Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Budapest…a taste of the place & people…our new home

I will not claim to be any kind of expert on this city {or country} to which we are moving, but I have learned a few things in the over 8 years since we first thought about going there.  And for you, our friends and family, who have loved and supported us all along the way and are making certain we know how much you love us and go with us in prayer, spirit and heart, I wanted to give you a little glimpse into this place we move to in less than 3 days!!!  So, here goes::

Budapest is actually 2 cities :: BUDA & PEST ~ The two cities are separated by the Danube river. The Buda side is to the west of the Danube and the Pest side is to the east.  They operate as one city but their origins are as two.  The Buda and Pest sides both contain many historical monuments and beautiful architecture to visit {hint, hintWinking smile}.  The Pest side contains the government and commerce centers. The three most famous and beautiful bridges that connect the two sides are in the center of the city and can be seen on the map below and are featured in video below, as well.  The Parliament building is a neo-gothic masterpiece that is unmistakable & is also featured in the video and appears on the front of our prayer card:}

Map of Budapest

photo source

Hungarian is the language :  Hungary has a language all its own.  Possibly more unique than any language in the world!  There is no other European language like it.  The only one ever described as possibly similar is Finnish, but neither speaker can understand the other & I have never heard a Hungarian welcome the comparisonWinking smile This uniqueness comes in part from some eastern roots attributed to Attila the Hun {why we call it “Hun”gary:} who came into the territory that is present day Hungary. This uniqueness makes it one of the hardest languages IN THE WORLD to learn.  Therefore many prayers for our language learning are appreciated!!

Brilliant People :  Hungarians are an extraordinary group of people who for their relative smallness in size {about the size of Indiana} have produced an amazing amount of inventors, composers, artists, scientists and the like.  They are a nation of specialists.  Therefore, if a Hungarian plays the piano or sings, knows another language or plays a sport, though they seldom consider themselves so, we in our more generalist American eyes and ears find them exceptional.  This is because they were not of the best {in the country} to specialize in this area.

A Shadowed History : The history of this country and people can be described as tragic.  On the losing side of every major war, the national consciousness has an undercurrent of defeat or pessimism.  World War I concessions took away a large portion of the nation’s territory. {Therefore the people closest to the current Hungary who live in the bordering countries often have Hungarian as their native language.}  World War II saw the invasion of Hitler and upon the Allied forces win came the Communist regime of the Soviet Empire.  Prior to World War II, Hungary had one of the highest populations of Jewish people in the world. They were ravaged and diminished by the tyranny of the Third Reich.  Many Hungarians who were wealthy and positioned would later flee the country or if they did not escape, were sent to the Russian gulags.

Dark strongholds :  For roughly 20 years under Communism, Hungary had the highest suicide rate of any country in the world.  It had become an honorable way to leave a life that seemed unbearable.  While Hungary is not longer #1 for this statistic, it remains in the top ten.  Hungary also is in the top ten for its divorce, alcoholism and abortion rates.  In fact many of the countries at the top of this dubious list are former Soviet block countries.  I call this “the wake of Communism”.

A New Day. A New Legacy : Even before communism fell, the Spirit of God was preparing for a new day in Hungary.  While the battle wages, the Gospel has gone forth to hundreds of thousands of students through unprecedented openness, especially in the high schools, but also amongst university students.  We are so blessed to join almost 20 years of faithful sowing, partnering with the government and high schools of Hungary and for the last two years with the national police department, all for the purpose of seeing the Good News reach more and more hearts of young people. 

Through the Power of God at work in the Gospel, student by student we are seeing a legacy of death and hopelessness be turned into one of hope and life.  We believe the LORD is sending us as a family to join Him and care for these new believers, become their spiritual parents & family, as well as be the hands and feet of the Good News to more and more young people.  It is our earnest prayer that the face of an entire generation be changed as the bonds of darkness are broken and the dawn of His light shines upon this land!

These verses in Isaiah 58 have been especially meaningful as we have shared our calling in this journey of support-raising and preparation.  We believe they are a vision over the ministry to the coming generation in Hungary ::

“Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?

if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.”

~Isaiah 58 : 6, 10-12

Below is a video that shows many beautiful scenes of Budapest.  It is a call to prayer for the country & city as it is accompanied by the song ‘God of This City’.


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