To those of us involved in Gateway Teams, the country of Romania represents what became an opportunity for this ministry to significantly extend its reach in addition to the North American Baptist’s (NAB) established mission fields. Gateway was invited to serve in Romania, and a number of other nations since, by NAB churches in Alberta who had established some relationships there. Strong relationships provide the foundation for good missiological practice, and in the 12 years since that first ‘Vision Trip’ to Romania for Gateway, relationships and eventually partnerships (even Sister Church Partnerships, ‘SCP’) have been built primarily among Hungarian Baptist Churches and their neighboring Roma/Gypsy communities.
The Transylvania Region of Romania has a large number of Hungarians as well as Hungarian-speaking Roma/Gypsy people living in many small villages and moderate size cities in this area of forests, hills and fertile farmland. Over the years, village and city names have become familiar such as Oradea, Zalau and Cluj, as well as Ip, Simleu Silvanei, Samsud and Valea lui Mihai.
A number of North American churches have sent Gateway Teams to this ‘Hungarian’ (a 4 hour drive from Hungary’s capital city Budapest) region of Romania over the years to serve with Pastors Istvan Gergely, Miklos Modi, Pal Szekrenyes and Pal Gergely, among others. And even some churches (Century Baptist-Bismarck, ND, Central Baptist-Edmonton, AB) have committed themselves to SCPs with churches in Transylvania. One additional opportunity in this region is at ‘Falcon’s Rock’, a camp ministry site that the Hungarian Baptists of Romania oversee which is also a targeted ministry site of Paul and Tanya Gericke (new NAB missionaries who are from Central Baptist-Edmonton, AB). This camp, as well as these pastors, churches and communities represent opportunities where SCPs and potential long-term relationships are welcome. The Hungarians themselves are very excited about the new opportunities that they are discovering among the Roma/Gypsy communities of the region and together with the help of North American churches (or without the help) they are reaching into these communities. In many ways, they are leading by example in showing how to reach out and plant churches among a marginalized people group and together in a relationship with a North American church, both communities will be uniquely positioned to share in the struggles and victories of living out a missional life as a church. Sound like something that your church may be interested in? Please consider how your church might get involved in the Transylvania Region of Romania or another part of the world where Gateway serves.
GATEWAY TEAMS – Global Partnerships, Kingdom Mission!
Randy and Shelly Schmor