12 years of fellowship with the LaGrave Christian Reformed Church
On Sunday, 7th of september 2014, we celebrated and gave thanks for the past 12 years of fellowship with the LaGrave Christian Reformed Church (Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA) , during which time many volunteer teams visited Ozd. We are so grateful for their friendship and support!
For 12 years now a Michigan Reformed Church has befriended Ozd
Original article by Zsigmond Júlia: http://www.maszol.ro/index.php/tarsadalom/35024-mar-12-eve-baratkoznak-magyarozddal-a-michigani-reformatusok
In 2002 members of the LaGrave Avenue Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan first came to replace windows and doors, repair walls, and complete carpentry and masonry work on the castle in Ozd. Since then nearly every year they return for a few weeks of physical labor around the castle, the granary, and subsequently constructed outbuildings. Thus they support the Bonus Pastor Foundation (BPF), which since 2005 has operated a Therapy Center for addicts in the one-time granary of the castle, and whose goal is that in three years for the 500th anniversary of the reformation, a life-training and conference center could become of the castle, which, along with the buildings belonging to it, were donated to the Foundation in 2004 by the lawful owner, Baroness Maria Konradsheim Jude.
On BPF supporters’ day last year the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the Reformed Rescue Mission for Addicts in 1993 was commemorated at Tóköz Reformed Church of Cluj (Kolozsvár). This year the 12-year friendship of LaGrave and Bonus Pastor became the focus. For this occasion nine came from the United States, who then participated the following week in a life-training camp in Ozd. A Virginian family will then remain there once the recently arrived guests go home, as Kyle Ferguson along with his wife and two small boys moved there months prior in order to continuously be of assistance.
At the celebratory church service the pastor of the American congregation preached. He reminded the believers of the path of Jesus, when with his disciples he went to Samaria (John 4:1-4, 31-38), despite the fact that there could have been the possibility of avoiding the neighbors despised and barely tolerated by the Israelites. We too have our own ways of avoiding, so that there need not be those among us we feel are not worthy…
The story is familiar: Jesus offers living water to the Samaritan woman heading to the well, she who is already beyond five ruined marriages. Jesus went to Samaria both for her, the failed, lost, helpless person, as well as for the disciples, so that they – and we – could see, that God is present and working where even we are not willing to put our feet so as not to stain ourselves. On the first Sunday in September two messages spoke from this word: it may be that we are lost and helpless, but there is no depth to which God cannot come for us; also as workers of God we cannot be squeamish; we need to step across the borders of our safety zones to see that God is already there, preparing our work.
Maria Horvath, BPF staff member, provided a testimony of an experience of this, who after the sermon in front of the congregation put questions to one of the residents of the Therapy Center, who undertook the flash interview. The 44 year-old gambler has been a resident for 7 months in Ozd, where he came after an unsuccessful suicide attempt. “I didn’t exactly count on this. I got much more: a new family, people in a similar situation who have the same goal and with whom we support one another. My confidence grew, and I once again have goals,” sounded the confession.
In the basement of the church one could purchase postcards that the Therapy Center residents made, and women of the Tóköz church also baked pastries, and the price of each slice also could support the work of BPF. Indeed: they even offered up a special cake for bidding. The BPF emblem was drawn on it in blue, in the middle there were red stripes, and around it were white cream-stars decorated in respect of the Americans, and internationalism increased even more as volunteering German girls helped prepare it. The one offering the most for the cake didn’t just send the money to Ozd for the residents, but the cake as well.