Fiona's Trip

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					                                               Fiona’s Trip
In September 2006 I travelled to the Czech Republic and Hungary with Allison Hellier and Mandy Bruder
for three weeks.

I have been on the board of Chandelier Ministries since its inception four years ago and in spite of this
have nonetheless found it difficult at times to satisfactorily explain the work that Chandelier does in these
countries. Going on this trip gave me a greater understanding and especially an increased appreciation of
Allison’s work in these countries and of the impact that she has had.

Allison very ably led our team of three and whilst I have known Al well for at least 12 years I have never
seen her “in action”, as I did in both Czech and Hungary. What I witnessed in her over those three weeks
showed me what someone is capable of when they are where God wants them to be and doing what He
wants them to do.

In Czech Republic we ran a seminar, a morning children’s programme, taught English communication
classes at a high school and ran a craft outreach night. Allison is a gifted teacher and communicator and
she speaks with confidence and authority. We had the privilege of visiting a playgroup in a town called
Chomotov in Czech, run by one of the churches. Two years ago Allison had run the playgroup training
course at that church. At the time however it seemed to “fall flat” and it was somewhat discouraging for
Allison. Two years later it’s an entirely different story. From that small seed faithfully sown by Al have
grown three playgroups of 15 families each and more on the waiting list. Most participants are women from
the community who wouldn’t normally go near a church. Additionally, they run a craft outreach night once a
month, attended by about 60 women. This commenced following a pilot craft night run by Al at the same
time two years ago. Now also once a month the church has introduced an evening with a speaker which is
attended by about 35 people. The mayor of the town visited the playgroup and brought with her a reporter
from the local newspaper. She spoke very highly of what the church is doing and said that it is the most
successful programme for women in the town of 80,000 people. Other things have been tried and have
failed, but this continues to grow.

Our work in Hungary was somewhat different to that in the Czech Republic. It involved visiting about eight
small churches, each one a part of the Omega network of churches. The ’parent’ church is a vibrant and
very active church of about 200 in Budapest. Our time was spent with groups of (mostly) women from each
of these regional churches. Having been to Hungary four times previously, Allison has a history there and
has clearly earned the respect of the pastors who head up the Omega Church and network. Their
expectations of her were high. We visited these churches in one week which sometimes meant two
churches a day. Al was expected to bring a message for each group (we knew very little about each one
before visiting and so reliance on a word from God was high). Time and time again however, Allison ‘hit the
mark’ with a message specifically to each group we visited. After speaking we prayed for people, usually
individually, relying on God for what He wanted to bring to each person.

Throughout that week in Hungary I again saw Allison at work where she belongs, like a piece of a puzzle
that fits perfectly within the whole. What she did was not something anyone could manufacture and it was
hard, draining work. She did it with poise, authority and a quiet confidence.

When asked by others, “what does Chandelier Ministries do?”, previously I’ve found it much easier to talk
about their work in Vietnam in hygiene and sanitation. As a consequence of my trip with Allison and Mandy
I’m able to appreciate more fully the value of Chandelier Ministries’ work in these other countries. I see a
couple, Kevin and Allison, obedient to God’s call on their lives and Him honouring their obedience by
supplying what’s needed when it’s needed, whether that be finance or a specific word to a hurting, broken
person in a small country church in Hungary. You drop a small stone in a large lake – seems insignificant,
but the ripple effect of that stone is far-reaching. This is how I see the work of Chandelier Ministries. It may
seem to be only a small stone at the time, but God is able to multiply and the effects are proving to be far-
reaching.

				
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