Photo by Tony Cece

Monday, July 7, 2014

Saturday, July 5, 2014

This morning we departed from the Smiles Foundation after exchanging sincere goodbyes. When united by the love of Christ and the joy of serving in His name, strangers become family. The past two weeks of working alongside the Smiles staff and interns created a bond between their team and ours. We share a common desire for people to know God and to know His love for them, transforming individuals, communities, and culture. We are confident that God is using our Romanian brothers and sisters to heal and restore those around them. We know that God allowed us to be part of His work in Romania by coming alongside Smiles staff to encourage their spirits. Praise God that He will continue the good work from our time in Romania.

A new experience awaited us as we left for Budapest. Our one-day adventure began with a tour of this historic city. We were lead by a Hungarian tour guide, full of knowledge and passion to share the story and hope of her home. Hungary was often caught between countries and wars that broke down and rebuilt the country. Budapest is full of museums and statues that memorialize the bleak and bright spots in the country’s history. The city is proud of its freedom from oppression and opportunity to rebuild itself as a leader amongst European cities. Yet many minority groups need a genuine message of freedom in Christ since the government marginalizes the gypsy, gay, and Jewish population. Our team feels the weight of this oppression after entering into the suffering of the gypsies in Romania.

After dinner together, our team split up to explore Budapest. Many people took advantage of an evening cruise on the Danube. The gentle beat of waves against the boat and soft breeze allowed us to unwind after a busy day. We saw important landmarks such as Parliament and St. Mathias’ Church full of light against the night sky. Other teammates enjoyed the view from a glass enclosed Ferris Wheel set in the heart of the city. And most of us managed to taste the best ice cream; delicious flavors set on a cone in the shape of a flower. Although a quick visit, we are pleased and rested to set off for Vienna tomorrow.

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