Today the team woke up pretty early to eat breakfast. We had to be down to breakfast at 6:30. We had omelets or ham and eggs. After we finished our whole team went to the Lutheran School in the city and met with one of the english teachers and some of their friends. We had four classes in the morning, most we were all together, but one of the classes we split into two groups and went to different classes. We then ate lunch and had a break in their school cafeteria. We had soup and spaghetti that was very good. Then we went back and had two more classes. We taught some American culture, danced with them, and played very fun games like cups. We invited all of the students to the english summer camp that will be in Hungary in July and also to hang out with us in the square after school. After our classes were over we met some of our friends like Paul and Szabi (Saw-be) outside of the school and some of our new friends were with them as well. We first walked to the flat which is the place we will be hanging out tomorrow night with the students. Then we went to an amazing ice-cream shop with them and ate some delicious ice-cream. Most people had the snickers ice-cream! Our new friends then wanted to show us around the city and take us to some shops so we went and shopped around the town for a while. The whole team met back in the middle of the square at 5:30 and said goodbye to our new friends and said we can not wait till we see them tomorrow. Our team then went to a burger shop to just debrief and talk about what we are going to do tomorrow. We devoured the burgers and fries and walked back to our hotel. We sat together planning and working through questions from the students so we can answer them tomorrow. Then we crashed and went to sleep.
Our team woke up at six and ate some left over pastries. We met up with Kecia and Emese, they split our group into two and took us to two different schools. The first group was Matt, Brynn, Anna, and Hanna. The second group was Eric, Heather, Madi, Phillip, Kaci, and Elaina. The first group went to a private middle school and then a public dual language high school where they taught them about American culture and they also played some games+danced. The second team went to a public high school with Emese and taught two classes of high school students. They taught them about American culture as well and did the games and dances too. The second team only taught two classes, after they were done they walked into the town of Veszprém and passed out flyers for the English camp to the students on their lunches. The first team had more classes than the first group so they ate lunch at their school. They had soup and sweet bread for their lunch, and then they went to teach more classes. Our team as a group met up later at a sweet little coffee shop to drink some lattes and flat whites. We caught a bus to Györ and at first got off at the wrong stop. The bus driver figured out that we were a group of confused Americans and brought us back on. After two hours we got to Györ and to our hotel. We put up our stuff and went to eat at a restaurant. We got some gelato, explored the new city, and then went off to sleep.
Our team slept over at the church with the students from the two cities. Most of us woke up at 7:30, some a little later. Kecia (Keesha), the Josiah Venture worker for Veszprém, and Emese, a Hungarian native/Church volunteer, got an amazing breakfast for all of us. We ate some pastries with tea and coffee. The students played some games like ultimate rock paper scissors with our team to wake us up. We also danced and played some music! After we woke ourselves up everybody worshiped and three of our people gave their testimonies to the students. Brynn, Phillip, and Kaci all stepped up to the stage to share how they were brought to Jesus. It brought up some interesting conversations in small groups after and the students were able to write down any questions they had about faith, God, etc. After all the students went home, Kecia took us sightseeing. We went to a place where the Veszprem castle used to be which led us to a small mountain with some beautiful views. Our team took some very artistic pictures. Then we walked to the most amazing restaurant so far. Everyone agrees it was the best food they have had so far. Madi stepped up and tried something new and spicy… and Kaci actually shed a tear because her food was so good. After that we walked to Tesco, the Hungarian version of walmart, where we stocked up with some snacks. Kecia bought us all a chocolate covered cheese bar called “óriás pöttyös túró rudi”. It kind of tasted like a very yummy cheesecake but they are only sold in Hungary. We were really zonked after a long day so we finished the day off by catching some sleep.
Monday, our team got up at 7:30 and got ready to leave the airbnb for breakfast. We ended up at the London Coffee Society and most of the team got some coffee. After the delicious breakfast our friendly helper, Jessica, took us to a castle in Budapest. It was amazing, there was gorgeous views. On our adventure back we were trying to find food but Monday is Easter Monday for Hungary. This is a holiday where people do not work or go to school, it is almost as popular as Christmas. We could not find any restaurants open, though we stumbled across a street fair that served amazing Hungarian food. Let us just say we got our grub on. We went and packed up our stuff and headed off to Veszprém. We got to the church and set up for the high school students who were going to stay with us overnight. We played a ton of entertaining games, did worship in Hungarian and English, and heard a fantastic sermon from Madi. We also had some very cool small group time with intermixing us as Americans, people from both the cities of Veszprém and Györ, as well as a translator. For the rest of the night we ate a bunch of pizza, with corn on it. We taught them the church clap and they showed us some of their dances and just hung out until 11:30.
