Travel

Eleven NAB Churches Form Partnerships with ZZ Serbia or MEK Hungary

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

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

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

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

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

The churches involved in these exciting developments are:

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

MEK Church Partners

Hillside Baptist Church, Dickinson, ND

West Meadows Baptist Church, Edmonton, AB

Grace Baptist Church, Kelowna, BC

First Baptist Church, Vernon, BC

Bethany Baptist Church, Richmond, BC

Salt Creek Baptist Church, Salt Creek, OR

Fellowship Baptist Chapel, Sterling Heights, MI

ZZ Church Partners

Fellowship Baptist Chapel, Sterling Heights, MI

Brandon Valley Baptist Church, Brandon Valley, SD

Oak Hills Baptist Church, Sioux Falls, SD

Bismarck Baptist Church, Bismarck, ND

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

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Categories: A Good Story, Happenings, Travel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“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

On the Road Again! To Western US and Canada

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

May 19 to 25 — Edmonton, Alberta area.

May 25 to 30 — Vancouver, British Columbia area

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

June 6 to12 — Dallas, Oregon area

June 12 to 16 — Winnipeg, Manitoba area

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

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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.

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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

North Dakota Church Leaders Take a Central European Vision Trip

Erv, Marty and Matt meet with Marijana and the leadership team of the Nexus Roma church in Mali-Beograd

Erv, Marty and Matt meet with Marijana and the leadership team of the Nexus Roma church in Mali-Beograd, Serbia.

What’s the best way for your church to dig into a Kingdom-building missions partnership?  First, send the leaders of your church on an on-site Vision Trip.  That’s what NAB churches Hillside Baptist and Century Baptist did this August.

Hillside Youth Pastor, Matt Herron, accompanied missionary-trip veterans Erv and Marty VanVeldhuizen to visit potential partnership opportunities with our CHE Team in Novi Sad, Serbia called ZZ.  ZZ Serbia is under the direction of NAB national worker Marijana Cizmanski.

They were deeply impacted by the poverty as well as the open doors of opportunity they witnessed in the Roma communities of Bangladesh and Mali-Beograd.  The huge M*sl*m Roma village of Veleki Rit, on the outskirts of Novi Sad showed them the urgency of entering such communities before the radical imams completely take over.

Matt and Erv follow Marijana and Ron in a tour of a Roma village

Matt and Erv follow Marijana and Ron on a tour of a Roma village

Ron shared with them that ZZ Serbia is looking for a coalition of serious-minded, long-term and partner-focused NAB churches to meet the evangelism and transformation challenges in these wretchedly impoverished communities.

Next, Ron and Jeannie and the Hillside team, met up with Pastor Paul Herr and Alan Steier from Century Baptist for a tour of potential partnership opportunities in Transylvania with the Hungarian-speaking Baptists of Romania.

Rev. Zsolt Albert hosted and led this well-prepared tour of exciting CHE project sites, ready-to-harvest outreach partnership opportunities and wholistic ministry programs.  At each location, the Vision Team was given a tour by local ministry leaders and

As Pastor Zsolt (facing the camera) leads, team members have time to envision what God wants to do in Parhida, Romania

As Pastor Zsolt (facing the camera) leads, team members have time to envision what God wants to do in Parhida, Romania

a detailed, print-out of their cause, vision and partnership possibilities.  Team members were deeply impressed with how God was working through these dedicated churches and leaders and with the tremendous opportunities for meaningful collaboration.

Paul and Alan then joined a short-term team from Century Baptist working in Romania while the Hillsiders returned to Hungary for their flight home.  There was much to reflect upon from what they had seen and heard first-hand.

If you would like to schedule a vision trip or travel with a vision team to Central Europe to see the partnership opportunities for your church, contact Ron.

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

Ron and Jeannie’s Well-Stamped Passports and Summer Teams Reports

This spring, 2016, was the busiest travel and training time of Ron and Jeannie’s ministry.  Their passports have been well stamped.

Here’s a brief rundown of where they went and what they did between February and June.

February 21-26 CHE Training of Trainers Conference in Balatonföldvár, Hungary.
March 1-6 CHE Vision Seminars in Sofia and Sliven, Bulgaria
March 17-20 CHE Vision Seminar in Osijek, Croatia
April 6-8 Neighborhood Transformation Conference in Paris, France.  Ron gave devotions and spoke on the keys to growth of CHE’s ministry in Central Europe and the Balkans to 70 mission leaders investigating CHE’s urban strategy for work in Europe’s cities.
April 15-20 Developing Sustainable Partnerships (DSP) Training Conference at Lake Balaton, Hungary
April 21-27 Developing Sustainable Partnerships (DSP) Training Conference in Tirana, Albania.
April 30-May 6 Global CHE Network Representative Council Meetings, May 2 in Phoenix, Arizona International Wholistic Missions Conference— Ron was the keynote speaker to open the conference.  Ron and Jeannie led a workshop on the new DSP course.  Ron presented devotions several times.
May 16-20 Ron and Randy Schmor of Gateway Teams did NAB Partnership presentations to leaders in Romania and Serbia.
May 22-26 NAB Mission Summit.  The NAB Hungary and Romania fields hosted a meeting of NAB Field Leaders and International Office staff at Lake Balaton.
June 3 CHE Vision Seminar for Bread of Life, Serbia in Belgrade Serbia
June 5 CHE Vision Seminar in Dombovar, Hungary

