János Papp, President of the Hungarian Baptist Union, with Jon and Amanda Good
Bright sunbeams streaked the strong arms wrapped around Jon in a hug. János Papp, the president of the Hungarian Baptist Union, welcomed us with love, gifts, and laughter. Standing among the smiling faces of the leaders in the upper room of the Hungarian Baptist Union, I wondered if the fellowship we were feeling at all resembled the fellowship and communion in another upper room more than 2,000 years ago. There is something special in an embrace.
The six of us Goods have been embracing much lately. Rachel, Sarah, Elizabeth and Andrew are attending new schools in a new school district. The morning mini-van crew is embracing leaving for school before the sun. Jon and I are embracing our calling as missionaries and finding joy in learning the ropes of International Ministries. All of this, and more, is beautiful and new. However, the best embraces have been the ones with skin.
During our vision trip to Hungary, we met so many Hungarian brothers and sisters in a short amount of time. Despite jet-lag, language barriers, and brief visits, we clearly felt the bond of the Holy Spirit and marveled. Attending meetings in Budapest and in Valley Forge afforded us the opportunity to embrace International Ministries personnel. Its rare to see so much energy, joy, gifting, and passion all rolled into one person… and it seems that every person we meet at IM is an overachiever in this way!
Being embraced by new ministry partners is simultaneously humbling and elating. As friends, family, and total strangers begin to partner with us in God’s work in Hungary, I am overcome with amazement and joy. The joy spilled all over my cheeks two weeks ago as I embraced loved ones I hadn’t seen in over a decade. Despite the miles and the years, the connection is vibrant and tangible.
If I had never read the gospel of Luke, I might think that it was just my last espresso that causes my heart to feel as if it is burning within me as I embrace partners, colleagues, and friends. Thankfully though, I can still enjoy my morning mocha because I know about the road to Emmaus. Do you know the story? Two disciples were walking on the road with Jesus, but they did not recognize Him. As they journeyed, Jesus opened their hearts and helped these disciples embrace the Good News. Later, “They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’” Luke 24:32. The connection I feel is none other than the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus.
What is the purpose of this spiritual connection?Is it that Jesus’ followers can have the greatest fellowship, fun, and connection possible?In part, but the primary purpose is that through this connection, Jesus may be known to everyone.The disciples who encountered Jesus on the road didn’t keep silent.“Then the two told what had happened on the way…” Luke 24:35.May we be like these disciples, and when we encounter the presence of Jesus, share this joy with others so that they may serve Him too.