Sunday, July 10, 2011


To carry; lug. A good word.

Across an ocean, a continent, and six time zones (for those who came from the States), we schlep. One of our team has schlepped all the way from Australia; she has been traveling for 35 hours.

We arrive as wilted as we can be. Boy is it hot. I don’t know why 93 degrees in Hungary should feel any worse than 93 degrees in Atlanta, but it does.

Oh yeah, no air conditioning.

We sit on the cool airport floor, eat fruit and drink water. We are waiting for our last team member to arrive for today (another group is coming tomorrow). A few hours later, when it becomes clear she has missed her flight, we schlep all our luggage, computers, backpacks and water bottles into the van (one of these classic OM vans that barely functions—for decades). First stop: Erd, a 45-min. drive to our first hostel, former OM headquarters in Hungary. Boy is it hot.

Arriving at the hostel, we collapse into the main foyer, eat more fruit, drink more water, and swat a cockroach as he roams across the floor.

It’s 4:30 p.m. Our goal is to stay up until 10 p.m. Breakfast tomorrow is at 7:15 am. Then we will pick up another load of passengers, and head down to Baja, where we will spend the rest of the month. Hope it’s cooler there.

Our chauffeur is Doris, and she brings out some cold cuts, bread and fruit for us to snack on until dinner time, then shows us to our bedrooms. Actually we’re in one big dorm room, on the third floor of this furnace. I notice the cockroaches and mosquitoes on the way up. May they not infest our suitcases, or bite us up tonight, Lord!

What brought each one of us here? What has each one brought with him or her? We start sharing our journeys.

This is one of the greatest parts of these outreaches, to hear how each one arrived, from the uttermost parts of the earth, and what had to happen in their lives to make it happen: family issues to sort, financial resources to be found, and work schedules to be arranged. Not to mention the sometimes gut-wrenching journey of faith that led each one to take a major step out of their comfort zones, so far out of their boxes that they don’t even remember what the box looks like anymore.

Marcia is one such artist. I’ll let her tell you her story as a guest blogger shortly. But for now, I need a cold shower.

Artwork and computers are out, each one in ‘the zone.’ Chuck sweeps up broken glass all over the floor, and we continue to drink gobs of water. It’s great to be here.

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