Month: October 2004

Vienna Soccer Trip

Vienna Soccer Trip – driving
Originally uploaded by squarejer.

Yesterday was our soccer team’s away game in Vienna. We played our best game of the season on the nicest field we’d ever seen, and we all had a great time. But we lost. My son said he enjoyed the game, but not as much as the trip coming and going!

Last time I drove to Vienna I got a parking ticket *at a gas station* just across the border. This time we didn’t stop at that gas station, but we still couldn’t avoid a parking ticket. When Stewart, the other coach, and I returned to our two vans we had two fresh tickets for 21 euro each. We looked but couldn’t find anything indicating that we shouldn’t park there – except maybe the fact that there were two empty spaces, so unusual in Vienna that it should have been obvious that something was wrong! Part of being outside the loop as a foreigner, I guess. Next time I’ll take the train.

Nada and Zeljko Jankov

Nada and Zeljko Jankov
Originally uploaded by squarejer.

Zeljko and his mom, Nada, left Serbia just before the US-led bombing of his country. He was involved in politics at the time and felt his departure would be better. Nada left a couple days after the bombing began. Now they are refugees in Hungary.

As an American I feel a tension in my relationship with them, for it was my country that was a primary cause of their refugee status. [Granted, if the US had not intervened they might well still be refugees, given the existing civil war.] They are not bitter toward the US, but when I look them in the eyes, people who have experienced the receiving end of American bombs, I can only say that I am not in control of US foreign policy. God is in control of the affairs of mankind, and I don’t always understand what He allows to happen.

Anyway Zeljko maintains a website in his spare time. I can only read the English sections, but from them I know the Serbian sections are a light of truth to the Serbian-reading world. He installs Linux and builds computers, too. Zeljko and Nada are followers of Jesus Christ.

Each week, while they are refugees and waiting for their opportunity to emigrate to Sweden, they help us clean our house. I’ve never met two more over-qualified people for such work!

We enjoy their visit each week when we get the chance to be there (rather than at school or the office).

Our dog, Annie, has completely fallen in love with Nada, too. Annie follows her everywhere, and when they come she won’t stop barking with joy for 5 minutes.

While we regret their refugee status that brings them to Budapest, we deeply appreciate their role in our lives!

Do you see it?

Hertzler favicon.JPG
Hmm. Life is getting less interesting these days. The only thing I could come up with to blog about is the new icon I made for our website,

Internet Explorer may not display it until you save the site as a bookmark. Firefox displays it soon after you land on the site.



Originally uploaded by squarejer.

These two rabbits are the children of Skittles, the doe rabbit we had last year. Skittles bit the hand that fed her, much to my daughter’s devastation, so we gave her to friends who bred her with their jack, Skunky.

The first 30 seconds that Skittles and Skunky were in the cage together they behaved quite like rabbits and required some explaining to my friend’s young children! 🙂

Eventually they produced these two, our new rabbits.

Istvan Bacsi

Istvan Bacsi
Originally uploaded by squarejer.

My friend, Istvan, is the security guard at our office. Every morning he patiently helps me learn Hungarian. I still can’t say much, but over time we have learned to communicate better, and over time we have become friends.

His last name is not Bacsi. That’s a greeting you give older men. It means “older brother.”

This picture is about the only time I have seen him NOT smile at me. He wasn’t unhappy about the picture, it’s just how he chose to look. It didn’t seem appropriate to ask him to smile (like an American).

student magazines

student magazines
Originally uploaded by squarejer.

Last year only one or two of the country ministries in CCC’s eastern europe area had produced an evangelistic student magazine. As a result of our Creative Media Summit last February when we encouraged more people to write these, now over half of our countries have one. Here are some of them. It’s great to see!

CCC Conference continues

CCC Conference
Originally uploaded by squarejer.

Rather than the usual “rah rah, let’s do more” talks that many conferences produce, today we discussed brokeness and repentance. It was difficult, but refreshing, as we figure out how to lead our staff spiritually in the process of engaging students with the issue and person of Jesus Christ.

