Hungary Mission Trip Report
On June 20th, my cousin, a family friend and I boarded a plane to Budapest to begin our very first mission trip. We met the mission leader, an American pastor named Janice Byrd, as well as the 40+ other Christians who were also embarking on this journey with us, at a hotel in the capital. It quickly became clear to us that we were the youngest on the trip by at least a decade but, although intimidating, we knew we were called there for a reason.
After 2 days of sightseeing and 35 degree weather, we were taken to Szentendre, a town just outside Budapest, not too dissimilar to Dagenham, where I live here in the UK. This is where I would spend my first week in Hungary. My cousin and I were introduced to our host family, a middle-aged couple with 2 young sons, whom we would later find out would be attending the camp we were to teach at. We attended the local church where the camp would be held for their Sunday service. There we would meet other members of the church as well as the teens who would be our translators for the week, the majority of whom were themselves former attendees of this bible camp.
After setting up and team prayers, Day 1 of the camp had arrived and I had been assigned to work with the 13 year olds. I’m not a timid person, but the nerves were definitely there as I introduced myself to my class. Everyone in the class understood some English but they definitely didn’t understand my English. From that point on I would have to make a mental note to speak proper English just to even give my translators a chance of passing on my message. As expected, Day 1 went by agonisingly slow as we worked through the language barrier. The heat didn’t help much! The first lesson reminded me of when I was first learning to drive, the constant stalling of the car engine inhibited any swift progress, but just like me learning to drive, my students and I eventually got through it and from that day 1, a bond was formed.
On week 2, I was asked to travel 4 and a half hours to the north of the country to a rural town called Ujfeherto. Here I would complete my 2nd and final week of my mission. By this time the weather had cooled a little and I was looking forward to meeting my 2nd batch of students. During this week, not only would I be handling teenagers but also adults as we would teach local members of the public, English for an hour after the camp.
As the week progressed, the students seemed to become more and more confident with their English as well as their knowledge of the Bible. To my surprise, many of them had quite a lot of bible knowledge which, admittedly, made my job immensely easier. The most memorable day of that week was Day 4. Day 4 was the first time in my Christian life that I could say for sure that I was aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit. My students, translators and I gathered in a circle and they had decided prior to the lesson that they wanted to share each of their own personal experiences with God with me which compelled me to share my own. It was an ending that would definitely leave its mark in my memories, and hopefully theirs, for years to come.
Week 2 had its challenges as the children I taught were even less English-Speaking than the previous group but through the help of the translators we got through it.