Mission Training Center

Yesterday was a VERY SPECIAL DAY!  It was our first day at the MTC.  We had 5 children go on missions but we never had the opportunity to take them to the MTC.  (It cost too much money to fly 3 adults to Utah from Maryland).  We sent them to Utah ALONE and Grandparents Felsted or a sibling met them and took them to the MTC for us…

So this was our first experience being there.  Gated entrance:  we had to get temporary stickers to wear – then someone had to meet us and escort us into the main building where we received magnetic labels “Language Training” to wear.  These and the passes we were issued will get us into the building until we receive our official missionary name tags.  The MTC is like a college campus with a bookstore, dormitories, cafeteria, buildings with study rooms and computer labs.

Here is the back of Ron in the computer lab – with Elders all around him…

Ron is dead center

I wish I could describe to you the feeling that we feel when we see the thousands of young men and young women who are here studying for their missions.  They follow their schedules religiously.  They study their language or their missionary materials in groups in 10′ x 12′ rooms.  They exercise every day.  The Elders are all clean-cut and wear Church clothes – suits, white shirts, ties.  The Sisters are similarly dressed.  They arrive in the cafeteria in great hoards  for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Sometimes they study outside in smaller groups.  They are worthy to have gone through the temple and are very choice and valiant young adults.  Truly amazing… and we are humbled to be in their presence.

Here is a video clip called “An Army of Faith,” which shows some of what we have seen (from KSL but I could not figure out how to imbed this one):

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=296&sid=14959815

Ex-missionaries often are their teachers – and teach them both the gospel lessons and the language lessons.  And in our very limited (2 day) experience, these wonderful returned missionaries, RMs, know how to keep us on track and spiritually in tune!

I will describe our typical day in my next posting..

Kiev Temple Cultural Celebration and Dedication

Heather Petty sent over her parent’s blog about their mission in Hungary two years ago.  I started reading it and found this wonderful video clip about the Kiev Temple Celebration and Dedication.  I was moved to tears because the Spirit was so strong in this video. Such wonderful youth!  And they are truly the pioneers of our Lord’s Church and will be the leaders who will be here when He returns.  Just like our Hungarian youth!

Freiberg German LDS Temple

I know the people of Hungary wish that they could have a temple closer to them.  They are in the Freiberg Temple District now.  It is about a nine hour drive one way.

A Confirmation

Soon after getting our call, I was perusing the Hungarian Mission Website/blog <http://hungaryldsmission.org/&gt; and I was reading out loud to Ron what some of the other senior missionaries were doing.  Like, branch president, could speak the language fluently, serving second mission…. and things like that.  Ron felt that he was starting to feel depressed and overwhelmed …. then a sweet feeling came over him and someone seemed to say, It will be alright; you will do fine!

Thank goodness for moments like these, when the Lord uplifts us and encourages us!

Life goes on…

Second time for this post – the first version was deleted because of some issues with Ron’s computer!  So now I am writing this first on Word before I transfer it over to the blog…

And I am writing this on Ron’s computer because my Apple is at the local Apple store – getting a new optical CD/DVR drive put in and hopefully, they can retrieve my data from my old hard drive – which was replaced in the Salt Lake Apple Store in the Gateway Mall.

We planned a trip to SLC to visit Ron’s sister, Darlene and her husband, Val, who live in a missionary apartment near the Temple complex.  They have ½ day off on Wednesdays, from their work at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, while they await their visas to their Mongolian Mission.  They are doing some Family History work there:  Darlene is checking the accuracy of some extracted Russian records and Val is doing the same with some Spanish records.  VERY TALENTED COUPLE!  (and that is not all they do – Darlene is a very accomplished pianist and musician; Val’s career was as a psychologist and also had a newspaper column that ran in many papers for many years!)

I had an appointment at 11:15 at the Apple store.  We were there about 2 hours while they tried this and that.  I had previously tried to do a backup with a portable hard drive – but it was too full to take my pictures – and I don’t remember what else I saved.  We were tired and pushed for time.  They said my hard drive needed to be re-formatted, so I said OKAY!   DUMB!

We went off to meet up with Darlene and Val.  They took us to their missionary apartment and we had lunch.  Then we went to the SL Temple to do some family ordinances.  Afterwards we went to the Family History Library.  Darlene and Val wanted to see what records the Church had filmed for Mongolia.  NADA, ZILCH, NEM!  They will have to find out what records Mongolia has when they are there – so they can help the members with their genealogy.   They will be in the capital city, so hopefully they will have some records there.

