Crossing the Border With Swine Flu

So far today (6/5) has involved more travel. Though the journey is a relatively short distance between Budapest, Hungary and Oradea, Romania it takes some time. A few kilometers takes several kilo-hours. It only takes a few kilo-minutes in a car to realize that Hungarians and Romanians are ready for NASCAR. I am confident that soccer “futbol” is not enough to release European tensions. It seems they experience their release while driving. There is no road rage as such. No one seems angry to get cut off, it is just the way it is. The roads here are like Talledega. Forty cars separated by only inches going as fast as they can possibly go. Romanians are experts in the slingshot pass. They cinch up to the bumper in front of them and then when there is a space between cars greater than 3.5 inches they make their move. I stared several Mercedes 18 wheelers in the face today. Romanian truck drivers have nice teeth but bloodshot eyes.

While crossing the border I was lectured on the dangers of the swine flu. Because we are American we are contagious. The border guard asked us to pull over and then it seemed as if he paged the boss. The boss came up to the car and through a translator told me that even if I felt fine today I could be carrying the swine flu. Apparently the virus can incubate for ten days in your body, maybe 15 if you are American. After the lecture we all had to get out of the car and go into a little booth so we could sign a small paper declaring we did not have the swine flu. I don’t think I have the swine flu, so I declared it. However, I did not want to tell the man that last week the cardiologist injected me with radiation. If I had the swine flu it is either dead or it has mutated into something far more sinister, like cobra flu, or angry orangutan flue, or rabid pit bull flu. Even still, I may glow in the dark but I do not think I have swine flu.

My sincere prayer is that we are contagious with the gospel. While in Budapest I asked our guide about the religious influence in the city. He said there is very little evangelical influence. I tested the waters by asking two of our tour guides, both probably in their late 20’s, if I could pray for them. Neither of them knew what I was talking about. I told them a little about who I was and why we were here. We were here to share the gospel. I might as well have said, “We are here to suck the Danube River dry with a straw.” My whole life, the idea of being a pastor or a person who was doing something for Jesus seemed foreign to them. Strangely, the female guide said she was Catholic. I did not get the opportunity to share much with them about the gospel, but I could tell they were in desperate need to hear the whole amazing story.

Budapest needs missionaries. 2 million people need good news. At the very least the gospel may help ease their driving tensions. Catholicism and soccer are not working.


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