An Afternoon In Szentendre

We spent an afternoon with the Shaw's and the Yoder's in a neighboring town where Dávid (the pastor of Agóra Corvin) lives called Szentendre. We bought our tickets and jumped on a train that took us about forty minutes outside of Budapest. It was my first time on a train and Johnny's first time since he was a baby, so getting to see the city streets turn to grassy villages was so much fun. We even talked to a Hungarian man who sat behind us who swore he was the train controller (he wasn't). He spoke English really well, but when he was struggling to get a few words out, Denise responded to him in fluent Hungarian and he told her to stop looking him in the eyes as intensely. We were all very confused, but he was nice so we kept talking to him until he wandered off to go and talk to someone else.

The best way we have heard Szentendre described is a town that is straight out of Epcot but 10x better and more authentic. And it's true, it looks like Disney based their European countries off of this town. We loved the old-style architecture, stone roads, and walking down the streets to poke our heads inside random shops. One of our favorite shops had to be the chocolate shop that Trey had pointed out to us. It was small inside but the walls were lined with all sorts of chocolates from all over Europe. We ended up paying around 2,300 forint (around $9-ish) for a square bar of sea salt caramel milk chocolate (it's one of the only sweets Johnny actually likes but its so hard to find anything sea salt caramel that isn't dark chocolate!) to share with everyone, and oh my gosh, was it the best.

Another shop we went inside was an art shop with pieces like coffee pots, coasters, paintings, and table runners. It was so cool, but sadly we didn't get any photos inside of it. Johnny & I both decided that for every country we visit or live in, we want to have something from there for our eventual home/home base, something that reminds us of our time there and is a conversation starter for anyone who comes into our home. Since Budapest is so well-known for its coffee, we've decided we want something coffee-related, so we almost bought a stovetop coffee maker from there, but then found out it was actually an Italian-made coffee maker, not a Hungarian one, so we will keep looking!

Langos is a very big traditional food here in Hungary, so we had to try it! It's a large piece of fried bread and it's normally topped with sour cream and cheese. We walked up a very narrow alleyway just to try it and it was SO FREAKING GOOD and so filling. I mean, of course fried bread with sour cream and cheese is going to taste delicious! Why are we continually this surprised when we eat the food and find out it tastes like food sent from Heaven?

We ended our day on the train heading back to Budapest. After spending a few days helping with church renovations, it was nice to have a day to just wander. Budapest is all sorts of wonderful and we absolutely love it, but it was great getting to get out of the city for a bit and explore. We're hoping to spend some time in Austria next month so that will be another amazing opportunity to be refreshed.

// Johnny + Sam (that's for you, Dóra 😉)


Gellért Hill

This week has been a whirlwind. After getting the Yoder's (an amazing family from our sending church back in Florida) situated on Saturday with Trey for their family missions trip, spending all day on Sunday either at church or hanging out with friends around the city, and jumping full force into renovation mode on Monday & Tuesday, it's been much different than the previous weeks we've spent here. Not that our weeks prior to this week have not been as productive or busy, we just haven't had a whole lot of time this week to sit down and breathe. Laundry needs to be done, our flat needs to be deep cleaned, and groceries need to be bought soon, but we're honestly loving having more things to do rather than just wake up and explore the city (which is pretty great, too, we just like having variety in our life!).

So after four very, very busy and long days, it was nice for us to be able to take a bus up to Gellért Hill and explore with Danny, Alyssa, Karolina, Gunner, & Sawyer. The air was unusually warm (it has been in the mid-70's this past week!), but that didn't stop us from exploring everything the area has to offer. The leaves were all sorts of yellows, oranges, and reds, and the shops on top of the hill were selling traditional Hungarian foods like lángos (fried bread usually with sour cream and cheese on it) and sausages. We split what looked like a long hotdog to us but really was a sausage wrapped in fresh bread and topped with pickles, pickled cabbage, and pickled peppers (they love to pickle things here), and Johnny and I tried Hungarian mulled wine for the first time. Basically, it was fall in a cup, so of course Johnny only took a few sips before giving it to me and deciding it was too "fall-y" for him. One day he'll learn...

We finished our time on Gellért Hill walking through the trees on the way to the bus stop and enjoying the season we never get to see. It's been so cool getting to see fall for the first time in a country that is this beautiful!

We're looking forward to taking some time to explore and do some "tourist-y" things with the Yoder's and Trey & Denise hopefully during the next few days (Johnny has been the best "tour guide" around and the Yoder's are naturals at working the metro system!), and even more excited to continue helping with the new church building. We've been filming and taking photos of the progress, so be expecting to see it very soon!

Also, if you think of us, we have some very important decisions to make regarding the future. Please pray for guidance from the Lord and that we will listen to whatever He has to say. We love you all!

// Jonathan + Samantha


Coming To Terms With Change


It's been an emotional past couple of days. Satan seems to be attacking us with everything he's got, tempting us to be more irritated with each other for no real reason, reoccurring dreams of family members dying, trying to get us to put up emotional boundaries with people, and even going as far as letting little things like forgetting a camera battery ruin our entire day (seriously, that happened). It has not been easy, but we are trying to cling to the truth that is Jesus and the knowledge that we are indeed here for a reason. We have realized the importance of being in the Bible daily, because without that time with our Father we are 10x more prone to the devil's attacks. 

One of the things Satan has recently tried to get us with is the discomfort with change. It's kind of ironic that while we are battling to listen to God above the noise we are experiencing our first autumn here in Budapest. Autumn, a season of change. We're all for seasonal change! We were selfishly excited to witness fall firsthand in a country that actually has it, because who doesn't want to finally break out the sweaters + boots + jackets they've been holding onto for years in hot & humid Florida? And who doesn't want to walk around feeling the crisp autumn air with a cup of hot coffee? And we won't even get started on how excited we are to try the Hungarian spiced wine that is sold at every restaurant and market during this time of year!

Actual life changes, though? We weren't too sure how we felt about that, but God planted a thought into Johnny's head that has been confirmed through conversations and moments only He can orchestrate about living a life of constant change. A life where we don't spend a long time living in one country, where we are constantly laying our heads down in a new place. A life where we share everything & anything online and be as transparent as possible through our website, Youtube channel, and social media pages.

It can be kind of a terrifying thing; the idea of never having consistency. We aren't going to lie, we're kind of afraid. We're afraid of not living in our home country until God calls us to. We're afraid of missing milestones in friends & family's lives. We're afraid of losing touch with people who were once so close to us. We're afraid of not having our own place to call home, a place where we can hang pictures and decorate and create memories and have people over for holiday dinner parties. We're afraid of saying goodbye to the people we meet and fall in love with in all the different countries we'll live in. 

But we're also excited! We're excited to make memories all over the world. We're excited about the people we are going to meet and the stories we are going to hear. We're excited for the experiences we will have. We're excited for the opportunity to learn about different cultures and how God shows Himself to different groups of people. We are excited for the opportunity to travel at a young age and as a newlywed couple. We are excited for the chance to be a part of new traditions. We're excited to document our life and share it with the world. Most of all, we're excited to be doing what God has called us to do.

If you think of us, please pray against the attacks Satan seems to want to get us with almost every single minute and please continue to pray for the church that is being planted here in Hungary. We love you all and are excited to get to share more of our personal and daily lives with you!

// Jonathan + Samantha