Greetings from Venice!
(but in all honesty, I’m finishing this up on my off-day in my room at Budapest, tiredness is real)
After two weeks of ministry, the team and the Hungarian pastoral team are at Venice enjoying the luxuries of the city on water. The sun is crazy bright, the pigeons here are super rude, and there are one too many bridges that take my breath away.
As fun as video editing was (and hopefully you enjoyed watching them, too), I definitely miss writing—without visuals, just letting myself reflect with words I slowly conjure up in my head. The last time I truly got to reflect and update you was when I was first starting my month-long experience in Budapest. The team seems to be settling in well. We’re staying at a very European apartment with chipped wooden windows and a large household oven. There are four bedrooms and we have seven people — I somehow got the room all to myself (I couldn’t be happier). We always assume the neighbors are judging us crazy, loud Asians, but we also couldn’t care less.
It has been two long weeks of adult-ing (cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, and groceries shopping), and doing ministry. I am thoroughly enjoying sun sets at 9 pm, all natural AC from open windows at night, perfectly ripe apricots from Ciniti’s garden (Cinti is our main translator/future Bread of Life Budapest pastor), and the Danube riverside.
First week was mostly getting to the groove of everything — learning about TP prices, resetting body clocks, going on a city scavenger hunt, prepping for our weekend ministry at the Roma village, and raiding the Asian market for our house warming hot pot party (more on that later).
The first weekdays flew by like a dream, they gave me a sense of oh-I-could-thrive-here. Then on Saturday morning, Pastor Vili picked us up and we arrived at Tiszavásvari where the children greeted us like we were entering heaven. They were all so confused as to why my June team mates weren’t here (“Olivia? Frank? Lize?” they’d ask me with the most bewildered face), but were happy to see old faces from last year (Nini, Deborah, Samuel & Ruth). The two newbies, Sharon and Vivian, didn’t seem flustered at all, they just rolled with whatever we needed to do and they looked like they were enjoying themselves and the uncontrollable kids.
As discouraging as it is to see the children’s attention level drop drastically from games and dances to lessons, I have to keep reminding myself that seeds can be sown and not in just one day. Another frustrating fact is the way the unchanging behavior of the adults at church. Danny asked me if I saw anything difference from my very first time here and I gave him a “hmmm, -ish”. While our main focus is with children, we still worship, share, and pray with the adults — although sometimes it feels like we are doing it for them, not with them. I wish they could truly understand there’s nothing magical about praying and worshipping, just because we come from somewhere other than their town doesn’t mean we are holier. But baby steps, they still are steps.
After bouncing around for a weekend, we came back to our place in Budapest. We were to be a part of an English camp Cinti’s home church was hosting for the youths. To be blatantly honest, the program they’ve set up was very confusing and I complained a lot a little. So Monday morning, we woke to go to the other side of Budapest where hypermarkets looked three times bigger than the one in our neighborhood. The program turned out to be more of a tutoring style ministry: I taught three classes, one student per class. We read through Bible stories, looked at some tough words, then mostly talked. I was determined to have them learn as much as they could even though this English camp still didn’t make any sense in my head. God is always teaching me lessons of obedience and patience, I just really need to follow.
My highlight of the week was the hot pot party we got to host for the youth revival group we befriended through a couple trips back. The June team also had the chance to fellowship with Nori’s revival team so I didn’t feel too strange with them but the others felt a like everything was a bit foreign. Nevertheless, we pigged out on homemade Asian food and had a wonderful time worshipping together and prophesying to each other.
Then, I got sick. The next two day were my extreme resting days where I basically slept and watched the newest season of Stranger Things. I thought about typing up an update but my head was spinning and sleeping and tuning out were all I was capable of.
The weekend rolled around for us to head to Tiszavasvári again. Because of some misinformation, the adults showed up at the children’s camp times. They were extremely distracting and not helpful at all. I got so upset, then I knew — I asked them all to stand in a circle and pray for the person next to them. Personally, I was getting tired of them always asking us for prayers and I wanted to tell them they could be intercessors for each other, too. The prayer circle worked beautifully, they all calmed down and we continued with our program.
I used to be a seer, I saw the supernatural clearly; but this trip around, I became more of a knower. I’ve been just knowing what to do and been trying very hard to act on what the Holy Spirit has been letting me know. This trip so far has been a lot of “NEED TO DO THIS NOW, GO WITH THIS FLOW” and acting out of spontaneous faith. I did ask God to turn off the seeing a while back because it got really stressful at times but now I don’t really want to turn it back on. All will be beautiful in His time, I’ll let you know if I see angels again.
So, after two weeks, being at a hotel with room cleaning service has been extremely marvelous. I’d smuggle food out of the breakfast bar so I could have basically free lunch while I roamed Venice. In my defense, I technically paid for it. Although we saved money by driving and hitting three cities in just few days, the long car rides that followed it was a bit brutal. Our apartment in Budapest definitely felt very home as we unpacked and sipped on hot teas.
As always, I’m so happy you get to read about my journey. If you want to rewatch my videos here’s my playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLn8tvRFK6aF-Rwsbpn5CNRctA9c_LMn41 And you can also watch my teammate, Samuel’s vlogs here, most of them are from his trip last year but they’re all worth a watch: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLn8tvRFK6aF9gXa_1XsPOdQ8-RNyN5Qch
Please just pray that I’ll be able to push through our last days here. A lot of us are just physically drained. I’m still also taking in donation if you feel led, reply me for more info!