Angol Tabor

Hello friends, family, and interested readers! (It’s a long post, and pictures are at the end. ;))

Since we last communicated with you so much has happened. We have felt God’s blessing and his presence in so many different situations. And we have loved our time in Hungary! Here are a few of the highlights:

God blessed our travels, and we only experienced some mild discomfort during our flights. (We experienced the non-parent side of the crying/screaming baby from Pittsburgh to Paris. Abby had some stomach pain when we got into Paris. And Stephen had sinus issues which led to some kind of severe pain on the descent into Budapest. And about an hour into our time in Hungary, we were totally fine. God is good. 🙂

We hit the ground running once we landed in Budapest. Our dear friend Anna picked us up from the airport, and then we joined her in serving at a refugee shelter. After Abby got to hold a Nigerian baby and Stephen was a jungle gym for an African-Hungarian boy, we continued on to Kecskemet. When we arrived at 9:30pm, our amazingly gracious hosts welcomed us with fresh fruit and sweet treats. Hungarian hospitality is the best! Rozsa and Peter have been a blessing from God in how they have welcomed us and cared for us.

On Friday, we went to Kecskemeti Baptista Gyulekezet. For Stephen, this was his first visit. For Abby, for me, I was coming to one of my homes. I got really excited when I began to recognize the street and when I saw the sign, “Baptista Imahaz.” I was beaming when we pulled up to the front doors. After 4 years, after spending only a total of 4 weeks in this place, it still felt so much like home. I was excited and eager to enter the building, and then we walked down into the basement, the lower level of the church where most of English Camp planning, performing, singing, dancing, testimony-giving, and Gospel-preaching happened in past years (and this year). I couldn’t hold back my tears. It was so beautiful and overwhelming to realize that God had brought me back. And then I was even more overwhelmed to have my wonderful husband and my dear friend both comforting me and offering shoulders to cry on. 🙂 Thankfully my tears didn’t last long, though: we had God’s work to do. 🙂

And we had an amazing team to work with! God miraculously provided just the right number of English teachers for this year’s camp. He even gave us some fellow Clevelanders—a family of four who has been serving in Hungary for four years—and a fellow African American who was originally from Flint, Michigan, and probably at SVSU the same time as Abby’s mom! Isn’t God amazing in how He works?! Our team was made even better with the God-ordained gift of cross-cultural unity. But we’ll get to that later. 🙂

Angol Tabor was an incredible blessing from the Lord.  We had approximately 60 students aged from 8 years old to 83 years old. (Zsuzsa-neni had been a teacher for about 50 years, and she was such a blessing!)  Here is what the daily schedule looked like:

  • 9:00-10:00 – staff prayer (Such a rich, blessed time with Americans and Hungarians. It is a taste of Heaven to pray in different languages with no translation. Our God hears and responds to us all, and we still felt so united.)
  • 10-11 – First class session
  • 11-11:30 – Big group time (worship music, testimony, encouragement from Pastor Samuel, sharing the Gospel)
  • 11:30-12:30 – Second class session
  • 12:30-1:30 – lunch
  • 1:30 – 4:30 – sports/one-on-one
  • 4:30 – 5:00 – snacks
  • 5:00 – 6:30 – Gospel sharing afternoon (worship music, a Gospel message, a testimony—one day, there was a skit from four Hungarian girls from the church. They dramatized the story of the Prodigal son, and it was so moving. Another day, we watched the movie Do You Believe? in English with Hungarian subtitles; a great movie, and a good way to learn more Magyarul!)

Of course, I (Abby) could go on and on about the blessings and the God-moments throughout the whole camp. And truly, I’d love to talk with you more when we get home—in Ohio July 8, and up in Michigan sometime later in July. Just let me know. 😉 For now, I’d like to share two important aspects of the camp that were impactful to us, and the students.

