The first inkling of my calling to Hungary came with the idea of some kind of bakery business that would allow me (and the whole Hungary field) to tangibly share the love of God with people by filling their bellies with something delicious, but would also create a sustainable revenue stream to continue to expand ministry opportunities.

It’s not surprising this would interest me, since I spent basically the past 10 years of my life helping my family start and run a non-profit coffeehouse where my job was largely baking all the yummy pastries, serving customers, and managing the social media. For a few years in the middle, I also worked for a Motorsports Public Relations team and actually used my baking skills to bribe the race car drivers to get to public appearances on time (a cookie always helps, right?!). Through all of these years, God was whispering in my ear, asking if my biggest desire was His will or my own. Unfortunately, for longer than was necessary, my own selfish desires definitely trumped His, and I didn’t even realize it. But God continued to pursue and challenge me, and when He presented the possibility of stepping WAY out of my comfort zone (a few time zones, in fact), rather than turning my back and fleeing like Jonah, I realized I had to be obedient.

So Daniel and I got married, and I left all the expectations I had for my life behind and moved to Hungary. I didn’t notice it at first, but despite my obedience, I slowly began to lean back on my own desires and plans. Without realizing it, I assumed obedience was “one and done” and since I had obeyed, I unknowingly assumed God would pave the rest of the way for me.

I can almost hear your bemused laughs from here.

But again, the absolutely amazing and completely hopeful thing is that God hasn’t given up on me yet. And He won’t. He continues to pursue and wait patiently for me, and for you as well.

The original plan here was to create a kind of cookie truck and serve simple, delicious, American cookies to Hungarians who have rarely had the pleasure of enjoying a TRUE American chocolate chip cookie. But as we worked through the plans and the finances, things began to unravel. Chocolate chips are MUCH more expensive in Hungary and the food truck craze passed since we first began planning back when I was raising support. From there, we moved on to the idea of simply opening a brick and mortar bakery—but again, the hard numbers just wouldn’t work out with what we would need to charge versus what we knew people would actually pay for the products.

At this point, I was discouraged and confused. Why would God bring me here just to shoot down all of my ideas? This was also about the time that the world went into its first lockdown due to Covid-19.

But again, God was there. As we had extra time staying home and working, God made it clear that I needed to slow down and seek HIS will in everything, not just my own desires.

It was through that time of slowing down and praying that the idea of a brunch location occurred. Brunch is a beautiful, inherently communal meal that is the perfect template for sharing not just a meal, but true community and God’s love. As I tentatively moved forward with this idea, the numbers fell into place as well; brunch food is much less expensive to create and still allows room to sell traditional American cookies and other pastries. That is in addition to the fact that brunch is a rapidly growing market in Budapest but Hungarians have no idea the joy of chicken and waffles or biscuits and gravy (which, funnily enough, is what Daniel and I served for our wedding meal!). Even better, the “target demographic” of brunch spot (think Millennials and Gen Z) is exactly the group that is the most wary of the church and religion in general here in Hungary. So while they would never set foot in a church or even a church-run event, they have no qualms about attending brunch every weekend, which gives us the amazing opportunity to share God’s love with them right where they are, organically and with delicious food.

But even now, God is still challenging me to yield to Him and His desires, rather than my own. Plans have been pushed back again due to Covid-19. We had decided to create a small pop-up kitchen to practice our recipes and share them with Hungarians to get some feedback, as well as do a little grassroots marketing during this downtime, but again we have had to postpone because of rising Covid-19 cases.

It’s both funny and not funny that God continues to repeat to me the same lessons over and over. While plans don’t always go the way I think they should or the way I want them to, I know God’s plan is ultimately better, and I want to be following him rather than trying to lead. He has provided exactly what I have needed at exactly the right time every step of the way. And yet, I still doubt Him sometimes.

So my continued prayer, as I shore up the brunch business plan and seek investors to get started after Covid-19 has cleared, is that I can continue to humble myself in a timely fashion to listen to and follow God and HIS desires, rather than my own. Would you join in that with me?

By Amanda Buck, OMS Hungary Team Member