Kells and Eskylane Christians get ‘Hungary’ for the faith

A team of people from Kells and Eskylane Presbyterian Churches (County Antrim) recently travelled to the Hungarian Bible Union in Budapest. Anna Little was one of those who made the journey.

She writes: “On Saturday 5th August 2023, I departed Kells Presbyterian Church at 2am with my team. A 2 hour bus journey took us down to Dublin airport ( I slept most of the 2 hours!) We checked our bags in and got through security then waited for our flight, this was my first time flying so I was extremely nervous and scared, we boarded the plane and got into our seats and then we were off… After a 30-minute delay finally we were in the air and 2 hours and 38 minutes later we landed in Budapest airport we went through security and then waited for our suitcases to come around, at this point we met a team going into Romania with the smiles foundation to do work as well! After we retrieved all of our luggage, we made our way out to find our lift! At the airport Ákos and Gyula met us to bring us to the Bible Union in Pécel. We traveled by bus and got to the Bible union where we made our first (and definitely not last) trip up the big hill to get into our accommodations for the next 10 days. Those who were in Hungary before met up with old friends while I (and some others) met new friends! We ate lunch together in the Bible union, a Hungarian classic of sandwiches! Then in the afternoon a guided walk around the local area of Pécel took place where we got to learn what shops were where and where the train station was! Then that night we met more new friends and we went to a local restaurant for dinner at 7pm.

On Sunday morning we went to the local church in Pécel and then came back to the Bible union for lunch with the team and the Hungarian helpers.  In the afternoon we took a train from Pécel to Budapest-keleti where we had free time to explore Budapest. Sarah, Caleb, Hannah, Scott and I choose to go to the famous outdoor baths in Pest called Széchenyi Thermal Bath. We spent 2 hours in the different baths before meeting up with the rest of the team again to head back to the Bible union via train. When we arrived back most of the Bible Union was filled with teenagers and young adults who were going to be attending the camp for the following week. we joined them for dinner and then camp Started!

Throughout the week there was two groups a younger and older group helped out in the younger group with teenagers around the similar age to myself. Each morning we started with praise where we sang our theme song ‘yet not I but through Christ in me’ after our praise time ended the two groups split. Each morning Carolyn or Lynda taught the Bible lesson, we were following the theme ‘what is life about’ we taught that life is about glorifying God, about knowing God, loving God and others, serving God and enjoying God forever. My teaching started on Monday morning when I taught 1 Corinthians 10:31 to the teenagers I explained what the glory of God is and how we glorify God! It continued throughout the week when I lead the activity then the Northern Ireland spot where I spoke about the education in Northern Ireland. Each night the Hungarian helpers organized different activities or events for us to do. On Monday they organized ‘get to know you’ games, on Tuesday they had a get to discover Pécel game (my team came third), on Wednesday they organized group performances of both English and Hungarian Proverbs, on Thursday night they organized a river tour down the Danube and on Friday night they organized chimney cake making and a farewell night where we got goulash made by Ákos and Gyula’s parents!

Kells and Eskylane Christians get 'Hungary' for the faith

On Saturday the 12th we said some final goodbyes to the young adults and teenagers who were leaving that morning then made our way into Budapest again but this time we went into Buda. While in Buda we visited Szentháromság tér where I went up around the fisherman’s bastion then went for coffee in the cafe underneath the fisherman’s bastion. We then met up with the rest of the group in front of the national gallery and headed off to the Hungarian national museum, we got 15 minutes to look around then we headed off to St. Stephens Basilica were I went to gelarto Rosa and got a rose shaped ice cream alongside that I walked around the shops within the area where I got a few things to bring home! We then walked over the chain bridge and took a tram to an organ concert, the concert was absolutely beautiful and fantastic it so great to hear the wonderful work of the organist! After the organ concert finished we then headed over to Margaret Island where we went to an all you can eat buffet in the ensana thermal Margaret Island health spa hotel. After dinner we then traveled back home on the train to Pécel.

On Sunday 13th, August, as a group we went to Budapest Békásmegyer Reformed Church, during the service we sang our theme song from our week then after the service we had a meal in the church halls. After the meal we went to Szentendre Openair Museum where we walked around and discovered traditional buildings from Transylvania when it belonged to Hungary before it belonged to Romania. Then we walked in Szentendre old town for an hour where we got ice cream and looked around more souvenir shops! We then made our way back to Pécel where we had dinner at a local restaurant and said goodbye to some of the Hungarian helpers ( I cried a lot!). That night we packed ready for the trip back to northern Ireland the next morning. Monday morning arrived and it was all go! The Hungary team from kells enjoyed their final breakfast at the Bible union with a few members of the Hungary team still there. As breakfast finished and speeches were complete the bus to take us to Budapest airport arrived. All bags were loaded onto the bus and some final goodbyes were said, then off we were to the airport. While at the airport bogi, Anna and Bogi came to say a final goodbye, this was done while we were in the line to check our bags in, tears were shed ( a lot by me!! ) and final hugs happened. We waved our final goodbyes to them and checked our luggage in and made our way through security. After passing through security we then went and got something to eat and drink before our flight. It was then time to board our flight and the rush was on! The machines didn’t work again which set us back 10 minutes and we were nearly late for boarding!! In a rush we made our way to the plane and on our way we met one of the Hungarian helpers who was back to work! We boarded the plane and got seated for a 2 hour and 50 minute flight!

We landed back in Dublin and made our way through security and we all got through (somehow they let David back in) we got to our bus and started our journey back to Kells with a stop to an Apple Green for a bit of food! Our journey then continued back to Kells and once we returned the team said goodbye to each other with hugs and words of thanks exchanged and just like that our Hungary team came to an end and we all travelled back to our houses for rest after the 10 days we just had!

During the past 10 days I’ve met so many wonderful people, people who I consider as family now. It was so hard saying goodbye to everyone our time together was wonderful but was definitely too short so In the famous words of Dame Vera Lynn “We’ll meet again, Don’t know where, Don’t know when But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day”

For more information on the work and witness of Kells Presbyterian Church, log onto their website.