the latest from Nagykanizsa

Yes, I’m still alive and kicking… and speaking of kicking, we just finished watching Poland tie Greece in the EuroCup soccer match. It’s a pretty big tournament here, obviously, so I have to admit it’s fun to watch with people who actually care about soccer! As far as a favorite for the whole tournament.. my roommate is German.. so I’m starting to sympathize with our Deutsch friends. I may just have to root for them to take the cup.

In case you don’t receive my newsletter, I actually moved away from Keszthely recently. I’m going to miss the cool people and beautiful lakeside town I’ve grown accustomed to over the past 8 months, but, I’m excited to see what God has planned here in my new home city of Nagykanizsa. And yeah, that name has a lot of random letters thrown together, I know. But, feel free to Skype with me sometime, and I’ll pronounce it for you (as best I can at least). Or, if I get positive feedback about it, I’ll post a video for how to say it…

We’ve been working like crazy on our apartment, which is old (like 100 years) and has 11.5 ft. ceilings! It’s shaping up pretty nicely, I’ll plan to throw in some pictures of it really soon! So be looking for those here sometime this week! I’ll start blogging more frequently starting now. Promise.


SURPRISE!

It’s official. I’m a bad blogger. When you go to write a new post, and it’s been so long that you can’t remember your password to sign in.. that’s when you know.

So don’t worry, I haven’t fallen into a black hole or anything. I just forget to write sometimes.

One of the fun things that happened since the last post was turning 23. I thought it was going to be a pretty average day, but my roommate and others had been planning a couple of surprises for weeks! (Both of which nearly worked.)

First, one of our friends who lives a couple of hours away came. The plan was for Michelle to take me to an icrecream shop, and Reni would wait upstairs and surprise me when we sat down. Which was PERFECT.. until a sweet lady who has been helping us with our Hungarian happened to see us right at the bottom of the stairs, and in Hungarian said, “Oh, I just saw your friend, Reni, go up there!” hahaha. of course, of all the thousands of things I don’t understand in Hungarian.. I got that.

We had a great time together, and headed home for the evening. We were walking up to our door, when all of a sudden, I see 2 bikes leaned up against the front of our house. I said, “Oh, someone’s here.. whose bik…. ohhh nooo…” hahaha. And the two girls just went silent. We walked in, and I just kind of laughed as I turned on the light to the living room and heard, “SURPRIIIISE!!”

mean, really I was surprised each time… just about 30 seconds too early.

and then we went to the zoo. =)

 


I’m a 4 month old Hungarian today!

… and most of the time I feel like I have the linguistic skills of a four month old haha, so I guess we’re right on track.

Yes, 4 months ago today, I landed here in this super cool country. And I thank God literally every day that I get to be here loving people in his name.

I just thought I’d give ya some snap-shots of my world right now!

p.s. To all you Giants (or just anti-Patriots) fans out there, congratulations. :)

As you may have heard, Europe has gotten quite a bit of SNOW!! Keszthely was no exception. It’s been in single digits lately, which means that the lake we live on (Lake Balaton) is frozen over! Just to give you an idea.. Lake Balaton is the largest lake in central Europe. (According to ever-trustworthy Wikipedia) it’s surface area is about 2,000 square miles. (For a comparison for most of my readers, Lake Cumberland is about 100 square miles). So we’re talkin about a LAKE. :)

Keszthely’s such a cool place. Maybe you YOU can visit sometime???

We’ll have fun. I promise.


I Had a Dream…

Black Raspberry Chip

Last night I went to Graeter’s… in my dreams. Haha, really! Man, it was amazing. All of my friends were there, and my family too. We were laughing and just really enjoying each other. It was so, so comfortable. It felt so good. Everything seemed so bright, and happy…  For real, I’m talking sunshine streaming in the windows, balloons floating up to the ceiling, the whole 9-yards. It was PERFECT. I was jussst about to take my first bite of that matchless Cincinnati ice cream (black raspberry chip) and smiled real big and said, “Ohhh YEAH!!”

And then I woke up.

I looked around, confused for a second about where I was.  And then I saw my Hungarian book lying on the floor by my bed, and it all came rushing back. I slapped my forehead and kind of groaned, “oh yeah..”. haha

Dreams are sneaky like that. At least in reality, you can kind of talk yourself out of missing being
“home” with the people and places (and languages) you’ve known all your life. There’s no awareness of the fact that the nearest Graeter’s is 4,803 miles away (it’s true, I Googled it). While you’re asleep, you’re kind of at the mercy of where your mind goes, and just as suddenly as you’re drafted in, it’s jerked away.

And yet, in the same instant God must have just laughed and decided 4:03 a.m. was a “teachable moment” for me. He overwhelmed me with the thought that -in a sense- I experience the Kingdom of God the same way as that dream. In those instances when I’m worshipping God with a body of believers in Jesus Christ, I just catch a little glimpse of the worship party we’re going to have around the throne of God for eternity. It’s just enough to whet my appetite for that day, and spark me on to share the good news that an invitation is offered to everyone to be at that party.

One day, that little glimpse will be reality. “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12.

