October - it’s a month when the true colors of fall are seen in Lithuania and the jacket becomes your best friend. Well, here in Hungary it is different. The climate zone of Central Europe still allowed us to enjoy a constant temperature of +15° C (59.0° F).
Map of “Word of Life” Bible Institute. 78 acres located in rural Tóalmás, Hungary. The place where we will spend this coming year.
- Main entrance
- Summer dining room
- Dan Bubar Auditorium
- Fellowship place
- Water tower
- Swimming pond & zip-line
- Sport courts
Here's how our studies at the Bible Institute look like:
On October 6 our time in quarantine has ended and on the same day, we have started our studies in the Bible Institue. A lot of people keep asking us how our day here looks like. First I must mention that we have a daily schedule by which we live every day. During weekdays our official program lasts from 6:30 am till 9:45 pm. We start our day with an individual quiet time which lasts for 30 min. At 7:20 am we go for breakfast. Since the rest of the day’s activities take place in the afternoon, the only free time we have is after breakfast and until 11:00 am. At 11:00 am three times a week we have chapel meetings. During this time we have worship, word sharing, and often some group activities. At 12:00 pm we go and enjoy Hungarian lunch which is actually not very different from Lithuanian. From 2:00 pm till 5:00 pm we have classes. Each week we have 16 classes in total. Each of them lasts for 50 minutes. After classes, we usually have ham and cheese sandwiches for dinner. From 7:00 pm till 9:00 pm we have the required study time. For the first 7 weeks, every first-year student must come to the auditorium (marked with number 4 on the map) and spend 2 hours studying with supervision. After 7 weeks, if the average grades are good, then study time with supervision is no longer mandatory. We end our day with devotionals in our dorm rooms. They are prepared every night by a different roommate (students live in dorm rooms with 5 to 8 people).
In the photo below, you can see a typical week’s schedule.
Well, having already told you about our schedule, I can talk more about academic subjects. We study here in modules. Every week we have a new main module, which consists of 10-15 classes. Most of the time it is one or two books of the Bible (We have already studied the books of Joshua, Jonah and Nahum, Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes, and Psalms). This way of learning allows students to focus on the subject more. In addition, almost every one of these weekly modules is taught to us by guest lecturers from around the world. Usually, guest lecturers would come to Hungary, teach, and then go back to their countries, but because of COVID-19, these classes are done remotely. Most of the guest lecturers are from the U.S. and live in different time zones. Therefore we have our classes in the afternoon (for lecturers in the U.S. it is early in the morning). On Mondays, we always have a test based on last week’s subject. The remaining few classes out of those 16 are from long-term subjects, “Systematic Theology”, “Old Testament Survey”, “Hermeneutics — Methods of Bible Study”, which we will study throughout the semester. We both are pleasantly surprised by the high quality of the studies and their intensity. We are very happy that we came here!
When the studies are over there is little time left for other things. Gabrielė and I got a 1 room apartment in the main building which is called the castle (marked with number 2 on the map). It’s not easy to find time for each other and it’s even harder to find time for all the wonderful people here. About half of the students are from outside of Europe therefore the environment is truly international.
Some events from student life:
A few weeks ago, on a wonderful Saturday, we went hiking 15 km in northern Hungary. The institute organized students and staff to go together on this trip, which lasted all day. It was amazing to walk among the Hungarian hills and watch nature. We noticed that trees in Hungary are much taller and thicker than in Lithuania. On the horizon, we were able to see the peaks of the Slovak Tatra Mountains emerging from the sea of clouds.
Also, we had a banquet dinner. Usually, the banquet happens during the first week of studies but because the second quarantine wave of students just recently got out of the quarantine the banquet was postponed. During this banquet, all the students dress up beautifully, and the university staff becomes the banquet waiters for that evening. It takes place in the main building, which is a baroque style castle, therefore it really makes students feel highly valued and honored.
Due to a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in Hungary, the government announced quarantine. The first cases of coronavirus also reached the town of Tóalmás, where the institute is located. The town has a population of about 3,000. However, we live in a very closed and isolated place from the outside, which is why we hope to stay untouched by the virus.
We wanted to thank each and everyone who contributed to our studies financially. We were able to pay all the tuition fees for the whole year because more than half of the sum was collected only thanks to all of your donations! Thank you!