Alumnus Journals About Experiences in Hungary

“Vagyok Thad. Beszélek angolul és egy kicsit magyar.”

Lately, this is how Thad Titze ’13 (Watertown, S.D.) introduces himself. “I'm Thad. I speak English and a little Hungarian,” is among the Hungarian he has picked up over the last three months while living in Nyirtelek, Hungary, as a part of the Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM), a one-year volunteer and mission opportunity through the Lutheran church (ELCA).

After graduating from Augustana with a Government and International Affairs major, Titze joined YAGM in August 2013. Since then, he has lived with a host family in the Roma village of Gorogszallas, working with the Filidelfia Lutheran Church at the local Children’s House, teaching English and helping with a greenhouse project.

“The work of (Filidelfia Lutheran Church) is providing meaningful jobs and better livelihoods for the people of Gorogszallas,” Titze wrote in a recent newsletter. “The congregations in Gorogszallas and Nyirtelek have both been extremely welcoming and supportive of my life in this new place.”

In addition to working with the church, Titze has also been taking Hungarian lessons to reduce the language barriers.

“Other than a handful of school children who have had minimal English in the Hungarian schools, no one in my village of Gorogszallas speaks any English,” he wrote. “This complicates simple things like arranging transportation or setting a meeting time, and more complex things like trying to establish a relationship with my host family and their neighbors."

“My Hungarian is coming along, slowly but surely,” he wrote. “Each complete sentence that is both spoken and understood is small victory!”

Last August, Titze learned about the program through Augustana’s campus pastor Rev. Dr. Paul Rohde, who also supported him through the application process.

“One of the reasons I was interested in the program was the model of mission and service it practices," Titze wrote. “In the Lutheran church (ELCA), the model for mission work is called accompaniment, in which we live alongside and in the way of the people we serve. Sometimes being present and listening or sharing a meal can be just as important as, or more important than, doing something.”

During his time, Titze has also traveled throughout Hungary, Slovenia and Ukraine with the Filidelfia Lutheran Church. Read more about Titze's mission on his blog, Thad in Hungary.

Thad Titze











Titze's orientation in Bratislava

- Chi Ngo '13