Going back to Budapest was like going down the proverbial Memory Lane. It had been a whopping 22 years since I had returned therefore, I could see many changes, but also notice a lot of the same things.
They have some new busses and they now have digital signs at metro stations. The voice that tells you which stop is next not only speaks in Hungarian, but now she speaks in English too. The escalators still fly at lightning speed which I like. It’s kind of like being on a ride at an amusement park.
When I lived there in 1992-1994, I went as a tentmaker or bi-vocational missionary with the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC). I taught in a technical high school and on Friday evenings I would sing in a small church group and help witness on the street. I would spend a lot of time on one end of Buda with my church friends, but I lived way on the other side in Pest. (Budapest is kind of like Winston-Salem, NC. The city is divided by the Danube River. Buda is hilly, and Pest is flat. There is also a small section called Obuda.)
Since most of my missionary friends have gone back home to the United States, I spent most of my time with my Hungarian colleagues/friends. I am actually glad that I had that opportunity because I was able to really take in more of the lovely Hungarian culture and try to be a light shining in the darkness for my dearly beloved friends. Most Hungarians are Catholic, next is the Hungarian Reformed Church which is related to the Lutheran Church, then way down the list is Baptist and even farther down the list is the Pentecostal or Charismatic Church.
Only one of the Hungarian English teachers with whom I shared an office years ago is a devoted Catholic. The others are not. Of course, I realize that anyone can be saved through any church, or any denomination, or a non-denominational church, I just want others to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
I prayed for opportunities to witness. Sure enough one of my dearest friends from school asked me what I believed as we were walking to a wonderful restaurant for supper. So, I happily told her. Later we went to the Budapest Zoo and she brought up evolution. I again was able to tell her further that I believed that there was a Garden of Eden then went on to the crucifixion. She listened and seemed OK with what I had to say. That was thrilling to me and made me feel like God had opened that door.
I visited several classes with a couple of the English teachers. In one class I was able to share that I play the piano at my church. Although one is not supposed to talk about religion in a state school in Hungary, I mentioned that I play the piano at church every Sunday. One student asked if I played at a Catholic church. I quickly explained that I did play at a Christian house of worship. Again, that was at least a little testimony I think. God helped me to share my testimony easily which was a great answer to prayer. This was not a missions trip per se, and yet it kind of was!
I was also able to meet up with missionary Dan Rose who was with the IPHC in the 1990s. He used to live in Debrecen, Hungary near the Romanian border. Now he lives near Budapest and is the minister of music at the International Church in Obuda. We took a boat ride on the Danube and ate breakfast and lunch together. It was great to connect with him. I also was in contact with Paticia Varga who was a member of the church in which I did street witnessing years ago. She is the only one still left from that church. She married a Hungarian and works in an orphanage. She has a great ministry to children.
My trip was great, but far too short. I will have to go back and witness some more.
Hungary, like other European countries, only has a small percentage of Christians. Please pray with me that the Lord will send a revival to Budapest that will spill over to the rest of Europe.