Saturday, May 26, 2007

If You Build It, They Will Come...

"If you build it, they will come." That saying originally applied to a baseball field built in a corn field. We have reversed the order as the quick growth of house churches among the Roma has ushered in the challenge of providing adequate facilities for these groups to worship in. We were blest in late April through a volunteer team from FBC-Greenville, SC, that helped renovate a property in Kekcse, to give that congregation a more secure and more practical meeting place. The church would like to stucco the exterior of the building this summer and then they will have an outstanding worship center. There is a group of Hungarian Baptist men who have volunteered to do the labor for free. This is a great opportunity to build relationships between Hungarian and Gypsy believers.

We have decided to build an addition to the home of the leader in the village of Szatmarcseke. This May a group of Gypsy men traveled there to help build the extension that will allow some 30-40 people to gather and worship. It is rewarding to see fellow believers who have construction skills come together to provide this building ministry.

God is bringing healing out of tragedy in the village of Olaszliszke. Last November a Hungarian school teacher was driving his daughter through this village when he collided with a young Gypsy child playing in the street. It turned out that the child received a glancing blow and in shock veered off into safety. Nearby Gypsy adults assumed the worst when they heard the screams of the other children and rushed to street, dragged the hapless driver from the car and beat him to death. Many have been arrested and are awaiting trial. The Gypsy community stood condemned and in shock from the mob mentality. Jozsi Olah, a Gypsy evangelist, sensed their great grief and quickly went to offer consolation and the assurance of God's forgiveness. A house church sprang up and has grown to 40 in a few short months. A cross was erected at the scene of the accident while residents of the house there have offered to sell the house to the church. We are currently in the process of securing this property in the hopes that a church there will help to bring healing to this hurting community.

Property has been purchased in Retkozberencs ('Berencs) that includes two buildings. Although in bad shape the larger building can be renovated into a suitable worship center. Some roofing repair will need to be done, an exterior wall or two torn down and extensive plastering and painting on both exterior and interior walls. This property lies on the main street of the village in easy walking distance of the Gypsy residents. Funds for purchasing the property and renovation materials have been provided by FBC-Greenville and other individuals.
We are looking for property to purchase in the village of Ujleta. A congregation of 25 is in need of a small house suitable for holding that size group. Please pray that we will be able to locate an affordable piece of property in a good location to help this house church continue to grow.

We are also partnering with Hungarian Baptist Aid to help as we can with renovating a building in the Ukraine into a worship center/community service center for the Roma of the area.

God is working among the Roma in Hungary as they grow in their faith and share the Good News with their fellow Romany. He is answering their prayers and helping them to have places of refuge from what the world. We are grateful to Him and to those who partner with us to provide these safe havens.

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