I hope you are all doing well and have enjoyed your summers thus far; it has gone by so quickly!
Well, the time has finally come! After filling out visa applications, packing, and re-packing, I am going to Chicago tomorrow to start my week of orientation. I just want to give you all an update about what I will be up to during the coming weeks.
As for my travel plans, I will be in Chicago until the 22nd when my three fellow Central Europe YAGMs and I will fly-out from Chicago at 1:15pm and after a short lay-over in Washington, DC, we will fly-out on Austrian Airlines at 5:30pm. We will land in Vienna, Austria at 8:40am on Thursday, August 23, 2012. Our Country Coordinator, Miriam Schmidt, will pick us up at the Vienna airport and will take us to Bratislava, Slovakia, where she is a pastor at the Bratislava International Church. We will stay at the Theological Faculty (the Lutheran Seminary) in Bratislava where will have a chance to worship with Miriam and meet the ELCA teacher volunteers. On Monday the 26th we will travel by train to Budapest, Hungary and on Tuesday the 27th we will go to Szarvas, Hungary for two weeks of orientation and language training. Finally, on Friday, September 14th we will all go to our placement sites to begin our years of service with Young Adults in Global Mission.
My placement site is in Nyirtelek, a town of approximately 7,000 people, in northeastern Hungary. I will be involved with the congregation at the Filadelfia Evangelikus Egyhazkoszeg where I will help with Sunday worship and a mission service in the nearby Roma village of Gorogszallas on Sunday afternoons. The community outreach programs I will work with include: a care program for pre-school age children; an agricultural/farming program that provides work for the Roma and gives produce to other Lutheran organizations in Hungary; and work in a public-social service building in Gorogszallas.
I will live in my own apartment that is attached to the church. The pastor and his family also live in the building and will serve as a quasi-host family for me. In addition to having my flat covered, I will receive a stipend through the YAGM program to cover living expenses.
I am very excited about my upcoming service and cannot wait to experience a new culture and meet new people. I will update you as I can; I am not sure if I will have access to the internet as we are traveling for the first couple weeks.
Thank you all for your support and encouragement!