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Archive for the ‘January 2014’ Category

Friday, January 31 2014:  After breakfast I went to wash the car and get some whipping cream for Win.  She made some magic apple pie for our district meeting.  We drove to the branch house just before 10:00 to get set up and carry the new microwave into the building.  Just after we arrived, and before the Elders got there,  Sister E walked into the building.  She is the young little mother who was baptized along with her daughter last year.  We have seen very little of them but there she was and we were thrilled.  We learned later that she had some free time and just decided to go to the branch house and see if anything was going on.  When the Elders came we did not want to ask her to leave so we invited her to our meeting.  Elder B had given some good thought to the meeting agenda and training.  After the meeting I asked the elders to take a permanent marker and write the church’s name on the microwave to help deter any future theft.  Our old one was stolen from the building while the Elders were having a program in one of the classrooms.  They got carried way with the maker pen and wrote stuff all over it.  On one side they wrote “Gods Microwave” (see picture below).

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After the meeting Sister E left to go meet her daughter at school and we went home for a quick lunch.  Then we rushed to the store for some groceries and cleaning products for the Elders.  At  2:00 I helped Elder L and B move a load of stuff to their new apartment.  On the return trip Win went back with us to the current apartment to help them assess their cleaning progress.  We are trying to get the apartment super clean so we can get the deposit back from the landlord.  Elders have lived in that attic apartment since 2006 so you can imagine what a deep cleaning project these two Elders have.  At 4:00 Win walked to the branch house for a program with Elder B and C and a young lady who has been to church a few times.  After more than and hour and a half I started to get worried and was going to go find her when she finally came in the door.  She said the program went very well and the young lady’s father came too.  The lesson was on the plan of salvation.  Win pointed out that there are now three adult men who are in various stages of programs with the Elders.  Wouldn’t that be an answer to a lot of prayers if we can have some adult male members of this branch before we go home.  At 8:00 the Elders and I moved their suit cases and other personal stuff to the new apartment.  They were able to get the radiators turned on and the water heater going so they are staying there tonight.  It will be nice to have both sets of Elders near by.

Below are the remaining pictures from our Thursday morning outing with the senior missionaries.  These pictures are of the St. Stephen Basilica and our lunch together.

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Thursday, January 30 2014:  Today was fun and interesting.  After a nice buffet breakfast at the hotel we checked out and walked back to the mission office building.  There is free underground parking at the building so that is why we walked to and from the hotel with our bags.  At 9:00 the group gathered and we walked a few blocks to the metro/subway station.  The metro took us under the Danube River to the Pest side of Budapest for a tour of the Parliament building.  I don’t know where it would rank on a list of the worlds most remarkable buildings but it would be on my list.  The exterior grounds are under going a major renovation so we did not get any real good outside photos.  The building is the largest in Hungary and the construction required 40 million bricks.  The best pictures of the building are visible on the web and are taken form across the river.  Our guide was a Hungarian women who spoke very good English.  The interior is every bit as beautiful as some cathedrals but we were not allowed to take pictures in the main dome area.  The crown of Hungary is on display there (see picture on the web) which is under guard.  There are two guards who only move every 5 minutes and then they just move their swords.  Every 15 minutes they change places and after an hour they are replaced.  There are also three guards who do move around the room and they signal the two non moving guards every 5 minutes so they know when to move.  The actual parliament assembly room was impressive.  Next we walked to the St. Stephen (Istvan) Basilica.  St. Stephen was the first King of Hungary and inside the building is an ornate case where the Holy Right Hand of St. Istvan is kept.  That is a story worth looking up on the internet.  Then we finished our morning outing with a very nice lunch at the Strudel House Restaurant.  After lunch it took us about a half hour to ride the underground metro and get back to the mission office.  Win and I waited until 3:00 for the FM country manager to bring a new microwave oven for us to take back to the branch house in Bekescsaba.  The drive home was much better than the trip yesterday and we were able to see some of the country side before nightfall.  We got home about 6:30.  Below are a several pictures of the parliament building and a building adjacent to it.   I will post more pictures of the rest of the outing tomorrow.

Wildlife sightings:  2 pheasants, 8 rabbits, 57 deer.

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Wednesday, January 29 2014:  We left Bekescsaba at 8:00 and it took us a little over three hours to drive to Budapest.  For two hours we drove on country roads that were slick and the traffic was heavy.  Even when we finally got to the freeway, the traffic was slow due to snow and poor visibility.  It’s no fun to drive that far looking at the windshield wipers going constantly.  We arrived just in time for our 11:30 interview with the mission president.  It was nice of him to take some time with us.  We were grateful for his support and kind complements.  At 12:30 all the senior couples gathered for lunch.  It was fun to see our friends again and to meet the three new couples and one new single sister.  At 1:30 we gathered in the chapel for the main session of the conference.  The new missionaries  first introduced themselves and then we heard the testimonies of the two couples and the two single sisters that are leaving soon.  That was the most emotional part of the conference.  For the most part, they are just not ready to deal with the end of their mission, departing from these wonderful people and the country of Hungary.  Sister Smith then spoke to us.  Her remarks were centered around our intermediate Hymn, “Brightly Beams Our Father’s Mercy”,  and the importance of keeping the lower lights burning.  President Smith concluded the general session with a review of our roles and responsibilities.  He also shared some statistical data on what is needed to create a second stake in Hungary.  At 4:30 we split up and the sisters went to a breakout session in the Relief Society room.  In our break out session we had some language challenges, a lot of miscellaneous discussion and some training on keeping our area books up to date.   At 6:00 we all got back together for dinner.  Then we took some group pictures and played games for a while.  About 8:30 Win and I got our bags from the car and walked about four blocks to the Hotel Belvedere.  We stayed here once before and it is a nice break from apartment living.

