Tuesday, March 26, 2013

In Transit

I was sitting on the plane from Amsterdam to Minneapolis, and I decided to play Angry Birds to pass the time. The only reason I have Angry Birds Star Wars on my iPad is because Nate begged me to buy it for him.

So here I am playing this game, and I realize that all the levels I am playing, Nate has already beaten on his own - not to mention that I have to try multiple times to pass his high scores!

Lets just say, I'm feeling humbled that my 5 year old is way more clever, or at least way more persistent than I am....

I'm in Minneapolis right now waiting to get on my last flight back to Denver. On this trip I've passed through 5 airports, and here's what I think:

  • I like Denver's airport. It's easy and quick to navigate.
  • At JFK I had to do something I've only done once before: I had to leave the airport entirely and walk down the street to another terminal building. The only other time I've had to do that before was in Paris, when Charles du Gaulle was under construction a few years back. JFK was not a great experience this time around, especially since it was snowing outside while I had to walk from one terminal to the next.
  • Charles du Gaulle was ok, but it took so long to get to my connection that I missed my flight. It was pretty boring to spend 5 hours there and the Internet connection wasn't good.
  • Budapest is nice, especially since they've renovated it. Easy to navigate, free wifi, very comfortable.
  • Although I like KLM a lot, Amsterdam's airport was a mixed bag: on one hand they had a good system of getting people through passport control, with people standing around and allowing those who were close to missing flights to cut ahead in line. It was very efficient, and I wish I had that before at times when I've missed flights because no one would let me ahead in line. After that though, they had a terrible bottleneck at the gate, because they do security at each individual gate for the transcontinental flights.
  • Minneapolis is simple and easy to navigate, comfortable and has free wifi. All things I love to have in an airport, especially if you have to spend a few hours there.

Almost home...


Heading Home

Today was my last day in Eger. As excited as I was to be in Eger this past week, I was totally ready to go home this morning. I miss my wife and kids, and I realize that God has bound my heart up with Longmont and the ministry of White Fields, and entrusted the ministry here to others.

I went to Tesco and OBI, I needed to mail a few things and buy a few gifts, but the main goal was to find a way to take Túró Rudi back home to America. I picked up some Kinder Tojás and Kinder Szelet and then went over to OBI to get a hűtő táska.

Afterwards I met Dani in town for a coffee and then went up to say goodbye to Tünde and Julcsi. Jani came up to Budapest with me, along with Ilona and Judit. When we left Eger the weather was cold but fine, and about half way to Budapest it started snowing, and got worse and worse. I think it might be still snowing outside.

Here in Budapest I'm staying with Laci Németh, pastor of Golgota Dél-Pest, and Kyle Eckhart from Golgota Szeged came up to say hi and catch up. Great guys doing great ministries that The Lord is blessing. It was good to hang out and catch up. Laci lives near the airport, so he will drive me in the morning. My plane leaves at 6am, so we will leave early.

It's been a good trip. I'm so glad that I got to come and support Jani and Tünde and the church in Eger. Please continue to pray for the Hernádi family, for the city of Eger and for the work of God in Hungary, especially through the Golgota churches.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Eger Under Construction

Nézd, az Elefanto éttermet újra Elefantónak hívják! A Casa della Pasta úgyis hülye név volt - és mindenki úgy is Elefantonak hívta


Church in Eger

Sunday morning I preached at Golgota Eger. It was good to see old friends and see things working well in the church. I especially noted that children's ministry and youth ministry are going well, led by Kriszti.

Shane led worship and I brought a message about the Kingdom of God from Matthew 5, Romans 13 and Ephesians 4.

Please pray for this church! It is good to see how they have accepted Jani as their pastor and surrounded the Hernádi's with love and support during this time of difficulty. Please pray that the church would be an effective tool for reaching people for Jesus in Eger and the surrounding region.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Thank You Video from the Hernádi's


Temetési Videók - Videos of the Funeral

Ez akkor készült amikor megérkeztünk és készültünk a temetésre, mielőtt megjöttek a gyászolók.

This was right when we arrived and we were setting up, before the funeral.

Jani beszéde. Ige hirdetésem után, Jani felállt és beszédet mondott. Nagy ütős volt. Nem tudom mennyire lehet hallani a felvételen mit mond, mert fújt a szél.

After I preached, Jani got up and spoke. It was powerful. It's a bit hard to hear what he's saying because of the wind.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Misi's Funeral

Today was the big day. I got out to the Szent Donát cemetery around 10:30 and the funeral began promptly at 11.

