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)

Country representatives meeting in Belgrade

Hungarian Gypsy Missions International and Roma Networks have organized the 2. European Roma Mission Conference in Békés (Hungary) in last September, where Roma mission workers from 27 countries had participated. At that conference the participants from each country have elected 1-2 persons who will represent the Roma mission work of their countries at Roma Networks meetings in the future.

These country representatives had a meeting in the Hriscansko Udruzenje Beograd (Christian Trust Belgrade) Bible School building on 29-31 March to introduce their work, to get to know each other and the vision of Roma Networks, to discuss what to do next.

At the opening meeting Miki Kamberovic, the Serbian member of the Roma Networks Steering Committee introduced the vision and mission of Roma Networks through a presentation: network, connect, and research for the sake of sharing the gospel and seeing transformation in Roma communities throughout Europe. It was followed by a praise and worship time and prayers.

At the following sessions the representatives introduced the results and the needs of Roma mission activities in their Countries. There was a time for questions and answers also.

The countries who had already had good connections with each other were put together into regions and these regions had a separate discussion meeting to plan the future activities, see the opportunities and duties. Most of these regions had decided to have regional meetings in the future. After this the groups were united again for a time of giving report about the regional discussions and plans.

There was a final meeting on the last day where the country representatives got a blessing, they were sent out and they also had Holy Communion. Albert Durko, the president of Hungarian Gypsy Missions International shared the Word of God and challenged the workers who had got weary and frustrated to pray honestly and ask God to refresh their hearts. The Holy Communion after that message was the expression of unity and it had touched the hearts of many.

Afterwards many of the participants expressed their appreciation for the meeting in Belgrade and they were glad to find new relationships with brothers and sisters.

We hope our God Almighty will continue the god work He has started in us and through us, so more and more people will get to know God and Jesus Christ, whom He had sent.


Joy of the adopted ones in Kompolt

We are thankful to God for those who have a heart for His work, just like “Convoy of Hope Europe”, who decided to support one of the communities of Hungarian Gypsy Missions International in Kompolt, Heves County through their “Adopt-A-Community” program.

Through the second part of the three years long support – between the summer of 2016 and spring of 2017 – they have created a public soccer field and a playground for children. Afterwards they have renewed the community building used by the local church. That work included the creation of wash-rooms and a food storage room; renovation of the lobby and the dining room; modernization of the heating system; changing of the windows and doors. They have painted the fence and reconstructed the outbuilding to create a youth room. After renovating the walls outside and inside; they bought new furniture, sport equipment and games. They have created a mortar-paving also.

The church had organized a special meeting to celebrate the finished work and the dedication of the renovated building on March 18, 2017. The special moment of opening the building was performed by Albert Durko president of HGMI, Imre Szücs local church leader and Andras Berki executive elder of HGMI. All people from young to old have sensed the joy and thankfulness on that day.

After the opening the president of HGMI talked about the Eternal Purpose of God, about His fellowship with men and he was encouraging the brethren to be purposeful. God’s presence filled the place and the hearts of the visitors form Kompolt also.

It is all about Jesus now…

The days around 24th December always bring something special to all of us every year: presents, shopping, Christmas tree, sweets, special food, cinnamon-scented candles, Mass celebration, large family gatherings or the opposite: loneliness, longing, drinking much alcohol… How do Roma Christian families live this out? I was talking to a young couple about the importance of Christmas.

Miklós Rézműves and his wife Klaudia live in Nyírvasvári, in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County of Hungary together with their five years old son, Ruben. They as newborn Christian Roma people got to know each other when attending a home cell group. Klaudia was singing, Miklós was preaching the Word. Miklós has been serving as a church planter at Hungarian Gipsy Missions International ever since.

Here is the script of our conversation about the power of traditions and faith…

? Klaudia, Miklós, could you recall, please how you celebrated Christmas at home with your families many years ago? ? sounds the first question in the light of the Advent candles.

