Month: April 2005


I came home from work today surprised at the silence. Normally Annie alerts everyone in a three kilometer radius of my return. In the kitchen I found one of our jars on the floor with its decorative beads spread all over. Something wasn’t right. The back door was open, too.

In the backyard our landlord, Peter, was watching his grandson play – along with Annie on her leash. How did Annie get out? I was the only one home at the time. It didn’t make sense. I racked my brain but could only conclude that I must have forgotten to bring her in before I left this morning. She was out all day. D’oh!

Peter said she barked for a while when she got her leashed wrapped around a tree mid-afternoon, but otherwise she seemed happy to be outside.

With that mystery solved we started trying to figure out how that jar ended up on the floor. It was out of Annie’s range if she was on her leash all day, so that left only one culprit: Bili, Peter’s cat.

Sure enough, after further examination Bili fessed up. “But what are you going to do about it?” was the cat’s insolent reply. He was right, and I knew it. That will teach me to leave the door open and the dog out all day.

International Day of Prayer

International Day of Prayer
Originally uploaded by squarejer.

Every six months all over the world, Campus Crusade for Christ takes one day to pray.

Our morning began with three Korean girls leading the group singing in Hungarian and English. I didn’t figure out how they knew Hungarian, as they had only been here a year so far. Then Gabor, our emcee, moderated in Hungarian alternating with English. And when we prayed all three languages were audible; Korean, Hungarian, and English.

Even though it is always a tiring day, it’s also one of the best days to hear about how God is using Campus Crusade around the world to bring people to Jesus Christ.

This is the coolest store ever! – Audrey

the coolest store ever!
coolest store ever!
Originally uploaded by squarejer.

Tonight after ice cream we stopped by a store that had more beads, necklaces, trinkets, and stuff than any place I’d ever been.

“This is the coolest store ever!” was not only Audrey’s but Andrew and Cathy’s take on it, too.

The proprietor liked making jewelry and things, and his store showed it. It was so crowded that after we left Andrew found something stuck to his sweater! When he stepped back to return it I feared we would all be drawn back into the store, given how hard it was to get us all out of it the first time. But we finally made it home, several trinkets later and several dollars lighter.

First haircut in ten years

Originally uploaded by squarejer.

It’s been at least ten years since I paid someone to cut my hair, and I’ve never paid anyone to shave me before.

His first question to me: “Do you cut your own hair?”


It was one of those moments when you realize you haven’t fooled as many people as you thought.

After a good haircut came a good shave followed by a bath in aftershave, followed by a rubbing of aftershave balm, followed by a bath of cologne, followed by tea.

I gotta find one of these in Budapest!!

Today was the real deal.

the local open air market
Street Market
Originally uploaded by squarejer.

Whereas yesterday’s trip to the downtown covered market was an unvarnished tourist experience, today’s visit to the local open air market was the real deal.

Each week several local streets get converted to an open air bizarre – flea market – yard sale where you can buy anything from bras to beans. We got 11 paring knives, 1 kilo of strawberries, apples, bananas, 2 watches, a mood ring, a bead door hanger, and material to make two skirts. And while we were shopping we ate some local potato stuffed pancakes cooked on a hot drum.

Seeing any place’s local open air market gives you a good feel of what life is really like there.

We like it here.

Street Market spice vendor

First time in a mosque

Originally uploaded by squarejer.

We visited several mosques today. Like Central European Christian Cathedrals, once you see a few, you see the pattern.

If they are one thing, they are reverent places of prayer. If you were a new Muslim, you would know what to do here on your first visit: take your shoes off, get down on your knees, point in the direction of Mecca (indicated by just about every shape inside the mosque) and pray.

By contrast, as a Christian for over 25 years, I am never quite sure what I would do if I wanted to worship inside a Central European Cathedral.

It’s a good thing my faith doesn’t depend on the building I worship in.

This is the coolest castle I’ve ever seen! – Andrew

The coolest castle ever!
Originally uploaded by squarejer.

Today we visited “the coolest castle I’ve ever seen” by Andrew’s description. It is really old and still intact. Being built on a hill, its view from the top was spectacular! There are stairways that run along the top of the wall as it climbs the hill. On one side of the stairs is the wall, and on the other side is a 15 meter drop.

Andrew and Audrey found a doorway they squeezed through and climbed to the top of one of the two tallest towers. It was exactly like climbing a castle tower up the spiral staircase to rescue the maiden in distress only without the maiden.

Click on the photo to see a larger panorama picture.


traffic problem

Traffic Problem

We’re having fun at brother and family’s house! This is the first time we have visited since he’s been married. Dinner was great, and tomorrow looks like it should also be fun seeing the city.

On the way home from the airport we sat in traffic for a long time. You know you have a traffic problem when vendors stroll between the lanes of the highway selling pretzels!!

