Wow, a lot has transpired in the world in a matter of a few weeks! It’s interesting, going through this experience on such a worldwide level. Here in Hungary, further restrictions of movement are now in place as of Friday. People are only allowed to leave their homes to go to work or to run essential errands (thankfully it is still permitted to go for walks outside, granted the decreed appropriate social distance is maintained).
Before I go into more detail about what that means for life and ministry presently, I want to apologize for the long gap between my last update and this one, and attempt to give you a run down of the past few months. The last time I wrote was shortly before I traveled stateside for six-weeks with the purpose of spending the holidays with my family, connecting with as many of you as possible, and seeing a new doctor to hopefully address some ongoing health issues.
Six weeks isn’t all that long, but somehow a whirlwind of change seemed to take place in that time that extended to my return to Hungary. I regret not writing an update sooner, but truthfully I struggled to put the words together before now. I will do my best now to do just that ?
First of all, I want to express my deep gratitude to each of you who took the time to meet and connect during my time in Washington in January. I left every meeting so encouraged and thankful. This was also true for the short hellos and hugs I got to exchange with some of you at church. I am very grateful for that time!
It was really great to spend time with my family. Thankfully, I was able to see all of my siblings at some point during the trip, as well as visit with grandparents and extended family. One of the highlights was the birth of my first-ever niece, Loretta Eleanor. It was so special to hold her the day she was born, as well as be there to witness my parents as new grandparents and my brother as a father!
As some of you know, I was able to see a new doctor while stateside and I am thankful to share that we were able to find some answers! Thank God!!
For those interested, in short, we discovered that I have been dealing with some bacterial infections and mold toxicity. We were able to begin treatment while I was in Washington and thankfully I am still able to continue treatment and work with my doctor while here in Hungary.
From the start, my doctor warned me that I would likely feel worse before better. These symptoms are termed as “die-off symptoms” and they happen as bacteria die off when an infection is being treated. As I have now discovered, these die-off symptoms are not comfortable and can be frustrating and discouraging. It helps knowing they are a normal part of the healing process. Why am I explaining all of this? Well, because I want to share honestly with you about these past few months and this has been a big part.
GOD, MY STRENGTH
In this past year I sensed the Lord clearly leading me to lean into healing and I saw His hand so clearly in the details of my trip home to WA this winter, being able to see a new doctor and take steps out on a road towards fuller healing. From the start I knew it wouldn’t be an easy journey, yet I knew that God would be with me through it all and that He would strengthen and help and uphold day by day. That has proven true.
It hasn’t been an easy few months. In the days of “worse,” it has been hard to face physical limitations and weakness. Hard to know what to do in those moments. I have wrestled with discouragement, tears, questions, doubts, fear…. but in the midst of it all, I have also known unhindered joy, deep thanksgiving, peace, comfort, security. I’ve discovered more fully that suffering and joy are not mutually exclusive, nor is God’s goodness excluded from hard places. It’s strange to find pain and overflowing gratitude and awe of God’s goodness together, hand in hand. But there they are, companions on the journey. God is gracious, kind, and so very good!
CURRENT LIFE AND MINISTRY IN PÉCS
Upon returning to Hungary it seemed that God had carved natural space for me to heal amidst continuing life and ministry here.
Previously, a large part of my weekly, every day routine included coming alongside Balázs and Leah, our pastor family here, and helping with the schooling of a few of their daughters. Previously, I had been working with them every school day, from morning into the early afternoon. Long story short, their schooling situation changed while I was stateside and from the beginning of February I was no longer needed every day. Though a hard adjustment in some ways (I miss the every day moments with Leah and the kids!), this turned out to be a timely provision because I ended up feeling pretty poorly many mornings of the past few months. Not needing to be up and out the door early every morning was a huge help to me!
Up until last week, when the coronavirus situation really began here in Hungary (worldwide), I was able to continue as normal with other areas of work and ministry: language study, discipleship meetings with university students, young women’s bible study, worship ministry, english lesson with óvi (pre-school) class.. Due to current circumstances much of what that looks like has changed for the time being and I will do my best to share what things look like currently as I share prayer requests for each of these areas:
- Hungarian language study – (continuing through skype lessons). Pray that the Lord would grant understanding and comprehension, and for endurance to keep pressing on! Thank God for the progress that has been made.
- Óvi class – (currently unable to teach with schools/kindergartens closed). I am praying about taking on more of this kind of work when this coronavirus situation ceases! It’s a great way to build relationships with Hungarian families and individuals in the community. Being a native speaker, there are many opportunities. Pray for wisdom and direction regarding this.
- Young Women’s Bible Study – (we are continuing via video chat). Pray for us as we continue to dig deeper into the book of Romans. Pray that God would grant understanding and do a powerful, transformative work in hearts as we read and study the truths in these passages
- Women’s ministry/discipleship meetings – (continuing through phone calls and video chats). Thank God for the ability to stay connected through various avenues! Not being able to meet in person has meant many phone calls to stay connected and this will continue in the coming weeks. Pray for God-centered conversations. Pray that God will use every conversation and phone meeting to encourage and build up and point people to the Lover of our souls, Sustainer of our lives, the Solid Rock on which we can stand. Typically we have an all-women’s bible study (different than the young women’s study I host on Monday’s) once a month. We have decided to have this meeting more frequently via video chat (every other week) during this time.
- International students – Hungarian students have been sent home, but most international students are still here and more alone during these days. Many of them are facing loneliness, homesickness, and worry for family that is far away. For those that are believers, pray that they would wholeheartedly seek the Lord in this time, soaking themselves in His Word, and running to Him as their source. Pray that they would find great comfort, peace, and rest in Him. For those who do not yet know the Lord, pray that they would have a hunger for Him, a longing to know truth. Pray that they would recognize their need for God, turn to Him in repentance and belief on His son and be saved.
- Personal – I would ask prayer for full physical healing, and for endurance day by day as I continue on this journey. Pray for comfort from the Lord in these many days of being home alone. Pray for deep rest, for patience, for guidance, and more than anything that I may know the Lord better.
Thank you for taking the time to read all of this, and thank you for your continued love and support. I thank God for all of you! I would love to pray for you during these days, are there ways I can pray for you? Please don’t hesitate to share, or to ask questions if you have any. It’s always great to hear from you, but it would be especially nice in this time of social distancing!
As it says in 2 Thessalonians 3:5, may the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ during these days. May you find great comfort in Him and rest in His sovereignty. You are loved, beloved!