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Young people visit Hungary, 15-21 February 2003

Trams in Debrecen Kath Stevenson (Swansea), Abby Evans (Adelaide), Richard Benson (Stevenage)

Richard travelled by coach from London, starting on Saturday, and arriving Sunday afternoon. Kath and Abby flew to Budapest, arriving Saturday evening.

On Sunday morning, Kath and Abby ventured into the snowy streets of Budapest for a few hours to look around, then met up with Julia as arranged. She appeared very happy to see us. We went to Heroes Square and wandered through the gardens beyond for about two hours chatting generally. By 1500 we were frozen, so we headed to McDonalds to thaw out and pursue a deeper conversation.

We read the daily Mark and Psalms passages and discussed them. Julia had already read them that morning as she rises at 0400 every morning to do the readings according to the Bible Companion, pray and also study languages before work. Julia was keen and open to chat through questions from her reading of Scripture. She asked about the Holy Spirit and about heaven-going. We were able to explain that the gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased by the time the New Testament was completed and that many passages in the Bible speak of the kingdom of God on earth when Jesus returns. Our hope of life after death centres on the resurrection at that time. She seemed happy and said she was clear with explanations given.

Richard arrived later and the next morning we made an early start to get to Debrecen for 0930. Although Richard had phoned Eniko from the UK, we were not able to get through when we tried to phone from Budapest. We phoned her from Debrecen station and arranged to meet at The Plaza at 1200. Meanwhile, we caught the tram up to the guest house where we stayed, then enquired at Tourinform for information for the April campaign.

We met Eniko as planned. The Truth really seems to have affected her life. She has just started following the Bible Companion - she reads in English and Hungarian, comparing the two, and takes about an hour each day to do them. She brought a pocket Hungarian Bible for Richard and some oat biscuits for us to share!

There was quite a lot of snow around. Most of the paths had been cleared, but it was still slow, and with temperatures below freezing most of the time, it was not possible to fly-bill. Enikö's small daughter presented us with a snowy picture, and was keen to practice her English. Eniko had already done the daily readings, but we read the Mark reading again, and discussed it.

The next morning we caught the 0711 train for Szeged. After booking into a hotel we met Zoltán from Subotica in Serbia. None of us had met Zoltán before and we spent quite a lot of time just getting to know each other, and trying to understand the complexities of Yugoslav history. It seems that the political situation has stablised somewhat, but that the economy is still in a bad state, and corruption is rife. Life is hard, but the threat of conscription seems to have passed for the time being.

We had a Breaking of Bread meeting in the hotel room. Richard spoke briefly on the Mark reading, and we closed by singing Psalm 23 together. After further discussion on the Bible Zoltán left about 2230.

He meets from time to time with two Christadelphians in Subotica for a breaking of bread, and said that he had also met a Christadelphian who lives in Belgrade once. He said there was just the four of them in the whole of Serbia. He is very keen on the 'Wisdom' books of the Old Testament, and compares his Hungarian New Testament to the Greek to get a better understanding (e.g. the Hungarian apparently makes no distinction between pneuma (spirit) and psuche (soul)).

The next day we caught the train back to Budapest where were very pleased that a Seventh Day Adventist contact was waiting to see us when we arrived. Dénes teaches at a school for handicapped children. Almost as soon as he arrived, he got out the 1964 hymnbook that Richmal Owen had given him on an earlier visit and asked if we could sing. We sang a number of hymns based on Scripture, and read the relevant Scriptural passages. He seems to be very keen on our harmonised singing. He said he has learnt a lot from the Christadelphian meetings he has attended, and views us as friends. He showed us his prayer list, and indicated that he prays for us all every day.

Former synagogue in Kecskemet He travelled by coach to England last August, but was turned back at Dover, as immigration didn't believe that he would return to Hungary. He was hoping to visit Michael and Richmal in the course of his visit. He seems to respect our teaching from the Word, as well as our singing!

On our last day we did some billing and explored some parts interesting parts of Budapest, visiting the Great Synagogue, a reminder of the thousands of Jews who were living in Budapest before the holocaust. A reminder too, that Theodore Herzl was born in Budapest. In 1897 he organized the first World Zionist Congress, which settled on Palestine as the site for the Jewish state and established the World Zionist Organization.

We met up with Julia again and had a good discussion. She was very keen to maintain contact and promised to email with questions that arose in her mind from her reading and asked us to come again to visit her, although she accepted that this will be nigh impossible in the short term for Abby from Australia! Before separating we prayed together.

We returned home from Hungary thankful for our heavenly Father's care. We hope that all we did was pleasing in His sight. Although progress is slow, there really does seem to be interest in the Gospel in Hungary. Our prayer is that the seed sown will bring forth more fruit to the glory of God.

Information about Hungary