Dear First Baptist Family,
Here is an update of my mission work in Budapest, Hungary (January 2023).
It was 20 years ago that I arrived in Hungary to serve as a missionary with little more than “let’s see what God has in store”, and I could never have imagined how rich of a plan God had in mind! It really has been an
amazing, fulfilling journey and I certainly could never have imagined how God was going to work through a “piano player”!
A – THE GOSPEL CHOIR
One of my main areas of ministry here in Budapest is the Calvary Gospel Choir. This past fall was our first full season without the restrictions of Covid and so it was very good to again be meeting in person and working towards a full program of outreach and Christmas concerts.
We had about 110 people sign up for the fall season and we decided to keep the online option that we had during Covid for the rehearsals for those who were still a little hesitant to be around a lot of people – and for anyone who could not be at the rehearsal. Of course this was extra work to have this hybrid option – in-person and online – but it was greatly appreciated by many choir members.
One of the highlights for me personally was to have two African girls join us who were university students studying in Ukraine when they had to suddenly leave when the war broke out. They somehow found their way to the choir and joined us and became a part of our choir family. It touched me at a deep level to see them in rehearsal each week joyfully singing, even though I knew that they were in a difficult situation with many unknown and uncertain things in their lives. They expressed how the choir was somewhat of a safe, welcoming place for them. They sang some Nigerian Christmas songs in our Christmas concerts, which was a major highlight of the concerts.
The choir has the opportunity to sing in many “secular” public places which means that many non-christians come to our concerts, and we are able to present the gospel directly through the music and what we say.
One such concert was at a female correctional facility. It was an incredible blessing for us to see how these girls responded to the music and the testimonies, knowing that they have not had the easiest of life paths. This was the fourth time we have been at the facility.
It was good to be able to travel again after the Covid period to a few towns outside of Budapest and share in town halls and outdoor squares. We also ventured outside of Hungary and did a concert in the town of Subotica, Serbia. A church there rented the town hall and offered the concert for free to the public. This is now our third time there and it is one of our favorite places to give concerts because of the amazing warm reception we receive there.
After 2 years of not being able to give “live” Christmas concerts, it was great to again offer Christmas concerts. I did feel, however, as if it was almost the first time we were planning everything – at times quite stressful!
We tried to rent a public venue for the concerts, but for various reasons a public venue did not work out, so we decided to hold the concerts in our church. This was a challenge because our stage is not the biggest, but we rented a mobile stage and made it work. We offered three concerts and each one was sold out.
These Christmas concerts are a great way to introduce many non-christians to the gospel and to the church.
If you would like to scroll through some pictures of the concerts: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1X0M1UYKgVN4XnylYxR5UUlobmqiYmq2N?usp=sharing
B – UKRAINE OUTREACH
Hungary borders Ukraine and many Ukrainian refugees fled to Hungary when the war broke out. Our church was actively involved in helping with arrangements to house refugees in our conference center, which is about an hour and a half from Budapest. We also collected food, clothing, and medicine supplies.
I received a surprise email from Nick and Leslie Piantedosi asking if I could help connect them with churches and organizations so that they could come over to Europe with their charity organization Hope Response to work with Ukrainian refugees and volunteers. For those of you who don’t know, Nick, Leslie, and I used to be in the singles class at First Baptist many moons ago!! So it was really great to help them connect with a number
of groups and people and to visit with them when they were in Hungary. They had a wonderful time of ministry here and in Ukraine as well. Here is the link to Hope Response’s website: https://www.hoperesponseinc.org/
C – PREACHING
I continue to preach as needed. You can view some of my preaching here if you would like: https://golgotabudapest.hu/en/tanitasok-2/?wpfc_preacher=mark-zeeman
D – WORSHIP TEAM
I continue to play the keyboard on the worship team when needed. I also guest worship lead at other churches every now and again.
Thank you for your faithful contribution to this Hungary Mission. I say this all the time, and I mean it even more than ever: your faithful and generous contribution continues to make a difference in people’s lives over here in ways that you cannot imagine. There is wonderful fruit here which is a direct result of your investment. May you be greatly blessed in return!
Wishing you all a blessed 2023,