Volunteers from OM, East Europe Mission, and other Christian organisations put together the day as an end-of-summer treat for refugee families who live at the Baptist Resettlement Centre of Budapest. Mothers and fathers could take a break from filling out paperwork, learning new languages, searching for work and a home, and the countless other tasks that come with the desperate choice to uproot one’s family to seek a better life in a new country.
“These families don’t get a lot of chances to do things together,” says Jill Hitchcock of OM Hungary. “We wanted to give them an opportunity to get out of Budapest into the fresh air and countryside and to realise that they matter and that there are people who really care about them.”
The families were taken to Inárcs, a village about an hour outside Budapest, where a mission centre run by East Europe Mission provided the venue for a day of family fun.
Upon arrival, the families enjoyed a welcoming time of tea, coffee, and snacks before jumping into indoor and outdoor games. The younger children splashed through the August heat with water games, while a Pakistani helper led a game of cricket for the older youth.
The East Europe Mission provided lunch, but dessert was to come later: because it was the birthday of one of the young refugee girls, a party was in order, complete with birthday cakes and a musically gifted clown. Parents and children also enjoyed making cards at a craft table, playing foosball, relaxing, and talking while knowing the kids were being cared for.
The group included refugees from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, and other countries, making language translation one of the challenges but also one of the joys of working with the families, Jill says. The programme was held in English and Hungarian with the help of volunteers who translated in Farsi and Arabic.
The day ended with a distribution of food packages and children’s school starter packs of pencils and notebooks before the bus ride back to Budapest. The families will continue to receive help integrating into Hungarian society through programmes for language learning, children’s activities, women’s groups, and more provided by local Christian volunteers.
It’s all an effort to share Christ’s love with these refugees and to affirm their God-given worth. “Our programs are designed to show these families that people care about them,” Jill says.
Credit: Jessica Alyea · © 2016 OM International