Actually, the Dorcas Resort in Hungary would be a very nice place to spend a vacation. However, what "actually" would be, does not always correspond to what really is...
Debrecen is the second largest city in Hungary and is located in the east of the country. The distance to Romania is only about 35 kilometers, and Ukraine is also only 125 kilometers away. Just outside the city, in Erdőspuszta, there is a vacation area of about 5.5 hectares. Since the founding of the organization "Dorcas Ministries" in 1991, this site has been part of a comprehensive ministry to the people of Hungary - especially those living in poverty and on the margins of society. However, no one has spent their vacations in the bungalows for many months. This is because since February 2022, the Dorcas Center has had a much more existential significance: around 250 people who have fled Ukraine have found refuge here. 90% of them are Roma.
The United Methodist Church (UMC) in Hungary also supports the people in this camp. For example, by delivering 60 kg of bread every week - for months already. Or, in cooperation with a local United Methodist church in New Mexico (USA), by purchasing heating systems for the wooden houses, which, before the implementation of this project, had never been used during winter time. But also by offering those people, who are looking for this, a spiritual home and a sustainable community at Debrecen UMC
And because there is a trusting relationship between the leadership of the organization "Dorcas Ministries" and the UMC, the Church had learned firsthand that dark clouds had been gathering over the camp: Regular tests had shown that the pollution of the drinking water had increased so much that urgent measures had to be taken to ensure the supply of safe drinking water for the people living in the camp.
But it was impossible to implement these measures while the refugees were living in the camp. The danger would have been far too great that someone would have drunk from the toxic cleaning solution that had to remain in the pipe system for 20 hours.
So, in the last week of September, the 250 refugees and around 20 helpers had to be taken to a vacation center two and a half hours' drive north of Debrecen for two days. There, a varied program awaited the people: games, offers for sports or creative activities, discussion groups, but also a worship service and other spiritual elements. The food was excellent, the weather beautiful, and so both the framework conditions and the program contributed to people opening up, and initial worries gave way to a confident and trustful serenity.
When the large group returned to the camp on the second day, clean drinking water was bubbling out of the taps to everyone's delight. The costs for bus transport, food, overnight accommodation, and cleaning of the pipe network were largely borne by the EmK Weltmission in Germany.
It is not the least thanks to the valuable commitment of the UMC that the thirst of the people can continue to be quenched. The thirst for water. But also the thirst for security, community, hope and future.
Source: Urs Schweizer, Zurich (Switzerland) / Lukács Ábel Kiss, Director of "Dorcas Ministries"