For part one of this story, click here.
In 2009, a local Methodist pastor named Laci, from Zsolnok Hungary, decided he would like to try and find a vacation home for his family to get away from the city. One day, he met someone who owned a small house in bad condition in a little village on the border. The owner realized that there was no demand for real estate and the cottage needed a total renovation, so they settled on a price. The landowner would trade their property to this pastor in exchange for his 10-year-old Peugeot 106 automobile. Suddenly, Laci owned a small piece of Szentmargitfalva.
After Laci was named Superintendent of the Methodist Church in 2015, the mayor asked him to consider finally building a place of worship in Szentmargitfalva. Laci had started holding some worship services semi-regularly using the town’s large tent, and the community felt that it was time for the chapel to be built. They promised the support of the town and even offered the local park, tucked away on a side street as the place to build it. It seemed perfect as the chapel would then fall in the shadow of the town bell-tower.
As Laci pondered how he would see this project through, he decided to reach out to Jonathan, and see if our team might be interested in helping. During a meeting with a partnership of the Wesleyan Alliance, he had heard about OMS Hungary’s vision to partner with churches. Later, after a conversation with the mayor, Laci contacted the team for help, and we agreed. The plans were designed, Jonathan’s dad, who has extensive experience doing building projects around the world, signed on to lead the construction, and some spontaneous donors even stepped up to help make it happen.
Everything seemed to be lining up, when one evening during a town hall meeting on the project, a staunchly Catholic woman objected to the town using public land for a chapel that wasn’t Catholic. Suddenly, the chapel seemed to be in question. But after the meeting, a local couple came up to Laci and stated that they wanted to see the chapel built, and furthermore, that they would donate their lot on the corner of two main roads in town to make it happen. Just like that, the project was back on, and about a week ago, the property ownership was transferred.
In April and May, the first community place of worship will be built in Szentmargitfalva using Methodist and Men For Missions volunteers. We will chronicle the project on our social media pages and here on this blog. Check back weekly for new updates!