Foreword by Júlia Tóth, Budapest Ministry Team
What a joy to give and to receive! We were blessed both ways during the intense time of the one-week construction project.
But before construction, destruction had to happen in our building that was built in 1897! This is a special building: it serves both as the Ministry Center of Free Methodist World Missions in Hungary and as the home of Budapest Free Methodist Church. 120-year old plaster had to be knocked off the walls and 16 cubic meters of dirt had to be removed in order to level the floor. Can you imagine all the dust and noise and backaches and hurting muscles and the sneezing of people with allergies? Some numbers will speak clearly. There were 9 members of the VISA Team with 29 Hungarian volunteers working along with them. 20 of these volunteers do not regularly take part in the life of the church, with some of them knowing little or nothing about Christ. They are our friends from our English outreach program at the local Family Help Center! They came cheerfully, willingly, and ready to work. Some of them came for two hours, some of them were here every day of the week. The ladies fed lunch to between 18 and 34 people each day!
Our goal was not only doing construction work. Our other main purpose was building people up, showing them Christ’s love and acceptance. Helping to remove bad, old, dusty experiences from their hearts. By the grace of God and by the love of committed men and women both purposes were accomplished. Our “Singing John” said that we should have such events like this more often! What was the attraction? It was Jesus, visible in the lives of each person from the team and each person from the church.
Glory and praise be to God and many thanks to His loving children!
“For God is not unfair. How can he forget your hard work for him, or forget the way you used to show your love for him—and still do—by helping his children?” Hebrews 6:10 (TLB)
Kathy Cole, Spring Arbor FMC Team Leader
While speaking at Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church in the summer of 2014, Larry and Katie Winckles asked for a team to come to Hungary to refurbish a cellar adjacent to their worship center. Nine people heard the call, responded positively, arranged the financing, and arrived in Budapest on April 18, 2015. And what did they find?
- A gifted, organized church team ready to receive them.
- The Abel Panzio – built in 1913 – a comfortable bed and breakfast establishment located less than a block from the worship center.
- Intimate Sunday worship experiences that encouraged the soul and revived the spirit.
- Back-breaking, muscle-throbbing work days.
- Opportunities to peel potatoes and carrots, chop cabbage, and wrap silverware with new friends who had limited English skills but big hearts, warm smiles, and frequent hugs.
- Delicious Hungarian cuisine including several meals prepared at the worship center.
- English class students eager and prepared to share pictures of their families with the Americans during the class session, and then ready and eager to assemble greeting cards while Hungarian and English chatter filled the room.
- A little market filled with meat stalls fringed with hanging sausages, colorful bins of fresh vegetables, vinegar-filled tubs of sauerkraut and pickled vegetables, orderly rows of spices, refrigerated cases of prepared desserts, and bucket-after-bucket of fragrant, fresh flowers.
- A public transportation system that works. The team tried them all: buses, trams, subways, and a river cruise! Best of all – walking the last few blocks to the guest house, smelling the sweet lilacs and wisteria escaping through the fences along the way.
- A historic, beautiful central city hugging the shores of the Danube River and graced by elegant bridges.
- A leadership team creating opportunities to establish new friendships; build relationships; live by example; and think ahead to meet the physical, social, and spiritual needs of people.
- Individual passion to spread the hope of Jesus to a pessimistic, post-communist, post- Christian population who grew up under the mantra, “Don’t feel, don’t trust, don’t talk!”
And so, nine people left Budapest with warm memories of people and places, thankful hearts for having been a part of the work project, and deep appreciation for the Free Methodist leaders who serve there. They pray that their lives gave off the sweet fragrance of Jesus to those they met and that the refurbished cellar will be used to expand the vision and win more people to Jesus.
For more pictures and reports, visit http://winckles.typepad.com/