August 23, 2010

Church Camp at a Castle, anyone?

Yes, please.

Indeed, this is where I spent last Thursday through Sunday. I was at a church camp in Toalmas, just north of Budapest, with the Trinity Church. As you can see, the camp is located on the grounds of a castle. It was really too beautiful to describe, so I hope the pictures can portray just a little of what we experienced...

The dining hall where we ate.

And there in the middle of the forest, I happened upon this enchanting, solitary tower.

I was thinking perhaps it was the tower where Rapunzel lived.
Can't you just imagine her casting her long, golden locks down from the window above?
There was a giant magical mushroom there, too!
This is a truer depiction of the camp area where we slept and had activities.

I had an amazing few days at church camp with the congregation. Although the camp itself is much more what you would imagine a church camp to look like, still, it was on the castle grounds. We did spend time eating our meals in the castle, though!

Our days were busy but relaxing as well. They began after breakfast with worship and several hours of teaching by Joszef Steiner. After lunch, we did activities, such as one day going into town to enjoy the public swimming pools and thermal waters, or doing games and group-building activities, like a trust-fall. We had free time to explore the castle grounds and after tucking into a hearty dinner, we gathered for something fun (like karaoke) and then made a large and cozy campfire, where we again had worship and an inspirational message from Joszef. Those were my favorite times, sitting around the fire, underneath the starry sky, wrapped in blankets and feeling the warmth of the love of Jesus. We also shared testimonials at this time, and often they became emotional and were truly touching. This small church feels like a tight-knit family, and they have lovingly opened their arms to me.

A Hungarian girl, Eszter, who worked at the camp was staying in my cabin. She didn't speak English, but I was delighted to find that she spoke French!! We became good friends and spent a lot of time eating together, walking around the grounds, and she even acted as my translator on many occasions. It was so refreshing to spend so much time speaking French. I haven't spoken it regularly or continually like that since my study abroad semester in France in 2005. Of course, because of this, my French isn't near what it once was, but it was coming back to me quickly. C'etait vraiment bien....

Many congregation members who speak English volunteered to translate for me without me even asking! It was so kind of them and wonderful for me to be able to participate and benefit from the same teachings as everyone else.

It was a superb few days that I will never forget. The weather was gorgeous, the location exquisite, and the company unforgettable. God has once again blessed me beyond imagining.

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