Posts Tagged With: training

The Gathering Wave Is Now Flowing out to The Nations of Central Europe!

Durres, Albania, site of "The Gathering Wave."

Durres, Albania, site of “The Gathering Wave.”

It was the first evening of The Gathering Wave Conference in Durres, Albania and we were, of all things, doing a talent show!  What a great way to get to know each other!  We had enjoyed singing and instrumental music from many countries, magic tricks, story telling and hobby presentations.  Then Melody Wachsmuth, USA missionary, seminary professor, writer and researcher on Roma issues stood up and told us about her former life.  She had been a US park ranger for 8 years and loved the great outdoors.  For her talent, she explained that she was going to give us the 5 rules for hiking the wilderness with a guide.  She would then apply these rules to our Christian walk.

“The first rule,” she stated, “is stay together.”  She proceeded to warn us of the dangers of wandering off alone on the trail: getting lost, getting hurt and possibly dying.  In the same way, she explained, we need to stay together in our Christian walk to accomplish God’s plan for our lives.

“The second rule is,” she hesitated for just a moment, “stay together.”

“And the third rule is,” she continued with deliberate emphasis, “stay together.”

Melody’s important words proved to be prophetic during the Gathering Wave Conference.

Conference attendees listen to John Warton speak on economic opportunity.

Conference attendees listen to John Warton speak on economic opportunity.

April 16 to 18, God gathered together close to 100 invited delegates, who lead work with the impoverished and Roma/Gypsies, from 20 nations (16 in the Balkans and Central Europe) to the Harmonia Hotel on the shore of the Adriatic Sea for a week of learning about wholistic community outreach and development.  As we watched the waves role in each day, we saw how they would gather into one bigger wave.  We were praying for that bigger gathering wave.

Terry Dalrymple, Executive Director of the CHE Global Network, reported to us about how the wholistic missions movement was sweeping across our world and was now entering Europe.

Hal Jones, Director of Global Hope Network International and leader of the Transform World Poverty Challenge, presented the vision of reaching 1 million new unreached poor villages globally by 2020.  He exhorted us to take up our own part of this challenge for Central Europe and the Balkans.

Agron Aga, head of the Fida team in Tirana, Albania and Ron spoke of the 9 challenges we will need to overcome to achieve this vision:  We have to get out of our box of man-made rules and assumptions about working with the poor, and follow Biblical principles more closely.

Norm Poehlke, Director of NAB Missions, takes in a plenary session at the Gathering Wave.

Norm Poehlke, Director of NAB Missions, takes in a plenary session at the Gathering Wave.

John Warton, head of economic development for Transform World, spoke of the unseen but very real economic opportunities facing us if we adopt wholistic principles.

David Briggs, from The Jesus Film Project, shared the new opportunities that advancements in media and technology has given us for doing community evangelism and discipleship.

Cor Sneider, leader of a Dutch Team specializing in CHE for Urban settings, gave an introduction to Urban CHE methods and strategies.

Through it all, we sensed that God was bringing all of us together as that Gathering Wave, and the message was “stay together” to get this new thing done.

Participants attended 6 breakout sessions that presented to them CHE’s theology, philosophy, basic principles, strategies and methods of wholistic community outreach and development.

One important highlight was that every attendee had the opportunity to visit one of three CHE community projects in the Durres/Tirana region for a first-hand look at wholistic mission in action.  They listened to CHE workers, talked to village leaders and volunteers and saw physical evidences of transformation.  It was powerful testimony as they heard from many villagers how they had come to Christ and how their lives and their communities were now being transformed.

The owner of this peach orchard explains to delegates how he came to faith and how CHE helped him develop his thriving business from a micro-loan.

The owner of this peach orchard explains to delegates how he came to faith and how CHE helped him develop his thriving business from a micro-loan.

Conference participants visited this group of farmers who are working with CHE in their villages.

Conference participants visited this group of farmers who are working with CHE in their villages.

