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.

Commemoration – Roma Holocaust Memorial Day 2018

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

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.

Ian Green visited HGMI in Békés

Hungarian Gypsy Missions International had the privilege to welcome Ian Green from Proton Foundation for a weekend at the beginning of July.

He had visited Hungary several times between 1991 and 1999 in order to help planting new churches and to train leaders for churches in the counrty what came out of the communist regime only few years before. It was that time he met Albert Durkó, the president of HGMI and they kept the good connection over the decades.

The directors of the different departments in HGMI ant the team of executive elders had the opportunity to listen to his thought-provoking speeches. In those he was urging the audience to change strategicly, to develop their character and to change their mindsets. We hope it was not a sole event, but his visit to HGMI can become regular and can have a beneficial effect on our organization.

Our guest speaker was preaching in the Élet Fája (Tree of Life) Pentecostal church on Sunday, where his message was: “Bringing Heaven to Earth.” He was challenging the people by asking them how much they do for their non-believer acquaintances, friends and neighbours living around them. “You should have non-Christian friends, otherwise your life will become a useless, selfish religious act only.” – said the preacher.

We are thankful for his visit and for his ministry.

Mission team from Finland

Hungarian Gypsy Missions International had the privilege to welcome a short term mission team from Finland at the beginning of March 2018. 14 young people came to share the Good News with Hungarian people in several locations where we have Roma churches.

On the first day they had visited the Mayor of Elek, who introduced them to the history of the town and the 5 local nationalities (German, Romanian, Slovakian, Roma and Hungarian) living together in peace. He also took them to the local Roma Museum where a Hungarian husband and his Roma wife had gathered a nice collection of every-day tools and utensils Roma people were using in the past. In the afternoon the team visited the local Roma House Church in Mezőberény where they ministered to the children first with songs and drama. After the children’s ministry the team started to minister to the adults also with songs, testimonies and Bible study.

On the following days the mission team visited Zákányszék, Eger, Kerecsend and Kótalj with great expectations and enthusiasm to share the Gospel with the local children and adult people who were mostly Roma. They also shared moving testimonies of how God had changed their lives and how He gave them a new purpose for living.

It is a special experience every time we have foreign visitors to minister with us and to get to know our culture and churches more. There was a great need for their ministry wherever we took them. They shared the love, mercy and goodness of God with everyone and we could see the people were touched deeply in their hearts. We took time to pray for people in physical and in spiritual need at the end of every event and we could see the Spirit of God moving in the lives of the people.

Our hope is that we can receive more of this kind of short term mission teams in the future. May all the glory go to the Almighty who lives among the praises and worhip of His people and fills our lives with His glory.

Mission Frontiers: The Roma

“Mission Frontiers is a bi-monthly magazine of Frontier Ventures. Mission Frontiers has been in circulation since 1979, providing our subscribers with innovative insights on a wide range of topics from the most creative minds and well-known thought leaders in missiology. Mission Frontiers is dedicated to fostering and supporting a global movement to establish indigenous and self-reproducing Church-Planting Movements among the 7000 unreached peoples (ethnic groups) of the world—and we believe it is possible with your help.”

The July-August 2017 issue of the magazine has the title: “The Roma – A Storied People Writes a New Chapter in Mission”. Some of the articles were written by Roma people and some others were written by people living or/and working with Roma people.

You can read the articles on the Mission Frontiers website.

Gypsy Mission Summit in Jánoshalma

30 people from 7 countries who work in Roma missions were invited to Jánoshalma (Hungary) at the nice facility of the Friendship Mission Foundation on 14-18 June. We had the opportunity to share our experiences and visions, to find answers to questions and to help each other see more clearly what the future of Roma missions is.

The facilitator of the gathering was Hans-Martin Dern from Germany, who works with Mission für Süd-Ost-Europa. He was also one of the participants of the Roma Networks meeting in Belgrade.

All participants had a time to introduce their work and vision. The next session was about some common themes like the religious background of Roma people; the role of strategy and spiritual war in Roma missions; the need for effective networking of mission initiatives.

On Friday evening each represented country had the opportunity to show something special to the others: songs, games or other interesting things. This program has also helped to develop cooperation. On the last day we visited some Roma families at the town to share the love of God with them.

It was good to see new friendships and cooperation dedications developing through those days. We believe God will continue to connect us and build a network of Roma missions around Europe and around the World.

Muslim Mission Seminar in Leskovac

Roma Networks and Hungarian Gypsy Missions International have organized a seminar in cooperation with the local Evangelical Church in Leskovac (Serbia) in May 2017. The main speakers of the seminar were Dr. Jeff Hammond and his wife Annette who have been living and ministering among Muslim people in Indonesia since 1974.

The main goal of the seminar was to help Christians understand the basics of Muslim faith, to see the similarities and differences between the two monotheistic beliefs and also to find the way to share the love of God with Muslims. We have also heard many encouraging testimonies how God had used our lecturers to show the real Jesus to their friends.

Six people from HGMI have also participated in the seminar. We were glad to spend 5 days with our brothers and sisters in Leskovac worshipping God and studying the Bible together. We need to be prepared for the challenges we can face in this world where many people are moving around the world, what can cause tensions and even wars if we are not prepared to react by the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV, John 3:16)