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Seniors spread kindness in Hungary

Seniors+Leah+Ryg+and+Linnea+Solak+travel+past+St.+Stephen%27s+Basilica+while+sightseeing+in+Budapest+as+part+of+their+mission+trip.
Seniors Leah Ryg and Linnea Solak travel past St. Stephen's Basilica while sightseeing in Budapest as part of their mission trip.

Seniors Leah Ryg and Linnea Solak travel past St. Stephen's Basilica while sightseeing in Budapest as part of their mission trip.

•courtesy of Linnea Solak

•courtesy of Linnea Solak

Seniors Leah Ryg and Linnea Solak travel past St. Stephen's Basilica while sightseeing in Budapest as part of their mission trip.

Caroline Stiefbold

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To many, summer is a time to travel and explore new places.  Seniors Leah Ryg and Linnea Solak did that, but with a purpose other than simply pleasure. The cousins spent two weeks in July in Budapest, Hungary on a mission trip with their youth group.

“A bunch of my friends had gone in the past and said it was lifechanging. I also love exploring new parts of the world. I had never been to Europe so its was so interesting and such a good experience,” Ryg said.

Ryg, Solak, and their team were welcomed with open-arms in Budapest.

“The Hungarians were so welcoming and made us feel at home. I also loved seeing how excited the teens were about learning English and even American culture,” Ryg said.

While in Budapest, they taught at an English camp for Hungarian teens. In addition to English instruction, they also focused on discussing their faith.

“Overcoming [the language difference] seemed daunting at first, but in the end it was definitely worth the effort it took to overcome it,” Solak said.

They may have been the teachers, but they, too, learned from the experience.

“I learned so much about different cultures and the ways people from different places act. I also learned to take every chance you get to make new friends and have good conversations with people because time is limited. I also learned a lot about how you should treat people, no matter how different you are from someone, everyone deserves to be shown the same love and kindness,” Ryg said.

In addition to teaching the teens, they also played games, attended chapel, and explored Hungary with their youth group, as well as with the kids attending the camp.

“My favorite part was the lake day. It was so much fun to see the kids playing at the lake (which most of them only get to go to once or twice a lifetime) and watching them splash each other. It was cool to see how even across completely different cultures and language barriers we could all still have fun together and become close friends,” Solak said.

Although Ryg and Solak had previously been a part of other mission trips, their time in Budapest proved to be even more impactful.

“Hungary was different [from my other mission trips] because for the first time I felt I really formed lasting friendships with the teens we were at camp with. These friendships are strong because despite the small differences between cultures and personalities, we all are loved by the same God and are looking to show the people around us that love. That helps form lasting friendships even though we are 5,000 miles apart,” Ryg said.

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Seniors spread kindness in Hungary