The time has come again for a blog post that is
a month four months too late, in early July a group of brave Scottish British leaders arrived in a small village, called Hejce, in north-eastern Hungary, just a mile or two shy of the Slovakian border. Why were we here ? How do you pronounce the name of the village ? How far can a large man walk up a hill in 30 degree heat ? … all these questions and more will hopefully be answered in this post.
Sco ttish British team were certainly a mixed bunch, two who were completely new to any E.E.F.C. camp, three who were well seasoned EEFC’ers and myself, who was excited just to spend a night opposite Edinburgh zoo, never mind halfway up a mountain in Hungary. After spending a few lovely days in Budapest, with team assembled, spirits soaring and humidity rising, we set off on the train. Rather than a blow by blow account of the camp (like last year’s blog post) this time I thought it might be interesting to zoom in on just one day of camp and try to share what it’s like to be involved with a camp such as this. What follows is the daily timetable as was laid out for the campers (which was also the timetable we worked around) : 7.00 Wake up There were 10 male leaders in the dorm, not that I ever saw much of the Hungarian half of the team , most days they had all showered and were ready for the day, well before I had any clue where I was. The leaders had our own area, with two dorms, a hall and a kitchen area. It was quite a luxury to have that sort of space to plan and organise the day. The campers stayed in a separate area, every night two leaders stayed in the campers area. After the daily “shower now or tonight” dilemma (with two showers available, and with the female leaders often stealing our hot water, a dilemma it was), we were ready to head up for breakfast. 8.00 Breakfast We sat for all of our meals(and most of our gatherings) in an outdoor annex with a corrugated perspex roof and with one open side, we all sat together as we shared our breakfast. Our breakfasts consisted of fruit tea, and bread with a variety of toppings, ranging from ham right up to Nutella. 8.30 Morning Devotion Straight after breakfast we had our morning devotion, this time of morning fellowship included a talk by Papa Viktor (minister, leader, village celebrity and grandfather of Abrahamic proportions ) and some prayer and praise. The week’s Bible study program walked us through the book of Philippians. Papa Viktor, with help from Bence, a translator and leader from the Hungarian team, lead us through Philippians chapter 2 verses 5-11. This time of morning fellowship prepared us for the day, and it was a daily reminder of what Christ did and became in order to provide us with salvation. 9.00 Tidy up This is where the leader’s schedule deviated from that of the campers, whilst the campers did the tidying up (woo!) the leaders retired to practice our well planned and set out English lessons … well close enough … In reality at this time we panicked over what we would teach, worried that it would be too easy/hard, worrying about our own teaching ability etc. Even though these worries were a daily occurrence, we were also faced daily with how God helped us prepare for, and carried us through, the lessons. 9.30 English 1 Clare and myself taught the intermediate 1 class, our class was held outside,under the trees and in front of the Church, this tranquil atmosphere disturbed only by questions about haggis and tenses. We were joined by two able and patient translators. Each day in the classes we covered a different topic, ranging from school and employment to family and hobbies – with plenty of haggis and Gaelic confusion/horror thrown in. In our first English session of the day we had a conversation class about the topic of the day. 10.15 Break In this break we prepared for the next lesson and we may have shared a relived high-five or two. 10.30 English 2 Our second English lesson of the day was writing practice, we used worksheets and had the class learn new vocabulary and then use it in sentences. Not exactly exhilarating stuff, but our class was great and they were more than capable of the exercises we gave them. Every day they had finished the exercises a good 20 minutes before the end of the class. 11.15 Break In this break time we prepared for our Bible study. Like I said before, we spent the week looking at the book of Philippians, and we used a modified version of the Discipleship explored course. 11.30 Bible Study As we went through the incredible test of Philippians we used the book more as a base than a strict study guide. Just as it was last year, the campers were deep thinkers – and were to happy to ask whatever question was on their mind. Throughout the week we discussed a whole range of topics and issues, using the talk from the previous evening as our starting point. Through talking to the campers we were faced with plenty of tough questions, including asking about other faiths, predestination and election. We also shared times of great blessing in these studies, it’s hard to express the joy we had in sharing the simple Gospel message and seeing it quite literally having an impact on the one who heard it. Not that it’s easy preparing daily lessons, we really had to pray about it, work hard on it and with God’s leading we found ourselves sharing the incredible message with the campers. 13.00 Lunch Lunch time is the biggest meal in Hungary, it usually consisted of two courses (some days we even had three !) It was usually goulash (it’s like a soup), followed by a meat or pasta course. As it is all over the world, the days we had a pudding were the best days, for pudding we had doughnut’y type things, rice-pudding’y type things and the renowned macaroni and jam ( hard to imagine, harder still to imagine the taste.) 13.45 Free time In this time we met together as leaders to have our daily devotions (led by the British team), we also discussed our lessons and any ideas/plans that we had. We also prepared for our third English lesson. 14.30 English 3 This was a much more relaxed lesson, we played some word games that were tied in the day’s topic and we did some practicing for the camp concert which we had on the last night. Some days we also carried on some conversations from our Bible study.