By now, many delegates were gathered, united and ready to consider what next steps they could possibly take concerning CHE.  We laid out several concrete options:

  1. Connect with the CHE Europe Net network that we have recently organized to provide useful resources to those considering starting CHE projects.  Stay together with us!
  2. Host a CHE Vision Seminar for leaders in their agency, denomination, churches our nation.
  3. Organize a CHE Training of Trainers Conference for those who want to begin wholistic community development in their country or region.
  4. Set up a CHE Foundation or Team in their country to nurture and encourage CHE works.
  5. Start a CHE community project.

The delegates, many of whom did not know each other before the conference, went into 2-hour country meetings to discuss next steps and to make plans.

We closed with a plenary session in which countries could report on the next steps they were committing to take.  The following countries reported that they would be hosting a CHE Vision Seminar and/or a Training Conference before the end of 2015:  Albania, Macedonia, southern Serbia, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine.  Other delegates said they would be reporting back to their agencies with the goal of beginning CHE projects!  What an incredible answer to our prayers!

We had come together now as a Gathered Wave.  We agreed that we would “stay together” as a network to assist each other in seeing these plans through to the development of model CHE projects in each nation by 2020.

As the delegate left on Friday morning, we watched the wave flow out to the nations of the Balkans and Central Europe.  More to come!

The Gathering Wave flows out to the nations

The Gathering Wave flows out to the nations

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Dutch Missionary, Hessel Keuter, Joins the MEK Hungary Team

Here’s another story of how God answers prayers!  This last summer MEK Hungary began to realize that to do effective community development in eastern Hungary we would need an mature MEK Coordinator overseeing and equipping our eastern team.  We began to pray for the man or woman of God’s choosing for this position. Continue reading

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MEK Launches a “More-Fuel-for-the-Winter” Project

Typical Roma mud brick house, Mali-Beograd, Serbia.  Note open spaces.

Typical Roma mud brick house, Mali-Beograd, Serbia. Note open spaces.

Imagine living in a drafty, mud-brick house.  It is winter.  It is the end of the month.  You are out of firewood for your little stove … and money to buy more.  You and your children are huddled in one dark room, shivering.  There are two more months of cold.

When we surveyed the Roma of 30 villages this summer, lack of winter fuel was one of the top five unsolved problems on their list.  MEK went to work looking for an answer to this problem and a possible “seed project” to help us demonstrate the potential of holistic community development.

This large briquette machine, used in Kallo, costs over $500.

This large briquette machine, used in Kallo, costs over $500.

The mayor of Kallo, Hungary is an industrious former business man.  He too had been doing research.  He showed us two large hand-powered machines that he had bought for the Roma of his community to make winter fuel by pressing together a wet mash of paper, saw dust, leaves and other organic combustible material.

We went on-line and found plans for a much more affordable, easily-made home version of the briquette machine.  After producing two proto-types, we realized we could train Roma to make these machines for about $16 to $20 (5000 Forints) a piece.

 Thus “The Briquette Machine Project” was launched in August.  The machines became an instant sensation at the Roma

Laci and Hessel demonstrate the MEK version of the briquette machine to Roma in Ajak.

Laci and Hessel demonstrate the MEK version of the briquette machine to Roma in Ajak.

village meetings we held, especially among the not-so-easily-impressed men.  In order to raise the dignity of the Roma, MEK has a practice of not giving anything away for free.  So we proposed Roma Community Build Days.  On a scheduled day we would come to the community and help every family that came to us with 5000 forints to build a machine.  Some Roma protested the cost and pleaded poverty, but we held firm, knowing how much the typical Gypsy adult spends on cigarettes per month (over 20,000 forints of his meager government support), and cigarettes don’t keep you very warm in the winter.