Wildlife sightings:  2 deer.

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Tuesday, January 28 2014:  Our walk was cold again.  We went through a residential area not far from us.  Most residences here are either apartments or small single family homes.  The houses are built right up against the narrow sidewalks.  So as you walk along you look right into their windows if they are open.  They often have side or back yards that are usually hidden by walls or fences.  For the most part people take good care of their properties and especially any garden area they might have.  The homes are mostly constructed of concrete or block that is covered with plaster or stucco and painted.  I don’t think we have seen a wood frame house.

After our walk I went to gas up the car and wash it.  It seems a waste to wash it while it is snowing but it was so bad that I had to get some of the grim off it.  And besides, everyone knows a car runs better when it is clean.  This afternoon Win made two jello salads for the conference lunch tomorrow, did some ironing and prepared for her sewing class tonight.  We went early to set up for the class and a young lady investigator joined us shortly after we arrived.   There were a total of 9 people with two investigators at the class.  Even a couple of the Elders wanted to start a project.  It’s fun to watch Win go from one person to the next and give instructions plus try to keep them all on task.  After class we came home and packed our overnight bags for the drive to Budapest.

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Monday, January 27 2014:  It was a wintery walk this morning.  Much of the canal is frozen now and the ducks have congregated to any open water.  There continues to be a light snow fall and it’s P day for the Elders so we have been hunkered down in the apartment.  We are hopping for clear reads by Wednesday when we will drive to Budapest  for Senior Conference.  Win baked snicker-doodles this afternoon for tonight’s treats.  At 5:30 we met with the landlord for the new Elders apartment and made a final inspection.  The new fridge, washer and shower curtain were installed and all the household inventory items were in place.  Elder L and B came with us and seemed excited to move to a bigger flat that is also closer to downtown.  They will be just three buildings away from us.  Then we hurried over to the branch house for FHE.  There were a total of 15 who came which is pretty good considering the bad weather.  The Elders gave a spiritual message on faith and then the group played UNO and ping pong while eating Win’s cookies.  We were especially glad to see one lady who came to sewing class several weeks ago but has never come to FHE before.  We left about 8:30 and came home to get warmed up.

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Sunday, January 26 2014:  Another inch or so of snow fell during the night so I had to scrape all the windows on the car this morning.  I held a brief branch counsel meeting before church.  Then I called a sister to be the primary president.  She had been serving as a counselor.  Win will give her some training next week.  The attendance at sacrament meeting was disappointing.  Only twenty total people with two investigators.  I hope it is the weather that kept people away.  The good thing was that the two investigators were both adult men.  One of the men we had not seen for months.  He walked into church one day last summer and I thought he was someone who was backpacking through Europe.  He spoke pretty good English and came to church a few times with his young son.  Then one Sunday he said he was going away and we did not see him until today.  He told us he is back and that his son is in school here.  He also agreed to meet with the Elders after English class this week.  He is really kind and polite.  As we were leaving the building I told him that Sister Hulbert and I now live here in Bekescsaba.  He said, “Why you live in Bekescsaba?”  I told him that we moved from Szeged to try and help the church grow here before we go home.  He replied, “God bless you for this.”  We came home and Win made waffles for lunch and then we tried to take a nap but our neighbors next door were too noisy.  This afternoon I spent some time looking ahead at sacrament meeting talk assignments and Win looked over the curriculum for our three primary age children.  I also called two of the Elders to have them check on brother L who we took the sacrament to last week.  They told me he had called them and was sorry he didn’t come to church but the roads were too slick.  He said he would come next week if the conditions were better.  That was nice to hear and very good of him to call.

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Saturday, January 25 2014:  We woke up to a little snow on the ground and it continued to fall most of the day.  At 8:00 AM we met the Elders at the branch house to clean the building.  At 12:30 we drove with two of the Elders to the town of Oroshaza, which is about half way to Szeged.  The roads were snow covered so it was a bit slippery.  We went to visit with A, here husband Z and his mama.  Sister A was baptized last June and is one of the nicest ladies we know.  She is an inspiration to us because of her happy smile and positive attitude.  They served us a wonderful lunch of goulash and three kinds of bread.  Then we had our first taste of a very traditional Hungarian dessert, aranygaluska.  It’s like a walnut bread pudding with vanilla cream sauce poured over it.  It was very good.  Following lunch, the Elders gave a spiritual message.  We didn’t get back to the branch house until 4:00.  Win had some sewing to do so we stayed there and used the machine for a while.  At 7:00 we went back to the branch house for sports nap but due to the snow there were only two members there.  I hope the storm doesn’t keep people from church in the morning.  Before going to bed we talked on Skype with Wendy and the boys.  Colt showed us his science project, Carson told us about his good grades, and Riley reported on his goose hunt.

Wildlife sightings:  3 deer.

Aranygaluska

Aranygaluska

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