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.

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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.

Barbie and Peter’s Wedding

Barbie was one of the YSA when we first arrived in Budapest.  When she joined the Church, her mother and grandmother told her to leave home.  She served four mini-missions (usually 6 weeks depending on how long the mission needed her).  (Mini-mission = when a mission has an odd number of missionaries and instead of having 3 missionaries work together,  the mission sometimes uses local youth to be a companion with a missionary.  They are set apart for the calling and have to follow the exact same rules as the other proselyting missionaries.  Many of these mini-missionaries can not pay for their mission, so the mission pays their costs.)  Barbie loved the missionary work; but it also gave her a place to stay.  She also worked as a nanny in England for a time.  This is also another way that many of our youth get employment and a roof over their heads.  She went through a period where she stayed with members.  Eventually I think that the Church members found a trade school where she could attend and it had dormitories for their students.

Barbie has a bubbly personality and we ended up calling her Miss Sunshine.  The first picture I have of her is Aug 25, 2012 and she was serving with Sister McKay in the Buda Ward.  We had them and Sister Hansen for dinner.

IMG_0039Peter had a good friend, Kristoph, who introduced Peter to the Church.  Peter attended YSA functions two years before he was baptized in September 2012, after we arrived. She and Peter met at our YSA functions and started dating summer of 2013.  It started with a little play – Mexican-American-Hungarian Soap Opera – that Aniko wrote to commemorate Cinco de Mayo.  Barbie still calls Peter Pedro because of that… She was Barbarita!  It was fun seeing their relationship grow and develop over the past year.

On Saturday, May 3, 2014, Barbie and Peter were married in Szombathely.  Her father’s second wife, sewed her dress and her father paid for their wedding.  Her mother and mother’s mother chose not to attend.

At the Hivatal before the ceremony.

At the Hivatal before the ceremony.

Some of our previously married YSA couples attended, in addition to many YSA…

IMG_6648The Hivatal marriage room in Szombathely is supposed to be one of the prettiest in Hungary.

Peter and his mother

Peter and his mother

Barbie and her father.

Barbie and her father

The actual ceremony is very brief

The actual ceremony is very brief.

Extinguishing the individual candles and lighting the family candle.

Extinguishing the individual candles and lighting the family candle.

The official leads the married couple out of the room

The official leads the married couple out of the room

The reception was held at a local community building that is used for these kinds of events.  It had an entry, a large hall, a kitchen and upstairs rooms for staying overnight.  Several of the YSA kids stayed there – in addition to Barbie and Peter!

Some of the family

Some of the family

The decorated reception room

The decorated reception room

Tibor is the ever-so-Hungarian Master of Ceremonies

Tibor is the ever-so-Hungarian Master of Ceremonies

Peter was allowed to progress towards Barbie by answering riddles...

Peter was allowed to progress towards Barbie by answering riddles…

Non-traditional wedding dance.

Non-traditional wedding dance.

Plenty of food

Plenty of food

Wedding cake - the couple served everyone

Wedding cake – the couple served everyone

Wedding at 5 PM.  Reception at 7 PM.  We left at 9 PM because we had a 3 hour drive back to Budapest!  We hope they have a wonderful life together!!!

10290659_792512124094973_7902923997210096923_n

 

Széchenyi Medicinal Bath

Livi, Viki and Dia gave me the “perfect birthday present” in February.  They were so darling and cute as they figured out what to give me…  ??  Since Elder Felsted and I have never been to any of the FAMOUS bath houses in Hungary, they decided that is where I NEEDED to go!  Elder Felsted was not too excited but I was!  Going to one of these would probably never have happened without a free pass for me!  AND the Bagozzi couple would go with us to give us some guidance.

Thanks to Wikipedia, here is what we know about the one that we went to:  The Széchenyi Medicinal Bath in Budapest is the largest medicinal bath in Europe. Its water is supplied by two thermal springs, their temperature is 74 °C and 77 °C, respectively.  The construction of the bath began on 7 May 1909 and was opened 16 June 1913.  AND it is a beautiful old building in the middle of the park that houses many famous Budapest tourist attractions!

Szecskacivertanlegi5

Isn’t this a wonderful picture from the Civertan Grafikai Stúdió?? (as found on Wikipedia)

Another picture from Wikipedia.

Another picture from Wikipedia.

The complex is HUGE and after we changed into our bathing suits, we started at one end of the bathhouse and went from heated pool to heated pool.  Some were medicinal, some were various temperatures.  Elder Felsted tried a cooler one, we stayed in the warmer ones.  I tried a medicinal steam room, too!  WOW!  Menthol over load…  When I first went in I thought I would be smothered to death by the odor.  However, I lasted about 5-10 minutes.  Very interesting experience.  We ended up at the outside pool. The place was full of people and as we left, a bus load of tourists came with their matching towels…

Dressing room area

Dressing room area

One side of the building is full of dressing rooms.  So this picture above is off the main walkway and contains 8 dressing rooms – 4 on each side.

The hallway full of dressing rooms.

The hallway full of dressing rooms.  The large swimming pool is to the right…

Perfect day for this trip.

Perfect day for this trip.

There are several bath houses all over Budapest and other places in Hungary.  There is one at the base of Gellert Hill, quite close to us…  Don’t think we will make it again while we are here.  But a very fun experience.  I think it costs about $20-25 dollars a piece for the day.

 

Balatonfüred

We have been traveling to Veszprém and Székesfehérvár to check the missionaries apartments for the past few months.  This takes a day, as it is about 1 hour to Székesfehérvár and Veszprém is about one hour further from that.  However, Lake Baltaon is very close to Veszprém and we wanted to check this lake!  So on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, we allowed for more time to investigate this large lake in Hungary.

We accidentally picked the town of Balatonfüred.  There are many towns along Lake Balaton – but we think we picked a winner.  Of course, during the week, in April, things were pretty quiet (our kind of day).  There was a beautiful park like setting along the lake in this town.

A picture of the shopping area with a buffer of the park like setting and the lake behind.

A picture of the shopping area with a buffer of the park like setting and the lake behind.

IMG_6277

The pansies were wonderful.

Just liked the look of the park benches here and there.

Just liked the look of the park benches here and there.

Looking at the largest lake in Central Europe.

Looking at the largest lake in Central Europe.

IMG_6294Normal water fowl present there.

We sat on that bench for a while - enjoying the peace and tranquility.

We sat on that bench for a while – enjoying the peace and tranquility.

Some of the other sights to see in the park surrounding the lakefront.

IMG_6301IMG_6303IMG_6305

Lots of sailboats in Balaton in the summer.

Lots of sailboats in Balaton in the summer.

Looking towards the town

Looking towards the town

ABC is a brand of food store.

ABC is a brand of food store.  I like the pattern of the cobblestone on the road.

This ABC looks like it is in a converted home.

IMG_6323IMG_6325Unknown church and/or school.

Like the pattern of the stone here, too.

Like the pattern of the stone here, too.

IMG_6330Our last view of the lake….

Good Bye Lake Balaton!

Good Bye Lake Balaton!

Cute town that we were glad we got to see.  I am sure that there are other cute towns all around the lake…