Commemoration – Roma Holocaust Memorial Day

We commemorate, because we must remember! One who doesn’t remember the past will have no future. We need to know what happened, we need to make a memento and we need to remember who we really are and what we tend to do in certain circumstances. Human wickedness has no limits.

But we must not only look far, since organized genocides also happened in the recent past: remember Sudan, Rwanda, Bosnia, the massacre in Srebrenica, or today: Syria, the Middle East war zones or the wars in Africa.

Many claim that people are basically born with a good nature, but the Bible clearly states that people are inherently evil, they are born with a nature to satisfy their own desires and they will inevitably commit sins. This is shown in Psalm 51:5: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.

On one of the first pages of the Holy Scripture we can already see Kain, the first murderer who killed his brother, because he was jealous of him.

Gypsies are a special people of God, since others wanted to silence them, to chase them away and to destroy them all the time. But just as the Jewish people, the more the Roma people were attacked, the stronger they became and the stronger they are.

Today, on 2 August, together with citizens of many countries we commemorate the Roma Holocaust.

Wikipedia describes that tragedy like this, I quote:

“The Romani genocide or the Romani Holocaust—also known as the Porajmos (Romani pronunciation: IPA: [pʰoɽajˈmos]), the Pharrajimos (“Cutting up”, “Fragmentation”, “Destruction”), and the Samudaripen (“Mass killing”)—was the effort by Nazi Germany and its World War II allies to commit genocide against Europe’s Romani people.

Under Adolf Hitler, a supplementary decree to the Nuremberg Laws was issued on 26 November 1935, classifying Gypsies as “enemies of the race-based state”, thereby placing them in the same category as the Jews. Thus, in some ways the fate of the Roma in Europe paralleled that of the Jews in the Jewish Holocaust.

Historians estimate that between 220,000 and 500,000 Romani were killed by the Nazis and their collaborators—25% to over 50% of the slightly fewer than 1 million Roma in Europe at the time. Ian Hancock puts the death toll as high as 1.5 million.”

End of quote.

I have mentioned the past and the future, but we also need to consider the present. I wonder how we look at our Roma fellow citizens and how what we think of them? What would we do, if there was an obvious act of violence against them? Would we remain silent, would we escape or would we rather reach out to help them? What do we do in order for them to not only hear phrases, but to experience that they are useful and respected members of society? It is so easy to judge them: it was their fault to fall into the pit, they should manage to come out of it on their own also. If we look at their history, they have always been outcasts without any rights, people in persecution or in sufferance within all the countries, yet it was us who have stolen all their opportunities and pushed them into that pit.

There is a kind of Holocaust even today: in hatred, in speech, in action and all those things can make a deadly wound on their souls or even on their bodies.

Yet, God is merciful, who turns to the Roma people today to lift them up. The Japanese or even the Chinese “economic miracle” will become small compared to what God is going to do for the Roma people. They will receive compensation here on Earth for all the bad deeds that had been committed against them.

Jesus says many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first. Those who feel themselves in position, in security and very high today will be following Roma people to even touch the edge of their clothes, because God will make the Roma to be first and make the first to be last.

The future is in the Roma! The best investment today is to invest into the Roma, because the cross of Jesus Christ makes them entirely new people. The old nature dies, disappears and a brand new nature emerges and grows in them.

Let’s remember, do the right thing today and expect the good future!

May the blessing of God be on all of us!

Albert Durko
Mission Leader

A little act of love

GypsyAid in cooperation with our Social Services Center were able to create some food packages and to deliver them to our clients at Social Services with the help of our social nurses.

Some clients were deeply moved by this little act of love, since some of them had never received any gift from anybody…

Some elderly people even wrote thanking letters to express their appreciation. You can see some of those below.

It’s Time To Believe Your Life Can Be Changed!

There are many events organized in Budapest that have significant news value, with more and more Christian events among them. There was such an event in the BOK Sport Hall at last weekend, on 6th and 7th March named as “It’s Time To Believe Your Life Can Be Changed!” The organizers’ team, consisting of young pastors, had been working hard with the help of many volunteers to prepare this event of large significance.

During the morning and the afternoon there was a Pastors’ and Leaders’ Conference where Pastor Gary Wilkerson and Pastor Tim Dilena had been ministering, and there were evangelistic outreach events at the evenings with the testimony of Nicky Cruz. The conference was attended by 500-600 people – pastors, preachers, ministers and their wives – from several church denominations. At the beginning of each session a new music team of young people led the praise and worship. Afterwards the two speakers encouraged the audience in turns by inspiring, awakening, sometimes shaking messages to examine their former attitudes to ministry. They made the weekend unforgettable.

