Missions calling draws student back to Hungary

PLAINVIEW – After last summer’s adventure in Hungary, Wayland Baptist University student Shanna Buck wasn’t sure she’d return to the European nation. But the same God who called her there in the first place kept the country on her mind, and Buck made a repeat appearance there this past summer, although it was brief.

A senior religion major from Pampa, Buck has been involved in missions for several years. She spent two summers in Canada, then felt a call to missions overseas. The pastor at her home church contacted her about being part of a missionary group to Hungary for the summer of 2003. Pampa native Mark Aderholt, also a Wayland graduate, is currently serving in mission work there, and the church wanted to support his endeavor.

Buck agreed and spent the summer working in sports camps and teaching intense English as a Second Language classes in various areas of Budapest. She and other summer missionaries also gathered research on the Hungarian culture, covering everything from social customs to religion to family relationships. The data was compiled to help mission teams working in the country to know how to better relate to the people.

Buck was surprised at the results.

“You really find that they don’t think like Americans,” Buck said. “When you first meet people, they’d prefer you to tell all about yourself, rather than asking questions about them like we do in America.

“They’re also more wary of outsiders,” she added. “They’ll help you out if there’s a need, but they don’t get close to you otherwise.”

Buck said she was intimidated at first to teach English, since she had never taught before, but found the curriculum helpful. During mornings, she and other visitors would learn Hungarian, then spend afternoons teaching ESL, often using Bible stories as the reading material for the classes.

That and the relationships built during the camps gave the students opportunities to share their faith, though they didn’t see any dramatic results right away.

“Hungarians are hesitant to accept the gospel,” she explained. “They’re interested in learning about it, but that doesn’t really mean they’ll accept it as truth.”

This past summer, though school obligations meant she could not commit an entire summer, Buck returned to Budapest for two weeks, jumping right back into the classes and camps and enjoying reunions with people she’d built relationships with the previous summer.

Buck said she’s not sure yet where God will send her after graduation in December, but she knows she’s meant for foreign service and is looking into returning to Hungary in the spring.

“I don’t know where I’ll eventually end up, but I know I’ll be doing missions,” she said. “I’m open to wherever!”