consult on the best ways to begin their outreach and development projects in their neighborhoods.

Sabrina Oláh practice teaches a lesson on “The Common Cold.”

Enjoying a laugh during a small-group discussion at the Hungarian TOT1 in April

Graduates from the Hungarian TOT1 include 8 Roma, who are now equipped to begin doing community outreach and development with their fellow country people.

Please pray with us…

  • that this training on our part will turn into community development action steps on the part of Child Evangelism workers in Serbia and Roma workers in Zsambok and Janoshalma.
  • that poverty-stricken children and adults in these countries will become disciples of our Savior and Lord, experiencing more abundant life here on earth and eternal life hereafter.
Categories: A Good Story, Gypsy People, Happenings, Photos, Training, Uncategorized

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.

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

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