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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.

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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

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

“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

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

MEK Hungary Team Facilitates a Workshop for Gifted Students in Romania

Hessel discusses a small business exercise with Romanian High School students

A main focus of our community transformation ministry is imparting training and know-how to the marginalized and poorly educated of Central Europe’s population.  Laci, Hessel, Jeannie and I had quite a change-of-pace from this in April when we did a two-day workshop on entrepreneurship for gifted-talented high school students in Oradea, Romania.

Teodora Chifor, one of our contacts in Romania, has developed a top-notch after-school program for high school students she hopes will be the future leaders of Romania.  Because of this, she wants these students from all or no religious background to be educated in spiritual truth as well as advanced leadership skills.  She counted on us to do a workshop on being an entrepreneur that was based on Biblical truth.  The 25 students were all bi-lingual (Romanian and English), highly motivated, very intelligent and a whole lot of fun to work with.

The gut-level moment came when Hessel Keuter gave a presentation on integrity in business and used his Christian grandfather in Holland as a powerful illustration.  Only two months before our workshop the Romanian people had taken to the streets in mass protests against their own political leaders who had just passed a law that they could not be prosecuted for stealing amounts less than $50,000!  I pointed out that the corruption of the fathers had been passed down to the sons for far too many generations in Romania.  These young people were going to be the new generation of leaders.  Were they going to be leaders of integrity or corruption?  They stood for integrity.  We told them they would need God at work in their lives to stand firm in this commitment.  Pray for our future opportunities with Teodora and these wonderful young people.

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

Ron and Jeannie Have Much to Be Thankful For This November!

One of my favorite Sundays as pastor of Fellowship Chapel was the one just before Thanksgiving.  The whole worship service was an opportunity for the Fellowship family to give testimonies of thanksgiving to God for the significant happenings in their lives over the past year.  The praise time often went into “extra innings” with many tears, amens and heart-felt thankyou’s to the Lord.

Please let this blog entry be the thanksgiving testimony of Jeannie and me to you, the congregation for our ministry.

We exalt the Lord for these blessings in the last month …

MEK's new 2009 VW 9-passenger van.

MEK’s new 2009 VW 9-passenger van.

MEK’s ‘’new” 2009 Volkswagen Van to replace the worn-out Skoda Kombi.  We picked it up this week in Dresden, Germany.  It seats nine people, can haul lots of cargo and has a good engine.  It’s just old enough not to be out of place in our village settings.  We thank the Lord for all those who contributed to MEK’s Auto Replacement Campaign.

Our warm and cozy apartment in Batonyterenye, Hungary.  The landlord has told us that they will be moving back to the Netherlands and will not be reclaiming our apartment after all.  So we do not have to move out and find another place to live by mid-November.  We can use the BT place for one or two more years.

Steve Schwan "shoots" Pastor Zsolt Albert outside Beharia, Romania

Steve Schwan “shoots” Pastor Zsolt Albert outside Biharia, Romania

Our safe trips with Detroit friend Steve Schwan to make videos for our CHE Teams in Serbia, Albania, Hungary and Romania.  These finished film productions should be available in about two to three months to help our teams educate potential new partners in their work and their partnership opportunities.

For new CHE Central Europe friends, Dr. Ture and Ingvar Huhtamaki, living in Finland.  Ture has recently retired from his full-time pediatrics practice and wishes to use his medical knowledge to help CHE in Central Europe!  The doctor joined Steve and Ron on their whirl-wind tour of CHE teams and fields to get a first-hand look at medical needs in our projects and countries.  Ture and Ingvar served a one-year term with Fida in Macedonia and would like to see a CHE Team and projects established there!

From left, Mirko, Steve, Dr. Ture Huhtamaki, Slavica and Marijana take a break from filming in Malie Beograd, Serbia.  Mirko and Slavica pastor the Roma church there.

From left, Mirko, Steve, Dr. Ture Huhtamaki, Slavica and Marijana take a break from filming in Mali-Beograd, Serbia. Mirko and Slavica pastor the Roma church there.

For encouraging follow-up of people after our mid-September evangelism meetings.  In Boldog, we have seen several clarified commitments to Jesus Christ and further opportunities to present the Gospel in detail to interested observers.

For our blessed War Room prayer meetings and encouraging answers to prayer.  See the story below.

For the growth of Bela and Andi Kadet’s farm enterprise after receiving MEK’s first revolving loans  See that story below also.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Ron and Jeannie

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

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