Monday, October 31, 2011

A kick in the head

Migraines have attacked my poor head each Sunday for several weeks now. Some of them have been so severe that the usual medicine and sleep course of action isn't enough and they remain in the morning.

Like today's.

Besides the pretty uncomfortable symptoms themselves, these migraines are terribly inconvenient as life grinds to a halt in my little flat. Other people don't understand--and rightfully so--why I can't fulfill certain obligations during the weekend or even attend church. How frustrating for them and for me.

While I take more note of triggers, food or activities that prompt these headaches, I would really appreciate prayer. Because I become isolated from fellowship and teaching on Sundays, I'm sure there are spiritual repercussions as well as physical.


P.S. Sorry to those of you who, excitedly, thought I was going to blog about love. I was referring to the pain in my head quite literally. :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

That Slaves We Shall No Longer Be

October 23rd is a Hungarian National holiday commemorating the 1956 Revolution. I'm reminded again of the struggle for freedom, autonomy, and hope that lasted through a thousand years of oppressive regimes. A new struggle for real hope persists even today.

Here is a look back at the 1956 Revolution through the eyes of Time Magazine in January, 1957:


I'm humbled every time I consider the fortitude of my dear friends here. Let's continue to pray for those in power and for nations that are seeking peace and freedom today and for eternity: Hungary, Tunisia, and so many more.

In my anguish I cried to the Lord,
and he answered by setting me free.
Psalm 118:5

Monday, October 17, 2011

Amazing Surprise

After a truly wonderful and a bit stressful high school retreat, I walked into my classroom last Saturday to discover this:
My classroom now contains a projector and screen! I'm so thankful for the supporters of our school and the administrators who carefully dole out the resources. I know this classroom has been on the list for a projector since I've tried to incorporate more and more technology into my classes, but I had no idea that I would actually get one. Wow. 

God has provided for a need for which I didn't think it was important enough to ask. What a delightful surprise. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

It takes a village.

This weekend, it took a village to care for "the little American girl" and I am certainly feeling the love.

 First, my sweet, diligent, and concerned landlady, Zsuzsanna, sent her brother-in-law to fix my water heater and rewire the light fixture in the living room. Not only do I now have hot water for bathing and washing dishes and clear light over my sitting area, but I also have a sparkling tub and sink. Apparently, every 8 months or so when repairs are needed, Gabor brings a professional strength cleaning agent that he and Zsuzsanna don't want me to touch. They certainly don't need to clean my bathroom, but I appreciate their extra labor.
  Later the same day, Zsuzsanna came to collect several months' rent. She explained some country-wide hikes in electricity costs as well as some other unfortunate price changes of which I was already aware. While my rent will be going up, I'm confident that she is giving me the best deal she can. At the same time, my dear landlady informed me that she had taken it upon herself to complete the confusing census forms that are circulating Hungary. Long story short, I was frantically trying to get a new internet code in order to comply with the law and complete the census; I'd tried to explain my situation to a census worker who stopped by but to no avail. (Everything is trickier when one doesn't speak the language.) The fact that Zsuzsanna is taking care of everything is a weight off my shoulders.
  Today, workers came to read the water and gas meters. I was happy to work with the meter readers myself and felt quite competent speaking basic sentences as they walked into the flat. The village of helpers came through later, though, when the super unlocked the gas meter in another part of the building. She has a deal with my landlady to take care of such things on my behalf.
  Finally, I got to meet another neighbor in the elevator. He and his son rode up with me, and, when my Hungarian ran out and he discovered I spoke English, Joseph was all the more delighted to make my acquaintance. He was baffled as to why I would choose to live here (common response) but glad to know me. He hopes I might be able to teach his little boy English from time to time. While the added time commitment seems daunting to me, and I'm choosing not to start now, I'd love to interact more with this sweet family in my building! Before saying goodbye, the little boy who "doesn't speak any English" held out his hand and stammered, "I-I am Joseph." What a darling pupil he would make. The elder Joseph also offered his services if I should ever have questions or need help. How thoughtful.
  I might be the oddity in my building, and the super might continue to give me such strange looks as I greet her, but everyone is very helpful to this "little American girl".  There are situations for which I am ill prepared and moments when life here seems quite complicated, but God has built this little village on Bocskai street to take care of me.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Perseverance in the Mundane

Rick Stafford just returned from 2.5 years of walking the Amazon. "Although everyone would like me to say that the hardest thing has been our encounters with (indigenous residents) pointing bows and arrows at our chest, for me that wasn't the hardest part," Stafford said last month, " ... the adrenalin kicks in and you deal with exciting, potentially dangerous moments like that easily."
"It's been the mundane that had really challenged me," he said. "... The weight of the rucksack, the basic food, the constant mosquito bites, the constant thorns. The little things that in a two-day expedition wouldn't bother you have been the things that have actually been challenging."

I appreciate this reminder for myself and for my students. The God of the obvious challenges, the high points, the retreats and mission trips is the God of the every day, too. He is just as powerful, loving, and active as we go about our grocery shopping, our family living, our daily labor. I'm challenged to experience God in the "mundane" and to discover so much more under the surface.

This post is a bit dated. I wrote it upon Stafford's return but didn't actually publish it until now. The truth remains.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Delight and Rest

In this new school year, God is teaching me about his delight in me, my delight in him, and what true rest--not just leisure--looks like. This afternoon, before I get to some important grading, I'm spending a delightful hour with him at a park in Kosztolányi Dezső tér  a block from my flat.
I'm lying under this tree.
Can you see the fountain? It is behind the tree and splashing into the  Feneketlen-Tó  or "bottomless lake".