LDS Media Crew Comes to Budapest

The media crew came to Budapest to record the Magyar audio for the Especially For Youth Conference that took place this summer in another country.  Each participant is given a CD with the music sung in their own language.  (Believe it or not, there are some very talented LDS singers in Hungary!)

However, after they were through with that, our Area Supervisors suggested that we make some videos with conversion stories of some of the Hungarian Young Single Adults.  Viki and the Felsteds consulted and we came up with some possibilities and I hurriedly contacted them and had them write up their stories.  All were accepted!  Then we had to figure out how to get them into Budapest.  Agoston came from Miscolc, eastern Hungary.  Bogi came from Szombathely, western Hungary.  We had Viki, Panni, and Kriszti from Kispest and Pest. They were told to bring changes of clothing for re-enactment of their stories.  It was pretty hectic getting it all organized, but it was fun seeing everything work out.

LDS media people... set up in the Buda Relief Society Room

LDS media people… set up in the Buda Relief Society Room… they do not speak Hungarian.

Bogi came early on Monday morning, June 2, 2014.  She was recently baptized. She was having a party for her birthday and she brought 35 guests to her baptism BEFORE the party!  And almost every Sunday since then she has been bringing people to Church!  She is committed!

Bogi

Bogi.  Beautiful on the outside and inside…

Karolina was the translator - even though she had a final the next day!

Karolina was the translator – even though she had a final the next day!

Agoston came a bit later in the morning.  The story that he wanted to share concerned his mother’s cousin who came to visit their family.  He shared his testimony about the Church with her and gave her a Book of Mormon.  She was interested and is taking the missionary discussions.  Meanwhile, Agoston comes to Buda every so often and likes to work with the missionaries.  So he has become friends with an older woman who was having discussions (he was present) and she recently joined the Church.  Since the media people wanted to re-enact his story, he called her and she came over to act as his mother’s cousin!

Viki, Panni and Kriszti’s stories have been shared in another post – see Panni’s Baptism.

The media people wanted to film part of our Family Home Evening with some of our YSA so they were there for our meeting.

Agoston listening to Elder Felsted.  His woman friend is between them.

Agoston listening to Elder Felsted. His woman friend is between them.

Last minute directions.

Some instructions.

So sometime in the near future, we hope to see some I Am A Mormon video clips with our own Hungarian Young Single Adults telling their stories!

BTW, Agoston has been serving in Budapest as a Mini-Missionary for 5 weeks this summer.  He really wants to serve a ful time mission, but needs to complete Law School first.  So this is the next best thing for him at this time.  He is really a choice young man and we know he is going places!

Some Good Byes…

The last few weeks of our mission were spent saying good byes to some cherished people that we love so much…

Károly

Károly – not active in the Church at this moment, but still loved by us…  He was baptized by Brother Bagozzi July 2012.  So we all went to lunch at Gringo Amigos…

Our Primary Class - the two boys (brothers) were at a friend's church our last day, June 1.

Our Primary Class – the two boys (brothers) were at a friend’s church our last day of teaching, June 1.

Two sets of sisters, one set of brothers and two other girls are in this English speaking class.  There was a similar class for the Hungarian speaking children of this age group.

IMG_8601We had dinner at our Stake Patriarch’s home after Church on June 1st with the Heaths.  Sister Hauck had the table so pretty for our dinner – matching napkins and flower..

Love this family so much!

Love this family so much!

They have taken the dark haired girl under their wing – her mother died shortly after we arrived in Aug 2012.  She lives with her father in very difficult circumstances but she loves the Church and attends regularly.

Our last function was going to be a Felsted Farewell Party on Friday, June 6, 2014.  But several of the YSA could not make that event, so we had a few YSA come and say goodbye before that…

Szylvia came May 30th and brought a home made cake!

Szylvia came May 30th and brought a home made cake!

Vivi and Annamaria came also May 30th.  They are working on a cruise boat this summer.

Vivi and Annamaria came also May 30th. They are working on a cruise boat this summer.