Shane did music, and I officiated and preached, all in Hungarian. I'm glad that I haven't lost any of my Hungarian after being in America for the last year. It was very cold out, to the point where I had trouble turning the pages in my notes, and after preaching for 25 minutes, my knees hurt.

After I spoke, Jani got up and shared a few words. Quite a few people were there - well over a hundred, and many people came who I had hoped would come but didn't expect to see there. The gypsies came out from the gypsy church in Heves, as well as members of the Eger church who I hadn't seen in a while and a number of pastors from other churches in Eger and from Calvary Chapels around the Hungary.

It was a sad event, and tragic to see such a small coffin. Many tears were shed, but not nearly as many as I have seen shed at other funerals in Hungary, because here the focus was on the hope of the resurrection. The Gospel was preached, people were called to consider the fragility and fleetingness of life and put their faith in Jesus to be saved. I believe that God was glorified.

After the funeral I went to pick up Julcsi, who was being watched by a neighbor, so Jani and Tünde could go straight to the church for the reception. After getting Julcsi, we went to the church and got to spend good time talking and catching up with the Hernádi's friends and family and many people from church.

Afterwards I went out with Dani to Egerszalók for coffee and then went out to dinner at HBH downtown; I got borjú paprikás - my old favorite, and then came back to the guesthouse where I got to FaceTime with Rosemary and the kids and then spent time talking to my hosts and their son. Really nice people, and, knowing that I was a pastor, they had a lot of questions about the Bible, and we had a great time together.


Eger - Friday

The day began with meeting Kati at the plaza. As I was trying to get there on time, I had to wait a while, because a load of firewood was delivered to a building down the street, and it blocked traffic until they could move enough of it out of the way. Ah, Hungary! I love these kinds of things actually :)

After meeting with Kati I went downtown and ran some errands. All along the creek is all torn up, because they are working to put in a bicycle path next to the creek. That's a really nice idea - only problem is it doesn't seem very practical since every spring - including right now - the creek floods and covers the bicycle path. Everyone I talked to in town seems to think that the plan is ridiculous and isn't going to work. It does kind of look like a mess right now - it is especially bad to see how much they aren't concerned about the environment and just dump construction waste into the creek. I watched one guy actually shoveling trash into the creek...

I went out to lunch again with Jani and Tünde and the went with them to buy gifts downtown and exchange some money. After that I went and drove by the places we used to live here in town while I talked to Rosemary and the kids on the phone. Nate remembers a lot from living in Eger; I think he would love to get to come back for a visit.

Here's a picture of the block of flats where we lived for our first few years in Eger, on Csiky Sándor utca. The house next to us, where a family used to live, is now apparently empty and has lost its roof:

After that I went to the Hernádi's and our friend Krisztina came over. Krisztina is the doctor who saved Felicia's life; she also treated Misi and has known the Hernádi family through us and through the church here. We had a nice time together catching up, and afterwards Krisztina came with us to the church and I taught a class about understanding grief and mourning and how to minister to people who are grieving the loss of a loved one. It was something that I had wanted to do for years actually, and I was really glad to get to do it. I didn't know hat Jani was going to be there, but it was actually nice, and he opened up about a lot of his feelings. It was a really great time together and I believe that it was useful for all who attended - which was a pretty good-sized group.

I stuck around the church and with the help of Ilona, Kati and Szabolcs, put the finishing grammar touches on my message for the sermon, which I'm going to do in Hungarian tomorrow. As I was working on it with them in the church office, I began to feel very sick. I'm not really sure what's wrong with me; maybe I'm just exhausted, but I'm really praying it won't cause any problems tomorrow at the funeral. The weather is supposed to be cold but sunny tomorrow. I don't have a coat, only a sweater, so I really hope it will be warm enough for me to get by without just what I have.

Please pray for the funeral tomorrow, that Gid would be honored, that the Gospel would be heard, and that The Lord would be with the Hernádi's. Please also pray that every part of the service goes well.

Here's a picture of the Hernádi's from today:


Friday, March 22, 2013

Eger - Thursday

This morning, after writing some notes for the funeral, I went to the plaza to see Gabi - our family's hairdresser for the 7 years that we lived here. Gabi not only cut Rosemary's hair and my hair, but she cut Nate's hair and gave Felicia her first hair cut. It's always good to see her and she always gets it right.

Later on I went out to lunch with the Hernádi's. They were busy today making arrangements for the funeral and the reception. Quite a few people are going to be there, from all over the country.