? I was brought up here in Nyírvasvári. As far as I can recall, my mother gave us everything she could afford. Yet, she did not care about Christmas seasons. Maybe she was bitter because of many things ? Miklós starts the remembering. I was 6 months old when my father died. We, Olah Roma people had a feast of eating and drinking somewhere every day of the season starting with Christmas Eve until the second day of Christmas. The women and my mother also started to cook every traditional Roma food: cabbage leaves staffed with pork and rice, coated and fried pork (schnitzel) and chicken, fried ribs… They made a lot of food. My mother loaded our table with whatever she managed to make, even though is was only two of us there. But who knows when will somebody come to visit us, so she wanted to be sure they might see we have enough food and we don’t start the New Year with an empty table. We believed: if the table is full at this season, it will be full all year long. Everybody was preparing for this. If somebody did not visit his/her relatives that person got into trouble. Many of them were even ready to borrow money in order they would not be ashamed of their empty table.

? The people paid special attention to dress up nicely. Women put on nice headbands and skirts. They covered their heads during cooking to avoid any hair get into the foods ? Klaudia added.

The husband leads the conversation and the wife watches respectfully and appreciatively and sometimes says something ? as it is typical to Olah Roma families. Miklós continues.

? It was important for men to wear long-toed shoes, suits, white shirts to show it is festive season. They came and welcomed the festive season by saying good wishes to the family in Roma language: “Merry Christmas!” “Be strong and healthy!” The host answered to the good wishes saying “Let it be so.” We invited the relatives to sit down. The women had only one task: to offer food and drink to them. The guests stayed there for a while, they ate and drank and afterwards we joined them to visit an other relative. We got drunk very soon.

? The festive season was similar at our family: the relatives gathered together to drink and feast ? Klaudia remembers also. We raised a Christmas tree, but we had no presents. We only heard at school and from TV that other children got presents.

? Your traditions also created a strong bondage to your relatives. Have those relationships changed at all? Have the priorities changed after your conversion?

? Yes, indeed. Yet, if I want to be totally honest I miss those years of togetherness… Love grew very much colder even among Roma by now. Walls were raised up. Roma people don’t have a vision for the future and this makes them sad. Usury, misery and despair rules their lives in many places… There is only one solution for everyone: they need to follow Jesus Christ! ? Miklós declares categorically.  Many things have changed since I converted to Christ. My mother raised me up alone. Before I became a Christian I used to vagabond a lot, I drank a lot of alcohol, I was addicted to slot machines. After my mother came to Christ we had meetings in our house. Since there was no other man in the house I had to stay with her out of respect. From the beginning I was standing at the door waiting desperately for the end of the meeting, so I could leave. But the Word of God touched me more and more and soon I came to Christ. As I started to read the Bible afterwards, I began to form my life to it. For us it is all about Jesus now. We teach Ruben according to it also. We decorate the Christmas tree and we give presents to Ruben, but the main point is not how expensive the present is, but he is happy to receive anything. We visit our relatives and we are ready to welcome them, but we don’t drink alcohol and we spend most of the time in the church. At our church we run the “Joseph program” what means we collect non-perishable food throughout the summer season and at Christmas Eve we take it to people in need. In summer time all church members bring some flour, sugar, spices, vegetable oil, pasta.  Before Christmas we make a list of the items we have in store and make a plan how to sort them into packets. When we have the packets we take them to the 20-25 most poor families in each of the settlements related to our work and give it to them. Sometimes we created some special packets for the children also. Many kids started to cry, because it was the first present they have ever got in their lives. It was an unbelievable experience. I was deeply touched by it… It is not important for us to get something always, but we need to learn how to give also.

? This year we would like to visit them again where we usually minister: in Pilicse, Pilis, Káta, Nyírvasvári, Nyírmihálydi. The media usually declares that the baby Jesus was born at Christmas. I say Jesus is not that little baby. He is at the right hand of the Father and He rules even today. He is the Lord of the World Miklós shares his thoughts and finishes with conviction. Jesus was born to the Earth  to save mankind. He had a single purpose: to complete the work what he came for. And He had completed it. He was born to save mankind…

Rita Patkás