SCOT, SELENA & OLLIE BROWN
Scot, Selena and Olison Brown by way of introduction were born and raised in Ocala, Florida where generations of our families have lived. We have five grown children and six grandchildren. Olison is our oldest grandchild.
We’ve been active in various lay ministries over the last forty years; ABCD Homeschool, Sidewalk Sunday School, Marion County Right to Life, Men for Missions, Women’s Pregnancy Center, Juvenile Alternative Services Programs - JASP Arbitrator, JASP Big Brother, Overcomers Ministry, International Friendship, Missionary Support Family to various individuals on the field, Home Church Facilitators, Serving as a Chaplain at Alachua County Juvenile Detention Center on Tuesday nights. Active study and involvement in Hungarian ministries reaching the heart of Europe.
In each of these we served as a family trying to exemplify to our children and others that the body of Christ is active and demonstrated in our lives when we allow the Holy Spirit to live through us.
We always served while being active members in our church and as full time business owners which was its own important mission field.
But beginning thirty years ago two of those ministries became an assignment we fell in love with. A passion for knowing and serving Central Europe in a ministry capacity became something we knew we were set aside for. And back here in Florida we became actively committed to inviting international students to our home to so they could experience what our lives looked like and we could influence them with the Love of Christ.
We’ve been to Hungary around fifteen times and have well established relationships, both secular and with wonderful ministry individuals. We have also loved and hosted hundreds of individuals at our table from all over our globe who we cherish and witnessed the love of Christ influence and often transform.
We sold our business three years ago and around two years later our big house with plans to transition to Hungary. We spent a month there in mid December to mid January 2019 - 2020. We returned in time for Covid to be discovered and another significant delay. Even in the disappointment of another delay we discovered the Fathers kindness. Little did we know, both of our daddy’s had an appointment in heaven during our delay. The richness of our time with each of them was a treasure we could not have experienced otherwise.
The way the two passions merged happened four years ago while reading a business publication from Hungary. I was aware there were universities in Budapest but was surprised there are over twenty significant universities in Budapest. What’s more, over forty thousand international students attend those universities currently. The article was disclosing that the national government targeted in five years to have it grow to over one hundred thousand international students! Covid-19 delayed that target but not the resolve. The government of China is building the largest university outside of China in Budapest, along with other universities growing as well.
Hungary is a Christian country and upholds many core values the rest of the world has walked away from. Budapest is what you would expect from a cosmopolitan urban national capital with that many universities; youthful left leaning nightlife loving students devoted to pleasure and partying.
We made a three month trip earlier this year to establish the location we’ll live in the city center and implement the systems we’ve incorporated over the years to determine what can work and any changes needed. Everything went extremely well on the ministry side. We had to make adjustments due to transporting food and getting around because it’s impractical having a vehicle there.
A few more facts about why Budapest and why international students?
Budapest is very open to traditional Christian ministry
It costs less to be in university in Budapest than the rest of Europe because Hungary ( a EU Member) doesn’t use the Euro for their currency. They use the Forint which is usually up to 20% less valuable than the Euro.
Being an American is popular with international students. America as a nation isn’t very well thought of but Americans are well received.
Almost all international students speak english with some level of proficiency. But regardless of their skill level they need and desire to be as fluent as possible.
These students are away from home for the first time in their lives.
At their age they’re supposed to question everything they have been taught and are open, even desiring other options.
They are the hand picked future leaders of their countries.
Know one ever invites them over to enjoy a home cooked meal with their family.
We have a number of ways to establish relationships with unchurched students and invite them to a dinner where we all prepare meals from their culture. We invite them to have their loved ones to facetime with us to make sure we prepare the meal correctly. We also want to have the students' family comfortable with their child being around our family. In the few months in Hungary we had the pleasure of hosting dozens of students from: India, Iran, Germany, Russia, Nigeria, Azerbaijan,US, and Hungary. They were all looking forward to continuing to meet. We will offer the new student friends a free course in English as a second language. The introductory course is John's Gospel with the advanced course being, Mere Christianity By C. S. Lewis. We will have events in and around Budapest the students will be invited to be involved in to build cross cultural deep relationships.
If you’re wondering how we will do all of these things: we can't do it by ourselves. We are part of active ministry organizations that are established ministering in the city center now. Wonderful groups like: YWAM, E.I. European Initiative, Danube International Church (Christian Missionary Alliance), Riverside Church (Assembly of God), Equippers Outreach, Gogatha (Calvary Chapel). We do street ministry and serve in various ways with each of these ministries. They are trustworthy ministries that a young Christian would grow in their faith while participating with our group.
We intend to have a young couple join us who already have residence. Being established in Budapest with residence permits is huge and overcomes a year of cultural adjustments that often never make it. Our goal is to have them free us up to add universities as our time enables. Their initial roles would be to handle the communications, scheduling of activities, and teach the English as a Second Language course. As soon as a student becomes a Believer they will be discipled using the same tools that we used to bring them to Christ. They will engage in street ministry and be baptized at one of the ministries we serve.
As a result of the Russian invasion just after a week of our arrival we were involved in assisting the refugee effort. By volunteering to purchase food and material needed in Ukraine, going around the city in four panel trucks like locusts buying out the stock the Ukranian’s desperately needed from stores, loading it into large trucks for delivery in Ukraine. A few times I was needed as a driver into Uzhhorod where the Ukrainian people would gratefully receive and distribute it into the rest of the country. At night or early in the morning we would go to the train stations. It was so hard to see thousands of people like us who just a few weeks before had Jobs, money that was accepted for payment for goods and services now worthless. We couldn’t help everyone but we made the difference we could.
When home we are involved with ministering to kids at the Alachua County Juvenile Detention Center on Tuesday nights. We see lives changed every week in ways that are incredible.
I hope this will help you see how this one ministry will reach many at the crossroad of cultures and leadership at universities in Budapest Hungary. Your prayers and support are welcome.
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