An introduction: A group of Americans from Crosspoint Church in Florida traveled to Budapest to put on a missionary care retreat the first week of October. Missionaries were brought in from various locations, some locally and some from as far away as Iraq. Partnering with the Soul Care Project, the American group aimed to provide these missionaries with a time of rest, refreshment, and renewal. There were times of fellowship, learning, and counseling as well as times of fun and games. The event’s aim was to give to these missionaries so that they could return to their fields to continue giving to others. The Americans experienced a time of bonding and a personal connection with the missionaries whom they will continue to support back home through their prayers, communication, and finances. The following blog is the reflection of an American participant in the retreat.
God is a God of order, and there are no coincidences where He is concerned. The selection of Budapest, Hungary as the site for our missionary care retreat the first week of October is a perfect example of His hand being on the plans for this type of meeting. God provided a word picture to all involved in this gathering by having the “Queen of the Danube” as the venue.
What’s the significance of Budapest? Sure, it’s the capital of Hungary and its most populous city. But that’s not what’s key. Like the Bible, let’s start “In the beginning.” Before there was Budapest, there were the independent cities of Buda and Pest. The two were united in 1873. What a crazy idea to join two communities situated across a large river from each other! How was that going to work? And these two cities were quite different. Buda is hilly, and Pest is flat. Sounds like someone was trying to fit a square peg in a round hole to achieve one city. But, guess what? It worked! Budapest has not only achieved unity, but it has thrived.
Like Buda and Pest, those participating in the missionary care retreat were two diverse groups. On the one hand, was a group of Americans who live relatively easy lives on one side of a great body of water; on the other hand was a group of missionaries who live on the other side of that great body of water and have to live every day in a different culture where a foreign language is spoken. How could these two groups mesh?
The groups meshed not because of their differences, but because of what they have in common. Both are groups of believers. As Christians, they have Christ in common. Together these groups are the body of Christ and work in unity to spread the Good News. Buda and Pest were different, but the two cities had a body of water in common. Similarly, Americans on a mission trip and missionaries working overseas are different, but they have a body of water in common—the Living Water, Jesus Christ.
Just as Buda and Pest came together to produce a vibrant city, the people from “back home” and those on the mission field working collaboratively yield an effective outreach for our Lord. Those at home provide financial, prayer, and emotional support. Those overseas on the mission field are the boots on the ground, conducting the day-to-day outreach in a foreign land.
But the two groups need to be connected for the ministry to be effective. How well would Budapest fare if there were no bridges between Buda and Pest? Seven bridges across the Danube offer a vital connection between the two sides. Likewise, Jesus’ team needs to be connected to work effectively together.
Meeting face-to-face at a retreat in Budapest is one way to strengthen the connection. But once the time together ends, the connection still must be tended. Praying for one another, communicating via the internet, and perhaps even writing an old-fashioned note or letter helps to maintain the bond. We need to use those “bridges” to keep the team connection strong.
The missionary care retreat is over, but the mission is not. Working together in unity from both sides (back home and on the field), the body of Christ can more effectively carry out the Great Commission. The result of Buda and Pest uniting to form a great and stunning European city illustrates this dynamic.
Thanks, God, for giving the mission team and the missionaries a time of fellowship in Budapest. The city was a beautiful meeting spot, and a wonderful example of how joining diverse elements (Buda and Pest; those back home and those on the field) can produce something spectacular. Help us to work together in unity for your glory.
– By Alice Murray, Crosspoint Volunteer