I saw her through the open flap of the tent. A young mom (the photo above is of another young mother and her son) in her 20s, a floral shawl wrapped around her head, exposing only her face. She was dressing her infant son. Barely the size of an American football, the baby wiggled about with jello-like movements as the mother pushed his hands through small coat sleeves. She smiled at him, and I could see her lips moving as she stood alone talking to him.
It had come together so quickly. In less than 24 hours, a community of believers, both Western missionaries and Hungarians, collaborated as one to compassionately minister to the needs of the mostly Middle Eastern refugees flooding the borders of Hungary. We set up a “baby-washing station” for the transients to bathe their infants with warm water, soap, and clean towels. We also provided a hot soup meal for about 450 arriving refugees who, no doubt, were tired and hungry.
Our team stepped out in faith and bought tents, blankets, and sleeping bags. After dropping off the supplies, another OMS missionary, a Hungarian volunteer from our church, and I drove to a small town to pick up 500 liters of hot soup. While they were unloading the soup at Budapest’s Keleti train station, I realized I hadn’t seen the ministry tent set up, and I wanted to see what it looked like. That’s when I saw the young mother through the flap.
When I saw her smile as she spoke with her child, it occurred to me what a strange set of events had brought us both here … to this place, at this time. A mother from Syria, doing what she had probably done many times before in her own country—washing her infant son—but this time in a plastic tub, heated by a coffee pot, in a tent at a Budapest train station. Me, a missionary kid and current missionary from the U.S., called to serve in Hungary in leadership development, yet serving soup to hundreds of refugees.
While communication was limited, and tragic circumstances created this situation, I was reminded of Christ’s powerful words, “What we did for the least of these, we did for him.”
–Jonathan Long, Field Director