Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Fruit of the Spirit is...Patience

The old saying goes, "Patience is a virtue." How many times have we laughingly said, "Lord give me patience and give it to me now!"? For Adam Hufnagel, a Hungarian lay leader, the fruit of the Spirit was very present. For 20 years, Adam and his wife, Lenke, have traveled to the village of Solvadkert to be the presence of Christ among the Roma there. They began a Roma Club as an outreach to share the Good News. Adam and Lenke faithfully went to the village, building relationships and patiently giving of themselves. Many seeds were planted and nourished but no Roma made an outward declaration to follow Christ - until recently. Adam and Lenke reaped their first harvest this past week when the first group of professing believers was baptized. Gyula Sztojka with seven members of his family entered the waters to profess Jesus as their Savior for the whole village to see. It was a wonderful celebration with praise songs, testimony, new Bibles, and prayers said for each new believer. The Fruit of the Spirit... patience and faithfulness for 20 years.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Dutch Connection

Making connections is one of the things I love doing in our role as resource coordinators for the Romany Team. This past Sunday, a member of our church here in the Netherlands told us of a successful connection. A couple of months ago I passed on to Teun van de Leer a request from Ralph Stocks for teachers during sessions of the Gypsy Smith Training School. Teun, who currently serves as rechtor for the Dutch Baptist Seminary, was interested. He and Ralph corresponded. In October, he and another professor from the seminary will go to Bucharest to teach that session. If things work out well, every October a student and a professor will be going. This will help train Romany church leaders--and Dutch ones.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Boldog Valentine Nap (Happy Valentine's Day)

"Boldog Valentine Napot!" (Happy Valentine's Day) with those words the week of FBC, Greenville, SC being with the students at Gandhi ended. The team members handed out valentines of crocheted book marks to each student with a reminder of God's love for them. Good byes were said and a few tears were shed. Thank you FBC, Greenville for investing in the lives of these students the last six years. It has been a terrific partnership with many Gospel seeds planted.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Christians' voices against prejudice and violence

From: Servizio Informazione Religiosa: With them on the streets

29/01/2010 - "The Roma people must not be viewed in terms of a problem but as our brothers. Siding with the poor in our meetings brings friendships, and friendship leads to a new form of civilization". Msgr. Janos Szekely, auxiliary bishop of Esztergom-Budapest and responsible of the pastoral care of the Roma for the Hungarian Bishops' Conference, delivered the final speech of the international conference held a few days ago in Budapest titled "Roma People: Europeans without a homeland". The meeting, held at the Academy of Science, was promoted by the Sant'Egidio Community in response to the series of attacks that targeted Gypsies in Hungary over the past two years, and also to "show compassion towards the Roma population and convey a word of hope in a world marked by prejudice and violence". Indeed, a large number of gypsies died in Nazi extermination camps. It must be remembered.

May more Christians' voices be heard!

Gandhi's Got Talent!

Simply saying, "Gandhi's Got Talent" is an understatement! The students of this school are exceptionally gifted. The week of English tutoring and special events traditionally ends with an all-school talent show. This year was no exception. The talents ranged from traditional Gypsy dancing (as seen in the photo) to hip-hop to modern Hungarian pop. The library was packed with students eager to cheer on their friends. The talent portion ended with the FBC, Greenville group leading a routine to "Love Train" which turned into a free-for-all dance session. After the awards were given out everyone was surprised with ice cream. As the students made their way to their dorm rooms you could hear laughter and the refrain of "Love train, join hands, love train, get on board..."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ready to Jam

The Gandhi Choir meets on Tuesday evenings and is led by Glen Adkins. This past Tuesday arrangements had been made for the choir to give a concert to the visiting team from FBC, Greenville. Imagine the cheers and clapping when the four musicians of the choir walked in wearing matching shiny silver and black shirts! It was a special surprise for Glen and for the guests. The young men enjoyed the attention and shouts of "Hey good-looking!" The girls were equally decked out in traditional attire or their very best clothes.
The choir gave a a beautiful performance with several students singing solos. They are very talented singers and musicians. Definitely a group of teenagers that the Gandhi School can be proud of.
A special thanks to all who have partnered with CBF to provide Global Service Corps workers in the past (Mark Knowles, Penny Mann) and present (Glen and Clista Adkins) to be the presence of Christ.

