On Sunday, July 12, 2020, Camp Falcon Rock hosted the cornerstone ceremony for its future main lodge. Similar to a North American ground breaking, in Romania we celebrate by placing a ceremonial foundation stone into the ground. The placement of the “cornerstone” or “foundation stone” in the ground is a powerful image as we are visually reminded of Christ as the true cornerstone. This is a customary service in Romania for any building project, but it was particularly special as it brought the entire Hungarian Baptist Convention of Romania to Camp Falcon Rock to celebrate this event. The convention leaders, the camp board and staff, twelve pastors, and seventy other people participated in this event (attendance would have been much higher if it were not for a combination of COVID-19 and poor weather). Having participated in the service, I realize the impossible task of summarizing the powerful testimonies shared and the tangible presence of God felt on that special day. Nevertheless, I am compelled to share this experience so that we can celebrate together God’s ongoing faithfulness in this ministry and the Kingdom impact that comes from international partners on mission together.

The story of God’s faithfulness was clear as Pastor Miki Modi (Camp Chairman and co-founder of Camp Falcon Rock) shared when he recounted the moment he first visited the property twenty years ago. On that day, he prophetically declared that this would be the land for the camp and the inheritance for the generations to come who would hear the good news of Jesus Christ and be changed by his grace. With tears in his eyes, Miki shared, “This is why we built this camp. We longed to see the work of God in the generations to come through a place where God’s presence would dwell.”

A second pastor by the name of Laszlo followed Miki by asking the question of whether all the work, time, finances, and hardships are actually worth it. The question was honest and a stark contrast from the other stories. As we all waited his conclusion, Pastor Laszlo drew the comparison of Mary pouring the expensive bottle of perfume at the feet of Jesus. He pointed out that Judas Iscariot was the one who condemns Mary for the great waste of this sacrifice and entirely missed the significant spiritual reality that was taking place in Mary’s actions. Laszlo remarked that the sacrifice involved in building the main lodge is large, but the Kingdom impact, the eternal implications far outweigh this sacrifice and cost. As Laszlo explained, “When we see the spiritual reality, the lives changed, the testimonies shared, those who declare that ‘this was the place where I gave my life to the Lord,’ then we will know that it is worth it.”

Another impacting theme throughout the service was the emphasis placed on the long-lasting and ongoing partnership with those in North America through the North American Baptist partnership with the Hungarian Baptist Convention of Romania. Officially, the Hungarian Baptist Convention and the NAB have had a formalized partnership for close to six years. Unofficially, the two groups, through sister-church partnerships, have been serving together for over twenty-five years. Many of the pastors focused on these longstanding relationships and honoured their international friends in the NAB who have played (and continue to play) a key role in this ongoing development. Beyond this, they also praised the solid local leadership that continues to oversee the entire ministry. Pastor George preached from Nehemiah, where he highlighted the partnership, teamwork, and collaboration that was needed for Nehemiah and the Israelites to rebuild the wall. He mentioned that this teamwork among those in Romania and the support provided by those from the NAB continues to be instrumental in the ongoing development of Camp Falcon Rock. A second pastor stood up to agree with George as he compelled the staff and local leadership of Camp Falcon Rock to continue on in their ongoing leadership but also prayed that the partners from North America would not back away, that they would continue to pray, support, and walk beside their Romanian friends in this important ministry. These comments expressed the important balance that is taking place at Camp Falcon Rock between local ownership and the necessity for ongoing global partnership. Further, these comments need to be heard by those in the NAB. The cornerstone was able to be placed in the ground on July 12, 2020, largely because of the fruitful relationships that exists between the NAB and the Hungarian Baptist Convention.

Lastly, the recognition that this building is necessary for active ministry and will be a tool for the greater spiritual work that will take place at Camp Falcon Rock, which will in turn have a Kingdom impact upon the villages, churches, nations, and generations to come, was a message we all needed to hear. A Roma pastor by the name of Janos Kajcza, who recently recovered from COVID-19, stood in front of everyone and passionately prayed thanks to the Lord for every new day, praised the Lord for the camp, and with great emotion prayed that the camp would be a place where many Roma children would meet the Lord and respond to his good news. The Roma are a marginalized and impoverished people in Romania who are often deprived of quality education, spiritual care, support, and opportunities. Pastor Janos saw the need of his people and recognized the life-changing opportunity that Camp Falcon Rock presents for children, youth, and future generations. Further, this prayer provided us with a powerful picture of all the nations of people who will participate in life-changing ministries at camp in the decades to come. We are seeing a glimpse of how God will use the ministry at Camp Falcon Rock to reach the nations throughout the world.

As we move forward, I am reminded of the powerful words spoken by camp chairmen Miki Modi, “The ministry of Camp Falcon Rock will not be an easy one, but it will be historic.” As we celebrate this momentous occasion, these words ring true. It certainly has not been an easy journey. Daily we are reminded of our need for God’s faithfulness, provision, and strength. It will not be easy as we look ahead to the extensive building project, the resources and finances still needed, and the ongoing government bureaucracy we face daily . . . and yet we are confident of this, “that he who began a good work . . . will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6b). The Gospel is advancing, lives are being transformed, and the Kingdom is growing all because two groups of churches have come together and decided that we can do more together than apart.

To find out more about the NAB’s work at Camp Falcon Rock, click here.