A few years ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Budapest, Hungary located in central Europe. The flight was a total of sixteen hours, which felt more like sixteen days instead, considering it was my very first time being above the many buildings I saw rather often—just from a view much closer to swaying daises and tulips. After finding my seat and straining to find at least a little source of comfort, the hardest thing for me was the takeoff. The plane made a long roaring noise getting louder and louder as it pushed against the wind with more and more force. And just like that, we were away from the rocks and neighboring with the clouds.
It’s possible that I was being over dramatic, but when I stepped foot on the Hungarian grounds, I had already felt the pure difference in this foreign space and the environment I was most familiar with back home. The smell was different—the air, colors, and the sounds. There was a lot that was different to me, but what was different to these natives was me. I looked so different from what they were used to seeing, so I stood out everywhere. I’d come to Hungary with my church for a mission trip. I, and about six other members from my church, including my brother, ran an American football camp for a few Hungarian football teams. We taught them different drills, gave them tips to help them fundamentally, and taught them a few different schemes as well. They loved us. The Hungarian football players treated us as if we were celebrities. They gave us the utmost respect and took our words as if they were jewels. They were sure to thank us and show us how appreciative of us they were whenever they got the chance to do so.
For the week we were there, we lived in an apartment complex—or something like it. At night, we had to prop open doors and windows to let some air in, because otherwise, each of us would end up lying in our own puddle of sweat. Unfortunately, leaving these doors and windows ajar was a welcome to the largest mosquitos I had ever seen in my life. They were huge! Some of them were even albino, which I never knew existed until I flew into this experience. In the place we stayed, the refrigerator was broken. That following morning was my first time having cereal with warm milk. No, it wasn’t the greatest, but I didn’t want to complain.
Traveling to Budapest on this mission trip was an eye-opening experience for me. It made me realize how blessed I am, and how much easier I have it than a lot of other people do. There are people in this world who are struggling everyday—struggling and hoping for things that we may take for granted. Things like air conditioning and a nice meal in the morning are things that are taken for granted, but one would be surprised at the amount of people who aren’t able to have these things. At the camp we ran, the football players praised us just because we were American football players. It was as if we were playing in the NFL! This made me realize that there are so many people who wish they could be in the exact same spot that you are in. I am an African American male born and raised in a crime-common city, and I am on track to graduate college in less than two years. That isn’t something that should be considered ordinary! It’s a blessing, and there are so many people who wish they could say the same. We must always count our blessings, and never take things for granted—not even a breath. We must always remember that no matter our circumstances, and no matter what we may go through, things could always be worse. You are blessed to be in the exact spot you are in your life, so always be thankful!
Written by: Devin Francois