It was good to see Heledd (my daughter) waiting for me on the platform when I arrived after a three and a half hour journey from Budapest. We went on the local transport to the flat where she has lived since she moved here four and a half years ago. No meetings had been arranged for the first two days here, so it was a good time to relax, talk and get some preparation done. The weather has not been kind to me on this trip, with much rain. So we did not go to see the mountains, but it was good to have time together.
On Wednesday two meetings were planned. Firstly, the team were gathering for their weekly meeting to share and pray. Martin, Tom and Sam came to Heledd’s flat, and Beata who is in Nitra joined us via Skype. Baska, the other team member is on leave this week so she did not join us. Martin, the General Secretary and team leader, lives close by with his wife and children. Tom is from Sunderland, and is on his second year here. Sam, having studied at Aberystwyth Uni, and then done Relay is on his first year.
It was an encouraging time as they shared what was happening. The previous night in Prešov, the students had a good time as they looked at “Uncover”, the Bible studies used by UCCF, and translated into Slovak. They had about twenty students there, who split up into three groups. The international students were studying in English with Tom; then there was a group of Ukrainian students who were studying in Russian, and of course, the Slovak group. It is really encouraging considering that when Heledd arrived in the country there was no group in Prešov University. They also discussed future plans, including some meetings next week when the team will be going to Nitra to work with Beata.
We had a time of prayer together and then I shared a word from Ecclesiastes 3. This is a time of change for the team. Martin will probably be finishing as the General Secretary this summer. Heledd, Sam and probably Tom as well will be leaving also. So it seemed appropriate to remember that the Time Lord is in charge. Whatever lies in the future will be in His hands. I’ve also been given a new name by Tom and Sam – for those of you who are on twitter you may notice #papaHeledd appearing a few times!
In the evening the students at the university had arranged a mmeting where I was asked to speak on the subject “Where is God when bad things happen?” They had been sharing invitations, and had cme with pancakes filled with nuttella for the meeting. (Bang goes my diet once again!) I spoke for about 40 minutes via a translator, and then we had the students to write further questions and pass them forward to us so that I could have a session of questions and answers. The meeting seemed to go well, with an intense discussion at the end.
Heledd was encouraged because there were a number there who have not come before. Also as we were not able to answer all the questions that had been passed on, there is scope for future meetings and continued conversations with the students.
Today I caught an early train back to Budapest, and am currently at the airport, using the time to update the news on my visit here. A time of blessing in both Budapest and Košice. But now PapaHeledd is coming home!