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Archive for the ‘February 2014’ Category

Friday, February 28 2014:  Wow, last day of February.  Hooray!  Another nice sunny morning for walking but the remainder of the day has been cloudy.  About mid morning Elder B & C brought over a load of laundry to wash.  After lunch we went to a fabric store and then to the branch house so Win could sew.  We came home about 2:00 and then I took Elder L and B to get some supplies for their apartment.  This afternoon Win did a lot of hand sewing on some pin cushions she is finishing for some of the ladies.  At 4:00 she had a program scheduled with Elders B & C but the investigators called and cancelled.  At 5:00 Elder B & C called and said brother L was at the church so I rushed right over.  Brother L is the ordained Elder that we visited weeks ago in another village.  He came to Bekescsaba today with his mother to see his uncle who is in the hospital.  After the visit he put his mother on a bus back to their village and decided to take the next bus so he could meet with us for a little while.  We told him how happy we were to see him and that we had wanted to come and see him again but had not been able to contact him.  He cannot afford the bus fare to come to church but said when the weather permits, he will ride his bike.  Apparently there is a bike trail that is only a 15 km (9.3 miles) ride to Bekescsaba, which he said is much shorter than going along the road the bus travels.   Before he left, L said something that I will always remember.  He said our previous visit to him was a confirmation that Heavenly Father had not forgotten him and that he mattered.  When I left the building Elders L & B and R were in a program with T, the father of the two little girls who were at church, FHE and sewing class.  That is so great that he has had contact with the Elders four times now this week.

Below is a picture for Jaylee of some of the first spring flowers we have seen.

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Thursday, February 27 2014:  Thirty years ago today I went to work for the Church in the Boise Area Office.  That was a significant day for us and it is amazing to think of all that has happened since then.  I was up and ready before Win so I headed out on a walk for about an hour.  I went along a street I had not been on and woke up the neighborhood from all the dogs who barked at me.  You can’t speak English to the dogs here because that makes them mad.  It’s a joke among the senior couples that the dogs know more Hungarian than we do.  I wonder if a dog from America came here if it would be able to learn the language?  We previously got permission to travel to Szeged today to be with our friends V & A who were married and baptized in December.  It is A’s 29th birthday and we drove over this afternoon to spend some time with them at their new home.  They have really made a lot of progress on the place.  V had just finished putting up shelves in the pantry and they already have some garden plants coming up outside.  The ZL’s from Szeged were there for a while and had some birthday cake with us.  We were glad to hear that both V & A now have callings in the branch.  Win and I both feel they will be leaders in the Church here in the future.   On the way back we stopped in Szeged for some dinner and arrived home in Bekescsaba about 8:30.

Wildlife sightings:  2 rabbits, 2 cranes, 5 pheasants, 23 deer.

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Wednesday, February 26 2014:  Plenty of frost on the windshields this morning but a bright sunny day.  After our walk we got showered and suited up for District Meeting at 10:00.  Before we got started Win served the Elders some plum fruit bread she made last night.  Elder L shared with us that he has a talent for making noises with his mouth.  Win gave the spiritual thought and Elder C the language tip.  Our District Leader, Elder B, presented some training from chapter 5 of PMG on the importance of using the Book of Mormon in our teaching.  The meeting concluded about 11:30 and then we all walked a few blocks to a restaurant for lunch.  Win and I had eaten there before and recommended it.  The Elders liked it because it was inexpensive and they serve good sized portions.  At 1:00 we had a short meeting with our landlord at the branch house.  She brought us the utility bills for the month along with a letter of explanation for one of the bills that included some prior months charges that she paid for.  This afternoon Win did some more laundry and prepared for sewing class tonight.  I put the utilities bills in an envelope and walked to the post office to mail them to Budapest.  The mission office pays the rent and utilities on all the the apartments in the mission but as senior missionaries we are responsible to cover those costs for our apartment.  We also pay a monthly fee for our vehicle and the fuel we use.  At 6:00 we went to the church so Win could have some time to sew before the class at 7:00 but that didn’t work out.  When we got to the building the family with the two young girls, who were at church and FHE, were sitting in a program with Elder L & B.  Pretty soon the mother and the two girls came out to see us and we said we would watch the girls if the mother wanted to go back in the program.  We and the two other Elders did our best but the youngest one wanted her mother.  At 7:00 two of our branch members and a young lady investigator came for sewing class and then the family decided they would like to stay so the mother could make something.  So, for an hour and a half the father, myself and four Elders tried to entertain the girls.  The mother was able to make a tissue pocket and also got some parenting advise from Win while they worked together.  The mother wanted to know how Win survived raising four children.  I got to spend some time with the father and he said he and his family feel good when they are with us and the Elders.  Before the class was over, the young lady investigator announced to us all that she had decided to get baptized next month.  Elders L and B could hardly contain their excitement at the news.  After everyone had gone home and we were cleaning up, the Elders told us that before the program the family was at the dentist.  The dentist asked the young girl where they were going after their appointment with him.  The girl replied, “we are going to see the Mormons”.

