November 30, 2022

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in Honor of 

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Sunday School Picnic & Welcome for Pastor Dan

Please join us for SS kick-off & Welcome Picnic. Everyone is welcome. Meat will be provided. Bring a salad, side, chips or dessert to share. Following Worship

Sabbatical 2018

The following will include some of my thoughts and experiences of my 2018 sabbatical experience.  My sabbatical begins on May 28th and starts with a quick trip to Hungary to see our missionary friends who are working with starting a church for Roma peoples in Abaujvar Hungary.  Most of my sabbatical will be spent in the southern Black Hills around Custer.  It will be a time of reading, reflecting, writing, and doing some physical labor.  So it begins and we will see where God will take us.  

Pastor Keith


The journey begins

May 28, 2018

Well, the journey begins.  Sabbatical 2018 begins today.  Where it will take me exactly I do not know.  It begins with a week-long trip to Hungary to visit our missionary friends, Attila and Livia Tomes.  As I write this, I am sitting in the Minneapolis airport with a six hour layover before we fly to Amsterdam and then to Budapest.  Attila and Livia will be there to meet us.  From Budapest we will travel to the northern border of Hungary where Attila and Livia are currently working to establish a Roma church.  While we are there we will have the opportunity to visit with other Hungarian pastors as well as share with a confirmation class about the United States and life in South Dakota. 

As I mentioned earlier, I do not know exactly where this sabbatical journey will take me.  It seems somewhat appropriate that this sabbatical journey begins on Memorial Day as my unofficial theme for my sabbatical is “In search of hope and healing.”  Our trip to Bismarck this morning took us past the Veterans’ Cemetery outside of Mandan.  It was moving to see all of the vehicles parked along the road and the people going to the Memorial Day service.  We had the extra blessing meeting the veterans’ motorcycle riders.  It was a pretty awesome and emotional sight to see the hundreds of motorcycles go by.  I couldn’t help a tear come to my eye as I thought of Ben.  He was proud of his service in Afghanistan.  I also couldn’t help but wonder where Andrew and the Colorado National Guard Band was playing today. 

I’m not sure how much blogging I will be doing, but I will try to continue to share some thoughts and experiences during this sabbatical journey in search of hope and healing.  Blessings and peace, 

Pastor Keith


May 31, 2018

We have just completed our first day in Abaujvar Hungary.  Attila and Livia’s daughter’s confirmation class spent the day on the church property as part of a day camp.  They did some singing, games, Bible study, and of course, eating.  This morning a gentleman came with his horse and did tricks too much money so they are doing only a little at time as the money is available. 

for the youths.  It was interesting to see his Hungarian riding outfit.  Much different from our western wear.  We had homemade pizza cooked in an outside brick oven.  Deb and I showed pictures and talked about life in Mobridge South Dakota.  Afterwards we went to Slovakia for ice cream. 

Abaujvar is a small village in north eastern Hungary very close to the Slovakian border.  It is a quiet little village.  The Hungarian Reformed church building was built in the 12th century.  (If I remember correctly.)  It was a Catholic church until after the Reformation.  There are pictures of Bible stories and images under the white paint and plaster.  They are trying to restore it but it would cost way The long term hope and plan is to create a mission camp on the church property.  It already has a good start with flower gardens and a prayer path.  It is a very peaceful place and after the frustration and hassle of the travel to get here today has been a very good and relaxing experience.  All in all, it is has been a peaceful and relaxing day and a very good start to Sabbatical 2018.

                                                                                      Aldas bekesseg

                                                                                      Pastor Keith


June 1, 2018

A small glimpse of Hungarian history

Today we got a small glimpse of Hungarian history.  First we went to an old castle in northern Hungary.  All they know about the Boldogko castle is that it was built sometime after the Mongolian invasion in the thirteenth century.  Restoration started on the castle in 2002.  Now they have many exhibits and historical characters to talk and illustrate the history of thirteenth century Hungary.  There were many school children there on field trips while we were there.  They even had a small four piece Hungarian band leading the school children in traditional Hungarian dance. 

After the visit to the castle we made a stop in the village of Vizsoly to the church where the first Bible was printed in Hungarian in 1590.  The church building was first a Catholic church.  The church building was taken over by the Hungarian Reformed Church after the Reformation. 

Today’s experiences were another reminder how much change and conflict are so much a part of our world history.  Much of the time the two, change and conflict, are interconnected and come at the same time.  It makes me hope for a time when and where peace can come through seeking understanding …understanding God’s will for our world and understanding of those who are different. 

                                                                                                                            Aldas bekesseg,

                                                                                                                            Pastor Keith


June 2, 2018

A seminary, a castle, and 3 churches

So today was a day of visiting a seminary, another castle, and three churches.  We began the morning going to the seminary in Sarospatak where Livia took her second of three exams.  Livia is studying to be a kindergarten teacher at a Christian school.  We are happy to report that she past her exam and now waits two weeks for her next exam. 

While Livia was taking her exam we took a little walking tour of Sarospatak.  We found the Sarospatak castle.  It was built in the 11th century.  It also is an important part of the history of higher education and the Reformation.  A college was started in 1531 and was the center of Reformation in the 17th century. 

