Note: This blog entry is longer than the suggested 500 words because I’m writing for 3-weeks’worth (we arrived here on Aug 27th), but I’ll make my future blog entries shorter!
We are so grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord in Hungary. Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us and supported us in this mission. Before we left Chicago we were so encouraged by reading the blogs of The Orchard high school students who were here over the summer and who saw 11 people saved, and Jen A’s blog about The Orchard’s prayer mission trip to Hungary this past April. We spoke with Laura D. here this past Sunday at church, and she said that the seeds that have been planted here over the past 5 years are now bearing fruit, and that it generally takes that long for Hungarians to trust people enough to hear and accept what is shared. We take this to heart, and we pray that the two 10-week adult English Club classes, which begin next week, will also bear fruit from seeds that have been planted by the many faithful missionaries who have served here over the years. We welcome your prayers in this, asking God to “bring the increase”that only He can bring (1 Corin 3:7).
We welcome your prayers also for the lesson plans for the English Club. During the past summer it was decided that this year’s club will have more emphasis on conversation and community rather than grammar, and that each meeting will have an interesting theme paired with a Bible-related passage/story and more group activities. We have been given sample lesson plans from a club where this method worked well, and we have been asked to adapt these, along with writing some new lesson plans, for this Fall’s classes. We will also be offering a weekly English book class, with more emphasis on grammar, in addition to the two weekly conversation/discussion classes. So we have been, and will continue to be, busy. We’re praying for God to draw those students that He wants to come to the classes, and that He will open hearts and minds to receive Him and His precious gift of salvation.
We have so enjoyed getting to know the other missionaries here. Mark and Jodi have been so helpful and hospitable, and Randall and Timi, who live down the block from us in this lovely suburb of Budapest called Diósd, have been so friendly and hospitable, too. We saw God’s care this week, when we were loaded down with groceries (we walk to the stores here) on a blustery, cold day, and Randall and Timi “just happened”to drive by and offer us a ride home.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that we have also sensed some spiritual oppression while we have been here. One of the other English Club teachers said that it is very common for missionaries to experience this here, and that the Hungarians are open to spiritual reality, but it is often of the “dark side.” So we are praying for the protective hand of the Lord to be upon us in all that we do here, and for Him to be glorified as the missionaries help to shine His light, for the salvation of many. Other missionaries have also said that along with the Hungarians’ general sense of distrust, there is also a sense of hopelessness, and that much of this is probably due to the political oppression and hypocrisy that they experienced in past years. So this was a confirmation that our English Club lesson plans should include the themes of Trust and Hope, focusing of course on our Living Hope in our Good Shepherd, Jesus.
We are still getting used to the Hungarian language, which is so unlike any language we’ve heard before. Sitting through the KEGy Hungarian church service at the Ministry Center, I was hoping that the gift of tongues might visit me. And about reading labels on food packages—I’m still not sure all that I’ve been eating, even after trying to look up the words in a Hungarian dictionary! We heard someone say that it’s like taking all the letters of the alphabet, shaking them in a tube, and then letting them splash out randomly on a table. “That’s Hungarian!”she said.
Our favorite word here is köszönöm, which means “thank you.” We’ve said it so many times as we’ve appreciated Hungarians trying to help us navigate the endless streets in Budapest, countless trams and busses, and kaleidoscopic concrete, stucco, and outdoor bars and cafes. One lady even chased us down to correct some wrong directions she had given us, and in the process she almost got in the way of traffic. As I put my arm around her to guide her to safety, I cried out another heartfelt, “köszönöm!”
We also sensed God’s “hand” when we were walking to the store one Saturday night and stumbled upon an outdoor music festival that was being held that weekend in Diósd. The Hungarian musicians “just happened” to be singing, in English, “He’s got the whole world in His hands.” (It reminded us of a missions trip to Russia that we took, when we heard Russian musicians singing, in English, “My life is in His hands.”) And if I had any doubt, the next day at Budapest’s Danube Church we sang a song that had a line about our life being in God’s hands.
And then tonight, after hearing Pastor Colin’s recent online message from Joel about being filled with the Spirit (which was very inspiring), I heard a message about how God truly cares about us, and how He wants us to “turn over our suitcase to Him.” Well, I have 2 suitcases, 1 carry-on, and a whole lot more “baggage” to turn over to Him 🙂
I look forward to seeing how the rest of this 120-day mission to Hungary turns out. I know it will be good, because He is good, and our life is in His hands.