Gary Wilkerson is the Founding Pastor of The Springs Church (Colorado Springs, CO) and he is the President of World Challenge, an international mission organization that was founded by his father, David Wilkerson. His desire is to encourage and strengthen believers and pastors, and to give them theologically clean Biblical teachings about God. Gary works passionately on providing such tools to Christians as what they can use, to become people of active faith. He is also the leader of the Poverty Solutions mission branch, that is concerned with the feeding of people who live in poverty.

Tim Dilena used to be the Founding Pastor of Revival Tabernacle church in Detroit, Michigan for 30 years. He renovated a movie building for adult films with 900 seats, to create a church facility in downtown. His father, Paul Dilena was the Chief of Police in New York, when David Wilkerson arrived there to help young people who were in gangs. He was the one among the policemen who could see, those young people needed a Savior, and he actively helped the work of that young pastor. Until recently Tim had been the lead pastor of Our Savior’s Church (with 3,000 members) in Lafayette, Louisiana.

At the evening meetings several thousands of people were watching and singing along with the worship teams. The musicians and singers of the Summer Praise and Prophetic School were leading us into the presence of God at the first night, and the worship team of the Pentecostal Music Ministry proclaimed the glory of God in the evening on Saturday.

Probably the most anticipated part of both evenings was, when former gang leader, Nicky Cruz stepped on the stage to graphically proclaim the richness of God’s love, patience and mercy to all people through his own life story. Nicky was born and raised in Puerto Rico. His parents were a satanist priest and a witch, and they regularly held seances in their home. Nicky had repeatedly been a victim of physical abuse during his childhood, and he was rejected by his own parents. He escaped from the abuse to New York in the mid ’50-s, where he soon found himself in the vicious environment of gangs of young people, what was a serious problem in New York those days. Without fear, and seemingly being insensible to physical pain, he became the “warlord” of the infamous Mau Mau gang. Then one day a skinny preacher – David Wilkerson – arrived to the apparent war zone of the streets of Brooklyn, with a message to Nicky: Jesus loves you! At first Nicky gave a death threat to the preacher, but few weeks later at a meeting in St. Nicholas Arena organized for the gangs, he gave his life to God and exchanged his weapons to a Bible. During the last more than fifty years Nicky has been traveling around the world and has been preaching to several millions of desperate people, in order to give them hope. His life story can be read in the bestsellers titled “Run Baby, Run” and “The Cross and the Switchblade”, and can also be watched in the movie with the same title as the second book.

The culmination of the evenings was, when in reply to the encouragement from Nicky, many people came forward to the space in front of the stage, who decided to experience the same love and forgiving mercy of God, and to experience the same life changing miracle what the Bible calls new birth. Several hundreds of people made this decision during the two evenings, but there were some people, who decided to stay at their seats and prayed the sinners’ prayer there. We trust in God, that those decisions will last in many people, and later some of them might become such witnesses of Christ who will encourage others to make the same decision.

Many participants have expressed their gratitude for this extremely valuable and spiritually rich event; and we hope the lives of many people – leaders, pastors, preachers, church members and former non-believers – will become such examples to follow as the lives of Nicky Cruz, Gary Wilkerson and Tim Dilena.

The organizers and the ministers

Main Partners of the event:

Worldchallenge logo
Nicky Cruz Outreach logo
MPE OCM logo
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5th Conference of 5 Protestant Gypsy Missions

It was the 5th Annual Conference organised by 5 Hungarian protestant churches (Reformed, Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Pentecostal) of Hungary that was held in Debrecen on 8th February 2020. The event venue was the large church building of the Reformed Church, where around 1,500 people gathered together from the Carpathian Basin to praise the Lord and to listen to encouraging messages. Daniel D. Szabo, an elderly, yet still active Gypsy mission worker of the Reformed Church said the following words 10 years ago: “It is a surprising miracle from the Lord, that He uses the Gypsies to bring the different denominations closer to each other.” Many years later his words became true.

The theme of this conference was “Create in me a clean heart, O God” from Psalms 51:10. Zoltan Kurdi (Methodist Church) worded well the purpose of the day like this: “Our hearts are under attack, and the Word of God tells us to guard it above all else. That is why we need to clean our hearts.” Several other mission leaders and government representatives greeted the audience as well. The songs for this event were led by the Exodus Worship Team, who created good spiritual atmosphere at this special event.

