Hungary at forefront of aiding persecuted church

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Tristan Azbej
Tristan Azbej

By Heidi Hutchinson —

Hungary is aiding persecuted Christians around the world more than any other country, a CBN report states.

“Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world,” says Tristan Azbej, state secretary for the aid of persecuted Christians. “There are 340 million people who are discriminated against or threatened or suffering genocidal attacks because of their faith in Christ.”

He works through the group called Hungary Helps. In four years, they have helped 250,000 people worldwide. They rebuilt 67 churches in Lebanon and completely rebuilt the Christian city of Telskuf in Northern Iraq after ISIS decimated it.

“Nine hundred buildings were damaged,” Azbej says. “The church was used for target practice by the jihadis.”

Of 1,300 families who fled Telskuf (also spelled Tesqopa), 1,000 have returned. After receiving help from Hungary, city leaders, in appreciation for the unconditional love, call their town “The Daughter of Hungary.”

Telskuf, Christian town in Iraq
Telskuf

“We are trying to implement the social teachings of Christianity in our policies,” he says. “Part of that is the protection of human dignity, of human freedom. But also part of that is the protection of the sanctity of family and of marriage.”

Azbej spends most of his time traveling the world to flashpoints of Christian persecution, visiting seven countries on four continents in recent months.

When Azbej asks local leaders how Hungary can help, “they are truly shocked in the good sense that there is someone in the world that is actually caring about their faith.

Tristan Azbej with Hungary Helps

Recently, he attended the International Religious Freedom Summit in Washington D.C. in hopes of drumming up more international support for suffering Christians.

“What we want to achieve is that next to the town of ‘The Daughter of Hungary’ there would be a ‘Son of the U.S.,’” he says.

While Hungary helps abroad, it faces attack domestically. Because it has affirmed the traditional understanding of marriage between a man and a woman, the nation found themselves in the crosshairs of the European Union, which is using its sway to demand Hungary implement the agenda of the LGBTQ community in its schools.

Up until now, Hungary has stood steadfast against such pressure to cave in to

LGBTQ in Hungary

“We are seeing a very strong lobby in the European Union to push gender ideology,” he says. “It’s such a strong initiative and lobbying power that eventually it will be mandatory to be implemented in the member states of the European Union.”

Hungary’s constitution, adopted in 2011, follows Christian teaching.

“We have confirmed in our constitution that marriage is between a man and a woman and that life has to be protected from conception,” Azbej says.

While he champions heroic action around the world, Azbej doesn’t see himself as a Hercules but says he draws inspiration from heroes from the persecuted church who are the true super heroes of today’s Christianity.

“I have been meeting with true heroes of the faith in the persecuted Christian communities,” he says. “I have gained such great strength from their testimonies, from their faith even despite all the threats and the humiliation they are facing.

“Really it’s not us Western Christians who are supporting the persecuted brothers and sisters in the Middle East and in Africa. They are supporting us. They have a message, to keep our identity, to keep our faith in Christ.”

Heidi Hutchinson studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy near Mar Vista, Los Angeles.

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