It the afternoon I came back to my guesthouse with the intention of working on the computer a bit, but jetlag caught up with me hard, and I fell asleep for a few hours. I spept so hard that I could hardly move when I woke up.

Around 5 I got together with my good friend Dani and we went and drank coffee and did some very necessary catching up. I am glad to see that he is doing better in every aspect of his life. When I think of Dani and many other people at the church, the scripture that always comes to mind is Philippians 4:1 - Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

From the coffee house I went back over to the Hernádi's. Tünde was away at the church's women's book club, and so we had organized for me to meet with the elders to pray for the church and discuss things that are going on. One thing that has struck me while being here, and something I heard from Dani tonight, is that the church here, although small, is full of people who truly love each other, truly seek The Lord, and truly live out their faith. Their is quality. Today I was reading an interview with Greg Laurie in which he said: if you take care of the quality, The Lord will take care of the quantity. These guys have done a good job taking care of the quality and I'm proud of them and I praise God for it.

After we prayed for the church and talked, Tünde got home and I hung out for a bit drinking a late night coffee and talking. It was a great time of fellowship. Jani even mentioned that when I was here we didn't always spend a lot of time together with no agenda, just hanging out. We did sometimes, but everyone was always so busy. One of the blessings of this week is getting to spend a lot of quality time with the Hernádi's. That's important, because as they say: some people are like Ukrainian candy - they take a long time to open up :)


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Eger - Wednesday Evening

After breakfast at the place I'm staying, I spent the day with Jani and Tünde. We planned out the order of service for the funeral and Tünde picked out pictures of Misi for the slideshow which will be shown at the reception after the funeral, which will be at the Kálvin Ház.

After that we went and picked up Julcsi from óvoda, and then went to ZF to eat at their cafeteria. There is a lady who works there who is from the Baptist church in Egerszólát where we used to do our baptisms and who came to Golgota many times when I was pastor. She remembered me and we talked and she gave us free dessert.

We went back to the Hernádi flat and I played with Julcsi while Jani and Tünde sat down to wrote the email announcement for the funeral, which was very hard for them to do, and I could tell they were glad that Julcsi and I were playing together so they could have a moment together to grieve.

Around this time, Ákos called, asking if we wanted to go with him up to Bélapátfalva to look at the place they were considering for the gyülekezeti hétvége spring retreat. We all went up, but by this time, the jetway which I thought I had escaped by sleeping well caught up with me and I passed out hard in the car. I was so exhausted that I felt sick. But it was beautiful up in Bélapátfalva, and the hotel they are going to rent out is awesome, better than any of the locations we ever had for these retreats when I was here.

The Hernádi's with Bélkő hegy behind them:

When we got back to Eger we went to church, where Ákos taught. It was really good for me to see, as I looked around the room, that people I baptized and ministered to are standing strong in their faith. Another great thing to see is how much the church here loves to pray. They are a group of people who truly love each other, and this situation with Misi has surely strengthened that bond.

After church we went back to Jani's place, organized a bit more for the funeral, talked with Tünde, and then Jani and I went out together to the Shiraz hotel in Egerszalók - one of my favorite places to go for long, deep talks. And we had one, and it was hard and sad but wonderful. We laughed and we also talked about serious things, and experiences and memories, and we talked a lot about The Lord and the Word. It was time well spent together.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Eger - Wednesday Afternoon

There are some smells here in Hungary that bring back strong reminiscence, and they are probably not the smells you might think of. One of the strongest that hit me was the smell of öblítőszer (fabric softener) from the clothes drying on the rack in the hallway. Another is the smell of the air, full of moisture and smoke from furnaces.

Here's my view of Eger from where I'm staying, with Nagy Eged in the distance

Eger Trip - Wednesday morning

I'm up at 6am local time and feel well rested. I slept we'll on the flights over, which was great because it left me fresh to talk and spend time with people immediately after arriving in Budapest.

I missed my connection in Paris after my flight from New York was 40 minutes late. I literally ran to the gate and was a sweaty mess, but arrived at 7:05 to a flight that was scheduled to leave at 7:15. I could see my plane at the end of the jetway, but they wouldn't let me on no matter how hard I protested. They put me on the next flight at 12:30, so I spent 5 very boring hours in Charles du Gaulle.

Upon arriving in Budapest I was picked up by Ákos, an elder from the church and the man who took our family to the airport in March of 2012 when we moved from Hungary. Ákos took me to his home in Domoszló, where I was reunited with his wife Evelin and their daughter and with Ilona, one of the lay leaders from Golgota Eger. We ate and drank coffee and caught up for a few hours. They wanted to discuss how the week will go and how they think Jani and Tünde are doing.

