To say that Hungarians are hungry for the Gospel may be a bit of an overstatement and a bit on the corny side. However, there is an unprecedented opportunity for personal evangelism and the sharing of faith. This new openness has paved the way for churches within the CBA Church Network to form direct partnerships with churches across the Hungarian countryside.
This fall, more than 50 people representing a dozen Collin County churches will spend 11 days working alongside church members in Hungary to make new relationships and share their personal testimonies of faith.
Hungarian Baptist Union President Janos Popp said most of the pastors and leadership in Hungary grew up under the Iron Curtain. Therefore, church growth and evangelism were not just discouraged, it was forbidden by the government. “It has touched our hearts that you (in Texas) are committed to spreading the Gospel to the people, not just in Texas, but everywhere in the world.”
While most churches in our area routinely take mission trips around the world, CBA Executive Director Vince Smith said this opportunity is unique for two reasons. “Usually churches partner with missionaries on the field, or with a missions organization,” Smith said. “However, this is church-to-church partnerships. This is one pastor talking with another about how a long-term partnership can be formed so we are both helping and learning from one another.” Smith added this project is also unique because it involves churches from across the CBA Network, going at the same time, and working together.
Popp says through this project he wants “to speak the Gospel openly and understandably and for the people there to have good reactions to that.” He also hopes this project will build good relationships between people, between nations, and between churches.
Peter Barbarich of the Hungarian Baptist Union Education Center echoed Popp’s enthusiasm for the partnership between the Baptist Union and CBA Church Network. “People are very passionate to do outreach because they feel that we need to reach our cities with the Gospel,” he said. “Now we can go out in schools and public places and do all of these things which we could not do before.”
Many of the 50 participants from Collin County met together at the CBA offices in Fairview in August to learn about Hungarian culture and study some simple phrases in the local language. While some are veteran mission trip participants, for many this will be their first experience in taking an overseas mission trip.
First Baptist Church of Wylie was one of the first churches to commit to the Hungary missions project. Their team is being led by Jennifer Bailey, a former school teacher whose excitement about the project was initially kindled by the opportunity teams have to share the Gospel openly in Hungarian schools, some of which are operated by a partner organization, Hungarian Baptist Aid.
“I think it is amazing that the churches across Collin County are working together on this project,” Bailey said. “It is our duty and our calling to be the hands and feet of Jesus to others who are in need. There is such a hunger for the Gospel there. It is exciting to see so many people from so many different churches coming together on one project working together to be that extension of Christ to those who are in need.”
“Hungarian Baptists are living in a relatively small country, but with a big vision and big hearts for missions,” concluded Popp. “This is a new time for missions in our country, and a new time in our history.”
The group will be in Hungary from September 27th through the morning of October 8.
You can follow the progress of the group daily through updates, live video, photos, and other materials will be published on the CBA Church Network website (www.cbachurchnetwork.org) or on our Facebook page (facebook.com/CBA.ChurchNetwork).