I recently went on a mission trip with my church through One Mission Society to Hungary. A few members of my church went the previous year as a worship team for OMS Hungary’s Summer English Camp (SEC), and this year they also requested media. That’s where I come in.
I was not incredibly inclined to participate in this trip. I had always seen missions as something inherently good, albeit not something I was interested in doing myself. In my mind at the time, missions was the church’s equivalent of a military, which scared me almost as much as the idea of joining the military. However, God had different plans for me.
SEC was an overall amazing experience. For some context, I went to SEC in order to make daily highlight videos of Hungarian students learning English, learning about God, and having more fun than I ever did at any sort of camp (and this was a camp to learn English!). I went in with the mindset that I was going to make a few videos, potentially learn about Hungarian culture, and not get distracted from my job of filmmaking by building relationships with students. It is, in retrospect, quite apparent that God would turn this trip into a largely dynamic experience on account of that fabricated image I held onto. I found myself producing incredibly fulfilling media not in spite of, but because to the relationships I built with the Hungarian students every day.
It was through learning more about these students that I was able to create meaningful content. Every time I met a new kid, I had another key to getting the right shot for that day’s video. There were two times in a given day that students and staff would break off into small groups to discuss topics and themes presented throughout that day. In the mornings I would film these groups, however, it was in the evenings that I was part of one. I found myself wanting to learn Hungarian and I and the students bonded over the desire to learn each other’s language. One day I bought an English to Hungarian dictionary and saw our connections grow exponentially more powerful. We were still slow, but now I could encourage my new friends in Hungarian, which made them more likely to try to respond in English. And if they didn’t try, I could call them ‘lusta’ (lazy), which made them laugh.
I also made friends with the Hungarian translators and teachers. They were exceedingly pleased with my desire and tenacity in trying to learn their language. One such teacher, after hearing my attempts, brought me a notebook with Bible verses printed in Hungarian at the base of the pages. Things like this really prompted me to learn more, and fed into the media I was producing. Now I had a teacher that I felt comfortable filming as they helped a student with English, adding an extra touch to that day’s video.
Now that I’m back home, I can contact my Hungarian friends online about how to pronounce things like the difference between 11 and 14 in Hungarian (look it up, it will confuse you too). And they can ask me why ‘though’ and ‘through’ don’t sound the same and have nothing to do with each other.
This experience has developed my resolve more than any event I have encountered in my life. I’ve gone from a keyhole view of ministry to a 20-foot-tall door of possibilities with missions and media. This seems like the end to a fun testimony, however it is just the beginning of God’s plan for me to reach out to as many people as possible through media, so they can share their faith in whatever medium they find themselves in.
– By Joe Evans, OMS Hungary English Camp Volunteer