Agoston visiting Buda for filming (another post)

Agoston visiting Buda for filming on June 1 (another post)

Tuesday evening was Institute.  Anna came to say goodbye as she would not be able to come Friday.  Her mother is the Marianne who died recently.  Her older sister is taking care of her now.

IMG_8640The Institute Director for all of Hungary and part of Romania is Brother K.

Our Institute Director, Brother K.  Very special person.

Very special person who always has the Spirit with him.

Barbie and Peter had us to dinner on June 4, 2014

Barbie and Peter had us to dinner on June 4, 2014

Gabor has to work on the weekends – 24 hour shifts – so we arranged to have lunch with he and Timi in the afternoon of June 6th.

Beautiful day for lunch at Riso's on Castle hill.

Beautiful day for lunch at Riso’s on Castle hill.

Plus a German couple from the International or Pest Ward, had some of us senior missionaries over for dinner at their home.  They have three daughters, two of whom were in our Primary class.  They were leaving Budapest and are back in Germany.  He served on the High Council and in the Bishopric while he was here.  She worked in Primary.

So lots of goodbyes before our final big bang event with the YSA…

Hungarian National Museum

I felt the need to go to this museum and see the history and artifacts of Hungary before we left Budapest.  There are many museums in Hungary and we had only seen a few.

Hungarian National Museum

Hungarian National Museum

Wikipedia:  “The Hungarian National Museum (Hungarian: Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum) was founded in 1802 and is the national museum for the history, art and archaeology of Hungary, including areas not within Hungary’s modern borders such as Transylvania. The museum is in Budapest VIII in a purpose-built Neoclassical building from 1837-47 by the architect Mihály Pollack.”

“The Hungarian National Museum has seven permanent displays. The general history of Hungary is covered in two sections: the archaeology from prehistory to the Avar period ending in 804 AD on the first (ground) floor (“On the East-West frontier”), and the history from 804 to modern times on the first floor. This display covers topics such as the age of the Arpads, the long Turkish occupation, Transylvania and royal Hungary. More modern and Contemporary history covered begins with the Rákóczi War of Independence, showing different sections of his military attire and various coins. The history section then ends with the rise and fall of the communist system in Hungary. In another hall on the second floor one can find out about the Scholar Hungarians who made the twentieth century. A room on the first floor displays the medieval Hungarian Coronation Mantle.”

The building and everything inside is beautiful!  Therefore, this posting will be mostly pictures.

Stairs leading to the exhibits

Stairs leading to the exhibits – note the ceilings!

Beautiful ceiling artwork

Beautiful ceiling artwork

At the top of the stairs and at the entrance to one of the display halls

At the top of the stairs and at the entrance to one of the display halls

Early Hungarian history includes Roman occupation.

Early Hungarian history includes Roman occupation.

Crown - see below for explanation

Crown – see below for explanation

I used Wikipedia’s picture of the crown – better than mine through glass.  “The Byzantine enamel plaques of the 11th century crown showing Constantine IX Monomachus and Empress Zoe; one of the internationally famous objects in the collection.”

IMG_8341

Look at that long chest or trunk!

Lots of fighting equipment

Lots of fighting equipment

Lots of gold and brass

Lots of gold and brass

Ornate religious artifacts

Ornate religious artifacts

Massive Cabinets

Massive cabinets

Period clothing

Period clothing

Carving

Carvings

Special seating for dignitaries?

Special seating for dignitaries?

Small men wore these armor - about 5'6"

Small men wore these armor – about 5’6″

How many hours did it take to make these beautiful carved pews?

How many hours did it take to make these beautiful carved pews?

Typical colors still seen in Hungarian pottery today

Typical colors still seen in Hungarian pottery today

Lots of blues in their pottery…

These shoes are not too different from the slides I wear today.

These shoes are not too different from the slides I wear today.

I believe these are decorative buttons.

I believe these are decorative buttons.

Belts, buckles, rings.  Just as vain then as we are today.

Belts, buckles, rings. Just as vain then as we are today.

As the ages progressed, items became more and more ornate.

As the ages progressed, items became more and more ornate.

