Sunday, Sept 25: I am sorry we have not been able to blog on this trip until now. Our schedule has been unbelievable and we have struggled with jet lag more on this trip than usual. We arrived in Budapest in the afternoon but our baggage did not. It did not transfer in Amsterdam but thankfully, we had put essentials in a small carryon. The other luggage arrived the next morning so it was no problem really. We met out niece and her husband, who had just arrived in Budapest, for dinner. It was a great surprise since we had not seen them for about 10 years. The next morning, we met a couple from ReachGlobal that we had been hearing about for some time and had a wonderful time getting to know them. We went to the airport around 11 am and waited until 1 pm for our shuttle to Bekes, Hungary where our conference was. It took us about three hours to get there and it was fun to see the countryside as we went. It is very flat and agricultural much like much of the Midwest. We even saw a lot of black dirt like we had in Iowa.
The conference was about ministry to the Roma, and about half the group were Roma. The first night we had dinner and then opening message and worship. The worship for this conference was amazing. The people were obviously rejoicing in what God had done in their lives. The music was lively and in a Roma style. It was a lot of fun. We ended around 10:30, caught our bus and went to another town to our hotel arriving to our room around 11:30. We were told we had to catch the bus back at 7:45 so the turnaround was short. We were so tired from jet lag we drug ourselves to bed and crashed. Then up at 6:30 rushing to get ready, eat breakfast and catch the bus. This was the routine for the week. It was exhausting. We both really struggled to stay awake during all the sessions and it really didn’t get much better as the week went on.
We learned a lot about the Roma and what God is doing among them. It really is amazing but difficult work. Many Roma are coming to Christ, but the conditions they live in are often terrible, and the work to reach them is hard. We had people from about 30 countries at the conference, so it was a bit chaotic with so many languages. About half knew English so most of the messages were presented in English with a lot of translation for others. It became very evident why God has called us here, as none of the messages were connected to scripture very well at all. We hope that our training over the next several years will change that dramatically.
We made a few connections, but mainly this was a learning experience for us. We did connect pretty well with the six leaders who are coordinating things, so that sets a good beginning for our trip back here in November to begin to strategize about how and where to begin our training. We have a day off today in Budapest to prepare for our trip home tomorrow. Then on Tuesday, I fly to Minneapolis for more meetings, with the other side of jet lag to deal with. I can’t say I am excited about that.
Thanks for your prayers and partnership with us!