Additional "From Further Afield" Articles

 

Coming to you from…
Published: 7/27/2011 1:49:21 PM

 

Hungary: a small country in Central Europe.   Once part of a huge monarchy (perhaps you remember the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy from your days as a high school student), Hungary is now roughly about the size of Indiana and has a rather tumultuous history of political struggle, revolution, annexed land, Communist rule, and finally, independence.  The Hungarians are generally very proud but also very welcoming and hospitable.  Hungary is probably best known for goulash, Budapest (the capital), and note-worthy figures like the Gabor sisters, Harry Houdini, Bela Lugosi, Erno Rubik, and Franz Liszt.

I first became acquainted with this marvelous country in the summer of 2004.  It was then that an English professor of mine urged, prodded, and lovingly "commanded” me to come on a mission trip here with a group from Concordia Irvine.  To this day, I believe she saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself, and I am forever thankful for the difference it made in my life.  My team spent two weeks with junior high and high school students, teaching them about the love of Jesus, helping them to practice their English, and building relationships with them – some of which I still have to this day.  I returned to Hungary twice after that before applying with LCMS World Mission to become a long-term missionary, and the Lord willed it that I should be sent back here, where I’ve been for the last two-and-a-half years.  I am currently serving as a GEO missionary (GEOs are globally engaged in outreach and serve in a variety of positions in locations around the world, most for 1-2 years).  My responsibilities include teaching English to junior high and high school students, leading a weekly Bible study for my students, and helping to organize summer English/Bible camps.

When I moved into my flat here in Hungary, I found many useful items, as I am the fifth LCMS World Mission missionary to live here.  One thing I came across was a list entitled "You Know You’re in Another Country When…” Some of the items on the list were the following: …the cheese is softer than the butter, …somebody asks you how to say a word in English…and you can’t remember!, …the manholes are square, and …people laugh when you say "sure.”  (The last being a language joke because the Hungarian word for beer – sör – sounds an awfully lot like the English word "sure.”)
Although many things were strange at first for me, the way I behave and the choices I make sometimes seem very strange to my students too.  Certainly there are those quirks that are really just American, like my accent and the slang I use, but I think many more "oddities” come from the fact that my faith in Jesus as my Savior influences the way I live my life.  Perhaps you’ve found the same to be true in your corners of the world.  When people see us - children of God - choosing not to move in with our boyfriend/girlfriend, refusing to get drunk on the weekends, or taking a stand against universalism, it might shake their world a little.  At the very least, it causes many to question our motivation, sometimes even vocally.  It is at those times I pray that we might "be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks [us] to give a reason for the hope that [we] have” (1 Peter 3:15). 

More than once I’ve been able to give answers to my students.  My favorite recent example is that of two of my 10th graders who asked me if I’m ever not happy.  I told them that of course I get frustrated and sad and upset, but I try not to bring that into the classroom with me.  But I also said that beyond that, I can always be joyful because I know that Jesus is always with me and saved me.  Everything else in this world is changeable and can cause heartache and pain and difficulty, but Jesus is the One thing that is always the same and will never disappoint us. 

I pray, dear friends, that we may all have these opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus boldly as we unite together as the people of God around the world.  We are never alone. 
Eros vár a mi Istenünk (A mighty fortress is our God),

Sarah Cusson

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