Archive for the ‘December 2013’ Category

Sunday, December 22 2013:  We didn’t attend church this morning in Szeged because we needed to leave for Bekescsaba at 10:15 to meet with the owners of our new apartment at noon.  A few minutes before 12:00 our investigator friend D, met us at the branch house and we walked to the apartment.  I had a feeling that the owners might not have filled out the contract and I was right.  They had a lot of questions, which I had explained to them on Thursday,  but after reading the agreement they wanted to go over it all again.  After meeting with them for an hour I asked if they could possibly fill in all the blanks and sign it before we leave to go back to Szeged today and they agreed.  The agreement must be mailed to Budapest tomorrow or we will not be able to move in by January 1st.  We then walked back to the branch house and had some lunch we brought with us while our friend D, went to her home to get ready for church.  She has been a great help to us and loves being around Win.  After our lunch, two of the Elders arrived and we got the chairs set up for church.  The Elders said they guessed there might be 40 people come because they had invited everyone they could this past week.  So we set up that many chairs and prepared additional water for the sacrament.   Just before the meeting was to start, people just kept coming in the back door and we ended up with a total of 42.  That’s right, 42!  We wanted to all high five each other but we kept our cool and acted like it was normal.  The Christmas program went better than we all expected.  The husband of our Relief Society President was our narrator, we sang three congregational hymns, the four Elders sang one, Elder C and Elder C both played a hymn on the piano and I gave some concluding remarks.  We then had a shortened 30 minute Sunday School time.  Win had about 14 visitors in the YM/YW class so she put them all to work tying blankets.  After the two meetings we put all the chairs in a circle and served the treats everyone had provided.  It was a wonderful social hour and a great day for the branch.  At 6:00 the apartment owners came to the branch house and we finalized the rental agreement for our new apartment.  I made a copy for them and will sent the original to Budapest in the morning.  We were mentally and physically drained as we drove home but so thankful for a very special day that we will long remember.

Wildlife sightings:  2 pheasants, 4 deer.


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Tuesday, December 31 3013:  Yesterday we got a Christmas box in the mail from Reese and Lacey.  That was great to open a box of fun stuff and to know that it finally got here.  Since we are moving, anything sent to us in the future should be mailed to the mission home address listed on the right hand column of the blog.  Win also wanted me to post her email address which is campwinward@gmail.com, if anyone would like it.

I walked early this morning, before breakfast.  Along one street I could hear music and singing, which was unusual at that hour so I went to investigate.  The music was coming from the court yard of a nice hotel and I ventured in.  There was a breakfast buffet table set up for the hotel guests and a man playing an accordion.  He and some others were singing.  But the cool thing was that they were providing music while the hotel guests, maybe 12- 15, were watching a pig being cleaned and prepared by three happy butchers.  While I watched and took a few pictures one of the  butchers cut off pieces of the pigs ears for guests to chew on.  The ones that got a piece of ear were delighted.  I would not have wanted a chunk or ear if it was cooked, let alone raw.  At the main town square there were a few vendors selling new years eve party stuff (see picture below).

When I got home Win was dressed and ready for her walk so I suggested she check out the pig butchering ceremony.   When she got home she said the pig had been quartered and was draining.  She watched the butchers slice bacon from the carcase.  After breakfast I went to the grocery store to get what Win needed for the District meeting lunch here on Friday.  Then I walked over to get a hair cut before going to gas up and wash the car.  Win spent much of the afternoon ironing.  A little after 6:00 we drove out to Victor and Andi’s house for a new years eve get together with the ZL’s and a couple of branch members.  Their home was still set up from the wedding dinner they had over the weekend.  It looked so nice and they were happy we could come and see it finished.  Andi served some delicious sandwiches, a salad and snacks.  Win made rice crispy treats which they had not had before.  We could only stay until 9:00 so that the Elders could be home on time.  They live out in the country and when we went outside to get in the car we could see the big dipper in the sky.  It made us think of home.   It was nice to have somewhere to go tonight and we very much enjoyed the evening.  Forty years ago tonight, I proposed to Win and fortunately for me she accepted.  She tells me that we never spoke of marriage when we dated but I knew then as now that I didn’t want to be with anyone else.


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Monday, December 30 2013:  Win went for a walk this morning while I got ready to go to the posta, the bank and the branch house.  After lunch I went with all four of the Elders to meet with our friend from Australia.  He invited us all over for his special oatmeal pancakes.  The Elders really chowed down on them.  There was also a young man there who asked several questions about why the Elders are in Hungary and what they do everyday.  The Elders shared with him why they had a desire to serve a mission, how they get called and what their daily schedule is like.  I then gave a lesson and shared some personal thoughts and my testimony to my friend as I may not see him again.  As we left the young man agreed to meet with the Elders to learn more.  When I got home Win had finished preparing funeral potatoes, croissant dogs and rice crispy treats for tonights dinner.  We then  went to two stores to compare prices for things we need at the new apartment.  The move is going to nickle and dime us to death setting up house there.  FHE tonight was quiet.  Partly because there were only 8 there and a couple of the rowdy ones were missing but mostly because this was the end of something they did not want to end.  One young lady who is a new investigator came for the first time tonight.  Win gave the parting spiritual thought which started a few tears flowing.  For the activity we played a game of guess what the sculptor and the person being sculpted represented.  After the treats were served, most of the group just sat around and talked until they had to leave to catch buses and trams.  The final hugs were tearful and filled with love.  Sad to see this chapter of our stay here end, especially when the YSA program was our official mission call and we have grown so close to each one of them.  May the Lord bless and guide them and may they most of all endure to the end.


