Our First Year Back in Hungary

It seems rather unreal that we’ll soon be at the ‘one year mark’ here in Hungary.  Wow.  We wanted to take this time to give a big update but also to share our heart.  We knew when we left Colorado last September that there was much God wanted to show us, much that we could not fully comprehend until we were living here again.  That was hard.  Hard to leave for the missionfield without any clear sense of what your ‘mission’ was.  We just knew we were to leave, to go to Hungary.  It was a huge blessing to have our home church of Mile High Calvary behind us, with or without any plan.

And so last August we packed up our home in Lakewood and crammed most of it like giant puzzle pieces into a storage unit, our original plan of shipping a container with most of it being changed by God at the last minute.  Instead we shipped just a small crate, about the size of two American refrigerators back to back.  It was exciting at the time to live without our stuff, to start an adventure with less to encumber us; and we wanted to see what we really missed and could use before we paid to ship it overseas.  We had a furnished townhouse waiting for us and our two dogs.  With our house empty and renters moving in, we were able to spend a few weeks in California with Rachel’s family there, and then returned to Denver for the final goodbyes and flight to Budapest on Sept. 21, 2011.

Fall was a fun season, unpacking, discovering the town of Szeged once again.  What had changed, what was the same, what was near our new home on Dobo utca.  There were plenty of new foods to try, or for Norbert, to finally get to have again.  Fall turned into winter and it was not so much fun all the time anymore.  We know now we were falling under a lot of spiritual attacks, but often, we don’t see that when it starts, do we?  Rachel got sick on the plane over, and spent most of the fall and winter with one cold or flu after the other.  The kids had their fair share of colds as well.  And then the kids’ online schooling was not going at all as planned or foreseen.  There are different styles of online schools, and the one we had ended up going with was much too open – giving assignments for the whole year and pretty much leaving the kids to their own schedules and really just teaching themselves.  We had expected more teacher involvement, especially for the price we paid.  It was a miserable winter.  Miserable mom sick all the time, miserable kids getting more and more lost in school and falling farther behind.  We were in a house that had been a blessing and a confirmation when we found it during our Christmas visit of 2010, but it was turning more and more into a hindrance of family togetherness, as we were stretched between 3 floors.  Spring could not come soon enough, with its healing warmth and the fresh air and chances to get outside.  But God did do much over that hard winter.  If the enemy’s plan had been to scare us away, he failed.  Relationships were being formed as we fellowshipped with both the International Christian Fellowship (ICF) and Calvary Chapel (Golgota) Szeged.

Summer 2012 found us apartment hunting, beginning a task we fully expected to take months (as we wanted 4 bedrooms, which is basically a mansion here in HU).  We instead found our new home in just a few weeks of searching.   The last weekend in June found us moving across town, into our new and beloved apartment.  We are now right downtown, but at a quiet end of a large park.  We love our new place; God went above and beyond what we were hoping for.  And just after moving the kids were all able to attend an English Camp in the mountains outside the historic northern town of Eger.  The camp has been put on by the Calvary in Eger for many years, as an outreach and a way to bless the people of Eger.  Speaking English is often a necessity to graduation and can also open many doors, our three got to both attend the camp and just have some fun and also to be ‘native speakers’ and help in teaching English and mostly just letting the Hungarians practice conversational English.  Using English is also something we’ve been praying more and more about for our family here in Szeged, so it was a neat chance to get some ideas.

As I mentioned, our new place is across from a park, which is next to two High Schools.  We know this location is no accident.   And so to our heart sharing portion…  God has been speaking clearly this year, often repeating Himself over and over – He knows we’re rather dumb sometimes and just don’t get it if He only says it once, sort of like teenage children with headphones in (not that we’d know any such children).  He’s been telling us to go slow, to wait, to ‘just be’ for a time.   I won’t repeat all the many occasions, but He has used many pastors, guest speakers, conference topics, etc…  But we want to ‘report back’ and tell everyone what wonderful things we’re doing, “Wait”.  But there are so many needs, and we’re here, what if we just did this, “No, wait”.  One of the areas we’re praying about is using English, we tried an English Club at the end of the winter without much, well, any, success.  Yeah, ‘we tried’, when God said “Wait.”  We’re still praying about it, but this time we’d like to go into the two schools near our house and ask them what they need help with, if they could use English speakers in the classes, or in a more informal setting after school.  We are also heavily praying and looking into ways that we can use the gifts we know we have, mainly in the areas of encouragement and support to church leadership, particularly those without a lot of other support.  Norbert also has his gifting in financial matters, and he was really blessed to do a one day Personal Finance and Budget workshop at Calvary Chapel Dél Pest (South Budapest) back in March, we’d love to see more events like that.

So yes, there is not a whole lot to report.  But God has been moving, and we’re getting really excited for what He will use us for, we know He has us here – if only to simply live here, shining His Light and His Love in our little corner of Szeged, Hungary.  Getting into our new place at the end of June really felt like a fresh start, and while we have been here almost a year, it feels like July was the beginning of so much.  We have anticipation, and a joy we did not have before.  We were also blessed to be able to spend a week in Austria, at Calvary Chapel’s Schloss Heroldeck Conference Center where they hold the annual Western European Leadership & Missions Conference, this year from August 12-18th.  It is a place that holds much meaning for us, many memories – it is a place of beginnings for us both, individually and as a couple (we attended Bible College there, then met and got engaged there, back in 1993-1994).  Due to finances and then a sick baby Anna in the hospital we were never able to attend it when living in Hungary before in 2000-2003.  It was special for us to be there this summer especially, as we feel we are beginning again here in Hungary, and God is preparing us.  So sure, outwardly we aren’t the most exciting missionary story of the year, and it may never get exciting, but being where God wants you, letting Him work on you, letting Him set the timing and the events – well, there’s no place we’d rather be.

We covet your prayers, your support and your encouragement.  We know how strong the spiritual attacks can be.  We can’t do this alone.  Please pray for:

–          Health over the winter months.  Anna is fighting eczema, something she outgrew years ago after moving from Hungary to Colorado, so something here is triggering its return.  For relief from the itchies and wisdom as we strive to solve the mystery of why.

–          Patience as we continue to wait on the Lord, that we would not try to run ahead of Him.  Clear direction when it comes and open doors.

–          A good school year for the kids, good teachers and good relationships with them.