First time being fired from a volunteer job

We played our arch rivals last night again, Greater Grace Christian Academy. Lost again. But that’s not the worst. After an exhausting day at our conference I showed up at the game hoping to just be the assistant coach. Instead, the paid referree didn’t show up, so whistle-less Jerry filled in. Under ordinary circumstances this would be draining for me, but especially so as I was coming into it tired.

Midway through the game I had the unpleasant task of calling a hand ball inside our own penalty box. The free kick was their only shot on goal and their only goal against us. This was in the 12 and under game.

We also played a 16 and under game, again with our 9th grade squad. Again I started the game referreeing, but midway through the first half the coach of “Greater Grace” decided he could do a better job than me after I mis-called an offsides play against his team. His player was offsides, but the ball didn’t make forward motion toward the player when I called it. So he ran out onto the field and offerred to take over for me. I refuse to argue in situations like that, so I trotted off the field and let him referree the rest of the game.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t furious and embarrassed.

Life goes on again at the conference this morning (to which I am late and decided to skip the first session), albeit a little more humbly.

Brian Birdsall

Brian Birdsall

Here’s my friend, Brian Birdsall. Hopefully this post will introduce his name into the permanent records of Google, thus immortalizing him in cyberspace – at least for the next few days.

Tom and I stayed with Brian and his family at their house in Kiev a couple weeks ago. It made our time there seem like visiting family rather than an out of town ministry trip. We watched the Presidential debates, ate borsch with them and, of course, made the requisite Sunday afternoon visit with his family to the local “American Embassy,” McDonald’s.

Now we’re sitting here in meetings this week together in Working Group #9.

Cathy and I met Brian’s wife, Cathy, almost 20 years ago before she married Brian. Cathy staffed the Panama City Beach Summer Project, and we really enjoyed getting to know her there. Of course, we enjoyed getting to know each other more and got married ourselves, shortly after that project.

Fall leaves

Fall leaves
Originally uploaded by squarejer.

One of our favorite things about living in Budaors is seeing fall leaves. In Orlando we don’t get this!

This week, here in Budaors, we are having a big working conference of all our national directors and national campus directors. Last year at this time we had a similar conference, and I was just meeting everyone. This year, after having visited many of them at their homes and seeing their ministries, it’s more like getting together with friends again. I’m looking forward to the week.

Reminded me of summer

hydrant fence poppies
Originally uploaded by squarejer.

When I woke up this morning, life looked pretty good. Now at the end of the day several new things have changed my perspective.

First, I found out […I found out something …that I later removed from this post to protect the privacy of my family since this is a public posting.]

Then I learned that our neighbors, two doors down, got robbed last night. The thiefs broke into their back window. The disturbing part about that (besides the robbery) is that they had to hop about 10 fences to even get to the window.

The other disturbing factor is that this event is about the 10th such robbery to happen to families at our school in the last month. Also last night was a break-in at our other friends’ house. It’s an oppressive feeling to know that someone is watching you and someone plans to break in at the first chance they get.

A couple hours after that I went to pick up our van from our service guy, Mike. He said it needs lots of work. The worst thing he said was that the suspension would cost $3000 to repair. Which means we drive it until it breaks then throw the car away. In the mean time we still have lots of repairs to make on it. What a piece of junk that car has been for us! I guess I should say, “What a great thing God used in our lives to develop our character!”

So I decided to spend some time editing some photos I took last summer to remind me of when I didn’t have to deal with these things.

And I’m sure God will meet our needs and get us through it.

Dogs, Dacia’s, and House of the People – back from Bucharest

The House of the People

The House of the People

Just got back from Bucharest, Romania this morning on the overnight train. (Got the last car in the train, and it was not unlike being in the last car of a roller coaster train – rough ride!)

We spent two quick days in Bucharest working with our great staff there on various things, one of which is their new student site:

Three things stood out to me while we were there: dogs, Dacia’s and the House of the People.

There are a lot of stray dogs in Bucharest, everywhere you look. All the ones I met were very nice.

Dacia’s – one in five cars was made by Dacia, the Romanian auto manufacturer. Our friend, Florin, said everyone knows how to work on a Dacia, almost as a matter of course. In the absence of a market-driven economy it makes a lot of sense to keep making the same car year after year. Very efficient. But now Renault owns them, so their new models look like any other new car.

