All the Things

In short: I am who and where I am now by the Grace of God that gives me the strength to answer the God’s call. However, I could never have imagined that would mean being married, moving to Hungary during a refugee crisis and working with a whole slew of wonderful humans. If you are rushed for time, that about sums up the answer to the question: “what’s new?”

A slightly more elaborate update:

I’ve the privilege and honor of working with a group of vibrant volunteers as the Interim Country Coordinator for Young Adults Global Mission Central Europe, a ministry of the ELCA.

How did I get here?

Great question. In mid-summer, I received a phone call asking if I would be willing and able to serve in the above mentioned post. That same weekend I was engaged to be married to the most delightful, kind, loving, supportive intelligent human I could imagine (give me a break, we’re newly weds. ❤) In the weeks that followed, we organized our wedding, we prepared ourselves the best we were able to be apart so soon after our wedding; and I readied myself to move to a new country and start a new position. It really did, and does still, feel like the answer to “what’s new?” is “all the things.”

In the end of August, Zachary Courter became my spouse for life. Ok- I’ll share just one photo from our wedding day:

The next day, I jumped onto a plane to fly to Budapest, Hungary to begin in-country, in-person, training with the out-going Country Coordinator, the Rev. Miriam Schmidt.

Two days after my arrival in Budapest, we welcomed seven young adults and travelled with them directly for orientation at the Ordass Lajos Evangélikus Oktatási Központ in Révfülöp. I continued to learn from Miriam as we led the YAGM in daily worship, Bible Study and orientation to life in Hungary and the YAGM program.

While the YAGM, Pr. Miriam and I were tucked away in a small lakeside town for YAGM orientation— the Refugee Crisis in Europe came to a head at Keleti Railway Station in Budapest, Hungary.

We watched the news roll in through our Facebook and twitter accounts with the rest of the world and added the perspectives from our new Hungarian teachers, friends, and pastoral colleagues in Révfülöp. We observed one-sided media stories, while simultaneously hearing perspectives and seeing the actions of our Hungarian partners in ministry. The juxtaposition of stories from outside media with experiences from the Hungarian people underscored for the Central Europe YAGM the importance of sharing stories of their time here in Hungary. While the refugee situation has mostly lost its glittery appeal for the world’s media, the impact of the crisis will be, I anticipate, long-term in Hungary, Europe and the world.

While the world has turned its cameras away from Hungary, the YAGM and I are just beginning our time in this country and scratching the surface of understanding of the vast and complicated history of this place and people. I feel humbled to be called to work with our wonderful grace-filled partners in ministry in the Hungarian Lutheran Church. I feel honored to be the Interim Country Coordinator for seven truly delightful humans and walk with them this year as they live out their call to serve in churches, classrooms, soup kitchens, choir lofts, and NGOs across Central Europe. You know — All the things.

Lord God,
you have called your servants
to ventures of which we cannot see the ending,
by paths as yet untrodden,
through perils unknown.
Give us faith to go out with good courage,
not knowing where we go,
but only that your hand is leading us
and your love supporting us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.