Monday, May 25, 2009



There are many different types of "family" here in Hungary. First, I remember my own relatives: family I miss very much and will see in a few short weeks! Next, we have the family of God. At a joint church service on Sunday, our church of three services met together in a park and studied Acts 2:42:

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

We talked about true and real fellowship, the purpose of the Church, and the family of God. Then, I'm feeling the connection to my ICSB family--friends and fellow teachers as well as students with whom we labor daily. They are so special to me and grow in significance as the time approaches to say goodbye to some.

Finally, the first form of family arrives again as ICSB hosted Family Field Day last Wednesday. Classes were cancelled for the day, and all students and families joined the staff in a nearby field for games, food, and time together. Fun and sunburns ensued!

I was the black team leader, which meant that I got to go with my kids to each station, keep them organized, encourage sportsmanship, and cheer loudly. Oh yes, cheerleading experience comes in handy at moments like this!

Before the games started, each team created a team cheer complete with skits or stunts. All the teams had great creativity, and displayed a beautiful love for their fellow students of all ages. Elementary students were flying all over the place. :)

Here I am using my vast knowledge of stunting to plan the "basket-toss" of a young student. I had to fight the urge to climb in myself. Oh to feel the wind in my face once again as I go flying through the air. (Sorry, old high school habits die hard.)

And the end result:

B-L--A-C-K, Go Black!

"Family" has taken on new depths and meanings for me as I make a home in Hungary. I'm so thankful that God is my Heavenly Father everywhere and heaven is my true home. Until then, I'll enjoy all the "families" I can get.

Friday, May 8, 2009

My Love Affair with Coffee

My college years--a time filled with late-night conversations, streams of appointments with students, and other such spiritually and intellectually stimulating activities--produced a sincere and deep-rooted love of coffeehouses. My association with coffee shops is one of quality interaction with other people or alone with God. The ambiance, the fragrance, the caffeine. I love it all. The European model of the small cafe or even independent bakery each with an espresso machine and little white mugs filled with $1.50 cappuccino suits me well.

Lately, though, as my room in our flat is utterly disorganized with the preamble to packing, I've been heading out more often to a Central European (Polish, actually) coffee house chain called Coffee Heaven. And, for me, it is just that. The comfy chairs, the hilariously nostalgic music loop, the caramel macchiato...

Sorry, I'm back. For many of my friends and family members, the attraction to such a place is an oddity. But for me, the means and atmosphere for writing in a journal, talking with friends, or being still before the Lord are a strong draw. I watch my budget carefully and will do so all the more as my housing will be getting quite more expensive soon. The money set aside for coffee shop trips is worth far more to me than the contents of a big paper cup.

All that being said, here is an interesting article that shows one perspective on the recent coffee-shop-chain-in-Central-Europe phenomenon.


Monday, May 4, 2009

We have left everything to follow you!

But Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."
Peter said to him, "We have left everything to follow you!"
"I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal
. Mark 10:24b-30

There is so much packed into this passage, and I'm in awe of who Jesus is. I've been studying this section of the Bible because of several lessons found here: how we (the rich of the world) rely on ourselves and how hard it is for such to enter the kingdom of God, the powerful grace of God even in such situations, the dedication of the disciples, and Christ's promise/warning to them. Lots to think about.

I have to find a new home in about a month's time. My current, lovely living situation has to come to an end rather abruptly, so as the school year reaches its frenetic May pace I have to move...somewhere. As flats are falling through, I've got to tell you, I'm uncomfortable and stressed. This passage also spoke to me regarding God's care in this situation.

But even as I have been feeling scared about losing my home, lonely for family, exhausted from the fever pitch at school, and concerned about the hearts of students who are leaving, the biggest lesson from this passage for me, beyond the comfort, was the claim that Peter made--"We have left everything to follow you!"--in light of the savior Jesus.

Now, HE "left everything".
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And
being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11
God didn't have to leave his place in heaven to redeem this world by dying on the cross. He doesn't have to make the impossible salvation of self-absorbed rich people possible. He doesn't have to provide a new flat for me now. The holy, sovereign God doesn't owe me anything. Yet, he did die. He will provide. He cares for his children.

Even in my current discomfort, I can only stand in awe.