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.

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)