Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday, July 26th!!! On the Ground!

Jamie just sent me a text and the mission team is on the ground in Dallas - still taxi-ing to the gate, but ON THE GROUND! They have a long lay-over and are all ready to be home, but everyone still doing well. We can thank our God for such a wonderful trip - almost home!
Have a great Sunday afternoon!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Friday & Saturday in Budapest Update

We are near the very end of our trip. Early tomorrow we will board a plane and begin the journey back home. We are looking forward to our 31-hour day (we gain 7 hours back with the time change). Anyone who wants to come and welcome us home, be at the Huntsville airport for our 9:00 PM arrival from Dallas on American Airlines.Our FBCHSV Mission Team in front of the Parliament Building in Budapest.
A look over the beautiful city of Budapest.
Several of our students having fun together after a great week of hard work and long days. Our soon-to-be 11th graders Kenzie Broome and Rachel Taylor in front of the Freedom Statue.
Our soon-to-be seniors Jake Gattis, Blake Reasons, James Taylor, Jeremy Dickson, Hallie Caneer, Thomas Lewallen, Patrick Dickson, Katelyn Owen, Rick Holloway (hidden in the back) and John Mark Russell.Andrew McPhail, Will Tucker, Jamie Mackey, Rick Holloway, Rachel Taylor, Rick Holloway, Jake Gattis, & Conor Gattis up top over Budapest.

We made it to Budapest yesterday. What a beautiful city! We have enjoyed yesterday evening and all day today seeing and enjoying the city. We first visited the market for a first look at possible souvenirs. The team enjoyed a good dinner at the Peppers restaurant on the river last night before boarding for a cruise up and down the Danube River seeing the city lit up. Spectacular!

Today, we first tracked up to to the Freedom Statue that overlooks Budapest. We then made our way down for a group picture in front of Hungary's impressive Parliament building. At that point the students and adults split into groups to see the city. Many shopped for take home gifts. Others climbed up Castle Hill to see the Castle. Some visited St. Stephens Cathedral. I (Jamie) visited the church in a cave. The adults were treated to a good lunch at Fatal's Hungarian restaurant (yummy!). And still others geocached their way around the city.

Tonight, we had a closing devotion with missionaries Glen and Clista Adkins. They are wonderful. Please pray for their ministry here.

We are departing the hotel and the airport early so it is off to sleep now. Thank you for your prayers through this trip. They have made a difference!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Parent's Perspective on the Trip

By: Dennis O'Dell

Man oh Man! What a great time we have had. I cannot adequately express how proud I am of our youth. You parents have brought up young people you should be really proud of. I cannot believe we could ever have a group who could get along as well as these and . . . . . such hard workers! When we gave the Gandhi students their T-shirts my heart was broken at just how excited they were to get just this small gift. They each one immediately put his or hers on and just beamed. What a blessing we have in sharing their joy in such small measures. I cannot wait for our church to hear from our youth, these young missionaries, about how Jesus has blessed this effort. I want to thank each of you who made financial and other sacrifices for these young people to get to come here. I know that all will cherish these memories for the rest of their lives as will I. Continue to pray for our safe travels over the next 3 days. Again, thank you,

Your missionary brother in Christ,

Thursday Update

Several of our painting crew in the boy's dorm - Katelyn Owen, B-Daddy Leffel, Conor Gattis, Kenzie Broome, Andrew McPhail, Robert Moser, & Bethany McDaniel.
Our Music Room Renovation Team - Gandhi student Barbi, Jeremy Dickson, Gandhi student Ricsi, Big Rick Holloway, Little Rick Holloway, Attila the HUNgarian, & Blake Reasons (mixing the paint).
Joel Keene, Robert Moser, Andrew McPhail, & Katelyn Owen resetting a finished newly painted room in the boy's dorm.
A "Handprint Wall" in the courtyard.
Our FBCHSV Hungary Mission Team.