Finally, Nicolae Ceausescu’s House of the People, is a sight to behold. It’s second in size only to the Pentagon, worldwide. I had expected a gaudy, sprawling eyesore. Instead I saw a beautiful boulevard lined with beautiful buildings, capped at the end by this enormous palace. In 50 years I am sure the Romanians will love it, but it was such an inappropriate use of land and money by the former Communist dictator that many Romanians have a sour taste in their mouth for it.

House of the People in Bucharest More pictures of Bucharest

Want Gmail?

I just discovered that I have 6 invitations for Gmail accounts. 1Gb of email storage. Let me know if you want one.

My Hotmail account is getting phased out in favor of my Gmail account – at least for online purchases. It has always been a hassle to manage my Hotmail account and keep it under the size limit. Happily those days are over.
Google seems to be a weird anomaly; they just did an IPO, 60% of their employees have million dollar stock options, they give services away for free, everyone uses them – it’s like they figured out how to be a late-1990’s Internet company in the 2000’s. I wish I could make my retirement savings behave like they were in the late 1990’s!

We sent our son off to Bodrog!

After I drove away from the train station this morning, I realized I had missed an opportunity. I just put our son on a train to Bodrog. If I had known about this day earlier, I would have threatened him with it. As in, “If you don’t behave, we’ll send you off to Bodrog!” It still might work with his sister.

Anyway, his class took an outreach trip to help an orphanage in Bodrog, Hungary; his first trip without parents.

Much to his delight, my disappointment, and possibly your disappointment (?), I forgot my camera. So I didn’t get that shot of him waving out of the train window as it left the station. And actually, that didn’t happen either. I spared him the embarrassment of following him and his friends out to the train platform.

It reminded me of the time I went to camp with my 6th grade class at Trout Lodge in Missouri – and that was a scary thought! Certainly my son won’t be like I was that week, right?

Hard fall

The Culprit, Annie

The Culprit

For the last four years I have run Annie, our dog, on my bike. Since we have lived here in Budapest I only run her with the bike rarely since our street is usually pretty busy at evening “run time.” She normally runs just ahead of me on her leash, and for about 500 meters she can run as fast as I can pedal. Tonight, at full speed, she decided to cut in front of me and then stop. Rather than run over her with the bike I swerved away from her, but this caused me to fall off the bike. The bike went over the top of her, but I fell hard.

Annie was OK. Pretty soon she was ready to start running again and looked at me wondering what my problem was.

I, on the other hand, have two ground-up palms, one ruined pair of pants, one ripped up jacket, and one scraped up knee and elbow. My wonderful wife cleaned me up, so I think I’ll live now, but it will be a long time before Annie runs with the bike again.

Kiev, Ukraine (44 photos)

This was our first trip to Kiev, and we really liked it. It was clean, and easy to get around. There is a good combination of modern and old architecture; uniquely Ukrainian.

Click a photo below to see the whole gallery.



Just got back from Kiev, Ukraine. The city was much nicer than I expected, and our meetings went much better than I expected. We not only talked with our CCC staff about building a web site for university students, but we also helped their finance department install new donation software and helped their operations manager research a new email system for their office.

It’s good to be home again with my family now!

If you click the picture it will take you to a photogallery on our website, rather than to like usual.

Kiev short film event

Originally uploaded by squarejer.

We are meeting with our Ukrainian staff this week helping them think through their evangelistic website. We found out (once we got a translated tour of their site) that they had produced a great brochure site and one that helped the people in their student movement. But their site didn’t really speak to someone who didn’t believe. After our talks we all concluded that a new, independent site would serve that purpose better, and today we’ll start creating a plan to make that happen.

Last night Tom and I had the great opportunity to see a short film outreach. It was at a student dorm, and they featured the short, Light of Darkness. (Not sure if that’s available on or not, and no time to check now.) The students were very engaged in the event, and the film provided a good opportunity to speak clearly about the issue of Jesus Christ. The event’s MC, one of our staff, did a great job with his talk. Sure wish I could speak the language…..