We did our first two Community Build Days in the Roma communities in Ajak and Vaja.  Working with local Gypsies 9 machines were built in Vaja.  Then two of these Roma went with Hessel to Ajak and built 5-6 more.  In the process, local Roma were learning about MEK and holistic ministry.  We are praying that this will lead to larger Build Days in the spring in numerous other interested villages.  Please remember to pray for The Briquette Machine Project and for more Build Days in the future.

Kálman puts the finishing touches on a briquette machine in Ajak.

Kálman puts the finishing touches on a briquette machine in Ajak.

Hessel and Feri show off newly-made briquette machines in Vaja

Hessel and Feri show off newly-made briquette machines in Vaja

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Training of Trainers 2 Course to be held October 6 to 11 at Balatonföldvár, Hungary

Over two dozen CHE/MEK workers will gather at Balatonföldvár on Hungary’s Lake Balaton October 6 to 11 to receive year-two training (TOT2) in holistic community development.  “This training is  by invitation only and is primarily for those who have begun to implement CHE strategies and principles in their community ministry,” explained Ron Seck, CHE Hungary Coordinator.  “They must have completed our first course (TOT1) and be in the process of entering Roma communities to begin development projects.”

Balatonföldvár, on Lake Balaton, will be the site of our TOT2 seminar Octobet 6-11.

Balatonföldvár, on Lake Balaton, will be the site of our TOT2 seminar Octobet 6-11.

One other requirement is that they be fluent in either English or Hungarian, the two languages to be used at the course in October.  Once trained. these delegates will be able to train others in their home countries of Romania, Hungary, Serbia and Croatia in these new skills and materials.

 “CHE training is done very much on a need-to-know basis,” Ron said.  “As these CHE workers enter their first Roma villages, they now need to know how to set up seed projects, how to train and evangelize community leaders and then volunteers for their roles in community development, how to measure development progress, how to use storying and participatory learning and much more.  This week will be very valuable to all of them.  I am very excited about the dedication and passion of the people who will come to Lake Balaton for this class.”

Your financial support to Ron and Jeannie’s SECK/MEK Team helps make these important training events possible. 

Please remember to pray for the 27 men and women who will be taking part in this TOT2 course as trainers and trainees.

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TOT1 Is Coming to Romania this November and December

 

 The expansion of Community Health Evangelism into new nations, regions and communities depends largely upon CHE “Champions” like Rev. Zsolt Albert of Paptomasi and Beharia, Romania.  Rev. Albert pastors 2 large Hungarian Baptist churches and 3 Roma congregations near Oradea, Romania.  He still had time last November to attend CHE’s one-week introductory training course in Hungary.  He returned home burdened to introduce holistic ministry into the poor Roma villages in his region.  He also had the skills, leadership abilities and contacts to do so.

Continue reading

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Study Trip to Albania Adds to CHE Knowledge

Albania is a country of mountains plunging into lakes and rivers

Jozsi Csuhai stopped our van between the border of Macedonia which we were just leaving and the border of Albania which we were just entering.

“Why are you stopping?”  I asked him.

“To remember this moment,” he smiled, “I have waited twenty years for this.  Thank you, Jesus.”

None of us in the van had been here before, but all seven of us had sensed the Lord leading us to Albania for a long time.  Now we were here at last, as fellow CHE workers; 3 from Hungary — Jozsi, Eszter and Laci; 2 from Serbia — Emil and Marjana; and 2 from the US.  We had driven 1300 kilometers to learn as much as we could from the ten-year old Albanian Community Health Evangelism projects so we could apply it to our own start-up projects in Serbia and Hungary.

Albania is a picturesque and rustic country with deep blue lakes, snow capped mountains; brisk, rushing rivers; Mediterranean sea sides; twisty, pot-holed “roads” and 700,000 communist-era, concrete bunkers.

It also has a population that is still emerging from decades of social isolation, economic desolation and severe religious oppression under a mad communist dictator.  Into this environment, FIDA, the Finnish Pentecostal Church’s development ministry, led by Agron Aga, has carried out 11 CHE projects in and around the capitol city of Tirana; and Medical Ambassadors, led by Dr. Patriot Hoxhaj, has done 4 around the city of Korce.