Hello from Péc’s Hungary. Today was an amazing day, we made the last final push to finish our projects. I (Rick) worked downstairs in the music room along side my dad, Blake, Jeremy, and Rachel. We accomplished a ton, finishing everything and putting the final touches on the room by moving the chairs and cabinates back in to place, and hanging the curtains back on the stage. Upstairs in the boy’s dorm they completed all of their assigned rooms, bringing a much better look to that half of the dorm. In the courtyard my dad, Jake, and I(Patrick) put stucco on the remaining walls having to get up earlier to do so. The others whom were painting stripes in the courtyard finished just before lunch. The remainder of the day Jake and I roamed around and helped the other groups, either by moving furniture or cleaning up.The final touches were put on the courtyard when the entire mission team left their handprints on one of the walls.

For dinner tonight we had an amazing Hungarian stew made by many of the workers or family members helping us through out the week. Afterwards we went down to the meeting room for an emotional last night of worship and devotion with the Gahndi students. We are now about to go pack and get ready for our three hour trip to Budapest which will definately be an awesome experiance. Cos a num.

- Rick Holloway and Patrick O’Dell

Meet Our New Friends

Part of the Hungary Mission Trip's purpose was to build relationships with a few of the Gandhi students that came back to the school to spend the week with us. Immediately, the two groups began to merge and only got better as the week went along. We want to share with you who our new friends are. Meet Barbi, Little Laci, Timi, Yani, Kriste, Richie, Big Laci, and our hosts missionaries Glen & Clista Akins. These nine people have been interviewed by several FBCHSV folks. Some have pictures. Others do not. If we get a picture of them, we will add it.

Meet Barbi
By: Andrew McPhail

I had the pleasure of interviewing Barbara Horvath or Barbi as she is called. As you will read later on, Barbi is Richie's girlfriend and they have been an item for over a year. She lives an hour and a half away from Pécs in a town called Kaposvák. She commutes back and forth to the Ghandi school via bus. She lives with her mother, her mother's boyfriend and her twenty year old brother (Károly). Along with her family members, Barbi also has two cats. She doesn't have a favorite subject to study but enjoys Hungarian grammer. She really enjoys attending the Ghandi school and has many friends here. As school starts back this September, Barbi will be a senior. After graduation, she plans on attending University but does not know what she wants to study quite yet.
In her free time, Barbi enjoys watching movies, listening to both Hungarian and American music, and of course hanging out with Richie. Her favorite color is pink and her favorite TV show is Hungarian and called The Monica Show.
It was a pleasure getting to know Barbi through this interview. This week has been a very rewarding week for both us and the Ghandi students. We have formed very strong relationships with each other and have worked side by side with one another making repairs on the Ghandi School. It has been a true blessing to have been a part of this truely amazing experience.

Meet "Little" Laci
By: Rachel Taylor

Today I interviewed Lazi Bogda'n, a student at the Ghandi School. He is 15 years old and has been at the school for one year. Laci said he likes it at the school but he prefers to be at home. Laci was born in Kaposva'r on January the fourteenth. He lives with his two sisters, the oldest Timi and the youngest Judit. He also has a dog and two cats. While he is at home he likes to watch tv and movies. Somethings he likes to watch are Friends, House, Heros, and Lost. His favorite movies are Tranformers one and two, Underworld 3, and 17 Again. He also likes to listen to music and hang out with his friends. His activites and hobbies at home are surfing the internet, taking pictures, and playing basketball. During the week he is at the school studying and taking classes. He has seven classes a day and once those are over, he and his classmates have a group study time and go over what they learned that day. After they study for an hour and a half, they have a couple hours of free time and then they have to go to bed at ten o'clock. Laci's favorite subjects are english and art. I asked him what he planned to do when he graduates from the school and he was'nt exactly sure but he said he might want to be a translator! Laci Bogda'n is a very kind and caring person. Laci and the students deserve all the renovations and help we provided. I pray Laci will stay the kind and caring person that he is and will grow up to be.

