I am sitting in a room in budapest about to get ready for the meeting. The weather outside is actually a little much. It will be an hour journey to the english hall and I will for sure be soaked. I also am a little nervous the trains will be out. The wind is fierce. The rain for the moment has slowed but continues on and off. it dumps then drizzles pours and then mists. the wind drives it into the window and then out of the glass i see a flash. the tv sparks a little and a few seconds later a loud crash of thunder. Its been going like this all morning. I hope the weather calms.
the night before last was... different. A 13 hour train ride in a chair through a suspicious country. I showed my ticket at least 5 different times. Armed officers asked to see my passport six times and three of them stamped it. Sharply and loudly with a force of conviction that he would hunt me down if I betrayed the trust of his stamp. I'm not sure the reason for the number of different checkpoints. maybe the train was passing through different regions. Whatever it was it was unnerving. Each time they pass through the aisles I was almost thankful I was awakened from such an uncomfortable sleep. almost.
I was so tired. grasping for sleep minutes at a time from a stiff awkward chair. I also became suspicious of people around me. Two seats in front of me were two men who had me especially nervous. Unnecessarily so. They were somewhat loud and had brought on what seemed like a whole case of cheap wine. what heightened the fear was the fact that they were drinking it straight from the bottle. Drinking straight from any bottle always makes a person seem tougher meaner. all the more so if its a bottle of cheap hungarian wine that easily empties. They were harmless however and the next morning actually helped me.
A woman selling soda and juice and breakfast items pushed her cart past me. a few minutes later she returned and began rifling through the things I had next to me. I was startled but it became clear she had spotted the Watchtower I had been studying the night before. We could barely communicate and I learned she knew where the Kingdom hall was. so I thought. she called over the young men mentioned earlier and they began translating. It was slow but encouraging. The man knew of the street she wrote but not this area Be'tel. I thought maybe an area or district. no he said. A house? No. But he didn't know. The lack of this information worried me but what I had learned so far bolstered me plenty. at the information desk at the train station I pulled out the watchtower that had been written on and a man behind me recognized it. he said he knew of a hall much closer that he had attended once a long time ago. he gave me directions which included the two trains i would need to take to get to m destination. after two "mute" foreigners a mail deliverer and a station worker and short trek later I arrived in front of a large yellow building surrounded with a blue iron fence all around. I noticed a small sign that said " jehova tanui". 8-12 AND 1300- 1700. I showed up in the middle of lunch and no one was answering. it was quite large and I actually thought it was an assembly hall or something. Though nobody could be seen stirring inside there were 3 cars i could parked inside the gates. I sat and waited. 15 minutes later a couple walked out of the front doors and to their surprise met the eager smile of a brother from california. They spoke english well and i introduced myself. Then to my surprise they explained i had come not to an assembly hall but actually the Bethel headquarters of hungary. Be'tel. The woman on the train had given me directions to Bethel.
I was invited inside with my luggage and at one o'clock I took a tour of the facilities. It was awesome. the name of the guide was Foranc. He has been at bethel for six years and currently has just started working in the translation department.on the tour he shared many wonderful details of Hungary. the work here. his own service and many other things. We stopped in the kitchen and I had a hungarian creme pastry specially prepared for the 9th class of mts students there that day. they were visiting the grounds because in a week their classes started! after the tour foranc gave me directions to the hall where the english group meets as well as a recommended hotel in the area. So here I am now having rested sufficiently and having felt in a way jehovah's hand in a portion of my trip. i am thankful i was studying my watchtower