It is estimated that less than 3% of the 10 million Hungarians
personally know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Allen & Sharon Mercer
Churchplanting in Hungary
Hungary is a post-Christian country in the midst of Europe. After two world wars, social experiments like fascism, communism and socialism, Hungarians have become a self-centered and cynical society. To many Hungarians, everything is suspect and church has become irrelevant. Christianity is viewed as an outdated philosophy and is being replaced by progressive humanistic ideals and cultic practices.
Alcoholism continues to be a major problem in far too many families. In 2011, Hungary was the third highest per captia world consumer of alcohol compared to the U.S. which was 57th on the list.
A secularized youth culture struggles to find meaning. Suicide rates in Hungary have consistently been the highest in the world (nearly 4 times that of the US).
Diseases linked directly to alcoholism, suicide and the lack of motivation to bring children into a hopeless world are all contributing factors to Hungary having one of the lowest life expectancies in Europe.
“How are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”
Over many years of sowing seeds of the Gospel in Hungary, we have been priveladged to see lives transformed. Our team of both Hungarians and American missionaries seeks to initiate a church planting movement in the 111 cities, small towns and villages like Petőfibánya that are scattered throughout northeastern Hungary. These are poorer areas of Hungary where many families work 50-60 hours a week and struggle to make ends meet. Dysfunctional families are prominent, with live-in boyfriends as fathers, alcoholism, abuse and a lack of loving attention given to children. There is rampant depression and a dark sense of loneliness. Heartless religious ritual, atheism, communism and the occult have firmly influenced the ideas and beliefs in this region. But the Gospel is the power of God to give new life to those who hear the Gospel and respond with faith in Jesus Christ.
We plant and water seeds of the Gospel
with faith in God who causes growth.
Our family moved to Petőfibánya in 2003 to partner with Miki and Erika (pictured above center). At that time there was no church. Through years of sowing seeds and using various evangelistic and discipleship tools, the First Love Baptist Church was born in Petőfibánya by God’s grace. As we train and equip the saints in this body we see that members are now taking part in various outreach ministries and joining us in new church planting works.
Northeastern Hungary Churchplanting team
With the help of the growing body in Petőfibánya, we hold a summer Vacation Bible School which has touched many lives in our village. This ministry gives children in our village (and the surounding area) the opportunity to understand the Gospel and the love of God. In many cases parents begin hearing the gospel for the first time through their children who have attended our summer VBS. This ministry is also a training ground for church members to use their giftings to bless others. We believe all believers are members of the body and have important roles as we work together in proclaiming Jesus. We have seen kids that grew up attending our VBS come to a saving faith and in turn begin serving along side of us in VBS. For a taste of VBS in Hungary, check out the video below.
One family that commuted to our churchplant in Petőfibanya was from the town of Jászfényszaru . After being built up in our body for a year, our team began a church planting work in their hometown with their help. They initially began a house group reaching out to family, co-workers and neighbors. God has since opened doors to teach Bible classes in the public school, hold camps for teens and helped us develop many new relationships through an English Club.
Churchplanting in Jászfényszaru
The church planting work in Bogács is unique in seeking to reach the Romani (commonly known as “Gypsies”) in Hungary. The Romani people have a sad history of slavery, persecutions, and genocide by the Nazis in the Holocaust. They have long been a nomadic people having issues fully integrating with those nations in which they have now settled. In Hungary there is widespread discrimination and hatred toward the Romani people.
Churchplanting in Bogács
Christmas and Easter Puppet Ministry
Outside of our churchplanting works in Petőfibánya, Jászfényszaru and Bogács, our team also sows seeds of the Gospel through Puppet Ministry. We travel to 26 schools reaching over 1,800 kids every Christmas and Easter with the gospel. As we visit these public schools throughout northeastern Hungary, we can deliver the gospel fourteen times to each child as they progress from preschool through middle school. By God’s grace many of these seeds will take root and help establish the next generation in their faith in Jesus Christ. Check out our Puppet Ministry film below.
Red dots reveal towns we have been able to share the gospel
through our Easter and Christmas puppet ministry.
Summer Baseball Camp
Every Summer our church holds a Baseball Camp keeping the connection with many of the kids that have already attended our VBS. This is a great way to keep the momentum going in teaching more about the life of faith in Jesus Christ.
Summer English Camp
Every summer we hold an Evangelistic English Camp that attracts teens and young adults from various regions of Hungary. Each day is designed to maximize english learning and to clearly communicate God’s love and His Gospel message. One young man saved through this ministry commented that this camp is one of the most effective ways to reach youth in Hungary with the Gospel. See the films below for an overview of Summer English Camp.
Consider partnering with us!
The Mercers are currently in need of new sustained monthly supporters and one-time financial gifts. Through the help of supporters like you, we have been able to serve in Hungary since 2000. Being fully supported enables us to continue assisting multinational churchplanting teams saturate Hungary with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Mission needs both those who go and those who send. Parnter with us in bringing the gospel to Hungary!
We want to continue saturating northeasten Hungary with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and leave Hungary with equipped Hungarian leaders who would faithfully carry out their callings in their families, their local churches, their local communities and beyond. The harvest is plentiful and there is much more work to be done. Please pray that God raise up and send more workers to His harvest field and please consider ways you could partner in supporting that work.