Hungarian Salvationists Encouraged by General's Visit
8 December 2011
MANY people sought a deeper relationship with Christ during the visit of General Linda Bond to Hungary. The General was joined on her visit by Europe Zone leaders Commissioners Robert and Janet Street (International Headquarters) and Commissioners Franz and Hanny Boschung, leaders of the Switzerland, Austria and Hungary Territory.
Captains Andrew and Darlene Morgan, leaders of the Hungary Region, showed their guests a number of Salvation Army ministry units before they all participated in officers councils and an evening public meeting.
The day began with an early morning visit to the Új Reménység Háza (House of New Hope) Men’s Hostel, where The Salvation Army offers accommodation and rehabilitation services to 100 men and a daily feeding programme for 250 individuals. It was noted that this facility was purpose-built by The Salvation Army in 1927 before being taken over by the communist government in 1949 and returned to The Salvation Army in 1991.
Looking round the neighbouring corps (Salvation Army church) the General took special interest in the children attending the daycare facility operated by the corps.
This was followed by a tour of the brand new Fény Háza (House of Light) Safe House for Women and Children. This new state-of-the-art facility was at full capacity, with 14 mothers and their children – a total of 41 people – who have escaped domestic violence and are receiving care from loving and professional staff. A final visit of the morning was to the Válaszút Háza (Crossroads House) Rehabilitation Home for Women. Special note was taken of the therapeutic work carried out among women as they try to move on from lives of addiction, incarceration and prostitution.
During the afternoon officers councils the General challenged Hungary's 10 active officers, three retired officers and two cadets to live holy and Christlike lives.
The day was capped by a celebratory public meeting at Rákoscsaba Corps, attended by more than 150 people. The General was pleased to enrol eight junior soldiers and 10 senior soldiers, representing all four Hungarian corps.
At the conclusion of the meeting, in response to the appeal, the mercy seat was lined time and time again as many people responded to the invitation to make a deeper commitment to the Lord and his ministry through The Salvation Army.
The visit of the General was a great encouragement to the Salvationists of Hungary, who face an uncertain future after new legislation regulating churches was passed by the Hungarian parliament in July 2011.
For 20 years The Salvation Army, together with more than 360 other registered churches, has enjoyed the freedoms and privileges of church status. The new legislation which comes into effect on 1 January 2012, grants only 14 churches official status. The Salvation Army, which is not one of the 14, is working with lawyers and politicians to reach a satisfactory resolution to the issue. The regional officer is appealing for prayerful support for this matter.
Report by Captain Andrew Morgan