Meet Timi
By: Melissa Russell

Through a heavily accented but suburbly practiced English voice, Bogda’n Timea, known to everyone here as Timi, sat down in one of the dorm rooms of the Ghandi school and told me a little about her life as a student here. She grew up in Görgeteg, a village that rests about two hours away from the school in Pécs. She is a senior here and throughout the past week she has been a great asset to us by serving as one of our translators and she also helps us to cross the language barrier on the worksites. She is 18 years old and looks to the University in Pécs in hopes of furthering her education. After completing a degree there, she wants to travel the world and visit all of the places that would allow her to practice her English. She loves Hungary and its natural beauty, as well as its great food and open people. She does wish, however, that the schools here offered more opportunities for exchange programs with other countries to enable everyone to have a more worldly outlook on life. With the skills she has already acquired here at the Ghandi school, I’m sure that great things will await her in the future.

Meet Yani
By Blake Reasons

Jáno Lovrenosies is an awesome young man that has a personality. While biking in the beautiful mountains close to Lake Orfu, I got to talking with Lani, as his friends call him, and began discussing life. He is 19 and love music. I was surpised when he started naming off American rappers such as Eminemen, 50 Cent, and Akon. Yani is always looking to help someone. I can’t count the times he asked me while we were up on the mountain whether or not me, Jake, or Jeremy needed help. I amazes me how every day you can just look at Yani and see the face of Jesus.
I asked him what his plans are after he graduates the Gandhi Gimnázium. He couldn’t really come with an answer except for hte fact that he would not mind going to a university, which is really respectable.
Yani’s parents are not together. He has 2 half-brothers and 4 half-sisters, which he says he does not know very well. Last night I played Yani several times in foosball and the only word to describe his ability is ’raw’. He tolk me during his free time at the school foosball is his favorite activity.
It would take many words to describe this unique young man but there was one thing he told me that touched me. As we biked down the mountains with the stream rustling to our left, the trees swaying to our right, and the Hungarian flies eating our legs like candy, I asked Jáno Lovrenosies what all our efforts at the Gandhi school meant to him. He responded with one short phrase in Hungarian that said it all – "It means everything."

Meet Kriste
Interview with Kriste Balogh
By: Jeremy Dickson

Name: Balogh Krisztina
Age: 17
Year in School: 4th year at Ghandi School

What do you want to do when you grow up: I want to learn at the University after Ghandi in Budapest or America After that I don’t know.

What languages do you speak? A little English, a little German, Hungarian and Beas (Gipsy dialect.)

What do you like to do in your free time? I like to read, I like music and I like to spend time with my family. I also like photography.

Do you believe you are a Christian? I read my Bible in English. I believes „So So.”

Any thing else you want to ask or say? No.

Meet Richie
By Will Tucker

Richie was born in Pamuk, a town 140 kilometers from Pecs, and has lived there 18 years, his whole life. He travels one and a half hours to the Gandhi School every week. He graduated this year—in the near future, he hopes to attend the University in Pecs. His English reflects the years he spent studying it. Communicating with him is not difficult, especially because of the easy-going attitude he successfully keeps up all day long.
Richie speaks Beas—one of the two dialects associated with the Roma people—with his family (one 17-year-old brother, studying to be an electrician; one 2-year-old sister). Őne night this week, he shared some of his native language with us. He and I both thought it would be cool to share with anyone who reads this blog the words he taught us, so here goes:

Richie is clearly a smart guy. He enjoyed school, and intends to study medicine at University to become a doctor working in Pecs. He says this desire stems from personal experiences—Richie’s stepfather is very sick and has not been able to work due to his heart condition, and his grandfather passed away not too long ago. Richie says he cried for 2 days. Now, he wishes to become the best surgeon he can, in order to help other people in similar situations. He never questions his own determination.
An all-around great guy, he exudes a sense of compassion, calm, and good humor. Richie and Barbie are dating; according to Richie, they have been together for 1 year, 4 months and 22 days—both seem to be very happy with each other.

