28 August, 2012

Summer Update

Overall, up until about a month ago it was a tough summer for us.  Many of our teammates went back to the USA for Home Ministry Assignment and with a few notable exceptions, we were left to ourselves.  Megan’s first trimester was not a happy time for her as the nausea and hyper-sensitivity to smells consigned her to bed rest for 2 months.  She also had an inner ear problem that made her incredibly dizzy for a couple of weeks during those months.  Add on top of that, this was the hottest summer since 2007 for Budapest and we didn’t have what all Texans grow up with, air conditioning.  I was in charge of all cooking, cleaning and shopping so almost needless to say, the quality of our cuisine and the cleanliness of our flat declined :D  The situation finally reached its limit and we fled the city to our team leader’s house in the suburbs which has two rooms “klimaval” (with A/C) 

We stayed there for almost a month with one of our other teammates who stayed in Hungary and just tried to take care of Megan.  While out in Diósd, we got to experience the town and Budapest by car.  It was my first time to drive in 7 months and the first couple days were a bit nerve-wracking.  Not just because it had been awhile, but because it’s a different country with some different rules (no right on red) and often the streets make NO SENSE!!!  I would study google maps for about 30 minutes before we went someplace new and still got lost a few times. 

Part of that driving for me was going to another suburb, Törökbálint, to help translate for an English outreach camp.  You heard me, I TRANSLATED.  Still can’t believe that happened.  The first day as we were introducing ourselves I said (in Hungarian), ‘I am Ben Naylor and if needed I am a very, VERY bad translator!’  The two Hungarian ladies in our group laughed and believe you me, I gave them plenty of other opportunities to laugh at me. 

That same week, the two pastors of the church plant we have been attending asked me to join them and help lead the church!  It’s called ‘Agora’ and it meets at a place called ‘The Forum’.  The Forum is a place where different ministries and another church come to use the space during the week.  The other pastors are both wonderful speakers and big picture guys, but details like communion and tithing escape them :D  I’ve been meeting with them weekly since the first week of July and am acting as the “Executive Pastor”; every couple of weeks we Skype with a church in Florida that is graciously supporting our plant financially.  They’re sending a team to Budapest next month and we’ll be working together to host a Culture Exchange at The Forum with live music, native English speakers and cheesecake (not really a dessert they do over here). 
At the very end of July, thanks to our amazing landlord, our generous parents and our own savings, our flat had Klima installed!  A couple days of cleaning (it hadn’t been lived in for a month) and we’ve been back ever since.  One of the other things that Megan realized as soon as we got to Diósd was how much she missed quiet.  The city is not quiet, especially when you live on a major road 2 km away from a state hospital (we average one siren every hour) that has a tram on it.  Before we had Klima, our windows were always open/cracked to get a breeze and all the noise had been subconsciously grating on Megan’s nerves.  Once we were out in the suburbs, all we heard was an occasional dog barking.  Now we can keep our windows closed and with the white noise, our flat is a MUCH more quiet and restful place to be.

Megan has started a knitting circle for the Budapest Moms group (300 English speaking expat ladies who are expecting or have small children) that meets in our flat twice every week.  So far, about 7 different ladies have come to hang out, learn and eat the tasty snacks Megan set out.  It’s fun for her but of course, we’re praying that these turn into relationships where the gospel can be shared.

Two weeks ago we were blessed to travel to Slovenia to attend UWM’s Euro Conference.  For us, it was like a family reunion in a lot of ways because somehow, we already knew more than half of those who attended.   Some of them were families we hadn’t seen in over a year so it was a wonderful time to reconnect.  There was a lot of rest time built in, the food was wonderful and do yourselves a favor by googling ‘Lake Bled, Slovenia’.  It is BEAUTIFUL there!

Coming up this fall, we will have fairly busy weeks.  If the scheduling works out, we will be going back out to Törökbálint like we did in the spring to help teach English to a group that meets at the Reformed church there.  Also, we’re hoping to join our teammates John & Zsofi who lead something called ‘Alpha Course’ at their church here in the city.  Basically it’s a no-pressure environment in which to learn about Christianity.  It was originally developed by the Anglican church in England but in the last few decades has spread internationally and EVERY denomination has used it because it’s very middle-of-the-road.  Charismatics would say it doesn’t talk about the Holy Spirit enough but someone like me might feel it talks about Him too much.  Nobody loves the material completely but everyone recognizes that it’s powerfully effective.  Megan will continue her knitting group and I’ll continue working with Agora.

I promised that this would be less than 1,000 words so here it is!  Thanks for reading.

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