I’m heeding the nudge of the Spirit to chronicle My husband and my and now OUR family’s story of calling.
I am choosing this for Tuesdays because of some of the special women at Jen’s (Jen, of course, and especially Amy) that I have been getting to know, and I feel that you and any other consistent readers (especially dear Cherry, who is a co-laborer and beloved bloggy friend) might be the most blessed to hear this story.
But, truly, I know I need to do this for myself and my God as we continue this unique journey that will, prayerfully, land me in Budapest, Hungary as a long-term missionary within the year.
Trusting all who read be blessed with a touch of Him…
‘We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.’
~1 Thessalonians 2:8 (NIV c1984)
Intro: It is purposeful that I change to Our Story at this point in the story, because, although before God we became one on our wedding day, it wasn’t really until we stepped out 100% on this path of faith that led us to leave our jobs and live overseas for a year in Hungary that our paths became inseparable. From this day forward, linked in love and faith and in desperate need of Him to direct us wherever He might lead all the days of our lives…
Flying in time for the August Conference. We flew over to Budapest, Hungary in late August of 2005. I don’t remember much about this flight over except that we didn’t have very much idea, at all, what awaited us in the year ahead and that it was an ‘easy flight’ by the simple fact that we had, only ourselves, to take care of. There is no comparison when you fly by yourself vs. with little children.
We were met at the airport by this same Dan that I have mentioned. And I remember when he hugged us it was like being greeted by a dear friend. We dropped off as much of our luggage as we could quickly reduce it to. The summer wardrobe that was nestled between, what I would come to find out later, was entirely too little winter clothing. And I turn hysterical with laughter when I remember the carry on that held a year’s worth of toiletries—everything from shampoo to deodorant and toothpaste to shaving cream. Yes, this was well before you stopped being able to take liquids with you on the flight. And I had had my dear in-laws shop at Wal-Mart for supplies for a year. It never once occurred that when these were suggested in the STINT manual packing list, that it was for those going to remote islands and nations where these items were scarce and far—NOT those going to developed countries and cities where all could be found and for cheaper often!
It was at this August Conference that we got over our jet lag and also met and were to have our initial bonding with the team that would become our family for the entire year. I think both happened fairly well. I also remember we were taught the simple phrases of ‘Thank You’ (koszonom) and ‘Hello’ (szia, sziasztok) and we first heard this strange and unlike-anything-we-knew language spoke and sung fluently.
First Day in Budapest. Our first day back in Budapest (Bp) Dan sent Jared and I out on a scavenger hunt through the city. He armed us with the words, Yes (Igen) and No (Nem) that we did not know yet and I’m certain he thought, ‘ok, this will be baptism by fire for these two’, and the quintessential ‘Beszel Angolul’ for ‘Do you speak English? and a transportation pass and a city map
We joke that that was our own ‘Amazing Race’ except it was more like ‘Amazing Survival’ as we took too many wrong trams and buses to count and got so turned around and disoriented. Oh dear! And my husband was fed to the wolves being the one to ask dozens if not more people, ‘Beszel Angolul'? It was just what we needed (I learned things too and did ask people for directions) as by the end of that year we traversed all around the 22 district city.
Finding Our Flat. We stayed temporarily at the outskirts of the city in a townhouse of a missionary on furlough until we could find our own flat (apartment) to live in. It took us relatively few looks to find this sweet open efficiency apartment that will, in many ways, I think always be the dearest place we have lived. It ranked high for its ‘easy to clean’ qualities that are always about tops on my list. And I think of the goodness of God as He placed us very close to where both the STINT girls’ flat was and who-would-become dear friends Zach and Julie’s flat along with a young, sweet English-speaking landlord worth her weight in gold. It was in the heart of the city and I would LOVE if we could live in this area when we go back…may be hard to swing with 2 kids and hoping for another…but, is any of this rational?