Meet "Big" Laci
By: "Big" Rick Holloway

While in Pécs we had the joy of meeting a young man named Laszlo Vofeny, Laci to us. He quickly came to be called 'Big Laci' after one of the Pecs students of the same name arrived. Laci graduated from the Gandhi school in 2002 and is back this week at the request of Glen and Clista to help us out. Laci has done the translation for us all week. What an excellent choice for this as he speaks four languages fluently and is well read in others. These include Hungarian, two gypsy languages and thankfully English. Laci is currently enrolled in the University of Pecs and is studying English Literature and Linguistics. At 25 he has already lived an interesting life. After graduating from the Gandhi school and spending a few years in the university he spent a year in London in an effort to make some additional money for college. While there he fried chicken for an African version of KFC (Afri-Carribian Chicken), vacuumed the concrete garage floors of Arabic elites, mucked stalls and finally ended up as a chef after starting as a dishwasher. Brick laying and a few others were thrown in for good measure. This same work ethic was displayed all week as he tirelessly followed the students around helping with language and stories. In return the kids showed him how to throw a football and gave him some challenging ping pong games. Once he completes his university studies Laci plans on traveling and experiencing the things he has read about in the English language books he has. After that who knows? Laci comes from a large family. He has one biological sister and four adopted siblings. We visited his home village one day and met most of them. His family is primarily Roman Catholic while Laci is Baptist. His comment was that he felt that Catholicism was too restrictive. Please keep him in your prayers as he continues to chart his course.

Meet Glen and Clista Adkins (Our Hosts)
By: Bethany McDaniel

Before moving to Pécs, Hungary to live as missionaries sponsered by the CBF, Glen and Clista Adkins lived in South Carolina. Originally, however, Glen is from VA and Clista is from Louisiana. Before the big move they were just a normal family with two daughters, Mary and Katie Beth, who worked at a normal church with normal jobs as the Minister of Music (Glen) and the Minister to Single Adults (Clista). Then about two years ago they decided to get up and move changing everything even close to normal in their suburan life in South Carolina to be missionaries in a small town in Hungary. This was a huge transition that took a lot of time, thought, planning, and siminars that the CBF require in order to do something like this. Although, being a missionary is a vocation that Clista has pretty much always wanted. When she was in college, she read a book about a missionary who had a challenging yet extremely rewarding life. Ever since then, she has had it in her heart to serve the Lord in a strong and challenging way. (Although, in the book the missionary did not have a happy ending…He was eventually murdered for his beliefs).
But why Hungary? That’s just so random. As it turns out, Glen and Clista came to Hungary on a misssion trip (just like us). Then the next year, they came back. During that visit a missionary who had been in Pécs for 14 years proposed that Glen and Clista come to be a music teacher and an English teacher at this wonderful school for Roma teenagers. They both jumped at the idea. They did all the planning and whatnot that is involved in becoming a missionary and at the ages of 51, they left their comfortable life to come to a beautiful eastern Europe town. The transition wasn’t too bad at first. The first three months were exciting filled with the newness of everything. After that newness wore off, however, they started to get a little homesick, especially for their daughters. This huge change became more than just a shift in environment, but it was also a shift into a life with small cars, no clothes dryers, walking EVERYWHERE, a language barrier, and stairs around every corner with no sign whatsoever of an elevator. Life began to take more time than what they were used to with the convience of Publix just down the street. Even though they still do miss somethings (like air conditioning, Chick-fil-A, and Tab), they have acclimated and gotten use to life in Pécs just in time to move back to the States next year. The CBF only sponsers them for three years. This is a job that is usually given to recent college graduates who are trying to figure out what to do with their lives. Although, Glen and Clista both reiterated a couple of times that this is a job open up for any age. Even though their time here is short and the transition was a bit rocky, they both said they would do it again in a heartbeat. You can just see it in their faces that they truely love what they do. They love forming relationships with the Ghandi students and being able to make a difference in our chaotic world. Life in Pécs is not as hectic as it is in America. Clista described the U.S. as always having noise and everything is always coming at you to buy this or try that. In Pécs life is not simpler so to speak, but it is quieter in a way. However, they both said that this experience has really shown them how extremely fortunate we Americans truely are. It sounds so cliche, but America really is a wonderful country and sometimes we tend to forget the simple freedoms that are given to us.
On a more fun note, I asked them what their favorite Hungarian food was. Glen said he just loves the kakaoh csiga which is a chocolate (he prefers dark chocolate) pastry shaped like a snail. Clista really adores the Boci chocolate which is like a mild Hershey’s chocolate bar. They both sound absolutely delicious in me opinion. :-)