I can dream about Cincinnati’s famous ice-cream all day long, but it doesn’t hold a candle to actually dipping in that spoon and taking a huge bite. For now we catch glimpses of the never-ending worship party around God’s throne in heaven.. Will you actually be there to experience it? Will your friends? Will my friends/acquaintances?  ..  Just a thought.

Well, now that I’ve dared to compare the Kingdom of God to a dream about ice cream, guess we’ll call it a day. =)

But really, I’m praying for you… pray for me as we continue in our “Kingdom work”.

“Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” –Matthew 6:10


So Long, 2011

I guess the holidays are busy for all of us.. so I would apologize for not updating for so long, but I’m fairly sure you’ve figured out something to do with your time other than checking out what’s going on here in Hungary ;)

I hope you’ve all had an incredible time with family and friends! This Christmas has definitely made me more thankful for quality time with loved-ones. But, praise the Lord for Skype. Seeing faces even for a few minutes helps a lot.

We celebrated in Budapest, which is such a cool place. If you ever get the chance, you should absolutely check it out.

(I apologize now for terrible photography skills…one day I’ll remember to take my camera with me.  My little Nokia camera phone did its best! haha)

Budapest Parlament (yes that's how you spell it!)

The "Million Dollar McDonald's"

Residence

If you get my newsletters, you know that the week before Christmas, we had a little adventure with my residence permit which had somewhat of a scavenger-hunt feel to round up all of the requested paperwork. I’m currently known in the immigration office as “The American Lady”. haha. I’m constantly making new friends. One random item on the check-list was getting an unexpected ID picture taken (for the 3rd time) at a local photography place before they would process my info. As you can tell, I dressed for the occasion. GO UK!!

 

=) Oh, the joys of international service. Always an adventure.

But, really, I’m so thankful for a year like 2011, and can only image what God’s got planned for Hungary in 2012. I can’t wait to see him move here, and just pray he’ll use us to spread his love and good news here in Keszthely. (Oh, and by the way.. I’m praying that for you right where you are as well!)

 


Thanksgiving and English Clubbin’

I hope all you people living in the States had a fantastic Thanksgiving! I definitely did, even though it was a little sad to be away from my family and friends. I miss you all!

I spent my Thanksgiving in Budapest with David, Tina, Michelle, and about 30 other amazing people serving here in Hungary. It really was an encouraging time for all of us. Partially because of moments like this: (Yes, those are Starbucks cups).

Friday was the annual Keszthely English Club Christmas party. The highlights were 4 tables of delicious baked goods, line dancing, and karaoke. Best song of the night: “Sailing” by Rod Stewart. Please imagine a huge room full of people from various countries singing along with “Sailing” in English. I didn’t stop laughing the whole time. As for the dancing, my friends and I decided we were the teacher’s favorites … that she kept a close eye on us the whole time because we were so good.

 

And, good news. The paper plate extravaganza at the store was worth it. Children and adults alike enjoyed making some INCREDIBLE angel ornaments. They turned out so much better than I ever imagined.

It’s been a great weekend. God has blessed me beyond what I could have ever asked. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be able to serve here, and share with others the free gift of savlation in Jesus Christ that he so freely gives to us. I’m thankful every day for his salvation and love.

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!” Psalm 150:6

 


Sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes it’s just frustrating.

The above sentences ran through my mind at a restaurant the other day as I frowned at my plate full of snack sized sweet-pickles the waitress set in front of me… I thought I had ordered a salad.

It ran through my head again when I went to visit my neighbor one evening. I knocked and knocked on her front door until finally a little boy, terrified, pulled back the curtain and just looked up at me. I’d been knocking on her neighbor’s son’s bedroom window.  We’ll be good friends one day, I’m sure of it.  Ha. To be fair, it was a really big window…

After being here a little over six weeks I’ve come to a very important realization. Nothing here is COMPLETELY different… it’s just all slightly off. I mean, it’s not like that waitress was serving me cow brains or anything (thank the Lord). I’ve eaten a pickle before. I just would never think to order a plate of them as an appetizer.

A more-frustrating-than-funny crosscultural confusion happened a couple of days ago at the store. A day care from my hometown offered to collect an offering to buy craft supplies for kids here to make Christmas ornaments at an English club Christmas party we’re volunteering at this Friday. They asked if I could get paper plates here to make little angels, and I quickly said, “Ohhh, yeah! I’m sure!”. Well, three days later, after checking the most promising stores, I was still paperplate-less. I went into a school supply store looking for a different part of the craft (yarn), and there, hidden under piles of paper and other supplies was a beautiful stack of paper plates. Unfortunately, I don’t know the word for “paper” or “plates” in Hungarian, so the clerk and I had a little pointing/grunting match until she finally handed me one paper plate, and showed me the handwritten price on the back. 20 forint. (About 10 cents). I smiled and said I wanted 100. Her jaw literally dropped open. So, we stood there counting out all 97 of their individually priced paper plates. So, 1,940 forint (about $10) later, I walked out of that store with just under 100 precious paper plates.

So, next time you eat a lettuce-included salad, successfully knock on your neighbor’s front door, or eat off of your dirt-cheap paper plate,  think of me sitting (confused) Here in Hungary. Okay?

:)


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