Who are the Roma people?

The Roma are a people group with no home country. They are scattered primarily throughout Europe, but also the world. Typically living in tight-knit exclusive communities, the Roma maintain a unique culture and close family ties.

To learn more about the Roma visit the Britannica Page or the Wikipedia Page.

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Watching God Save a Soul

Kató Fellegi serves as the HBAid coordinator for the partnership with Baptists on Mission. She is with the pastors each session of the Roma Bible Institutes and translates. Read below her testimony of how God moved that week in an unexpected way.

By: Kató Fellegi

Everyone went back to the accommodations already. I do not even remember why Ken and I stayed at the restaurant. We listened, and well fed we watched with pleasure as a few of the Roma brothers who stayed behind worshiped, gathering around the keyboard. I loved this part of the evening, when the praises ring out in the restaurant. The owner allowed us to sing and we did not bother any of the guests. I was sitting there, listening to the songs when I noticed an older rock singer passing by the restaurant for the third time. He looked in, stopped for a while but then he moved on. After a while he came in and sat down at a nearby table. I saw him from the side only. He wore a black leather jacket, had long black hair and earrings. He ordered a drink. I was wondering when he would start a quarrel with our Romas saying that they should stop singing because their songs were too godly. That night it was only him and us in the restaurant. No other guests. I was waiting for him to say something because I already had my answers to disarm him. But he did not say a word. He was listening and drinking quietly, while the worship songs resounded in the background:  His precious blood flowed for me, I am thankful for the cross, our God is greater, our God is stronger….

Suddenly I noticed that our rock singer wiped away a tear. I looked at him doubtfully but he repeated his movement. Ken looked at me questioning if I had seen what happened. I said: I saw it too, but I did not even think about going over there and sharing the gospel with him because I do not know how to evangelize. I am not good at it at all. Ken said he is really good at evangelizing but he does not speak Hungarian. He reminded me that it is not us who proselytize but the Holy Spirit; we only allow him a way to do so. And Ken was looking at me with that kind of look, which I am pretty sure he learned from Jesus, because it made me feel like going over to talk to the guy. We sat next to Tibor; that was his name. He said that he had a day off and while passing by the restaurant he noticed the worshipping. He came back twice to be sure that the songs were about Jesus. He felt touched by the songs; he wanted to listen to them so he sat down even though he had another plan for the evening. He had a very confusing day but listening to these songs had made him calm. It was such a good feeling for him to sit there. Something deep inside him was moved by these songs. From that point it was Ken’s turn, and he began very direct. “Tibor, if you were to die today what would you tell God to let you go into heaven?” “Maybe, because I am good, I did some good things and sometimes I loved people who were not worthy of it.” Ken responded: “This is all good. But did you know that we cannot go to heaven by our good actions? The only way we can get there is through believing that Jesus Christ is the son of God who saved us on the cross. We receive him as our personal redeemer.” “I think I received him already.” “You think? So you are not sure? If Jesus is in your heart, you know it for sure. Is there anything tonight that would hold you back from receiving him as your redeemer?” “No but before that, I need to go to the bathroom.” And he left. I told Ken that he will escape through the bathroom window, and will not come back. But he did. “I washed my hands,” he said to show us that he was prepared. We prayed. He repeated the prayer quietly and spiritually. We humbly asked Jesus to forgive his sins and move into his heart, and be the Lord of his life. Huge tear drops rolled down on his face when he looked up at the end. He said Amen at least four times. Amen, amen dear Tibor, our brother in Christ.

Balatonföldvár, Bible Institute, some worshipping Roma brothers, an American pastor and a lonely soul, hungry for God’s word; it was a major crossroads. And that is what I like most in my mission work, that God is using me on fields where I would never have wandered without him. I can teach although I am not a teacher, I can preach although I am not a pastor, I can evangelize although I cannot even find the right words to explain.

My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect in weakness.


