Happy New Year! New school year, that is, which is really what most of our life revolves around right now, so I think it totally counts. And this is my blog. So… Happy New Year!
When we moved from Szeged to Budapest last year, we really weren’t sure what doors God would open, or exactly what we’d be doing in the big city. We only knew our kids needed more social outlets, in English, and possibly more educational options. Budapest was the obvious answer, as it really is an International City, complete with a community of expats from all over the world as well as a large community of missionaries whose organizations have their headquarters for surrounding areas based in the city.
An expatriate (sometimes shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person’s upbringing. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (“out of”) and patria (“country, fatherland”).
We knew there were opportunities, but we weren’t sure how that would all play out in our family, or exactly what those opportunities would be. We knew there were several International schools in the city, way back in the early planning days before our move from Colorado, I had done much research and we’d even temporarily considered moving initially to Budapest instead of Szeged. But the price of private schools about gave us heart attacks, especially for three kids, so we settled on online and homeschooling. So we didn’t consider schooling when we moved here last year, but rather a good church youth group, maybe some sports groups or other such activities. The search for an English youth group led us to the International Baptist Church of Budapest. We began to make friends and meet people, and Anna continued to struggle with homeschooling. The youth group leader, Rusty, was also a teacher at an International school and talks lead to a visit to the school and Anna enrolling for the 2nd semester last year, in January. Joshua did not want to change schools half way through the year, and to be honest, the tuition was still a concern, so we didn’t push the issue. Having one child in the school meant we began to spend some time out at the school, for events, and we began to learn more about the school – and loved everything we heard. We can’t pinpoint exactly when the idea began, possibly as early as our initial ‘family interview’ when we applied for Anna’s enrollment, so last December, but the idea grew and was prayed over for some time. Norbert approached the school about his teaching an IT class for the High School. Our boys have both taken any and all computer classes offered both online and in public schools in Colorado, and have been repeatedly disappointed by the low level of actual education they received. So there’s been that desire to see an IT class done well. And then we also learned more about how the school gets its teachers, and their needs. All the staff are here as missionaries, they’ve all raised their own support from the US (or Canada – Anna’s US Civics teacher last year was Canadian, which we all found humorous) and the school often does not know year to year who can or will be returning. For instance, they have a great art room facility, but had no art teacher last year. And then we also learned that while the staff is not paid, they do receive tuition discounts for their own children to attend the school. All this to explain how the door opened wide for our family’s involvement at the International Christian School of Budapest. Joshua is there this year in 12th grade, a senior, Anna as a sophomore in 10th grade, and Norbert is there as Mr. Lakatos, IT teacher extraordinaire. I’m also waiting to hear back after turning in all my paperwork and resume for a possible slot at a receptionist desk, twice a week.
It is also a highly anticipated new season in Norbert’s work – Happy New Year Infinitly Virtual – they’ve finally hired their much needed 4th technician! This is his first week on the job, and he’ll be working during the same time as Norbert, starting his day at 5am in Los Angeles – which is a perfectly timed solution to Norbert’s concerns over his starting work later than normal on the two days he teaches each week. It’s been a prayer need for so long, but to see how God has this perfectly fitting together is a beautiful confirmation for these steps we’re taking.
Also starting up in a new-yearish aspect, after breaks for the summer, are the two groups Norbert and I are again leading for our church – the Men’s Prayer Lunch is back on Tuesdays and my Wednesday morning Women’s Bible study is back as well. So between our time commitments to the school, these groups, Norbert’s full time job and just life here – our days have been filled up in ways we have Peace and Joy about. There are always more things you can get busy doing, and we were mindful as we transitioned from a smaller town with less options back into a bustling metropolis to not over-extend ourselves – remembering back to our lessons learned when we first left Colorado and our way busy lives there.
But we are still able, and are beyond blessed and excited to continue in our small ministry to encourage and support the pastors and church leadership from the smaller Calvary Chapel churches and their circle of friends within the Serbia/Hungary/Romania area. God seemed to especially focus us on Serbia, but we still have a heart for any of the smaller church fellowships that don’t receive as much notice or support from US connections, those with more local leadership and less American missionaries. Our next retreat will be for the women, the Pastor’s Wives’ Retreat will be in early November, we’re looking at two possible Thursday-Saturday dates. The early-weekend set up allows these women, who are often indispensable in their small churches, to be back before Sunday services. Our home church in Colorado, Mile High Calvary, is again partnering with us and helping to make these retreats fully funded and a gift for the women coming, often their only such relaxed and encouraging time away all year. I scoured some stores this summer in the US and have some small gifts to bless them with, but will also be purchasing chocolates and small goodies once we have our final budget set – donations towards these retreats can always be given to Mile High Calvary, from the link below go to their ‘giving’ tab and put a note in the ‘comments’ section that it is for ‘Hungary missions’ or ‘Lakatos Family’, they’ll get it to us.
So that is what our New Year is bringing us – more behind the scenes work, in the retreats and our relationships with pastors and their families of smaller churches, and through our involvement at ICSB whose many students and staff are here because of their work in many ministries throughout the region. It’s an interesting season for us, but we love this direction God has led us into: serving those who serve, encouraging the weary to carry on, teaching IT and being used at a school full of missionary kids who need love and encouragement. For those not on our school calendar, may you have a wonderful fall, but otherwise, go out and buy yourself a nice new pen or pencil, and Happy New Year!