Here's what we looked like last month.
Photo by good buddy and photographer Joanna K. Foley.
On Karen's late March birthday, we woke up to
a tiny bit of snow on the ground. After the sun
rose higher, snow started falling again.
We've hardly had any snow all winter,
and now that it's spring, look what's happening!
Karen is now officially a teenager!
This past Saturday I went for a long walk around Vác.
On the way home, I saw a sundog (= parhelion
= splotch of rainbow) over the Danube River!
The colors are in the bright spot on the left,
and a bit of color is reflected in the river.
To commemorate the March 15 national holiday,
some of Karen's classmates put on a short play about
Petöfi Sándor, a leader in the 1848-1849 Revolution.
At one point Petöfi lived in Vác,
in the house right across the street from
Karen's school. Every year on March 15,
various bigwigs from the city
decorate the memorial on the house.
We loved having Joanna Foley with us this past weekend!
Here are Karen and Joanna after the commemoration,
with the Petöfi house in the background.
By the way, that house is for sale....
On Saturday afternoon the old and new Váci baseball teams
held a friendly game. Even though the new team (Doug's guys)
have uniforms, the old team slaughtered us about 26 to 3.
Doug now has them working on the basics: throwing and catching.
Doug in his element.
When we first moved to Budapest in 2002, we were on
the IMB's Budapest Megacity Team with some stellar people.
Some of these folks are still here, and one just visited;
so we went to see them last week. Lauren brought a team of
college students to do an English camp in northwest Budapest.
On Friday evening, they had a coffeehouse celebration,
where people in the classes could enjoy each others' company
and show off a little of what they learned. We heard some
excellent renditions of songs we learned as little kids,
such as "Old MacDonald" and "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."
They will hold coffeehouses in this area every other Friday
for the rest of the semester. Please pray that this will be
an activity where people will find out who God is
and how much he loves them!
Justin (on guitar) is a semester missionary here.
Hannah (on drum) is a college student in South Carolina.
The coffeehouse is (and will be) set up in the ballet room
of the Culture House in Békásmegyer.
Trey Shaw, current leader of the Budapest Team,
is doing a thank-you spiel to the team.
Starting on Trey's left, you can see the faces of
Joey, Ildikó, and Vivian; across the table are
Lauren, Virginia, and Trey's kid Alexander.
On another subject...
Zita was our first friend in Hungary in 1992;
here she is with her baby Dani, 16 years later!
Unfortunately for Dani, she is trying to feed him
green pea mush with chicken. Ugh.
According to this poster and others we've seen around,
2008 has been declared the Year of the Bible
by the three big denominations in Hungary:
Catholic, Reformed (=Calvinist/Presbyterian),
and Evangelikus (=Lutheran). The sign reads thusly:
Happy are those who read it
Year of the Bible - 2008
To this you are invited by the Catholics,
Calvinists, and Lutherans
Please pray that people really will read the Bible,
and discover salvation and new life in it!
Every morning before 8:00, there is a crowd
waiting at the doors to the Váci Post Office.
On Tuesday, some of the colors seemed to match the signs.
The beautiful weather this week meant that our cat Pascal
got to go out on our balcony. He likes the pot of weeds, ...
... and he seemed quite comfortable laying across two pots.
Pascal likes to ride on our shoulders like a parrot.
Yesterday he decided to take a nap right behind
Lea's head. He was nice and warm!
Soon after they got off the plane, sleepy travellers
appeared in Vác.
They were quite an encouragement to us!
Tom Foley is the director of our missions partners;
Joanna, Tom's daughter, is an English teacher in Budapest.
Mario and Dan's California church support an orphanage
in Ukraine, which is another partner of CEO.
Pictured: Doug, Mario, Joanna, Tom, Lea, Dan
Mark Newell is behind the camera.
While Tom Foley & crew went south, we Coppages
visited the Browns, dear friends in western Hungary.
Here Karen and Rebekah play video games....
...on the wall.
Robert and Ron get the controls back from the girls.
Doug had the baseball guys over Saturday afternoon for some (mental) training.
Attila, Attila (with our cat Pascal), Kristián, and András
Caleb and one Attila help Doug explain the strike zone.
(Straws and strings can be useful!)
Ádám, Kristián, Mário, and Kristián
Happy cat, happy kid!
Farsang ("far-shawng") is the Hungarian celebration of Carnival,
which happens between Three Kings Day (January 6) and the
beginning of Lent. This is the little kids' dress-up holiday.
At regular state schools, the first- through fourth-graders
dress up early in the afternoon, and the fifth- through
eighth-graders have a dance later that afternoon/evening.
