A group representing the Virginia Baptist Mission Board (VBMV) of the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) attended the European Baptist Federation's Council meeting held in Budapest September 26-29th. After the meeting we had the privilege of introducing them to some of the Roma (Gypsy) ministries of CBF here in Hungary and a hopeful project in the Ukraine. Virginia has been a partner of ours for a long time and we were glad to travel with them to northeast Hungary.
We attended worship services in the villages of Berencs and Ilk. At each of these locations the Virginians spoke a word of encouragement to the group. When missions pastor, Steve Blanchard spoke of his beautiful daughter from China, the Roma were moved to tears and one Roma leader rose to challenge each of them to love others who may be different. This challenge went out to a group of people who are discriminated against daily because they are different.
Becky McKinney, Virginia's Women's Missionary Union (WMU) president, encouraged the women to listen to what God may be saying to them. She challenged them to follow Him and be examples to their families and communities. In Roma society women are often over-looked and these words were greatly appreciated.
On Saturday the group joined, Bela, a representative of Hungarian Baptist Aid, a world renowned organization for their disaster response ministries, to journey to the Ukraine. Here they toured a huge building (see former post on Ukraine) that has the promise of being a Roma ministry center. The dream is for the building to host a church, kindergarten, medical office, and hygiene center (place for the local Roma to bathe and wash their clothes). There is a great deal of renovation needed to see this dream come true.
We had a good time with the team before putting them on the overnight train to Bucharest. While there they toured the Ruth School and heard about the ministries of Project Ruth.
We are grateful to Virginia Baptists and all they do to assist us and others in spreading the Good News of Christ to the unreached of the world. Thank you!
In the group: Jerry Jones, Team Leader, Glocal Missions and Evangelism Team, VBMB of BGAV; Becky McKinney, Virginia Women's Missionary Union President; Steve Blanchard, Minister of Missions, First Baptist Church, Richmond, VA; John Eure, Pastor, Ash Avenue Baptist Church, South Boston, VA