We can hardly believe that the 30 day mark has come and gone. Life has been so, so good lately and it's hard to imagine that it's about to turn upside down all over again. We've fallen in love with this place and these people and have had a creative freedom that we didn't really have before that was so needed. We've learned so much about life and ministry and the Hungarian culture and that the world is a lot bigger than just our little corner of Lakeland, Florida. We've been able to explore places most people will never get to explore and we've eaten incredibly rich + delicious foods. We've been able to go to beautiful Catholic churches and hike up hills with so much history. We've been able to experience what cold weather is like (and we absolutely love it... We have no idea how we will react when we go home for Christmas and it's 80+ degrees!) and how holiday's are celebrated here. We've drank wine from friends vineyards and we've sat in their living rooms with our Bible's open and everyone's hearts pouring out.
But most importantly, we've learned so much more about God and who He is and how He loves. We've learned more about who we are as individual people and as a couple. We've been challenged, we've been confronted, we've been changed. We've learned patience and we've learned that God's way is the only way for us no matter how much it hurts (because it isn't always easy). We've realized what we gain and what we lose if we follow what God is calling us to do by going into long-term missions. We've realized our need for community (something we didn't really understand or desire before). We've realized that the Lord loves different cultures just as much as He loves other cultures, He just loves them differently because they need to be shown love differently. We've learned that the American Church has lots of things wrong with it that are effecting how so many people view Christian's in general. We've learned that the European Church is no better, but we are encouraged by what we have seen in Agóra Corvin & Agóra Gellért.
It's actually kind of crazy how changed we feel, and we've only been in Hungary for 2 months. I remember Trey (who, along with his wife, Denise, has spent countless hours talking with us over coffee or food, mentored us, explained things to us, walked around the city with us, answered all of our never-ending questions, and encouraged us) telling us the first week we got here that if the only thing that happened during these 3 months is that we go home completely changed, then the 3 months were not wasted. And we definitely feel changed. The world is so much bigger to us and the love of God is so much greater. Life is much more valued and the days are much more important. The idea of living in the moment and making the best of each and every day is something we strive to live by. We have an appreciation for other cultures and figuring out how God shows His love to the people (in Hungary, He is viewed as a mighty warrior who comes to fight their battles for them).
So what's next for us? In short, we don't know. We'll be boarding a plane on December 5th and heading home for Christmas, but in terms of how long we will stay, we're leaving that up to God. We don't have jobs, we don't have a home (Johnny's parents have graciously let us stay in their guest bedroom anytime we are in America as we pursue this), and really the only thing tying us down to America is family + friends. Long-term missions is something we both feel strongly called to, and we feel very passionate about Europe in general since it is so under-represented in the missions world and because we love the people immensely and believe God is moving there. We feel especially at home in Budapest, Hungary, but we are willing to go wherever God leads us. We're currently exploring a few doors and praying that if they are not where God wants us that He would shut the door, even if it hurts. We don't want to be anywhere He doesn't want us to be.
If you feel lead to, please pray for us. Please pray that doors will open and close wherever God wills them to and that, emotionally, we will be okay with it. Please pray that the doors that we are pursuing going through are opportunities that are divine and not from the Devil. Pray that we live each day in the present and remember Matthew 6:27 ("Can all your worries add a single day to your life?") and Matthew 6:34 ("Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."). Please pray that each day is looked at as an opportunity and that no day is wasted.
So that's it for us right now! We've spent countless days recently editing vlogs, filming for other missionaries, and we've been writing a whole lot for our website. We've also spent a lot of time out in the community, going to art workshops at Montázs Art Café (a friend of ours in Agóra Gellért runs it!), having dinner and going on evening walks with friends, jumping on a train and heading to Ukraine when other missionaries invite us to, and talking to anyone who wants to about life here in Budapest. And friends, we've been creating so much. The creative freedom we've had here has been, like we said before, so needed and has been so refreshing. We can't wait to keep all of this up when we get back to America and when God leads us through whatever door He wants us to go through.
// Johnny + Sam