With some of our Váci families:
With the youth group:
It has been a busy week, and to show for it,
we have 19 pictures! The first four are of
my walk home from school along the foggy Danube.
Saturday evening was our Váci church's
Christmas Carnival — a gift we do for our
neighbors and friends. Moni, Dalma, Timi, and
Joelle talk while they wait for it to start.
Adri paints Joelle's face.
The building was full of kids!
On Sunday morning our kids sang during worship.
Sunday evening Will and Joanna Luper came to see us
and we took our obligatory trip to the Csokizó.
Monday was the English Christmas Party at Boronkay.
The brother of my colleague Moni played Santa Claus.
Rumor has it that he tried to affect an American accent.
He pronounced the letter R very well!
Jayson and Lori are the newest missionaries in town.
They have already been invited to many schools to talk
about choices, addictions, etc. Jayson reports that
many good conversations have come from these talks.
On the last day of school, my students had to
make Christmas words from alphabet pasta.
After fourth period, Karen's class led the school
in a Christmas program. The entire play (~30 minutes long)
was written by a biology teacher—in rhyming verse.
The students packed out the gymnasium. Celebration clothes
(white shirt, dark pants, and school tie) are obligatory.
Karen took part in a flute duet and sang with the school
choir. She's in the front row, second from right.
Hunor was Gabriel, and Karen's friend Kriszti was Mary.
Later on in the play, Karen's doll "Dalma" played Jesus.
Shepherds wear Hungarian shepherds' clothing—
not Dad's bathrobe.
On December 2, Karen went to Vienna, Austria,
with a bunch of people from our school.
Here are her good friends Ildi and Kriszti:
The Christmas Market:
Karen's Youth group is a permanent fixture
at our apartment every Friday evening.
Meetings are often followed by
a fast game of Dutch Blitz:
Our good friends Joelle and Klaire;
Eliza's feet are in the background.
This past weekend was the third CEO Occasional Gathering
of Partners and Friends for Mutual Edification (CEOOGPFME).
Yes, the acronym can be spoken, and it sounds a bit like
Big Bird pronouncing the alphabet on Sesame Street.
Here are my favorite introverts soon after we arrived:
The girls are looking at something to their right;
the boys are looking at their little machines.
Doug and Jeremy are probably talking about baseball.
Tom is holding the newest CEO kid, Emily Bohall.
He considers Karen to be the oldest—although
she's as much a worker as any of the rest of us.
Sunday morning most of us went to Calvary Chapel Szeged—
a wonderfully multinational and diverse congregation!
The train travellers got a picture in front of
Calvary Chapel Szeged (see dove logo on right)
and its next-door neighbor, the Black Heaven Pub
(whose logo is a beer mug with angel wings).
Pictured are Kevin and Alyssa (Osijek, Croatia),
Kirsten (Budapest), Doug, Karen, Tom and Anna,
Joanna and Will (Budapest), and Zsófi (from Szeged)
who is looking out from the upstairs window.
For the last several months, they've been tearing up
the main streets all around our apartment house.
Now they're starting to put them back together again.
Future light poles:
Pouring cement in our back "yard":
Here are before and after shots of my kneecap.
I'm healing fast, thanks to God's grace and
the prayers of many people!
Karen's class trip to Ukraine:
The baseball field!
The third base line:
My current leg hardware:
We spent last week in southwest Germany with long-time
friends Donna, Rob, Sarah, and Hannah. Our first stop
on Saturday evening was Marzell, where they meet
with their "small" group—which contains
17 kids and almost as many adults!
My broken knee prevented me (and Donna) from going to
Basel, Switzerland on Monday, but Karen got some great
pictures of this "unassuming" (says Doug) city.
On Tuesday, Doug and Rob hiked up to the ruins of
Sausenburg castle. (Pictures by Doug)
Karen joined the men for the Lörrach castle
tour later in the week. (Pictures by Karen)
Our big excursion was to a small city in France named
Riquewehr. Most of the buildings we saw showed dates
in the 13th through 16th centuries.
Going into the city (by Karen):
It felt like we had gone back in time.
There were surprises everywhere! (by Karen)
Donna and Rob, our hosts, tour guides,
Karen, next to a working well.
Ferns were growing from the well walls
above the water level.
One of my favorite pictures by Karen:
Girls with cameras:
Family pictures by Donna:
Outside the city, the hills were covered with vineyards.
Riquewehr is an amazing place!
Back in Germany, one of the grocery stores had a
"foreign foods" section, which contained peanut butter
(1.35 cups = 12.5 ounces for $4.32), popcorn, and fake Oreos.
Hannah and Sarah had school most of the week;
and Sarah's homework was pretty intense.
