Click here to view this newsletter as a PDF.You may be receiving this newsletter somewhat late this time around, as I was in Hungary with a Gateway Fuse short-term mission team for much of the past month or so.
For those who know me and my story, this wouldn’t be thought of as unusual as, short-term mission teams are where things started for my family and I in the work of international missions
My first mission trip as a team member was in Mexico as a youth pastor 31 years ago; my wife and I first led a mission trip (a Gateway Fuse Mexico team no less) 30 years ago; and before finishing our time as youth pastors and beginning to lead the Gateway ministry almost 23 years ago, we had led/participated in six short-term mission trips.But these days, although I’ve led many short-term (Gateway) mission teams over the years (40–50?), it had been a few years since I had done it and longer yet since I had led a team of high school/university age youth! Fortunately for me, this Gateway Fuse Hungary Team (representing three Canadian provinces and one American state) was the perfect size – six besides me – and truly a great mix of young people that did a great job serving two Roma children’s camps over two weeks. This team made coming back to mission team leadership a pleasure and much easier than it could have been, and it really was an enjoyable experience to lead them.
I thought it would be appropriate and best if I let you hear some conclusions on this short-term mission from the team itself, particularly in the words of our team journalist, Elijah Ewing:
Hello to all our supporters, both family and friends. As our time in Hungary comes to a close, we want to thank all of you from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you for all of your support and prayers while we have been on this trip. We have officially finished the second kids camp, which took place in the village of Zsámbok, and we can report that it concluded smoothly and without trouble. The camp was organized and run similar to how the first one in Apc and was without a doubt a success. We had games, dancing, and crafts, in addition to the message time given by Pastor Fari. Our Gateway team helped out in all of these areas. We were all able to connect with the kids and help spread the gospel when we shared our testimonies. The theme of these camps was fighting idols and how there are many things in this world that we can give higher importance than Jesus but the only thing that will truly give us joy is putting God first. This was shown through the story of Moses, how even though the Egyptian people followed many false gods, they did not save them from the 10 plagues and that God was more powerful than any of the idols they believed in. We pray the children take to heart what the camp was teaching and choose to put God first in their hearts. The camp ended on Friday with a potluck at the end, and we unfortunately had to say goodbye to all the people we worked with during the two camps. We are very saddened we have to part ways but are happy we got to spend time at the camps with them. All the helpers were a blessing to all of us and impacted us greatly.
Fortunately, our time in Hungary wasn’t quite done yet. We still had a day left, and we spent it in Budapest. We began by going to the House of Terror, which is all about the Nazi and Communist occupation of Hungary and the suffering the people went through during this time. Seeing the destruction and harm caused during this time was very sobering. Afterward, we went to the market in Budapest, where we all did some shopping. Then we went to dinner. This was the last day we spent with MEK Director Laci and his family, and we were very sad when we had to say our farewells to them.Overall, this trip has been an incredible experience for all of us and has helped us grow in our faith. Being able to make an impact on the kids by helping out during the camp has been very special. Even if we do not see the fruits of our work, we know the kids and the people in Hungary are in good hands with the MEK team doing work in the area. More importantly, we know they are in God’s hands and trust that the will of God will be done. Although we are saddened that we are now leaving Hungary early in the morning Sunday, we also are glad to be able to go home. We have a long journey home, as most of us have a two-day journey to reach our homes all across North America, and we ask for prayers for safe travels.
From the Hungary Gateway Team
As many of you know, most of my efforts in my Gateway director role (and now in my additional role as field director in Hungary/Serbia) have me emphasizing local church engagement in sister-church partnerships and all the efforts that go into supporting those goals. But it’s still amazing to know that, when done the right way, short-term mission can provide the opportunity for team members to experience and to be challenged in their faith journeys, and possibly their vocational objectives. A short-term mission team experience is one to rethink and to understand that God and His Kingdom is something big enough to include your dreams AND His as well.
For the Kingdom