Our summer “break” has been full to overflowing! After several weeks of conference prep – registrations, email confirmations, housing assignments, travel arrangements, etc., etc., we were excited to welcome Callie and Claire back to Belgium after they spent a month ministering to Nursery/Toddler MKs in Missouri. We had a few days together to let them get over jet lag and celebrate Claire’s 18th birthday, and then packed up to head out on our journey to Hungary. The halfway point of our trip just so happened to be Salzburg, Austria, where we had a few hours of fun re-creating our own Sound of Music memories.
The next day we arrived in Gödöllö, Hungary, a university town right outside of Budapest, so we could participate in Impact NOW! 2011, a four-day European missionary conference. The conference included two afternoons of outreach in the city of Budapest. Here is Claire’s personal account:
On the first day of outreach, after several hours of limited success actually talking to people because of the language barrier, I was feeling a bit discouraged. Then I noticed a young girl standing a little ways away from our group watching us. I walked over to her and was very happy to discover that she spoke English pretty well. As we started talking she told me that she was fifteen years old, and though she was a Christian, she was the only believer in her family. I asked if she would like prayer for anything, and she replied that her mother was very ill and had recently almost died. After learning her name, which is Brigitta, we prayed together. Before she left I offered her my email address, which she accepted. I hoped and prayed for the next few days that she would contact me. Within a week, she did. I was so thrilled to hear from her. I had sensed how alone she felt, and when she told me in her email how encouraged she was just by me praying for her, I was encouraged in my turn. I’m very thankful I was there that day, not only to encourage someone else, but also to make a friend.
Once again we are reminded of the spiritual hunger of those around us, and how one simple act can bring so much hope and encouragement!
After the Impact NOW! missions conference, we stayed on at the university to connect with close to 100 Students for Christ leaders and students from all over Europe and beyond for a week of worshiping, praying and learning together. Although most of our focus was on the logistics side of things, we were still able to participate in classes, workshops, an afternoon outreach, evening services, and a “coaching” small group with the SFC team from Athens, Greece (left). We are still hearing very positive reports from this time. One mother commented to us how her son came back home a “changed person.” Another student stated how much he/she liked being a part of the SFC family, and a staff member said, “It always surprises me how much God can do through a week a like that.” Through your partnership, we are seeing lives changed and hope renewed on this continent! Thank you!
We were very thankful to have all our children with us this summer, and as usual, they had a BLAST! – well, except for the part when Christopher broke his arm after running and tripping. Our visit to the Hungarian clinic for an x-ray and cast was interesting to say the least, but we’re so grateful that smiles are common to any language and VERY reassuring in such a context. We had an extended celebration for Callie’s 20th birthday by taking her to Prague after the conference. And we made it home just in time to celebrate David’s 11th birthday before Callie had to fly back to LA for her second year of university.
Thank you for praying, and thank you for partnering with us financially. This year has been challenging on several personal and ministry levels, but this summer has confirmed once again that we are where God wants us to be, and we’re doing what he wants us to do. He is faithful!
And if you’ve made it all the way to the end of this very long account, you are, too! We appreciate you!
Blair and Dina and family