At the Deaf school in Vác, the kids put on a show on the first
Friday in February. Doug and I were able to go this past week.
Here are some pictures from the event.
Please pick one of these kids and pray for him or her,
that they will know the intense value of their lives,
and the God who loves them so very much.
Zsuzsi (Susie), whom we have known and loved for five years now.
Brigi (Brigitta) is behind her.
Bettina and Gabi, girl cheerleaders, prepare for their skit.
Nándor, Gábor, Attila (hidden), Dávid
The boys in their class were cheerleaders, too!
Endre, Zoli, Mónika, Gina (hidden), and Dávid
To be legally married in Hungary, the bride, groom,
and at least two witnesses must go to the courthouse
and sign their names in the registry book.
During this skit, when asked the equivalent of
"Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?",
the groom signed "yes." When the bride was asked the
equivalent question, her high voice shouted, "EEEEEE-GEN!"
("Igen" = "yes" in Hungarian.)
Dori, Mária, Melinda, Mónika, and Erika
have learned a bit of belly-dancing.
Erika. It's a weird shot, but I like it.
I have never really appreciated modern art,
but there is a statue in Vác that I really like.
This crucifix is part of a memorial to the
1956 Revolution, when for ten days Hungarians
had control of their own country. Unfortunately,
the Russians quickly brought in tanks and
crushed the Hungarians flat.
The memorial was erected in October of 2006
to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the
Revolution. Wreaths were laid this past October.
(The Christmas Tree was probably added since then.)
The memorial stands right next to the prison
which now houses about 1000 inmates
(including about 70 believers!).
If you're interested, see the stories of
Imre Farkas and his wife Lily Farkas
about the 1956 prison break in Vác.
Rough translation of the plaque shown above:
During the revolution and struggle for independence in 1956,
many hundreds of political prisoners who had been convicted
by the Rákosi dictatorship (in service to the Bolshevik occupation)
were set free on October 27th by the joint efforts
of the prisoners and the residents of Vác.
We also remember all those who suffered here
and did not live to see the day of liberation.
This is the other side of the prison.
Last April, at our Váci church, we met a young lady
who happened to know a lot of English. We Coppages were
about to have a gathering at our house, so I invited Orsi.
As I told her where we lived, her smile got wider and wider.
It turns out that her family lived in our building,
on our floor, about five doors down. She had spent
the last several years in Montana, and would be living with
her family in Vác for a few months before she returned to Montana.
Shannon's family and ours became really good friends with Orsi.
The months flew by, and we reluctantly had to let her go back
to the U.S. this past week. On Orsi's last evening here,
her dad took his family, the McGuires, and us out to the
local chocolate shop. Here are a few shots from that evening.
Orsi, Shannon, and Joelle
(Just before the McGuires came,
Joelle fell and smacked her mouth on the floor.
That's why she's got a fat lip.)
Orsi has three brothers—two adults and Levi, who is 11.
Here is Levi (short for Levente) with his dad, Zoli
(short for Zoltán). Now that we have a relationship
with Orsi's family, please pray that God uses it for good!
Obligatory new kitty picture:
The sun shone on Sunday afternoon!
That made our cat very happy.
Pascal started out on my lap and slowly slid down
until he was sleeping on my shins.
On New Year's Eve, our church in Vác had a 8-hour party!
Many people dressed up, among them
Dávid (Fred Flintstone) and Lizi (Wilma Flintstone).
Normally, Dávid is a percussionist and Lizi plays the flute.
After they played what they're used to playing,
Dávid and Lizi switched roles!
Lizi is playing the homemade "box drum," known in America
as a "Cajon" (ka-hone), the Spanish word for box or drawer.
Karen sang "O Holy Night" at the talent show!
Our new cat, Pascal, has added a lot of joy and laughter
to our home. He seems to have the best qualities of all
the cats we have ever owned—or rather, all the cats
who have ever owned us. He sleeps hard and plays hard!
Doug tried to teach the cat to use the scratching post,
to no avail. Pascal prefers to use the sofas and chairs.
A few days before Christmas, Doug and I ran into
Maria, Erika, and Dori (from the Deaf school)
at the Post Office. They soon asked if I had my camera;
since I did, a chance meeting became a photo shoot.
This was the one shot I got where Dori (right) had a full smile!
The week after Christmas, three-fourths of the
Robinette family visited us in Vác, while their
husband/father Jim is deployed elsewhere.
We had a delightful time with them!
Zach, Haley, and Carol Anne in front of St. Stephen's statue in Budapest
Carol Anne in our local Chocolate Shop
Zach at Fisherman's Bastion in Budapest
Haley and Karen laughing together