Our dinner tonight is a traditional Hungarian Gulyás (goulash). The meal is being prepared by the Gandhi staff as an expression of gratitude for our time here this week. YUM! (we hope)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday Update

A crew of Sarah Taylor, Randy Taylor, Laura Moon, and Melissa Russell replacing the wood on benches in the front lawn of the Gandhi School. Clista Adkins is extremely excited about this work because many of her English tutoring sessions take place on these benches.
Rachel Taylor gets a "mud lesson" from carpenter Atilla the HUNgarian. The wall for music storage is almost complete!
Patrick O'Dell with Gandhi student Yonni. They are working on the stucco of the courtyard columns.
Gandhi student Yonni, Will Tucker, & Bethany McDaniel paint the strips on the walls of the courtyard.
Jamie Mackey and Glen Akins with the Gandhi principal. She gave each of the FBC folks a gift for coming. The gift is a book of the Gandhi School celebrating its 15 years of existance.
Joel Keene & Conor Gattis with Gandhi student Laci while painting a dorm corridor/hall.
Brian Leffel, Janice Owen & Kristi Taylor working on painting the dorm rooms. Both Janice and Kristi wish Jamie was not taking pictures.
A look from above - Bethany McDaniel, Will Tucker, Kenzie Broome, & Yonni paint the walls of the courtyard.
A view of Pécs from the top floor of the boys dorm.
Laura Moon painting the wood for the benches.
Big Rick Holloway with Glen Adkins on the newly floored stage in the Music/Theater Room. Glen is excited.
Patrick O'Dell, Dennis O'Dell, & Jake Gattis celebrate a job well done with carpenter Gabor. In Gabor's words, "Supar!"
Jake Gattis with Yonni on a bike trail up at Lake Orfu.
On Lake Orfu, some of our FBC folks enjoying the paddle boats. Here is one jumping from the boat into the lake. The paddle boats even had slides on them!
Kenzi Broome, Jeremy Dickson, Gandi student Laci, & Kristi Taylor enjoying time on a paddle boat.
Dinner was hot dogs roasted over a campfire. Here are FBC students and Gandhi students intermixed enjoying the time together.
The world's best Hungarian smore!
Our time at Lake Orfu concluded with a time of worship around the campfire. We sang, heard a devotion and discussed how we saw the face of Jesus during the day (our daily question).
Here Glen Adkins and Thomas Lewallen lead us in singing.

Hello from Hungary. Today was an awesome day, and we accomplished a ton. We got significantly close to finishing our projects. Workers in the courtyard, like me (Will) painted the walls in different colors, to match the traditional gypsy art style. The other team with me (Blake) led by big Rick Holloway worked in the music room to finish the stage and storage room. I even had time to begin marking off a four-square court on the asphalt in the courtyard, to be painted tomorrow--all before lunch at one 'oclock.
After lunch we headed to Lake Orfu and commenced to have a great time. Seriously. A ton of people went on a bike ride, others swam, and some, like Brian Leffel, Robert, Joel, and Andrew rented paddle boats. We swam for a good 3 or so hours before having roasted hot dogs over a fire by the lake side. Trust me--people-watching on a European lake "beach" is definitely say the least.
We ended the day with worship by the lake with a wonderful experience filled with music and a devotion led by Trey, the summer intern here. It all made for another awesome day in Pecs, Hungary. We look forward to finishing up all the projects tomorrow and then packing up for 2 full days in Budapest beginning Friday. Hope everyone back home is holding up well and I'm sure everyone here is looking forward to seeing you all in about 4 or 5 days. Cos a num. Hallo.
-Blake Reasons and Will Tucker

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday Update

Patrick O'Dell, Dennis O'Dell, & Jake Gattis begin to paint the walls of the courtyard.
Thomas Lewallen climbing the rock wall at Mecsestrem. He almost made it to the top. The Taylor family were the climbing champs with Sarah, James, & Rachel all making to the top.
Kenzie Broome with Rachel Taylor and Hallie Caneer on her back. Looks like they are having fun!
All sharing a knee - Jamie Mackey, Patrick O'Dell, Thomas Lewallen, James Taylor, Rick Holloway, Jake Gattis, & Blake Reasons.
Our adults are having fun with one another. Here Brian Leffel sandwiches Rick Holloway's van so he cannot get in. This is after Rick and Brian decided to separate as roommates because Brian snores.

