The building we have renovated is in the center of the village, on one of the busiest intersections, in a place without any sort of gathering space. The goal has been to create a community center out of this building, with a café that will be a sanctuary for families, children, and hurting people who have been marginalized by a cycle of poverty. It is a space for activities, camps, English classes, and now coffee.
As part of our ministry, we are constructing a café in the main space of the community center. It will be a place for unity, growth, and community where people can gather and connect. A clean and comfortable space where people can unite is truly needed in Tatárszentgyörgy. And so, bringing that to this village is a way for us to integrate ourselves among the people and give them something that they may not even know they need.
This café ministry is something that we are extremely excited about as we continue our work here. It is an opportunity for us to lead a space as a couple in an area we are both familiar with, and it will be an amazing way to engage with the youth and community in a meaningful way.
So, for us, this part of our ministry will truly be the heart of the community center. A space for people to connect and dream, and a place for us to show love and help others to see Jesus.
As church youth leaders, a teacher and a physician’s assistant, we have a great deal of experience caring for and interacting with young people. Both of us have always loved kids and it is an area that we have felt called to in our mission; and in Tatárszentgyörgy; so, as we started planning, the need for a youth ministry was clear to us.
For some context, the village doesn’t have a high school, so students have to ride a bus to nearby villages. This paired with Hungary’s rigorous language requirements has created a lot of difficulties for young people to graduate, further perpetuating a cycle of dropping out of school. Not having a degree makes it hard to find work and reinforces this cycle of poverty and economic struggle. Our goal is to begin disrupting this negative cycle.
Our HOPE Youth Gatherings focus on coming alongside children and young people in their walk through life. Having a space where they can feel safe and happy, and people that will help them and teach them a new way is paramount. Youth has always been a huge focus for us, and with support and prayer, we will continue to make a positive impact on these kids’ lives.
A part of our work here has been to begin engaging with people in a deep and meaningful way. Not only are we all a family in Christ, but we are a community of families—we want to engage with that community. In Tatárszentgyörgy, we work alongside the social workers in the village to support and lift up families.
Most of the young people we work with are orphans and the families here are fractured and stuck in a cycle of substance abuse, and undereducation. The Roma crisis is felt deeply in Tatárszentgyörgy, and we are seeking to be a relief to the people here. As part of our mission, we are working to come alongside families to bolster and uplift them, showing them new ways to live both physically and spiritually. This is slow and hard work, but by finding a way to reach these families, we can make a difference in the life of Tatárszentgyörgy.
The work will mainly be done through classes in anything from language to cooking, sports and youth camps, and most importantly through a space to grow. Our community center is located in the center of town, and it will be a place for families to gather and grow—and maybe feel like a home away from home.
As a family and as an active part of the body of Christ, we want to see seeds bloom here and for families to become stronger in togetherness. For the cycle of joblessness and poverty to be disrupted and broken, and for God to be glorified in every household.
English is spoken all across Hungary, and students need to be able to pass a rigorous language test to graduate high school. Luckily, we've both had a lot of training and experience facilitating English classes to meet and engage with people, as well as give them skills that will help them.
In Tatárszentgyörgy, there is a huge need for English teachers to help young people graduate high school, and to help adults find jobs. Our language classes are an essential way for us to be part of the community and improve the lives of the people here. The building we have renovated is now ready to become a place for learning, growth, and community. A tangible way for us to accomplish that goal is to teach.
Because the school here only offers classes until the end of eighth grade, many students stop there. These classes are a way for us to attack the cycle of young people dropping out. Being a teacher in the school and becoming a part of the educational community here has positioned us to help students graduate, find jobs, and live better lives than they did before.
We believe that the church is bigger than a building, more than a weekend activity, and broader than any sub-culture; we believe that the church is a people. As people strive to follow Jesus throughout the week, we come together as a church. We come together as a community to seek out the truth, beauty, and hope of the gospel.
All of our ministries in Tatárszentgyörgy are focused on building relationships, strengthening existing bonds, discipling the people, and improving their lives; but these works are just avenues on our main journey—to demonstrate and share the love of Jesus. We know that the best way for us to make a difference is to let the Holy Spirit do it for us. We seek to plant seeds and allow God to grow them and bloom faith over and over again. The work here is hard and slow... God is the only one who can truly re-write the story of Tatárszentgyörgy and its people and we believe that He will when He is ready.
So, while we toil and work and grow and sow, we are really in this village to see a revival begin. We'll know that revival has begun when we begin to see Jesus reviving the lives of these people before our eyes. We hope to one day see the people here gather in love for Him. Until then, we serve God by serving his people, no matter the timeline or results. We are confined there is truly no better way to serve someone, than to plant seeds that may one day save them.