Baby steps with friends!

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Yesterday I got together with my cousin for a little Hungarian cooking extravaganza. Her dad and my mom were first cousins and they were great friends. But those two have passed away and it is our opportunity to be cousins and friends! Since I moved to New York in 2013, we have been intentional about getting together as often as schedules have allowed. A few months ago we decided to get together at my home in Tuckahoe so we could do a little cooking.

Our main goal was to make szilvás gombóc (plum dumplings) but it isn’t the season for those little Italian plums so we had to come up with an alternate plan. We decided to make almás rétes (apple strudel) and gesztenyepüré (chestnut purée) —neither of which we have made before! But please don’t be concerned. We didn’t just eat desserts all day! We also made rakott krumpli, túrós csusza, and paprikás csirke (with homemade nokedli). Wow! We sure ate a lot!

Retes5wMy confession is that we did not make everything from scratch. I have made spaghetti sauce before but there is also some great spaghetti sauce in a jar. I definitely do not make my spaghetti noodles from scratch although I have done it. Once. I haven’t ever made the tortillas and taco shells when we have a Mexican meal so I am not above using some prepared things for convenience or speed. Sometimes, the main goal is to put food in the mouth! Someday, though, I will get brave enough to roll out my own strudel dough, but yesterday was not that day.

Baby Steps!

I have cooked a lot of different foods and I have had some great success over the years. But staring down at the phyllo dough (mind you, already prepared) and the filling ready-to-go (we used apples, raisins, and walnuts with a few other things) but I was just so nervous to put it all together.

I have no idea why.

Retes3wAll I can say is having friend along on the adventure is a great thing! My sweet cousin read several recipes in my cookbooks but also online and was quick to say “let’s Google that” if we were still unsure about a part of the process for all the things we cooked together. (Remember, we don’t have access to the family experts any longer so we just needed to get brave and not take ourselves too seriously.) She would patiently read, then read aloud, encourage me, and we finally decided that no matter how it looked in the end, all of the elements going into it were things we liked so it was going to taste great. We took turns buttering the dough and rolling it up and decided it was crazy easy. Why hadn’t we tried this before? But, there is no time like now! There are some things you just need to step out and try!

It is so nice to have a like-minded buddy in life!

ReteswThe rétes was so ridiculously easy to make and so wonderfully fresh when it came out of the oven that it will be a long time before I buy some at a pastry shop. Now that I have done it with assistance I think I might be able to do it on my own, but it sure won’t be as fun! My cousin and I thought of all the different kinds of fillings we could use! Her dad used to love káposzta (cabbage) in his rétes so it would seem fitting we would give that a shot next time. And she adores mák (poppy seed) in general and it’s wonderful in rétes so that will be on our list too. It was delicious with coffee for our afternoon break! And then we went on to tackle the rest of our list. Not everything looked pretty but it all tasted fantastic! And we had a great time working and playing and visiting about all kinds of things!

Do you have a special project that you would like to tackle? Find a friend! Do you have a friend who needs someone by their side as they work through something? Be a friend! We all have things to do that are much more fun with a friend. And the hard stuff? It is much better with a friend too. And if they are family members, even better! We had so much fun together we are planning another Hungarian food day in early May. We are hoping those Italian plums will be available so we can tackle the szilvás gombóc!

And, someday, I will tackle the dough for the rétes. I just need a little more time to get the courage.

Thanks, Cuz, for being by my side!

On the Road,

Liz

Ironw

Entertaining Angels

conversationwI have a confession to make. I love talking with people but I get very anxious when I am in a position where I need to begin a conversation with a total stranger.

Those of you who know me personally might find this revelation hysterical. I can talk a mile a minute and I love conversation and I love getting to know people. But sometimes I completely freeze up just trying to initiate conversation.

If I am selling things at a Hungarian festival, I don’t have a problem initiating a discussion because someone is coming up to me and is likely interested in what I am selling. But have me seated next to a stranger in a social situation and I really struggle to find my “opening line”. I am sure I overthink it.

But meeting new people and engaging in conversation is so much fun. I am rewarded every time I do it because I learn so much and the conversation is always interesting. And yet I still overthink my opening line so much that I am inhibited to start. I think I am overly concerned I will offend people or appear intrusive. I want to fix that!

There is so much to learn from the people around us. Taking time to have conversation is important. It is easy to become isolated because there is so much tension. There is definitely an art to conversation these days, but there is also a ministry in conversation. With so many people pulled in so many directions it is easy for those who might need a little extra time or encouragement to talk be bowled-over by those who are impatient and in a rush.

Do I take the time to connect with the people God has placed around me?

The life stories I have heard range from heartbreaking to encouraging. Each situation has some nugget of wisdom for me to learn. While there is an art to listening I think the ministry opportunity is in the conversation. Most people will talk for the interaction, not just to hear themselves ramble on… and both parties can gain tremendous insights about one another as well as themselves when there is a dialogue.

hospitalitywThis week, try to look at conversation as ministry and consider how the exchange of experiences and insights benefits both participants in conversation. Remember: being hospitable isn’t something you have to be at home to do! You can be a welcoming and friendly face in a place you have never been before.