Rupi Gabor from Korond (Romania) was the main preacher of the day. He emphasised the following: “God’s love is in the hearts of all people, and this is why the devil doesn’t seek the wardrobes in our houses, but the treasures in our hearts.” Then he addressed the audience with a challenge: “So let us throw out the bad things from there and ask God to give us a clean heart!” His sermon was followed by a prayer time.

Several Christians shared their testimonies during the afternoon session, when they testified about the great changes only God was able to perform in their lives. After each testimony the brave testifiers got prayed for by their own Gypsy mission leaders.

Peter Bakay closed the day with the following words: “We have heard about miracles–so let’s be brave to ask things from God!” God wants us to pray for our loved-ones, for our own success, for the growing of His Kingdom, and last, but not least, for clean hearts and steadfast spirit, in order to be able to stand firm in all challenges of our lives, and to have a live relationship with Him.

National Gypsy Mission Conference in Nagykallo

Almost 1,000 people gathered together in the local sport hall in Nagykallo (Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg county, Hungary) for the National Pentecostal Gypsy Mission Conference on 16th November. The hall was an excellent scene for the several hundreds of interested Gypsy brothers and sisters, who had great anticipation in their hearts while they were taking their seats.

In the morning session we could listen to the sermon of our guest speaker, our Swedish brother, Pelle Hörnmark, who is the Chairman of the Pentecostal European Fellowship. After him the leader of our Mission, Albert Durko addressed the congregation. Following his sermon about repentance many people stood up to indicate their (re-)dedication to God and together we prayed for them.

After the lunch break there were lots of different programs, with a surprise. Ferenc Molnar “Caramel” who is a well known singer, shared his testimony about his faith in Jesus. Afterwards he confessed his faith in a song. His appearance on the stage was the surprise for the audience. Many of the young participants took some photos together with the popular performer.

This was followed by the encouraging speeches of three tested Gypsy leaders, pastors: Miklos Rezmuves (Nyirvasvari), Jeno Lakatos (Hajduhadhaz), Pal Peter (Zakanyszek). They are the pledge of our future, we believe and declare that many other similar Gypsy leaders will step up and step into the ministry, so the revival among Gypsy people can come to pass.

As a closure we could listen to the biblical thoughts of HGMI Mission Elder Mihaly Rezmuves, in Gypsy language, of course with the assistance of an interpreter.

Let us take time here to thank the praise and worship ministry of the two teams: the music team from the Christian Life Center church in Verpelet, and the new Budapest formation called EXODUS.

“Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.”
(Psalms 47:1-2, NIV)

3rd European Roma Mission Conference

Roma Networks is a European, yet more and more international cooperation of organisations ministering among Roma people. It was already our third conference on 9-12 October, and this time we gathered together in Sarajevo in order to strengthen our relationships with each other and to share the unfolding of God’s vision.

The main theme of the conference was partnership. We have to admit that if we work by intentional, planned and consistent cooperation we can achieve much better results in both improving the life standard of Roma people and in sharing the gospel. Besides “digesting” the lectures we had plenty opportunities to get to know each other’s works and to build new partnering relationships. There were regional/ country group meetings as well, where we could evaluate what we heard from the lecturers and we made plans how to make our cooperation work in our smaller areas more fruitful.

We had the special privilege of being able to travel from Hungary together with brothers and sisters who minister as members of the Protestant Gypsy Mission Forum. Within the realms of the Forum there are Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Reformed and Pentecostal ministers working in cooperation.

The conference program was full of inspiring messages from the stories of Elijah and Elisha, from the story of the great catch of fishes and from personal life stories of our brethren. When we came home, we felt that we had received something significant what was worth going to the conference for, what was more than human efforts and what shows us that because of Christ our Christian brotherhood is much more significant than our different opinions what can sometimes separate us from each other. Maybe we were able to understand this even more while walking among the mosques of the town…

Thanksgiving in Alsozsolca

It was already the fourth occasion for a Protestant Gypsy Mission Conference being help by the Protestant Gypsy Mission Forum on 9th February, this time it was in Alsozsolca, in the local Methodist church.

The new building complex provided a worthy home for the not very old initiation, when our Roma brethren, who came to Christ through the mission activities of the protestant churches, give thanks together for the saving grace of God. In this way they somehow also participate spiritually in building the Kingdom of God and in demolishing the barrier walls between each other and between the majority society and the Gypsies.

