Corinne and Jonathan Long first came to Hungary 10 years ago. They were here for a while before returning to the USA for a few years. They came back to Hungary in 2014 and have been here ever since. Jonathan is the Field Director of the Hungary field and Associate Regional Director of Europe, as part of his transition into the Regional Director role next year. Corinne handles finance for One Mission Society regionally and for our team. She also helps to plan Summer English Camp and hosts many of our teams and volunteers that serve here. They also raise three kids. Below, Corinne reflects on some questions about her last 10 years here.
What is the biggest change you have seen in the culture here since you first arrived 10 years ago?
I definitely see a stronger western influence, whether it be clothing, food, or attitudes. Many more people speak English.
What is a piece of wisdom you can share from being on the field for this long?
Ministry is a marathon. It’s important to pace yourself and appreciate the progress that is made over the long term, not just the immediate. Efficiency doesn’t always equal effectiveness. Understanding the past is critical to envisioning the future.
What is something you know now that you didn’t know five years ago?
Ministry often changes you more than it changes the people you are here to serve. We have a natural inclination to fight those changes because we sense we are losing who we are. In reality, we are losing who we are, but it is in favor of becoming more like Christ.
What is it like being a parent in a foreign country? What are some of the challenges and joys of that?
The biggest challenge to parenting in a foreign country is letting go of expectations—of what their childhood will look like or should look like, of how they will relate to their extended family or how they will view the world, of what their schooling experience will be or how they will relate to traditions and routines. It’s challenging to not have an extended family network close by, especially when the kids are sick, or you are sick, or there are school programs, or scheduling conflicts.
It’s fun to experience the world with your kids, to travel to new places and see things with them you never imagined seeing as a child. To see their hearts desire to serve God and serve others. It’s fun to observe their perspectives on their host culture and their home culture.
How do you think being a missionary for 10 years has impacted your relationship with the Lord?
I definitely think my faith is stronger now than 10 years ago. Before I became a missionary, a lot of what I believed was theory. I had never had to test many of those beliefs in real life. It has challenged my own view on faith, obedience, hope, love, compassion, peace, etc. My experiences draw me into a closer relationship with God and a refinement of my own nature to be more like Christ.
What is one big way God has shaped your life in the last 10 years?
One of the biggest experiences in our life, other than missions, has been parenting an autistic son. This has greatly shaped how I view God and how I view others. It has shaped the way I trust God, the way I parent my other children, and my understanding of the grace that is extended to me and in turn the grace I extend to others.
What is something you would love to see happen here in the next 10 years?
My desire is to see a revival of the church in Hungary, to see Christ followers reaching out of the church doors into their community in a way that causes people to notice.