Friday, April 24, 2009

Life on the Field...and Holly's birthday!

A lot of people ask us what life is like on the mission field.  Some things are of course quite different, but other things are very much the same--although it can be much more challenging here to accomplish something that would be very easy for us "back home" in our own language and culture.  We were recently asked by some Hungarian friends whether we feel totally comfortable and at home here since we (somewhat) speak the language.  We replied that at times we do, but quite often we still feel like outsiders who don't totally know what's going on since we often miss the connotations of things or don't know how to properly express our real, deep feelings.   Living that way over a long period of time is stressful, but we are extremely thankful for the opportunity to be here since we know this is the place the Lord has called us to be; we love the people and the country, and time after time have to almost pinch ourselves when we realize how incredible it is to be here. We live "between worlds" in many ways--not only because we live in another culture, but also because our real home is not of this world.  (Phil. 3:20)  We look forward to the time when we will finally be home and will never again be strangers!  We do have a lot of great times while we're here, though.  When special days such as holidays or birthdays come around, we like to kick back and enjoy the experience, sometimes combining local culture and customs with our own traditions.

Speaking of birthdays, Holly's was on April 18!  "Thank you" to those of you who prayed for her on her special day.  Secret discussions had been going on about a surprise birthday party with some of Holly's friends, but we weren't sure how it was going to turn out--one of the biggest difficulties was trying to maneuver Holly into being in the right place at the right time!  We had thought to have the party right after the youth group meeting on Friday evening, with Gary and I setting things up and grilling some food while the young people were in the meeting. But Holly was cooking up other plans, and we all thought she might not come that night--she was interested in going to the practice of a girls' American-style football team that's currently forming.  It would be a great opportunity for her to make new friends, but her birthday party would be so much more fun if the guest of honor were there! 

We were very thankful that since the weather turned cool and rainy, Holly didn't go to the practice after all--the
surprise party was a success, birthday girl and all.  Here are some photos:

(L) Holly cutting her cake during our team meeting on Wednesday.  We hoped that the "decoy cake" would help cover for the surprise to come.   (R) Gary manning the grill
(L) Holly said she hadn't suspected a thing--how could there be a surprise party if she wasn't even planning to be there? (Something all of us were pondering!)
(R) Cool friends from several countries were at the party.  At the right, Gary is talking with Vivian from the IMB Budapest Team, who was in town that weekend.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Easter party with our Hajduszoboszlo English students

On April 9, the Thursday before Easter, we had an Easter party for the students in our Hajduszoboszlo English course.  We weren't sure how many would be able to come because the students have so much going on in their lives right now, but as it turned out we had a fantastic time. Along with the egg hunt in the yard--it didn't even rain!--we had brownies, cupcakes with sprinkles, and a great time of sharing what Easter means to us.  Several of us were able to give a testimony of the real meaning of the holiday, and Gary gave a simple presentation of the Gospel using an Evangecube.  Please pray for the students, who have become our dear friends, to be drawn into a personal relationship with the risen Savior.


Everyone had a great time, although one little guy conked out and had to rest a bit. At the end when we tallied up the eggs found--counting in both English and Hungarian--only one remained missing.      

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Baseball / the Mikepércs Mosquitos win the game!

When we lived in America we always enjoyed baseball, and now and then we still get the chance to re-awaken those memories - but with a slight Hungarian flavor!  Last week Russell Chun of  Good Sports International  had to be out of town and asked Gary to help coach the Mikepércs Mosquitos, a new team he's been working with.  It was just the kids' third game ever, and they were scheduled to play a friendly game with a very strong team, the Debrecen Tigerkids.  Amazingly, the Mosquitos played with great heart and surprising skill for such a young team...and they won!  Congratulations, Mosquitos!


Speaking of baseball, a volunteer team from Cross Timber Baptist Church  in Burleson, Texas will be coming this summer to hold a baseball camp in the town of Puspokladany from May 18 to 23.  Please be praying for them as they prepare to come, and that the Lord will even now be working in the hearts of those who will be attending the camp.  CTBC will also be sending a team later in the summer--they will be holding an English camp in Hajduszoboszlo from July 6 to 12.  We pray that God will be glorified, and that many hearts will be touched during both the baseball camp and the English camp.  A big thank you to our friends at Cross Timber for their missions outreach around the world.

Easter and springlike weather arrive in Hungary

We hope that you all had a wonderful, blessed Easter!  We had a quiet day here, and enjoyed the chance to slow down a bit and remember the Lord's death and resurrection, the source of our hope and life.  After the morning service at Debrecen First Baptist Church we had a nice lunch at our place with Holly--we wished that A.P. could have been with us, too, but she was still in Budapest because of some medical issues (please pray for her continued healing.)

Our Easter meal--baked ham, broccoli salad, cauliflower with
sauce, deviled eggs, and home-made bread. 

Holly made a light, delicious dessert of home-made angel food
with fruit and whipped cream.  It was as yummy as it looks!

Easter in Hungary is a two-day holiday, and on Easter Monday Gary and I went for a walk down to the Nagy Erdő (Big Forest) park.  The weather was gorgeous, and lots of people were out enjoying it.  Here are some pictures I took during our walk:

On the way to the park we passed a home where someone had
decorated the tree by their balcony with Easter eggs.

There's a wonderful little lake at the park that I always enjoy
  Such a relaxing sight!

Some people relaxed, others preferred to be a little more active. 
These two guys were practicing their football (soccer) skills.

Here and there were stands where you could buy balloons or
snacks such as fresh roasted corn on the cob, popcorn, or
cotton candy. 

Some adventurous souls were enjoying the paddle boats at another
place in the park area, a small man-made lake.