My friend Balázs got into a difficult financial situation this year with unfortunate debt. If you are going to be one out of 90 people who decide to donate 500 NOK you can help him to get out of his uncomfortable situation!
Read the story below for more detailed information. :)
Hi, my name is Thomas, and I am writing on behalf of my friend. Since the beginning of this year I have become good friends with Balázs. You see him on the left hand side of the picture (the other one: that's me!) Balázs is a cheerful cook who is passionate about serving healthy food to different people of all cultures on this planet.
It is a miracle how we actually got to know each other: In 2019 I was trying to find students at a congress in Germany (Youth in Mission Congress) for the vegan cooking course that we offer at my workplace Fredheim Lifestyle Center , which is one of the few lifestyle centers in Norway. I didn't become aware of any interests for the course at the congress, but surprisingly, I met Balázs’ friend, Peter from Zeutern at a wedding of a dear friend of mine that I attended right after the congress in Karlsruhe. Peter told me that Balázs was interested in vegan cooking and I gave him a flyer about this course.
A few weeks later Balázs applied and our manager here at the lifestyle center, Fredrik Lillbäck, and I had an interview with him via Skype. To us he seemed like such a friendly and happy person that we wanted him to become a student here. There was just one problem: at this point in time, his English was very poor. Therefore Fredrik and I decided that he should wait another year and learn English better, so that he could become a student in the next batch of Students in 2020.
The year 2019 went by and Balázs was not idle. He applied for a high level English course at Barbarossa Lernstudio in Bruchsaal, a place near his home.
The course was not cheap, but Balázs had a well paying job and thus for three months he was able to get going with the language course.
Now a yearly congress called ASI Scandinavia drew near, which is a meeting for Seventh Day Adventist self supporting institutions such as Fredheim Lifestyle Center. This congress is traditionally held over New Year’s and includes big festivities, outreach to the local community, workshops, social activities, lots of preparations for New Years Eve and of course, healthy and delicious vegan food for many young, passionate Christian entrepreneurs. The congress is set up in such a way that different ministries that are members of "ASI" can play different roles in organizing the event, and Fredheim was one of these ministries. As the leader of the education department at Fredheim, I was invited to find chefs that would be willing to cook for this congress. And of course, I thought right away about the friendly German speaking cook, Balázs, that wanted to learn vegan cooking!
Maybe that would be his springboard to finally become a student for the course we offer at Fredheim, hone his English skills, find good Christian friends and by the way... was also looking for a good worker who could replace the workforce that would soon be lacking when our present kitchen manager was anticipated to leave in the spring of2020.
The cooking at the congress - though stressful and draining - was a big success and Balázs turned out to be a good, hard working assistant to the three main chefs that Fredheim provided. Remarkable, and something we all admired about him, was that he was willing to work overtime -- more than us; going beyond the normal limits, seemingly just because he enjoyed working with us so much.
...And so this all resulted in his consideration as a worker at Fredheim, before he'd even become a student in the fall of 2020. Our kitchen manager back then, was impressed by his helpfulness, charmed by his smile, and seriously considered due to his interest in further learning, decided to offer him a work position at Fredheim. Fredrik, our general manager simply gave his blessing and he was a part of the team!
So Balázs quit his job back in Germany, made himself available to become a missionary cook in a "low income workplace" - even though Norway is one of the richest countries in the world. (Charity work is still something that has not reached the middle-class standard, that many are used to in the Western world.)
With that being said, you can understand that some of his bills (phone company, insurance, etc.) increased, and one of them unexpectedly so In innocent ignorance, Balázs signed a contract for the above mentioned language company "Lernstudio Barbarossa" for a period of one year, meaning that he could not cancel it before October 2020! The monthly bills still came in even though he now lived and worked in Norway, far away from being able to pay or attend the classes. Each month, Balázs and I tried to negotiate with the company, tried to win the compassion of the customer service, but all the phone calls, emails and prayers did not result in the outcome hoped for. The final conclusion: the past nine months added up (the course was from October 2019 to October 2020) to a sum of 4409€ or 47091 NOK.
Through the Covid 19 period, which also "hit" Fredheim so that we needed to close the lifestyle center for three months, Balázs helped to renovate an apartment that was to be sold in order to financially sustain the foundation that owns the lifestyle center.
Balázs has given a piece of his life for Fredheim. Today, he is a student: learning, growing to be an effective vegan chef that meets different dietary needs, kindly helping out his neighbors in the garden and trying hard to manage the (sometimes difficult to understand) technical language in the online cooking course that is a part of the curriculum.
Our negotiations have not been completely in vain, because Balázs was permitted by "Lernstudio Barbarossa" to repay them in installments. They offered him the option to pay in monthly payments of 100€ plus 4.120% interest. This in itself is potentially a blessing and an answer to prayer. Now you have an opportunity to make a difference by helping him to pay it off earlier and save on the cost of interest.
I am inviting you to consider giving a love offering, perhaps a part of your Christmas money in order to help him to get out of debt.
Romans 13:8, NIV: "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law."
The difference made in helping Balázs by reaching the 45 000 NOK mark:
Right now Balázs doesn’t have income. And he won’t have any until he is finished with paying off the vegan cooking course that he is taking right now. That will be in September or October 2022. Until then somehow he will find a way to pay off the 100€ installments. And might be debt free, depending on which job he will get and how much money he will earn there somewhen in 2023.
But if you will help him he might be debt free as soon as the 45 000 NOK mark is reached!
Now a few questions that might help you to make a decision.
Who will benefit from your help?
-Balázs: his health will get better by reducing his constant stress by knowing that his debt will soon be paid off.
-Balázs family will be relieved: his parents can stop worrying about his bad financial situation.
-Balázs future family: With hope and without debt it is much easier for him to plan and build for his future family that he very much wishes to have.
What will the funds be used for?
-Apart from the 5% of the money that goes to the gofundme platform, your donation will be completely used for reconciling his debt.
What will this support mean to Balázs?
-Balázs can concentrate on his goals: building a happy Christian family home.
-He has a new freedom to move forward in building his own life.
Questions to Balázs
How do you feel about the people that help you?
-"I will be overjoyed that there are genuinely helpful people in this world that want to help me out."
How do I feel right now; having this large amount of debt?
"I feel, of course, as if I am sick, as if I can not be 100% myself. I cannot concentrate on my future life. It can be illustrated like a bird in a cage that wants to fly, but can't. It can only fly just a very little bit inside, and if it tries to fly, it is painful.
Or like a ship, whose anchor is stuck on the bottom of the sea."
How do I feel about the thought of having all this debt being paid?
"I feel like a free bird that has been released, that
can fly to where it wants to and with no one that needs to take care of it!
Like a dog without a leash."
Maybe you ask yourself the question, why Balázs is not working somewhere else to pay off his debt?
Here is his answer:
“It would be as if I would throw something away that I have just newly bought. And I am not sure if and how fast I will find work when I return back to Germany. In Norway it is difficult to find work, because I do not speak the language.”
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