Gypsy People

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.
Advertisements
Categories: A Good Story, Gypsy People, Happenings, Photos, Training, Uncategorized

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

“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

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

CHE Team Members Receive More “Need to Know” Training in Belgrade

It’s always good when we have to schedule a TOT2 training course for CHE Team members.  It means they have applied most of what they learned in TOT1 in their village setting and now “need to know” what to do next.

Sixteen CHE workers from Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia and Bulgaria met at the Belgrade Bible College in Belgrade, Serbia April 23 to 30 for this advanced training.  It was encouraging that three Roma team members were in this class!  Agron Aga, Director of the CHE Albania team and a 15 year veteran, was the Master Trainer for the course, assisted by Hessel Keuter, Marijana Cizmanski, Eszter, Jeannie and myself.

All of us benefited greatly from the 30 hours of coursework, the discussion times, the sharing of best (and worst) practices and the earnest prayer times for each team.

CHE men at TOT2 in Belgrade strike a “manly” pose

Categories: A Good Story, Gypsy People, Happenings, Photos, Training, Travel | 1 Comment

2016 ANNUAL REPORT OF RON AND JEANNIE SECK, NAB Hungary Field Director, CHE Central Europe and CHE Euro Net Coordinator, Member of CHE Representative Council

Our work in 2016 can be summed up in four key words: First-fruits, Expansion, Sustainability and Vision.  In-depth stories and photos on many of the items written about in this report can be found on this “Happenings” page.

FIRST-FRUITS —

210e4b39be9c3a5ecdc90f2a5d91981aThe ancient Israelites were required to present the first-fruits of their harvest to the Lord each year.  With these first-fruits, they looked back, at the great effort it took to clear and break the ground, sow the seed, water and cultivate the plants, and, finally, by God’s gracious work, harvest fruit.  They also looked forward, to the full harvest that would follow these harbinger-fruits.

In 2016 we began to see the first-fruits of our hard labors in Central Europe from 2012 through 2015.  When we arrived 5 years ago, there was some Community Health Evangelism development work being done by teams in the Balkan countries of Albania and Bosnia.  We were bringing the seed to the untilled ground of Central Europe.  After five years of sharing the CHE wholistic mission vision with Roma/Gypsies, church and mission leaders region-wide; holding vision and training conferences of all sizes for those interested; forming national CHE boards and gaining legal standing for their foundations; teaching, mentoring, hiring and finding support for full-time workers; recruiting volunteers; raising funds and purchasing vehicles and equipment; developing home-team support and partnerships in the US and Canada and training teams that can now train and lead others … we still had not won many to Jesus Christ!  We had a lot of plants starting to grow, but not much fruit.

2016 was the year the first-fruits began!  And we joyfully present them to the Lord and give Him the glory (1 Cor 3:6-8).

In February, 2016, we held our largest CHE Training of Trainers conference ever.  Actually we held 2 at the same time: one in Hungarian; attended mostly now by Roma recruited by our CHE-trained Roma; and the other in English, attended by workers from all over the former Yugoslavia, recruited mainly by our CHE teams in Serbia.  In all, we had 26 new graduates, trained to do CHE Christian community development work.

At this conference we also watched the film, The War Room and decided we needed to set up a War Room of our own to engage more effectively in the great spiritual battle for the souls and lives of the Roma in the villages we were targeting.  Each Wednesday morning at 7 AM, our CHE workers who could, gathered in a video-conference call for one-hour of concentrated prayer for God’s victory in their nation and their communities.  God answered (and is answering) by producing spiritual fruit.  Here are some 2016 samples of first-fruits.

