If we had to summarize 2020 in one word, “Coronavirus” would probably come to most people’s minds. And if they would be asked about their thoughts on the matter, fear would probably be first in their mind. This is why the Reformed Roma Ministry decided to choose Apostle Paul’s letter to Timothy as the base of the unusual online conference: ‘ For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline’ (2 Timothy 1,7).
We have faith from God, this is why we are not afraid – we prepared for the Roma Ministry Conference with this in mind, but we have to do what we must for protection. This is why we’ve changed our personal event to online where we had Bible study discussions to deepen faith, prayers, and cultural programs. All of which gave us an opportunity to be together spiritually even if we couldn’t gather physically.
It was wonderful to witness that despite our fears, the Lord was present the same way this time around as He was at the spring event. Many people felt called to give their time and talent to organize the conference.
Three groups participated in prayer from Karcsa, Olaszlisza and Budapest, people from Esztár, Bódvaszilas, Kecskemét, Hajdúhadház, Pécel and Bodaszőlő testified through faith deepening conversations and some of them even performed a pantomime. Another group from Kecskemét Pocsaj, Budapest and Csata with the band of Mezei Imre represented the cultural line on side with the youth from ‘Sing, romas!’ made by Dénes Baracs.
During the conference, three pastors helped us think about God’s Word[CZK1] . The opening service was held by Eszter Dani, Head of Mission Department at the Synod, based the event on these words, “God thinks about fear too. We don’t have to comply, pretend to be brave before God. If we pay attention, we hold onto God, we will receive the soul of power, love and sobriety.”
After the opening prayer on Saturday morning, Dóra Hanula-Csordás, reverent of the roma mission from the Reformed Diocese in Dunántúl taught us, “Even though we are participating in an online conference, the essence didn’t change: we are connecting to the centre one by one. This a network made and operated by God.”
On the closing day of the conference, pastor Ferenc Zsolt Székely from Hencida–the leader of the community whose revival began among his roma brothers and sisters-preached the Word. The pastor gave several examples of what we think ‘essential’ or ‘something’ in our earthly believer life. However the anthem of love, as he put it, shows that without love, it is worth nothing.
This love was also present in brothers and sisters who selflessly helped disadvantaged children in the village with digital education. For example, a retired lady thought she knew everything about the Roma people realized in the recent years that she still had a lot to learn. Or a guy from a block who is doing his best to help those living in his village. Also in school staff who have tried to promote the results of their students over the past six months with a doubling force from their homes.
Love was uttered on the strings of instruments and in the songs during prayers, recitation of the poems, when brothers and sisters spoke about the tricks of adobe throwing, a multi-layered work of art, or the joy of making music together. But love was also there in that delicious rice ratatouille that was made at noon on Sunday.
It was not fear but strength, love and sobriety that permeated our first Online Roma Mission Conference. We wish this to be present in our daily lives until we can meet in person again, and after that, wherever the Lord takes our path.