Hungary’s inhabitants are descended from the Magyars. The centuries-old Magyar language is still the official language spoken there. Hungary was a large, powerful country through most of the 1400s and into the early 1500s, but it changed hands from one outside ruling government to another throughout the 1600s. The Habsburg Monarchy from Central Europe reigned in most of Hungary until the end of World War I in 1918. Hungary enjoyed brief independence until Communist armies took over in the early 1940s. The Communists adopted a constitution similar to that of the Soviet Union and began restricting people’s freedom. The people revolted against the Communists in 1956 but were quickly crushed. The Soviet Union made reforms in the late 1980s, giving the people more freedom. In 1990 the first multiparty elections since 1949 were held in Hungary, marking the end of Communist rule.
The initial development of the Hungarian Pentecostal Church came from a number of Hungarians who immigrated to the United States, were baptized in the Holy Spirit, and later returned to Hungary to preach the Pentecostal message and plant churches.
During Communist rule the church was closely watched and restricted by the government. Bob Mackish, Assemblies of God missionary to Eastern Europe, visited Hungary once or twice a year to encourage the leadership and plant spiritual seeds among the people. When the Iron Curtain fell in 1989, Pentecostal believers were free to openly share the gospel. The first resident Assemblies of God missionaries to Hungary were appointed in 1990.
The Movement Today
Rather than establishing a new network of believers, the Assemblies of God labors alongside the Hungarian Pentecostal Church for evangelism. The national Pentecostal church reports the following statistics: about 200 churches and outstations, over 10,000 members and adherents, 138 ministers, 1 Bible school with 190 students enrolled, and other programs training 100 students.
Additional Facts About Hungary
Area: 35,918 square miles
Population: 9.83 million
Urbanization: 71.4 percent
Agriculture: Wheat, sunflower seed, potatoes, sugar beets; pigs, cattle, poultry, dairy products
Industry: Mining, metallurgy, construction materials, processed foods, , textiles, chemicals (especially pharmaceuticals), motor vehicles