Journal Entry for Sunday, February 8, 2009
We walked with Helga and Zoli to their church in the morning. Enroute we passed a Catholic church that was formerly a Turkish mosque. Huge and very ornate. A block further we entered their little church – a small, rented, rectangular room overlooking a main street. It smelled of cigarette smoke and the pictures on the walls were advertisements of various types of alcohol. A far cry from the eye-popping structure down the street, but oh, the fellowship with the 20 or so attendees was sweet.
This IM couple plants churches and have an amazing love for the lost. Zoli leads about seven Bible studies every week in a city that’s 45 minutes away. The participants vary in spiritual knowledge – some are well-versed believers, others are homeless with no background in spiritual things whatsoever. This mix really appeals to me – it shows that the Church is reaching beyond its four walls to build relationships with people who might not be those they’d choose as friends. Isn’t that what Christ did?
After lunch we drove an hour to the nearest bus station and boarded for a long ride to the next stop. Enroute we crossed the Danube River! I’d only heard about it in music and Social Studies until now.
When we arrived at the bus station, another Hungarian IM couple – Judit and Peter – met us and drove us to the next service. There we were – six adults – crammed into a tight, 20-year-old van. The defrost didn’t work on the windshield, and the wipers only worked when they felt like it. Gene was in the far back, squished beside and under our suitcases. A light snowfall began on the way, and as the road wound higher, it blew into a blizzard. Our driver crept along, straining to see the road as he wiped the windshield with his hand. What an adventure!
We drove for at least an hour before arriving at the little church. It was a room in an apartment block, about 12 x 12 feet. The furniture consisted of 27 chairs, a pulpit, a table for communion elements, and two heaters. Nine or 10 members of the congregation were seated, waiting for our arrival. Again, we enjoyed sweet fellowship with them. Darwin preached and I shared my testimony as we did this morning. When it ended, we were driven to Peter and Judit’s home.
Bless her heart, Judit had prepared a typical Hungarian meal for us. It looked like she’d cooked for days – chicken, pork, rice, green salad, and a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate and custard dessert. She’s a precious gal – her first husband was a Baptist pastor but he died a painful death from cancer nearly three years ago, and she was left with four children. The youngest was only 8 months old. She was remarried last year and is now expecting another baby. She and I had a precious prayer time together. I’m so proud of our IM staff and what they’re doing despite the difficulties they face.