What’s next?  Ron and Jeannie are putting away their passports and planning some much- needed vacation time for the last two weeks in June.  In July MEK Hungary will be working with a short-term missions team from Steamboat Rock, Iowa to do 3-day ESL Bible Camps in Boldog and Csörög.

In August they will take a Vision Team of pastors and church leaders on a tour of potential partnership churches and projects in Hungary, Romania and Serbia.  If you would be interested in being part of this Vision Trip, contact Ron immediately.

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

Our National Missionaries and Teams Trained to Develop Sustainable Support Partnerships

Ron and Jeannie recently spent two weeks in Hungary and Albania watching a vision from the Lord become a wonderful and significant reality.

As NAB Hungary Field Leader and Community Health Evangelism (CHE) Central Europe Coordinator, one of Ron’s key goals is to develop long-term sustainability for the national workers and community develop teams Jeannie and he are raising up around Central Europe.  This includes our own NAB teams in Hungary, Romania and Serbia.

Joska Temesvary shares a funny thought with the MEK Hungary Board as they work on a DSP assignment.

Joska Temesvary shares a funny thought with the MEK Hungary Board as they work on a DSP assignment.

Although CHE and wholistic community development are not aid programs, requiring a great deal of money and people, they still need some sustainable resources of volunteers, short-term special project teams and finances to do their work.  These important resources must come through sustainable partnerships with churches, businesses and individuals within the country and abroad.

However, many of our national team members in Central Europe, do not know how to develop these important sustainable partnerships.  So, Ron teamed up with Mark Bennett, California businessman, CHE leader in projects in Uganda and head of his local NAB church’s mission board to produce a new course that trains CHE Teams, Boards and workers in how to develop essential, sustainable partnerships.

Mark at dinner with members of ZZ Serbia's Board

Mark Bennett at dinner with members of ZZ Serbia’s Board during the DSP training week.

Ron discusses principles of sustainable partnerships with Roger and Gail Dine of CHE Bulgaria

Ron discusses principles of sustainable partnerships with Roger and Gail Dine of CHE Bulgaria

Mark and Ron came to realize that individual and church partnerships do not always endure, but Christians workers, who know how to make sustainable partnerships, do.

They set about to create a course that would teach national workers Biblical principles of raising up individuals and churches that would partner with them to transform communities and plant new churches among the poor and marginalized.  In the process Mark and Ron wanted to help participants learn how western churches think and operate; how to communicate with them effectively; how to utilize webpages, social media, email and video to develop deeper relationships and how to follow the examples of Jesus and the Apostle Paul, both of whom needed partnerships to do their ministries.

Together, they pooled Ron’s 45 years in church and missions ministry and Mark’s extensive experience as a businessman, CHE worker and church missions board member as they created lessons plans.

After six months of collaboration, Mark, Ron and Jeannie launched the week-long course for the first time to 24 eager members of our teams from Romania, Hungary and Serbia April 15 to 20 at Balatonföldvár.  Then they flew to Tirana, Albania to present it to 15 members of our partner Christian community development teams working there, April 22-27.

Members of REZ Serbia, ZZ Serbia, CHE Bulgaria and CHE Romania work as Boards on a partnership project.

Members of REZ Serbia, ZZ Serbia, CHE Bulgaria and CHE Romania work as Boards on a partnership project.

The training struck a deep chord with many of the participants, who confessed that they often feel like orphans as they persevere in reaching out in Jesus’ love to the poorest communities of the old Soviet satellite countries.  Most of their home churches and denominations do not yet have a missionary-sending mindset and do not cooperate in their wholistic work with the Roma and the poor.

During the week of training and visioning, they all learned new ways to approach potential partners both in their own countries and abroad.  This created new hope and encouragement plus many ideas that are now being put into action.

Ron also introduced this new course on Developing Sustainable Support Partnerships at the International Wholistic Missions Conference on May 4.  We pray that it will be an effective new tool in the CHE toolbox for reaching a million new villages for Jesus Christ by 2020.  We praise the Lord and pray for our recent students to find faithful partners like you.

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

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