Hey yall this is Conor live from Pécs,

We have just finished yet another of Clista's amazing meals and everyone has settled into their evening leisure activities. Today the group had a wonderful day at the school in the morning and the "Extreme" Park during the afternoon. Big Rick and his crew pretty much finished with all of the painting in the music room and started building a wall and the stage. The group from the courtyard continued their work with the stucco, and started painting the outside walls of the school. Finally, the indoor painting crew continues to make headway in the boys dorm. It is going to be tough, but I think that most of the projects will be completed (even if that means we have to work late on the last day).

After lunch we went to the Mecsextrém Park. There we were able to do a variety of activities like ropes courses (three difficulty levels), zip lines, the Zorb (look it up it's pretty cool), rock climbing, horseback riding, and my personal favorite, the bobsled. We were there for about four and a half hours and got to see some hilarous things. At one point on the ropes course one could see Joel Keene sliding on his bum at the end of a zip line, and Blake Reasons struggling to get through one of the ropes courses (he is not a big fan of the suspended rings). It would be safe to say that there were many laughs to be had.

On another note...I want to thank everyone back home for the countless number of prayers and the outpouring of love, and support that has guided us through this entire trip. I really do believe that we are making a difference in the lives of the people that we come in contact with. Please continue to pray that the words coming from our mouth, and our actions can convey the message of Jesus Christ.
See you all when we get back home,

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday Update

Melissa Russell & Hallie Caneer carrying materials.
Katelyn Owen & Melissa Russell working on the courtyard wall - notice Melissa's earrings and powertool combo.
Our dinner table.
John Mark Russell and Conor Gattis having fun while Kenzie Broome actually paints the wall.
Laura Moon rolling a dorm room wall.
Rachel Taylor and Joel Keene team up to drill anchors into the wall.
Melissa Russell, Katelyn Owen, Hallie Caneer, Rachel Taylor, & Joel Keene taking a break for a picture.
Thomas high up on a ladder cleaning the air ducks. Did Thomas really need a ladder?
Gandhi student Risci working in the Music Room.
Bethany McDaniel, Will Tucker, & Andrew McPhail with missionary Glen Adkins and the school's social worker Eszti. They gave Eszti the 26 suitcases of clothes and toiletries collected in Huntsville to give to the Gandhi students. She will distribute the donation as needed.
Jeremy Dickson holding the ladder for Rick Holloway. They are in the Music Room.
Conor Gattis, Jake Gattis, and Andrew McPhail using their "special" muscles to move beds back into the boys dormatory.
Our FBC students learning the Beas language through a game.
Our FBC students with the Gandhi students during devotion. At the back of the room is Andi and Joshua, our special music guests tonight.
Thomas Lewallen playing guitar with Glen Adkins during the devotion.

Jő napot,which means good day in Hungarian. Today we woke up and began working on our projects. In particular, we improved the music room by partially painting the ceilings and the air ducts. We also installed a wall that has to come out tomorrow for a door. In addition, we cut the grass in the second facility, finished two of the rooms at the boy's dormitory, and prepared to stucco the wall in the courtyard of the school.
Some interesting things that occured today were Big Rick learning how to walk on a ladder from one of the professional carpenters (named Atila the HUNgarian). Little Rick was drilling in the wall when he drilled through some wires which resulted in the lights going out. The other handyman, Gabor, spent his time with the people in the courtyard teaching them how to mud a wall. He is very patient and encouraging although there is a language barrier. He tells everyone "Süpa".

After dinner, we received Beas lessons from our Gandhi friend Risci. Beas is one of the two Gypsy languages. Then we had a devotion/singing time where some of the Gandhi students shared some of their culture with us through some songs. It was really upbeat and enthusiastic, and a very neat cultural insight. We are having a great time getting to know all of these new people and sharing, like we learned in our lesson tonight, the universal language of love that comes from God.

- Jake Gattis and Jeremy Dickson