Off To See Family

When we moved to Budapest, one of the things we wanted to do before leaving was visit my brother and his family and see their world. We leave in the morning for a visit with them during the kids’ spring break. We are all curious to know what it will be like. I’ll try to post pictures while we’re traveling.

Flat Stanley escapes

Flat Stanley making his escape
Flat Stanley escapes
Originally uploaded by squarejer.

A couple weeks ago my nephew, Adam, sent me his friend, Flat Stanley, in the mail. He asked me to take Flat Stanley on an adventure of some sort.

As life would have it, two weeks ago was very busy and Flat Stanley didn’t get to go on any adventures with us.

But that didn’t keep him down. Being flat, he made an adventure of his own. This morning we heard some noise on our back patio and discovered he had slipped out under the door and was climbing our ivy-covered fence. He must have been trying to escape and see more of Budapest.

We brought him back inside and decided it would be best to send him back home before he got into anymore unsupervised escapades. So today he started his journey back to St. Louis, Missouri inside another envelope.

To my surprise, when I got into the office later today I noticed something odd about a picture I took last week at our conference. Flat Stanley must have snuck out of the house last week and followed me there. Sure enough, here he is, along with the other people who came from 25 different countries. No one realized we had such a special guest among us.

Flat Stanly attends international conference

I wonder where else Flat Stanley went while he was here…..

Like writing a term paper

One of the new aspects of my work here in Eastern Europe has been proposal writing. Unfortunately each year the schedule has caught me by surprise. Last year the need to write a proposal came unexpectedly and with about one week to write it. Vowing not to let it catch me unprepared again I scheduled a week of strategic planning into this Spring’s calendar. Only this year’s proposal schedule got bumped ahead by one month, and we were right in the middle of planning last week’s conference when we found out. This week was supposed to be our strategic planning week, but instead we’re writing a funding proposal for that yet-to-be-written strategic plan.

Yes, I’m belly-aching. I should be grateful that we are so fortunate to have donors willing to consider large gifts that enable us to do Internet ministry projects across Eastern Europe.

The day of eyes

The theme today was eyes.

First Andrew lost the peripheral vision in his right eye during SAT testing at school. We immediately made an appointment with an eye doctor to have it looked at, and it turned out he had an occular migraine. Not long after he lost his vision, he got it back again – along with a severe headache and nausea. In a few hours he was back to normal, but now we need to keep any eye on him to make sure that it wasn’t anything more than that.

The trip to the Eye Clinic was something new. Or rather, something old. The medical facilities here have that “old European charm.” We waited in the hallway for Andrew’s eye doctor along with everyone else waiting on their eye doctor. It was a university hospital, so there were students in tow behind their residents and all sort of other things passing by. While we waited (90 minutes) I got some shut-eye. That was actually very nice; dreams and all.

For dinner tonight we all ate in front of a movie, The Return of the King. And, of course, there was that eye theme again. Cathy finally started scolding the other three of us for making so many blood-shot eye jokes toward the end of the movie.

And dessert was something for the eye to behold; strawberry shortcake by Audrey. She is on another cooking spree. The other night it was baked apples. Mmmm.

Every coat in the house

Every coat in the house
Originally uploaded by squarejer.

Just after dinner Andrew gets up and tells everyone to hang on for a minute and don’t look. He comes back down the stairs with 5 coats and his snow pants on.

Audrey then gets in the action and puts on the rest of the coats in the house, and the two of them played Sumo wrestler for 15 minutes.

Cathy and I just watched, both too exhausted to stop it or join in.


final dinner at the Adler
Final dinner
Originally uploaded by squarejer.

Tonight’s dinner marked the end of a very significant week for us. After four days of MinistryNet we had also organized two days of meetings for two other (overlapping) groups. One was CCC’s Global Technology Leadership Council (of which Tom and I are a part), and the other was for my friend and old boss, Doug Leppard’s project, Global Connexions, an internal CCC application to help us function better globally.

It was a lot of work preparing, but God showed up and inspired all of us with new ideas and a sense of where He is leading this movement.

And what better place to celebrate the end of a good week than the Adler?

Watching Our House


Our House on Google Maps

Google Maps is incredible. I can watch my house in Orlando from here in Budapest. I can almost make out individual trees in my yard, too!

I sat down intending to blog about this last week, but this caught my attention first. I’ll write more after dinner later tonight.

Final score: 10 of 11 visas granted!

Today we got the call from London that Austin got his visa and will arrive tomorrow. The MinistryNet conference ends tomorrow, but actually his main purpose in coming is to attend meetings on Thursday and Friday so his efforts will have accomplished at least the main purpose.

Those meetings are another story I may post about later.

Update: (April 6) Austin arrived in Budapest! (The 11th person that we wanted to attend never left the Philippines. Getting a visa for him would have required missing another event he had planned to attend in Pakistan.)