On the Road,

Liz

You Never Know…

We have learned so much about ourselves and others on this trip! We’ve met and visited with people with fascinating life stories. I love to listen to stories. There is so much that can be learned by listening.

We were in Albuquerque for a Hungarian event yesterday and we had dinner with a couple of friends from my college days in Nebraska. We chatted for several hours last night to catch up on kids and life stuff. It was wonderful to reconnect and hear about what was happening in their lives.

During the course of the conversation, we talked about their son’s love for Hungary, a recent trip they took to Europe, and her grandmother’s Hungarian heritage (this was news to me!). Her grandparents ran a “Magyar Cukrazda”  (Hungarian Bakery) in New York City in the Hungarian area of Manhattan–just around the corner from the Magyar Ház (Hungarian House)! Wow! We have been to that area frequently since we moved to New York. Back in the day, there were many Hungarian businesses in that area. In fact, I often run into people who lament about how easy it was to access Hungarian things in NYC and are frustrated so few businesses remain.  It is just a little wild to me that someone I know from over 30 years ago has such a close connection to where I live now.

The things we don’t know!

Sometimes they are fun connections–like the one I described with my friends from college. Other times they are very difficult life stories that finally come to light after years of processing.

Everyone has a story that is worth hearing. And everyone has a story worth sharing. You never know what you will learn about someone when they start to share about their lives. Maybe the biggest challenge with getting to know one another’s stories is taking or having the time to listen. I know that has been a challenge in my life depending on the season I am going through. But I need to be more intentional about listening.

You never know what you will learn!

When people share difficult stories, it is hard to know what to do with what I have learned. Heartaches, struggles, and joys are all a part of the human experience. We can learn a lot by listening and it can inform our praying.

As you spend time with people this week, think about what they are saying and consider what you learn as “prayer points”. Then pray for them. Sometimes that is the best gift!

On the Road,

LizIMG_5311

What is Remembered?

We spent the day at a Hungarian festival in Phoenix yesterday. There was delicious food, great music, a wonderful family atmosphere, and the carrying on of some fun Hungarian traditions!

Carve2w
Woodcarver from Hungary
Carve1w
The Hungarian Crest

I had the opportunity to meet with several customers face-to-face that I only knew from phone calls and emails and that is always a special time. I have never been to Phoenix before so it was interesting to run into so many people I “knew” or knew about me. Some people knew about the festival and came because I mentioned it in my e-newsletter. The best feedback from a newsletter is some sort of action — and people attending a festival they didn’t know about before they read my newsletter means I am doing my job. I don’t know the names of everyone who receives the Magyar Marketing newsletter so it is always good to see the action of participation.

One particular gentleman came up to our booth and said something like “Are you Elizabeth’s daughter?” Well, I did have to go around and greet him because I love running into people that knew my mom —  they usually have a sweet story to share.

Let me explain first that there have been several times Hungarians have come from Hungary to resettle to the United States. One of those times was in 1956-1957 following the Hungarian Revolution. Another time was in the 1980s and my mom helped resettle refugees during both times.

So, this gentleman came to the United States as a Hungarian refugee in 1982 and started off in my hometown of Youngstown, Ohio. Naturally, he loved my mom! He said, “I looked at the name of the business and I looked at you and I knew you were her daughter!” So we took a few photos, I gave him a quick hug, and he went off to enjoy the festival.

My mom was definitely one-of-a-kind! She was smart, forward-thinking, and loved helping people — not just Hungarian immigrants, although she definitely had a heart for them. Those who remember her remember stories of her service, compassionate and gentle spirit, quiet faith, and love for people.

What will you be remembered for?

Every snapshot of my life isn’t pretty, so I am sure there will be some people who don’t think happy thoughts about me. Of course, we are all works in progress.But my prayer is that I am remembered by most who knew me as showing God’s love and grace, among other things.

On the Road,

Liz

 

Language Learning

A small sample of our Hungarian Language Resources
A small sample of our Hungarian Language Resources

In junior high and high school I studied Latin and French. Learning Latin was great because it really helped me with vocabulary. The French really didn’t stick with me. Actually, I really didn’t stick with it. I took French for two years and I can remember part of one song. That’s it.

The language I had the most exposure to as I was growing up was Hungarian. I caught a few things here and there and even went to a Hungarian school in Pennsylvania one summer. As a family we would say “Come Lord Jesus be our guest…” in Hungarian. I also learned several children’s songs. Today I actually take Hungarian lessons with two of our kids and it has been quite an effort for me. I think they are picking it up more quickly than I am. Once we realized we had relatives who only spoke Hungarian, it became a bigger motivator for us to learn. There was a focus.

Language learning builds new pathways in your brain. It enriches your view of the world if you include cultural studies about the country and people group associated with the language you study. It can also enhance your geography skills. It could open the door for mission work in the US with immigrants from that country or short/long term mission work in that other country.

