Sunday, November 25, 2007

Clista Celebrates a Birthday

The night before our Thanksgiving celebration we celebrated Clista's birthday. (It's actually on the 28th - so drop her an email) We had delicious Greek food at a local resturant and returned home to cheesecake. Yummy! Happy Birthday Clista! (Clista and her husband serve as Global Service Corp at the Gandhi School in Pecs)

Thursday, November 22, 2007


As we gather with our colleagues to eat, drink, and be merry for Thanksgiving, we will count our blessings. We are very grateful for the support we receive through prayer, volunteers, and gifts to the Global Missions Offering. We are grateful for the special gifts given to our projects and to those that have helped us in unique ways - helping a Roma community have a roof on their building, providing Bibles for a new congregation, sending toothbrushes for children, converting our newsletter to a smaller form, making sure we have pecans for pie on Thanksgiving... the list goes on. We appreciate your partnership in bringing the Good News to the Roma of eastern Europe. Thank you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cultural Norm?? Not Today...

Here we often see open discrimination against the Roma (Gypsies) in everyday life. It's just one of the ways the deep prejudice against them manifests itself. Today was a little different though. As I was riding home on the bus I was checked by the ticket enforcers to see if I had an up-to-date or stamped ticket. This is a common occurrence and there is a hefty fine if you don't. I noticed two Roma, a woman and most likely her 20 something son, got on at one stop and I thought uh-oh, knowing many Roma ride black (the term we use for riding public transportation without a proper ticket). From my seat in the back of the nearly empty bus I did not hear the exchange between the Roma and ticket checker (they sit incognito until the bus starts and then they jump up to check everyone who got on) but could see that it was lively with gestures. An elderly Hungarian woman did overhear and loudly began to chastise the ticket checker for being rude to the Roma woman. She exclaimed several times, "You don't have to be rude and ugly!" I was in shock! I rarely, rarely witness a Hungarian defending a Roma in public. It made me smile.

I wish that was the end of the story. I feel like I need to report the whole episode though. The elderly Hungarian woman got off a few stops later and took one more swipe at the ticket checker. (I was the only one cheering, "You Go Girl!") Unfortunately the Roma woman and young man continued to yell at the ticket checker who began to yell back after the Hungarian woman exited the bus. I could not understand what was being said but I did understand the bus driver when he spoke over the intercom. He told them to be quiet or they would ALL have to get off! Just another cultural moment.....

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Esik a Ho! (It's Snowing!)

One of the advantages of living so far north of the equator is Snow! The first snow of the season arrived today. Josh alerted us as he came in the door from church. He said a little kid on the bus was shouting, "Esik a ho, esik a ho!" Winter is here and the white stuff confirms it.

Szatmarcseke Mission Gets a Room

The Roma mission in the village of Szatmarcseke is celebrating. They now have a place to call their own. Through funds provided by generous fellow believers in the US, the men have added a room and porch onto the local layleader's home. No more squeezing into the tiny living space of Tibor's. No more praying for good weather so they can meet outside. No more teetering on the edge of a chair as two people tried to share it. With space and new plastic chairs, the Roma can freely worship God without worry. November 17th they will dedicate the new room to the glory of God. Join with us in praising Him for this wonderful provision!

Daniel Csuhai

Many of you prayed for our friends, Jozsi & Zita Csuhai, as they waited for the birth of their son, Daniel. This is Daniel, now 4 months old, peacefully sleeping. He turned his head just before the picture and I couldn't chance another. I didn't want the flash to wake him up. How well I remember - let sleeping babies sleep!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Cultural Note: Trash Days

Every October we look forward to "trash days". Each district in Budapest has a day assigned when they can put anything and I mean anything, on the street for pick up by the trash service. We are amazed year after year by the amounts of junk and trash that appear in front of people's homes. This picture is of one of the many piles in our neighborhood.

It is also interesting to watch the junk and scrap iron dealers who drive around the neighborhoods searching through the mountains of trash. They overturn boxes, pull the innards out of appliances, and generally make a huge mess as they look for "treasures". This year the district authority asked us to not put trash out until our designated day. It created a feeding frenzy of cars and trailers circling the neighborhoods, screeching up to a new pile, and someone jumping out to guard the pile or lay claim to it. It was comical and dangerous all at the same time. Just another day in Budapest....