Mandi’s Mission Musings But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Protect them, so all who love your name may be filled with joy. Psalm 5:11
INTRODUCTION It’s hard to believe that I’ve been teaching for a month already. The first few weeks of school were spent adjusting to my schedule and finding all of my classrooms. The main structure of Berzsenyi was built in 1557 and different parts were added at different times. Thus, the rooms are oddly numbered and not in a fashion that makes any sort of sense. Well, I take that back. Rooms numbered in the 30’s are on the 3rd floor, 40’s on the 4th and so on, but that’s about it. There is no rhyme or reason... and no sequence! It’s an adventure. In addition to the classroom mayhem, I have quite the teaching schedule. I teach 23 different classes a week. That amounts to over 200 students, all of whom I only see once a week. That’s a lot of names to remember! To say that things have changed since I last sent a newsletter would be a serious understatement. I am starting to feel at home in my new surroundings and I am beginning to get the hang of this teaching ESL thing. It seems as though the little things are what keep me going, give me energy, make me absurdly happy and that is the theme for this month’s newsletter: It’s The Little Things. I had thought to use “It’s The Small Things in Life that God Uses to Bless Us and Show His Love for Us Thereby Giving Us Exquisite Joy” but I figured that that was too long for a theme.
HERE, LET ME GIVE YOU DIRECTIONS That’s right folks, in the span of two days I was stopped three times on the street and asked for directions. What, do I look like I know where I’m going or something? I don’t know why, but these instances made me absurdly happy. The first time it happened, four females packed into a small European car pulled over and asked me how they could get to Tesco. Aha! Something I know! So I asked the spokeswoman if she spoke English and she said, “Yes.” I pulled my handy Sopron map out of my purse, recited the street names whilst tracing my finger along the chosen route, and Voila! I gave directions to a foreigner in Sopron. Does anyone else see the irony? I should probably explain that I would not have been so successful if I had not traversed that same route that very morning. If I believed in fate and not in God, then I would think, “My, what a stroke of luck!” As it is, all I can do is shake my head in wonder and think about how that car, carrying English speaking foreigners, pulled right up to me (and none of the other close-by pedestrians) and asked for directions to one of the few places I knew and had just recently visited.
THE TIDES, THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’ The past couple of weeks have been so vastly different. When I first came to Sopron I felt alone and isolated. I prayed that God would lead me to people here in Hungary and I prayed that He would just let me like it here!!! Things have changed so dramatically that it can only be God working in my life. The ways of God are mysterious to me, but all I can say is that I had one wonderful day of such clarity and such joyfulness that I felt God’s presence in my mission here down to every detail. I still get a smile on my face every time I think of that day. It was nothing I can put my finger on, but that day I could not wipe the cheesy smile off of my face! I was so happy to be in Sopron. Life was wonderful! The very next day I met a bunch of English speaking Hungarians at a party Kati Tobler, a woman I had met the week prior, was having at her home. I found it so amazing and humbling that God would bless me so richly by answering my feeble prayers. If nothing else, His swift and gracious answer to my prayer is all the proof I need that He is at work in Sopron and that He has plans for me here. To make matters even more amazing...once my prayers of companionship and joy were answered, I prayed that He would show me ways to develop a ministry here and to start turning my “teaching ESL” assignment into a “teaching Jesus” assignment. This week I’ve been giving the older students writing assignments and they have opened up to me in a way I never expected. What a blessing it is to be a language teacher! Do you think Physics or Mathematics teachers get to learn as much about their students? I had kids tell me about their parents’ divorce, one told me about how he wanted to be a soldier when he finished school, better yet one girl told me about how much she loves God! It is so incredibly humbling that I cannot even put it into words. How I pray that I can be worthy of their trust and that I can be a friend to them. What a privilege I have in being here and meeting these precious people. God has heaped so many opportunities in my lap that I can only pray that it continues. They seem like such small, unimportant happenings, but God uses even the most unimportant and inconsequential situation to change someone’s heart. All I can hope is to be given more and more of these small moments in which to reach the hearts of my new friends here in Hungary.
STUDENT LIFE This picture above is of one of my classes and I would not be lying if I said this class was one of my favorites, but I’ve found that it’s really hard to pick a favorite. Now that I’ve been teaching for awhile I’ve gotten to know the students better and they are so much fun. There are certainly some classes I look forward too and, I admit, some that I do not look forward too, but on a whole the Gimnazium experience has been great. I think the students view my classes as a fun time, or at least as an easier time than their other classes, and I have to say that I’m okay with that. I’m finding what a privilege it is to be a language teacher. Every day I get to learn something new about them and I get to call it teaching. What a blessing! In addition, I’ve taken my first private student, the daughter of one of the school’s directors. She is a gem and we have a great time simply talking and getting to know each other. I’ve had a few other requests to teach private lessons and we’ll see how it goes. Now that I’m used to my schedule and settled into life in Sopron I don’t want to become overwhelmed by taking on too much. But just with this one experience I’ve found what a great way private lessons are to build relationships.
THE GOD FACTOR Speaking of getting to know the students better...so far I’ve found that if my students are religious it’s usually only in the traditional sense: they go to church, they give their offering, etc. It’s not very common to find someone who has a relationship with God, or even someone that openly expresses/practices their religion on a daily basis. Religion in general is a stagnant thing and I think that’s true in most of Europe. Post-Christian is the word I’ve often heard used. Instead of reaching people who’ve never heard the gospel, I’m reaching people who’ve heard it and have rejected it. Or maybe they haven’t heard it explained correctly and have the misconception that works are their salvation. Worse yet, there are people who just don’t care...whether they’ve heard the gospel or not. Religion and purpose just aren’t factors in their lives. It’s kind of a delicate and different situation than you think a missionary would be in, but I think it offers some great opportunities to change misconceptions and, hopefully, to change some hearts.
TAKIN’ CARE OF BUSINESS I have a new website, which can be accessed from my online journal. The web address is http://blogspot.magyarmandi.com I have updated news and photos on this site. I also have links to other LCMS Missionary sites so you can keep up on what God is doing around the world. Soon I plan to have my newsletters linked to this sight, as well as more photos. You can comment on my updates, but you must register with Blogger.com. Registration is free and I have not received any junk mail from having done so myself. And yes, I am still in the process of raising support for this mission. I get closer and closer to SUPPORT full support each day from the generosity of you, my supporters. All I can say is a humble (but deeply enthusiastic), “Thank you.” It means so incredibly much that I have friends and Please Make gifts payable to: family, even strangers (or as I like to say “friends I haven’t met yet”) behind me and it’s a LCMS World Mission wonderful comfort when I experience difficult days. If you know someone who is interested with “In Support of Mandi Lindner” in supporting my mission, please forward them the information in the box to the left. in the memo line
Send Gifts to: LCMS World Mission 1333 Kirkwood Ave. St. Louis, MO 63122 ________________________________________________ ________________________________________________
CONTACT INFO Mailing Address: Mandi Lindner Szechenyi ter 11 H-9400 Sopron HUNGARY Email Address: Mandi.Lindner@lcms.org Online Journal: http://www.livejournal.com/users/ magyarmandi New Website: http://blogspot.magyarmandi.com
PRAISES • A prayer of thanksgiving that God is giving me a home here in Sopron • Supporters like you have been so generous and I have been able to reach a substantial amount toward my final goal of $10,000 • My parents were able to visit me and see where I live. It was such a joy to see friendly, Englishspeaking, American faces and it was fun to show them where I live and what my life is like here
PRAYER REQUESTS • A prayer for motivation as I continue teaching. Please pray that I can find more ways to reach the students and introduce them to Christianity • Pray for the people of Sopron, that I can be a witness to them and that God opens doors for me to share the gospel • Pray for the people around the world who are not as blessed as we are including those who were devastated by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, for the people of India and Pakistan who were devastated by the earthquake, and the people of Asia and Eastern Europe as worries continue regarding Avian Flu and Epidemic. Pray for adequate food, shelter, health, and comfort in these trying times •