Pastor Soós József Tamás' speech in Harmelen (Netherland) Reformed Church
Our common future!
Text. II.Cor.,4:9 "We are persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed."
Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ!
It is always a great pleasure for me to serve the Lord. But I feel, today I have not only the special opportunity to preach our Lord’s heart warming message, but also because I brought with our congregation’s love and good wishes from Gyanta their outstretched hand also. We thank to God with gratitude, that holding each other’s hands we can build our common future.
Gyanta, a historic Hungarian-Reformed town, is located now in north-western Romania, 35 km. away from Oradea, on the right bank of Black Koros river, in a beautiful environment. With its imposing church building, wide streets and country-style architectuere it is still an impressive sight for visitors to the area. Gyanta flourished in the last century when more than 2,000 souls were counted in the congregation. After the end of the First World War, the dictated peace of Trianon cut off the town – and thousands of other similar towns -- from Hungary. The people of Gyanta also had to experience what it means to live under a foreign power in their own birthplace.Many of the people of Gyanta have felt persecuted in their own homes, so many people have left the home of his ancestors, and scattered around the world.
At end of World War II, on 1944. September 24 a Romanian paramilitary unit broke into Gyanta, chased the defenceless civilian population, 49 people were killed, mostly elderly, women and children were executed, the parish house was burned down and they shot in the church building several times, which as God's miracle escape from destruction. With this bloody and sad event began the destruction of Gyanta. And persecution, and casting down lasted for decades.
During the communist dictatorship all the state institutions were moved into the neighbouring Romanian populated village. People's lands were confiscated and their shops were nationalized, thus forcing them to move to cities, where they found work.The church was deprived of all property, school and community house were nationalized, the new parish house has not been authorized to be build. After so much persecution and cast down a result, it is no wonder that the population of our church has now shrunk to only 250 people. These are also largely old and tired people.
But despite all the persecution and cast down God has not left us to perish. Much has been lost in the recent XX. th century, but left the faith, hope and love.Therefore, the people of Gyanta believe that not only they have a past of 800 years, but they believe that are things to come. With this faith we started in 2000, a new beginning. We erected a Monument for our martyrs, a new parsonage was built, we have recovered confiscated lands, the community house and the school. Every year, more than 500 young people turned to our youth camps organized and operated by our church, we organize children bible weeks during the summer, and we fully renovated inside and outside our church. We give thanks to God that gave us enough faith, hope and love, that we were able to work and serve to his glory. We give thanks to him that in this work He did not leave us alone, but send us loving brothers and co-workers who also from your congregation helped us not only financially, but also with their work skills and time. We appreciate all the sacrifice that our brothers from Harmelen Help Romania Committee did for Gyanta and for people from Romania. Thank you so much for the Refomed church of Harmelen for the donations they collected and sent for us. I personally thank for rev. van Dussen that he despite of the great distances visited us and for the nice words at the aniversary of our church’s 150 years. We thank you for your prayers.
Many Christians were persecuted in history around the world. Unfortunately today, many of them can tell the same about themselves. They no longer persecute us with fire and sword in Romania or in Europe. Satan uses more sophisticated tools today, as secularism and liberalism and for us very valid poverty. Our Lord Jesus Christ suffered so much, he died on the cross and rose again the third day, that we who believe in Him, we can endure the present small suffering of and have hope for our future. We who believe in Jesus, we know that the blood of martyrs of Gyanta does not have died in vain, because that God's new life. Therefore, we confess with faith: "We are persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed."