ReachBudapest

Reaching the City

Sowing Seeds of the Gospel in Higher Education

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Every semester, 50-60 eager university students attend one of my two-hour seminars during their mandated training week. During this week, just prior to vacation days, all students must select from a variety of seminars presented by their professors or guests. The sky’s the limit on topics, so I strike a balance between professional topics for teacher education students and personal topics for students in any major. "Dating for a Healthy Future" (for women only) is a seminar I’ve repeated several times. It’s always filled to capacity and this semester, a couple of men actually attended! The university has a religious heritage, so sharing biblical truths and my personal faith, while perhaps not expected, is certainly not rejected. University students are often openly searching for answers about the meaning of life. These students are engaged in the discussion and often ask hard questions; honesty is in abundant supply.

What tips can you give us about making a relationship deeper? What helped you stay married? Marriage isn’t important in Hungary. Why would a certificate make a difference? I don’t want to marry but I want to have a good relationship.

Lively discussion ensues as students talk in small groups and challenge one another’s views. And always, I tie it back to God’s word and his instructions for marriage. After two years at the university, I am noticing repeat customers and actually remember some of the students’ names! After the presentation, I offer students a chance to sign up for discussion groups that will take place outside the university. Usually about 10-15 students are interested, and some of them contact me individually to meet. In June, the discussion topic will be Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages. Please pray for our meetings – that the timing will be right and students will have open hearts. They are always eager to stay after class and share personal stories, and these discussion groups will give us a chance to form real relationships.

Few professors are Christians, but there is a small presence on the faculty at this university. One of the professors tells me that our prayer times are most precious to her; she so appreciates taking these students before God and asking for their salvation.

Other opportunities to speak present themselves periodically in the educational world, and there is always a way to weave in the love that I have for Hungary and the reason that I feel God has called me there. Please pray for the harvest as we labor together to bring the gospel to the lost!


Posted by Robin, an educator and disciple-maker who splits her time between living in Budapest and the US.

There are currently a number of unique opportunities to join the ReachBudapest team in disciple-making and church multiplication in Budapest, including joining the faculty of the Hungarian public school that Cindy writes about above. See the opportunities

Back To School

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The ReachBudapest team is motivated by the knowledge that God has shaped each one of us for a particular place of influence in society. He's given us skills, experience, and passions that equip us for a "space" or "lane" that is uniquely ours! We want to enter into those spaces as disciple makers, inviting people into relationship with Jesus and into community with other believers. As a result of professional connections made over the years with other educators, I was invited to give a teacher in-service at a public school. The local church sponsors this event annually, where students are dismissed for the day, and while teachers are in professional development sessions, other teams of church volunteers work with the school’s janitors on projects to improve the physical plant. This is but one way that the believers seek to support their local schools throughout the year.

I was asked to develop sessions that would inspire the teachers while giving them practical ideas for student-centered instruction in their classrooms. And by the way, the 60 or so teachers would have students ranging roughly from first to eighth grade. My first thoughts: “Wow, God, what an opportunity you’ve provided! Thank you!” My second: “ That’s impossible! I have no experience in Hungarian curriculum and instruction. A day off of school where the teachers VOLUNTARILY come to an inservice? Now that’s pressure! I’m not even sure it can be done well given the spread of grade levels. How can I possibly make this work? Help!”

Help was on the way! My most creative colleague “just so happened” to be joining me for a research trip in Budapest and its surrounds during the same timeframe. Having worked together as professors of education for over 15 years, we’ve developed a trust and a presentation style that complements the best in one another. “Guess what?” I cheerily told him. “We’re adding a teacher in-service during your trip!” Despite the fact that we weren’t at all sure what to expect, we set to work making plans that could be morphed at a moment’s notice into several different directions.

As we traveled to the school that crisp November morning, I was a bit apprehensive. I had met the pastor of the church and one of the teachers at the school, yet knew very little else about the situation. My colleague admitted to being scared (repeatedly and to anyone and everyone, only half in jest). In our own educational system and culture, we have been successful, but in a new context, we had little confidence in our own abilities to bring anything useful to this group of teachers. And make no mistake; the teachers of Hungary are VERY intelligent! We prayed for God’s favor and direction and plunged in!

We could not have received a more gracious reception with the faculty! They were attentive and adventurous, participating in all kinds of group activities. They laughed at our jokes! We all had fun and learned from one another. We affirmed their expertise and they drew from ours. We chatted at lunch and parted at the end of the day with an invitation to continue the dialog as educational colleagues.

We count it a great privilege to have the honor to work alongside local Christians who are reaching out through their schools, supporting and blessing their community’s faculty on a regular basis. Our prayer is that we, alongside local believers, will continue to be the aroma of Christ in their lives (2 Cor 2:14,15) for the sake of His gospel.

– Posted by Robin, an educator and disciple-maker who splits her time between living in Budapest and the US.

ARE YOU A TEACHER INTERESTED IN USING YOUR PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE TO MAKE A KINGDOM IMPACT IN BUDAPEST? WE'VE BEEN ASKED BY A HUNGARIAN PUBLIC SCHOOL TO RECRUIT A TEACHER FOR THE ENGLISH FACUTY. THIS TEACHER//MISSIONARY WILL ALSO JOIN A CHURCH PLANTING TEAM IN THE SCHOOL COMMUNITY! READ MORE…


The Beginning of a Church

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It is so exciting to see God work in new and unanticipated ways. He never ceases to amaze us in how invites us to participate in His work in the city. One of the long-term goals of the ReachBudapest team is to have an expanded ministry presence in Budapest, and to contribute to the launch of new churches in those locations. In the past year and a half, God provided an opportunity for our team to participate in the launch of a new church in the area of Kőrösi high school in Óbuda, the northern part of Budapest. The church planting team is led by Dávid, a Hungarian seminary student who is also the religion and ethics teacher at the high school.

On of our roles on the church planting team is to lead an English Club for parents and friends of the students at the school. These classes, while not evangelistic in nature, help to build relationships even though language is a challenge at times. Many questions arise during the discussions in class, and when this happens we take every opportunity to share our love of Christ and the hope we have in Him. In December we had an “American Christmas dinner” at our apartment in Óbuda. (photo below)

Every Wednesday after school, Hungarian teen believers are meeting with Dávid to study the Bible. They are inviting their friends that are searching for truth. The students have many questions about the scriptures, life, and what it means to live as a follower of Jesus. This is the beginning of a church and we pray that God will grow and expand it in His time.

This Christmas we gave Hungarian/English parallel Bibles to the adults in the English classes and to the teens. Several have shared with us that they have begun reading the God's word regularly! One couple memorized John 3:16 in English and recited it to the English club after we returned from Christmas. Please pray that as this new young church takes root, that God will use these Bibles for His glory.

There are currently opportunities to join this and other ministry projects Budapest. We're currently praying that God brings many more to join the ReachBudapest team. For more information click here.

– Posted by Harold, who along with his wife Cindy is a part of the church planting team at Kőrösi High School in Óbuda, on the northern edge of Budapest.


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Playing games at Harold and Cindy's flat after the "American Christmas Dinner"

Profound Peace

profound-peaceOn Saturday December 10, the coffeehouse was filled with musicians and artists who performed here throughout the year, here to celebrate Christmas together and so that we could thank them. We wanted to make sure that they know how valued they are, and how they helped to bring peace and life to the community this year. As I thanked them, I reminded them of that — of how different people are comforted by different things, how peace is brought to people so profoundly through art and music and how meaningful it is that we could offer more than 50 programs this year because of them.

This is important because one of our goals is to add to the life of the community. Through these artists, we are able to connect with more people in unique ways that touch their hearts. In the two years we've been open, we have established relationships with customers, musicians, artists, and other business people in the area. We have ample opportunity to interact with people daily and share with them the Peace so many of them are searching for. It happens in spiritual conversations we have with customers as they celebrate joy with us and pour out their griefs with us. It happens between us as colleagues as we are being constantly refined by each other to be more like God. It happens in the gallery as artists express the beauty of creation. It happens on the stage, through beautiful music that moves souls. It happens as musicians ask to come back again and again – not just because of the great setting but because “there’s just something different” here. It happens as a musician who has become a dear friend takes the time to help us with a marketing project. These are spiritual, gospel-filled opportunities that happen regularly and we are thankful.

– Posted by Cassidy, who lives and works in Budapest, spending her time helping the coffeehouse to be a place where deep relationships form and where people encounter Jesus, the Prince of Peace

[NOTE: There are a number of opportunities to participate in the work of the coffeehouse! If you are interested in learning about how you can support the project with your prayers, or through a financial investment, contact Cassidy.]

Concert, Classroom, Workplace: a Gospel Opportunity

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It’s December 1st and in the music classroom at the International Christian School of Budapest, we are in full on practice mode for our upcoming Christmas Program, “One Bethlehem Night”. So much so that I find it very hard to get the songs out of my head! We are presenting the Christmas story in song and word, and this morning as I was working on some of the details I was reminded of the great opportunity I have as a teacher to remind both students and their families of the great and wonderful gift that we were given. Jesus, our hope and our salvation, the greatest gift from a loving Father who sent His Son to heal a broken world.

As a teacher, I have a captive audience in every class. Some of my students know Jesus and are following Him with all their hearts. And some of them, although they may have heard the Gospel message many times, have not yet placed their trust in Him. A Gospel Opportunity, it’s right in front of me and yet many days go by when I am distracted by the routine of class, life, lessons, that it’s often a missed opportunity. And you? God has uniquely placed you somewhere in the world where there are people who need to hear the Good News too!

As the Christmas season approaches, I know there will be many opportunities for ALL of us to share the hope that lies within us. My prayer is that whether it’s in class, at a concert or at our workplace, that we will make the most of every opportunity we have to share Jesus with those who have yet to believe. What greater gift can we give?

– Posted by Jodi, a disciple-maker and member of the ReachBudapest team who teaches elementary music at the International Christian School of Budapest. Interested in joining our team? Visit our opportunities page.

Joy in the Father's Heart

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The blind and the lame came to Jesus in the Temple, and he healed them. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.” But the leaders were indignant. They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” “Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.’” Matthew 21:14-16

I believe there was joy in the Father's heart this morning in Budapest.

As we normally do, several members of the ReachBudapest team went again today to a transitional home for refugees living in Budapest. Along with a team of volunteers from YWAM, we ate breakfast, played games, told stories, and worked to build friendships with those who live in the home, families from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, and Somalia, just to name a few. These precious men, women, and children are in the process of making Budapest their home. But in many respects they are unwelcome here, struggling to learn the language, find jobs, put food on the table, and make friends. These are people who are longing for someone to befriend them, accept them, and love them.

I think that's why I was particularly moved this morning as I heard their voices singing praises to God, proclaiming the good news of Jesus' resurrection, the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice, the goodness of the Father's love. The picture above was taken during the singing today. I wish you could have experienced the joy that filled the room! As I heard the voices lifting the song, I had an image of the Father dancing above us (Zephaniah 3:17). And I found myself moved to prayer that the children and adults who were finding such joy in the words of the songs and the rhythm of the music will one day know in their hearts the truths they are proclaiming, finding the friendship, acceptance, and love they are searching for through a restored relationship with their Creator God through the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Opportunities abound for serving among refugees in Budapest. We're currently praying that God brings to the ReachBudapest team those who He has prepared to join in this important work. For more information on this and other opportunities in Budapest, click here.

— Posted by Mark

New ReachBudapest Video Introduction



We're pleased to share a new introductory video piece for the ReachBudapest team! Special credit to the ReachGlobal Europe filmmakers for helping us tell the story of our city. Watch for several more ReachBudapest pieces coming from this team in the near future.

Why Cities Matter

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Timothy Keller rightly posits that “Cities have more image of God per square inch than any other place on earth.” The city and surrounding metropolitan area of Budapest (pictured above), with it’s population of nearly 3 million, is home to almost one third of the residents of Hungary. Budapest is the place of economic, political, cultural, and academic influence for the nation. The ReachBudapest team is praying that it becomes the place of gospel influence as well. EFCA president Kevin Kompelein and our ReachGlobal Europe colleague Mike Edwards discuss the significance of the city, as well as the unique posture the EFCA movement brings to engaging the important urban areas in our world today. Read the full story at EFCA Today.

Celebrating Ministry Partnerships in Budapest



KMK Partner Evening 2015

The KMK is a ministry and community center in Budapest’s 11th district that serves four churches and thirteen ministry and civic organizations. Nearly 1,200 people pass through doors of the KMK weekly, attending a worship service, ministry program, community event, or as a guest at the coffeehouse.

The motto of the KMK is “The place that brings us together.” We see this motto expressing itself in the “bringing together” of churches, ministries, and ministry leaders from diverse backgrounds in an expression of unity that will cause people to see Christ (John 17), as well as in the “bringing together” into relationship and community those who know and follow Jesus with those who are yet to know Him.

Representatives of the organizations served by the KMK gathered on November 24, 2015 to share updates of how God is at work in and through their ministries. Watch the complete video, below.




Join Our Team!

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God is calling the ReachGlobal team in Budapest to a broader physical presence in the city, and towards the fulfillment of this calling, we’re  asking Him to bring us new teammates who will publicly live out their Christian faith in the space God has prepared for them on the cultural highways of Hungarian society, invest themselves into the lives of disciple makers, and contribute to the formation of new communities of believers. 

Is God calling you join us in the work of proclaiming the gospel in one of the great historical cities of Europe? There are innumerable ways in which your God-given gifts, abilities, and experiences could contribute to the redemptive work He is doing as the gospel transforms Budapest, making it at a place of regional spiritual influence. 

The following SHORT-TERM (12-23 month) ministry opportunities are currently available. (Do you sense that God is calling you to a LONG-TERM (2 or more years) role in Budapest? Let’s talk about how God may have uniquely prepared and gifted you to join our team in the work that He is doing in our city!)

PROVIDE TECH SUPPORT AT AN ART CAFÉ COFFEEHOUSE
The humanities, including art, music, literature, poetry, and more, are one of the most significant cultural highways in the city of Budapest. Use your technical skills with audio, video, and lighting and join the programming staff of an art café coffeehouse that seeks to use concerts, exhibitions of art, and other cultural experiences, to build bridges of relationships within this highly secular, art appreciating, society. 

TEACH CONVERSATIONAL ENGLISH IN CASUAL SETTINGS
Hungarians are interested in improving their conversational English skills, and the relaxed, friendly atmosphere of conversational English clubs allow plentiful opportunities to build bridges of relationship and to communicate the gospel in word and deed. Besides conversational English clubs, English language discovery Bible studies, game nights, nature hikes and city outings are among the opportunities to use the English language to share spiritual truth with Hungarians. 

BE A VISUAL / DIGITAL STORYTELLER
In a secular society that demonstrates a belief that “God is dead”, there is inestimable power when believers tell their personal stories of a living God who is actively at work in their own lives. Serve churches and Christian organizations in Budapest by helping followers of Christ share their stories in compelling, visual ways. (Special skills needed: Experience in visual communication / storytelling and video editing. Must provide own equipment.)

DISCIPLE HUNGARIAN STUDENTS
Each summer, many Hungarian teens make a decision to become followers of Jesus Christ as a result of Outreach English camps in Budapest. Join the ReachBudapest team and walk alongside these teenagers as they begin their lives as disciples and grow to become a generation of Hungarian disciple-makers! 

TEACH ENGLISH IN A HUNGARIAN PUBLIC SCHOOL
Public high schools in Budapest are regularly seeking native English speakers to join their staffs as volunteer English teachers. In this remarkable way, God is opening a door for followers of Christ to have a place of relational and spiritual influence in one of the most secular sectors of Hungarian society. (Special skills needed: Degree in education, TESOL training a plus. Teaching experience preferable.)

For more information on any of these opportunities, or for further information, contact us at: budapest@efca.org

Café Turns One Year Old

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A year ago we were still frantically placing chairs and cleaning up last piles of rubble. A year ago we barely knew each other but had to somehow figure out how to work together as a team. A year ago some of us couldn’t even communicate in each others’ language!

Now – 36 concerts, 9 exhibitions, and various other programs later – we are like a well-oiled machine (almost!). We can communicate, we know where everything is, musicians regularly grace our stages, people await the new exhibition each month, and we can make darn good coffee. We’ve invented new drinks, adjusted prices, and learned a countless number of things about God, ourselves, and the world we serve.

What a joy it’s been to see the coffeehouse develop as we get to know the people walking through our doors. It’s a privilege to be able to work in a setting that allows time to sit and talk with strangers, to get to know new people, and to build lasting friendships. As we move into the second year, I hope that we’ll continue to do the things we’ve been doing so far: serving fantastic coffee, creating relationships with our community, supporting local musicians and artists, and looking more like Christ through it all.

Cassidy Baker, Café Program Manager

(to view a gallery of photos from the first year of the café, CLICK HERE)

Arts, Obedience, and Open Doors


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My name is Anna. I graduated from Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota with a Bachelor of Fine Art degree and a minor in Graphic Design. At Bethel I had the opportunity to expand my understanding of art, grow my faith and learn more about God’s character through study abroad opportunities. These trips took me to Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Virginia. Now, God is calling me to Budapest, Hungary! Beginning in the fall of 2015, I will be using my passion for people and the arts as a two-year Artist Missionary with the ReachBudapest team.

Art has been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember. From fourth grade to my senior year of High School, I took a year-long art class in downtown Minneapolis that developed my craft and allowed me to connect with people that I would never have met if it had not been for the arts. As a college student, I developed my own body of work, learned more about how expansive the art world is and became fascinated with learning about the conceptual side that fuels bodies of work for so many artists today.

Studying art was an act of obedience throughout college. At times I was unsure about what I would do with my degree. But during the fall of my senior year, I first learned about the ReachBudapest team and the art café coffeehouse, where a background in art was valued and needed for this specific form of missions.

Learning about the thought and process behind art reveals some artists’ most valued questions and ideas. Art is an excellent platform for discussion, and is a key that can open doors of relationships which might otherwise remained locked. God is using the art café coffeehouse as the kind of place where locked doors are opening, trust is being built, and gospel-centered relationships are forming. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the ReachBudapest team and to serve in a place that uses a common interest in the arts to build relationships between those who follow Jesus and those who don’t yet know Him.

If you would like to hear more about what I will be doing in Budapest and how you can play a part, please contact me!

"In the CIty" - a video we love!

50 Forints

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This morning as I reached for my public transportation pass, I dropped a 50 forint coin in the process. It bounced aside to escalator platform next to me, and I left it there, thinking, “Maybe it’ll make someone’s day to find a happy little coin later on.” 

I went down the last escalator and walked down the platform to wait exactly 4 minutes and 30 seconds for the next metro train, as I had just missed the previous train. I’ve become more and more okay with missing the train, since my friend Gabor reminded me, “Don’t people know that there’s another train coming in just 4 and a half minutes? Why do we need to rush?”

As I leaned against the green mosaic wall, an old man came up to me. He had seen me drop the coin on the escalator, picked it up, and had come to find me on the platform to return it to me. His small gesture was striking. Perhaps my expectations are too low, but in any culture, in any city, I would not expect a stranger to take time to return something of such little value. Kindness is a welcomed surprise, a refreshing moment. Kindness like that from a stranger is balm on the wound of my imperfect perception of who we are as people. It reminds me that people can feel a natural compassion for someone that they have never met. I love these unhurried moments.

Posted by Betsy, serving a 23-month term in Budapest with EFCA ReachGlobal.
 

Coffeehouse Opening

The following remarks were shared by Mark Revell, ReachGlobal Budapest City Team Leader, on Friday, August 1 2014 at the opening of the coffeehouse in Budapest:

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We can see messages and images of physical renewal all around us today in the neighborhood. Buildings and public spaces are being rehabilitated. The park next door is becoming a truly beautiful place. The new subway line is pumping new lifeblood into the community. Formerly deserted retail spaces are now filling with new businesses. The neighborhood has a new sense of hope, because things are renewing on the outside.

But there is a problem with renewal that only comes on the outside, because the truth is that renewed buildings will one day fall again into disrepair. Graffiti may, unfortunately, decorate the crisp clean walls of the Metro4. New businesses may one day close their doors. All those things which brought such hope will eventually disappoint.

We know that just as this city is in need of outward, physical renewal, the need for spiritual renewal is much greater. Hearts are cold; marriages, families, and lives are broken; hope is lost and disappointment has left its mark on the lives of those living around us, and we can see it on their faces. But if the physical, outward renewal that initially brings so much hope will one day disappoint, what message do we have for those in need of inner, spiritual renewal?

The biblical writer Ezekiel was acquainted with broken, disappointed, hopeless people. And speaking as God's prophet, he wrote:
"I will give you a new heart, I will put a new spirit in you. I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my ways."

We have found that there is a hope that does not disappoint. It comes not from renewal on the outside, but by renewal on the inside. It comes not from fresh paint or new tile, nor from a new dress, a fresh hairstyle, a change in job or a new spouse. This kind of lasting renewal is what Ezekiel wrote about when he spoke about trading a heart of stone for a heart of flesh.

Our opportunity in this unique season here in this community is to share stories and images of that true spiritual renewal, that inner renewal. Our opportunity is to be modern day prophets hope, following the example of Ezekiel and Isaiah and Jeremiah, speaking boldly of a true and lasting Hope, a Hope which does not, will not, cannot disappoint. A hope and a future which comes only through a restored relationship with Creator God through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

And the coffeehouse is committed to that purpose, to being a place where the aroma of coffee meets the fragrance of Jesus Christ. It is for that reason that we created this space, it is for that reason that we gather here tonight to celebrate what God has done in providing everything that was necessary for it to come into existence, and it is for that reason that we will pray to dedicate this space to God's glory and for the advancement of the gospel of His Son Jesus Christ.

Az a gyönyörű magyar nyelv! (That beautiful Hungarian language!)

What are the challenges we face in learning the beautiful, colorful, expressive Hungarian language? The following excerpt is from the essay "Language" by Orsolya Nádor, found in the book The Essential Guide to Being Hungarian)

"Difficult" – snaps Hungarian and non-Hungarian alike on being asked for their take on the Magyar tongue. But isn't every language difficult, especially when you set yourself the task of learning words and grammar by rote? It's at least as trying for Hungarians to learn any language decently as it is for native speakers of other languages to tackle the wonderful world of Hungarian -- with it's definite and indefinite inflection, verb prefixes, distinctive word order; and yes, words that appear unrelated to any other language. That said, non-Hungarians have been trying to learn our language ever since the first Christian missionaries landed among us -- and if we consider that Hungarian became Christian, after all, this initial phase of Hungarian language learning could not have been a failure. The missionaries were followed by many thousands more who learned Hungarian either within Hungary itself or in some other country. (read the entire essay on the Google books website)

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Can you find the Hungarian language on this beautiful depiction of European linguistic family tree, created by artist Minna Sundberg?