Over a year ago now, we woke up for the first time in Hungary. All of our containers had arrived and been carried to the top floor of our apartment building. We’d walked as a family in a way that mapped out where we were in relation to the other parts of the city. We had eaten “cold fruit soup”, and learned a bit more about Hungarian culture. We’d even learned a couple new phrases to help us navigate this new world. We were not “far from home”, even though that’s how it felt at times. Rather, we were making a new home in a new way, and responding to God’s call to join what He is doing here. We continue to lean into discovering what He desires from us, even as we love and serve today.
One year later, and we’re still learning new phrases of a language that is difficult to become fluent in. But we’re also learning just how much we’re able to communicate without attaining fluency. There are things we never would have imagined in this past year. We have experienced the smile of God, as He seems pleased to have us serving here, in so many wonderful ways. We have also had challenges, as unexpected moments have arisen, but God has seen us through everything. Many of you have experienced challenges in the past year as well, and we’ve been praying for so many of you each night/week. We have always had everything we’ve needed, and we know we are being lifted up by so many friends and family back home.
This season of ministry involves several blessings that have affirmed just a few of the ways God has already used us during our time here. Connecting with friends who’ve blessed us, and whom we hope to have blessed as well. Meeting and praying with national Hungarian & Eastern Europe Free Methodist leadership (What is a “FREE METHODIST“?). Last Sunday, we met for worship again in person – 2nd time in a row after 3 months of “Online Worship”. Our “Local Ministerial Candidate”, Pastor Sylvia, preached a wonderful message from Romans chapter 6 – reminding us that our identity has been united with Jesus Christ. She proclaimed the good news that we can die to self and sin, and be made alive as New Creations. This is not just good news for resurrection someday, but is good news to us, our families, and our world now as we live in ways that flow from God’s redeemed vision/reality for all of creation. It is a blessing to see her heart “strangely warmed” as she gets to share the gospel with fellow Hungarians, and the unique blend of internationals found in our congregation. She is, and will continue to be a blessing as she serves pastorally here in the Gyor community.
Here in Hungary, it’s difficult to believe a new season is starting. Even though it’s technically “Summer”, the temperature in the past week has varied, and at times has even been a bit chilly. Looking at the global season we are in, it also continues to be difficult to tell Jesus has been established as Lord over all things. We can easily lose the peace that comes from such knowledge, or pursue a response to the Holy Spirit out of anxiety, self-preservation, or even Love for specific people/groups/ideas. We remember God’s words through John to the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2:1-7. They patiently endured, worked hard, did not tolerate destructive/loathsome people, and were great at declaring false teaching…but even so, they’d forgotten the Love they had at first.
If today was:
- the first day EVER that you were invited to join what God was doing, or
- the FIRST day you were aware of the Divine Love that draws near to us all, or
- the first time YOU heard that you were set free and offered healing/redemption/New Life in Jesus’ name, or
- the first TIME you were allowed to share God’s Love with those around you without fear of legal penalty………
- how would today look different?
May we be challenged and encouraged, to approach our day in ways that seek to join the Love of God revealed to us in Jesus Christ, each day as if it were our first…