  1. One-on-Ones
    • One-on-ones were both a new addition and a key highlight of English Camp this year. The purpose was to have the teachers available to the students for whatever they would prefer, whether that be conversation practice, answering tough questions, simply practicing colors with a game of “I Spy” (that was Abby’s first one-on-one).  Anna created a schedule and students could sign up for 30-min blocks of time, with the teacher of their choice, to promote and stimulate more opportunity to grow. Stephen had some great conversations, but he spent most of his time outside playing foci (soccer) with the boys. Abby, however, had at least 2 days that were booked solid with one-on-one conversations, mostly with young women from the camp. I feel so blessed to have had these conversations. I had a couple of tearful ones. At least 2, maybe 3 times, we ended the conversation with prayer. God humbled me and spoke through me, and allowed me to follow the example of several women who have mentored and poured into me. It was a blessing to be sure.
  2. Stephen’s class
    • Here’s the best part about being “the writer” for us: I get to share Stephen’s successes without being the least bit embarrassed. 🙂 Stephen did an excellent job teaching his class. He had a rather challenging, but awesome, group of 13-14 year olds. His students were reluctant to speak English and very eager to chitter-chatter in Hungarian. There was also some friendship cliques in his class. After Monday, he was a bit frustrated that his lesson plans didn’t turn out the way that he had hoped. (#teaching) Stephen was so humble and persistent and creative in his lesson planning through the week, though. And by the end of the week, he had his students actively participating in charades, catch phrase, Pictionary, and Fishbowl, completely in English (or at least mostly). His class confirms what we all knew: Stephen is the best teacher of the world. 🙂

We would love to tell you more, but it’s so much more fun in person. So please ask us about any of these things when we return:

  • How Stephen learned to play soccer-four square
  • How Abby and Stephen got to lead a Girls’ Chat and a Man Chat—and how differently those went
  • How we survived the Kecskemet hail storm
  • How God clearly spoke through Stephen’s testimony on Tuesday
  • How Tunde and the kitchen ladies immensely blessed us
  • How the Holy Spirit told Abby to give her Bible to Mirella, and how Abby obeyed
  • How Anna then gifted a new English Bible to Abby
  • How Stephen impressed all the Hungarian women and men as being an excellent, godly man and husband. (Best quote, in hesitant English, from the lovely Eszter: “Abby, where did you buy this husband?”)
  • How Abby and Stephen practiced counting in Hungarian
  • How God blessed us with inspired connections and encouragement and His beautiful Church
  • And, best of all, how 8 students raised their hands to commit their lives to Christ!!

It is a little strange to realize now that English camp is already over. I hope that Stephen and I will continue reflecting back on all the ways that God blessed us and worked in and through us during those quick 5 days.


Since last Friday, we’ve had a lovely holiday. Friday evening, we went into the city center in Kecskemet for Kurtoskalacs (a doughy, delicious pastry cooked over coals so that the inside is soft and the outside is glazed—aka delicious!) and gelato and great company. Saturday we joined the Gateway Christian Fellowship church plant again to keep learning about Jonah and to worship with people from 7 different nations. Sunday, we attended Danube church, an English-speaking church in Budapest that reminded me so much of the Niamey English Worship Service. We even had a time for Hello’s and Goodbye’s! Sunday afternoon, we journeyed to Vac to spend time with some refugee men from Afghanistan and Iraq. Then Monday, we drove to Tihany and Balatonfüred, two towns on the lovely Lake Balaton, for our true vacation. We had some funny, some frustrating, and some blessed adventures there, all seasoned with lovely, deep conversation between Anna, Stephen, and me. And today, we spent time actually at the Lake (yes, Mom, it did get me excited for Pentwater), then went to an Adventure Park (zip lining and rock wall climbing!), and finally returned to Budapest for some ginormous burgers before crashing at a friend’s apartment.

So yes, it has been rather busy, but it has also been so good. And, unsurprisingly, Stephen is a boss at international driving. Our next few days will be in Budapest, then we’ll return to Kecskemet Thursday evening before leaving for France on Saturday. We’ll try to update more before then.

We so appreciate your prayers. Truly, we felt God at work at English camp. Thank you for partnering with us from across the ocean. One of our new favorite Hungarian phrases is Hala Istennek (pronounced Ha-la Eesh-te-nek). It means “praise God,” or “Thanks be to God.” And that’s how we feel right now: Hala Istennek.

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Waiting in Pittsburgh

PittsburghairportAs we sit in the Pittsburgh airport, Stephen and I are reflecting on how God has blessed us this past week with great times of transition and preparation.

Almost a week ago, last Thursday, Stephen finished his last day at FedEx! We are praising God for the job, the experience, the lessons, the provision, and the friends that Stephen gained from FedEx. We are also praising God that the 2am-10am season of life is coming to a close. Stephen started as a package handler at FedEx in the fall of 2014, and he finished as a manager last week. It has been a tiring, refining, sanctifying experience. And through it all, God is so good.