Back to the Apple Store:  the re-formatting failed, which meant that it needed a new hard drive.  (They had already determined that it also needed a new optical drive.)  So at 8 PM, we left for a quick dinner at the food court at the new City Creek Mall – and then back to the Apple Store.  It was nearly closing; but it was not quite ready, so Val dropped us off so we could get our parked underground car and we parted company.  Back to the store and it was ready at 9:15 – the guy said he would not leave until we got there, even though it might be after hours….  Got home at 11:40 PM  – YAWN…

We stayed overnight Tuesday with Jill and LaMont, a couple that we knew briefly at BYU and then they showed up in our Maryland Ward.  He was our Bishop for a while!  They moved back to the Salt Lake area a few years ago…  She and I graduated in the same field (Microbiology) and Ron and LaMont graduated in the same field (Chemistry) – so we have a lot in common.  Always fun to check up on old friends.

We wanted to get all the computer issues resolved before our mission.  Looks like mine might be done – now to get Ron’s fixed…

Our dates at the MTC have changed.  Kyle, our language teacher, is going on vacation and he could not find enough Hungarian teachers to take his place.  SO, now we are going in June 27-29 and July 2-6 for language immersion and July 9-13 and July 16-18 for regular missionary training.  Luckily for us, we had some flexibility in our schedule.  Our departure date is still Aug 10th for Hungary.  The Carpenters re-arranged their schedule to be with us at the MTC June 27-29!  Their departure date is July 3rd

Studying the language is SO EXHAUSTING.  And it is taking all our energy.  We have lots of chores that still need to be done and after studying for a few hours in the morning, then doing the other stuff, we find we are ready for bed at 8 PM!  However, the alarm system is now working, the toilet working, and the watering system working  – thanks to Ron.  And Kathie is nearly done with finding some clothes that fit and look decent.  (There is no Mr. Mac for us girls… that is a store in Utah that specializes in clothes for boy missionaries.)

We went to Ogden on Monday – the minute our new driver’s licenses arrived – to get our International Driving Licenses from AAA.  That is the closest store to us.  I also replaced my SS card, which had gone missing… Hopefully, that is the end of missionary to do list!

Szia!

Released as Temple Ordinance Workers

Friday, June 8, 2012, was a sad day.  We were released as Temple Ordinance Workers in the Logan, Utah Temple. We have served a year and a half.

Logan Temple

In the Fall of 2010, we were called on the phone personally by the President of the Temple, President Kerr, to come and visit with him.  He talked to us (interviewed us?) and then asked if we would consider working as Ordinance workers.  I needed a fix-it-up operation (delayed many years) so we did not start until January 2011.  (The Temple Presidency is a calling in our Church and the three men and their wives serve for three years.)  We have had a new Temple Presidency at our temple for the last 6 months.

We have loved working there.  The Spirit of the Lord is very strong in our Temples and the other workers were such wonderful examples to us.  We were ASTONISHED at how many of them have served 10 or 15 years as temple workers; how many had served SEVERAL missions for the Church; and of course, diligent in their various callings in the Church.  Their life’s work could have been anything – from farmers to college professors – just like the general membership of the Church.  We were humbled to be in their presence!

We were also very humbled to see very severely handicapped patrons come to the temple OFTEN.  One comes in a self-driven horizontal gurney.  He comes at least once a week with various family members.  Others in wheelchairs, crutches, canes, some with beginning Alzheimer’s Disease, some with Down’s Syndrome or autism.  Once there was a young woman, who could not talk and had to have someone assigned to speak for her.  (I later heard that she had to be fed through her stomach because of her ailments.)   She came to participate in some of the Temple ordinances.  The Holy Spirit was so strong with her; I was reduced to tears and could barely get through my officiating part!  How much easier would it be for them to stay at home.  Yet they sacrifice much for the blessings of temple service – on behalf of OTHERS.  It was such a privilege to be in such the company of such wonderful patrons!

If you do not know why we build temples or why we worship in them, you might be interested in these two video clips:

Why Mormons Build Temples:

Mormon Temples: The Blessings of the Temple:

On to another chapter in our lives….

Temple Workers

Learning the Language & Learning Styles

When we received our language materials, we got grammar pages and lesson pages (as well as other stuff, like a VERY SERIOUS Hungarian grammar book and Hungarian to English and English to Hungarian Dictionaries).  After looking over the lessons, we decided that we each needed our own set.  Ron wanted the pages to be in a booklet form, so we had two grammar books and two lesson books copied and bound by the copy store. I prefer to have each individual lesson in my hands – and make notes all over it, so I just copy each lesson – and I can do it my way. (Think the Frank Sinatra song?)  We started with the Pray lesson and spent two weeks on that.  (Each lesson is divided into tasks: vocabulary, pattern phrases, shadow reading and extra mile vocabulary).

We also decided to get small spiral notebooks to write in our vocabulary words, phrases, rules and other stuff.  I think that was recommended by the teacher or it was in the Church language materials somewhere.  It is easy to carry around with us and when we have a few minutes, we can study something.

