Tiszaujvaros, Hungary-June 29-July 3: Our third camp of the summer was an English/outreach camp in the city of Tiszaujvaros, Hungary. Around 30 teenagers from the local church and community came for this camp. The camp was not associated with a school. Students came every day from 9am-3pm taking part in English lessons, games, competitions and morning and afternoon singing and devotion sessions. We enjoyed lunch at a local nursing home every afternoon and at the end of the week presented those living at the nursing home with a concert and American square dance demonstration the students had learned over the course of the week. Other high lights of the week were a water games afternoon and teaching the students the game of baseball and ultimate Frisbee.
This was the first year we have done a camp at this location and the story of the origins of this camp is worth taking a moment to tell. In February this past year we had chaperoned a group of students from the Peterfalva high school to Budapest to take part in a Bible competition. On our return to Ukraine on a cold dark late winter night our van broke down along the highway in eastern Hungary. We called a friend who searched the Hungarian Reformed Church directory for the nearest Hungarian Reformed Church. Our friend called the pastor who ventured out in search of us and towed us back to his church. They very graciously provided accommodations that night for 9 people and provided us with supper and breakfast. After worshiping with them the following morning we were able to return to Ukraine with a van borrowed from another friend who came to our aid. The pastor in Tiszaujvaros also arranged for a mechanic to fix our van the next week. The assistant pastor at the church came to know the LORD and developed a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through an English camp, and had wanted to begin an English/Gospel outreach camp in their community. We were invited to come back in the summer for a week long camp. God’s purpose and providence were evident that cold wintery night. It was a testament and a reminder that through trials and hardships God is sovereignly in control.
The name of the city (Tiszaujvaros) is also worth writing about. Tisza is the name of a major river in Hungary, uj means new, and varos means city. The name of the city is literally Tisza new city. The story behind the name is that Tiszaujvaros up until the fall of communism went by the name of Leninvaros or Lenin City. Leninvaros was a model industrial socialist city, built from nothing in the middle of farm fields in the Danube basin. Besides being an industrial city the purpose of the city was to showcase what a perfect communist city should look like. Tiszaujvaros is a very peculiar city today. Still an industrial city of Hungary, it is a very modern looking city, lacking charm and any kind of historical character most Hungarian cities enjoy. The cities recent birth and communist legacy also left it with no churches until the late 1990’s. We praise God for this opportunity to work with the Tiszaujvaros congregation, a very new church started just in the decade falling the fall of the Iron Curtain. We are thankful to be able to share our faith and build relationships with 30 young people from this community this past summer. We hope and pray that we may have been a Christ-like example, witnessing and sharing the Gospel with these young people. We pray for listening ears and open hearts and again look forward to meeting these young people this coming summer.
A special thanks to Aranka Uzoki, Martin Varga, and Andrea Kadar-Fekete for their help and partnership in organizing this camp and for their incredible hospitality throughout the week. They showed us many wonderful and beautiful places around Tiszaujvaros and Miskolc, and fed us incredible meals. Also thank you to Heather Kaemingk, Andrea Kovacs, and Gilbert Markvoort who all traveled to this camp to help teach and run this camp. Please click on the link to see pictures from this camp. https://iccdabroad.org/photo-galleries/2015-tiszaujvaros-hungary-summer-english-camp/