Váchartyán is a small village in Hungary just outside the postcard perfect city of Vác. Vác, a city of antiquity, is located twenty miles due north of Budapest, the magnificent capital city of Hungary. Nestled into a bend on the mighty Danube and surround by hills and bluffs, Vác comes to life in the summer shadows of an early July evening. Its squares, cafés, cobblestone streets and parks on the Danube embankment fill with pedestrians out for an evening stroll enjoying the summer air. Vác is the regional center for many villages including Váchartyán, the location of one of the English camps we are involved in every summer. Many of our students coming for the camp live or go to school in Vác yet come to Váchartyán, a sleepy little village not on any tourist map or mentioned in any Hungarian travel guide books, to attend our English camp the first week of every July.
Unlike our earlier English camp in Ukraine, this camp does not take place in a school setting. The camp takes place at a Hungarian Reformed church in the center of Váchartyán. The picturesque church, home of the oldest organ of any Hungarian Reformed church in the country, is the perfect place for a summer English camp. With a large garden and surrounding buildings it is an ideal location for holding English classes, devotional and singing periods, and large group games. Local youth aged 13-20 travel from their homes both in Váchartyán and from surrounding towns every morning to come and attend the camp every day. We organize the camp in cooperation with Pastor Ferenc Barnabás Gergely and his wife, Lívia, who serve the Hungarian Reformed church, located in Vachartyan, as well a second church in the nearby village of Erdőkertes. Many of the students coming for the camp do not come from church backgrounds, Christian homes or Christian schools. It is our goal to use the English language as an outreach over the course of this camp to build relationships and present the Gospel to these young people, often navigating through their teenage and young adult years without the regular influence of church or God-fearing parents.
As in our first camp in Ukraine, a typical day in the camp consists of periods of English classes and activities. Activities and games are used in the English classes, but we also have times of large group games and activities with all the students. Hungarians are very musical and the students enjoy frequent segments of singing hymns and songs of praise following devotional periods. The students are on summer vacation and return home every evening. Since this camp does not take place at a school, we along with the other volunteers enjoy staying with a Hungarian host family throughout the camp. This camp also ends with a closing ceremony that parents and family are invited to attend to see what the students have learned through the course of the camp.
We praise God that through the work of the Holy Spirit we have seen many students return year after year showing deepening spiritual maturity and a growing faith. Barnabás, the pastor with whom, we organize the camp with also reports to us that he has seen an increased attendance throughout the year in his weekly youth Bible Study from students coming for the summer English camp.
We were very pleased with how all the English camps went this year; we had an amazing group of volunteers who did a terrific job. We are indebted and grateful to each of them for taking time to come and help us with this year’s English camp. We hope and pray that through the efforts of these English camps, the students not only learned English, but more so, were presented with the message of the Gospel, and challenged to grow in their faith. We are so thankful to the volunteers for setting a Christ-like example before the students. We are also thankful to the local pastors, English teachers, local volunteers and school staff who generously gave of their time and energy to make these camps happen.
At the close of these camps, we must give all the praise and glory to God. We are so thankful for the prayers, encouragement, and support that we receive from our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are already thinking ahead to next year. We will again be in need of people willing to give of their talents, their time, and their energy to serve as teachers for the English camps in Ukraine and Hungary. We encourage you or anyone you may know to prayerfully consider this opportunity to serve in Eastern Europe. Please visit the English camp link on this website or contact us for more information regarding the camps for the 2014 year.