Follow Us ON Facebook YouTube
News

NC Baptists Launch English Bible Camps in Hungarian Public Schools

A classroom full of Hungarian middle schoolers leaned in to hear the story of Jesus’ birth as North Carolina volunteers explained it to them. For many of them, they were hearing the story for the very first time. They acted out the story with their classmates and memorized Bible verses in Hungarian and in English. All the while, the teachers in the back were meticulously taking notes; many of them were hearing the stories for the first time as well.

This scene took place in June when NC Baptist volunteers traveled to Hungary to launch one of the most exciting projects in Baptist history: An English Bible Camp held in public schools. Nowhere else in the world does an opportunity like this exist…and Baptists are making the most of it.

Hungry1.jpg Hungry2.jpg Hungry3.jpg

Reaching communities through public schools

At the heart of every community in Hungary is a public school. It is the central meeting place of people young and old. The most educated, respected members of society are employed there. The school holds each village together.

And now, thanks to a law passed by the Hungarian government in 2012, Baptists have an open door to share Christ in 49 communities through ministering to students and teachers in public schools.

The new law shifts the responsibility of each public school from the government to a non-profit organization. Hungarian Baptist Aid (HBAid), a partner of Baptists on Mission (NCBM), saw the opportunity and took on 49 of the poorest schools in Hungary (total of 17,000 children), known as “B49,” the “B” for Baptist. Many of the schools they operate have a high percentage of Roma children.

Sándor Szenczy, president of HBAid, is a firm believer that God can do the impossible.

“The students here do not know the Bible,” he said, “It is a great challenge and opportunity for us as Christians to reach them.”

HBAid helps the schools by providing food and materials for them, and also giving the children extra educational opportunities. Along with meeting the physical needs of the schools, HBAid, in partnership with Baptists on Mission, is providing each school with opportunities to learn about God as well.

Since HBAid’s involvement with the schools began in 2012, over 1000 people have made decisions to follow Christ.

Hungry4.jpg Hungry5.jpg Hungry6.jpg

Baptists on Mission join the effort

Teresa and Alicia Jones have been key figures in Baptists on Mission’s partnership with Hungary. Teresa serves as the Project Coordinator for the Roma Partnership, while her daughter, Alicia, is the On-site Coordinator and full-time missionary to the Roma people. Both Joneses were thrilled at the opportunities NC Baptists have to share Christ in communities through B49.

Alicia, whose passion for the Roma oozes out of her, said “I am excited to see how God will open doors into communities. This is a huge door to the villages right in front of us.”

Both Joneses knew that reaching children in a public school would look different than a typical VBS held in a church. So in order to meet the educational and spiritual needs of the children, they came up with the idea of holding English Bible camps in the schools throughout the summer.

Teresa, with the help of several team-members from Fairview Baptist Church in Apex, designed a five-day curriculum which takes students through five important truths of the Gospel, in conjunction with five American holidays. The curriculum is designed to be replicated by future NC teams in different schools throughout Hungary.

 

Bible theme

American Holiday

Day 1

Creation/God is Creator

Thanksgiving

Day 2

The Fall/God is Love

Valentine’s Day

Day 3

Jesus’ Birth/God is With Us

Christmas

Day 4

Jesus’ death and resurrection/God is Savior

Easter

Day 5

Repentance-Freedom in Christ/God is Life

4th of July

The week-long camp is an opportunity for students to learn about American culture, improve their English, and learn about God. The format is similar to a typical VBS with children rotating through different stations with their age group. (The stations are: English, American Culture, Music, Crafts, Games, and Bible story). The difference is that the setting is a classroom in a public school and the chaperones are teachers who also have little exposure to the Gospel.

Two NC teams traveled to Hungary in June and July to launch the first English Bible camps in two different schools. The first team was at a school in the most atheist region in Hungary. The region has 100,000 people, but few have ever stepped foot in the only evangelical church there. The NC team was the first evangelical presence the children in the school had ever been exposed to.

One hundred of the school’s brightest students were selected by the principal to participate in the camp. However, even the brightest students had little to no knowledge of basic stories from the Bible. Despite the lack of prior knowledge of the Bible, students and teachers were fully engaged throughout the week.

On the final day of camp, the children hosted a program for their parents in which they showed them the things they had learned throughout the week. Laughter echoed throughout the halls as children marched, proudly wearing the Uncle Sam hats they had made during craft time that day.
Each age group presented something they had learned. Some sang Christmas songs they had learned in English, others proudly recited the Bible verses they had memorized. At the end of the presentation, members of the NC team gave a Gospel presentation to the parents as well.

Cindy Simmons, a team-member from Fairview Baptist, said, “Relationships were formed. By the end of the week the children loved us, and we loved them. God did amazing things through this week!”

The second English Bible Camp was held in a village called Nagyhalász. While the first NC team planted many gospel seeds the week before, the second team watered gospel seeds that had recently been planted in the community through the work of HBAid.

According to Alicia, the 125 students in attendance were very ready to hear and believe. At the closing program in this village, Sándor Szenczy preached and gave an invitation.

“I watched in amazement as the principal and his wife, teachers of the school, workers from the cafeteria, and parents together with their children flooded to the front of the gymnasium in response,” she said, “More than 150 stood together, praying to receive Christ and afterwards began crying, dancing and celebrating their new found faith.”

With such a tremendous spiritual response from the schools, HBAid recognizes that follow-up will be essential in discipling new believers. Szenczy’s goal is to start “B49 school churches” in September. Church services will be held in the school’s gymnasium and students, teachers and their families will have a place to grow in their faith. Imagine the amazing things God can do by planting churches in public schools! Church planters are needed to help with this effort.

NC volunteers needed to continue effort in Roma communities

There are three steps in reaching Roma communities for Christ.
1. Get into the communities and ignite spiritual interest
2. Form deeper relationships in Roma and Hungarian communities
3. B49 church planting effort

NC teams can be involved in all three of these stages, but are especially key in the first step…getting into the communities. The English Bible Camps provide the perfect opportunity for establishing a presence and trust within the community. It creates an avenue for future relationships to be developed by local Christian workers and future mission teams.

Reflecting on the work God did this summer, Alicia said, “I think it’s amazing the new open doors we have this summer in these schools and I hope that this is not just a one summer thing.”

How to Get Involved with Roma Partnership

  • Pray for God’s work to be accomplished and for those on the field who are serving Him (specifically HBAid workers and Alicia Jones)
  • NC teams needed to lead English Bible Camps in multiple schools in summer 2015
  • Medical and VBS teams are still needed in parts of Romania and Hungary
  • HBAid needs teachers and church planters to work with them and be a Christian presence in the schools
  • Financial gifts can be given to: “Gypsy Kindergarten” at www.baptistsonmission.org
  • For more information contact Teresa Jones at tajones@ncbaptist.org


rss