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Tuesday, February 25 2014:  This morning, there were more city workers than usual who were out sweeping, raking and doing general clean up.  Most of them don’t work very fast and just move slowly about their tasks while taking a lot of breaks.  I am sure their pay is at the bottom of the scale.  A few minutes before 10:00 I picked up Elders B & C and we visited one of the sisters in the branch.  I learned that she has lived in the same apartment for 20 years.  She has two daughters and a dog named Happy.  She is the branch institute teacher but can only teach every other week because her shift at work changes.  She was tracked out by some Elders six or seven years ago, she let them in and was eventually baptized.  We decided to try and hold institute weekly at the branch house, rather than at her apartment, and to assign one of the Elders or myself to teach on the weeks she can’t.  It was a good visit and nice for me to get to know more about her.  While I was gone Win finished up on the bean bag sewing project she had previously started, did more laundry and ironing.

This afternoon we had an interesting discussion about going home for a year and then coming back to Hungary.  It was brought on by Win’s concern that there may not be a couple coming to replace us.  That of course can change quickly.  However,  we recently learned there are only a few dozen couples willing and eligible for service in Europe where hundreds of couples are currently needed here.  Part of the problem is of course an insufficient number of couples applying for missions and also the lack of good medical services.  This is not a place to come if you have need of regular or reliable medical care.  We are so very grateful for our good health thus far.  The discussion actually caught me off guard because I know how much we both miss everyone back home.  We also talk frequently about the future and what we can do to be productive in our retirement years.  Fishing, working on my handicap and teaching the grand kids to tie knots or something seems a productive pursuit for me but Win balks at such comments.  In addition, small apartment living is at times tough and I was surprised Win would consider coming back to it.  What did not surprise me is the love she has for these people and her strong desire to take care others needs.  Everywhere we look there are issues to address or things that could be improved and yet life goes on.  The members here are faithful and get by the best they can with what is available to them.  Finally, this language is super hard.  We both gave up on it too early.  The effort required to learn it was not the best use of our time since we don’t use it all day like the young missionaries and you can get by fine without being fluent.  Below is a picture from our walk of the snack shop at the entrance to a park.  You can see the fresh sandwiches for sale.

