Listen Closely

Hello All.

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After that last aggressive post, let’s bring it back down to an even keel, shall we?

I love working at the Refugee Community Center. Though we’re there nearly 12 hours every day from Monday to Friday, I have a feeling that our classroom will soon feel like home. Dora and her team are the SWEETEST people I have ever met, constantly treating us to meals and even setting a stipend for our food expenses during the weekend. I knew Hungarians were hospitable, but this is nearly angelic. Thinking of them reminds of the love Jesus had for the church – completely selfless and inviting. Really, they invite people to the banqueting table.

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We spent one whole day interviewing people for classes. In between, I played with the younger children who came for the end-of-the-year pizza party. I met all my potential students, some of which were so scared they broke out in a cold sweat when I conducted their interview. We have everyone from straight beginners to impressive advanced students, one of whom learned ALL his English through YouTube. (YouTube, I always knew you were useful).

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Our first day of working with the students, I found myself marveling at their attentiveness. Every single one of them expressed a polite, presentable attitude. In the face of difficult questions or uncertainty, they never failed to attempt an answer anyways. From age 8 to 38, my students impressed me with their impeccable manners and intellect. It’s hard to believe that most of these students were young children when they were forced to leave their homes…not only are they invested in their safety or living, but they are completely invested in education. Never before have I taught grammar with an attentive audience diligently taking notes on adjectives, adverbs and prepositions. Color me amazed.

In between our rather serious and staunchy classes on grammar, I played ukulele and guitar with the kids. They seemed to enjoy it, though they didn’t really like to learn chords. They preferred just to look awesome strumming an instrument. Bre played with Sarah outside, turning cartwheels. Getting to know the kids outside a classroom setting offers a genuine look into their interests. I love learning more about their personal interests and quirks.

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The food here consists mostly of meat and carbs. Yes, I love it, and you all knew I would. But a girl’s still gotta get her vegetables. Bre and I made our way to the open air markets yesterday, as well as the neighboring Asian market. After picking up some veggies and assorted sauces, we browsed the China market stalls (since it’s China Fair this time of year). I couldn’t resist buying one more pair of genuine Hungarian, handcrafted earrings. In turquoise and burnished gold, they are quite stunning. Afterwards, Amy accompanied us to a neighboring mall. We started off with Cream, a British consignment store. I found a beautiful lemonade colored eyelet blouse I wore to church this morning. After browsing the German shoe store Deichmann, I also picked up an incredibly cheap pair of Ked-like sneakers (with pinstripes!) which I also wore today. Later, we went to a Hungarian Mexican for dinner. It was more like Hungarian grill with taco seasoning that gave me stomach pains afterwards. Not so fun, but it tasted alright. Then, we attempted to make our way to a “boogie woogie” swing dance event. Unfortunately, the scene was standoffish and unfriendly. We ended up wandering Budapest at night, marveling at the beautiful scenery.

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Today, we went to St. Columba’s Reformed Church of Scotland. It was quaint, a little church in blue and lemonade yellow, with hanging lanterns that lit up the entire room. We had communion in a circle, praying together afterwards. Later, the church served us coffee, tea & cookies. Yum! Amy, Bre and I ended up at a Chinese buffet where I did most of the talking. After a quick browse through the Gouba market with mostly Roma vendors, we sat in the park near the ferris wheel, in the city center. Sun-baked and bronzed, we went home to gelato sundaes. I got Kinder and Tiramisu flavors with real whipped cream. *Drool…

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Later, I cooked Bre a carrot and dumpling stew with paprika and plenty of pepper. It was perfect to end a windy, sunny day.

I’ve learned so much this past week, but most of all this: “Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’ ” (Luke 9:62). Wanna know something CRAZY? I read this in Crazy Love AND the reverend preached on this passage during service. I think God wants to tell me, not-so-subtly, to get over my past and my guilt…and to get ready to see Him do AMAZING things in Budapest.  With that…

Please pray that:

~I could move forward, with courage and strength, to God’s mission.

~I could impact lives in the community center

~I love my students

~Bre and I work well together, sorting through small arguments and the like

~I bring the fragrance of the Gospel wherever I go.

Love in Christ,

Sherry

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