Maps every so often noted the size of the Hungarian Empire for different time periods.

Maps every so often noted the size of the Hungarian Empire for different time periods.

Display of all the items made at the factory in the center.

Display of all the items made at the factory in the center.

Hungarian's favorite , Franz Liszt

Hungarian’s favorite , Franz Liszt

I think this was the perfect museum for us to conclude our two year mission in Hungary!

Rici and Heni’s Wedding

May 17, 2014 was Rici and Heni’s wedding.  Rici was baptized in 2012 – before we came on our mission.  His parents embraced the Gospel before he did and they are leaders in the Buda Ward.  He was not too active in our YSA until 2013, when he became extremely active and involved about the time when Levente returned from his mission. They became good friends.  He thought about going on a mission, but he had to turn in his papers before he turned 25.  About that same time he met Henrietta, a beautiful girl from Miscolc.  That was the end of the mission plans!  He was also called to be the Mission Leader in the Buda Ward, quite a demanding calling for someone so young in the Gospel.

After Panni’s baptism, Viki, Lavi, Adri, Andras and Evalin, who came up from Szeged for the wedding, and the Felsteds traveled by the metro to Pest Ward to help decorate.  Heni and Rici wanted the same colors and decorations as Livi and Zoli’s wedding, so they were recycled – in a slightly different form!  So resourceful!

The Hivatal in Budaörs is very new.

The Hivatal in Budaörs is very new and modern.  (Sister Bagozzi up front)

Some of the YSA - a large portion from Miscolc.

Some of the YSA who attended – a large portion from Miscolc.

The wedding couple arrive at the Hivatal.

The wedding couple arrive at the Hivatal.

Rici is waiting for his bride to enter the room.

Rici is waiting for his bride to enter the room.

Our side was waiting, too.

Our side was waiting, too.

Heni, brought in by her father with Rici's little sister, the flower girl.

Heni, brought in by her father with Rici’s little sister, the flower girl.

Lighting the family candle.

Lighting the family candle after being pronounced man and wife.

After wedding picture found on Heni's FB page.

After wedding picture found on Heni’s FB page.  The Miscolc YSA are extremely close.

Then we drove over to the Pest Ward Building (also known as the International Ward and also the Stake Building) for the after wedding festivities…

Beautiful couple.

Beautiful couple.

Heni found her dress at a rental shop.  It was for sale for less than to rent.  That was a wonderful blessing!!!  She had Sister Hauck add the straps to the dress – and it turned out so beautiful!

I never did find out the significance of this wedding cake...

I never did find out the significance of this wedding cake…

Rici's father talking to Heni's parents.

Rici’s father talking to Heni’s parents.

Both set of parents are members of the Church.  So Rici and Heni will be a second generation family.  Super, since the Church is only 20 years old in Hungary!

We danced a bit...

We danced a bit…

At one point they had couples come up to dance and then asked everyone married less than 1 year sit down.  Then 5 years, then 10 years… Of course, we were left at the end – having been married nearly 52 years.  Then they asked for advice!  We were put on the spot!  Elder Felsted deferred to me and I said “Stay close to Heavenly Father and your marriage will thrive!”  I think they were hoping for more but Elder Felsted did not add anything else, so that is all they got!

This was Heni’s cute going away dress…

Heni and Rici and friend.

Heni and Rici and friend.

I went to both their FB pages to get some of these pictures….

10336655_318765374946745_1631117325167204653_nAnd found this picture…

#wearethree

Wonderful news!!!  Another beautiful new family in Hungary.

How blessed we are to have  associated with these choice spirits of our loving Heavenly Father.

Panni’s Baptism

Panni was invited to a Book of Mormon Open House that the Pest Ward had in the summer of 2013.  Viki invited her after making a list of names of acquaintances and praying about who she should invite.  Panni accepted but with the conditions that the missionaries did not proselyte her.  Viki agreed to tell the missionaries not to try to contact her… which she did.  However, Panni’s curiosity got the better of her and she attended a ward meeting.  There were friends there that she knew and soon she was meeting with the missionaries and doing English classes.  She brought another friend, Kriszti to English classes and that is another story…

We were present in the building when they were having their missionary discussions and since they were YSA age we were interested in them.  However, there seem to be something special about Panni and Kirszti for us.  They both seem to be special young women and they seem to love us, too!  Even though they did not speak much English, we communicated through love.

