Transitions are a part of life and often a time of stress and anxiety, but ultimately we choose to change things because we believe it will be an improvement in our existence. As Christians, we choose obedience to God’s call for our life and understand that there is no better place to be than in his will. This causes people like my family of five to pick up and move internationally to serve in overseas missions.
The process of moving is always dreadful. Moving requires tedious physical labor and is emotionally quite stressful and difficult. The only thing that keeps you going is the idea that the new place will be better, and after some time will feel like home as well. Most people have moved across town. Many people have moved to a new state. Few people have moved to a new country. Our family has now done all three!
The biggest challenge of moving internationally isn’t getting your stuff across the ocean, its navigating a new culture. Things that were once quick and easy are all of a sudden time consuming and difficult. Our goals when arriving in Budapest were simple:
- Find a place to live
- Buy a car
- Accomplish the miscellaneous tasks that come up
In West Virginia, my wife and I have bought and sold three homes and rented multiple apartments. We are very knowledgeable in regards to real estate. Unfortunately, our skills are not that transferable to Budapest, and it was obvious that we could not find a place to live on our own. The challenges we faced were that we don’t speak the language, we don’t know the city, and there are some shady landlords and apartments to be wary of. We were blessed to have help from our field director and a 16-year-old translator to find a place and negotiate a lease. Most of my experience in renting an apartment was useless and I was totally relying on a 16-year-old to speak for me. This was a humbling experience and I am thankful God gave us the people and direction we needed to accomplish this task.
In addition to a place to live, we needed a car to get the kids back and forth to school. Buying a car in the US is a simple process consisting of going to a dealership and driving home a new car a couple of hours later. In Hungary, there is little negotiation on price, a pile of paperwork, and two or three days before the car is yours. In my case, this deal was negotiated and done with virtual no understanding of the documents I was signing or the process of transferring ownership of a car. The used car dealer was a friend of a friend of someone we trusted. In this situation, my trust came from my faith in God and the understanding that I was in good hands.
Throughout these “big” decisions, there were many little decisions and challenges that would be so simple in the US, but were much more difficult here in Hungary. Many of these tasks, such as setting up cell phone service, utilities, and internet all took much more time and patience than anticipated. Shopping for furniture and home goods is much harder because of the language barrier. Going to the grocery store takes longer because normal things we buy is the US are not sold here. The day can be full of converting forints to dollars, kilograms to pounds, and Celsius to Fahrenheit and you may still not be sure what you are receiving or ordering.
The most important thing about this first full month of living in a new country for me is to rejoice at the small victories, learn from my defeats, and not be discouraged by my new situation. I am reminded of Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
I have faith that over time I will learn the language and culture and have more satisfaction with my abilities to work and serve the Lord in Hungary. This present time is His grooming and preparation of me for his work and ministry ahead. My family will continue to live and learn, but most importantly, we are leaning on God for what we need.
– By Aaron DePue, OMS Hungary Team Member