Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Week Begins in Vacegres...

Flexibility, adaptability, and plain 'ole flying by the seat of your pants are words we all took to heart Monday. Our original instructions were to plan for a week of English-As-a-Second Language for teenagers. Instead we found ourselves entertaining about 15 elementary age kids. The lessons we had planned were instantly scratched and we began re-working our entire plan for the week. Team TAG jumped in and adapted quickly with games, songs, and fun activities for the kids. The English teaching went back to the basics. This group of kids had never experienced anything like this and are soaking in everything, especially the Bible story time. Please ask God to give us opportunities to share his love through the stories, the attention, and the hugs. We're excited about the possibilities for the rest of the week.
**Picture: Caitlin and Nina pose with the girls and their newly made "bandanna" purses. (Thank you Shirley Womble, Wilmington, NC for the idea)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Golden Cucumbers

Unemployment in northeast Hungary for Roma men is rumored to be around 80-90%. This makes life hard for so many. Tibi Lakatos, leader of the Roma Baptist Church in Szatmarcseke, decided to be pro-active and not be a part of that statistic. Last year, as an experiment, he planted cucumbers. Tibi and Natasha, his wife, planted, nurtured, watered, and harvested the green vegetable. The Lord blessed and they had a bumper crop! They managed to sell them and made a huge profit. Excitement over their success led them to plant cucumbers again this year. Through this effort Tibi showed a great entrepreneurial spirit and served as an example to his congregation. Several church members are raising cucumbers themselves this summer. Tibi is already working on a new idea of expanding their garden with peppers.

Join us in thanking God for His blessings in a good harvest and for Tibi who led by example. Now, go eat some cucumbers!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Student.GO Team TAG in Szatmarcseke

"Peel Banana, peel peel Banana..." was the favorite song of the week and "Praise Ye The Lord" was riotous as the girls tried to outdo the boys in volume. The weather was perfect and the kids soaked up the attention as we spent a week in the little village of Szatmarcseke. Each morning we were greeted by smiling faces ready to help act out the Bible story and eager to see what the craft of the day was. The boys were thrilled when our Hungarian translator got out his bow and arrows (practice arrows that are blunt on the end - safety first always!) to teach them archery. Life can be difficult for these Roma kids and they often grow up quickly. For this week they could relax and just have fun. I think I can truly say a good time was certainly had by all!

Thank you for your prayers. Now we are off to Vacegrasz for a week of English-As-A-Second-Language camp for middle school and high school age kids. Please continue to pray for safety and opportunities to share Christ.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Gandhi Ensemble Meets Student.GO Team TAG

It was hard to tell which group was more excited - the Americans just arrived in Hungary to spend six weeks among the Roma or the Roma heading to the USA tomorrow to spend three weeks among the Americans! We took our Student.GO team over to the hotel to meet the Gandhi School Ensemble for pizza and a little jam session. It was a perfect evening to sit outside, enjoy the cool weather, and watch Joshua, lead musician for the ensemble, try to teach, Kolby, uncoordinated American (his own words), to play the kanna (metal jug). The Roma students gave us a mini concert that had hotel guests coming out of their rooms to listen. Your prayers are needed for tomorrow, please. It is a big day for all. The Roma students fly out for Atlanta and their first night in Greenville, SC. The American students load up the van and head for the village of Szakmarcseke to do their first week of kids' camp. I doubt any of them sleep much tonight!

Friday, June 18, 2010

CBF's Silent Auction & Missions Marketplace

The Silent Auction and Missions Marketplace are just two of the fun events being held next week in Charlotte, NC at CBF's General Assembly. The Silent Auction has unique, often one-of-a-kind works of art from around the world. The Missions Marketplace has a variety of items, also from around the world, that offer opportunities to support people groups, mission efforts, and field personnel projects.

Ralph and I have three items in the Silent Auction: ceramic and uniquely Hungarian - a nativity scene, a colorful vase, and a black clay candle holder & basket. The proceeds from these items will help three of our projects: Hungarian Church properties (purchasing older homes to renovate into worship centers), Project Ruth (an elementary school, leadership training center, and medical service for Roma in Bucharest, Romania), and Roma Families (assisting families with their basic needs of clothing, food, and winter fuel). Have some fun by bidding on these beautiful hand-crafted pieces. You assist in our ministry and you get a little something to remind you to pray for the Roma (Gypsies).

In the Missions Marketplace you will find items our colleagues have provided from Slovakia: metal bottle holders & candle holders, wire work, Christmas dough ornaments, and handmade cards. You can also purchase the Gandhi Roma High School music CD and the brand new DVD, "I Am Roma." As with the auction, the proceeds from all of these items benefit the Roma and ministries for them.

