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Preview: Underneath are the everlasting arms...

Underneath are the everlasting arms...

"The eternal God is a dwelling place and underneath are the everlasting arms..." Deut. 33:27

Updated: 2014-10-05T00:45:25.074-07:00


Funny cultural moments...


So I have been at a blogging blank lately (as you can probably tell).  Then I went to IKEA.  It seems that trips to the store can often create great blog stories.  Most of you may not know a lot about the language spoken in Hungary.  It is Hungarian (you would be surprised how often I get asked that question).  Here is a blurb about Hungarian according to British diplomats:

"The British Foreign Office has looked at the languages that diplomats and other embassy staff have to learn and has worked out which they find the most difficult to learn. The second hardest is Japanese, which probably comes as no surprise to many, but the language that they have found to be the most difficult to learn is Hungarian, which has 35 cases (forms of a nouns according to whether it is subject, object, genitive, etc). This does not mean that Hungarian is the hardest language to learn for everybody, but it causes British diplomatic staff, who are used to learning languages, the most difficulty."

Yeah, so in is really hard.  I have lived in Hungary now for 2.5 years and I still know very little.  For me, it is very intimidating to speak even the words I do know because I struggle with pronunciation.  Every rare once and a while though, I give it a go.  Back to IKEA.  My roommate and I went to get some things and as is our usual tradition I went to get us some ice cream cones while she waited in line.  If you haven't visited your local IKEA lately, I highly recommend the ice cream.  In Hungary a small cone is only 100 forint (50 cents) and very tasty.  Anyways, I walked up to the counter and said "Kerek sepen kettő fagyalt," which loosely translates to "two ice creams please."  I have attempted this phrase at IKEA before and I tend to up with two hot dogs.  But on this particular occasion the kind guy behind the counter gave me two cones and then said...wait for it...."You are doing great on your Hungarian."  That's right folks!  I can successfully order ice cream.  I am doing great on my Hungarian!

These kinds of things just happen to me...


So I am beginning to see a trend in my blogging.  Silly, often crazy, things happen in my life.  Perhaps my blog should be titled the misadventures of Kim, but because of His steadfast grace I am blessed to say I am here to speak of another day.  I would love to say crazy things happen to me because I am so carefree and spontaneous, but it is probably more related to the fact that I tend to "look before I leap."  Case in point on my recent trip to Venice.  First, I need to educate you on European elevators. Although they have the familiarity that comes with the OTIS nameplate (just like those handryers ;), they really have no other similarities with the elevators I was used to prior to moving here.  They are small, they often have those doors that fold in and out, and they like to give you a little jolt whether you are going up or down.  Floor numbering can also be confusing as floor 1 is 1 floor above the ground floor.  In my school, I teach on the floor one floor up from the ground, my room number is 208 and the elevator calls it the 4th floor!  Anyways, (have you noticed that I sometimes go on rabbit trails?  I have started to notice this in my classroom teaching...oops), I recently took an overnight trip to Venice with some friends.  We decided to drop our bags off at the hotel before heading out to dinner.  After climbing four flights of stairs with our bags, the manager kindly showed us our room and the elevator we could use when we needed it (hmmm...).  There were five of us.  As the elevator door opened to welcome us, we all marveled at how big it was for a "European elevator."  We stepped inside.  Two of the ladies in our group stepped back and considered the stairs, but I (in all my innate wisdom) prodded them back on the elevator..."no, no, it's says it can hold a max of 5 persons...we'll be fine..."  So back into the elevator they stepped.  So there we were, the five of us, neatly tucked (alright somewhat stuffed) into the large European elevator.  The doors closed and we pushed the button for the ground floor.  We started moving down and within a few seconds came to a jolting stop.  We tried pushing the button again, but to no avail.  We were stuck.  One of the ladies began endlessly pushing the alarm button and we all laughed at the situation we had gotten ourselves into.  The manager started yelling down the elevator shaft to see what was happening.  He asked us how many people we had in there and we said five, like the sign says.  His response: "Yeah, but really four."  I love Italy :)  He said he was sending for help and to wait a few minutes.  We sort of hoped the Italian fire department would come, but thirty minutes later we were manually lifted to the floor, where we were greeted by a bunch of Italians (not the fire department) laughing at us.  Good times.   Below, please enjoy a couple pictures taken with my friend Heidi's phone during the Venice elevator debacle of 2011 ;)Help we're stuck!Hannah's corner seatThe view from Hannah's seat[...]