  • Our REZ Serbia Team, led by Emil and Klara Kisgeci, has successfully entered the Roma-M*sl*m village of A****, in northern Serbia with the blessing of the village spiritual and political leader.  They will hold a community medical screening in February 2017, have begun a Royal Rangers scout program for boys and girls, are doing in-home visitations and Bible studies and have plans for a CHE women’s program and a  children’s soccer program.
  • Our ZZ Serbia Team, Directed by NAB national worker Marijana Cizmanski, has started two CHE women’s clubs in Novi Sad and have seen 2 Roma women come to Christ already.
  • The Roma Nexus Church in Mali-Beograd has committed to CHE as the strategy to reach their village; has chosen their Development Team which is now being trained by Marijana and their Pastor, Mirko Kiš; and has chosen their first project to work on — to develop an effective wholistic discipleship program for church members so they can be the light and model to the rest of the community to lead them to Christ.
  • In the southern Serbia Roma community of Djorgovska Mahalla, near the town of Lebane, CHE leader, Snezana Randjelovic, is seeing God working in the lives of the youth and woman in the CHE clubs she has begun.
  • Our MEK Hungary Team saw several significant spiritual breakthroughs.  In July, a team of young people from Steamboat Rock, Iowa, held ESL and VBS camps with the Roma youth of Vacegres and Boldog.  They effectively demonstrated and spoke of the love of Jesus Christ and prepared the ground for what came next.
  • In September MEK Hungary held an evangelistic crusade with Roma Pastor Jozsef Kajcza from Oradea, Romania.  In Boldog some 30 Roma, both youth and adults, gave public testimony of their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  In Retkozberencs and in Kekcse there were similar responses with 20 coming forward to receive Christ or give public testimony in each place.
  • The follow-up in Boldog, both one-on-one and in small groups, is producing even more encouraging spiritual fruits, including the salvation of several young men and the start up of both a boys’ and a girls’ CHE Teen club, in addition to the Women’s WCL group.  One of the most exciting developments was the enthusiastic participation of the Roma leadership in Boldog in this spiritual revival and their own spiritual development and growth as believers in Christ.
  • In Boldog, community leader, Bela Kadét, completed the CHE wholistic micro-enterprise course and received the first revolving micro-loan to begin his animal farm.  As he works with NAB national worker, Laci Daroczi-Csuhai, he is also growing in Christ.
  • In Hatvan, Eszter Daroczi-Csuhai has begun a fast-growing Community Young Mothers’ and Children’s Group using the facilities of the Hatvan Reformed Church.

EXPANSION — 

Central Europe and the Balkan Countries

Central Europe and the Balkan Countries

The Vision of CHE Euro Net, a network of all the current CHE teams in Central Europe and the Balkans, is to see CHE Teams formed and new CHE development projects begun in all the nations of Central Europe and the Balkans by 2020.  As CHE Central Europe Coordinator, one of my jobs is to facilitate the accomplishment of this vision.

Here are some of CHE’s areas of expansion in 2016:

  • Bulgaria — We followed up a CHE Vision Seminar in the fall of 2015 in northwest Bulgaria (Lom) with Vision Seminars in Sofia (central Bulgaria) and Sliven (eastern Bulgaria) in the spring of this year.  These have yet to lead to enough interest for a Training of Trainers (TOT1) Conference in Bulgaria.  Roger and Gail Dine, CHE-trained workers from Australia have become members of the CHE Euro Net and are now doing preliminary community entry work in Silistra and Kallipetrova in northern Bulgaria.  They have been making crucial connections with Bulgarian church and mission leaders that will probably lead to that country’s first TOT1 in 2017.
  • Montenegro — Two key church and Roma leaders from Montenegro took CHE training with us in 2016.  They are now working with our CHE Euro Net to hold a Vision Seminar and TOT1 in Podgorica in 2017.
  • Croatia — We held a Vision Seminar in Osijek, Croatia in the spring hosted by country Roma mission leaders.  Several Croatians have taken TOT1.  We are waiting to see the first project hatch there, possibly near Osijek.
  • SlovakiaJon and Tanya Parks of the Baptist Cooperative Mission received their CHE training in Hungary in February.  Members of the CHE Euro Net helped them hold the first TOT1 in Slovakia in October.  They are now forming their CHE Team to begin their first community development project, possibly in Košice.
  • Serbia — Many Roma live in communities around Serbia’s capitol city, Belgrade.  We held a CHE Vision Seminar in June for the leaders of Bread of Life of Belgrade.  They are considering CHE’s wholistic strategy for several of their new community development projects.  A second Vision Seminar was held for key Roma church leaders in Kucura.   A TOT1 is on the drawing board for central Serbia.
  • Hungary — A TOT1 was held in February for new workers that are now helping our CHE eastern team, led by Hessel Keuter and Kálmán Hamza, expand their work.  Laci and Eszter Daroczi-Csuhai led a Vision Seminar and training conference in Dombovar, south Hungary for the Hungarian Methodist church, who are contemplating a CHE project in 2017.
  • France — Together with CHE leaders from France, we helped organize and facilitate an Urban CHE Vision Conference in Paris in April.  Sixty participants including over forty church and mission leaders from France attended.  The French team is now following up with those who want to begin Urban CHE projects there.  A second team is following up on English speaking attendees.  Reach Global, the mission arm of the Evangelical Free Church USA, is now exploring utilizing CHE in current and new outreaches in Central Europe.
  • NAB Vision Trip — In August, church leaders from NAB churches in North Dakota took a vision trip to Serbia, Hungary and Romania.  They examined how they could expand the CHE ministry in each of these countries through developing sustainable and mutual partnerships with both churches and CHE teams.  This will lead to a Vision Seminar in North Dakota in 2017.  Those who visited the community of Bangladesh, outside Novi Sad, will not soon forget what they saw there.
  • The Global CHE Network is seeking further expansion.  In 2016 Ron was selected to be a member of the CHE Representative Council.  He is currently working with other Council members to better organize the global network of regional networks and to remove roadblocks hindering CHE’s expansion into new regions.  The Global CHE Network and Representative Council is collaborating with Transform World in the million village challenge, to bring the gospel and wholistic discipleship to a million new villages in the 10/40 Window by 2020.

