Thursday, December 2, 2010

The great Facebook count down......

.....the visit to Germany.

Over the last month or so many people have enquired about the countdown I was having on Facebook.  I was surprised at how many people were curious about what was going on.  In fact I did not start the count down, but my friend Elisabeth did. It ended on day 0 with a 9.5 hour bus ride and a 1.5 hour car ride to visit with her in her eastern German village near the town of Löbau.  I had such a great trip visiting with her and meeting all of her friends.

Elisabeth and me in her youth club

Can you see the flag??? Hungarians are everywhere!!!

Cigarette Vending Machine

Beautiful house with beautiful snow

Cow crossing

Classic East German car. The "Trabant"

Door in the church where we went to a youth service

I am sure to a German this is a common scene, but I love the spiral staircase

These stars a quite common in
Saxony where Elisabeth lives

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thank You Mom and Fall Library Update

I would like to give a big THANK YOU to my mom for sending me these:

The students love colouring with the assortment of markers, crayons and pencil crayons that she sent.

This fall the library has been busy as we celebrated TEEN READ WEEK (TRW) and kicked off a reading competition with American candy as the prizes.  I went on an adventure to Culinaris on the other side of Budapest by public transit to get the candy.

Signs were posted around the school to encourage student participation in TRW
Culinaris - expensive but the only place in Budapest where you can buy many 'American' and other imported products

Display of prizes for the reading competition

The elementary students have been learning the Dewey Decmimal Classification System and other important library skills using these cute animal cut outs:

 I have been busy selecting and ordering new books.  Here is the 'small' order we recieved this fall.  We will have the 'large' order in the spring:

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Here I am sitting on the continent where so many soldiers gave their lives for freedom during the two world wars – at least for the West. Yet, here in Hungary the dates that we celebrate in Canada as the dates of freedom can be seen as times of repression. For many Hungarians the end of World War One is viewed as the time they lost 2/3 of their territory and the end of World War Two as the time the soviets moved in starting 40 years of communism. Hungarians have other dates that they use to celebrate their great desire for and for their present ‘Szabadság’ or ‘freedom’.

Being half ethnic Hungarian living in Hungary, but born in Canadian to a Canadian mother causes me to think about what today November 11th actually means to me. My Canadianess and my great thankfulness to the Canadian people for opening their gates for the 1956 Hungarian freedom fighters tells me that today I need to be thankful and remember all of those soldiers who fought for the freedom of the West which in turn gave freedom to my family and many others in need a safe haven from war.

So today – the eleventh day of the eleventh month – lest we forget.

Thank you to Tina for the reminder.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tanulok Magyarul - I study Hungarian II

As a continuation of the post on studying Hungarian here are some related pictures:

I labeled all of these kitchen items and then kept them on the counter for over a week to help me learn the names

Ki-Be two prefexes we recently learned in class.  On, off, into, out of, etc. they have opened up a brand new world of Hungarian. Also do not leave out le, fel, rá, el, vissa or meg!

My Hungarian classmates and a couple of friends out for the afternoon at the gyermekvasut (children's railway)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tanulok Magyarul - I study Hungarian I

This fall I finally decided to take seriously my lifelong desire to learn Hungarian by taking language lessons at a local language school.  During the last two year I have studied Hungarian under various tutors and friends, but by going to language school I have become more motivated and my ability to understand Hungarian has increased.  Because Hungarian an extremely difficult language for English speakers to learn I am only able to have very simple conversations, but with each new word I can use to communicate there is another victory.  For me living in a foreign it is a great feeling to be able to communicate through reading, writing and speaking in the local language. It takes some of the helplessness of not understanding what is going on around you.

Below are some ways that Hungarian differs from English:
#1. There is only one word for he and she Ő (this is the easy part)
#2.  Hungarian most prepositions in Hungarian are formed by adding a suffix to the end of the word i.e. to say  in the store you would say “boltban” bolt=store ban=in
#3 Hungarian has 14 vowels: aá eé ii oó öő uú üű

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A walk around my neighbourhood

On a love summer/early fall on a walk around my neighbourhood in Budapest here are a few things you might see (watch out for the dogs barking at you from behind the fences):

On of the many different types of side walks found in Hungary - there are no standards.

A hedge hog - they are very shy and only come out in the evening

The only clean sign (no graffti) I could find
The bus stop I wait at every morning on my way to work

Kelenföldi Pályaudvar - I see this train station on my way to work every day.

