Around Eastern Europe in 8 Days
Hello from beautiful sunny Romania!
Spring has begun here in the village of Szentkiraly, and Paul having grown up in the prairies is unsure on how to handle all of this warm weather when it’s still “suppose” to be winter! I however, have been enjoying the crisp dewy air and seeing the sun shine over the rolling hills scattered with the sheep grazing in the grass. Our last month has been full of unique and powerful ministry opportunities with people all around Hungary and Romania. Please watch our video above to see some footage of the ministry that took place over this past month.
One of the biggest ministry opportunities that took place for us over this past month was partnering with Youth For Christ (YFC) Hungary, YFC Romania and YFC Vancouver for 2 weeks to run Youth events & concerts in villages around Hungary and Romania. We helped host a team of 4 from YFC Vancouver, Canada, which consisted of Sam Rowland and his wife Rita, and my parents Eric and Mary. Sam works as a youth worker who preaches the good news through music and stories all around the world and Eric trains YFC Executive Directors and staff as well as has been running youth programs for 30 years. We met the team in Hungary and joined them in sharing the Gospel in village schools near Budapest. A neat development in Hungary is that the government has declared the country as a Christian Nation and allowed the Baptist Convention to teach religious classes in the schools. It is through this development that YFC Hungary has been able to work with the Baptist Convention to provide Christian teaching to children all around Hungary.
There were many powerful experiences during our week in Hungary, but one of the highlights was working in a kindergarten class. This school was particularly special as they primarily work with Gypsy children and along with regular education they also teach life-skills, health & wellness and provide food. We had the opportunity to lead the games and share about the love of Christ through a story time. In our ministry we have many opportunities to share to groups of children, but this was particularly special for me as I was able to serve alongside my parents.
Next, we headed into Southern Romania to continue with the Youth Concerts but this time we worked through YFC Romania. We had the opportunity to stay in two separate villages, one of which was a gypsy village. One day in this village really stands out for us. As we were gearing up for our youth concert in the evening, the local pastors explained to us that they were unsure of what would happen when we would get to the venue that night as previously that had been kicked out of the village by the locals. Paul had to go to the venue early along with my dad and the local YFC worker to make sure the place was ready for the concert. When they arrived they were shocked at the state of the center. It had no working electricity, the windows were boarded up and it was filthy as it had been used as a nightclub. The men began to sort out the electrical situation, and the other local volunteers started to use shovels (yes shovels!) to clean the place up. At this time it also began to snow outside and the building became really cold. The local volunteers did a great job cleaning the place up and the men were able to get 1 socket running which allowed us to plug in one speaker and a couple of lamps.
It was a chaotic preparation time but when the kids showed up there was an incredible amount of energy and excitement in the room. Throughout the concert we were being conscious of what was going on outside of the concert hall but it seemed that the snow was deterring people from disturbing us. The YFC team was able to share the Gospel with over a hundred kids and when the concert was finishing they invited the youth there to enter into a relationship with Jesus. They asked the kids to raise their hand if they wanted to accept Jesus and every hand shot up in the air. The local Pastor decided to re-explain what the invitation was and clarify that he wasn’t giving anything out to them. But again, every hand shot up in the air to accept Jesus as their Saviour. It was a moving experience for us all.
As for Camp Falcon Rock, we have been continuing our work with Tamas and Tunde to tackle all of the authorizations, permits and paperwork necessary to start building. We are moving further along in this process but still have a lot more meetings with architects and government institutions during this next month. Paul and I have been involved in ministry within our nearby villages. Paul has continued to preach each week and I have begun teaching English classes to the youth (what started with 2 young people in two classes grew to 15). We both have been enjoying these outlets to serve.
Looking ahead, we have a lot on our table. We have begun a season of hosting mission teams with the YFC trip as the starter. Next we will be hosting a pastor couple from Brentview Baptist for 2 weeks, then Central Baptist Church is bringing a team of 52 in April, a YWAM team will be serving here for 3 weeks over May and June, and finally we may have another church team come to assist us in running VBS programs this summer. We are so thrilled with all of the support we are getting from the NAB churches and feel incredibly blessed by the encouragement that this is to us, and the ministry.
Thank you for your continued prayers, thoughts and for journeying along with us!
Tanya and Paul