This is just my life...


So,  some of you may have already seen this picture on facebook (it was pajama day today for spirit week), but I thought I would post it here and explain.  When someone points a camera at me, I often feel the need to make a ridiculous face and pose.  It's like this autopilot clicks on and I just strike a pose.    I wish I could say I was an expert poser and always produced a fabulous photo, but looking back at my track record over the years, I am not so sure that is the case.  Here are a few of my favorites (or not so much ;)...This it at a conference I was least I can laugh at myselfYep...that is a toilet seatYum!Yum again! (Random sidenote...Thanksgiving s'mores...if you haven't tried it, you should.Coffee deserves that kind of loveRocks in Devil's Lake are the bestI promise this was not staged...and yes I am bowling in a ponchoAll time favorite...Sharon and I are expert blenders (perhaps this deserves its own photo montage)[...]

Shake it Up!


This past Saturday evening I was sitting in a lounge on the 9th floor of the Marriott in downtown Budapest.  Suddenly it felt like the building was being blown back and forth.  In my logical mind, I couldn't  comprehend how a structure such as the building I was in could be swayed by even the strongest wind.  I could not figure it out, so I moved on and attributed it to my own sleepiness.   Then I started to see the facebook posts.  It was an earthquake!  Who knew Hungary had earthquakes?  Not me!  Anyways, after looking through the news, I did find a small article on it, so click here if you are interested in reading more!  This is the first earthquake I have ever experienced.  Stay tuned next week for a story of me, four other girls and a very small Italian elevator!

What I Am Up To...


So, this week ICSB has the week off for "ski week," which is really a week off for Campus Crusade for Christ to have their tri-annual conference. My roommate Hannah and I were asked to do childcare for the week, so we made our way down to Slovenia this morning to spend a week holding babies.  Below are some pictures from our hotel room.  The conference is being held at a resort on the Adriatic (the little blessings of helping out).  Please pray for a good week, for the 1600+ people attending to be encouraged and challenged in their walks with Christ, and for the health and well-being of the children, workers and atteendees. 
The view from our balcony (Creation cries out!)

The welcome message on the TV in our room...Hannah's response= "Does that make me Mr. Berliner?"

Random Pictures of a Random Life


So, I am trying to become a regular blogger.  Thanks to my wonderful friend Sharon, I have been somewhat successful so far.  Then the other day I was thinking...what do I do when I have nothing left to say (like that would ever really happen:)?  I decided to start taking random snapshots that have a funny or personal meaning to me.  So here is the first picture.  Yes, it is a bathroom hand dryer.  I love bathroom hand dryers!  Not necessarily because I am "going green" or just like warm hands.  The main reason that I like them is because no matter where I am in the world, they make me feel a little closer to home.  Let me explain.  There is this company called World Dryer and I have discovered they have somewhat of a monopoly on hand dryers around the world.  I have had the blessed privilege to travel many places and I often see the World Dryer on my many escapades.  Whenever I do a smile lights my face when I see the place of origin: Berkley, IL.  That is right.  Whether Europe, or Dubai, or South Africa, I can always find a little slice of the good ole IL!  So enjoy the picture.  This one happens to be taken at West End Mall in Budapest where we went ice skating with the youth group last Sunday...
The World Dryer

Shout out to IL!