The kiosk where I buy my monthly bus pass

Budapest city buses - the red ones were called the 'Red 7' when I first arrived two years ago, but now they are the '7E'

A map of South Buda - the beautiful eastern hilly side of the city

Ok well the parliament building is not in my neighbourhood, but it is only a half hour tram ride away and a beautiful sight on a sunny day

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A house warming party

A while back I gave you a tour of my new flat in Budapest shortly after that I had a house warming party to allow my friends to see where I live.  It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and inside and out the flat was full of hanging out and chatting.  I am not sure how many people came, but it must have been between 15-20 people.  What a blessing to have such great friends here in Budapest!  I had excellent feedback from the attendees and I hope to have another party one day soon.  Here are some pictures from the event:

Greetings in the hall

My bedroom - Hungarians often host people in their bedrooms if  they do not have a living room

Our lovely patio

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blessings from Budapest : Update October 2010

Why I love my job

The other day afterschool Beni in grade 2 came into the library and asked if I had time to read to him.  Although I always have many tasks to complete I wanted to take the time to read with him. We had fun reading about Benny and Penny in the Big No-No and Elephant and Piggy in There’s a Bird on my Head.  It is amazing how the Lord provided the time for me to encourage Beni to love books and to show him he is important enough for me to take time out of my busy day to read with him.  It is times like this when I can truly say I love me job and I am so glad the Lord brought me to the International Christian School of Budapest.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Visiting Mukachevo, Ukraine

Soon after my arrival in Hungary several weeks ago I boarded a train and headed off to Mukachevo, Ukraine to visit the de Vuyst family who serve there with CRWM. I had a great time playing with the kids, visiting their church, and looking at some of the sights. Having visited Hungary for the first time in 1993 crossing the border into Ukraine was like going back into time. Here are some pictures from the trip.

The with a statue near their home (the kids wanted to be in almost all of the pictures)

Dawning the shades and the musicial instruments statues

The results from playing with the kids

Yummy Shashlik

The new (Hungarian)  princess Ilona Zrini statue at Mukachavo Castle

Mukachevo the Home of Fischer Hockey Sticks
Thank you de Vuyst family for allowing me to have such a great visit!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Welcome to Heidi and Andrea's Flat

Two years ago I shared with you pictures of the SheShe house which was my first home in Hungary.  I lived there for two years, but my roommates and I decided to move.  I opted to move into the ‘city’ where I now have more access to public transportation and the downtown core, but a longer commute to work.    I have a wonderful new roommate named Heidi who works with Youth with a Mission (YWAM). 
Here are some pictures of our flat which is part of a duplex.  This flat is typical housing for Hungarians.

See our door
Come into our home

Relax on my bedoom's loveseat

 Visit with our outdoor dog Csénga

Our typical teeny tiny WC complete with a string

Our living room/guest room

Our furnace
Our kitchen
Our Pantry

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Sunday was my birthday and I was also speaking at Rehoboth Christian Reformed Church in Bowmanville.  I would like to thank the church for allowing me to share about my ministry at ICSB and for the birthday surprise:

 A special thanks goes out to Holly for her baking ability.  The cake was delicious.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Where is home?

Recently I read the book Homecoming by Cynthia Voight.  In the book the 4 Tillerman children aged 13, 10, 9 and 6 are abandoned by there mentally ill mother.  They were on their way to their Aunt Cilla's house, so they continue their journey on foot hoping that they will be able to live with their 'great' aunt. Upon arrival at the house they find their aunt has passed away and her daughter Eunice is now living alone in the house.  Dicey, the oldest child, decides that Eunice's house is not the best place for her family, so they set out once again to find their grandmother they only just found existed.

Throughout their journeys Dice plays with the idea of what is home? One night when her family sleeps in a graveyard she reads the inscription on one of the head stones: “Home is the hunter, home from the hill, and the sailor home from the sea.” From this inscription Dicey concludes that no one is really home until they are dead and “[i]t was an awful thought.”

But, where is home?

For many of our students at ICSB this concept is just as hard to define as for Dicey. They haven’t been ripped away from where they called home on the account of their ill parents, but many of them move from place to place every three years or they may have lived in Hungary their whole life, but some people may still want them to call the United States (or where their citizenship is held) their ‘home.’  Even into adulthood some will with struggle with the question of where are you from? 

Perhaps as Christians Dicey’s idea that they are not really home until we die is true?  It is only upon our death or the return of Christ that we will be home with Christ. Our bodies and this earth are only temporary. Our true home is in heaven and this is not an awful though at all for those who love and worship Jesus Christ.

Where is home for you?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

When it rains it pours

The in June my computer power cord died due to a power surge.

As I was getting ready to go out to buy a new one I flicked on the switch to the pantry and it didn't work.  I thought to myself "how strange the bulb must have burnt out."  I proceed to get the toaster and the bread wouldn’t stay down.  I couldn’t believe it the light was burnt out, the toaster was broken, and I had no power going to my computer.  Then it dawned on me “maybe the power is out in the whole flat” and sure enough the fridge had no power either.

The power problem with my computer was not due to the power outage, so I ventured out into one of the hottest days in June.  Just walking the 10 minutes to the tram stop had me almost dripping with sweat.  I went to one store and then another and then another looking for a power cord.  No one had one.  The third place I went to looked up the Dell store address and directed me there, but it would have taken me over an hour to get there.  So instead I stared calling my friends to see if they had a Dell power supply I could borrow until I returned to Canada the next week.  No luck there so I went into the final computer store on Bartok Bela and sure enough they had one.

