Relief Action to Ukraine

Pepita Donation Centre

Pepita Donation Centre started out as a second hand clothing store. Today, it offers visitors not only clothing products, but also home decor and furniture. The amount collected from the donation shop is used for families in need and for our mission activities.

Hungarian Gypsy Missions International and the Pepita Donation Centre had a joint event in September, the Pepita run in Békés, which proved to be a great initiative. It was a great family charity program in the name of movement and equal opportunities.
In addition to the run, the program was also enriched by a playhouse, handicrafts and a puppet theater. Mayor Tibor Kálmán started as the main patron of the event, and stated about the event on his Facebook page: "Another player on the field - The Pepita Run again invited the people of Békés to move for a good cause and a noble goal."

Remembering the Roma Victims of the Holocaust

There was a Memorial Day of the Roma Victims of the Holocaust held in Békés. According to the decision of The Roma World Alliance at Paris in 1972 the world remembers the deported Roma during the Holocaust on 2 August every year.

“It is impossible to change the past, but we must remember the times fraught with danger and learn from the horrors”– was said at the commemoration in Békés, which was co-organized by the Hungarian Gypsy Missions International, the Municipality of the Town of Békés and the Gypsy Methodology and Research Center.

At the conference held at the center of HGMI, mission president Albert Durkó, Emma Ficz, department head of the General Directorate for Social Opportunities, and dr. András Zima, head of the department of the National Rabbinical School – Jewish University, and director of the Holocaust Memorial Center remembered the horror of the war genocide, which, besides Jews, affected a significant number of Roma living in Hungary at that time.

Keeping the traditions of the past years, the program continued at the Commemoration Keeping the traditions of the past years, the program continued at the memorial place on Széchenyi square in Békés. After the words of László Surman, writer and poet, Gábor Szabó, head of the Békés County Roma Self-Government, and András Mucsi, local government representative, as a closing chord of the event, those present, placed wreaths of remembrance, and they remembered the victims by lighting a candle.

With bread in one of our hands and a Bible in the other

HGMI has been receiving and caring for the Hungarian-speaking Roma people fleeing from the Subcarpathian region of Ukraine since the beginning of the Russo-Ukrainian war.

For our colleagues it was not a question since the first day of the war that we needed to act, to go and help. Hungarian Gypsy Missions had no separate budget nor separate source for financing the accommodation, feeding and taking care of the refugees coming from the Subcarpathians. Yet, we did it, we have been doing it since the first day of the war.

During the last four months, we have accommodated more than 400 people at our community centers and church buildings around the country, and we have been taking care of them. Besides the accommodation, food, and medicine we provide social services to them, including helping them to obtain and get their official documents, and ID cards. We have accepted several pregnant ladies whom we helped to access pregnancy care. We escort them personally to the medical check, and we do whatever we can to help the babies grow and be born healthy, including providing essential vitamins for the fetus and the mother as well.

Besides the government financial subsidies provided for taking care of the war refugees, by the support from the international mission organization Samaritan’s Purse Canada we were able to expand the areas of our helping actions. On 1st June 2022 we started our program named “Holistic Crisis Management of the Ukrainian Refugee Crisis by the Hungarian Gypsy Missions International of the Hungarian Pentecostal Church (HGMI HPC)”, and within its framework, we can provide complex care and development to the refugee children and adults as well. We react to physical, psychical, and mental crises. Besides us providing them accommodation and food, family care coordinators help the adults to find jobs, and to have access to healthcare and social care. Within a planned, coordinated program a group of lifestyle and mental health counselors helps adults plan their life paths at nine locations. The purpose of this program is to get an idea of how the refugees actually see themselves, their situation and opportunities, and furthermore how and with what tools the Mission could help them to achieve their plans.

Another important task of the group of specialists is to deal with the refugee children who come to us. During the sessions, our development and special education teachers, teachers and therapists assess and develop the children’s knowledge and skill level to promote their integration into kindergarten and school and their success in life.

It is an important part of our ministry to proclaim the saving Good News of Christ to the people under our care and to accept them into our local church communities. An essential part of the program mentioned above is that we not only create personal development plans but those plans must be based on biblical principles.

