I’m sure you know what I mean when I say that looking back on our life we can see clearly how God interfered with the way things happened, how He guided us in our decision making and how He adjusted our path when we went astray. Even way before we really cared about Him, He cared about us. He rescued us from impossible situations we put ourselves into and He created seemingly impossible circumstances just so we stayed on the path He wanted us to go on. Sometimes He allowed us to have experiences we would rather not have had and sometimes He put us through lessons we would have not chosen for ourselves. It is hard to make friends with the realization that God’s #1 concern is not our happiness, but our character, and that He doesn’t need us to fulfill His plan, yet our best choice is to go with it anyway …WHATEVER it is.
In the second half of September, during our short term mission to Budapest both Csaba and I felt a strong calling to serve in Hungary. But “our kids” were waiting for us here in Anaheim and Placentia, so although the calling was strong, we just slipped right back into our routine at home. But the Holy Spirit is not one to give up. If He decides to put a thought into your mind that thought will not stop bugging you. So while my conviction kept growing stronger about being called to serve in Hungary, I didn’t say anything to Csaba. I asked the Lord to confirm His will by putting the same strong conviction into his heart also. …But Csaba is a harder nut to crack! We have experienced it a few times in our lives that the Lord had to shut a door in front of his nose with a big bang and bolt it up several times before he would stop banging on it. His nature is never to leave anything incomplete, nor in any messy state. So even when the Lord started to make it clear to us that our calling didn’t fit well into the framework of the organization we were serving with, he just kept going on, pushing the rusty wheelbarrow uphill, no matter how hard it became. And even though the conviction in his heart for the new call was growing, the Lord had to shut the door again before he would dust his sandals and say yes to the new assignment: to prepare to serve in Hungary and to spread the Gospel to our own people.
Several years ago the original call we felt was: one day to spread Christ’s love in Hungary. This is what made us leave our home in Pittsburgh and get on the path of missionary work at the first place. For us there is no way back. We feel that this is what the Lord wants us to do. Dreams of living in our own home where the grandkids come to see Grandpa and Grandma … are put on the back burner. It will happen IF and WHEN the Lord will want it to. When we said yes to become His dedicated disciples we gave up our wants and agreed to follow His will. It is hard to stay with the plan and we fail often, but He is never late with the encouragement.
But other than our call, here are some more reasons why we should turn our attention toward Europe as a mission field:
– 750 Million people live in Europe and less than 2% of them follow Christ
– a little less than 10 Million people live in Hungary and less than 3% of them are evangelical Christians
– 19 out of the world’s 25 countries with the largest population percentage of atheists are in Europe
– Hungary has the 8th highest rate of death by suicide among 170 countries and several other European countries are close on the list
– less than 4% of Europeans attend church regularly
There are about 2 Million Hungarians living in Budapest and the vast majority of them don’t believe in Jesus Christ. This fall when we were there, we experienced this in person. As we met our fellow Hungarians and as we worked with Muslim refugees and Roma (Gypsy) families in an integration center we felt how great their need was for the love of Christ in their lives and also how open they were to listen to anything we said to them. We also saw how great the opportunity was for sowing and planting seeds in their hearts. So in this upcoming year we are expanding our ministry to Hungary and are planning to go back to the integration center two, three times for about a month to serve them.
We are planning to fill the gap as advocates between them and the social services which were designed to help their integration but are rendered almost useless by the open; even government condoned racial and ethnic discrimination in the society. They need help finding language courses, job skills training and employment. We will also continue to bring some fun in their lives in the center through craft activities and other recreational programs, which they really loved during our stay in the fall. And of course in the meantime we hope the Lord will create opportunities for us to talk to them about our faith. “I have found there are three stages to every work of God: First it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.” (Hudson Taylor). We have found this to be true when we first left our family-home in Pittsburgh and moved into this barrio into circumstances we never knew existed in the United States. But the Lord has been continuously training us to step out in faith and do what He wants us to do even if it seems impossible, or totally against human reason. We only need to be obedient – He makes the rest happen. …So Hungary, here we come!