Fifteen years ago this morning I landed in England and took a bus from Heathrow to Gatwick. Upon arrival at Gatwick I took a flight to Budapest and landed in the early afternoon. I was met by a tall Hungarian who was wearing a Covenant sweatshirt, he was the deputy headmaster of the school I was going to visit. Gabor is my oldest and one of my best friends in Hungary. I am grateful to God for our friendship.
Don’t ask me why. I cannot give you reasons, but that 7 day visit began a love affair with a people, a culture, a place, that continues today. Indeed it is from Hungary that my growing knowledge and love for the Balkans grows.
One regret is that I speak very little Hungarian, but I can get around, ask for directions, order food, buy tickets for trains and busses. As time goes by, I find so much English in Budapest that it is less important, so I won’t wring my hands too much about that fact.
I have a good number of Hungarians whom I count as friends, though it seems I seldom have enough time to visit with them. I guess I need more time to be able to invest in these friendships.
As I thought about this post and the significance of anniversaries, I realized that today is also significant in that 32 years ago I believed in and began to follow Jesus.
For about two months I had been attending church and participating in Bible study. I had not been prodded to “become a Christian” so much I had simply been guided in Bible study by a guy who lived peace in front of me. During a Bible study on a Saturday night which looked at Col. 3 and the “put off, put on” verses, I realized that I needed a saviour. I asked God to forgive me and change me. He did. He still is. The journey continues.