15.15 Active free time I feel puffed out even thinking back about these times ! Our activities ranged from a hike up a hill, with beautiful view at the top (well three quarters of the way up!) We also took part in a village wide puzzle/assault course challenge, we even taught some good old ceilidh dancing to some confused Hungarians (and one or two confused British leaders). This time was great to get to know the campers, nothing quite breaks down barriers better than a fat, sunburnt, wheezing Scottish guy, walking up a mountain trying to speak Hungarian. 18.00 Testimony/ Evening devotion After some beautiful worship, in both Hungarian and English, we shared in a time of fellowship. We had testimonies shared from both of the teams, and from Christians in all stages of their walk. Following these testimonies members from the British talked from a passage of Scripture, the campers are incredible at listening – they miss nothing, and have no problems in asking the hard questions ! 19.00 Group Discussion This part of the day was purely in Hungarian, instead of having to stop and translate for the British team, they could talk freely with the Hungarian leaders. The British leaders took this time to have a debrief of the day’s events and have a wee rest/ cup of tea ( For my Hungarian readers TEA NEEDS MILK !) 20.00 Supper For supper we all, once again, gathered together in our open sided seating area. Supper usually consisted of the leftovers from lunch with a few extra bits and pieces thrown in. It’s hard to describe the beauty of sharing a meal together whilst the sun sets in front of us accompanied by a cool breeze and the half English half Hungarian chatter going on at the tables. 22.00 Camp Diary There is a highly treasured tradition in Hejce camp, that is the reading of the camp diary. During the day, in extreme secrecy, the diary is given to on of the campers or leaders and they simply have to fill in then details of their day, sound easy right ? Well as well as being incredibly deep thinking, the Hungarian people are also really funny – they are quite possibly the wittiest people I’ve ever met. The camp diaries provided our nightly comedy show. 22.30 Bedtime After a tiring but thoroughly incredible day, after some more tea and biccies, we all settled in to our (surprisingly comfy) bunk-beds, all ready to start the next day ! So why should you come to an EEFC camp ? 1. It will give you the chance to take part in a meaningful mission, whilst still being supported by an experienced team. 2. It will take you out of your comfort zones and lead you to put your life in God’s hands. 3. It’s a humbling and encouraging experience to see brothers and sisters that live and witness in a different language and to a different culture. 4. You can travel off the tourist track, and explore the real heart of a beautiful country, all the same price of a cheap holiday to some over crowded beach in Spain. 5. It will show you how God can and does work, despite any language or cultural problems. You will see how the will see how the Gospel message can touch hearts regardless of the situation. If you are interested in coming along next year to any of the EEFC camps keep your eyes on their website, once it comes out, they will post the camps brochure on it. If you have any questions or comments please do use the comment section of the blog. To all my Hungarian friends: boldog Karácsonyt !
Photos from Clare Macleod, Boda Bence and Balogh Gergo.