Ministry takes many different forms. In our case, we focused on preaching, teaching, and service. Over eight years, the Alpha Course became a key component in our ministry in two of the churches—Rose Garden Fellowship in Budapest and New Life Fellowship in Gyöngyös. One semester Steve had the privilege of teaching the Alpha Course to a class of English-speaking university students at the Gáspar Károli University in Budapest. Their English teacher Julia Fodor, a firm believer who attended the Rose Garden Fellowship, invited Steve into her classroom to conduct these sessions.
Audrey’s English clubs and classes were always well attended. In Budapest and Gyöngyös, she held conversational English clubs to help Hungarians gain confidence in speaking the language, hoping to lead them to Christ. In Budapest, she taught English Life Lessons to four different groups of Hungarian teenagers. One group went through the “Life on the Edge” series by James Dobson. She also began a group for adults in the local elementary and summer school with the Rose Garden church plant, with over 100 attending.
Over our two years in Gyöngyös, around fifty Hungarians participated in our conversational English clubs and classes. We endeavoured to build friendships, introduce them to our church, and invite them to the Alpha Course. Through this ministry, we learned we can always bear witness for Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit even when the focus is on serving people in their place of need, without having to resort to manipulation.
Audrey’s weekly Bible study group from Rose Garden Church, begun in 2006, averaged ten faithful and vibrant women committed to God’s Word and doing good works. One neighbour, Erzsi, prayed the sinner’s prayer and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. “It was truly a holy moment for us all as we saw the work of God’s Holy Spirit convicting and drawing her into His family,” said Audrey.
Audrey and Kovacs Zsuzsa started a mainly non-believers’ Bible study from this group, made up mostly from outreach programs and neighbourhood friends. Over four years, many women came and left, with seventeen of them coming to know Christ and growing into mature disciples. They all found a place where they could minister, both inside and outside the church.
Some began ministering every two weeks in the nearby Ray of Hope Institute. Initially, they were told very directly not to speak of God to any of the patients. Still, they stayed, helping the nurses with the handicapped patients while showing the love of Jesus. They brought joy and laughter, as well as the gift of themselves. After two years, the institute gave them a room for a chapel, a place to have a time of worship with the patients and their families. Many of the institute employees also used it to pray and be prayed for.
Having moved to Gyöngyös, Audrey was still able to meet with these women monthly travelling into Budapest. Many other ministries grew out of this group―craft outreaches, benevolent funds, caring for the sick, clothing drives, teaching children, and more.
In 2006, a fantastic ministry opportunity opened up for Steve in a secular setting at the same university where he led the Alpha Course. He taught a U.S. History Survey Course for the Department of English Literature and Culture. Professor Julia Fodor asked Steve to be the guest lecturer while she was on maternity leave. She wanted a native English-speaker and fellow believer in Christ for her substitute. He taught the course using her lectures and connected with seventy students as well as faculty and staff. He presented a Christian perspective in this history course only because of the heavy religious influence in American history, from the first evangelical awakening in the 1700s to the founding fathers who were either deists or orthodox Christians the present day.
One pleasant surprise was the many closet Christians coming to him expressing gratitude for having a Christian professor unafraid to talk about matters of faith in class. One young woman, Nori, was still finding her way back to God, having gone through a deep hurt in the local church she had attended. Another student, George, an eclectic religionist with Buddhist leanings, had taken the best from many religions and created one of his own liking. Jesus was much appreciated in his religion, but he was a much different Jesus from the one taught in orthodox Christianity. These were the kinds of discussions Steve often had with students on campus.
Every fall, the university features a North American Culture Week where they invite guest lecturers from the Canadian and American embassies and within the university to speak on various aspects of North American culture. There was a two-day Canadian focus in which the Canadian Ambassador to Hungary, Robert Hage, gave the opening address after which Steve lectured. Steve’s topic was “A Canadian Citizen with Hungarian Blood and a Christian Soul.” He highlighted those positive values that had shaped his life growing up in Canada, along with his Hungarian heritage and his faith in the Living God. Ministry takes many different forms; being ready and available for service is critical to effective, fruitful service.
This is an excerpt from the book, On Mission. Download your free copy today.