After two years of preparation, Hanno and Rhodé Tramper emigrated to Hungary in June. They now work for the organisation Embrace, which spreads the gospel and gives practical help to the homeless and the poor in Hungary. “What especially speaks to us, is that they do it both: they not only evangelise, but they also give practical help,” says Rhodé.
After Rhodé finished her studies and Hanno felt that he wanted to leave his job, they bought a car and left for a road trip across Europe. “We thought: if we want to make a long journey, we have to do it now.” After traveling across several countries, Hanno and Rhodé arrived in Hungary. Rhodé remembered a flyer from the organisation Embrace, which she had seen in a church several years before this road trip. “We were looking for missionaries and projects which we wanted to visit, in every country we wanted to do something.”
The start of a special time
Rhodé and Hanno contacted the organisation and asked if they could come. “We were instantly welcome, it was really special, without questions: ‘Just come, yes, just come.’ And that was the beginning of a really special time.”
Hanno and Rhodé returned to Hungary and the organisation several times during and after their trip. “We felt a connection with the project and with the people.”
“We are not coming for beautiful, we are not coming to profit from it, but we are coming to serve and to be a blessing.”
Hanno was almost immediately sure he wanted to do something with the project in Hungary, unlike Rhodé. “I was like Jonah: send me everywhere, but not Hungary. Hungary is beautiful, but very flat. I looked with eyes like: I want to emigrate to a beautiful country.” This view has now changed: “We are not coming for beautiful, we are not coming to profit from it, but we are coming to serve and to be a blessing.”
Life goes on
“When we got back from our journey, I strongly had this feeling that we had to do something with it. That this chapter is not yet closed.” But their life continued: Rhodé got pregnant and Hanno got a new job. However, the feeling did not go away for Hanno: “It kept gnawing and gnawing, and at a certain moment, I almost didn’t dare to say it, because, well, Rhodé absolutely did not want to go. Finally, I said to Rhodé: ‘I have to talk to you about something, because I still have the feeling that God wants us in Hungary.” It turned out that Rhodé started to have the same feeling, so they started praying and talking to people.
“Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.”Isaiah 58:7 (NLT)
Caring for the widows and the poor
Hanno says: “We kept coming back to Isaiah 58:7, there it says that you have to look after the poor and the orphans and the widows.” Hanno and Rhodé started wondering what the Bible actually says about caring about your neighbor, and about orphans and widows, so they started digging. “We were shocked that you almost can’t read a chapter or Jesus says: you don’t live for yourself, you have to look after each other.”
After a while, Rhodé also started to long to be in Hungary. They had visited a church for the homeless when they were in Hungary during their road trip, where they were baptized. “There was so much love and the Holy Spirit was so strongly there that we thought: ‘Wow, we just need to be baptized here.’ And that is what I kept thinking about.” After their baptism, someone prophesied over them that they would work among the homeless in Hungary. “In our preparation, these things kept coming back.”
Opposition and confirmation
It became clear that God really wanted Hanno and Rhodé in Hungary. Nonetheless, there was a lot of opposition in the years before they left. But opposition came with confirmation: “At the moment when we didn’t see it anymore, God gave a confirmation. It could be a word, a passage from the Bible, or just something we experienced. Every time God said: ‘Yes, you have to go there. That is your place.’ So we went into that process, which has been really hard.” Not everyone around them supported Hanno and Rhodé’s decision to emigrate to Hungary. In their church back home, mission was really unknown. At one point, Rhodé said to Hanno: “We are in a boat, and we know that Jesus is on our boat, but around us there is so much storm, that you think: ‘this ship is going to sink’. We wanted to give up sometimes.”
“I think God wanted to really teach us to be completely dependent.”
In the end, the opposition turned out to be preparation. Hanno and Rhodé now live in a remote area, they don’t speak the language and they don’t know anybody. “I think God wanted to really teach us to be completely dependent, even more than you would be in West-Europe.” This time of preparation has brought Hanno and Rhodé closer to God, and the two years of preparation turned out to be a good decision.
Three weeks before leaving for Hungary, Hanno and Rhodé had not yet found a house there. “Hanno didn’t have a job anymore, our house was terminated because we were renting, and well, everything was ready, except the house. We didn’t know where we were going to live, but we knew that we were going to leave.” Hanno and Rhodé had been looking for a house for a year, but then they decided to stop looking: “We let go, and a day later we had a house.” The landlord turned out to be from their own country, so that made it easier for them to discuss what they wanted. He also allowed them to have their dog in the house, which is something Hungarian landlords rarely do. “The relief was great.”
Church for the homeless
Now, Hanno and Rhodé are in the middle of their transition period. Hanno goes to the church for the homeless once a month to serve. This church was planted by organisation Embrace, which they now work for. Around 90 percent of the people who come there are homeless. The church started with five to ten people attending each service, but when covid started, more people began to come. “Extraordinary things are happening there, people are freed from addiction, people are healed, people are coming to faith, radically, yes, there are very beautiful, special things happening there,” Hanno says about the church. Once they have settled and found a school for the kids and a church to join, Hanno and Rhodé will become more involved.
“It is not all roses and moonshine, but I want gratefulness to dominate.”
In the summer, organisation Embrace mainly welcomes working groups from West-Europe. These groups come to Hungary for a week, to fix houses for the poor and the gypsies. In the winter, the organisation’s focus is mainly on the homeless. “Here it is illegal to be homeless, which is bizarre because there is no safety net, but it is still forbidden,” says Rhodé. Winters in Hungary can get as cold as -20º Celsius. Organisation Embrace visits these homeless and brings them wood, blankets, and clothing. Recently, the organisation has been traveling three hours to the Ukrainian border to help there. Over time, Hanno is going to be more involved in the organisation. Rhodé eventually wants to do work like cooking for the people on the street.
Home front team
Hanno and Rhodé are supported by a team at home, consisting of seven people who support them behind the scenes. They take care of finances and other practical things, they give presentations and they try to get donors. Above all, they pray. “We are standing in the frontlines, and it is very nice that they are standing behind us, praying.”
More prayer is always welcome. Hanno and Rhodé find that they are always supported through prayer. Another way you can support them is by following them on their social media or website.
All in all, Hanno and Rhodé are grateful to be in Hungary. “It is not all roses and moonshine, but I want gratefulness to dominate. We are not here for ourselves, and we are being blessed and helped enormously and that is really something to be grateful for.”
If you want to learn more about Hanno and Rhodé or donate to their cause, click here.