Blog Question # 2


What/if any/are the differences in the way Hungarians celebrate Christmas?  Are there any new traditions you have learned about?So anyone who knows me, knows how much I love Christmas!  To start with, I continually am awestruck by a day that represents the God of the universe sending His son for our salvation.  I also love the spirit of the season, the lights, the music and so much more!  This year was my first chance to spend Christmas in Hungary, and although I dearly missed friends and family in the USA, I had a great time.  So, I would love to share with you about some traditions.Szent Miklós DayIn Hungary, Santa Clause comes on December 6th (Saint Nicholas Day) to bring presents. Children typically leave their boots on the windowsill on the evening of December 5th. By the next morning Mikulás(more common spelling) leaves candy and gifts if they have been good, or a rod (virgács) if they have been bad (most kids end up getting small gifts but also a small rod). In Hungary he is often accompanied by the Krampusz, the frightening helper who is out to take away the bad ones.  This year, our kind landlord hung a little Mikulás on our window and left some chocolate.Christmas MarketAnother Christmas tradition in Europe, which I absolutely love, is the Christmas market.  Most major European cities (including Budapest) host a market between Thanksgiving and New Years.  Here you can find homemade crafts, pottery and authentic food.  It is always fun to walk around Vörösmarty tér (the main square) with a glass of forralt bor (hot wine) and peruse the wonderful variety of treasures.Gerbaud AdventGerbaud Cukraszda is a Viennese coffee house and confectionary in Budapest that has been around since 1858.  Every year, they make an advent calendar out of their windows.  Each day, at 5pm, they "open" the calendar.  This year, I got to witness the opening of the 22nd window.  It is a fun way to celebrate and count down the days to Christmas.I am sure there are many more traditions that I am not aware of.  There are few that I have been told about, but have never experienced first hand.  For example, the Christmas Eve meal usually consists of carp soup.  Also, Hungarians do not put up their Christmas tree until Christmas Eve in preparation for baby Jesus (who brings the presents the next morning).   Overall, Hungary is a wonderful place to celebrate Christmas.  Each year, there seems to be more and more decorations and traditions.  Here are a few pictures I captured this year of the Christmas season:Christmas Lights at the Christmas MarketMore decorations on the walking street (Vaci)Gerbaud in the backdrop of the Christmas MarketAn Advent WreathThe Gerbeaud Advent Calendar being changedThe Gerbeaud Advent Calendar[...]

Blog Question #1: How do you like the food?


Many places around the world have their own unique flavor and Hungary is no exception.   I actually really like the food in Hungary, although I can only eat it so often.  Hungarian food is very heavy.  They like fried things and heavy sauces.  Some Hungarian favorites include stuffed cabbage rolls, langos (fried dough covered in cheese and sour cream...woah), chicken paparikas, stuffed peppers and, of course, goulash (pronounced goo-yahsh).  Contrary to popular belief (in America), goulash is not a thick beef stew.  In Hungary, it is a broth-based soup with beef, vegetables and lots of paprika!  It is traditionally cooked in the backyard over a fire in a big metal pot.  I have had the opportunity to enjoy this authentic Hungarian experience!  My favorite Hungarian dish is paprikas csirke or chicken paprikash.  It is basically chicken stewed in a creamy paprika sauce.  It is delicious with some teszta or Hungarian noodles!  One of my favorite sweet treats is kurtos kalacs or chimney cake.  It is basically a pastry that is cooked over an open fire on a cylindar.  It comes in plain, vanilla, nuts or cinnamon.  I prefer the cinnamon, or in Hungarian, fahéj.  In the town where I live, Diósd, there is a great little kurtos kalacs stand that sells the sweet treat every Friday for a bargain 280 Hungarian Forint (about $1.50).   Overall, the food has been an interesting experience here in Budapest.  While I am a picky eater, my taste buds have definitely expanded their repertoire since my move to Eastern Europe.  Below I posted some pictures of the above mentioned foods.  Enjoy!  Thanks to Kari for the great question!Yum, yum..Hungarian food!Istvan making some goulash over the fire :)The Hungarian "delectables" from our staff dinner (honestly have no idea what this is)Kurtos KalacsTraditional Hungarian food being cooked at the Christmas marketMy favorite...Chicken Paprikash![...]

Snow, Snow, Snow (Yes, this is a "White Christmas" of my faves)


 A few of you have sent me questions to answer on my blog, so thank you!  If you haven't sent a question yet, keep 'em coming!   I will start answering questions next week!  On this Christmas weekend, I wanted to point out a funny thing that happened Christmas night :)  You may have seen me mention on facebook that it occasionally snows in our bathroom.  Well, keeping with tradition, it snowed quite a bit on Christmas night, and that snow came right inside.  For you doubters, I even attached pictures.  Because of the sheer amount of snow getting in, I went to our landlord and asked to show him the problem.  As soon as he came in, he just started saying over and over "Jesus and Mary" (this is my rough translation guess of Jezus Maria).  I then proceeded to have a conversation with him in Hungarian about solving the problem (keep in mind I speak little to no Hungarian :).  As far as I can tell, he said he would come this morning (it is 1pm here and no sign of him yet).  All that to say, hopefully soon it will no longer snow inside the bathroom.  I love it on the outside, but not so much in :)  As I have considered this situation, I feel like my response normally would have been aggravation with this inconvenience, but I just can't help but smile when I think about it.  I guess it is just one of those enjoyable little quirks of living in a foreign country.  Enjoy the pictures and I hope it brings a smile to your face too!  Merry Christmas!  Boldog Karácsonyt!Snow in the Window SillMore Snow in the Window SillSnow on the Bathroom FloorMore Snow on the Bathroom FloorEven More Snow on the Bathroom Floor (Note the great help the towels were...not so much)Snow where it our courtyardView from our Front DoorOur Shared Patio[...]

