Concordia University, Irvine, California and Péterfy Sándor Lutheran Educational Center, Győr, Hungary have enjoyed a unique partnership for more than a decade. Every other year, Concordia students organize English Bible camps in Hungary, which are attended by students from Hungarian Lutheran schools, including Péterfy Sándor. Sarah Berta-Somogyi, a Concordia, Irvine graduate and GEO missionary, has taught English at Péterfy Sándor for more than four years. She recently planned and hosted a group of 37 students and professors from Concordia, Irvine’s “Around the World Semester” in Győr for two weeks and shared this update.
Sarah Berta-Somogyi is pictured here with her husband (middle) and a student (left) from Concordia, Irvine.
“As I sat down to write this, I realized that I feel as if I’ve had many months of great experiences in just one short November. On November 9th, I welcomed the Around the World Semester group from Concordia, Irvine, (CUI) to Győr. These students and professors were taking part in this special program, where they travel around the world, studying the literature, culture, language, and history of every country they go to. They also try to help people as they go. Before this point, they had been in seven countries, including places like Mongolia, China, Ethiopia, and the Mother Teresa Homes in India. They chose to come here to Győr because Concordia, Irvine sends teams of students here every other summer to organize an English Bible camp, and because, as a graduate of Concordia, I was happy to plan their time here.They also strive to help people in any way they can, and treasure the moments where they can give the greatest help to people by speaking with them about salvation in Jesus Christ.
“Hungary was the 8th stop on their trip, and for two weeks, they built relationships with my students by teaching them in class and by hanging out with them after school. For one week, the CUI group taught almost all the English classes in the school, and they used the theme “Superheroes of the Bible” to talk about Jesus as the greatest Superhero and about people of faith who, through Christ, were Superheroes in the way they served Him. The best part was that the Americans encouraged my Hungarian students to think about what they learned in terms of their own lives. They asked them what faith was to them and what they believe in and why. These questions led to many further one-on-one discussions, my favorite being one where a seventh grader asked one of the CUIers, “I’ve heard that Jesus is the way to God, but what does that mean?” The American student then shared with him that because of our sin, we were separated from God, but because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, we can be restored into a right relationship with God. If we believe in Jesus as our Savior and pray for forgiveness, we will be forgiven. Even though we still sin and fall short sometimes, we are always forgiven and freed to live a new life in Christ.
Concordia, Irvine students learns traditional Hungarian dances.
“At the end of the first week, Americans and Hungarians learned how to Hungarian folk dance, and had an evening of dancing together. During the second week, the CUI group continued to organize after school programs like drama, music, crafts, games, dance, and sports. Well over 50 students attended most days, and while they played, they could also talk about their lives and about Christ. In addition to building relationships with students, the team also organized a program at the local Lutheran retirement home that included singing and Bible readings. After the program, some of my students translated so that the Americans and the retirees could speak to each other further. Finally, the CUI group was sent off with prayers, tears, and songs of praise!”
- Pray for safe travels as Concordia, Irvine’s Around the World Semester finishes this month.
- Read more about Sarah’s ministry in Hungary.