It is the beginning of the new year! Tabby and I got to celebrate the New Year with our wonderful friends and family here in Hungary eating traditional meals of lentil and pork. The weather and winds have been colder, and many students and teachers have gotten sick. Luckily, I have not been too sick this month! Stay warm, safe and healthy wherever you are!
Intentionally Living the Gospel
Every other Wednesday evening, Tabby and I go to a Bible Study group with another American missionary in our city. We are currently going through the book of Esther and it has been insightful. We recently read Esther chapter 5 and discussed the duality of pride and humility in our faith. This was brought to light by Haman’s feelings towards Mordecai in that Haman is a man who has accomplished many and is respected by the King. He and his wife are proud of who he is, yet his pride consumes him in furthering his hate towards Mordecai, a Jew, who does not properly bow or respect him the way everyone does. How can someone so lowly as a Jew not bow down to a powerful man like Haman? We further discussed how it is important to remember and note where your actions and thoughts come from. Do they come from places of pride or humility? I believe that it is important to be proud of your accomplishments but more important to come from a place of humility. Pride can easily become a platform of contest in which you compare yourself to others or the bar in which society holds for you such as wealth, influence, social acceptance, etc. Whereas, humility disregards all that bind us and makes us force ourselves to accept we are broken. Being humble requires us to strip away that pride. This has been very important in my discernment of where I will go in the future as I continue to ask myself where my decisions come from: places of pride or humility? Therefore, I ask you to challenge yourself and ask yourself where your actions and decisions come from.
Surrendering to Chaos
January has been an interesting month in Hungary. The University conducts their exams throughout the month of January so many college students have their own unique schedules throughout the month, some going home for a week while others staying in the dormitories to study. Tabby and I were unaware of this so our typical Tuesday and Thursday evenings with the Roma College have been quiet. I had a check up call with Zach, our country coordinator, just to debrief how the holidays were and if we needed anything here in Nyíregyháza so I mentioned how slow our schedule has been this month. Coming from a western culture where you must be always doing something or occupying your time in order to feel accomplished, I had thoughts of thinking this month was a waste of time. But Zach reassured my western mind in saying that it is good that it is “slow” and that things will get busier. His ability to meet me where I was and tell me everything was going to be OK allowed me to remember to surrender. Sometimes, part of accompaniment means letting go and just being. There will always be tomorrow so allow this freedom of time and reflection to be present and take care of yourself.
Letting Grace Win
During this time of snow and freezing temperatures, it is only natural that many children and adults get sick. Many teachers and students at the primary school were sick throughout the month so there were a couple Thursdays where I will show up and find that many classrooms were half full or find out that the teachers I usually accompany were sick. Throughout this time, many other teachers stepped up and would allow me to follow them and attend their classes. I, of course, was hesitant at first as I did not want to be an unnecessary burden for them in case they had to change their lesson plans to incorporate me in their teachings. Regardless of how they may feel, they truly do welcome my presence with smiles and understanding. This month, I have learned to let grace win by allowing those teachers to take me as I am and incorporate me in their classrooms.
Become Servant To, Not Service For
The balance between being servant and service is tricky and I continue figuring out the balance. Sometimes, in order to be servant, you must ask those you are with if they need help or if you can possibly offer your gifts. For ecumenical week, the Kertváros choir were in charge of singing two songs (both in Hungarian): Amazing Grace and Shout to the Lord, both very American songs. Seeing that Tabby and I are two Americans among Hungarians, I offered to play violin. Szabi, our choir director, gladly accepted and so the next choir rehearsal, I brought my violin and we were able to incorporate it with the music. It was wonderful with many of the choir members really liking it. Therefore, the lesson I learned is that it is OK to offer your gifts to those you accompany. Some may not even know that you have these gifts, but it is important to at least offer.