Monday, July 21, 2008

Hunter Says Good Bye - Getting Ready for Off-Field

We're headed to the USA on August 1. There are many details to attend to - packing, cancelling phone service, what to do with your stuff. Today we said good bye to our dog, Hunter. It was sad but we felt good because the family he will be with is a dog-loving family. One less detail to worry about. Thanks Helen and Ellis Vaughan!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Team TAG Does Vienna

Having a weekend to relax was wonderful. We all spent the first day resting and doing laundry. On Saturday I loaded up the car with Amanda, Anna, and Cody, our Team TAG (summer college students) and Edit, our friend and comparable-to-none Hungarian translator, to head for Vienna for the day. It is only a mere 2 hour drive and the borders checks are gone thanks to our European Union membership.

We had a great time exploring the city, seeing the summer castle of the Hapsburgs, eating schnitzel, soaking in the magnificence of St Stephen's cathedral, and strolling the tourist walking street.

Szatmarcserke Kids LOVE Camp!

The van was packed and our spirits were high as we headed out of Budapest for the little village of Szatmarcserke. Team TAG (Amanda, Anna, Cody, & Robert) were joined by Katie Beth Adkins (recent college graduate and daughter of our colleagues, Clista & Glen) to provide a week of children's camp. This was a first for the tiny church and the first day 14 brave children came not sure what to expect. With smiles and lots of energy we sang, told the Bible story, did crafts, had a snack, and played games. The next day the numbers doubled and as word spread what a great time camp was, our numbers tripled! The kids learned new songs like "Baby Shark", "Waves of Mercy", and "God is So Good". They helped reenact Bible stories like Noah's ark, the Good Samaritan, and Queen Esther. The children enjoyed the crafts of cross necklaces, visors, flying birds, and other fun things. Snacks were hastily gobbled or given to moms for safe keeping so everyone could run outside for games of baseball, soccer, 4-square, and jump rope. A few of the young boys were smitten by the team girls and presented them flowers on the last day. As we prepared to say good bye the kids asked why we couldn't stay another day or two. Some were tearful when we said it wasn't possible this time. Lots of hugs were exchanged and great memories formed. The Roma children received the message of God's love from the college students hearing the call to serve God in eastern Europe.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Adkins Granted 3rd Year! Hooray!

Our colleagues, Glen and Clista Adkins, who have almost served a year in Pecs, have begun a wonderful ministry among the Roma high school students at Gandhi. They followed behind Penny Mann, taking the ministry she grew faithfully and tremendously a step further by not only teaching English but also ministering among the staff and beginning a choir. (The choir has their first road trip to Lepzig, Germany the end of this month. Please pray for them.)

Glen and Clista are Global Service Corps workers. This is a short term program through CBF with the standard being a two year commitement of service. We all knew the ministry at Gandhi is having a great impact on the students and staff. We requested the Adkins be extended for a third year. Why so early you ask?? The Gypsy Team, CBF national, the Gandhi School, and we local field personnel, do strategic planning, budgets, invite short term personnel (volunteers) and other things way in advance. So you see the need to know...

Just this week we received news that the extension was granted!!! Hooray!!! Answered prayer!!! Glen and Clista will be serving God and spreading the Good News of His Love for the Roma youth through the 2009-10 school year. Thank you for praying for this school and the students there.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

TAG - You're It!

Our TAG (Touch A Gypsy) team of 4 college students returned to us today. They had 3 weeks of successful camps in Slovakia with our colleagues, Dianne & Shane McNary. Pray for us as head off to Szatmarcserke (yes, that's the name of a village) to do a week of Backyard Bible Club for Roma kids. This will be a first for this little mission. Pray the children will come, have a great time, and feel the love of Christ through the actions of this TAG team.

We are also excited that Katie Beth Adkins, daughter of our colleagues Glen & Clista, will be joining us for this week. Katie Beth is a new college graduate, and is spending the summer with her folks before starting her new job this fall.

It all adds up to a fun week.

One last prayer request - pray for milder temperatures. Tomorrow's predicted high is 96 degrees Fahrenheit. That's hot! It's hard to keep your energy level up in scorching heat. And there is little AC available.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Memory Lane & the Soft Sell

We spent our weekend walking down memory lane and hearing the case for living outside the Budapest city limits when we return next year.

First, we traveled to Derecske, the little village in eastern Hungary where we spent our first term. We have many fond memories (a few bad ones we choose not to dwell on) and good friends. (The picture on the right is our friend, Kati Kiss and her granddaughter, Tamara (my namesake!) We were amazed to see the changes in the village - a stoplight, a round-about, the church being renovated, a chain grocery store, our old house brightly painted, and the our street paved (!) - just to name a few. Even though there were many new things, we found the friendships we hold dear were the same. We had a good time walking down memory lane with the Saska and Kiss families.

The next day we spent with our ministry friends, the Csuhai family. Jozsi Csuhai and Ralph work closely together in the Roma ministry. Zita, the wife, and I enjoy each other's company but don't have many opportunities to visit (we live on opposite ends of Bp and she has a 1 year old). Jozsi and Zita want us to move to their side of Budapest, outside the city limits in one of the little towns surrounding it. They took us on a drive and pointed out all the positives of such a move - quietness, fresh air, lower rents, good public transportation, etc. They also showed us the various things they knew we would want in a location - a good supermarket, a gym, a place to walk, train or bus service, close to the main highway, etc. We value their friendship and appreciate that they want us to be closer to them so the friendship can grow. We will pray and ask you to join us in asking God to guide us in the right direction for our future ministry.

It was a good weekend!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Role Reversal

Today I had to go to the dentist whose office is downtown. I took public (two buses and a subway) and arrived 20 minutes early. Not wanting to look too eager to get my teeth cleaned I decided to wait on a nearby bench and read for a few minutes. (I rarely ride public without a book a long) I was soon greeted by two Roma men, one was offering me a Christian tract while saying, "I see you are reading. Here is something to read that will change your life." I thanked him and declined the paper. I admit I really was not paying too much attention because there is always someone handing out advertisements on the street. But the man would not be put off. He insisted I needed this paper. It was then I realized he was trying to witness to me. While smiling I again declined the paper and said to him, "En is hivo vagyok." I, too, am a believer. With a nod and a smile the two men went on their way.

**Footnote - I must have looked particularly worldly or sinful because as I made my way home I was again stopped on the street by two elderly women who wanted to give me a tract and tell me about Jesus. Maybe it was national tract day in Hungary and I missed the memo?