I paid for the power cord and a surge protector. I proceeded to the ATM to take out my rent money, but my ATM card didn’t work.  After trying another ATM and my card not working there either  I went home only to find the power still out.  One of my friends returned my phone card earlier and I was thankful that she would allow me to go to her flat, so I could Skype the bank.

I went to my friend's place, fixed the problem with my ATM card and headed to get my hair cut.  Of course coming back from getting my hair cut the tram was not running, so I had to walk to my English Home Fellowship Group.

Needless to say I was relieved to find the power on when I arrived home that evening.

For all of my friends who are learning English the day I just described gives the true meaning of the idiom - WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Reponse to Too Small to Ignore by Wess Stafford

 "When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." (Mark 10:14 NIV)

In his book Too Small to Ignore Wess Stafford gives a fascinating account of this life growing up as an MK in a village in Cote D’Ivore and then later boarding school. He talks about life in the village in almost in an nostalgic way, but never giving into writing that everything was perfect in that village.  Children, including him, growing up in that village were completely integrated into society and played an important role in the economy.  Stafford’s boarding school experience was a stark contrast. Almost daily Stafford suffered abuse from the mission staff who were meant to protect and nurture him.
After giving the background to some of the reasons why his thinks that children are so important Stafford then goes on to talk about how Jesus feels about children, how God used children in the Bible and is still using them today.  Throughout the book Stafford sends the message that children should not be ignored or swept away until they reach adulthood.  Jesus thought children were so important that he became ‘indigent’ when the disciples tried to keep them away for them (Mark 10:14 NIV). Children are for today and each time we interact with a child we have a chance to shape their life positively.
As a librarian at an International Christian School this book has challenged me to think about how important the children I work with really are to the kingdom of God.  Every time I teach a child a new skill, encourage them or even just spend a few minutes listening to them I am showing them that they are valued and important.  Often times I struggle with how to integrate Biblical principles into my lessons and how to share Christ with my students.  Even though I need to continue working on this, perhaps I have already modeled Christ more than I thought by making the library an inviting and kid friendly place.
I highly recommend that everyone, especially people who work with children, read this book.  It will give you a greater appreciation of children and how precious they are in Jesus’ sight.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Blessings from Budapest: Update May 2010

The school year is winding up at International Christian School of Budapest (ICSB) and with that comes the busyness year end activities. Students are going on their final field trips, year end concerts are being performed, tears will be shed at the goodbye chapels and finally the graduates will be sent off into the world. Our students will be scattered throughout the globe for the summer. Some will be coming back to ICSB next year while others will move to new places.

Throughout the year I have watched the students change and grow. I am amazed at what the Lord had done in their lives and proud of them for all their hard work. At the last high school chapel of the year I was able to hear some of the students’ testimonies of what the Lord has done it their lives. One student stood up and talked about how last year in his home country he made some bad choices and was influenced negatively by this non-Christian ‘friends.’ He was crushed when he found out he was moving to Hungary, but was surprised to find love and acceptance from our students. It is great to know that the love of Christ is infiltrating ICSB through the student body. I would ask that you would join me and the other staff members in praising the Lord for what he is doing in the students’ lives at ICSB.

Personally, I will be experiencing the transition of moving to a new apartment in Budapest at the end of June. Currently, I live in the village of Diosd where ICSB is located. I am excited to be moving to the city where I will room with a lady who works with Youth with a Mission. Please pray that my new home will be a place where Jesus is first and that it will be a warm and inviting.

Specific praise and prayer requests
• Praise for the near completion of another good school year and that several of the students came to know the Lord
• Pray for the students not returning to ICSB (graduates and others) that they will transition well in their new situations
• Pray that the teachers and staff at ICSB will be sensitive to the needs of our students and will find opportunities to share the gospel with the students
• Pray for myself as I continue to wrestle with how to teach the students library skills from a Biblical perspective.
Thank you for your partnership in sharing the love of Christ with the students at ICSB!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Out of the Fog

Wow, it has been almost two years since I arrived in Hungary.  It certainly has been an adventure:  getting to know new people, experiencing new sights, learning a new job and growing deeper in my relationship with the Lord. 
While in Hungary I have experienced some of the greatest joy and greatest pain I have ever had in my life.  Yet, I have been comforted by the Lord and he has healed what only he can heal. 
Just yesterday I was reading Duane Elmer’s book Cross-Cultural Servanthood where he talks about being in a fog.  When everything is confusing and just don’t understand what is going on – like it is so often in cross-cultural situations -  I feel that after being in Hungary for almost two years that the fog is finally starting to life and I can see where I am going. 
I can see relationships growing with the students.  It is encouraging to hear students come to me and tell me they loved a book I recommended.  Especially, when I read the book myself and specifically thought of them. I pray that these relationships will only grow in time and lead to deeper spiritual conversations.
I invite you to continue forward with me as I learn what it means to serve Christ at the International School of Budapest and in Budapest as a whole.
I plan on sharing more about my day to day life on this blog so that you can be connected to the ministry at ICSB and learn what it is like to live in Hungary.