Our Team with the FIDA/CHE Team from Tirana

On Sunday morning we visited the Good News Church of Tirana that is operating an Urban CHE project under the direction of the FIDA team.  In the afternoon we toured the site and interviewed very enthusiastic FIDA Trainers and community volunteers.  Each volunteer gave testimony of how God had used CHE to bring them to Christ and to bring  their community together to overcome many of their hardships.  The meetings were very instructive and encouraging.

Monday, we headed south along the coast to a m/sl/m Roma village near Fier, to observe a community-based project in operation.  We learned from the villagers and their CHE community leader that through CHE a church had been planted, roads had been paved, open sewers had been replaced by an underground drainage system, micro-enterprise loans had developed small businesses, their village was leading others by their example and the gospel was being preached and modeled effectively.

Our Team talks with community workers and leaders in Fier, Albania

That evening we traveled to another m/sl/m community where a visionary local church was running two very effective CHE projects with the help of the FIDA team.  The 65 year old pastor inspired us with his vigor and enthusiasm for holistic ministry in Jesus‘ name.  Many m/sl/ms are coming to Christ as their villages and their own lives are being transformed.

Tuesday we made the trip to Korce to visit some of the projects under the supervision of the 6-person Medical Ambassadors Team.  Two villages, where CHE is countering the influence being exerted by middle-eastern style radical isl/m, were truly amazing.  The m/sl/ms build shiny new mosques for their radical teachings, while CHE and MA help the villagers develop schools, community centers, small businesses, sanitation systems and playgrounds in Jesus’ name.  The result: 2 churches are planted, bible studies are thriving with 45 women attending one of them and 20 men another; children’s programs are training the youth through clubs and summer camps.  Our teams was very much impressed by the verbal and visual display of how powerfully God is using holistic evangelism and discipleship.

Medical Ambassadors/CHE is working with this village to build a community center/church, a school, a sanitation system and a playground on this site

We thank all of you who were praying for us and our team as we made this 3000 kilometer round trip.  The driving was definitely treacherous in places, especially as we navigated the winding, two-lane, broken-down, no-side-barrier mountain roads after dark.  We traveled safely and had only minor car problems.  The health of all 7 of us was good as we faced a challenging schedule, strange but excellent foods and sometimes unsanitary conditions.  Most of all, your prayers were answered in regard to all that we learned through first-hand observation, interview and instruction.  Now please pray as we apply these lessons to our start-up works in Serbia and Hungary.

Dr. Patriot Hoxhaj of Medical Ambassadors discusses the renovation of this building as a church and youth center with village leaders.

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MEK to hold TOT1 Course April 21-26

November TOT1 trainees show off the results of their small group discussion

The next Misszió az Egészséges Közösségekért (MEK) Training of Trainers (TOT1) Course will be held at Hajdúszoboszló near Debrecen the week of April 21 to 26.  Trainees will be introduced to the “wholistic” strategies, methods and materials of Community Health Evangelism (CHE).  This Bible-based method of reaching the poorest of the poor with the gospel of Jesus Christ and then transforming them into mature disciples of Jesus Christ in all areas of their lives is bringing new vitality and hope to poor communities in this dark world.  If you work with the poor or with the Roma population of Hungary we encourage you to attend this course, taught in Hungarian.

The cost of the week-long seminar is 30,000 forint.  The first ten people who sign up who work with the Roma or the poor will receive a full scholarship!  We will work with all of you who wish to attend so that you can afford to come as well.  Please sign up right away.  Space is limited.

You can register by simply emailing your Name, Address, phone number, email address and ministry to Esztér Csuhai at csuhaieszter@gmail.com.  If you have questions, contact Eszter or me at ronseck@me.com.