Fun With the Gandhi Bible Club

The Gandhi Bible Club began in 2000 when CBF placed the first Global Service Corps person, Mark Knowles, at the Gandhi School to teach English. It was a partnership with the Hungarian Youth at the Pecs Baptist Church assisted by Tamas and Szilvi Goebl. When Penny Mann arrived a few years later, she and the Goebls continued the club. Today the Bible Club members meet with Glen and Clista Adkins and the Goebls.

This past Monday the First Baptist Church Greenville, SC team provided a few surprises for the Bible club and a good time was had by all! The evening began with singing, an icebreaker game, and a devotion on the Good Samaritan. These students understand what a Samaritan may have faced during Jesus' time. Also the lesson of "Who is a Neighbor?" was good for all of us.

The second half of the club time was spent playing Bingo by placing red hot candies on the cards as the numbers were called out. Next pictures were taken of the students to be placed in frames with the week's Bible verse theme on them. Lastly there was food! Teenagers the world over love to eat and these are no exception. The homemade Valentine sugar cookies were a welcome treat until the teens spotted the chocolate. This was all topped off with chips, coke, and hot cocoa. What a night!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Gandhi, Tshirts, & Hot Cocoa, Oh My!

Most of the Gandhi students board at the school dorm and they begin trickling in between 5PM-8PM on Sunday evenings. What better way is there to be greeted on a cold wintery night than with a steaming hot cup of cocoa? In one of the common areas the FBC Greenville folk set up a hot chocolate station and a table overflowing with tshirts. The hot chocolate was a treat and the marshmallows were a new thing for some of the kids. Since there is no equivalent in Hungarian we called them "sponge candy". Like most teenagers, the Roma kids love tshirts. The long-sleeved, red t's with a light bulb on the front were very popular. The theme this week is "Let your Light Shine". There were lots of shouts of greetings as the older students came through the doors and saw members of the Greenville group - some have come multiple times and the relationships have grown.

Great way to spend a cold, snowy evening in Pecs, Hungary

**In the picture are three of our students assistants helping with the tshirt distribution - Kitti, Barbi, and Ricsi

Monday, February 8, 2010

ET gets a Computer

FBC Greenville has been investing in the lives of the Gandhi students for several years. When they first started ET was a young student, small, but very vocal and energetic. The team members have watched him mature into a wonderful young man. Most of us, though, will always picture that little boy trying to help FBC member, Henry, clap in rhythm to a praise song and seeing ET burst into laughter when Henry couldn't quite get it.

ET graduated last year from Gandhi and this past fall began his studies at the university in law. To show support for him and to say how proud they are of what he has accomplished, FBC Greenville gifted ET with a computer. When it was presented to him today at lunch he was overcome with emotion. With tears in his eyes he thanked the FBC members over and over. It was a huge gesture of encouragement and will make life easier as ET becomes a lawyer.

Thank you FBC, Greenville for caring about a young Roma boy and continuing to support him through the years.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Gandhi Staff Appreciation

The staff at the Gandhi Roma High School in Pecs, Hungary works hard. As a way of saying thank you for all they do to teach and help the Roma youth the team from FBC, Greenville, SC provided lunch for them. With Valentine themed table decorations, gyro sandwiches, and homemade cookies the staff was made to feel extra special. Becky Bouton, team leader, presented Erzsbet, Gandhi director, with the gift of a bag and then each staff person received one. The food was delicious and the fellowship sweeter. Thank you hardworking Gandhi staff!

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Widow's Mite

"We don't have a lot but we wanted to help." With those words the director of the Gandhi Roma High School in Pecs presented Glen Adkins, CBF personnel, with an envelope of money for Haiti relief. The students had displayed the sign pictured above asking for donations in jars scattered throughout the school. They gave generously from the little they have. At their request the money will soon be helping Hungarian Baptist Aid in their efforts to help the Haitian people. Thank you Gandhi students and staff!

Monday, February 1, 2010

"What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander?"

The leadership in the village of Szatmarcserke recently sponsored a program for villagers to purchase geese at a great discount. This Roma woman took advantage and purchased two. While visiting in Szatmarcserke with our ministry partner Tivadar, Ralph walked in as the cook was plucking and gutting the geese in her living room. We're not sure the old saying applies here - looks like both "gooses got cooked". (I know bad play on words!)