VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 8/31/15)—A story of transformation in the central-European country of Hungary is the subject of the 2015 World Mission Offering (WMO) from American Baptist International Ministries (IM).
The free educational materials, which include a 24-page Global Mission Study Guide, a full-color poster and five short videos on DVD, plus bulletin inserts, clip art, a newsletter article and much more, were mailed to churches in July. Click here to download additional materials or call 1-800-4JUDSON to request that materials be mailed to you.
The story of evangelism through education focuses on IM partner Hungarian Baptist Aid (HBAid), which is now managing 49 formerly government-run schools throughout this country, serving 17,000 students in grades K–12.
These students are receiving educations grounded in academics, stretching their individual talents, seeing the difference Jesus can make in their lives and hearing the gospel message (often for the first time).
A young Hungarian chaplain has a bold vision for these schools. “There are no living churches in this district so far,” he explains, “and yet there are 200,000 people living here.” In response to this void, the chaplain started an after-school club—and the idea took off. Many of the schools now host these “B49” clubs. At any given meeting, as many as 60 students learn Biblical principles, discuss topics of interest to teenagers and share personal testimonies. The chaplain has been thrilled to see how B49 has already begun to impact the student body. “This will be the core of the future church,” he says.
Dramatic change is also taking place in the classroom, where teachers like IM missionary Becky Stanton are now able to share their faith. Stanton’s recent reassignment from Liberia to Hungary is part of HBAid’s emphasis on preparing students for careers in the increasingly international workplace by teaching conversational English. Stanton and her husband, Larry, will soon be followed by endorsed IM missionary Carmella Jones, who will be serving as a school chaplain through HBAid.
This is a pivotal time for these 49 schools and their communities in Hungary, and HBAid is in a position to do a great work for God’s glory. The focus Scripture for this year’s WMO truly captures the spirit of this age:
“ … forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal … ” Philippians 3:13-14 (ASV)
Forgetting what is behind: Hungary is still recovering from four decades of Communist rule, during which schools were controlled by the government. And stretching forward to what is ahead: Christians now have the opportunity to supervise schools, where they can express their faith in Jesus, nurture students in the faith and open new doors by providing courses in conversational English.
The need is urgent. “We’re living in a period of grace,” said one HBAid official. “We don’t know how long we’ll be able to do this, and we want to touch as many lives as possible.”
Also serving in Hungary: IM associate missionaries Carrie and Kurt Smalley serve with one of the few Christian churches in Hungary. Their ministry focus is on leadership development and discipleship, with the goal of strengthening the congregation so that it can plant other churches in unreached areas. Congregations’ gifts to the WMO make ministries like these possible.
Many of the global ministries that IM supports and develops could not continue, and new areas of mission could not be established, without generous contributions to the WMO. Individuals and churches can give to the WMO now and year-round.
Gifts to the WMO help IM touch human lives through holistic ministries of evangelism, anti-human-trafficking, economic development, health, peace and refuge, education and theological education in more than 70 countries around the world. Individuals can give through their churches. They may also give online or by sending a check to World Mission Offering, International Ministries, PO Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482.
HBAid has an urgent need for volunteer and vocational teachers to serve in schools in Hungary. For more information, contact Angela Sudermann (volunteer) or Jim Bell (vocational). You must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.