Christmas Traditions


I love Christmas traditions.  From Pillsbury cinnamon rolls Christmas morning to Christmas carol charades with the Mehlers to LRC with the Berliners, I simply love things that we can always look forward to year after year.  This year, I think I may have discovered a new tradition I want to be a part of.  On Saturday night, my church hosted a festival of lessons and carols.   I got the unique privilege of participating because the Christmas choir I am in sang two songs.  I had never heard of this type of event  before, but it was really great!   This idea started at the Kings College at Cambridge University.  On Christmas Eve in the year 1918, Cambridge hosted its first Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.  To this day, they still hold the service every Christmas Eve.  In 1928, they began broadcasting the service and it has been broadcast every year since (with the exception of 1930).  The festival always begins with the hymn "Once in Royal David's City" and always ends with "Hark the Herald Angels Sing."  I am hoping to make the listening of this service part of my yearly Christmas traditions.   Would you like to join me?  This year's service will be at 3pm London time (9am Chicago time) on Christmas Eve.  If you would like to listen, click here and enjoy!  Hope you have a blessed Christmas season remembering the great gift we received from the most generous Giver!



I love stories.  Who doesn't?  I especially love hearing peoples' life stories.  Perhaps it is the history teacher in me, or perhaps it is just a quirk.  Either way, there is little I enjoy more than a good story.  Yesterday I had the opportunity to sit down with one of my students to hear her story.  I thought I was sitting down to help her write a bio for a scholarship possibility, but in the end I think I got a beautiful picture of how God can use one person's story to shower His grace on many.   You see, this particular student doesn't have the typical middle class suburban life story so many of us know as "normal."  She was born in the midst of war.  She had to leave her home country and live in a refugee camp.  She saw things know child should have to see.  She was bullied when she was finally able to attend school.  Eventually, the Lord brought her to ICSB.  While there is heartbreak in her story, there is also clearly the grace of God.  I was amazed to watch this resilient girl share about her desire to use her experience to help others.  What struck me the most was not that this girl saw (in my opinion) some of the worst sides of human evil, but that she saw the need.  The need for someone to help.  The need for someone to instigate change.  She is not content to sit by as others live in poor circumstances.  As we ended our conversation, I couldn't help but think (and share with her) that God is going to use this story in a mighty way.  It is clear to see how He is using it in her life, and I am excited to see how He is going to continue to use it in the lives of others.  I was blessed yesterday when I heard a story.

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. "  Genesis 50:20

Nicest shower ever!


So, a couple weeks ago our shower started to leak through the ceiling into the downstairs.  Needless to say, we stopped using the shower and called our landlord ( I should note here we have two showers, so we weren't going for weeks without bathing).  Anyways, about a week ago our landlord brought a plumber in who ripped everything out leaving a vacant cement slab.  When we came home today they were installing a new shower.  The shower we had previously was relatively new, but they still put in a whole new shower.  To say we were amazed is an understatement.  Our new shower boasts two heads, a seat and eight jets that spray out the side.  Pretty cool and somewhat hilarious.  Please enjoy the pictures below!The whole showerThe jets and the seat...apparently it gives a back massageThe dual headsShelfShiny...huh?[...]

New Year, New Digs


Well, I am about to begin my third school year in Hungary and it is hard to believe!  I have lived overseas for more than two years!  I am really looking forward to the coming year.  Although it will be full and busy, I anticipate a joyful year in ministry.  At the end of last school year, my roommates Emily, Hannah and I moved to a new house.  For those of you that know the Olsens, it is their old house, so it may be familiar.  I am grateful for my roomie Hannah, who got here a week before Emily and I, and cleaned out most of the spiders!  Ick!  Here are a few "cleaned up" pics:This is the living roomDining Room and "2nd" Living RoomKitchenKitchenEntryway looking out into the Beautiful GardenMy Room!  They actually built a wall around what used to be a loft to make my room :)The rest of my room[...]

