Since 1999, Myers Park Presbyterian has partnered with the Great Church of Debrecen Hungary, and MPPC disciples have had the opportunity to experience Christ’s love while working closely with the people of Hungary. One way in which we serve is by working with Immanuel Home, a multifunctional educational institution created by the Congregation of the Reformed Great Church of Debrecen. For 26 years, Immanuel Home has provided education, day care, and Christian love to children and young adults with multiple disabilities. Before its creation, the city’s disabled community was largely ignored by the Communist regime that governed Hungary for 50 years. Today, Immanuel Home cares for 56 children and 28 young adults in its facility. For MPPC disciples Rob Atkins and David Hare, Immanuel Home holds a special place in their hearts and is so much more than a ministry. The partnership has drawn them closer to God and reinforced their relationships with the larger worldwide Christian community.
Rob first became involved with Immanuel Home several years ago when MPPC hosted some of its caregivers for a week of professional development and education. Rob and his wife Barbara hosted four caregivers, and Rob helped drive them around the city building a friendship with them. “MPPC arranged tours of Holy Angels and Metro School here in Charlotte to allow the Hungarian caregivers to see how Charlotte cares for handicapped children,” Rob says. When the opportunity came to visit Debrecen and experience Immanuel Home firsthand, Rob jumped at the chance to go. “I loved meeting the Hungarian friends I had made in Charlotte and was deeply moved by the intensity of the love and care they provide to the children. I wanted to understand their needs better and perhaps to understand how MPPC could better help our Hungarian sister church in this valuable and priceless ministry.”
David was first introduced to Immanuel Home in 2006 after a trip to Hungary as a member of the MPPC choir. Immediately he recognized the wonderful work of the caregivers and saw the need for equipment and funding to continue this ministry. Upon returning home, David leveraged his connections with Rotary International to secure a grant to help purchase necessities for Immanuel Home. With the contributions of the grant, the MPPC congregation and others, approximately $100,000 worth of equipment including two transportation vans was given to Immanuel Home. “As Winston Churchill famously said, ‘When you are going through hell, keep going.’ The Hungarian people have ‘kept going’ with the help and support of MPPC disciples and by God’s grace,” David says.
“As Winston Churchill famously said, ‘When you are going through hell, keep going.’ The Hungarian people have ‘kept going’ with the help and support of MPPC disciples and by God’s grace.”David Hare
Residents & Caregivers at Immanuel Home
Since starting this partnership in Hungary, nearly 100 MPPC disciples have visited Immanuel Home, and many more have contributed financially. Rob and David have witnessed the impact of God’s love and the change in their lives since becoming involved in Hungary. “Immanuel means ‘God is with us.’ God led me in the right direction and to the right people while in Debrecen and then back home in Charlotte,” David recalls. He cites the words of a teacher from Immanuel Home as the reason why he loves this ministry so much. She told him one day, “While we are trying to teach our children everything about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” For Rob, “The universal nature of God’s love in Charlotte and Debrecen, Hungary is much clearer to me now than it could have ever been without the partnership MPPC has with The Great Church and Immanuel Home.”