After leaving there, Ilona drove me into Eger, where we first picked up the church's car for me to use while I'm here, and then she took me to the guesthouse on Pacsirta utca that they are putting me up in; only 100 meters from where Nate went to óvoda (preschool). It is the finished attic of the home of a family who K. Judit from church teaches English to. It's very nice and clean; only bummer is that it seems they don't have wifi. One of their kids is headed over today to try to help with that.

I took my stuff up to the apartment and then headed over to Jani and Tünde's flat for dinner. It was surreal driving around in Eger again, listening to Radió Eger in the car and seeing the old neighborhoods where we have so many memories. It is very wet here in Hungary; on the radio they were talking about how floods, and I could see that the ground is saturated with water. There are tons of potholes and standing water everywhere. But there is also that deep green on the hills and fields that I love so much.

It was great to see the Hernádi's. Tünde cooked great Hungarian food - soup and túrós tészta. Afterwards they put their daughter Julcsi down to sleep and we spent about 3 hours catching up and talking about everything from the Heves church to White Fields to how they were doing and what happened with Misi.

They asked me to officiate his funeral, which will be on Saturday at 11am at the cemetery which they can see from their balcony, looking towards Nagy Eged hegy. Can you believe that after 8 years of pastoring I have conducted so many wedding and baptisms that I can't keep track of them anymore, but I have never officiated a funeral. This will be my first. I plan to do it in Hungarian. Please pray for me to have God's words. I want to bring comfort and hope to the family, yet challenge those who are not believers with the Gospel message.

Today it is raining outside. I plan to spend the day with Jani, planning the funeral and just being together. In the evening there is church, where I look forward to catching up with brothers and sisters from Golgota. It seems to me that this whole tragic event has brought them together in a powerful way. One of the many good fruits which can be seen from the people here walking by faith in dark, difficult times.

My apartment:



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

An Unexpected Trip

I'm in Paris right now, en route to Eger. I wasn't planning this trip, but I'm glad to make it.

My dear friends the Hernádi's lost their son on Thursday. The good news of the gospel is indeed good news, because it means that not only is Misike no longer suffering, but he is in glory, and he will be reunited with his mom and dad on that day which all of creation earnestly longs for.

Heaven is not an abstract idea, but a place where we will know and be known, we will hug and be hugged. I believe that Jani and Tünde will get to meet Misi, that they will get to know him, and he will no longer be a baby, but will have a resurrection body just like the rest of us will who have put our faith in Jesus Christ.

For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. - 1 Corinthians 15:53-56

This is what I long for: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." - Revelation 21:1-5

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God. - Job 19:25-26

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" - John 11:25-26


Friday, March 01, 2013

Excessive Worry

Do you ever worry? If you do, you're not alone.

There is a healthy kind of concern that all people should have who have taken on responsibility, but the Bible warns us against excessive worry.


Consider this:

Excessive worry comes when you think you are absolutely sure you know exactly what has to happen... and you are afraid that God won't get it right.


God's Word reveals to us who God is: loving. good. all-powerful. all-knowing. providential. transcendent. And one of the results of truly embracing the biblical understanding of who God is, is that you come to the place where you are able to rest from excessive worry because you realize that only your Heavenly Father knows exactly what you need and only your Heavenly Father has the ultimate power to give you what you need. So you come to the point where you say: "I admit that I don't know what's really best for me in the big picture! I don't know what really has to happen! Because I can't see the big picture from my vantage point. But I know that God can! And I do know that God loves me, and God holds all things in His hand and is working out His plan, and He's not going to mess it up."


“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

(Matthew 6:25-33 ESV)


do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)

Snowshoeing in RMNP

The good thing about having things is that it creates an itch to use them.
Last year I got a pair of snowshoes as a gift, and earlier this year we bought a national parks pass that's good for a year. There are few things I like more than the feeling that I've gotten my money's worth out of something, so after a big dump of snow I got up in Rocky Mountain National Park with some friends and snowshoed up to Emerald Lake.
It was about a 3.5 mile hike round trip with an elevation gain of about 1000 ft. The views were stunning - I highly recommend it, but make sure you don't go alone. We found that it was really easy to get lost, because in the snow it can be very hard to find the trail, and very easy to get lost. In fact, while we were up there search and rescue teams were looking for a Texas man who went hiking alone and got lost. Bad idea. Nature can be both beautiful and brutal.
Dream Lake with Hallet Peak on the left
The view of Longs Peak on our way back