Kirszti got baptized Nov 1, 2013 and Panni was originally planning to be baptized on Dec 6, 2013.  However, she changed her mind and wanted to wait until this summer.  We were sad to think we would not be there at her baptism, but she did not want us to pressure her!  So we sadly said, OK!  However, in April she called us at our apartment and said I have some news, can you guess what it is?  Elder Felsted said … Is something changing?  And then she told us that she would be baptized Friday evening May 16, 2014.  We were very excited!  We planned on having FEFest in the Kispest Ward that evening so our YSA could be there to support her!  (Both she and Kriszti live within the Kispest Ward boundaries and attended there before their baptisms.)

IMG_7029Elder Ekstrom baptized her but she went through several sets of missionaries in the months preceding her baptism.

Kriszti and Panni

Kriszti and Panni

Quite a feast...

Quite a feast…

The Kispest Ward is known for putting on a fabulous feast when new members are baptized.  Kriszti is a professional cook and actually helped with this food.  However, we brought food, too, since many of our YSA attended this function.  (The prettiest sandwiches were made by Kriszti, though.)  But the famous Felsted brownies are always a big hit at these functions!!!

Panni and her mother with us.

Panni and her mother with us.

Panni is an only child and lives with her parents.  We really loved her mother, too!

It all started with Viki's invitation...

It all started with Viki’s invitation…

These young women certainly radiate the Love of Christ – or as Alma so powerfully states:

14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?

19 I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?

These experiences were some the highlights of our mission!!!

BYU Chamber Orchestra

IMG_7010The BYU Chamber Orchestra came to Hungary in May.  This is advertising flyer for the May 15th performance.  They also performed at the Gyor Ward Meeting House the following night and did a fireside performance in the Pest Stake Building on Sunday, May 18.

The Liszt Grand Hall

The Liszt Academy

The concert was a fund-raiser for several hospitals in Budapest.  Some machines were donated by a local company and the concert fees paid for these machines.  One of our local LDS men works for this company.  Also Nu-Skin of Hungary paid for the pre-concert event.  Several LDS people here in Hungary work for that company.

The Smiths, the Bagozzis and the Baughmans

The Smiths, the Bagozzis and the Baughmans

The Baughmans, the previous Mission President and his wife, were in Europe on other matters and came for this event.  The Office Couple, the Bagozzis,  worked for both Mission Presidents.  Sister Ann Madsen, was also present, having come with one of her grand-daughters.  It was a pleasure to meet her.

Kory Katseanes, Orchestra Director making some remarks

Kory Katseanes, Orchestra Director, making some remarks

Senior Missionaries in Budapest were invited to the pre-concert event, complete with dignitaries! Zoli translated and he is also employed by the medical company and was involved in the negotiations for the machines.

Of course, the building was beautiful!

In the main foyer

In the main foyer

IMG_6973IMG_6976The Liszt Academy was restored in 1990 with EU funds.

The orchestra is ready

The orchestra is ready

Right side balcony

Right side balcony

The music was beautiful and it was a very nice evening.  We were glad for this opportunity to see this wonderful BYU orchestra. One of their songs also featured a local famous Hungarian pianist and Liszt Academy professor, Kemenes András.

Timi came with her mother and grandmother.  I think they bought the very first tickets!  She had a blast hanging out with the orchestra members Saturday and Sunday and visiting Budapest sights with them.

IMG_5093Hungarians like their musicians – here is a statue of Liszt.  (The base seriously needs some repair)  Here is a close up I found online.

