Tony and Agi Frei | Serving in Hungary
It is my desire and pleasure to share with you, my experience and thoughts about the EFM Worldwide Missionary Gathering that took place in Chiang Mai, Thailand between December 2-7, 2022. Originally, I was not going to participate in the Gathering in person due to my battle with long COVID-19, but David (William)’s and Adrian (Halverstadt)’s love and encouragement during an EFC-I Zoom meeting convinced me otherwise. The flight from Hungary to Thailand was 30 hours there and 26 hours back. On the way back, I caught a cold. It made my work in the church over Christmas more difficult, but our Father helped me through it.
The time I spent in Chiang Mai with my brothers, sisters, and fellow workers was like a dream. The beautiful environment was like the entrance hall to Heaven! In fact, my ten-year-old students in the Primary School where I teach watched the video I made while there and one of them asked, “Uncle Tony, is it, Heaven?”. This is what Jesus says, “All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other” (John 13:35). I believe that we all felt this Godly love coming from each other. English is not my mother tongue, yet I felt loved and accepted by all present, despite the language barrier.
I am convinced that no online platform or virtual conference can replace in-person interaction and time spent together. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to get to know my brothers and sisters in person. I have received tons of love and encouragement from them.
Our brother, Alan Amavisca’s teaching from 1 Samuel Chapter 14 was particularly interesting and valuable for me. It is a seldom preached passage of the Bible. We received a profound message from him, which then we discussed, applied, and internalized in small groups interactively. Special thanks to sister Lisa Halverstadt, who kindly and lovingly helped Sabino, his daughter Clariver, and me, whose first language isn’t English, during the small group discussions.
I am grateful to God that this is the church where we started planting churches 25 years ago, in accordance with Romans 15:20-21, which is our scripture of calling. We worked with our brother, Dr. John Williams for 20 years, and it is his love in Christ that I experienced in Chiang Mai from all the EFM and the EFC-I Council leaders. (I should mention everyone by name here really.) Jesus says, “The one who leads should be like one who serves” (Luke 22:26). I observed and felt this kind of serving love and humility by all the leaders in the EFM and the EFC-I Council.
On my return, I had a wonderful testimony to share about the Chiang Mai Conference. Numerous photos and videos brought the events to life for my brothers and sisters in Hungary, Serbia, and Croatia. We all feel blessed and grateful that we can build our church in Hungary and Europe as part of EFM. God has given us a real home in this family. We are so thankful for you all.
In Christ’s love,
Antal (Tony) Frei