Minutes after Stephen got home from his last day at FedEx, we hit the road to visit my family in Michigan. We enjoyed most of 5 days up in the Mitten, watching two yellow labs terrorize each other, sitting on the back deck to enjoy the summer weather, and spending as much time with our sweet 6-week-old niece Jane Marie. We had a great time recharging, chatting, laughing, and creating even more ridiculous Cline memories. We had the privilege of catching up with both Grandma Cline and Papa Sears on our trip, which was a blessing. And we’re so grateful for Monday morning when Mom’s EBS ladies took the time to pray for us and our trip. You know, even though the Cavs lost and Pittsburgh won, it was still a great visit. 🙂

After driving back to Cuyahoga Falls on Monday, we had a little over 24 hours to pack ourselves for our 3-week trip. And we learned about our packing habits:

  • Abby
    • List-maker
    • Bag-stuffer
    • “last-minute” means the day before
  • Stephen
    • Stress-free
    • More relaxed fit
    • finishes packing an hour before we left the apartment
  • Both
    • Pile-makers
    • Clothes-rollers
    • Willing to trust and appreciate the packing style of the other (What a bonus!)

 

Post-packing, here are our carry-on items:

carryonpacked

And now, we wait. We should be boarding in about 40 minutes, and everything is still running on-time. But Stephen and I have both experienced missions before, so we know the one essential trait: flexibility. And we’re so excited. We’re excited for what else we’ll learn about ourselves and each other, beyond simply our packing practices. We are looking forward to what we’ll see and learn and experience as we partner with Hungarian and French believers. And we’re so excited for what our faithful, good God will show us and work on in us. I’m also so excited to see Anna! And yes, we’re looking forward to airplane movie watching– that would go in the “both” column, too.

Thank you for your prayers and interest. We’ll update when we get the chance on the ground in Hungary!

The Morrises go to Europe

Hello friends and family and interested readers-

To say that it’s been a while is a significant understatement. Hopefully most of you have stayed informed even while I have been off-line. For those of you who last heard from me in the summer of 2015, here are some quick updates:

  • Stephen and I had a lovely wedding day on June 18, 2016, and we are quite enjoying marriage. (Almost a full year!)wedding
  • Stephen and I now live in Cuyahoga Falls, OH, but I’m still a Spartan. Go Green!
  • By God’s grace, I completed my first year of teaching at the amazing Roberts Middle School here in Cuyahoga Falls.
  • In about 5 weeks, Stephen will start a new job that we are so grateful for and so excited about! (More details on that later. :))
  • In just over a week, we are going to Europe!

If you’re interested in Stephen’s and my love story, our wedding website is still up –though not updated– Morris Wedding website. And if you’re interested in pictures, check out either of our Facebook pages. 🙂

 

To Europe!

On to the exciting new news, though: God has provided a way for Stephen and me to go to Hungary and France this summer! In short, my Hungarian friend Anna contacted us earlier this year. She’s a strong believer with fierce faith who invited us to come teach at the English camp that her church is hosting in Kecskemet, Hungary, in June. Stephen and I prayed and hoped and received godly counsel. Through God’s providence and a nice refund from the US government, we bought tickets to Europe! We are so grateful and so excited for how God will work this summer. We would love your prayers in the following areas:

Please pray for…

  • open hearts and minds that are ready to hear and receive the Gospel. The English camp in Kecskemet is boldly evangelistic, and we’re excited to partner with Kecskemeti Baptista Gyulekezet (Kecskemet Baptist Church website). (Just hit “translate.”)
  • Stephen and me to seek God and to listen and respond to His Spirit. A good amount of this trip is fluid and flexible. We want to be a blessing and an encouragement to the Believers we spend time with. We want to draw unbelievers closer to Christ. And we want to bring honor to God throughout the trip.

 

As for our itinerary, here are the generalities:

June 14– We head to Europe!

June 15-18– Time with Anna and the church family, preparing for the English Camp.

June 19-23– Angol Tabor! (English Camp!) Pray for Gospel-transformation.

June 24-30– Touring around Hungary and joining Anna in ministry.

July 1-8– Staying in Strasbourg, France, and spending time with dear missionary friends of ours.

 

If you would like more details of our trip or how you can pray with and for us, please contact us! My new email is abbymorris16@gmail.com. We’ll try to update the blog during our adventure, hopefully with pictures! 🙂

We are grateful for your interest and your prayers!

~Abby and Stephen Morris