Animals in the Rubbish Bin


So, this is a delayed post, but it is too entertaining to not write down.  A few weeks ago my roommates and I were at home when our landlord called to tell us there were "animals in our rubbish bin."  Here is how the conversation went between my roommate and our landlord (the "me" is Emily, and Kati is my landlord):Me: Hi Kati, how are you?Kati: I am fine, but Emily, there are animals in your rubbish box.Me: What animals? What is a rubbish box?Kati: Your rubbish box that you put your rubbish in.Me: You mean our trash can?Kati: Yes, there are animals in your rubbish box.Me: What animals?Kati: I do not know their names.Me: Ok. What should we do?Kati: Fill your rubbish box with water. And Domestos. (aka. Draino)Me: Uhhhh.....Kati: Then wash it out. Make sure you do it right away. It is very hot. You do not want the animals in your rubbish box.Me: Ok, Kati, we'll take care of it. Have a great night.We decided to all go outside together to check for "animals."  Turns out that our trash can was filled with maggots.  GROSS.  We had a pretty funny time filling the bin with water, domestos and I added some other cleaners for good measure.  My favorite part of the evening is when we couldn't move it because it was so heavy, so Hannah and I had to push it over into the grass.  It was quite dramatic and altogether hilarious!  Here are some pics of the eventful night:Getting ready to push her over...the box was our protective shiel...  Ahhhh....please don't dump the maggots on me What is that...ewww.....The aftermath...we may or may not have left that all there for a day or two... [...]



I'm back!  I have so much to share, but not enough time to write it all down right now, so I will try and share a few things over the next week.  First, I want to highlight my evening last night.  As many of you already know, I am supervising the student council this year.  The new president, Beth, was recently sharing with me her heart to be a group of leaders that is defined by prayer.  One of the ways she envisioned this was through prayer meetings outside of school and our regular meeting time.  Last night we gathered at one of the students houses for an evening of prayer and singing.  What a refreshing time!  As a young adult, I was so encouraged to see teenagers earnestly seek the Lord in how to best serve their school and fellow students in the coming year.  I was truly blessed as we lifted our voices in unison to praise our great God!  The parent whose house we met at, approached me this morning and also shared what a blessing it was to him as he sat upstairs and listened.  Please be praying for the student leaders at ICSB this year as they seek to grow in the Lord and lead their student body.

Last Week


Saturday afternoon, upon returning from the fabulous senior trip to Cyprus, I received a facebook message from one of the senior girls with all the "happenings" this week. Here is the list:
Sunday- Liz's grad party
Monday- Card party at Kim's house (Yes, that is me. Since they are done with class, they think it is super fun to call me by my first name).
Tuesday-Cassie and Michelle's Grad party
Wednesday-Last Bible study of the year
Thursday- Girls day out at the movie (although I am "older" they are allowing me to participate in this fun day of teeny bopper movies and dinner)
Friday- Graduation and end of the year party
Saturday- ???
Sunday- Lunch with Kim (me again ;)

After a week in Cyprus with the seniors, the Lord continues to affirm my love for this class. They are just a great group of students and I am blessed to have taught them and known them. It is going to be a busy (and fun!!!!) week, but I am looking forward to some great opportunities to pour into these girls as they prepare for leaving home (Hungary) and going on to college. It is amazing to look back and realize I haven't even known them a year. That is just the power of Christ working in the relationships of His children. Love it! Please be praying that God would continue to grow the girls in Himself and with each other.

I am NOT a Public Speaker


I know, I know...all three of you who read my blog find this hard to believe. After all, I am a teacher and an extrovert! I do like to "speak" in general, but not in front of large crowds of people. I somehow manage to frequently put myself in uncomfortable situations though. I am a missionary, so last summer I had to get up in front of the church and share before my commissioning. I literally thought I was going to hyperventilate and die up on that stage. I even had friends up there with me! It is really just embarrassing. Why does it have to cause such fear and anxiety? So, I just finished writing a mini speech about one of the senior girls for "Senior Tribute Chapel" tomorrow (yes, at 11pm the night before..we can talk about my procrastinating habits another day). I only have to talk for two minutes and I have it all written out, and yet I find myself getting that twisty feeling in my stomach already. Ridiculous. If anyone reads this before 9:30 am Hungary time, I would appreciate your prayers. It is clearly time to get the focus off myself and my worries and onto what the Lord has for me. I just had to vent about the irony that I could lecture for hours on civics, history or economics, but I get butterflies thinking about blessing a student that has been such a blessing in my classroom this year. Figures.

