Every Rock Tells a Story

January 5 2016

Moses struck a rock in the desert, and it produced lifesaving water. David put a rock in his sling and brought down a giant. Jesus declared to Peter that he would build his church upon the rock. God can do amazing things with rocks. A rock is steady, strong, a sure foundation.

We know that even now, our rocks surrendered to the hands of God can yield powerful results. In Hungary, our rocks form a 150-year-old building in Budapest’s 14th district. A virtual pile, stacked on top of each other, making up a refuge, a home, a place of training and equipping. A place of transformation.

As we engage in our vision to see Hungary transformed by Christ, our building will be a rock used to build the kingdom of God in Hungary. In their current state, our rocks need work. In addition to making up our walls, we need wiring, plaster, windows, flooring, internal walls, appliances, etc.

We invite you to join us over the next month for a journey of transformation. Many different people will share about how God is building his kingdom through the One Mission Society team and how the Transformational Ministry Center will play an important role in accomplishing his vision. Join us!

By Jonathan Long, OMS Hungary Field Leader

Tags: rocks, hungary, ministry center, transformation

Refugees Seek Their Own "Promised Land"

September 25 2015

I’ve heard it said that the job of a missionary is one of the most unpredictable jobs. The truth is I am blessed with the flexibility to be the hands and feet of Jesus whenever and wherever. Over the past three weeks, I’ve lived in a breaking news story. That’s an honor as well as a responsibility, especially when an international crisis is on your doorstep.

I am a photographer, but in the moment of a destitute refugee camp, a picture cannot fully express the reality of what is happening.

I took this photo September 8 on our initial visit to Röszke, Hungary. This boy looks incredibly desperate and hopeless. It appears that his eyes are prepared to gush tears. What you cannot see is the joy that he experienced moments before. We were dancing while his sister was watching and eating a banana, and his laughter was so contagious that I couldn’t help from laughing. You see, the photographers want to tell a story; they want to tell a story that sells, rather than a story that is real. It’s totally different when you actually enter into the story. I have made it my personal intent to share the stories that are real in the midst of this crisis.

Later that day, I walked up the train tracks and spoke with a man who shared a bit of his story, which began in Iraq and by the time we talked, he and his family had walked for 50 days. While this same story has been told many times along this route, my heart broke as he lifted his shirt to show me a catheter with which he had been walking this whole time. He had cancer, and they were hoping to arrive in Switzerland for a better life.

Saturday, things had changed for us, just as they had for the refugees. The borders closed in Hungary, and the camp we had worked in was now an empty field. The routes to freedom needed to change. We traveled to the border crossing between Croatia and Slovenia with the OMS van full of volunteers and resources. While the stories were different, the hearts were the same: we want freedom, safety, and HOPE.

Not only did we serve soup, fruit, and water, but we kicked a soccer ball, smiled when people asked for selfies, and listened to their stories and their expressions of gratitude to us for being there. I’ll be honest, sometimes I’m prone to judgment, but every time I asked questions or heard a real story from a refugee, my walls were broken down, and I saw that they are just normal people.

Families on a journey, communities in flux, and volunteers in motion. The transient nature of refugee life is not all that different from our spiritual walk. I can’t help but think of the journey of the Israelites, not having a “home,” only the hope for the Promised Land.

By Lauren Pupillo, OMS Hungary Missionary

Tags: refugees, europe, hungary, croatia, missionary flexibility,

The Least of These: Ministering to Refugees in Hungary

September 10 2015

I saw her through the open flap of the tent (this photo is of another young mother and her son). A young mom in her 20s, a floral shawl wrapped around her head, exposing only her face. She was dressing her infant son. Barely the size of an American football, the baby wiggled about with jello-like movements as the mother pushed his hands through small coat sleeves. She smiled at him, and I could see her lips moving as she stood alone talking to him.

It had come together so quickly. In less than 24 hours, a community of believers, both Western missionaries and Hungarians, had collaborated as one to put a compassionate outreach together to minister to the needs of the mostly Middle Eastern refugees flooding through the borders of Hungary. We set up a “baby-washing station” for the transients to bathe their infants with warm water, soup, and clean towels. We also provided a hot soup meal for about 450 arriving refugees who, no doubt, were tired and hungry.

Our team stepped out in faith and bought tents, blankets, and sleeping bags. After dropping off the supplies, OMS missionary Viktor Rozsa, a Hungarian volunteer from our church, and I drove to a small town to pick up 500 liters of hot soup. While they were unloading the soup at Budapest’s Keleti train station, I realized I hadn’t seen the ministry tent set up, and I wanted to see what it looked like. That’s when I saw the young mother through the flap.

When I saw her smile as she spoke with her child, it occurred to me what a strange set of events had brought us both here … to this place, at this time. A mother from Syria, doing what she had probably done many times before in her own country, washing her infant son, yet this time, in a plastic tub, heated by a coffee pot, in a tent, in a Budapest train station. Me, a missionary kid and current missionary from the U.S., called to serve in Hungary in leadership development, yet serving soup to hundreds of refugees.

While communication was limited, and tragic circumstances created this situation, I was reminded of Christ’s powerful words, “What we did for the least of these, we did for him.”

––Jonathan Long, OMS Hungary Field Director

If you'd like to make a donation to the Middle East Refugee Fund, #408140, click here.

Tags: hungary, tent city, refugees, middle east, soup kitchen, european crisis,