Day 23-24 Mon/Tue Apr 25th-26th Zagreb Croatia. Two days off to wander around the old city of Zagreb and take pics, a photographers delight. Had a worship seminar on the Monday evening with a small group of 4. Found it hard to motivate myself (on my day off) but there is a bond between musicians that is quickly kindled. Once again felt my experience over many years of ministry helped troubleshoot their particular issues. It felt like a ‘divine appointment’, and that makes a long solo tour like this worthwhile.
Day 22 Sun Apr 24th Rijeka Croatia. Some of the worship team at Rijeka Baptist where I shared in a worship seminar Sat Nite, and in the Sunday morning service. Great musicians and singers, great hearts, humble, teachable, and a joy to be with. Sunday Evening shared in Concert at Church of Good News Zagreb. Very good turnout, with 2 encores.. one from Pastor Mihal who requested Room In Your Family, and one from Angelica who asked us to sing again Safe In The Arms Of Jesus. Oh wow, such a lovely anointing, the best its been sung anywhere. People entered in and sang it as a heartfelt prayer. I think everyone loved that moment, one of the highlights of the tour so far for me. Afterwards many wanted the CD with that song on (Sanctuary), which is very nice also.
Day 21 Sat Apr 23rd Rijeka (re-ya-a-ka). Drove from Zagreb thru the mountains on a grey day for a worship seminar at the Baptist Church. This was one of the better, more musically proficient teams I’ve worked with, so at first struggled to see what I could teach them. I prayed, and it proved that an outsider’s view of their issues was invaluable for them (according to their feedback). The worship the following morning was very anointed so I felt that I had been used by the Lord, in some small way.
Day 20 Fri April 22nd Zagreb Croatia. As the Irishman said, life is a series of emotional challenges.. but eventually you find a hairstyle that you like. Life is also a series of wrong turns. I took the wrong turn off the motorway and found the gps took me through every small town and village to Zagreb. Very picturesque, but the 5hr trip turned into 7hrs, just in time for the sound check for the Fri Nite Concert at Good News Church. Greeted with warm handshakes and hugs, and the concert (small turn out) was warm and responsive. Staying in a nice church apartment near a forest, what a blessing.
Day 18/19 Wed/Thu April 20/21st Budapest. My time here draws to a close. Basically, 4 days walking around a large sprawling historic city, a mixture of old and new. Highlight: the feedback this week from a young woman. She shared she had been suicidal, planning her exit from Planet Earth, but came to a concert and was greatly impacted by my testimony of restoration from complete burnout. She said the practical insight I shared saved her life. Off to Zagreb in Croatia shortly, the sojourn continues..
Day 17 Tues April 19th, Pest. For those who aren’t enlightened Budapest is the fusion of two cities Buda and Pest over time. I’ve been staying in central Pest, and it feels a bit like that. I believed some of the advertising hype about this city, but saw just another big dirty noisy city, like many others. I went for my usual morning walk, stepped gingerly over the vomit on the pavement, navigated the dog poop and tried to ignore the gathering 6am rush hour, which included wailing sirens. (I have never heard so many sirens in such a short space of time here.) I checked on my car to see if it had survived another night in the city (it had by the grace of God) then made my way around the labyrinth of old-style 5 storey apartment blocks, which is the beating heart of this commercial centre. They house tens of thousands of people, plus quite a few who just sleep rough on the street, like most big cities. By the end of the day I had walked 20km+, and felt somewhat physically and emotionally depleted by the time I got back. Today I had to relocate as the church apartment was not available, but new barista friend Richie has offered acom in his pink bachelor pad close by. Yes pink, very cool in a bachelor pad sort of way. Reminds me of my student days, in the time warp of another existence.
Day 16 Monday April 18th, Budapest Hungary. This city has a rich Classical Music heritage (Liszt, Bartok) so I feel slightly out of place. Drove from Tatabanya into the city, escorted by Ps Matthew Edwards (Golgota Tatabanya) who helped me with all the basics (like where to park, no mean feat). I am staying at an apartment in central Budapest, above Calvary Chapel. Incredible location, central city. I have free all-day parking a 20min walk away. Matt shows me around for a while and then I’m on my own. I head back to the apartment to collect my thoughts as this intense city assaults my senses. I have a 3 or 4 day break here, so it may pay to have a plan. There again, who needs a plan?
Day 15 Sunday 17th April Esztergom Hungary. Got up at 5.30am and hit the road for the 3hr drive to Esztergom, NW of Budapest. There is something deeply poetic about driving as the day breaks. Would loved to have stopped to take pics or write poems but the tight schedule prevented me: 9am soundcheck, 10am service at a small Calvary Chapel (Golgota Church). This was a lovely warm responsive worshiping group. As soon as I started sharing I noticed a woman in the back row weeping. After the service I spoke and prayed with her. Her name was Mikela and she was weeping for her 24yr old son who was in a personal wilderness, so my story touched her deeply. I gave her my CDs ‘Finding God in the Wilderness’ and Cataclysm. She was very grateful. Seems like wherever I go, my story of restoration at the foot of the Cross brings hope to people…. which is why I’m here!
In the afternoon I wandered through the historic part of town & took pics (see above & FB). In the evening had a House Concert in Tatabanya, west of Budapest.
Day 14, Sat April 16th Zalaszanto Hungary. I have enjoyed a lovely quiet week here in this rural village, where I’ve been reading, resting up, and writing new songs. Have been staying with Denis Moss (the Anglican minister) and his Hungarian wife Maria who is an expert cook. The pic is of their chapel in the garden (seats 20), where we had the Sat Nite concert. And what a lovely warm group.. who attempted to sing along with everything, in broken English (I provided Eng/Hung songsheets). I tried one of my new songs ‘Peace Will Come.’ Oh my.. I immediately sensed the anointing of the Holy Spirit and was totally blessed with how well the song went. To hear people who have endured generations of socialism and communism singing ‘peace will come’ moved me to tears.