Staff Farewell, Musical, Senior Day, Senior Trip...AHHHH!


These are just a snippet of May in Budapest for me. Tonight we had our staff farewell. That was after a three hour musical practice and a full day of school. Good times. I am one of those people that thrives on busyness. I would be bored if I wasn't constantly going. Thankfully, ICSB helps me out with this dilemna. So, the staff farewell is a time when we get together to say goodbye to those who are moving on. We also honor those who have been serving at the school for a significant amount of time. It was great to celebrate those who have served so faithfully over the years. I didn't mind the ice cream sundaes either ;) This week is also the big musical performances. We have been preparing for a couple months and the weekend is finally upon us. We have dress rehersals every night and performances on Friday and Saturday nights. I think the show is going to be really great. I am so thankful for the students who the Lord has raised up to be a part of this. There is just so much talent! As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, the goodbyes have started in the ICSB community. One way we send off the seniors is with Senior Day. Basically, we take the seniors out of school for a day of fun and preparation for life after ICSB. This year the festivities will be held at my house. I can't tell you what day this is happening (on the very slim chance that a senior reads this), but please be praying that the Lord would use this time to help bring closure for the students and ready them for the road ahead! I will post some pictures after the big day! Then, in a little over a week we leave for Cyprus for the senior trip. I am really looking forward to this time with the seniors. It also will be "okay" to be in Cyprus "I guess" ;) So, the busyness continues, but so does the Lord's faithfulness in sustaining me! It is hard to believe all the wonderful blessings I have been able to experience during my first year in Hungary! I look forward to what the Lord has in store in the future!

Africa Fair


I love Africa. I have only been there once, and only to South Africa, but it is such a fascinating place to me. The Lord has really given me a heart to pray for this continent. Who knows, maybe someday He will even send me there. For now, I at least got to teach a unit about it. In World Problems, we do a short unit looking at the different issues facing the continent today. The culmination of the unit is when the students hold a fair showing research they did on a chosen topic. This year's seniors did a great job and I was so proud of them. They looked at issues such as women's rights, piracy, water scarcity, river blindness, child soldiers and much more! Here are a few pictures of the fair, presentations and the many visitors we had! For those of you who have never visited ICSB, the fair was held in our High School Chapel.[...]

Can't sleep...

2009-05-06T15:12:51.218-07:00 I think I should probably blog. It is May. That means lots of different things here in Hungary. May Day, spring flowers, gorgeous weather, and the end of a school year. It is hard to believe I have been here for almost a year. To say it has flown by would be an understatement. I have been blessed by the classes I have had the privilege to teach. The only downside of teaching such a great curriculum is it goes by too fast. Recently I have been thinking a lot about goodbyes. I have been told multiple times that I need to "say goodbye well" and do all these "steps" to make it easier. The thing is, goodbye is still goodbye. I know that the Lord brings people into our lives for short moments for a purpose. Sometimes it is still sad to let them go. I think of the seniors I have taught all year. They truly are a great group of kids. They will be scattering throughout the world to study, work and serve. I am excited to see what the Lord has in store for each of them, but sad for the loss to the ICSB community. I also think of the teachers, friends, who will be leaving. Some of them are entering a world of uncertainty, but stepping out in faith and obedience. I am challenged and encouraged by their faith. Goodbye in this context is a new phenomenon that I thought I was more prepared for. I was probably wrong. Thankfully I serve a God who is bigger than my worries and struggles. I am thankful for that and thankful for the time I have been given with such a wonderful group of students and friends. I am also excited for the new opportunities God will bring this fall for friendships and connecting with students I don't know. My prayer is that I would not linger behind on what has gone before, but look ahead at all the possibilities!

