Are You Sure That You Want to Fly?

2017. március 07., kedd

Members from five protestant denominations gathered February 4 for the second annual Protestant Roma Mission Conference, which took place at a Baptist congregation in Budafok. More than 300 people were in attendance and spent the day together in faith discussing what it takes to fly, like in Isaiah 40:31.

The first Protestant Roma Mission Conference was held in 2016, and this February the second one was organized with a high turnout. Over 300 people from all over Hungary gathered together, coming from Reformed, Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, and Lutheran churches. These churches together form the Protestant Roma Mission Cooperation and have been meeting for ten years. Together they produce a quarterly newspaper which is used as an insert in the various denominational newsletters, in addition to producing other materials to further their mission.

The theme of the conference was based on Isaiah 40:31, which says, “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

The day was centered on greetings and speeches from Roma Mission Leaders from each of the churches. Between these talks were various worship services, with songs led by the band from Grace Congregation in Békés.

Péter Bakay, Roma Mission Leader of the Lutheran church noted that, “It is very special when so many different people who are following Jesus are together as a community. It’s a preview of heaven.”

From the Pentecostal church, Durkó Albert said that he had a, “Vision from God that there will be a revival through all of Hungary and all the Roma people will meet Jesus. It will be an awakening. We can help to prepare for this, and God will bless it.”

Czibere Károly, Hungarian governmental Secretary for Social Inclusion, gave financial support to make the event happen because he sees how vital the work being done is. “Initiatives like this one are very important because there are many wounds on the body of our country. Words of healing are important. The government’s role is to support those who are carrying these words and are helping the country to heal. Roma mission is not only the case of a person or a church or five churches, but it’s the case for the whole country. Our joint task is to invite those who are marginalized to the same table as we follow Jesus. We can become a community only at one table because Christ has only one body. Reformation didn’t divide Christ’s body, but restored it, because many tried to create real unity but nobody but Him can make people reconcile. Our only task is to be in solidarity with others because our Lord was in solidarity with us.” 

Dr. Csonka Arnold, one of the lay leaders of the Békevár Baptist church in Kaposvár, preached during the middle of the day on Isaiah 40:31. He asked the conference participants, “Are you sure you want to fly?” Conference participants then divided into small groups where they shared individual testimonies with one another, reflected on the preaching, and talked about what things now or in the past have made it hard for them to fly.

After a lunch break, the whole group came back together and one person from each church stood up and shared their personal testimony in a session led by Eszter Dani, Head of the RCH Mission Office. After participants were done sharing, members of the crowd would gather and pray over them. In between testimonies, a band gathered and performed at the front. At one point, Eszter Dani was joined by a man, Zsolt Zsiga, whose church was begun by a Korean Missionary, and the two of them sang Amazing Grace accompanied by two Korean women. Everyone in the audience was moved.

To end, Eszter Dani quoted John 8:30 that, “Even as he spoke, many believed in him,” and reflected on the personal testimonies that had been shared earlier. She mentioned that we may have many challenges, but when we open our lives and see the truth of God, that’s when we experience real freedom and we can fly. She told the audience that God cared for each of us even when we were in the womb of our mothers.

When the time came for the conference to come to an end leaders from each church took turns praying as those in attendance gathered to hold hands. This was a symbol of the whole day – the idea that five denominations can create something together in unity for one aim because they are all called by God. They sing the same song on five different scales, but in rhythm and harmony. 

 

Hungarian article by Illés Molnár

Translation by Szabina Sztojka

English article by Kearstin Bailey

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We encourage you to read our GM intern Kearstin Bailey's blog about her time in Hungary.