352d-26apr08ferenclisztstatueatlisztter(1)_1200

 

Marianna, 1961-2014

Marianna who lived in Buda Ward, was the housekeeper for the Mission Home and was the mother of two of our YSA women.  She had battled cancer three times in her brief life.  This last time, she waited for several months before they got around to seeing her and diagnosing her.  Since, I suppose this is a political issue, I will say no more…

Church? or Chapel? at entrance to the cemetery

Church? or Chapel? at entrance to the cemetery

We attended her funeral which, we assume, was a typical Hungarian funeral, on Wednesday, April 30, 2014.  Once a person dies, the cemetery takes the body.  There is no funeral homes, like we have in America.  Also in our religion, the family or the Relief Society President (woman) or the High Priest Group Leader (man) are accustomed to dressing the body or a family member can do this also.  In Hungary, the Relief Society President had to direct this dressing through a small window from another room.  If the body had to be moved in anyway, the window would be closed until the body was moved.

We, the Smiths, and the Bagozzis drove to the cemetery in Old Buda.  Across from the cemetery was a flower store.   Every cemetery that we have seen have many flower stores all around the cemetery. This one was no different. We each bought a single flower for her.

IMG_6564At the cemetery, there is at least one building dedicated to the “funeral.”

IMG_6562The entrance was under the green awning at the far right.  The family and some friends sat in a little room with the casket – the rest of us were standing in the foyer or entry way.  The casket was at the far end of the room. People brought in flowers – single and/or arrangements – and laid them in the center of the room in front of the casket. Some had a single flower that they kept in their hands.  At the junction of the room and the entry there was a microphone.  At the appropriate time, the Bishop conducted the meeting from the microphone.  Someone had previously passed out copies of the songbook pages. The non-LDS people really did not know to take them.  We sang an opening LDS song in Magyar. Someone said the opening prayer.  The Bishop called on a person, we assumed was a friend or relative, to speak.  Another song.  Then he spoke. Then closing song and prayer.  For us, a typical Mormon funeral.

IMG_6561Then everyone filed out and watched the attendants put the flowers all over this little hearse-like electric car.  When that was done, they put the casket into the hearse and it drove slowly to the plot where Marianna was to be buried.  We all walked down the path behind the hearse.  Here is the hearse covered with some of the flowers… and the cemetery attendants in their gray-green uniforms.

Marianne's funeralPrevious to the funeral, the plot had been prepared by digging a hole and placing the dirt all around the hole onto plastic.  There was a platform that held the casket until the grave side ceremonies were completed.  Someone was called on to bless the grave site.  Then the attendants removed the platform and lowered the casket into the ground.  At this point, many people tossed their single flowers onto the casket.  Then we all stood around and watched the attendants fill in the hole until all the dirt was used up and the plastic removed.  There was a big mound of dirt at the grave.  The the attendants placed the flowers all over and around the grave site.

Marianne's funeral 6The casket is on the platform and we had to get through the tall grass to get close.

Marianne from Smith

The marker was a simple wooden post with a name on top.  I think that the family can not afford a stone and elaborate grave, as some others have in this cemetery.  Or maybe a top of concrete will be put on later?

Another view of her grave with marker

Another view of her grave with marker

Some of the other grave sites at this cemetery.

Some of the other grave sites at this cemetery.

We have visited a few other cemeteries and most have these enclosed grave sites.

We have visited a few other cemeteries and most have these enclosed grave sites.

Marianne's Funeral 4Close up view of one of the graves showing several generations of family members buried there.

A memorial water feature in the cemetery.

A memorial water feature in the cemetery.  (The water was not on at this time.)

The cemetery was on a corner.  There were two other flower shops across the other street and probably more at other entrances.

IMG_6566

Elder Felsted and I liked that everything was done at the cemetery.  There was no long procession of cars that drove all the way to the cemetery from Church or from the funeral home.  We liked that we actually saw the complete burial.  Different but nice tradition.

Marianna was a very sweet woman.  She had attended the temple in 2013 and received her endowments.  She took her daughter Anna, who was able to do baptisms for their dead ancestors. Anna has a form of Williams Syndrome and is not able to take care of herself.  The other daughter, Eszter, is an elementary school teacher.  Her son is a cook and she was very proud of him, too.  Her family and her church family will miss her very much.