What days looked like. Our days and weeks were ideally filled with one to two days of guest teaching English classes in schools, afternoons in Evangelism and Discipleship, team meetings, and weekly student meetings.
Teaching English class. We joke that we had the STINT Dream Team that year as their were seven of us and we had two school teams. Having taught on my own for seven years, it was nice to often co-teach with four others. Each team had seven to ten regular schools that we would visit and re-visit as guest teachers. We taught basic lessons on American Culture, Friendship, Personalities, Special lessons on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. The schools paid us nothing and we only asked that we be able to introduce the FEK (Fiatalok Az Elet Koszoben—’Youth at the Threshold of Life’ aka the high school ministry in Hungary) ministry and invite the students to our weekly meeting and to meet with us outside of school. If a school wasn’t open to this, then we went to one of the many others that were.
Evangelism: We had a general goal of 15 hrs/week in ‘Evangelism’. This broke down to 3hrs/day Monday-Friday which would generally be the afternoon hours of around 2-5pm when students, both college and high school, would begin to be done their school day and available to talk. Sometimes (especially the girls) we were able to meet students that we had met in the English classes and get to know them more, sharing more deeply including the Gospel in some form as we learned to know more about them.
Random Evangelism: However, we often would not have anyone to meet with and we would go to parks or Meki’s (McDonald’s) and approach strangers with youth surveys and explain that we were Americans wanting to learn more about the youth in their culture. We really did learn a lot about the youth like what’s most important to them…friends were often above family. We found out that reincarnation was a very popular belief—Can you understand why? Hey, if you don’t get it right you can come back and try again…takes the pressure off of ultimate things, don’t you think? At one point, Jared said if I hear reincarnation as the belief for what happens after death ONE MORE TIME…I am going to…scream? (never has he) shake them? (you definitely want to when they are just so clueless—because you care!)
If you are anything like me, you may have some pre-conceived notions about such Evangelism techniques. But I learned that I really had no idea what it truly was, both for me and the people I was talking to. Here’s some of what I learned:
-this is definitely not something Satan wants to happen:
- clear through the amount of warfare you face each time you try to engage in it—fear, anxiety, sickness, tiredness…
- people hear the Gospel that never have! and maybe never would unless someone GOES TO THEM…
- you are lifting up Jesus and His Kingdom in bold and powerful ways.
-there is no greater feeling then to be faithful with the Gospel
- at times it is terrifying to look like a FREAK and you feel it ten times more than others, but He is with you and YOU. NEED. HIM!
- you are facing a deep fear and being obedient in ways that you aren’t if you aren’t actively engaging in Evangelism…The Great Commission is your life…You can hear Him!
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
The founder of Campus Crusade, Bill Bright, is well known within the movement for having said core things often and this is how he described Evangelism which he boldly lived all of his life:
‘Evangelism is taking the initiative in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results up to God’
- So, in this statement we see, stepping out in faith, walking in the power of the Holy Spirit, and giving all of the Glory to God…because not until Heaven will so many of the results be seen!
Then, this discipline of Random Evangelism (or evangelism, period. it always takes initiative to get to the Gospel in a conversation, Amen?) is a huge discipleship workout for you and anyone you would take with you. You need community and you need God.
I’m going to close here, with adding this part regarding my husband:
It was not long into the year that I centered squarely upon the joy and assurance that this was exactly where we were supposed to be. Furthermore, as I observed my husband, working alongside of him, I was filled with an understanding that I was seeing him do what he was born to do. It was as if he’d been freed up from the strain that it was to be on other paths and was experiencing the glorious joy of coming to life. I knew, before God, that I as his co-journeying wife could not do anything but open wide this way for him and encourage him from my very depths to only step deeper into this calling.
It is a rare and wonderful privilege to be able to see first hand your husband in the light and glory of his calling in this world. One that, by His grace, I want to hold in the deep places of my heart as the gem that it is, and when I am called to sacrifice, as we continue this journey, to see this glorious bigger picture.