Saturday, July 25, 2015

doing church differently

this last Wednesday we did something we’ve never done before. We took our Wednesday night service to the streets of Szeged. The main reasons for this is the current immigration crisis that is happening at our doorstep, as between 800-1300 refugees cross the border at Szeged every day (20% of which are young kids). Golgota Szeged has, over the past few weeks, has given generously so that we can provide some humanitarian aid to these refugees. 

because of this crisis, I invited the “A Vision For Life” team (
from Vajta to come minister to the refugees with us. The team that came was about 65 people. That amount of people would simply overwhelm the refugees and the volunteers at the Szeged train station. So we decided to divide their team and our church members into 3 groups. 

I led group #1 at the train station as we talked with and delivered humanitarian aid to the refugees.  The other groups were led by guys from our church. Balázs led about 20 people in a prayer walk around Szeged, and Norbi lead a group of about 20 as they shared the good news of Jesus on the streets of Szeged.  It was an amazing evening for all 3 groups.

a group of refugees just arrives at the Szeged train station after being processed by the police
What I experienced at the train station, talking with many of the refugees (about 200 showed up in the 4 hours that we were there), was very insightful. I talked with people from Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, among others. most of these people have been walking for months, fleeing their country. I talked to one young man from Afghanistan, who left last year on July 29th and is hoping to make it to Germany or England to make a better life for himself. Another man I talked to from Bangladesh, fled months ago, because he is a Hindu and is fleeing from the attacks of radical Islamic forces. But the highlight of my evening was talking with a woman and her 2 sons from Syria. After I noticed that she was wearing a cross bracelet, I asked if she was a Christian. She said yes, and when I asked her story, she said she left Syria with her boys (14 & 10) because of the fighting in Syria & the persecution against Christians. Turns out her Dad was a pastor in Damascus and my friend Andi & I prayed  for her and her children right before they boarded the train. She was very, very thankful. I also spoke with young men from Syria who fled because they did not want to fight and all they wanted is peace. Many of them left at the behest of their families. 
me, Tibor (CC Csantavér, Serbia), and Jeremy (AVFL pastor)

 There are some things I took away from being at the train station…

#1. All people, regardless of race, nationality, or religion are image bearers of God and are to be shown honor, dignity an value (this is the message that I told a French news reporter when he interviewed me Wednesday night).

#2. giving someone a cup of cold water (or in this case humanitarian aid - bottled water, tooth paste, hygiene products, etc.) is not only pleasing in the eyes of God but an amazing blessing to those in need.

#3. there is real evil in the world and it needs to be stopped. If there were peace in the homelands of these people they would never have left on this journey of thousands of miles to try to make a better life for themselves. 

#4. there seems to be no end in sight to this wave of refugees fleeing into Hungary. Praise God, a lot of money has been provided (by Golgota Szeged & the AVFL team) so that we can continue to take aid to the volunteer group helping the refugees for weeks to come. 

a group of refugees arrives around 11pm
If you read this, would you please pray that the Gospel would reach those people (mainly muslims) who are fleeing their homelands and coming to Europe. Some people say that this is all in the plan of Islam to reconquer Europe. My impression is that this is not the case. Thousands are crossing into Europe daily, via Szeged, hoping for a better life. That “better life” is found in Jesus and now is the time for the Christians in Europe to see these refugees not as enemies or threats but as people who so desperately need the Gospel. And maybe, just maybe, the first step in showing them the love of Jesus is giving them a bottle of water after journeying for months on foot in conditions that we couldn’t even imagine?
a heartfelt message at the train station

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