Reflections from Summer 2014, Part 2

By Mike Moose, member of a medical team

Itinerant--adjective; working in one place for a comparatively short time and then moving on to work in another place; characterized by alternating periods of working and wandering. Recently I was talking to someone about our recent medical mission trip to the Roma camps in Ukraine. The person, knowing that I have no medical background, asked me, "So what did you do?"  It's a great question, one that I ask myself each year.  What am I doing over there?  Why am I going? Maybe "itinerant" described me.  I hauled crates of medicine and supplies, labeled and packaged meds in the pharmacy, played with some kids, did a little crowd control, hugged and encouraged the other tireless team members, led worship in a Roma church, and preached two sermons.  Working and wandering; wandering and working. For what purpose?  I heard a Roma congregation sing along with me songs I wrote for them in Hungarian.  I got a hug from a precious little girl.  I saw a little boy clutching a bottle of medicine I had filled and labeled earlier.  I saw an artist (one of our translators) bring one of my sermons to life by rendering a beautiful painting as I spoke.  I saw smiles.  I saw laughter.  I saw tears.  I saw love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness. Perhaps we can never know fully for what purpose the threads of our lives guide us, but this is where the thread of my life goes--and I must follow it.




Reflections from Summer 2014, Part 1

By Alicia Jones

Five great teams from North Carolina came to Eastern Europe this summer to serve through the partnership between Baptists on Mission and Hungarian Baptist Aid (HBAid). The teams served Hungarians and Roma in Ukraine, Romania and Hungary through holding clinics, VBS, outreach events, and English Bible Camps. Over the next few posts we’d like to share the stories of what we saw God doing this summer.

Romania, August 2014Three team members with village children

The week was packed, but the team just never seemed to run out of energy! That describes the short-term mission team to Romania. They did VBS in two villages and at the main church. They hosted a concert, a Jesus film showing, men and women’s events, and a community bonfire. They shared the gospel through music, testimony, and preaching in seven villages and at the main church.

The highlight for me was the showing of the Jesus film on Saturday night. We started at 9 pm to make sure the sanctuary was dark enough to see the film. I really didn’t know what to expect. This was an idea the team brought; we had never shown the Jesus film.

It was nine o’clock and I was still struggling to get the projector set up. I was full of anxiety. Storm clouds were gathering, only a few people had taken their seats. The night before the power mysteriously went out in the church building, would it tonight? The cord I thought would power the projector was the wrong one. I started to pray silently.

I soon discovered that my laptop power cord fit the projector; I let out a sigh of relief. The sound was not clear, but we jiggled the cord a few times and it became audible. We were set. People kept trickling in. The storm was fast approaching. We opened the film viewing with prayer and started the movie. It took a few starts, but we finally got it going.

About ten or fifteen minutes into the film I took note of the room. It was packed! I don’t even know when and how so many children and adults slipped in. People in all the chairs, two or three children to a chair, people sitting in the window seals, and people on the floor. It was like the crowds surrounding Jesus in the film.

Dusk was gone and the storm clouds had made it pitch black. But the story of Jesus shone all the brighter on the sheet taped to the wall. It was dead quiet in the room. I never imagined the Jesus film would capture the attention of the people so intensely! They watched until nearly 11 pm without a word. The sound went out once, but no one moved a muscle. I jumped up and started trying things. I lifted silent prayers again. God answered, the sound just started up again. The message of Jesus was heard loudly and clearly by the Roma people that night in Romania!


The beginning of the Roma Bible Institute (RBI)

The testimony of one Hungarian as she watched the RBI become a reality. RBI will hold their sixth week of intensives in September of 2014.

By: Kató Fellegi

We started our long journey. I drove. I have driven the road between Budapest and Munkacs so many times. There is a highway to Nyíregyháza and after the highway ends the road becomes a bit more interesting. It takes at least five to six hours to get to Munkacs, but the time does not always pass by the same way. Last spring, thanks to God, it passed by very well. I traveled with eight Americans. Eight pastors. Pastors of souls. They came up with a plan and we helped them make it happen.