We are grateful for all support and opportunities when we can represent Christ through His love and mercy, and by our act of help we can touch their hearts, and we can take care of their physical and spiritual wounds. We are glad to see that the refugees are more open to the presence of God. We are witnessing such changes in their lives that can bring more hope to the future. People repent to God, they want to walk their paths with Him, they want to study and work, and they are ready for a permanent change in life.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me; I was in prison and you visited me.” (Mathew 25:35–36)

For HGMI to be able to provide all this help we need your support as well. If you would like to join us in the aid work you can do it mostly by praying for the refugees and our mission workers, and by sending donations to our following accounts:

Account holder:MPE OCM
Address:56 Petofi street, Bekes H-5630, Hungary
Bank name:OTP Bank Nyrt.
Bank address:16 Nador street, Budapest, H-1051, Hungary
IBAN (EUR):HU39 1176 3330 3316 8881 0000 0000
IBAN (USD):HU97 1176 3330 3316 9019 0000 0000
SWIFT (BIC) code:OTPVHUHB
Note:Ukraine (+ include your email address)

Children’s camp – Mezőberény

Hungarian Gypsy Missions International organizes camps for children every year. This year there are 6 camps in 6 different locations, including 120 children, from 20 June to 12 August.

The first camp was held in Mezőberény, 20–27 June, 2022. The organizers were expecting applications from young children aged 5–10 from the nearby Delhi. Delhi is the most marginalized area of Mezőberény. The number of participants quickly filled up, so the programs started without any obstacles. The goal was to develop the children’s faith life, also to introduce them to their own traditions and additional dexterity games. The development of the children was noticeable during the camp. They started every day with singing sessions and a short Bible lesson. Day by day they acquired new skills and became more receptive. Most of the children are Roma, from underprivileged families, therefore, for most of them these camps are like a holiday. The goal of all the camps is to present the faith and unity of love that the mission represents.

The organizers trust and hope that they will succeed in handing over everything to the children, which they can take home with them not only for two weeks, but for a lifetime.

Art for Self-awareness

This year has not been a tedious one in our school. In addition to the talent development activities of the existing Elementary Art School (EAS), Hungarian Gypsy Missions International – Reményhír Educational Operations Centre started a complex art therapy program. The program, which has been in operation since last autumn, provides for the simultaneous development of children’s personalities and abilities, as well as talent research.

A total of 175 children from eight grades have participated in the series of programs, which started last September and gave children the opportunity to learn about themselves and to accept themselves through different artistic techniques and tools. Through music and story therapy, bibliotherapy, film therapy, and rhythmic and choreographed songs, among other things, professionals help the students to find motivation, purpose, coping strategies, and a way out of possible disadvantages.

“Creative activities help them to live, manage and process their emotions. Through art therapy elements, we deepen the message of the different themes and evoke creativity and the unfolding of abilities through the manifestation of cathartic experiences. At the same time, children can find their means of self-expression through the different art methods, which can give them an even greater sense of achievement. Their sense of identity is strengthened, and this has an impact on their relationships, communication, and socialization. We are particularly pleased that more and more teachers are getting involved in the creative experience with the children, and it does have a positive effect on the classroom community and the relationship between the class and the teacher”, said Kornélia Putnoki Kesjár, art therapist.

The children really enjoyed the program, and there are already visible signs of improvement.  During the school year, planning for the introduction of the program in kindergartens also started. The organizers are also planning to showcase the values of the children through exhibitions.

Diocesan Council Meeting in Bekes

In addition to discussing current issues, attendees renewed the leader offices at the council meeting of the 5th Diocese of the Hungarian Pentecostal Church at the HGMI center in Bekes.

Albert Durko shared the Word of God after a praise and worship time. In his message he focused on the need for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit so God could use us, but for this the believers must accept that often we need to wait. Upon renewing the offices the present representatives unanimously voted for Albert Durko to be the leader of the diocese, and for Laszlo Surman to be the deputy leader. After this some workers shared reports about the current tasks–about the work with accommodating refugees in particular. The Mission has been serving the refugees from Ukraine from the beginning of the war, and within the last few months they have accommodated several hundreds of them in their community houses renovated for this purpose. Despite the hardships the workers of the Mission try to consider the refugees as gifts from God. Several testimonies were shared about the good fruits of this attitude.

As it was worded at the council meeting, besides the practical help it is important to provide spiritual support, and the service to the refugees is a kind of a mission opportunity as well. HGMI found a way to hire professionals to deal with the children’s needs. Psychologists, social workers and educators hold regular sessions at the refugee accommodations. Among the plans for the future there is the task to double the number of churches within the Roma Diocese. There will be continuous training courses to help extend the evangelizing activities.

