Greetings from Florida, USA! Recently, I returned from my second year of Summer English Camp (SEC) in Vác, Hungary. I was part of a team from Crosspoint Church made up of musicians and facilitators to support the worship music, media, and conversation group aspects of camp. I can honestly say that my two-year journey with SEC has been a game-changing catalyst in my spiritual development and my walk with God.

Reflecting on this year’s SEC, I’m always surprised how quickly we get to know everyone at camp and how fast we become comfortable with each other. But that is one of the great things about SEC: it creates an environment where close friendships can develop fast. All it takes is some intentionality.

This year, in addition to being part of the worship band, I sought to excel at a new role—conversation group co-leader—by spending time building connections with the Hungarian translators that were in our group to help us talk with the students. This simple investment yielded a lot more fruit than I originally expected.

In my limited experience with Hungarian culture and the students at these English camps, I have noticed that Hungarians are thoughtful people. They spend time reasoning through the deep questions that we present to them in conversation groups. The actions or decisions they share are usually backed by careful thought and meaning—even for the younger students.

As I built relationships with the translators, I found that this same characteristic held true. While walking with our conversation group along the edge of the Danube River one day, one of the translators and I began talking about my relationship with God and my passion for learning about creation science. I take great interest in the apologetics field and can talk for hours about creation science and the origins of the universe. As the conversation progressed, the translator asked me what I thought was the greatest evidence to show that God created the universe. I honestly shared with her that the most compelling reason I can see that God created everything is in the beauty and order that are displayed in nature. There are few better places than the bank of the Danube on a breezy summer afternoon to make that claim (I think it helped my point).

I really enjoyed that conversation as we pondered the craftsmanship inherent in all things. It was a special moment to me—not because I got the opportunity to share my thoughts about creation science, but because it became a moment of connection for us throughout the remainder of the camp and even beyond. These choices to intentionally connect helped me become better unified and integrated with the rest of the conversation group leadership, and I believe it contributed to making us a more effective team as we worked with the students.

As I briefly mentioned earlier, I also served in the worship band as a guitarist. This afforded me new opportunities to connect musically with both staff and students alike in individual and corporate settings. It was especially rewarding to watch students connect with the music as they overcame shyness and began to join the staff in praise and worship. In just a few days, transformation occurred as the students started opening up, not only through music, but also in conversation groups as they began to share what was going on in their lives. I loved those moments when I could just lean back and take a quick look around at the work that God was doing in our midst. Indeed, traveling to Hungary again this year has many times provoked me to step back and observe not only what God is doing around me, but also what He is doing within me.

I described my two-year journey with SEC as a “game-changing catalyst”—and for good reason. God has used my time in Hungary in powerful ways to change me and develop me. Mission trips tend to jump start your faith sometimes; they have the ability to breathe new life into a stagnant or uninspired walk with God. For me, my first experience at SEC came at a point in my faith when I felt stuck. God wasn’t working out my life the way I had planned, which sounds a bit silly in retrospect, but I know many who have wrestled with the same dilemma. Over the course of a year, though, God used these trips to bring me closer to Him and change my perspective.

This is part one of Nick’s story, continue following our blog to read part two.

 – By Nick Sullivan, OMS Hungary English Camp Volunteer