IF YOU WANT TO SEE MORE PICTURES FOLLOW ERIC ON FACEBOOK AT ERIC.PENDLEY.75
We left the Indianapolis Airport at 1:45 and headed to Detroit. After Detroit we had a seven hour flight through the night, which was difficult for any of us to get sleep on. Once we arrived in Amsterdam we prepared for our final flight to Budapest. The last flight was 1 hour and 45 minutes in which 95% of our team was passed out (probably the only sleep most of us got). When we arrived in Budapest, all our bags were there, we found Jessica from Josiah Venture, squeezed on a bus, and then headed to our cool house that we are staying at. With no time to rest, we dropped our bags off and headed out to tour Budapest! We started with some Gyros (Kabobs)…they were amazing and then went to multiple landmarks throughout the city. I think we arrived on the windiest day in Hungary, but there was no stopping this team! We survived and continued to thrive! We then went American and got some pretty amazing burgers. We ended the night walking up to an amazing landmark on top of a rocky, small “mountain,” taking in some fantastic views of the city at night and of course taking a ton of pictures. Finally, at the very end of the night we stopped by an artsy little gelatin ice cream shop that shaped our ice cream like roses…it was precious. We are now extremely exhausted and slowly going down one by one! We will spend the morning and part of the afternoon tomorrow touring a couple more areas of Budapest and then heading to Vezprém to start our adventure with our first students. Until then…
Today, a bittersweet day, was our last time in Monterrey with the kids.
We started off the morning with full bellies from our Thanksgiving feast and headed to our last talk with the Back2Back staff, which reflected on the Foster care system that they have created here in Monterrey. It was an enlightening experience to hear about all the effort that they put into this program so that these kids can get more focused one-on-one mentoring or more of an ideal, traditional family.
Next we headed over to Douglas to finish off some projects that we had started this week. Thats right you guessed it! More concrete fun for our group! We finished off a patio and sidewalk for the home and the men finished the wall they drywalled. We received much praise from our leader, Irving, who thanked us for our hard work all week and how much we were able to accomplish. He said our hard work allowed him to finish things he didn’t think would get done for a long time! The lady chefs of our group also went in and cooked a HUGE pot of spaghetti for our team and the children from the home.
One of our most cherished memories was being led by Sammy and Irving to pray over each individual child’s bed. They placed each child’s picture on their bed and we were able to pray for these wonderful children that we met. So many emotions were felt not only by us individually, but a collective outcry to the Lord was felt in the room. Even some younger children began to cry and it was so meaningful to see that they understood the magnitude of that moment. We had specific, tangible experiences with these children and now we were seeing where they lived and how truly how blessed we are. This was such a great moment to sum up the week and allow us to truly feel the weight of the love we had for these children.
We then served them lunches, ate with them and later played more games. Throughout Casa Hogar Douglas you would see the younger boys and girls playing on the slide with some of the children from Douglas, the older boys playing soccer or under the palapa with games, the girls playing on the swings and even some wrestling matches! We even got to play our last soccer game with the kids from the home and had some of our big guys from TPCC play. It was an intense match-up of the Americans vs. the Mexicans! Its no surprise who won, the children from the home definitely beat us out.
That was when Sammy told us it was time to leave. All of our hearts sank a little. Our goodbyes that lasted 10-15 minutes, were some of the hardest moments, but in these moments we remember what the Back2Back team taught us in using this love to make a change.
We all discussed at our debrief what God was teaching us and how to allow this change to take place back in the states.
Picture of the Day: Ben
Ben shared with the group how his son, Will made such a beautiful connection with one of the children at the home and at the good-bye even began to cry a little. This touched him so much to know that his son was gaining something out of the experience and truly feeling for his friend from the home.
We are so, so full. That is the only word I can think of to describe our attitude in this moment. We feel filled with the spirit and God’s wonderful heart for orphans. We have such a good, good Father and feel blessed to be used by Him to carry out His plan for these children’s lives.
Goodnight for the last time from the TPCC Monterrey Team.
Today was so special to our whole group, because it was Thanksgiving! We have been continually blessed as a group, because we come to serve and yet we are served in return.
All of the Back2Back Staff came around us and prepared such an amazing day. Not only the Back2Back staff, but the families from the Hope Program served us today. They opened their homes and allowed a family from Traders Point to come in and be apart of their Thanksgiving dinner and family time. Every single TPCC family had good feedback and said it was such a special time for them.
To begin each TPCC family was paired with a house and was assigned a traditional side dish to help prepare (sweet potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole etc). Which was such a great way to bond with the family despite a language barrier. We were able to eat with the family and even had ice breaker questions in both languages.
After dinner, we walked up to the beautifully decorated Palapa for a time of worship and reflection. The worship team sang beautifully in both languages and recited meaningful verses as well. There was a resounding unified voice that radiated throughout the cold night, even with people from all different walks of life and different languages. There were also thought-provoking stations that asked each person to reflect on different aspects of their faith. For example, one asked us to write down on a sheet of paper a lie we believed about ourselves and then nail it to the cross. After we would write on a new nametag of what God says of us and what is true.
This along with worship allowed each of us to take a moment to stop and think about our moments throughout this week and what God has been teaching us. The spirit moved in this precious moment and will be a favorite memory for our team for a long time.
We are so grateful to the Back2Back team, the Hope Program families and God himself for this wonderful Thanksgiving day. We are truly blessed and have been given immeasurably more than we could ever ask for.