Ilona has been serving as a global mission worker in Romania since 1993 and Csaba since 1998. They both currently serve in the DIAKONIA, the Hungarian Reformed Church’s social action ministry in Transylvania (in north west Romania), which was founded in 2001.
Csaba is the coordinator of children’s and family ministry for socially disadvantaged children in seven villages in his home county of Salaj. His work involves administration, supporting and resourcing staff to enable them to minister to marginalised families through educational programmes and family support. Csaba works closely alongside local Reformed congregations and local councils in each village to bring the good news to needy families and help those living in poverty.
Ilona works as educator and family worker with a Roma community in the village of Méra. Her day to day work involves teaching in the afterschool programme, as well as adult literacy, family support, Bible teaching, women’s fellowship and evangelism.
For the past 18 years, Csaba and Ilona’s summer months have been spent organising and leading Bible camps, holiday bible clubs, evangelistic youth events and programmes, often partnered by teams from the Presbyterian Church of Ireland.
Prior to working in the Diakonia Csaba was the general secretary of the Hungarian Reformed Church’s youth board, and Ilona ministered at Aksza Centre for street children in the city of Cluj. Ilona grew up in Sloan Street Presbyterian Church, Lisburn and Csaba in the Hungarian Reformed Church in his hometown of Zalau. Csaba and Ilona have two daughters in their late teens.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Csaba and Ilona have continued to serve in Romania and have adapted their work and witness to comply with local restrictions. Their work when restricted has included socially distanced visiting, online meetings and supporting children with home schooling by providing lap tops to some children who did not have one.
- Give thanks for the work of God through the Diakonia over the past 18 years, bringing help and dignity to needy communities across Transylvania through education, healthcare, community development and Bible teaching.
- Praise God for those Roma who have come to faith in Christ. Pray that they will grow in faith and be faithful witnesses to God’s power and grace, and that God’s kingdom would continue to spread among the Roma.
- Pray for Csaba and Ilona and the staff of the Diakonia, for teachers, social workers, educators who minister to the Roma communities daily. Ask God to bless their special skills and give them hearts of compassion and opportunities to share their faith in a clear and sensitive way.
- Pray too for the Veres family.
Csaba and Ilona have recorded two film clips (a short 3 minute clip and longer 15 minute clip) which can be downloaded and used in church services, prayer meetings or events to raise awareness and prayer for what God is doing across the world, as we seek to go deep and wide in global mission involvement.
(For previous Digital Dispatches video clips click here)
After 25 years of Christian community development in the village of Mera, there has come a time when many of the ministries have been handed over to local leaders and the only Diakonia ministry remaining in the village is a small afterschool for 10 kindergarten children. For us this means it is time to seek God’s direction for our future.
Over the years of a variety of community development activities, spending time with people, listening, talking, praying, together, forming lasting relationships has been the place where the gospel could be lived out and shared. Through the years there have been many struggles and at times disappointments, but many of the ministry focus areas in Mera have seen positive change.
We have known the Spirit’s work through engaging with families and through opportunities for bible teaching. We have seen adults and children changed by God’s grace and are encouraged by the ongoing openings and continue to pray for the Reformed pastor and for the Roma lay preacher, his family and other local church leaders.
In February we attended a Christian community development training course of the Hungarian Church's Roma mission, and we will attend the continuing course in March. The training is for Roma and non-Roma mission staff, the aim is to strengthen the local church to serve together bringing the gospel in word and deed to their needy and often-divided communities.
As we look back, we give thanks for the many changes in the community, we also look forward with hope and confidence in the one who never changes, and whose ‘love endures forever; and faithfulness continues through all generations.’ Psalm 100:5.
- Pray for staff and volunteers of the gypsy mission, for deepening relationship with Christ and growth in passion for reconciliation in their communities, local churches and daily ministries.
- Pray for God's kingdom to flourish in Roma communities in Hungary and Romania and that God will use the Roma to be a blessing throughout Europe.
- Pray for us as we continue to seek God's leading in our lives and direction for the future.
To download a printable PDF of this bulletin or for a previous bulletin visit the Mission Reports listing at the top or the Global Mission monthly bulletin archive.