Ron’s sister and her husband put their mission papers in a bit earlier than we did and they were assigned to go to the Mongolia Ulannbaatar Mission and their primary assignment is to work in the Ulannbaatar Family History Support Office. They are about 1-2 months ahead of us, so they have been sharing what they have learned with us.
The first thing they said to do, once we got our call, was to call the number given in the materials the Church sent us about language support. So we did that. We were emailed a list of language materials to buy from the Mission Training Center (MTC) bookstore, which we did. Then we were given an email address to ask for individualized help from a former Hungarian missionary through the MTC.
We actually started looking over the lesson material and practicing sounds and words as soon as they came. (What can I say – two first children!) We found a website that had the alphabet and their sounds and practiced that. According to Wikipedia, “Hungarian is a Uralic language, more specifically an Ugric language; the most closely related languages are Mansi and Khanty of western Siberia.” Also, “The basic vocabulary shares a couple of hundred word roots with other Uralic languages like Finnish, Estonian, Mansi and Khanty.” Magyar is considered a very hard language to learn – but we will give it our all!
Our first lesson over Skype with Kyle was May 22, 2012 from 5 – 6 PM. After some questions to get to know each other better, he started with a lesson. He gave us some homework and we were on our own for a few days. We have lessons with him every T and Th.
Luckily for us, they do have a Romanized alphabet….. but really, who needs 4 o’s and 4 u’s??
We started putting in our mission papers in December 2011. Once we let the Bishop know we wanted to go on a mission, he got the ball rolling and in a few days, we were sent the materials that we needed to fill out – all online. We had previously decided that we would let the Lord decide where we would go. We did prefer to go foreign, so we signed up for 23 months and put no other specifics. Well, Ron mentioned that we would go to a third world country and I mentioned my love of Family History Work. We had no idea about how long it would take to fill out all the paperwork! And Christmas time was not a great time to be working on that!
Then in January we started getting all the medical visits accomplished. The Church wants to make sure their Senior Missionaries are healthy, so we had to take care of any past issues and have everything documented. – dental work, eyes checked, internists, specialists, etc. Ron’s left knee had been giving him more and more trouble, so that necessitated knee arthroscopic surgery and some physical therapy before we could finalize our paperwork. It was not until April 15th until we had our interview with the Stake President.
On May 10, 2012, we got a call from the Post Office that there was a letter from the First Presidency of the Church and did we want to pick it up at the Post Office – or have it delivered?! (ONLY IN UTAH??) We knew were were saving it to open in front of the children, so it was delivered. We emailed the children and a couple of close friends that we would open the letter at 7 PM that night. Our family and friends got on ooVoo so they could see us and we opened the letter with them seeing us.
Quite a thrill to think that the Lord needs us in HUNGARY! And we were to work with the Center for Young Adults (ages 18-30). We did not even know those centers existed!