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Sunday, December 29 2013:  At 8:00 this morning Victor and Andrea were baptized.  It was at the Seventh Day Adventist Church here in Szeged and it was great.  There were again several members of the branch and their family  in attendance.  Our branch president presided and Elder F played the hymns for us.  Victor was baptized by his brother and Elder M baptized Andrea.  During sacrament meeting at 10:00 they were both confirmed.   I really don’t have the words to describe how happy they seem and what a wonderful couple they are.  There were not as many members at church due to the holiday weekend but I counted at least 17 investigators.   We were especially excited to see our old friend Alex from English class.  Win and I got to Bekescsaba in time to unload a car full of our stuff and then get to our sacrament meeting there at 3:00.  I was worried there might not be many people in attendance but we had a total of 24 with 6 investigators so that was a good number for us to end the year on.  On the way home we talked about several of the members and speculated on who might come next Sunday when church will start at 10:00 AM.  It will be a welcome change not to make the hour and a half drive to Szeged in the dark next Sunday.  However, it is sad to realize that this is our last Sunday here in Szeged.  There are so many things we will miss about this city and it’s people but it is best that I don’t dwell too much on that right now.

Wildlife sightings:  1 pheasant, 20 deer.


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Saturday, December 28 2013:  Last night before we went to bed, we got a Skype call from Rhet at the hospital and we got to see Erica and little Olive.   We have only looked at her picture about forty times today.  First thing this morning we cleaned the apartment and then went grocery shopping for our last Szeged YSA FHE dinner on Monday.  At noon the landlord brought some prospective renters over to see the apartment.  As soon as they left we got back to packing up stuff and loading it into the car.  There are a lot of mission owned materials and household items that we have to take with us because this apartment is being closed down.  Other wise, it would be much easier for us to just move our belongings.  At 3:00 we walked over to the Town Hall building for Victor and Andi’s wedding.  We have become very close to them and are so happy to be here and share this with them.  As we walked along we ran into the Sisters who were also headed to the wedding.  There were several members of the branch and a lot of their family who were gathered outside the building.  We had to wait a few minutes until the wedding group inside came out.  Below are quite a few pictures but we were fascinated by the ceremony and the setting and want to remember what a special day this was for our friends.  We then walked back home, had some dinner and Win packed up more of the kitchen and pantry.  At 7:00 she went with the ZL’s to a program and I got a few things organized for tomorrow.  Sunday is going to be a very long day for us starting with Victor and Andi’s baptism at 8:00 AM.

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Friday, December 27 2013:  Last night I loaded most of the car with boxes and bags.   We finished topping it off this morning and headed off to Bekescsaba about 8:30.  At 10:00 we met the Elders at the branch house for District meeting.  I got a very good report from each companionship on the investigators they are working with and their status.  Our DL, Elder Mc gave us some training on charity and we set some new goals.  After the meeting we all walked to a local hamburger shop and got sandwiches to go and came back to the branch house for lunch.  At 1:00 the owner of our new apartment come to the branch house and gave Win and I each a set of keys.  We reviewed a couple of points in the contract that needed clarification before she left.  Two of the Elders had to leave for a program so the other two rode their bikes to our new apartment and helped us unload the car.  The landlady left a nice box of chocolates for us in the apartment.  Win and I stayed there another 30 minutes and wiped down shelves and unboxed a few things.  Then we went back to the branch house so Elder Mc and I could go to the bank and the posta to pay the branch internet bill.  We were disappointed to find out the bank and the posta were both closed today.  Win used the sewing machine at the branch house to repair a pair of pants for one of the Elders in Szeged while we were gone.  A former missionary who served for a time in Bekescsaba stopped by the building to say hello and he took a picture of our district and the branch young women’s president before we drove back to Szeged.

Wildlife sightings:  1 rabbit, 4 cranes, 29 deer.


At 7:10 PM we got an email introducing us to our new granddaughter!  What an incredible Christmas week this has been for us.  8 lbs 12 oz., Erica and the baby are doing great.  The cooking queen of Szeged now has a baker’s dozen of grandchildren.

Olive Day Hulbert

Olive Day Hulbert

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Thursday, December 26 2013:  Cold windy walk this morning.  The streets were empty except for an occasional citizen walking their dog.   The Christmas holiday here is three days so everyone is off work until tomorrow.  The missionaries also have the day off until 2:00 PM.  We continued to pack some things this morning.  At 11:00 the landlord and his daughter, who speaks pretty good English, came over to ask questions about our move out date and the security deposit.  They gave us a copy of the apartment inventory, which we will have to get translated, and asked if they could show the apartment to some potential renters tomorrow night at 7:00.  After lunch I took down the Christmas tree and packed it for the move.  This afternoon I stopped packing for awhile and took a little nap.  At 4:00 we were invited to the Mari family apartment for dinner.  They are one of the very active families in the Szeged branch and are very talented musically.  The dinner was another delicious experience.  For the appetizer, we had salty suti with tea and honey.  Then sister Mari served two kinds of sausage, stuffed cabbage rolls, a salad, rice, bread and cherries on the side.  For dessert, there were six varieties of homemade suti.  We were also treated to a Christmas concert of piano and violin music.  Our Christmas here in Szeged will long be remembered for the time we spent with the missionaries at Zone Conference, our YSA FHE and the two families who welcomed us into their homes.

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