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Ron and Jeannie’s US Schedule, December thru February

December and January in Phoenix

Moxie and “Apa”

Jeannie and I returned home on November 19 and have been thoroughly enjoying the holidays with Bob, Jessy and Moxie and their new house in Phoenix.  It has also been an opportunity to visit doctors for checkups and dentists for necessary dental work.

New City Church in Phoenix gave us the opportunity to present our Gypsy Bags at their art gallery on First Friday, December 2.  The event was called Christmas Shopping with a Purpose and we are excited to announce that we sold out!  This was a very encouraging start to this Roma micro-enterprise.  Thank you to everyone at New City Church who helped make this such a success for the Roma of Kékcse.

International Wholistic Missions Conference

In January we will be doing a workshop on Church Partnering at the International Wholistic Missions Conference (January 9-11) in Phoenix.  Please pray about this important conference, sponsored by Community Health Evangelism.  Missions workers and leaders will be coming from all over the world to learn from each other how to minister to the bodies and souls of people more effectively as Jesus did.  Jeannie and I are humbled to be part of this first-of-its-kind conference and are eagerly looking forward to learning as well as instructing.

February in the Great Lakes Region

In February we will travel to Detroit to share our vision and ministry with North American Baptist Churches and our supporters in the Great Lakes region.  We will be visiting in Indiana, western Michigan and Ontario as well as the metro-Detroit area.

Our schedule looks like this so far:

First Friday in Phoenix: “I like my new Gypsy Bag!”

Feb 2, Saturday — Men’s Prayer Breakfast at The Fishermen’s Net, Utica, Michigan

Feb 3, Sunday — open

Feb 5, Tuesday — Detroit Metro Pastors Prayer Meeting

Feb 9-10, Saturday, Sunday — New Beginnings Baptist Church, Kokomo, Indiana

Feb 15, Friday evening — Open House, Sterling Heights, Mi.

Feb 17, Sunday — Lakeshore Baptist Church, Stevensville, Michigan

Feb 18-20 — Ontario churches and supporters

Feb 22-24 — North American Baptist, Metro-Detroit Missions Conference

Feb 24, Sunday — Crosspointe Christian Church, Grosse Pointe, MI

If you have some time free and would like to get together with us for breakfast, lunch or dinner or just for coffee, please email me at ron@new.justaseck.com so we can put you on our schedule.

Open House for Supporters, Friday, February 15, 6:30 to 9:30 P.M.

This is our invitation to you:  We dearly want to get together with all of those who are supporting us or are interested in our ministry.  On Friday, February 15 we will be holding an open house at Ray and Maggie Beeman’s home, 35411 Grayfield, Sterling Heights from 6:30 to 9:30.  At 7:30 we will give an update on our work and have a time of prayer for our work in Hungary and the Balkans.  Please come when you can and stay as long as you would like.  We are anxious to see you again.

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“God is Great!” Dr. Klara Dudas Gives First-Hand Report from First Serbian CHE Training

Dr. Klara Kisgeci Dudas just wrote a report on the CHE TOT1 Conference in Novi Sad, November 26 to 30th.  It was the first done in Serbia, and the first one Klara and her husband, Emil, organized.  It was a very God-blessed week.

Here is Dr. Klara’s report, mostly in her own words:

The First Serbian CHE training TOT1 finished yesterday.  It was a great time spent together with 23 participants:  6 facilitators (4 from Bosnia & Hercegovina and 2 from Serbia), and 17 learners from Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Croatia.   

It was an exciting event.  The new form of teaching, inspections, questions, “learning to think,” world-view, and how to motivate communities to take care for themselves.  Study groups formed quickly with good team work.

The most impressive and compassionate moment came when each person laid down an object that represented one of their community problems.  Then they were each given three stones and told to vote for the three top problems, by laying a stone beside the object.  Those with the most votes got tears and cries of people under oppression.

One of the most moving moments of the TOT1 in Serbia is when the trainees “voted” on their community’s three greatest problems.