Later that afternoon we participated in the celebration of the confirmation anniversaries for the classes of ‘63’, ‘65’, and ’68’ at the Hungarian Reformed church in Zsujta.  We closed the evening with going to the village of Panyok to visit another Hungarian Reformed church that the pastors that Attila work with serve.  The third church they serve is the one here in Abaujvar. 

                                                                                                     Aldas bekesseg,

                                                                                                     Pastor Keith


June 3, 2018

Another day of church, castle, and eating

Today began with to worship services.  The first one was in Zsujto.  The second one was in Abaujvar.  At both services I had the opportunity to share about our ministry in Mobridge.  It is good for us to share and bring a little of the American culture, and more specifically the culture of Mobridge South Dakota with those who will never have the opportunity to experience it.  The more we can share cultural experiences with others the greater chances we have of understanding those who live in different parts of the world than we do.  With greater understanding there is hope for a more peaceful world. 

 In the afternoon we took a journey to another castle not far from Abaujvar.  It is the Fuzer castle.  It was established around the 12th century.  They have been restoring it for the past 20 years because they have found some diagrams of the castle when it was in use.  They used as much of the original materials as was available and made replicas of what was missing. 

Our evening concluded with an outdoor barbecue with the Attila and Livia and family, the pastors, Istven and Victoria and their family and another family that works with the church.  It was a good day of sharing with others in worship, experiences, fellowship, and food.

                                                                                      Aldas bekesseg,

                                                                                      Pastor Keith


June 4, 2018


Bible study & physical work


Today was a day of Bible study and physical labor.  We began the day, as they do here the first Monday of every month, Bible study with the whole Abaujvar Hungarian Reformed church staff.  There are about fifteen staff members including the pastors.  The pastors serve three churches.  Here in Abaujvar they are working to build a retreat center.  The Bible study focused on the story in Acts where Peter and John heal a man crippled from birth.  The question was raised: How will we respond when Jesus calls? …with love or with jealousy and fear?


As the theme of my sabbatical is “In Search of Hope and Healing,” I also see a message of hope in this healing story.  The lame man now has hope.  Hope is a universal necessity.  We all need hope no matter where we live.  As part of my search for a greater understanding of hope and the hope we have to offer to others, I asked the members of the staff to consider five questions for me. 


1.       What are the struggles, challenges, concerns for your church?




1.       Mik a harcok, kihívások, aggodalmak az egyházért?




2.       What are the struggles, challenges, concerns that the people in your area face?




2.       Milyen küzdelmekkel, kihívásokkal és aggodalmakkal szembesülnek az Ön lakóinak lakói?




3.       What are the hopes that you have for your church?




3.       Milyen reményei vannak a gyülekezetnek?




4.       Where do you find hope?




4.       Hol találod a reményt?




5.       What hope does the church have to offer people? 




5.       Milyen reményt ad az egyház számára az emberek?




After Bible study and in the afternoon we started laying brick for a driveway/walkway.  We had to put down some pea gravel over the rock that they already put down.  Then we put brick on top of the pea gravel.  My task consisted of shoveling pea gravel and carrying brick.  I let Attila set up the design and lay the brick.  It was good to do physical labor.  At the end of the day you feel like you have done something and you can see the results of your work. 


The day ended with a cook out with Sunday school children and their families.  We had the opportunity to see and taste what Hungarian bacon was like.  Let’s just say that it is pretty much all fat with a little meat. 


                                                                                                     Aldas bekesseg,


                                                                                                     Blessings and peace,


                                                                                                     Pastor Keith


June 5, 2018

A day of work and preparing to leave

Today we continued work on the driveway/walkway.  The day started with an equipment breakdown.  A weld on the packer that they have rented broke again so they had to get someone from the village to come and re-weld it.  While that was getting fixed, we continued work on the walkway.  By the afternoon the packer was fixed and we were back to work on the big part of the driveway.  My task was mostly to haul bricks to be laid or shovel pea gravel.  It is slow work around the edges of the driveway and walkway as they had to figure out how to place bricks around the curve.  Most of the edge bricks on one side had to be measured and cut to size. 

Today is our last day here in Abaujvar.  It will be nice to be home but our time here was short.  It was a very good experience to see another part of Hungary and to gain a little better understanding of the challenges they face here, which are different from those in Ukraine.  It is always difficult to leave good friends, especially when we live so far apart and we never know when or if we will see each other again.  We give God thanks that we have gotten to know Attila and Livia and their family.  Attila and Livia have a strong passion and desire for their ministry with the Roma people.  It is Livia’s desire to teach kindergarten in a Christian school.  It is Attila’s desire to do more intense work in Roma missions.  We wish them both well on their future endeavors.  We truly hope we will see them again.

Around midnight tonight we will start the journey home by heading towards Budapest for a 6:30 AM flight.  With that in mind…

                                                                                                                   Aldas bekesseg,

                                                                                                                   Blessings & peace,

                                                                                                                   Pastor Keith & Deb