Mysterious Mayfeld and a “Search for Renewal”

I’d always heard about my great-grandpa being a minister, but in kind of a vague general way. Like, in the way that probably all little Menno children have a grandparent or great-grandparent who was a minister. So, just obviously. But I had never learned any details about this. Maybe they never told. Maybe I never asked.

One day, I was clawing through my mom’s bookshelves, unearthing every book about history or connecting to any family history, and I held up a fairly large tome: “what about this?”

It was Search for Renewal: The Story of the Rudnerweider/EMMC.

By reading this book, I stumbled upon this precious picture of my grandpa, Dave Neufeld, and learned that he had been in a quartet in Mayfeld. My mom would have been his baby daughter at the time this photo was taken.

I’d seen this title on these bookshelves all my life, and had dismissed it as another boring book.

Now mom told me that this volume mentions her grandpa, and her family.

And thus I absconded this book from her collection.

For a long time, this book sat lost on my overly full dining room table along with about 73 other books pertaining to Mennonites, history, and Mennonite history.

At some point mom mentioned that she’d like to have some of her books back.


Ah yes, “Mrs. David Neufeld”. Otherwise known as Aganeta Enns. I was thrilled to see this photo of my great-grandparents in this book!

I’ve been haltingly returning my mom’s books as I obtain replacements from the local MCC thrift shop.

One day, I found Search for Renewal at the MCC, happily bought it for 50 cents, and proceeded to return my mother’s copy to her, at long last.

Now I have my own copy of this book!

My forays to the West Reserve and also to Austin this summer have raised some more questions for me, and thus I found myself turning to this book.

I was patiently reading and reading and reading about the beginnings of the EMMC (borne of the Sommerfelder church <— this was news to me).

I read of the EMMC being highly aware of Steinbach legend Ben D. Reimer’s success in establishing many EMC churches in Saskatchewan.

But disappointingly, I read nothing about my family.

Until I reached a chapter titled “THE MAYFELD MOVEMENT”.

A-ha! Now we’re getting somewhere. (More next week!)