Why spend time in Hungary?

This is a question that has been asked of me often in the past several weeks. There are many places to visit and lend a helping hand on a short-term mission trip. But why go to Hungary? Honestly, I do not have a good reason, but what I experienced during the week I was in Budapest and Szentmargitfalva was definitely an amazing experience.

God has put together a very special OMS team in Budapest. Led by Jonathan and Corinne Long, it is obvious that their top priority is to serve our Lord and Savior in whatever way they can. The dynamics of the team are very good, people are allowed to specialize and minister in areas where they are gifted. There are a number of younger adults on staff—something which is always positive. The team works with several mission groups and churches. It doesn’t matter if the individuals represent One  Mission Society, the Nazarenes, or the Hungarian Methodist Church, partnering together is crucial in ministry. It is so helpful to share resources, abilities, wisdom, and insights. Everyone is considered equal. We often forget that we are all on God’s team and have the same purpose in mind—to share with others the good news of Jesus Christ.

“For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”

– 1 Corinthians 12:13

During the week, we spent time building a chapel in a small town called Szentmargitfalva. To see relationships being established between the townspeople and ourselves was very, very rewarding. A simple greeting, handshake, or smile went a long way in helping to create those relationships. The people in that small community were guarded in their initial reaction towards us, but as Chuck Long, Daniel Buck, Ed Durham, and Laci (Hungarian Methodist Church) made contact with the local people, it was obvious how they warmed up to us. This served as a good reminder that reaching others is all about relationships.

Electrical power was necessary for the building of the church in Szentmargitfalva. We used it to run saws, drills, and other equipment. The power that we used was borrowed from the neighbor couple living beside the church. A power cord hung out one of their windows, and we attached our cords onto that. It definitely made life much easier for us, as we did not have to supply a generator or temporary power source.

However, one day no power cord was hung out the window. We were surprised and wondered why. We came up with several answers. That day is a holiday in Hungary. Maybe the couple had slept in and were putting the cord out at a later time. Some members from the group knocked on their gate and door, but there was no response. There was a possibility in our minds that the holiday was sacred and they did not appreciate us working on that day. That seemed legitimate.

We were convinced that we had made some cultural mistake. Much credit goes to Chuck, Ed, and Daniel, as they wanted to correct any blunder we had made. So, they bought a plant and gave it to the mother of the household as an early Mother’s Day gift. She was very appreciative. We then found out the real reason why the power cord had not been put out the window. Laci had neglected to visit them in person when he was there the day before, a cultural ‘faux pas’ and had thus hurt their feelings. We also discovered that we had worked too long the previous day, and mosquitos, which are very prevalent in the evening hours, had swarmed the house!

I hope that people in that community will remember for a long time how extra efforts were taken to mend and restore relationships. I know that what I saw, learned, and experienced during my time in Hungary will definitely affect my relationships with others and the way that I treat them. Thank you!

– By Kevin Wilms, Men for Missions Regional Director for Western Canada