Cooperation with the University of Miskolc for the Benefit of the Roma

Hungarian Gypsy Missions International made a cooperation agreement with the University of Miskolc on the campus primarily about the areas of education, research and social work. The participants of the ceremonial signing were Prof. Dr. Zita Horváth, Rector of the university; Albert Durkó, Presindent of HGMI; and the deans of faculties involved in professional coordination: Dr. Mária Kovács Illésné, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Prof. Dr. Mariann Somosi Veresné, Dean of the Faculty of Economics. Other attenders from HGMI were László Surman, representing the Gypsy Methodology and Research Center, Rita Patkás, Director of education and training at School Operations Center, and Hajnalka Fazekas, Director of Social Services Center.

At the event, Prof. Dr. Zita Horváth, Rector of the University of Miskolc, mentioned that the university puts great emphasis on social convergence in the region. There are several programs helping the disadvantaged students of the region. When the faculties of social sciences were opened at the university, the third mission was initiated: the idea of helping social convergence.

Albert Durkó mentioned, that HGMI was founded in 1996 with only three Roma churches, and now they cover the whole country with the activities of 137 Roma churches. They have significantly developed their international relationships recently. They take every chance to help disadvantaged people. He can see a great opportunity in cooperating with the University of Miskolc, since he believes this united work will help to leverage the potential in Roma people. For this potential to become visible much work, education and research is needed to be done.

This agreement could start such a long-term cooperation that will greatly help not only the Roma, but non-Roma young people as well, to whom knowledge will open new ways and opportunities.

A Temple Built From Poems

On January 9, 2018, God gave me a dream. In my vision, I was driving down a long, dusty road. I saw a temple standing at the end of the street. I immediately understood God’s idea. I recognized that area so I knew there was an empty plot standing where I imagined the temple. “I am not suitable to build a temple” – I thought to myself.

In the meantime, a missionary woman in Finland had a similar dream, for a whole week she repeatedly dreamt of a temple in the same place.

The prophecy was clear, God wanted us to build a temple in the most marginalized area in Mezőberény, known as Delhi. God wants to reach the Roma regardless of wealth and nationality, may this Temple be an instrument in the hands of the Lord.

HGMI deals with challenges with a holistic approach. We believe that doing missionary work among the Roma is a 24/7 mission, and it has to reach every aspect of life. Building trust and relationships cannot be limited to working hours. We boldly declare that only the redemption of Jesus can restore lives once and for all.

I knew it would cost a fortune to build a temple. My wife, Hajnalka and I bought the land at our own expense. From a young age I write poems so I decided to “build the temple from poems”. I have been going to different churches for the past four years where I talked about my vision, they could support the construction by buying my poem anthology.

The event of the laying of the foundation stone happened on March 28, and we placed also a time capsule under the foundation stone.

God is faithful, He has great plans for the Roma nation, and the best is yet to come!

We are thankful for all the donations, to the government for their support, and special thanks to my wife, Hajnalka, my greatest supporter!

László Surman
Mission Director of HGMI

Born to be free

Many of us cannot even imagine what we would do if we had to leave our homes behind. The home that gives us comfort, safety and warmth. The ordinary weekdays which, in their own way, offer comfort to the weary soul. Many of us do not have to live from one day to the next one not knowing what tomorrow will bring. Unlike Irina, who spent her first days in Hungary waiting at the railway station for someone willing to help her.

The story of the only nineteen-year-old mother and her newborn baby, named Alex Abram, is not an ordinary one. A week after the war broke out, Irina and her family were forced to leave Ukraine. They desperately crossed the border leaving fathers, husbands and brothers behind. After three extremely long and tiresome days at the railway station in Záhony, Hungarian Gypsy Missions International rushed to their aid. The family got sheltered in Demecser from where Irina got into the hospital in Debrecen a few days later as her baby was on the way. Within a short time, she gave birth to a healthy little boy, Alex Abram.

‘He was born a few days prior as we expected. It must have been the anxiety that induced labour.’ said Irina while rocking the baby. Then she added:

‘The childbirth was easy, almost painless. After everything we had been through, it nearly seemed effortless.’

Alex Abram is her second child. She lost her daughter to an illness back in Ukraine. Alex’s father has not seen the child yet as he had to stay in Ukraine to fulfil his military obligations. But other family members have also decided to return home, Irina told us. Her sister left Hungary for Ukraine.

‘She couldn’t deal with the uncertainty. I have no intention of going back, though.’

‘Poverty and famine there are unbearable these days’ agrees Irina’s mother.

During our brief conversation, the child slept peacefully in his mother’s arms, unaware of the strange and chaotic circumstances in which he was born. The long journey, the seemingly endless wait at the train station, the lack of normality and the loss they all had experienced all of a sudden, took their strength. Now everything they want is to rest ‘for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’