Ultimate Frisbee and Pizza in the park: The majority of our students in Western Ukraine are part of the minority Hungarian population of Ukraine who have been living on these lands for a thousand years, but now call Ukraine home instead of Hungary due to border changes and the twists and turns of history. Speaking Hungarian as their mother tongue, many of these students end up in universities in the Hungarian capital of Budapest. Many stay and find jobs and spouses. Between current and former students, and people who have left for a “better life” in Hungary we have been left with a city full of acquaintances and friends most of them with Western Ukrainian roots. On one May weekend, we traveled the five-hour trip to Budapest to meet with pastors and organizers that we would be working with later in the summer during our outreach/English camps in Hungary. We decided to spend Saturday afternoon in a park and invite students from Western Ukraine to join us for a pizza and a game of Ultimate Frisbee. In case you are not familiar with the game, it is a cross between soccer and football, but using a Frisbee disc. It has been popular on American university campuses for the past couple decades and is growing in popularity in Europe. Around a dozen students joined us. It was a fun afternoon to play, talk, and visit with former students from Ukraine and to meet new young people. We played for a couple of hours with a thunder storm marking half time, and then went out for pizza. The opportunity also allowed us to introduce these students to a young pastor who works just outside of Budapest (a dear friend of ours who is an avid fan and participant of the sport). He has been in some contact with a couple of these students since, and we praise God for this and we hope and pray he can be a godly influence on their lives too.
About Eric Hoeksema
Stacey, my wife, and I are located in western Ukraine, living with and working among a Hungarian population in Transcarpathia, Ukraine.