Mrs. Langer, Katalin Viktor who is the Deputy State Secretary responsible for social inclusion in the Ministry of Human Resources gave a speech at the event, beside other things mentioning “This unity cannot be experienced anywhere else!”

The service of preaching was done by pastor Robert Balogh from the Reformed Church based on the fourth verse in Psalm 100. “Enter his gates with thanksgiving…” what our brethren practiced in small groups. Here we would like to thank the music team of the local Methodist church for their ministry, so by their singing and instrumental music they provided an appropriate musical background for thanksgiving.

The local Lutheran churches in Görögszallas and Nyirteleki, the Baptist church in Tatarszentgyörgy, the Pentecostal church in Nyirvasvari, the Reformed church in Konyar and–being the host–the local Methodist church were given time to introduce themselves. As it had became a good practice before, there were testimonies shared from different denominations in the afternoon, proclaiming the life-transforming power of God. In his closing prayer Zoltan Kurdi gave thanks for us being the Body of Christ together and that truly the small and big, the Hungarian and the Gypsy, the male and female, the noble and ignoble, all of us belong to this spiritual community. Thank God for this!

Early Rain Conference For Leaders

Hungarian Gypsy Missions International held the “Early Rain” conference in Kecskemét on 24th November, 2018. Nearly 100 people participated in the event from different parts of the country. Executive Elder András Berki led the event and it was launched with the songs of the worship band “Fiery Hearts” from Hajdúhadház. Following that the president of the mission, Albert Durkó shared his thoughts and vision.

„I Believe in revivalit spreads across all Europe”–he emphasized during his speech. This world is in crisis. The morals have fallen. The enemy is raging because he knows that his time is at its end. God’s promises are true and will be fulfilled. The Gypsy revival has begun In Europe and an estimated number of 2.5 million Gypsies have been saved. God will make Gypsies to become first from the last. Gypsies! Your time has come!

There is immeasurable poverty, pain and there is a “valley of tears” at their living places. People have no vision for the future. The “valley of tears” will become a spring of hope. What has characterised the Gypsies is over now. You all get a new identity. You will be called God’s children. You took off the old and put on the new. It’s time for the early rain. There are many hardened hearts. Come out to the rain so it can soak and soften your heart! The drought is over! A new age begins for the Gypsy mission. In this new age we need to collect much more vessels and we need give our little oil to God, because we didn’t get it for ourselves. First of all we are the servants and debtors of the Lord, since we got everything from Him.

The new generation, the youth are the future of the revival of the Gypsies!

Afterwards we listened to encouraging messages. First Executive Elder Zoltán Szentesi compared the church to Noah’s Ark. We have to build our home groups through our churches. We need to stop arguing with and complaining against each other and the Lord will revive us.

Afterwards Executive Elder Ferenc Rézműves was speaking in the language of the Gypsies. Everybody has got to be a good example and has to present God wherever they live. He told a few stories about his life which confirmed God’s work.

Executive Elder Tamás Fábián looked back at the beginning of the Gypsy mission what was founded in 1996, in the town Kántorjánosi. We have experienced many difficulties and problems while serving to the Gypsies, but God always gave us strength and stood by our side. Therefore we have to be persistent in our services.

Finally Júlia Berki urged the women to encourage and support their husbands and to become helping partners to them.

Concluding the conference Albert Durkó, the president of the mission and the Executive Elders prayed for the people, laying their hands on them and sending them out into the world to minister to the unbelievers.

Hope for Europe in Tallinn and World Mission Conference in Madrid

Albert Durko, the president of Hungarian Gypsy Missions International and founder of Roma Methodology and Research Centre has been planning to start networking in Europe to build a network of Roma mission organizations and to start mission projects supported by EU funds all over Europe. That plan had started to come to pass when he was elected to be one of six European Roma mission workers as members of the Steering Committee for Roma Networks at the 1st European Roma Mission Conference in 2014.

Lot of things have happened around Central and South Europe since that initial step. Many isolated Roma mission workers had started to realize they were not alone on the mission field.  In Europe there were two separate events after each other in October 2018 with almost identical motives: to set Christians on fire for mission work for the lost.

