Well, it has been a whirlwind of a few weeks! Honestly, it has been hard for me to sit down and write this because I know it will take time and emotional energy: both of which I do not have a lot of. But I also know that sitting with my feelings and keeping our friends and family updated is incredibly important, so here we are!
So, as the title implies, we have had English / Bible Camp with 5-16 year olds over the past 2 weeks. As you probably guessed, it is a lot to summarize spending 9 hours a day with 40+ kids in a new culture and language, but I will do my best!
Each day started with a leader Bible study / prayer. This was so amazing and essential before our long day with the kids. We were also able to meet and bond with our team in a deep way for the first time. Then the day began. The morning included breakfast, group games and Bible Class / Worship. Cullen and I were in charge of the group games, which was an adventure to say the least. After lunch, it was English teaching time. I have to admit: I initially was dreading teaching alongside Cullen. I felt intimidated. But sometimes we split into two separate groups AND on top of that, he was so supportive and allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and lead. We then had sports and free time in the afternoon, and the kids went home around 5. Usually we ended the day with a debriefing meeting.
Here are the 2 groups of students we worked with.
There were so many funny, heart-breaking and redemptive stories coming from these 2 weeks, but what I want to focus on are the families in Tatárszentgyörgy (taw-tar-sent-george). Most of these children are growing up with 1 or both parents who are absent, drug/alcohol-addicted or negligent. Some of them have intense behavioral or learning difficulties that make it difficult for teachers, pastors and family members to motivate and engage with. But throughout all of this, God is good. We, as the church and the body of Christ, are hoping to provide a second home and family to these kids. We are offering a safe haven with trusted people and a loving Savior who is ready and willing to accept them. And many of them are eager and curious about what we are offering. Many relationships were started with these children, which is essential for Cullen's teaching, the café / community center and for Jesus to be SHOWN (as Cullen and I cannot TELL them about Jesus, we have to show them).
The last part of our weeks included a leader's retreat with the 5 couples who are heavily invested in the mission in Tatárszentgyörgy. Géza and Ildikó have a 2nd house in the village of Egerszalók (egg-air-saw-loke), which is known for its salt baths. We were able to talk, laugh and pray together as couples and as a team that was an essential foundation for our next 3 years here. We also got to go to one of our favorite places: the salt spas at Solaris Hotel. Here are a few pictures from Egerszalók.
PTL (Praise the Lord)
Thank you for praying for our fundraising! We have made our fundraising goal for the first year! However, we are far from being FULLY funded for the duration of our 3 years here! Please see our Support page for further details on how you can support us. Thanks to all who have given their time and money for us to be able to make this possible.
We were able to drive our new car home on Monday! A lovely Ford Fiesta with so few miles, a good price and in great condition. Praise the Lord that we now have more independence and freedom!
What a wonderful blessing we have in our team. So many relationships have already formed and deepened and we are very much off to a great start.
We have almost all of our immigration paperwork turned in and in process, so that is a huge relief.
We have started to feel slightly more comfortable with things here, so that is a big step forward.
*this one will be a constant prayer request* Please continue to pray for Cullen and I: that we would continue to grow in the Lord and in our marriage together. It has been made very clear to us that our marriage is the foundation of this mission, as without it, the rest of it falls away.
Please continue to pray for Hungarian language learning. We jumped into the deep end with the English camps, but we need continued motivation and comprehension. It is not an easy language.
Please continue to pray as we transition into a life of working and building relationships within our mission. The culture shock has started to sink in, and there is a need for renewal and for emotional energy.
Cullen starts teaching this week, and none of the other teachers speak English. Pray for him to be able to teach the students well and feel supported in his job. Also, for me to be able to help him. He will be stretched thin as he is also tutoring a few people and teaching in Budapest.
For me (Sarah) to find my rhythm in this mission. I have a good amount of free time now that the camps are over, and I want to be multi-faceted with supporting our other Hungarian-speaking leaders, helping off-load work from our overworked pastor Miki and to help with the café buildout. Pray for good time-management skills and the best way for me to be of use prior to the café opening.
"Brother/sister. Will you be responsible for me?"
This is the question we each had to ask each other at the end of the retreat. This is a question we should all be asking each other. We all need accountability. We all need depth in our relationship. Within our inner circle, we should not say "that is none of your business." Defensiveness is not worth it. Keep yourself open to constructive criticism.
Cullen, Sarah and Copper