Drop by the resource fair and see what's there. If you can't stand the suspense of the auction pick up a few items at the Missions Marketplace. It's a great way to help with CBF's Global Missions efforts!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Starbucks Arrives...

It's true. This week the first Starbucks will open at the West End Mall (the largest shopping mall in central Europe). Hungarians are coffee drinkers, as evidenced by the cafes scattered on just about every street corner. I think they will enjoy this new experience, if the prices are not too high. We shall see. Although I admit I'm not sure how I feel about it. Do we need yet another American chain influence? I like the European feel of living in Europe and am not fond of the American culture being imported so overwhelmingly (McD's is everywhere!). If the Hungarians choose to support it though, I guess that's a sign they want it and that's what matters.

Another random thought: We've lived in Hungary for over 15 years and just this week I drove an automatic car for the first time since moving here! We've borrowed a van for the summer to help transport our Student.GO team and it was a bit strange to drive without a clutch. Standard drive cars are the norm here. I found myself looking for the clutch several times.


(picture courtesy of my friend, Shay Brannon)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Random Thought...

I sat there in the hair dresser's chair with the thought running through my head, "What was I THINKING?!" I was taking hair cutting advice from my husband, the man who lets people take shears to his head? One of the challenges of living cross-culturally is our average life activities - grocery buying, car servicing, copy making, and for me - hair cuts. Since we relocated to the other side of town I've been through 4 beauticians - complicated stories as to why they each didn't work out. It is stressful and I know my women friends are all nodding their heads in agreement. We women are fiercely possessive about our hair dressers! Ralph had recently visited Babi and highly recommended her.

So there I sat as "Babi" threw the cape on me and prepared to hack away. Luckily for me Babi was a kind, talkative, and very experienced beautician and she took it as a challenge to not only style my hair and "knock 20 years off my age" (her words not mine!) but she also was determined to learn as much as possible about me and why we live in Hungary. Despite my miserable Hungarian, I think Babi enjoyed our conversation. And I think she did a great job on my hair. Thankful to the Lord for small answers to prayers.

Now, I'm on a roll and off to see if I can find a nice clerk at the pharmacy....

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gandhi Ensemble to tour USA!

The Gandhi Roma High School Ensemble under the direction of Glen Adkins, assisted by Clista Adkins, will tour the USA this summer. This very talented group sing traditional Roma (Gypsy) music as well as Hungarian and American. Make plans to attend one of the concerts listed below - load up the church bus, invite your friends - all concerts are free! See you there!

June 23, 6:45pm, CBF Commissioning Service, Pritchard Memorial Baptist Church, Charlotte, NC

June 24, 9:00pm, CBF General Assembly, Resource Fair, Charlotte Convention Center, Hall B, Charlotte, NC

June 27, 8:45am, 11:00am, 6:30pm, First Baptist Church, Greenville, SC

June 28, 7:00pm, First Baptist Church, Greensboro, NC

June 29, 7:00pm, Fort Trial Baptist Church, Bassett, VA

June 30, 6:15pm, University Baptist Church, Charlottesville, VA

July 4, 9:40am, 11:00am First Baptist Church, Augusta, GA

July 6, Time TBA, Northminster Baptist Church, Jackson, MS

July 7, 6:00pm, First Baptist Church, Shreveport, LA

July 8, 8:00pm, Montego Plaza, Dallas, TX

July 9, The Hartford Insurance, Frisco TX; Hotchkiss Insurance, Carrollton, TX

July 11, 8:15am, 10:30am, 5:00pm, First Baptist Church, Huntsville, AL

July 12, 4:30pm Hymn Society for the United States and Canada Conference, Sanford University, Birmingham, AL (Conference registrants only)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Health Clinic or "Tammy, You stick the Mayor!"

Our friend, Zita Csuhai, is a doctor and greatly concerned with the health issues facing our Roma colleagues. Zita has organized a health committee to meet some of these needs and we recently held a medical clinic in the village of Szatmarcseke. The local Roma church members played a huge role by inviting the villagers, being support staff for the day, and doing whatever needed.

I am a nurse by profession but unfortunately my Hungarian is not adequate enough to ask, "What's your concern today?" Well, I can ask the question but the problem comes when they start to answer it! So I was assigned to the blood pressure and blood sugar table. Now I could handle that with my language skills. After getting their tests, the patients went to see the health nurse for tips on living a healthy life style and then on to see the doctors. We also had New Testaments available and the local pastors were present to talk to the clients about the Great Physician who heals and offers comfort.

It was an encouraging day for all of us. As the day drew to a close, our last patient was the mayor of the little town. I was amused that the help scattered or became very "busy" with other things. They left it to the foreigner among them to prick his finger for blood. I didn't mind and he got a kick out of it. I tried to be gentle and I guess I was because he invited us back in the future.