RAMA, ONTARIO, CANADA (about 100 miles North of Toronto) -- Names like the famous newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer (prize), socialite/actress Zsa Zsa Gabor and a host of others are well known throughout the world and they all have in common an Hungarian heritage. From the first known Hungarian immigrant to permanently settle in the United States in 1840 to the latest arrival of young professionals, they all have in common the quest for significance and purpose, either they acknowledge it or not. In obedience to the call of God on their lives and with these people in mind and a loving heart for the lost, Hungarian pastors gathered together at the Hungarian Baptist Camping grounds in Rama, Ontario to pray together and to seek ways of engaging the lost with the love and the gospel of Christ, exploring ways of reaching the over 1.5 million ethnic Hungarian people in the United States and Canada. Present were pastors Sandor Kulcsar traveling from the west coast of Canada, from Kelowna BC delighting the fellowship with his patriarchal spirit and a wealth of wisdom and experience. Also present was pastor Joseph Novak from the Los Angeles area leading us in deep contemplative devotions and meditation. With a tender heart and a sensitive spirit pastor Janos Lukacs from Cicago, Illinois led us in a very special devotion and transparent prayer time as well as pastor Geza Herjeczki from Detroit, Michigan who serves as president of the Hungarian Baptist Convention. It was a blessing to reconnect with pastor Istvan Gergely from the Hungarian church in New York City who shared with us that just a week prior he baptized two people as an indication of their obedience to follow Christ. A delight was also pastor Daniel Pusok of the Hungarian church in Toronto, Ontario, the host of the conference since the meeting was held on the grounds of the camp belonging to their church. His abilities as a great organizer and his wisdom beyond his years gives us all a sense that the future of the Hungarian work in North America rests on well prepared and able men of God and leaders that have a serving heart and a total dedication to the cause of Christ. Pastor Atilla Kulcsar, the newest servant among the Hungarian leaders came from Louisville, Kentucky where he lived with his wife and childers for the last few years attending the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary preparing himself for ministry and on the eve of their move to the west coast of Florida, planning to start a church in Sarasota where there is a large Hungarian community. We have prayed together, studied the Word together as well as providing a dialogue on the future of the Hungarian work exploring ways of engagement with the community for kingdom expansion. Challenges are many but also the possibilities abound. It's a matter of whether we as leaders are willing to pay the price by denying ourselves and investing in developing leaders so our efforts will be multiplied. The words of the Lord Jesus "Pray to the Lord of the harvest to bring forth laborers" resonated loud in our minds as we discussed challenges and explored possibilities. After a brief historical overview of the work, we were shifting our focus on the realities of the mission field, trying to understand what is our mission field with all its demographic shifts from the "forty-eighters" immigration wave in the middle of the 19th century to the "fifty-sixers" immigration wave in the middle of the 20th century to today's influx of young professionals who are more economic immigrants that their predecessors' ideological reasons of resettlement. We concluded that without the proper understanding of the mission field it will be impossible to have effective strategies of reaching people with the gospel. The dialogue shifted to discussing the mission force focussing on who are the people that will be ale to engage the people with the gospel. The Holy Spirit who lives in all genuine believers is of the absolute necessity reminding us of the words of the Lord Jesus "without me you can do nothing". Pastors and leaders from our existing churches are also of a great importance as well as other believers at large from "God's Church". We also concluded that other networks, associations and conventions are of a great importance in the work of the kingdom. We have to learn from one another for "iron sharpens iron" and "together we can do more than we can do by ourselves". Each pastor was challenged to "look with fresh eyes" in their congregation for leaders and "potential leaders" and to be intentional about developing them through discipleship and leadership development. The emphasis should not be focused on "knowledge" but on "obedience" as it is clearly stated in the Great Commission passage of Matthew 28:20 "and teach them to OBEY all that I have commanded you". In conclusion each pastor engaged in discovering existing leaders and potential leaders from among the Hungarian community in North America mentioning names of leaders who will be challenged to consider joining forces in reaching out to the Hungarian community with the gospel. A list of cities with potential new work as well as a list of potential leaders to be developed. One of the conclusions was that communication among the existing pastors and leaders of the Hungarian churches should became a priority so leaders will be encouraged and the work will be strengthen. The fellowship was sweet and the time was precious. I'm looking forward to see what the Lord will do as we continue to work together to extend His Kingdom.
Mark Hobafcovich, North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. The North American Mission Board is the domestic mission agency of SBC with mission responsibility in the United States and Canada with headquarters in Alpharetta (Atlanta), Georgia. Mark can be reached at: email: email@example.com; twitter: @JohnMarkGlobal