The first was the Hope for Europe Conference, an initiative of the European Evangelical Alliance held in Tallinn, Estonia, a nice Baltic capital where 370 representatives from 37 countries gathered under the slogan Unity in Diversity. This working conference brought together practitioners in 17 network tracks. Participants exchanged ideas and experience in the ministry area of  the arts, children’s work, education, healthcare, urban missions, stewardship, media and communications, ministries to Muslims, Roma, refugees and victims of trafficking.

The second was the Pentecostal European Mission Consultation and the 5th World Missions Congress connected to each other in Madrid, Spain. Around 70 mission leaders had gathered together for the first part of the week and over 1.000 mission workers and leaders for the second to hear great inspirational messages and testimonies, to get to know more brothers and sisters from the mission field and to share good practices with each other.

Albert Durko had the opportunity to meet and get in contact with almost 20 other mission leaders at the two events throughout the two weeks. At the EEA event there was a report about 1,000,000 Roma Christians being part of the member Churches. At the 5th World Missions Congress they also reported about 1,000,000 Roma Christians being part of Pentecostal Churches. We can clearly see God has a plan for Roma people today to draw them to Christ and send them out as missionaries to their own people and to other despised and underprivileged ethnic groups.

Let’s be part of God’s plan for this purpose together and share our vision, our passion and resources to be used by our Heavenly Father for His glory and for the revival of the Roma, Europe and the whole world.

Finnish team visiting HGMI churches

As a cooperation between Fida and HGMI a short term mission team of 8 people was visiting some churches of HGMI recently. They were sharing their testimonies, singing, playing some drama, preaching the Gospel, praying for sick people and for those who needed physical or spiritual healing.

On the first day we went to Mezőberény where the local home church had an open air meeting on the yard of the house which is in the Roma populated area of the town. The praise and worship team from Zákányszék started the meeting with songs. Afterwards the Finnish team ministered to the people. We saw some healing and spiritual renewal among the Roma.

Next day the whole team had an invitation to visit the Mayor of Elek. We heard the short story of the town and the story of the German, Roma, Romanian and Slovak minorities who live there. They have learned to live in peace and cooperation throughout their common history.
After some questions and answers we visited the local Roma Folk Collection what was created in an old renovated house where used to live a Roma family. Ferenc Erdődi and his wife Julianna Lakatos are very excited to talk about the tools, equipment, clothes and photos they have been still collecting.
Soon after we walked to the nearby playground area where again the Zákányszék praise team started the event with songs and prayer. The testimonies, songs and drama performed by the mission team attracted more and more people from the surrounding houses. Eventually we had the chance to pray for some of them. An elderly lady on wheelchair even talked to the pastor of the local Pentecostal Church about starting a new home church at her house.

Nyírmihálydi was our destination on Wednesday. We had to depart from Békés in the morning, so we could arrive to Nyíregyháza where our base was for the rest of the week. From there we droved to Nyírmihálydi where we met the local church members at the Roma area of the town. Some members of the local church had already started to sing and pray. After some greeting thoughts from Tibor Rácz representing the Hungarian Government and from Albert Durko president of HGMI a Roma pastor and Executive Elder of HGMI, Mihály Rézműves prayed in “lovári” Roma language.
The Finnish team was ready to minister the same way as they had been doing it for the first two days, yet they were doing a different drama or singing different songs each time. More and more Roma people were gathering around the area and again we had the chance to pray for many of them at the end of the day.

Friday was the next mission day for the team when we visited an other town called Hajdúhadház. The local church had erected a tent at the area where mainly Roma people live. By the time we arrived there the pastor and some church members had already started to sing praise songs. The team leaders introduced the team as usually and they started to minister with enthusiasm and boldness as usually. Many lives were touched by their testimonies and drama. Eventually we spent a long time with praying for people.

On Saturday we had two places to go. First we visited a small Roma church community in Kemecse where the team war ministering mainly to the children, but many of the adults were also there at the event. They were singing praises to the Lord while we were engaged with the children. After that event we drove to Kótaj to the Roma community house meet the children first. They were also glad to meet the Finnish team just as the other kids in the afternoon.
Later on the church meeting started at the church building few streets away from the previous site. The room was full of Roma people and some non-Roma were there also. After the fervent praise and worship led by the local musicians and singers one of the local leaders was urging us to pray. The Finnish team also had the opportunity to sing, to share their testimonies and to play a drama. They also had the most fervent and long prayer time for people who wanted to be blessed, to be healed.

Glory to God for all the miracles He had performed during that week of mission event at HGMI churches.