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One of our longer days is in the books! We have survived. Today’s writing is being brought to you by me. I go by many names, your child may call me Miss Julee, your student may call me Mrs. Hunter, if you’ve met my husband he will tell you I only answer to “Teacher.” All of those things have some truth to them. For many years, I spent my time in a formal classroom as a teacher. However, God’s plans and my plans had a major transition, or restructuring this year. My career has changed, but my love for students has not. Today, I ventured back into a world I was fairly confident being a part. The phrase that best describes this is a Hungarian one: "Ishten Hotza", meaning "God brought you." No matter where you may find yourself in the world, there are things that are similar and familiar. People love food; teenagers roll their eyes at their parents; there is always one kid in class that wants to be funny and the rest of the class thinks they are a fool. Today was spent in Hungarian high schools, discussing the topic of stress. How well life prepares us with experiences to share. We shared personal stories about stress, followed by discussion of ways to handle and cope with the pressure in our ever changing world and shared the excitement that is a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. As we talked with students on this side of the globe, it was striking how many of the issues and stresses that the Hungarian students encounter are similar to the ones your average American teenager face. In a world where we are separated by so much, one of the things that brings us together is often a struggle that we universally face. Many of these students were worried about university entrance exams; school stressed them out; their families were often sources of the most stress in their life. Being able to talk to these students as they tried to work on their English skills was a short visit back into the world I have recently transitioned out of and yet the most memorable thing for me, was the teacher at the end of the day who was eager for our return. Teaching a full day is exhausting and she seemed relieved for the small break as we took on her students whose mastery of English was not up to par with many of the other classes.
After our day at school, most of us went to a nearby shopping center to hopefully talk with some students from the school day. One student came and connected with Ryan, Kimberly, and Steve as they discussed the difference between the U.S. and Hungary. However, all of the students were invited to an event on Friday night and we hope to see more of them there.
Our evening was spent at AfriCafe, a café on the university campus that often holds meetings for several different groups. We spent our night speaking English with many students from Hungary, as well as volunteers and CRU staff. Matthew volunteered to step out of his comfort zone and speak some Hungarian words, with a few of the other Americans here from Texas. To see him take part in something so simple yet challenging for him was a testament to how much God empowers us to do things we normally would not step out and do. It was another affirmation of God bringing us to and through challenges and equipping us to handle them.
Jonathan had the privilege of giving a short message to all of those in attendance. Mara was able to be there tonight to be his translator. His message stemmed from the rich fool in Luke 12:13-21, the man who stored all of his grain up without using it and then unexpectedly died. The man's investment was not used to its full potential. Often times in our lives we get stuck in the way we view our circumstances never giving ourselves over to the joy and satisfaction we would find if we would look up and change our way of thinking and allow Christ the full and complete control. No matter where you are, chances are good that God either brought you there or will bring you through.
Today was a day of facing some of our fears. Being empowered with love to do the things we were brought here to do. Whether in a classroom of silent twelfth graders, a café full of college students seeking to grow in community with one another, or a mall food court, we are Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). Thank you for praying for us as we continue to reach out of our comfort zones and do things that do not always come naturally for us. Pray for rest as we are getting up earlier and earlier to leave for full days of ministry in the city of Budapest. Pray for the people that we encounter that we would be the ambassadors for Christ that encourages someone to be reconciled to God. Remember in all things God is there, bringing us to and through.
- Julee Hunter