Devotional times were excellent.  There were worship songs, guitars, testimonies, words, thanksgivings and prayers for the sick.  The most strong verses were from Psalm 96:1-9,11; Rev 3:20; Joshua 1, 6,8,9. 

God is great!  He led us in all the lessons.  Many of the people commented that it was an all new seminar for them, “out” of their expectations, and they are extremely satisfied.

The last evening we formally asked the participants if they are willing to give their “yes” and sign up to be part of a formal CHE-group in Serbia for the purpose of continuing CHE work.  Fifteen persons signed up!  Thanks be to the Lord!  We are thankful for your support and prayers and for being such a vital part of all of this that happened.

(Please go to the Support page to see the letter signed by the conference participants, thanking you for your financial support that made their attendance possible.)

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Ethnic Roma and Hungarians Attend TOT1 at Balatonföldvár, Hungary

Ethnic Hungarians and Roma joined together to work on CHE strategies

Community Health Evangelism (CHE) has now entered two new cultures:  Romanian and Roma.  During the week of November 11-16, twenty-three Christian leaders and workers, including 12 Roma (Gypsies) and 4 Romanians, gathered in Balatonföldvár for the second CHE Training of Trainers One Conferenceof 2012.

Misszio Egészsége Kösösségekért (MEK) sponsored the training week.  It was the first TOT 1 to be done mostly in Hungarian with all Hungarian training materials.  Joining Ron and Jeannie as instructors were 5 Hungarian MEK members who had been trained themselves at the TOT last April.  This brings MEK one step closer to being an all-Hungarian ministry.

CHE Trainees Use This Technique to Prioritize Roma Village Needs

Team Projects Included Building Water Towers

The week was packed with great instruction presented in CHE’s uniquely interactive ways.  Time went quickly as MEK facilitators used small group interaction, question and answer, story-telling, competitions, laughter, drama, role-play, prayer, visual aids and handouts to help students make some real paradigm shifts in their strategies for ministering to the poor and needy.

One young couple, Gergő and Rhodé Szimon, are planting a village church and wanted to see how CHE principles could help them minister effectively to their near-by Roma community.  Rev Márta Bolba, a Lutheran pastor, working in a very poor section of inner-city Budapest, asked many stimulating questions and was pointed during the week to CHE’s specialized urban training.  Carolyn Otterness, a Community Health nurse and worker with the Hungarian Reformed Church’s Roma Mission, came because she wanted to learn more about CHE community health initiatives, especially the Women’s Cycle of Life course.

The Roma church leaders travelled from villages in eastern Hungary with the Hungarian Baptist Union’s new CHE Coordinator, Rev. Jozsef Csuhai.  Their goal was to gain a vision of hope for their villages.  They found it in CHE’s vision of community development through practical ministry that is focused on both the physical and spiritual.

Working in Small Groups

The four Romanians, all Baptist pastors, were investigating how they could use CHE effectively in the Transylvania region of their nation.  They proved to be a wonderful resource for godly wisdom, new ideas and tested models for holistic ministry to the poor.

One of them, Rev. Janos Kajcza, is an energetic, innovative, evangelistic and Spirit-led Roma.   Janos has been using Biblical holistic principles, similar to CHE’s for many years to build a solid, growing church of faithful Gypsy disciples.  He was used by the Lord during the week to encourage and challenge the Roma leaders to dedicate themselves personally to being fully-devoted disciples and champions for CHE in their communities.

On the last day of the conference 6 of them made commitments to lay aside unhealthy personal habits that would keep them from being effective in realizing their new vision of making wholly healthy disciples in a wholly healthy church in a wholly healthy community.   It was truly a Spirit-led conclusion to a great week.

Please pray for these leaders as they go home and ponder the next step in implementing CHE in their communities.  And thank you sincerely for your financial support that made this training, and all other training done this year, possible.  It was money well invested.

Worshiping Together

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