Students at RBI during the fifth intensive, March 2014.For a long time I did not really believe that the Roma Bible Institute (RBI) could turn into a reality. It was hard to imagine that there would be enough willing students, that they would have passports, that they really would want to join the RBI, that we would have enough teachers, or even that everything would come together. It is not my mission I thought, so it is not me who has to believe in it. And in the original plan we would run the RBI in Munkacs, but God formed something else, something more. It became international so now three countries would participate, three times 10 pastors. The vision of Craig Hamlin, how I called it, became a reality last Monday. Craig is a Baptist pastor from North Carolina, who got this vision in his heart. He dreamed about it and made it happen. Thanks to God.

So that is how it happened that I spent a wonderful week amoung Ukrainian, Romanian and Eastern-Hungarian Roma pastors and deacons. On Monday, 27 Roma arrived to Seregelyes, where four American Baptist pastors and three interpreters were waiting for them. They walked through the Old Testament in the morning and after a little nap they were taught about how a pastor should behave, how his character should be, how he should divide his time between the church, his family, and God, how he ought to prepare for a sunday service, and how he builds up the church. There were many many useful materials and advice for their everyday life.Kató Fellegi translating Pastor Joel Stevens at the fifth intensive, March 2014.

Students were so enthusiastic. They had many questions, they shared many stories, they opened themselves up, they worshiped together, and also they were touched and even cried sometimes.

We went deep and up to the heights that week. God took this handful of people into his palm and moved them through valleys, flower-filled meadows, running rivers and snowcovered, cold, peaky pikes. Finally we all arrived to a place in our soul, where it was simply good to be, on a peaceful island, where the Hungarian-speaking Roma pastors from three countries were not looking at each other any more, but were shoulder to shoulder looking ahead, looking into the same direction, at the same aim, at the same one and only God.

I beleive what God started he will also finish. I believe that happenings like this encourages us to dare to dream something big, to dare to lean on God and make the very first step like the Israelites did into to the Jordan, because we know the river will split. To participate and to be a colleague of the Creator God in doing miracles is one of the biggest blessing in the world.  

This school semester at the Institue was a week long and we will have another two like it left this year. At the end of the third years students will get a diploma.

We said goodbye to the students with Jesus words: „Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt. 28:19).


January 2013


Open Doors in Hungarian Schools

By: Alicia Jones

In 2012 the country of Hungary passed a new law requiring all schools to choose a non-profit organization to manage their school. Prior to this law, local governments ran the schools, but ineffectively. Since the enactment of that law, 72 schools and institutes have chosen Love۰Help۰Teach’s Hungarian partner, Hungarian Baptist Aid (HBAid) as their managing organization. This new relationship for the 22 kindergartens, 25 primary schools, 14 specialized schools, 9 secondary schools, 1 art institute and 1 institute of education is making a significant impact on the schools as well as entire communities.

HBAid is given financial support for their “adopted” schools by the government, but they are given the freedom to delegate these funds. HBAid is also responsible for the religious curriculum of the schools. The leader of the effort within HBAid, Szabó Csaba, with his team has developed a Bible curriculum that is available as one of the religious class options and has been a huge success in the past year. All students in Hungary are required to enroll in religious education, but generally this is denominational catechisms and has lacked true depth and life. Baptists in Hungary are hoping to change this by making learning about God and His Word exciting and meaningful to the students’ lives.

HBAid has invited Love۰Help۰Teach and Baptists on Mission to join them in this effort. The schools in Eastern Hungary are opening the door to North Carolina Baptist teams to provide one-week  English/Bible Summer Camps for their students. This summer three teams from North Carolina will be hosting English/Bible Camps in two primary schools and one kindergarten.  As kindergartens are open to regular visits year-round for Bible lessons, Love۰Help۰Teach is excited about being involved in more kindergartens. As God opens these doors pray for God to work in these communities to communicate His love and message to the people of Hungary. 

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