This may qualify as one of those really bad home movies that parents force their friends to watch as their children display questionable talents on film. But in the spirit of "going native" I thought some of you might enjoy seeing a short film of last weekend's "OvodaBal" or "Kindergarten Ball." This was a formal event in the village where the kids (5-6 year olds) performed some Hungarian dances while parents and other village dignitaries wined and dined at the local culture house. The Event began at 8pm and probably went on til past midnight. It was truly a slice of Hungarian village life as the guests of honor included the village mayor and members of the city council. We, of course, were the token foreigners, but the all-Hungarian speaking crowd took pains to make us feel welcome.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
What do shovels, saws and paintbrushes have to do with missions? A heck of a lot if you are with Calvary Chapel Heidelberg who recently brought a group to Hungary to serve a Roma church. A veritable army of 14 hard workers with German determination painted the church building and erected a pavilion adjacent to the church. That pavilion will serve for summer services, special events, fellowship and outreach.
The group began their week of service by visiting local orphanages where they painted faces and played games. Strange as it seems the group of Germans introduced kids to America's favorite pastime -- baseball. And the kids loved it.
But the bulk of their week in Hungary was spent in unglamorous manual labor and connecting face to face with an ethnic group most Europeans find undesirable -- the Gypsies. It was a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but in the end all were blessed by the group's visit. Perhaps most interesting was when asked what was the best part of the missions trip, one of the German team members said that it definitely working with the Roma church members.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
The previous blog gave you the bad news about the Ukraine outreach to
boarding school kids. But that was not the whole story. Although we
helped facilitate the trip, Russell and I did not travel
over the border with the team. However, our good friend
Susil Isaac, an American medical student studying in Hungary,
participated in the event and had this to say:
The missions trip to the Ukraine was, well just amazing.
From the beginning, we were just seeing blessings upon blessings.
We didn’t know what would happen, but we just saw the Lord
leading in every single aspect. From what the topics of the
lessons would be to just our ability to interact with the kids,
is seemed like it flowed like water.
Everything was to show that it’s not so much a religion of rules and
regulations but a relationship. The first night was fun, ending off
with Chris and Timmy(I think) beating their best kids in foosball.
It set the stage. For the pastor to chill with them, play against them, and even
beat their best, it got their attention.
There were 3 official teaching times given to us to teach on Friday,
Saturday, and Sunday. Topics that were very pertinent to their lives
and everyone’s lives seemed to be picked so quickly. We were all praying
throughout the car ride that we would go through what they need to
hear, and it ended with Suffering, Bitterness, and Christian living. The change
in the kids was clear through the teaching. Chris’s zeal and heart for
the kids mirrored throughout the weekend and the kids latched on to it.
He told them not to trust him because he’s a pastor, but to check it in
the Word to see if it’s true. By the second night when more kids brought
their bibles, I was really blessed. When teaching on bitterness, the lesson
moved like a mystery novel almost forcing them to look up the verses to check
if it’s true. I was sitting next to a couple kids just showing where
Chris was talking from it was cool to see their faces. They were more astonished
than anything else as if to say, “Wow it’s actually in there.” I could read
the nonverbal signs from several kids across the room, and it was finally
clicking for them. When you can see kids looking through the bible and
it stops being just words or stories, but it starts to mean something in
their life, it’s a blessing to even be there.
The kids themselves were awesome. Many of them really tried to talk to
us. Granted, it was difficult when most of the team knew German and
English while they knew Hungarian, but if we were willing to spend time with
them, they were willing to try to talk to us. In my case, the Lord really
showered blessings upon me, because those that know me know that I do
not speak Hungarian. I couldn’t, but I became blessed over and over as I
had conversations with them. The things I had learned before all were
brought back to remembrance. While my speaking and vocabulary were definitely
not perfect, it was enough to get points across and really connect with the
kids. The funny thing is, I had to go to the Ukraine to learn
The kids felt connected with us too. I only learned this a week later,
but the connection was so strong that they went out to look out for our
things as well. When soccer balls were stolen from us, the kids from the
school actually went door to door throughout Peterfalva to ask for the soccer
balls back, actually getting most of them back. We had given our time, our
weekend to spend and minister in the Ukraine, but I never expected
those we worked with would do the same for us. They sacrificed part of their
free time for us because they cared for us and what belonged to us. They
were willing to open up their hearts and care for us.
One of the highlights was the gift giving. Some prizes were brought
just for those kids that were really open and helpful. Some helped in
translating, some where just good team players and helped the game move along.
By far, there were not enough prizes, but they were given out,
and the faces of the kids were priceless. They didn’t expect to get
anything, but were so overjoyed to get anything at all, let alone something so
The thing is, the gifts weren’t just given, but they were explained
with grace, which was just awesome. Examples and analogies like this
throughout the weekend hit home, and the kids understood what the bible was
As long as this letter is, it still doesn’t cover all the blessings
from this trip. It doesn’t mean that everything in the trip went perfectly
either. We had injuries, sicknesses, and cars dying along way, but
whatever the Lord brought us to, He brought us through as well.