Antal (Tony) Frei, along with his wife, Agnes (Agi), have been working with Evangelical Friends since 1998 to make disciples and plant churches in Hungary and some of the neighboring countries. The Lord has blessed this ministry with five churches and six house groups so far.
Here is how Tony answered the four questions I sent to missionaries and national leaders:
How is COVID-19 affecting those who live in the area where you live and minister?
- Unfortunately, the Coronavirus reached our country too. We have lots of workers who work abroad, and we have lots of students who are “guests” in our universities, and colleges. These people are required to go into quarantine for two weeks. On March 11 the government proclaimed a state of emergency for at least 15 days. All churches, schools, and universities are closed for an undefined period. Restaurants, malls and other similar shops are closed because on the 27th of March the government ordered the move-out restriction. Hungary has 300 infected people, 10 who have died, many who are in quarantine, and 34 who are recovered now.
How is this situation affecting the ministry you lead?
- We teach religious education for children in primary schools in Tolna. In this hard situation we can’t teach in schools, but we keep contact online. I organized some online groups with the children and their parents so they can do the tasks of the subject. We can talk and I can send some Bible verses to encourage them.
- Like all of the churches, our EFC churches must be closed. But we keep in touch by phone, and every Sunday we organize an online church meeting with the ZOOM application. We have youth meeting in the morning, and in the afternoon we are together with the whole church. I can preach to them and the members can share testimonies with each other. We also pray together to the Lord.
What are some opportunities you are seeing for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with those who don’t know him?
- Agi and I see some good opportunities in this crisis. Rarely-seen brothers and sisters can join the online church meeting. In these hard times we can hold it together even better. I invited some companions to this group so they can participate if they want. Lots of unbelievers have questions too. They are in panic and they need more hope and love. I believe, in this bad situation, we have a chance. Everybody stops a little bit, stays at home, and starts thinking about the meaning of life. It is a great opportunity to lead their thoughts to our God.
What are two or three prayer requests we can use to pray for you and those you lead?
- Of course, we need your prayers for safety against COVID-19, and we also pray for you and your churches. Please pray for new opportunities. We live in unusual times. Our lives have changed in lots of aspects, but we trust that God has given us new chances through these things. Please also pray against fear. Many people are blocked by the fear.
Tony closes his report with this verse of encouragement for all of us: “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
While we are providing this special round of updates to EFM’s largest email list (due to the world-wide impact of COVID-19), we will continue, as always, providing brief praise and prayer requests from each contributing field through our monthly EFM Prayer Letter. This is the easiest way to get regular, brief updates from missionaries and national leaders. If you do not currently receive the EFM Prayer Letter, we encourage you to subscribe by clicking the button below.