Revival in a Small Town

VBS in Hungary

By Patrick Rowland

Szentmargitfalva church
Revival. One may think of a fiery preacher sharing the gospel with great passion, the personal moment where their heart turned back to God, or when a church surged with energy for the Lord after a dry season. For some, revival is physical. CPR revives a person who has stopped breathing, or the electrical pulse of an AED restores a stopped heart. Revival is taking something that was once dead or near death and bringing it back to life.

Szentmargitfalva is a small town in western Hungary, located only miles away from the Croatian border. Once home to over 500 people, it now has a population of fewer than 50 people. The one store that used to be in town has closed, and Szentmargitfalva needs revival.

Installing pavers at Szentmargitfalva church
Community members, VBS students, and team members worked together to install pavers.
In April 2018, One Mission Society sent a group to begin working on a church building in Szentmargitfalva. Residents initially saw them as interesting but did not engage them. People slowly warmed up to them, and by the end of the two weeks, they were stopping to talk with them. By the end of September, construction on the church reached a point that the building could host services once a month.

A team of nine students and four adults went to continue construction on the church and help host an English camp and VBS in the nearby town of Letenya in June 2019. This group of students had prepared to teach lessons, crafts, and play games with students. They also looked forward to the church construction project but were unaware as to how these projects would so closely intersect. There were awkward moments while the students worked through the language barrier and built relationships during the English camp. While this was not unexpected, what happened during the church work project was a surprise to everyone.

VBS students recreation
VBS students enjoying recreation time in the morning.
More and more locals began to show up as the team worked on the church. Some were adults who were curious as to why students might be doing this work. Others were kids who had been at the English camp and wanted to spend more time with the students who had begun to develop relationships with them each morning. The people of this once reserved town no longer observed from afar. The people started to get their hands dirty and worked on the church alongside the students.

The pastor of the church, Laci, hosted a church service to pray over and thank the team. The town showed appreciation for the team by hosting an evening of fireworks at the end of the week.

VBS students vocabulary game
Students and staff playing an English vocabulary game.
Szentmargitfalva was a place in need of a revival. The church is bringing vibrancy and life back to this town. God is working to revive the people of this small Hungarian village and draw them to Himself. Centered around a church that is building community, the revival of Szentmargitfalva has begun.

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