Signs of Life from Hungary Volume XI No. 89
Monthly prayer update on the ministry of the
Protestant Institute for Mission Studies
by Anne-Marie Kool
Budapest, 7 May 2004.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Eph. 3, 20-21
In the seventeen years that I have been in Hungary, it has never before been the case that you did not receive a Signs of Life from me for five months. A lot has happened. It has been a time of personal difficulties and struggles, and also of problems with my health. Meanwhile there were the challenges of teaching - never before did I teach five new courses in one term - and the financial concerns for the Missions Institute, which are still pressing, although we were able to close the year with less of a shortfall than had originally been anticipated. Looking back, it was like a journey through the desert: I longed for water, was tired and sometimes even felt despondent.
An oasis time
And then, unexpectedly there was an oasis. At the invitation of the Reformed Church in America, at the end of March and the beginning of April, in a three weeks period, I visited more than ten Churches in seven different States, and I stayed in twelve different places. Everywhere I received a warm welcome and met with great interest for the work of the Protestant Institute for Mission Studies. What struck me is that mission is really considered a matter for the whole Church. At the Sunday worship service, I was usually asked to talk for ten to fifteen minutes about the work of the Missions Institute. People listened attentively, and in particular there was much prayer. Mission is not something for a missionary evening with a small group of missionary supporters, but rather it is for young and old, for the whole Church. I also noticed much concern for those on the fringes of the Church and the un-churched. Much is being done to take down barriers and remove the doorsteps. In most places, more than 10% of the budget is being dedicated to missionary projects.
During the trip, I also spoke at a conference for Christian businesswomen, with fellow leaders of theological institutes in Colombia, the Philippines, South Africa and China. It is impossible to express in words what it meant at the end of the conference to receive a Bible with the signatures of more than thirty people, who said they were willing to pray for me regularly. I will try to keep you update on our prayer concerns!
After three busy weeks, I came home spiritually refreshed, ready to continue the journey through the desert.
Praise God for the willingness of many people and a number of Churches to regularly pray and support the ministry of the Missions Institute?
An historical time
In the past years, I experienced many historical moments in connection with 'the changes' of 1989. The joining of the EU last week was another such moment. But for many, it was accompanied by mixed feelings:
'So many new regulations are being imposed on us "from above" in Brussels that we are loosing the unity of our Hungarian culture.” Old "mechanisms" are coming into action again, from the time when "from above" was in Moscow…
A new time
In the meantime, the PMTI programs continue. In March, we started the 'World Christian', a six-month distance learning course for Church members interested in missions and evangelism, with one teaching day a month in Budapest, under the excellent leadership of my colleague Siba-Rohn Hilda. The sixteen participants are from different Church backgrounds and represent a wide range of professions. The aim is to teach them to live their Christian life with a worldwide perspective, and to take their responsibility as Christians in the world seriously. Zoltán comes from the Hungarian speaking part of Serbia. He came to faith a year ago after a godless life in which he was a law unto himself. Now he has the desire to share his newfound faith with others, and especially to start a youth ministry in the area in which he lives. He travels all night to be able to attend the course on Saturdays, as does Ferenc, who comes from the Hungarian speaking part of Romania. Besides some elders from a Church in Budapest, there is also a surgeon, who used to be an alcoholic and who was converted four years ago. He too has a desire to be an instrument in the service of God. Without exception, they faithfully do their assignments, write papers and prepare for the practical placements this summer.
Please pray for these students, that they may be an instrument of renewal in their Churches, and especially for the scholarship fund, so that they can complete their studies. Their own contribution to the course only covers twenty percent of the actual costs. For every student, about 225 USD is still required.
Travelling Romany study seminar
Next week, students of the Masters program course are taking part in a study trip of a week throughout Hungary to visit all sorts of projects related to missions to the Romany (gypsies). In recent years, we have become increasingly aware of what an important missionary challenge the Romany form. In the whole of Eastern Europe, there are about six million of them, of whom about 600,000 to a million are in Hungary. It increasingly strikes me that the work of the Churches is very fragemented. The workers are often very lonely, have received hardly any training, and actually have nowhere they can go to share their struggles, not to mention the lack of reflection on the how and what of work among the Romany.
Please pray for growing cooperation, including internationally, and for a more compassionate, forgiving and reconciliatory attitude in the Churches. Pray that we may find the funds to pay for this trip. We trust that the Lord can supply the 2500 USD needed.
After a period of waiting for half a year for approval regarding fire regulations, three weeks ago for the first time my Hungarian home church, the Gazdagret Church was allowed to hold the regular Sunday service in the new church building. A month earlier, the situation still seemed hopeless, but suddenly there was a change. Prayers were answered. In one of the first services, we were encouraged to look to Him 'who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us'. The official opening will take place on 19th September next.
Yours in Christ, our Lord and Saviour,
Anne- Marie Kool
This is the monthly prayer update of Anne-Marie Kool for friends of the Protestant Institute for Mission Studies. She has been seconded by the Reformed Missionary League (RML) in the United Protestant Church in the Netherlands in 1993 to the Reformed Church in Hungary. Since 1995 she has served as the director of the Protestant Institute for Mission Studies in Budapest. In 1998 she was appointed as Professor in Missiology at the Reformed Theological Seminary in Papa.
If you would like to support the ministry of the Protestant Institute for Mission Studies (ProTIMS), you may send your tax-deductible gifts to:
1. Overseas Council International - P.O. Box 17368, Indianapolis, IN 46217-0368 (Yes, this is a new address!).
2. I.D.E.A Ministries, 4595 Broadmoor—Suite 237, Grand Rapids, MI 49512, USA.
In both cases please indicate that this donation is for ProTIMS, otherwise we will not receive your contribution. Please also add the designation of your donation.
3. You could also send your donation directly to our Hungarian Bank:
You can also send a donation directly to Hungary:
Account No: USD account number: HU36105600000772300102010108
EUR account number: HU28105600000772300122010100
Name of account: Protestáns Missziói Tanulmányi Intézet Alapítvány
Name of bank: General Banking and Trust Co.Ltd, H-1092 Budapest, Ráday u. 42-44.
Swift code: AEBBHUHB
Bank swift code: AEBBHUHB
We greatly appreciate your kind generosity in helping us equip future church leaders for Central and Eastern Europe! The doors are still open!
The Protestant Institute for Mission Studies, Kalvin ter 7.II, P.O. Box 150, 1461 Budapest, Hungary. Tel/fax + 36 1 216 20 54. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
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