Back in 1989, Hungary was a part of the movement that helped set in motion a series of dominoes that ultimately led to the fall of the Iron Curtain. That was when Hungary first opened its border to the West. It allowed visitors from East Germany to cross over and visit friends and relatives in Austria and West Germany. Once this was done, East Germany had to open its own border. Thousands of people began to stream into the West.
Soon, Communist governments throughout the Soviet block began to crumble, and the Berlin Wall and Iron Curtain came down. In 1990, Hungary held its first free elections. In 1997, it became a member of NATO. On May 1, 2004, it joined the European Union.
Much has changed since Hungary first opened it border to the West. And the country continues to change at a rapid pace. For one thing, Hungary is going through a cultural revolution as a new generation grows up with no memory of what it was like to live under a Communist dictatorship. These young people have very different expectations and a very different way of looking at the world than do their parents and grandparents. So, where is Hungary now? Where has it come over the last 25 years? And where is it going?
OMS has been in Hungary since August 1992. In 1994, we began our summer English camp program in cooperation with the Hungarian military. For many years, we worked alongside the military, teaching English to students in secondary schools. God did amazing things through this ministry, and great fruit was born from these labors. Most of our young Hungarian leadership of today came to know the Lord through our camp and English ministries. Eventually, when Hungary joined NATO, it closed all of its secondary schools. Nevertheless, our English-based ministries have continued on and have gone in several new directions. This has led to new needs, including a “home” of our own — a ministry center.
A dedicated ministry center would not only give our team a valuable home for its English clubs, youth ministry, and other develping ministries, it would make an important statement to the people of Hungary, especially to the younger generation. Such a center would tell the people of Hungary that we are here to stay, and that we are not another fly-by-night organization that has come to take what we want and then leave. Stability, accountability, and commitment are all very important to the Hungarian people. These things provide the foundation for trust and cooperation.
Our team now has the opportunity to establish its own ministry center. We purchased a run-down building that once served as an artist’s studio. It is in a wonderful location, just a stone’s throw from several major public transportation lines. And it offers a wide range of possible uses. But it is in great need of complete renovation. Would you consider helping us bring this project to fruition?
Check out more information on the Ministry Center here.
By Will Dickerson, Former OMS Hungary Field Leader