Thursday, June 13, 2013

An unplanned meeting

The setting is McDonald's at Blaha Lujza Square in Budapest, Hungary. That is, one of the almost 60 McDonald's in the Budapest metropolitan area.

While eating my hamburger an elderly man at the next table said to me while nodding to someone on the other side of the restaurant: “This is the first time in my life that I have ever seen in real life an American Indian.” He continued: “I've only seen an Indian in pictures.”

When I replied to him he realized from my accent that I was not Hungarian. Then he became curious about me. He learned that I was from the states and had learned Hungarian as an adult.

He was a retired newspaper writer from the country-side and had come into the capital city to take care of business. I told him that I served as a pastor.

Upon learning that I was a Christian pastor, he then told me that he is really curious about life after death. The conversation took on another dimension.

Meanwhile a young handicapped man in his mid-twenties was sitting at another nearby table. He was listening to our conversation and he added his thoughts to the subject. He was a recent graduate of Baptist Theological Seminary in Budapest.

The conversation was lively, energetic, thought provoking. All the time I kept thinking that this unplanned encounter would be a good setting for a movie.

Three strangers: The first an elderly Hungarian news reporter that was born shortly after World War I. He would have served in World War II followed by 50 years of communist rule. Now as a retired man he is living in free Hungary which still has its own special problems.

The second a middle-aged man from rural Mississippi, now living in Hungary speaking Hungarian.

The third a handicapped Hungarian theological student who had grown up after the falling of communism. His handicap was so great that the McDonald's manager had to help him with his tray.

Finally it was time to leave. Each of us was in awe of what had just transpired. As the retired news-reporter left, he told us that he was going home and would be writing an article about this meeting.

Well, he is not alone. I've written an article too!