Friday, December 28, 2007

Big Adventure in Budapest

I left with Ryan after breakfast promising him a BIG adventure. Little did I know how BIG! We went to find a Christian book store near the center of Budapest. Since parking in the center of the city is a challenge, we took bus 40 then tram 6. The adventure started when 3 buses passed us before we could get to the bus stop. After a long wait we loaded up. Finding a free seat I deposited Ryan and tried to keep him from falling on his head while reaching the nearest ticket punch. The driver seemed to be racing the clock and staying on my feet wasn’t easy. Seeing my dilemma an old man offered to hold Ryan from flopping out of the chair while I searched the bus for a ticket punch that worked. No luck. Ryan was excited to be on a big bus, to see the world flashing by.

Reaching the end of the line we began searching for our tram. Ryan wanted to take each tram, not caring where it went. As it turns out his guess was better than mine. We took tram #6 and settled in. There were only 2 or 3 people so we sat near the front. After half an hour and not hearing any familiar names my doubts began to grow. The conductor announced something several times in Hungarian. We were waiting to hear Blaha Lujza ter. Can you believe they named a square Blessed Luiza? I checked the map and it looked like this tram should go where we need to. Finally I tried to ask the conductor. His answer? “Nem, Nem” and he opened the door and told me to exit. The tram was empty. We were deep in an industrial section with no pedestrians in sight and no street names. He was taking the tram to the garage to put it out of service. Ryan took one look at the situation and said “horsey”. He wanted a ride. The only horse around was me. (The photo is from October, but you get the idea.)

So horsey took a 36 pound Ryan back the way we came. After 30 minutes we found civilization and street names. Now I could at least tell someone where I was, but Dennis had no idea how to help and no map. At the tram stop nobody spoke English or offered to help. So I jumped in the first tram to at least get warm. Inside the door are two lists of stops depending on your direction. Good. One starts with Blaha Lujza, the other ends there. Now which direction are we going? I feel like a cat looking at a calendar. With sign language I ask an older man “Blaha Lujza?” He didn’t know, but asked others in Hungarian. The answer? “Harom” with 3 fingers for 3 stops. Finally at Blaha Lujza I get off and find again tram #6 and get on. We found the store. Normally shopping with Ryan is a challenge, but this time he found a place to sit and sat. On the way home he fell asleep on the warm bus and somehow horsey got him home.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wow! Jesus Really Changes People

The highlight of my week was our church business meeting. Why? Because we welcomed 12 new people into our church here in Budapest, and all of them shared their stories, what God had done in their lives. Rick was first, sharing what it was like to be Hispanic, adopted into a German family in Wisconsin, a home which fell apart. His wife has a Japanese father and a Chinese/Hawaiian mother. They adopted children from Vietnam and China. They have a boy with cerebral palsy. They are from Oregon here on a business assignment.

Another shared how God rescued him out of Mormonism. When he finally met Christ, he was so hungry for God he read the New Testament in 2 weeks. His wife shared how all the traditions of Catholicism left her empty, until she read Romans.

The Hungarian couple shared how they first met, in a bar. Istvan shared how he had a big life, a big house, plenty of money (like on TV). His wife Izabella enjoyed the money but both were empty. He had a dream one night of finding his wife having an affair with his best friend, and this really upset him even though he had cheated on her many times. It turned out the dream was true. This started a time of searching which got to the point he couldn’t sleep at night. Finally he called a colleague to find out about God and agreed to meet him before work at 7am. Once they each met Jesus their priorities and lives have changed 180 degrees. I wish you could hear the whole story.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Traveling with Tots

Luiza wrote up a great "how to" last night for our forum for CCC staff moms. I thought this would be a good place to share it with another audience....

As staff we travel more than most people. maybe you have tips for traveling with little ones. Here are mine:

1. Get a couple of new toys your child has never seen. Save one for the journey to your destination, and the other for the return trip.

2. Be sure that your child get's well rested for the trip (you too).

3. Be packed, so your last evening is normal, not frantic.

4. Talk with your child about the trip, but don't build up too much excitement that last evening.

5. Be positive about the place, and the people you will meet there.

6. Prepare a bag for your child that belongs just to him, his blanket, his toys, his change of clothes.

7. Don't make any radical plans for the trip, like this will be his time to do without a pacifier or to sleep in a real bed. This isn't the time to wean your child or get them used to being away from you for extended periods in childcare. Do your adjusting before or after the trip.

8. If you travel by car try to sit with your child part of the trip, read to him. Don't wait until they scream for attention.

9. Walk around every two hours with them (on the plane, or stop the car).

10. Bring some healthy snacks. Fresh fruit, veggies. Sugar intake will make them hyperactive and you miserable.