SUSTAINABILITY — 

In 2016 we began more formally to address the question of sustainability for our growing number of CHE Teams and development projects.  Sustainability is a core principle for our CHE Teams and development projects.  Achieving sustainability is a very difficult endeavor in a region emerging from 70 years of communism and stagnating socialist economies.  In some countries the churches are few (e.g. Bosnia, Albania, Serbia, Croatia).  In others they are economically weak and lack missional vision. They have very little money or interest in supporting missionaries right now.  Many are themselves dependent upon western money for survival.

Due to these factors, our national workers have little to no concept of developing a pool of financial resources, volunteers and partners.  They have never thought about or done anything like this before.

Ron trains in Developing Sustainable Partnerships outside Tirana, Albania

Ron trains in Developing Sustainable Partnerships outside Tirana, Albania

We believe that the best way to develop CHE Teams that are sustainable is by teaching and training CHE workers to develop their own sustainable support partnerships.  So, in 2016 Ron Seck and Mark Bennett; businessman, head of his NAB Church mission board and CHE worker in Uganda; co-produced a new CHE TOT Seminar entitled “Developing Sustainable Partnerships” (DSP).  Mark and Ron taught the new week-long course three times in 2016 for CHE national workers, in Hungary, Albania and Bosnia.  The 27-lesson DSP course is now part of the CHE curriculum, available to all CHE teams world-wide, and is in manual form.

Since partnership development is a whole new concept to our European CHE workers, Ron followed this up in 2017 with an on-line weekly review of the lesson material and with team-mentoring.  It will take a while for our folks to develop a sustainable partnership mind-set and practice.  In October, we took a videographer to most of our fields and teams to help them produce a video to tell their story visually to potential partners inside and outside their nations.

In June we hosted and participated in an NAB International Missions Summit that focused on developing conference-wide guidelines for forming church-to-church-or-mission-organization partnerships.  We trust this will help our own NAB CHE Teams in Hungary, Serbia and Romania develop sustainable and mutually beneficial partnerships with NAB churches.

A major administrative hurdle to help all our CHE Euro Net teams expand and develop sustainability was to form CHE Central Europe as a legal US non-profit Foundation in 2016.  This was accomplished this fall by making CHE Central Europe foundation (CHE CE) a legal affiliate of CHE’s umbrella organization, the Alliance of Transformational Ministries (ATM).  This will make it possible for all CHE Euro Net Teams to receive financial donations in the United States while the donors receive a US tax receipt via ATM’s backroom services.  CHE CE Partners was also formed as a non-profit affiliate of CHE Central Europe to finance expansion projects to meet CHE Euro Net’s 2020 Vision.  Each CHE CE Team is responsible for raising its own partners and budget.

Finally, sustainability includes finding future NAB workers to continue developing the ministry where our current NAB Teams operate, in Serbia and Hungary.  We envision two NAB couples joining our team in the future, one in the Hungarian-speaking region and one in the Serbian-speaking region.

To facilitate the recruitment of those God is calling to this task, we are now scheduling CHE Vision Seminars for 2017 in regions where we currently have supporting churches.  So far we have scheduled seminars in Winnipeg, Canada for March 7 and 8, 2017 and in Bismarck, ND for February 18, 2017.

Our goals are:

1. to train NAB churches in how to do their own wholistic community development projects. 

2. to train NAB churches how to partner effectively with our CHE teams and projects in Central Europe. 

3. to raise awareness of CHE in NAB churches, of our need for NAB on-field team members and for more partner churches for our NAB teams in Hungary, Romania and Serbia.