But on the last night we were there, the girls
took a break and put on a fashion show for us.
On the way home, Karen's view of the Alps
We were really grateful for the opportunity
to visit such dear friends. In addition to the
beautiful scenery, the week was full of deep
conversations, mutual support, encouragement,
spiritual strengthening, laughter, and learning.
The well and the generator, pumping away!
The water was too strong for
the first type of sprinkler...
...so Doug got the other kind:
Our friend, encourager, and CEO director
Tom Foley came for a visit on Monday.
Here Doug points out the less-than-optimal
gray clay that was drilled up out of the
ground when they dug the well.
The well cap is locked down. We are hoping
that none of the stuff we have is vandalized
or stolen from the field.
Can you see the green? That's GRASS!
Tom can't abide our cat, so we had to retreat
to a coffee shop. It wasn't too bad. :-)
On Saturday, Karen's biology class went
to the zoo in Budapest. Here are her friends
Dotti (also a prayer partner) and Kriszti.
Karen is learning only Hungarian terms
in school, which should make her future
American college education a bit more difficult.
Teams from the class participated in a
competition, and Karen's team won!
The girl on the right is also named Karen;
she is an exchange student from Mexico.
First come 12 Baseball Construction pictures.
After these are people pics.
The foundations of the batters' boxes are completed.
This is the cut-out for the pitchers mound.
Here is the mound under construction.
More progress on the mound:
Here is a nearly-completed pitcher's mound.
Wooden sticks lie where the pitcher's plate
will be installed in the spring.
With the pitcher's mound under a tarp (center),
the well drillers begin to set up their equipment.
Well drillers at work:
The drilling pipe goes down into the well shaft.
Water is pumped down through the pipe,
and the debris is pushed to the surface.
The drillers add a new drilling pipe to the rig: 3 more meters!
The man in the white jacket is a helpful neighbor.
While the drillers bored into the earth,
Tibi and I sowed grass seed on the infield
and put a fence around the diamond to protect it.
(The well is just out of sight to the left.)
With drilling completed (45 meters!)
the workers install the well cap.
There is a small chamber below the concrete slab
where we can keep hoses, sprinkers, etc.
Here is the well cap. The pump has just been lowered into the well.
A test of the pump yielded PLENTY of water through the black hose.
Doug and I went on a double date
with newlyweds Will and Joanna Luper.
One of my smallest classes:
Doug on his birthday, getting ready
to make a field drag:
Joanna had a Ladies' Gourmet Evening
at her apartment. She's Julia Child Junior!
This past Sunday evening, Karen and several friends
(believers and otherwise) went to the Jesus Culture
concert in Budapest. Here are a few pictures she took:
Leaders from different denominations in Hungary
prayed for the people there:
A non-Roma man asked forgiveness from a Roma (Gypsy) man
for all the wrongs that were done to the Roma people.
Karen, Dóri, Zsófi, ???, and Ildi.
We're not sure who the fourth girl is.
The Field of Dreams/Miracles/Weeds is a huge
part of Doug's life. He's there three days a week,
working hard to make this field a reality before
spring. Here are a few pictures of the field:
The batters' boxes are completed and ready for play!
This is the cut-out for the pitcher's mound.
It will be filled with compressed clay and sand
like the batters' boxes.
This past Friday was Boronkay's hazing celebration.
Karen's class was in charge of it. One of her jobs
was to paint the faces of the newbies as they came in.
But Zsófi, Karen's flute buddy, had already painted hers!
Different classes dressed up as Smurfs...
...Santa Clauses at the beach, and Lady Gaga.
The Lady Gaga group showed up in a prison bus.
At the end of the event, they had to swear
eternal allegience to the school and
servitude to upperclassmen.
Our apartment house is completely surrounded
by destruction, hopefully followed by construction!
This is exactly what it says on the clothes tag below:
South legendart figure
modern styie design it appered
uniquesryle and showed strong individual character
On the Saturday before school started, a 17-year-old
girl from Boronkay was struck and killed by a train
coming in to the Vác station. At the school, they
set up a table with candles and flew a black flag
in honor of Réka. The track on which she died was
memorialized as well. As you can imagine, this has
been very hard for many. Please pray for Réka's family
At Boronkay's year-opening ceremony,
my former student Eszter recited poetry.
Here are some Teachers' head shadows:
This past Sunday, the Calvary Chapel (Golgota) churches
celebrated 20 years of being in Hungary. There was a
big worship service at an open-air theater in Budapest,
and afterwards everyone ate together on the grounds.
That afternoon, we went to meet Meredith Moore,
a long-time friend of the Hopkins family.
She says she knew me before I was born!
Meredith is traveling upriver
from Romania to Amsterdam.