Do you know someone endeavoring to learn a language right now? Consider praying for their language acquisition skills. If you know someone in language school for mission work, pray for them to be able to pick up the language quickly. If you know of international students in the US learning English, pray for them as well. Many families come to the US with few English skills and their children bridge the gap by learning English quickly in school. The child who serves to interpret for his parents is in a unique situation. While it is easy to criticize these parents for not learning to read, write, and speak English fluently, remember that language learning as we get older is not easy. And certainly learning English is not easy. If you find you have a great annoyance towards immigrants not learning English while they live here, consider praying for their language skills and then consider volunteering with a church or local organization with their ESL (English as a Second Language) program. Getting involved in the process will enhance your understanding and grow your compassion and put your skills to good use.

Speaking from experience, focusing on HSL (Hungarian as a Second Language) is not an easy task. I had the privilege of hearing the rhythm of Hungarian in my brain since the day I was born and while pronunciation is easier for me than maybe for someone else who has never heard the sounds, it still is a very difficult language for me to learn. Thankfully God placed several fluent Hungarian speakers in my life right here in Evansville, Indiana! Imagine that! My goal is to a least become casually conversant. If you don’t know anyone else to pray for concerning language learning then I invite you to pray for me!

Missions: Countries & People Groups

Map of Old Hungary
Last weekend, Don and I stepped out of our typical world of college admissions and invoicing/public relations/running a household & business and connected in with a church body (E Free) and their conference about their mission efforts in Hungary. I think they have been sending people to Hungary for at least 13 years. The most interesting thing to me was that no one there seemed to have any connection to Hungary by ethnicity except for one guy, who was a Hungarian from Hungary, and me. But these people were all so passionate about Hungary and her people. God gave them a heart for Hungary! And then I read Kisses from Katie and she, too, had no ethnic connection to Uganda, but fell in love with the people of Uganda. God gave Katie a heart for Uganda!

If you don’t have a heart for a certain country maybe God is giving you a heart for a people group. Some people become connected to and passionate for a country or a people group because they have heard a missionary speak. Maybe you know a missionary in the field who has asked for prayer. Ask God to cultivate in you a heart for encouraging those who serve in missions and a passion for sharing the Gospel. And ask Him to give you a heart for something bigger than yourself!

As you pray for a country or people group, consider these PrayerPoint starts:

* receptive hearts to the Gospel
* native ministry partners
* creative & relative connecting points to share the Gospel
* funds needed for the workers and programs
* careful spending of the funds donated
* healthy and multiple partnering churches and church bodies
* creative ways to work through governmental issues
* language barriers to be removed
* the Gospel to be shared in many ways
* long-term relationship building

If you have a certain country on your heart, keep in mind, you may never be called to serve there. Being a prayer partner for a country or a people group is a big job but don’t be so overwhelmed that you are unable to do anything. Take it one step at a time. Learn about the country. Trace a map and label the top 5 cities. There are other hands on and practical ways to become more connected to a country. And if you have kids or work with kids, follow their lead. Encourage them to adopt a country or multiple countries during a year. If you do it monthly in your home or classroom you can pray for 12 countries in a year!

I do suspect God will grant you a heart for a country or a people group if you ask Him because He loves people. If you ask Him for a heart like His, He will certainly grant you a heart for missions. Having a heart for missions opens the door for God to work and develop in you a heart for certain people.

And who knows where that might lead.

Hungarian Bibles for Children in Hungary

Are you interested in helping some Children’s Bibles in the Hungarian language get to children in Hungary?

Let me tell you how this started.

I am in contact with a publisher in Hungary who publishes Christian books in Hungarian – I am most interested in his Bibles — he has a Children’s version as well as an easier-to-read version for adults.

I am also in contact with Patricia who lives in Hungary and works with orphans. She is originally from California but has lived in Hungary the last 20+ year ministering to these orphans. She isn’t even Hungarian but speaks fluently — and she married a Hungarian national. They have a huge heart for missions. They live on a very modest budget and have officially adopted one child but unofficially love on many, many kids. They are also building a home for unwed mothers near Eger.

I asked Patricia if she could use some Children’s Bibles and her answer was yes ~ 50!

50? Gulp!

It would be wonderful to hand the publisher the money for the 50 Bibles when we visit Hungary in May. The publisher is willing to get the books to Patricia. We will buy as many as we can.

Here are some ways you can help:
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* Please pray for this opportunity.</strong> We are excited to partner with the publisher, the missionary family, and our customers who have a heart for this type of ministry. Thank you for praying!

<strong>* Consider making a purchase from Magyar Marketing between now and May 7th.</strong> 10% of all retail sales will go towards purchasing these Bibles.

<strong>* Consider a contribution of your own to this project.</strong> Any $ amount will help. While we are not a tax deductible organization so you won’t get a tax credit, this is a great opportunity to share God’s love with these children. All $$ donated will go to the purchase of the books and the exchange penalty at the bank (unfortunately unavoidable).
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May I say I am so thankful we have come this far in being able to share the Gospel with Hungary? I remember my mom sewing money into the coats of priests who were going to visit their family in Hungary and Transylvania so love offerings could get to those churches.

If you would like to make an additional contribution please email me at liz(at)magyarmarketing.com

May God bless your day!

Liz and family