It’s amazing how the roaring laughter of teenage girls can resonate in the walls of the International Base on any given Wednesday from their gathering place in TAB Coffee House. That first floor of the base however, complete with the base staff’s expertise –Allison Jones’ daily coffee fumes flying through the air, Janene Wooten’s legendary brownies drawing in crowds, and Krisztina Révész’s heart-felt hugs as an afternoon greeting – is just a small part of what happens weekly at our home in Szigetszentmiklós, Hungary.
When the International Base first opened in 2017, our team knew it wouldn’t be an easy task to be developed. The house itself, home for years to IPHC missionaries Dave and Linda Fannin, had to undergo renovations in order to house the staff, mission teams coming in, and the coffee house on the first floor. That task, involving a solid month of renovation, constant intercession, and vision casting, was taken on by The Awakening’s first international team: Krisztina, who served alongside the Fannins for 11 years, Janene, Dreama Bryant, and Carolyne Smith.
According to Krisztina, starting a ministry from scratch meant a lot of work and a lot of questions.
“The unique thing about coming here is that we were starting it from scratch basically,” Janene echoed. “We all had so many ideas and so many thoughts, but also so many questions. And so, I feel like the first six months were just us figuring out, okay this works, this doesn’t work, we wanted this, but we’re going to have to wait to do that, because obviously we wanted to fulfill the vision of this house, but we have to make things work.”
Ministry started out slow at the base, but connections with the high school situated directly across the street were almost automatic. Those connections between our staff and the local English teachers then became one of the biggest encouragements as the staff proceeded.
“I thought, I’m going to go on the mission field and everything is just going to click into place, and you know, God called me to go so it’s going to immediately work out awesome,” Janene said, explaining her thoughts when she first arrived in Hungary. “That’s not how it is. There’s a lot of ground work that has to be laid before it starts flourishing.”
That’s when, according to the base staff, the layers started forming and building upon one another. As they worked on the house they were also taking ministry trips to serve and support missionaries and national leaders across Europe, attending language school, starting English club, learning to work with the local pastors, and overall sorting things out. And, while the layers now include a constant flow of interaction at TAB Coffee House, English class in the high school where the staff interacts with both students and teachers, English club where a group gathers on Wednesday nights at the local church, and weekly ministry trips in the nearby town of Rackeve, it all started with building relationships within the community.
“Just from my perspective, I feel like we’re in this period now where I can honestly see so much potential and growth in every ministry that we’re part of,” Janene said. “Things are changing and moving forward!”
Even through personnel transition at the base, our staff has been able to have a constant presence in the local community. Now, as interns and various teams come to serve alongside them, learn, and grow, they are seen by the community as part of the team.
“I’m really excited for what’s going to come in all of our ministries,” Allison said. “Like in Rackeve with what we want to do over the summer with the interns there. We’re not really sure yet, but we have dreams of stuff. And, just seeing what could happen after the summer and with the coffee shop and the school, as well as being excited with the growing involvement with the church. I’m excited to see what the Lord’s going to do.”
Momentum at the International Base is just getting started. We believe we haven’t even caught a glimpse of what God is beginning to stir, not only in Hungary, but across Europe! We believe God will continue using the base to spark conversation and make disciples as our staff ministers, but we also believe that as a training center, spiritual giants will emerge from it as a force to be reckoned with.
“It’s just a process, but we are in it already and I want to see it happen,” Krisztina said. “I just see us putting our best into it and all those who are coming after, and the interns, and the future staff, just moving toward that goal. It’s super exciting to me.”