VISION — 

img_2048What is on our horizon as we look toward 2017?  Each of our established and emerging CHE Teams are filled with dreams and visions about the future.  These are just a few of the items:

  • In 2017 Jeannie and I will begin to transition into a 3-3-3-3 schedule, alternating approximate 3 month periods in Europe and the US.  As our national workers take more of the lead in expansion, training and community development, we can now focus more of our time on raising up additional sustainable partnerships and finding our own replacements and mentoring them.
  • Winnipeg, Canada — Rev. Sig Sigler of Mission Baptist Church (NAB) will be hosting an Urban CHE Vision Seminar for the pastors of Winnipeg in March, 2017.  He is very serious about beginning Urban CHE.  If there is enough interest, we will return to do a Urban CHE Training Conference in 2017.  This will be for church leaders and volunteers.
  • Northwest US and Canada — We are now planning a visit to NAB churches in northwest US and Canada for May-June, 2017.
  • We will continue to press for the beginning of CHE Teams and projects in Slovakia, Bulgaria and Montenegro.
  • Romania — Our 2016 NAB Vision Trip focused on church and CHE projects in the Oradea, Romania region being proposed by churches of the Hungarian-speaking Baptists of Romania, led by Rev. Zsolt Albert.  NAB Partnership seminars were held in North Dakota and Romania.  We would like to see churches in North Dakota link up in partnerships with churches in Romania in 2017.  First on the docket would be a CHE project in Parhida in partnership with Rev. Albert’s churches.
  • ZZ Serbia will be looking for potential partners to help construct or buy a community center building in Mali-Beograd.  This will provide a worship center and Sunday School space for the Roma church, an office for ZZ Serbia, a training area for CHE community classes, and an apartment for Pastor Kiš’ family.
  • Macedonia — We now have a good contact in Macedonia (Dr. Ture Huhtamaki) who wants to see a CHE Vision Seminar and possible TOT1 there in 2017.
  • Kosovo — We are still waiting for the potential leaders there to schedule a Vision Seminar with our CHE Albania team.
  • MEK Hungary is planning evangelistic outreaches in more Roma communities where our CHE teams work for 2017.
  • Europe, the Cities — We (CHE Training Activist Group — CTAG) will hold a study group meeting in Brussels this spring on Urban CHE.  We will also be representing CHE and Urban CHE at the Movement Day Gathering in London in the fall.

Please continue to pray for us that we will realize our vision for CHE Teams and projects up and running in every nation of Central Europe and the Balkans by the end of 2020.  We are asking the Lord that we will also do our part to reach one million new villages by that date only four years from now.

 

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

Bela’s Dream is Coming True Thanks to Christian Entrepreneurs

Laci surveys a field in Boldog with Bela and one of his goats.

Laci surveys a field in Boldog with Bela and one of his goats.

Just over a year ago Bela and Andi Kadét began a new adventure with several other family members from the Roma community in Boldog.  Together they met weekly with MEK workers, Laci and Eszter, to learn how to start savings groups and begin their own successful micro-enterprise, built upon a relationship with Jesus Christ and godly business principles.

Bela has always had a dream and he’s always been an entrepreneur.  After the Communist era, the Hungarian government returned to his father a beautiful two and one-half hectares of land his family once owned.  While other Roma soon sold their newly recovered parcels, Bela’s father kept his and passed

Bela and Andi Kadét stand in their field

Bela and Andi Kadét stand in their field

it down to him.  Bela would not sell it either.  His goal was, one day, when he had enough money, to farm it.  As a believer in Jesus Christ, he also wanted this dream-farm to be a model to show other Roma how they too could break their cycle of poverty.

Bela did something rather rare for many Roma.  He worked hard at a full-time factory job for 10 years, knowing the toxic fumes at the plastic molding factory where endangering his life.  Meanwhile he raised some pigs and chickens at his home.  But there was never enough money to start his farm, build a barn and buy sufficient livestock to be an independent businessman.

When the micro-enterprise course was completed, Bela worked with Laci to write up a business and marketing plan for his farming enterprise on his own land.  Bela soon qualified to be the first entrepreneur to receive a MEK revolving loan provided by American Christian entrepreneurs.

Soon eight pigs became sixteen!

Soon eight pigs became sixteen!

First he purchased the materials to build a temporary barn-shelter and with the new space increased his number of pigs to eight and goats to four.  He also harvested his first crop of feed for his livestock.  Recently, one of his sows birthed eight piglets.  Thanks to the Lord and MEK Hungary, Bela and Andi are on their way to achieving their dream.

How has this affected the Roma in Boldog?  Other villagers are now asking more questions about what MEK and wholistic community development are all about.  More importantly, Bela and Andi took key roles in the community evangelistic outreach in Boldog in the middle of September that saw many receive Christ or rededicate their lives to Him.  Livestock and the Bible: this is what wholistic community development is about.