National Pride


One of the things I love most about the Hungarian people is their pride in their country. This past Sunday was the anniversary of the 1848 Revolution. There are two major revolutions that are commemorated in Hungary. March 15th and October 23rd (1956 Revolution). On both of these holidays I have had the privilege to watch people come and celebrate their history. Even in my little town of Diosd there was a crowd of people surrounding one the main statues in town. They had a little ceremony and then surrounded the place with little Hungarian flags, flowers and ribbons. I think every person I walked by on Sunday had a little Hungarian flag pinned to their lapel. I appreciate the fact that in spite of their often sad history, they richly celebrate the good times!



...Here I am trying to blog again. I have recently received some comments regarding my lack of blogging. I don't know why? It's only been a....few months? Yeah. I know. Ridiculous. I have a friend here in Hungary who actually blogs once or twice a week. Impressive. I am taking notes to see how she does it. Maybe I can learn something. So, things here have been hectic, but good. We had musical tryouts in the high school. I am really looking forward to working with the kids. It should be a fun show (we are doing Bye Bye Birdie). There are also two Chicagoans visiting. My friend Anna Levon and my friend Hannah's brother Jake. It has been a fun week exploring Budapest with them. I think I have seen more of Hungary in the last few days than I have in all the months since I have been here. I will post pics when I can. Jake is a professional photographer so I didn't even bother attempting to take any pictures. Also, I have been thinking and praying a lot for little Harry Cleland. He has been in the hospital for almost two weeks now and it just grieves me to not be there. Not that I would be any help, but it is amazing how much more you can miss someone when they are not in good health. Please be praying for him and his family. That is all for now. Here's to me changing my poor blogging habits!

Auschwitz Thanksgiving


This past weekend we visited Krakow, Poland for the Thanksgiving holiday. It is a wonderful city with a lot of history. On Thanksgiving Day, we went to the Auschwitz/Birkenau concentration camps. Ironically enough our tour guide was from Kenosha, Wisconsin. It is hard to comprehend the atrocities that happened at these two camps. It truly reveals the depths of our fallen nature. After spending the day there, I began reflecting on what I learned and how that relates to thankfulness. We often talk about Hitler and are stunned at the things one human can be capable of. It does however beg the question of how could we as a people be capable of crucifying the Son of God? I am truly saddened at what happened to the Jewish people, Roma and so many more during WWII, but does my sorrow somehow make me a better person? I think the answer is no. I am still a sinner who struggles every day against the same flesh Hitler gave in to. I still grieve the heart of God. There is however one major difference. I am saved by grace. While I consider the things that happen as a result of sin, I am thankful for being set free from the power that evil has over me. The entrance to the gate at Auschwitz says "work makes you free" in German. How wrong that is. It was not an easy thing to walk where so many died and to learn about the unimaginable pain of others, but it has once again reminded me of all I have to be thankful for."Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." - 2 Corinthians 3:17[...]

Two Questions


There are two questions I get asked by almost every Hungarian I meet. The first is why Hungary? They always seem to be astounded by the fact that I chose to come to Budapest out of all the places I could have gone. It has turned out to be a great opportunity to share how the Lord called me to be here. The second question I frequently get asked is How do I like Budapest and why do I like Budapest? This one always makes me laugh. People are genuinely perplexed about my liking this city and its people. So, I thought I would share why I like it here so much. First and foremost is the people. While Hungary has a sad history, I find the people to be happy and kind. They have been above and beyond understanding with my serious lack of Hungarian speaking skills. I have often found people who try to help me learn the correct phrases and pronunciation. I also love the way Hungarians speak their language. They are very lively and animated in their language. Finally, they are open to the gospel. Last week we did an outreach on a college campus in Budapest. We shared with them about American Thanksgiving and all the Lord has given us to be thankful for. It was such a blessing to watch them try American food, practice their English and ask questions about the Lord. They took no offenses at our open sharing about the Lord and they asked thoughtful, challenging questions. It was an experience that continued to solidify my love and appreciation for this beautiful city and its people.

Korean Dinner


Last Saturday the Korean families from our school cooked dinner for all the staff and their families. What a wonderful blessing from the Lord. We all came together for some excellent food and fellowship in the school cafeteria. I can't remember the last time I saw that much food! As soon as I upload the pictures I will post them. I am so thankful for the many ICSB parents who bless us. Not only do they so often cook for us and give of their time to school functions, but they are so kind in continually encouraging and thanking ICSB teachers and staff. I am truly humbled by the grace of so many of our parents!