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Monday, February 24 2014:  It was grey and cloudy this morning but dry so we walked for an hour up the canal and back.  More and more we see where people have started to trim, rake, pick up the leaves and clean up yards and gardens.  We hope the cold weather is behind us but we shall see.  Today was wash the sheets day so they are hanging around in the apartment so we can get them dry by tonight.  Win wanted some uninterrupted time on the sewing machine so we drove to the church where she could work on a couple of unfinished projects.  We then walked to the post office to mail the branch history for last year to the Mission President and then to the bank for the donations deposit.  After that we walked to the little butcher shop to get some fresh sausage to cook but he was out so we purchased our first foot long link of smoked sausage.  Before coming home we drove to LIDL for a few groceries.  We lack storage space and a normal size fridge to stock up on some items so we shop a lot.  This afternoon Win baked chocolate chip cookie sticks for tonight.  We went to the branch house at 5:30 to set up for FHE.  At 6:00 there were only 12 people total and I was very disappointed.  I was in charge of the spiritual message and had selected a 30 minute video on Faith in Christ.  I felt like this film would maybe have an impact on some of our investigators but the people I had in mind were not there.  We delayed starting for a few minutes but then decided to go ahead.  After the opening song and prayer, we started the video and in walked T, his wife and the two little girls.  No one had even invited them, we think that they just heard the announcement about FHE at church yesterday and decided to come.  The two little girls were very busy and a bit noisy in church but they sat quietly through the film.  After the video, I bore my testimony and we then played games and had treats.  Win made a big pot of hot chocolate to go with the cookie sticks and the Elders brought a bag of popcorn.  The games were a hit and the little girls were as happy as they could be.  Win even made up a couple of other games to keep them busy so their parents could visit and ask questions of the missionaries.  We ended up with a total of 17 people, 8 investigators, included a family of 4!  It was probably the best FHE we have had in the 13 months of our mission.  No one wanted to leave but at 8:30 we started stacking the chairs and saying good by to everyone so the Elders could be home by 9:00.  When T and his family left I thanked him for coming and he said he was very happy for this time with us and would come back again.

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Sunday, February 23 2014:  I walked to the church a little earlier this morning to get a head start on the building set up before a program at 9:00.  But the investigator, T, an adult male with a wife and two young daughters, came 15 minutes early.  I had not met him before so we got to know each other before the Elders arrived.  Fortunately he speaks good English.  The program went very well and I am hopeful that he and his family can become  active members before we leave here.  While in the program, R came and set up all the chairs and the sacrament table.  He is so faithful and eager to help.  We only had 23 total in attendance with 8 investigators but the best part was that T came back with his wife and two girls so we had a family in our sacrament meeting.  Win spoke on faith, which was just what T needed to hear.  Win was also prepared to teach Primary but no youth stayed after sacrament meeting.   While we were in Sunday School class Win prepared a table with all the leftovers from last nights party.  When church was over we moved the table into the chapel and had a linger longer lunch for those who could stay.  Then I had the privilege of setting R apart as the Teachers Quorum President.  When I asked him earlier in the week to accept the calling he said, “will I get a blessing”?  He will always be one of the really bright memories of our mission and one who we will want to stay in touch with.

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Saturday, February 22 2014:  We walked for about an hour in a light rain.  When we got back I went to a bakery shop to get some salty rolls for the party tonight.  Then we cleaned the apartment and did laundry.  Elder C also brought us a load of his laundry to throw in the washer.  After lunch we drove to the branch house to do a partial cleaning and decorate for the Farsang party.  Farsang is a festival to chase away or celebrate the end winter.  There is also a legend that people once used scary masks to chase away the Turks.  We finished decorating about 3:00 and then went home to finish up the laundry and get ready to go back to the church at 5:30.  When we drove up, there were already a few people there waiting to get in.  The Elders had been playing soccer so they came soaking wet and changed into their costumes in the building.  A family who has a connection with the local theater provided the costumes for us and the Elders.  By the end of the evening there were 27 people but 14 were non members so that number was really good.  After an opening prayer, we played three games, had a costume parade and then ate.  There was plenty of food and even some left over.  Everyone was so good to bring a variety of dishes to sample.  It was great to have some frog eye salad along with a Hungarian open faced sausage and cheese sandwich.  One of the very little, older ladies, our YW president’s mother, asked if she could give me a hug.  I said of course, and she gave me a very endearing one.  She loved that I was dressed in her native attire.   Most everyone was gone by 8:30 and we had the building mopped and locked up a little after 9:00.  It was a lot of work but those who came had a very good experience.

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