Would you like to know more about the MEK Revolving Loan Program and how you can help other poor entrepreneurs like Bela?  Please write Ron at ronseck@gmail.com and ask your questions.

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

Roma Communities in Boldog, Kékcse and Retkozberencs Hear the Gospel Call

Open-air Gospel preaching by Roma pastor Janos Kajcza from Oradea, Romania came to the Roma communities in the villages of Boldog, Retkozberencs and Kékcse, Hungary during the week of September 12 to 16.

Pastor Janos Kajcza addresses those who stood for Jesus Christ in Boldog.  Sandor who gave a powerful testimony, stands to the right

Pastor Janos Kajcza addresses those who stood for Jesus Christ in Boldog. Sandor who gave a powerful testimony, stands to the right

Each day began with fellowship and prayer and then door-to-door visitation by Pastor Kajcza, members of the MEK Team and Roma Christians from the village.  Several afternoons included Bible study and instructions for village leaders.

Kálman Hamza leads singing in Retkozberencs

Kálman Hamza leads singing in Retkozberencs

Sandor, a Roma, shares his testimony of being set free by Jesus from a life of drugs

Sandor, a Roma, shares his testimony of being set free by Jesus from a life of drugs

The evening meetings started with music and singing led by Kalman Hamza or local musicians.  This was followed by a powerful testimony by Roma team-member, Sandor, whose life was completely turned away from drug dealing and addiction and from reckless living by his conversion to Jesus Christ.  Then Janos preached with great power about being delivered from the kingdom of darkness where there is no life to the Kingdom of God’s beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

In Boldog, over fifty Roma adults witnessed the proceedings both nights, some seated on folding chairs while others sat on the park benches or the porches of the nearby houses.  Meanwhile, MEK workers held an outreach program for about 30 children one block away.

When Pastor Kajcza gave the invitation to receive Christ or to rededicate your life to Christ, over 20 community members stood up.  While others watched on, Janos challenged them to put away their specific sinful habits that kept them from fellowship with God and better relationships with each other.  Names were then recorded for future follow-up by the Boldog MEK Team.  The first evening ended with a community dinner of Gypsy bean gulyas prepared by the Christians of the village.

After the last crusade meeting in Boldog, Roma Christians in the village hosted a joyous dinner celebration for all those who participated in the evangelistic campaign.  As we all ate chicken paprikas we praised God for what we were witnessing God do in this community.

Then it was off to do one-day crusades in Retkozberencs and Kékcse organized by MEK Team members Hessel Keuter and Kálman Hamza and local Roma believers.  At the conclusion of both evening meetings, 10 to 15 villagers came forward to stand for Jesus Christ.  Hessel and Kálman will now follow-up on each of these and seek to add them to the CHE Groups they have begun in both villages.

As darkness sets in, Pastor Kajcza challenges those who made decisions for Christ in Retkozberencs

As darkness sets in, Pastor Kajcza challenges those who made decisions for Christ in Retkozberencs

While all this was going on, Ron and Jeannie’s on-line prayer team of over 300 people received daily updates and many replied that they were covering the crusade with their prayers.

We thank Pastor Janos and Sandor, the MEK Teams, the Roma Christians of Boldog, Retkozberencs and Kékcse and the prayer team for their participation in this effort to bring the light of the Gospel to these communities.  We praise and thank our Lord for the work He did in each place, setting prisoners free from darkness and death.

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

Leaders and Workers from 28 Countries Meet in Békes, Hungary for second Roma Consultation

Participants pray for new delegate leaders including Laczi Daroczi-Csuhai and Sasha Cipra

Participants pray for new delegate leaders including Laczi Daroczi-Csuhai and Sasha Cipra

Community Health Evangelism Workers from our teams in Albania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Hungary were among the 160 participants at the follow-up to the Roma Consultation held two years ago in Budapest, Hungary.  The focus was on collaboration, networking, and developing unity among the many Christian organizations and individuals who work with the Roma people in Central Europe and the Balkans.

Attendees had the opportunity to take in workshops designed to enhance their work and expose them to new strategies such as Community Health Evangelism.  CHE workers were able to make new connections as well as renew older ones.  We continue to see an ever-gathering wave moving toward wholistic community development among the poor and marginalized Roma.

One highlight of the conference was the selection of delegates from each participating country to serve on a steering committee for developing closer engagement.  CHE workers Laczi Daroczi (Hungary) and Sasha Cipra (Bosnia) were among those selected to serve.

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

Blog at WordPress.com.