Ron is blessed with the gifts of persistence and tenacity!  Once he is determined to learn something, he is like a bulldog – you would have to pry him away from his object.  His attitude is this:  since the Lord sent me to Hungary, I MUST learn the language!!!  He decided that he learns better when he is rested, so that meant he needed to get up early in the morning.  Therefore he has been getting up at 6 AM and studying HARD.  This is the method that he has used since he figured out that is what he had to do in the eighth grade to get an A in his schoolwork.  At the time he did not realize he had some severe learning problems – called dyslexia.  Spelling is hard for him; special things like figuring out how to cut a piece of wall board (and not in mirror image) is very difficult, and if under any pressure, he has been known to freeze up; so you can imagine how hard learning a new language – and one of the world’s most difficult – will be for him.  But knowing him as I do, I am sure he can do it – especially with the Lord’s help!!!

I am a more laid back learner – guess things come more easy for me.  College was a real big shock to me – I actually had to study.  However, I did not have the study habits that Ron had, so my method during college was all-night cramming sessions with a friend.  Really not up to that these days…. TOO OLD!  And “room-mate” who gets up at 6 AM has been a bit of a pressure for me…. so I have been getting up about 7 AM to get some studying in.  Of course, Ron is way ahead of me on vocabulary.  I am going to have to take some serious time to see if I can catch up!  I can be intense, too, and I am sure the pressure will be on when we are in the Mission Training Center (MTC) for the two weeks of immersion language training.   That will be June 18-22 and June 25-29.

Anyway, we can say a memorized simple prayer – in hopefully somewhat recognizable Magyar language and also a simple testimony.  We studied the Testify lesson this week – our third week of Skype lessons with Kyle who works at the MTC teaching old fogies like us.

Tudom, hogy Krisztus el – I know Christ lives!  I really do and I know He directs our Prophet and Apostles!

(Pronunciation:  Too – dome, hodj Kris -tush ehl – accent on the first syllable of each word)

Home Language Study Area – Dining Room!

Home Language Study Area

Home Language Study Area

Szia (c – aw)  Goodbye!

Meeting the Carpenters

We are still not sure exactly in what city we will be serving – we suspect that it is in Budapest – however, it could be Pecs.  Maybe we will receive a letter from the Mission President confirming where – or maybe we will find out when we get there – or maybe we will find out another way! (see next paragraph)

Today we had lunch with the Carpenters, who will be serving in the same mission – and their call is to work in the office of the mission.  They leave for Hungary, July 3.  They will be replacing the Bagozzis.  Sue Carpenter is a real go-getter and she and her husband, Gary, have already met the Smiths, the incoming Mission President (who will be going to Hungary at the end of July) and have corresponded with the Bagozzis, and arranged to meet us!  So, she said she would find out where we are supposed to be..  We had lunch at the Cafe Sabor – a great Logan eatery (converted train station) – and we all enjoyed our Mexican-American lunch!  YUM!

This the second mission for the Carpenters.  They served in the office in Singapore.  Gary is a CPA, has two masters in accounting – so they are naturals for running the office of the Mission President!  Sue says maybe they did not get it right the first time – but I think it is because they have the skills necessary to do what they have been called to do…

Us on the other hand, ???  I am thinking we will be severely STRETCHED…

Anyway, they told us how to handle our personal finances while in Hungary – so we stopped on the way home from lunch at our local bank and applied for a Visa card through our bank that can be used as a debit card in Hungary.  Ron can handle most everything – including paying tithing – through the internet; so we learned a few more things on our list of unknowns.

The Carpenters will be with us at the MTC the week of June 18th for the language immersion training.  We four will be the first senior couples to go through this immersion experience for the Hungarian language!  That is exciting!  (Really, I am terrified to think of studying a foreign language for 8 hours a day – I guess we will find out if old dogs can learn new tricks!!!)  They will not be there the second week, because they are leaving the first week of July.

I think we will have a new circle of friends through this mission – senior missionaries and the Hungarians that we will meet.

I have already been corresponding with Flammer Nover (Sister Flammer).  She is a cousin to someone in our Cove Ward.  (very small Mormon world!)  They have been on their Hungarian Mission since January and she has answered LOTS of questions, given information, thinks the Hungarian Mission is the BEST and she has a blog, which is great (and funny):  http://elderandsisterflammer.blogspot.com/

Last night, a Brother Haslem from the North Logan Stake, called me and we talked for 45 minutes.  He is his wife served a mission in Hungary and came home a year or so ago.  He answered some questions that we had and they offered to meet up with us, if we wanted.  The Church has so many really nice people like them – who will go out of their way for you!  I think they got our names and phone number from a friend that we have who works with us at the Logan Temple.