Sunday, April 27, 2008

I've been tagged.

My dear friend and current neighbor Kristen tagged me, so here are a few thoughts on a Sunday afternoon.

I am: a child of the King, a daughter, a sister, a teacher, a friend
I think: in broken French sometimes and love it
I know: this transition to Budapest will be hard at times
I want: an eternal perspective
I hate: soggy bread
I miss: my family, friends, and dog in the U.S.
I fear: causing harm to others, to the cause of the gospel; misconceptions
I feel: thrilled to be here, content, drowsy
I hear: a slow drip from the shower, an occasional "crackle" from the circuit board over my bed
I smell: residual smoke from the bus line
I crave: a venti, skinny, iced, caramel macchiato
I search: the faces of Hungarians as we try to communicate
I regret: being too sick at the airport to hug my parents soundly
I love: God's Word and His bigger picture through eternity
I ache: with beauty and loss as I stand overlooking big cities that are filled with searching people
I care: about what people think (see "I fear")
I always: want to contribute
I am not: tall.
I believe: worrying offers no benefits
I sing: less than I used to. Why is that?
I cry: at self-sacrifice, attempts at nobility, undeserved kindness, injustice--in life and in fiction
I fight: with myself mostly
I write: rarely since college
I win: Encore! every time
I lose: track of what I'm doin--Oh, something shiny--
I never: comprehend in advance the greatness of what God will do
I confuse: most people with whom I talk for any length of time
I listen: to the conversation happening next to mine sometimes
I can usually be found: at school or a coffee shop
I am scared: of not absorbing Hungarian once my course starts, but I shouldn't. (See "I believe")
I need: to put down roots and build genuine friendships
I am happy about: most things
I hope: to "catch on" quickly here in Hungary
I am tagging: Megan S. and Kim A.--my writing-inclined friends

Friday, April 25, 2008

Having in mind the things of God

Last night, I got to attend an English Home Fellowship (small group in English) at a church in the city. We looked at the last half of Matthew 16 together. While this is a passage rich with significance and different lessons, I was again prompted to an eternal perspective. "Seize eternity!"

Jesus said to Peter and then to his disciples do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men...If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

Matthew 16:23b-25

Peter had just recognized publicly that Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of the living God, but when he heard Jesus talking about suffering, death, and resurrection, he pulled Him aside to "encourage" Jesus and let Him know that no such terrible things would happen to Him. Then came the firm reprimand of "Get behind me, Satan" as Jesus recognized the temptation to avoid the crucifixion that would save the world.

Peter saw a terrible situation unfolding and thought that such tragedy would not come to one loved by God. Suffering? Death? Surely not. But the crucifixion HAD to happen in order to fulfill God's promise to keep His covenant with His people and to enable us, sinful as we are, to have an intimate relationship with Him. Peter didn't see what God saw; he didn't have in mind the things of God.

Jesus took this opportunity to teach all the disciples--not just poor, impulsive Peter--about the perspective that is needed. The life of following Jesus would not be easy. In fact, any followers would need to identify with Jesus' shameful, torturous death on the cross. Then came the paradox: losing one's life for God is saving it.

But how can that be? I want to cling to life with both hands. Deny myself? Lose my life? Surely not.

It seems backwards, and that is because I'm looking at it from the wrong perspective. Yes, I must turn over this life to God daily and follow where He leads. I need to deny my sinful self and my plans for life, give up the things of men.

Just as Peter didn't see the glorious results and the coming reign of a crucified Jesus, so it is hard for me to see the perfect plan of God. But look to the end. "Whoever loses his life for me will find it." God's perspective, the eternal one, holds so much more than I can imagine.

Lose the life I might plan, but gain a better one. The Heavenly Father offers abundant life--with meaning, power, and hardship--as I realize that He reigns. This life of mine is His. I shouldn't settle for "the things of men," but yearn for, seek out, focus on "the things of God" that last forever.

Seize eternity. It is more real and all that will last.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A few pictures

In the midst of signing up for Hungarian language school two blocks from the parliament building, buying a public transportation pass to get to said school, experiencing a Hungarian panoramic dental X-ray, ordering my mobile phone, savoring my Sunday morning at a primarily Hungarian church, and meeting many new people, I enjoyed a brief walk by myself in Diosd. This village is about 6-9 kilometers outside Budapest, and the International Christian School of Budapest is located here. Because of my marvelous and caring hostess/landlord, I was also able to get my first glimpse of the city of Budapest (and accomplish most of those errands listed above).

Uploading pictures into this blog has not been possible lately, but two small photo albums of some my adventures can be found at my photosite. You'll find a link in the right column.

As a few more days pass, I'll be getting into a routine of sorts, acquainting myself with more of Diosd and Budapest, and reflecting on this big change in life. I'd like to continue to "seize eternity" by seeing the present as God does and also share my lessons with you. For now, I'll just sleep in order to chase away the remnants of jet lag. Rest has its place, too.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Feeling loved

Thank you to all my friends and family who've e-mailed, called, prayed, supported, and wished me well. I am basking in the love!

For the best use of YouTube, try the link below. Sorry I couldn't embed it!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I've arrived in Budapest!

Amazed by the welcome.
Addled with jet lag and a bit of the flu.

There is so much to be thankful for from the past six months and from my seamless journey here morning, or ...whatever. I'll have to be more descriptive later. Tomorrow may hold the possibilities for some photos, so I'll do my best to include some.

For now, sleeeep.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

T Minus Seven Days

That's right, friends! I will be taking off from the tarmac in exactly seven days and one hour, bound for Budapest. The idea that was planted in my heart two years ago, for which I've trained and about which I've talked incessantly, is now put into action. Incredible.

The mystery of the visa has been resolved and confirmed by the Hungarian Consulate in New York and the Office of Immigration in Budapest. I may enter the country without a visa, as a tourist of sorts, and then apply for the residence permit. Without the delay of bureaucratic paperwork, I am free to leave as soon as possible. So I am.

The truth in all this blur is that I can't understand the abundance and the challenges of this life, and God can. As far as perspectives are concerned, God is in heaven and I am here on earth, so I'll let my words be few. Ecclesiastes 5:2 He is trustworthy, wise, and loving, and I've nothing to fear.
So here I go.