Spiritual Lift

Tonight was Family Home Evening for the YSA.  They plan it and we provide a dinner for those who come.  Tonight we had barbeque chicken in a sauce over rice and a nice spinach salad.  The Stake Patriarch, whom we met at the Pest Ward yesterday, gave us a big bag of spinach from his garden.  So we used that.  Both the recipes were from Sister H – home economic graduate – what can I say?

Anyway, after the dinner a nice older man came in (closer to our age than the YSA).  He introduced himself as a counselor in the Buda ward Bishopric.  We were talking for a few minutes – he speaks English very well – and then he complimented me so much for my brief 5 sentence announcement.  The Spirit was so strong with him.  He explained how the members felt when we try to speak their language.  They know we have left our homes and families to be here with them and they are so grateful.  We are truly blessed to be here working with such humble people.  I only pray we can learn their language and also help those we are sent here to help!

Two Wards in one day

The man in charge of S & I asked Ron and I to go to some wards nearby and encourage Institute attendance.  Ron was working on a talk that we have to give at a Seminary meeting next Saturday, so I decided to work on this project.  I started a nice talk quoting the Dedicatory Prayer of Hungary but severely condensed it when I decided it would be nice to do the whole talk in Magyar…. (and on advice from our former tutor, Kyle, to keep it brief!)… After getting it to about 5 sentences, I tried my hand at translating according to a “formula” that we got from Kyle and another tutor.  Then I took it upstairs to one of the office missionaries.  He almost transformed it completely.

Then Friday night at the Gofri (Waffle) Night Party, the sister missionaries were there to give a spiritual thought.  Sister M (from Las Vegas, a darling home-schooled girl, who went to George Wythe for a while and graduated at age 20 from BYU) had a new companion, sister T, a native Hungarian who is serving her FOURTH mini-mission!  Also a darling person…the only LDS member of her family.)  I decided that I needed them to look over my translation again – so we invited them to dinner on Saturday night.  We also had Sister H for dinner.

Sisters T, M and H on our new couch.

After dinner, Sister T made more changes on my talk and had me read it out loud to her.  She corrected my pronunciation on several things (how about most things?).  So Sister M showed me how to do a video on my iPad and we video taped Sister T giving my talk, nice and slowly, so I could practice using an authentic accent.  Pretty cool use of the iPad – huh??  (Sister M left her iPad, graduation present, home like she was supposed to… BTW, she has a Russian minor and got sent to Hungary; maybe she will meet someone who speaks Russian…)

So this morning Sister H, Felsted Elder and I left for the Pest Ward at 8:15 AM.  (It is across the Danube River.)  And, believe it or not, I read my little announcement all in Magyar!  (They might have needed a translation for it??)  Then we immediately left that ward and drove back to the Mission Home to do the whole thing again for the Buda Ward.  Only this time it was harder – bad day for me.  It was WARD CONFERENCE and the Stake Presidency was there, plus all the missionaries that we know.  At least the Mission President and his wife were somewhere else.  But I got through it and a few people came up to me and thanked me… (very sweet people)…

The Pest Ward Building

The Buda Ward is conducted all in 100% Magyar and we were exhausted after just Sacrament Meeting straining to hear a word or two that we might recognize.  But then, we went to the Gospel Principle class and, of course, they asked us to introduce ourselves.  Ron stood up – since he has memorized some of this information in Magyar – but froze and was frustrated.  He finally said some stuff in English… We are working hard on the language and have hired a local YSA to help us once a week.

Even though we could not understand much, when the Bishop spoke, the Spirit was very strong.  (We actually could understand more of his words and the missionaries said that is because he is American and has an American accent.  He was a missionary to Hungary and married a Hungarian woman and lives and works here now.  He is very young, about 30?)

St. Stephen’s Day

St. Stephen is generally considered the founder of the Kingdom of Hungary.  He was canonized by Pope Gregory VII on 20 Aug 1083 and that is the day that Hungarians celebrate St. Stephen.  It is a national holiday and everything is closed.

Our Mission President and his wife, invited some of us to go up to the Buda Castle with them and see the sights on this day.  They have a huge arts and crafts fair on the castle grounds.  They were featuring ancient crafts this year.  Evidently a good portion of the castle was destroyed during WWII, so it has been rebuilt.

The way up to the castle grounds from the Mission Home involves climbing 155 steps – at least that is what someone told me…

Part of the way up to the Buda Castle

It was a very warm day – temperatures in the 90s.  Inside the castle grounds are many shops and other buildings.  This Catholic Church was very beautiful.

The roof tiles were particularly outstanding.

The crafts people were encouraged to dress in native costumes.  Here is Sister S and Sister H.

There are also Roman ruins within the castle walls.  Here is a quote from Wikipedia “The ancient city of Aquincum was situated on the North-Eastern borders of the Pannonia province within the Roman Empire. The ruins of the city can be found today in Budapest, the capital city of Hungary. It is believed that Marcus Aurelius may have written at least part of his book Meditations at Aquincum.”  Interesting!

Roman ruins on the castle grounds.

We came back to the Mission Home and took a rest.  We snagged some young Elders to help us move into our apartment about 8 PM. Some of our group went to the wonderful firework display on the Danube; but we were unpacking and organizing…

Pictures of our apartment – later.

Testimonies in Eger

The Senior Sister Missionaries, Sisters H and S, were asked to give talks in Eger last weekend, in part because Sister S is leaving.  So we went with them and we were expected to bear our testimonies. It took us 2 hours to travel one way northeast of Budapest to Eger.

Ron expected that they might want a little introduction to us, so he had been preparing very diligently – even checking his translation with the office Elders!  I recite my testimony quite often to myself, so I felt fairly confident about what I wanted to say.  BIG MISTAKE!  So we were the last two speakers.  And this is in a VERY little branch.  There were maybe 20 total people there – most of Europe is on vacation.  I had an introductory sentence that I had translated off of google translate (another mistake) and when I went up there, I wanted to say it to introduce myself before bearing my testimony.  So I asked the translator (a very cute young woman, who is engaged to be married next month) if it looked okay.  She said not really!  And I froze!  I said that intro sentence in English and launched into my testimony; but when I saw sweet real HUNGARIANS looking at me, I said about 1/2 of what I know (or what I think I know). Then Ron got up and even though he felt the same pressure (OMGoodness, this is real Hungarians), he persisted and said the whole memorized speech.  Of course, I was bawling because I am so proud of him.  BUT next time I will have it all written out like he did – I won’t promise I will memorize it like he did…

Here is the building they rent for the meetings:

Afterwards, we went about 50 steps to the S’s apartment for lunch/dinner.  They say that how they got that apartment is a real miracle!  They are on a MLS mission – Member Leadership Support and Elder S is the  Branch President.  He is a former surgeon from Oklahoma.  He is legally blind because of something like a stroke in both his optical nerves.  His wife plays the piano and has a beautiful singing voice.  They were both born in Logan but were in Oklahoma for years.  He and I compared our iPads and I learned a lot from him.  I bought a new Hungarian app that is much better than the free ones that we had (thanks C & J!).  He can see enough to read – but only on the iPad.

After visiting for a while, Sister S, her daughter, R and Ron and I walked into the town and saw some of the sights.

Very picturesque! The townspeople were also celebrating the national holiday this weekend.

Very narrow cobblestone streets and shops all over the place seem to be typical Hungary and perhaps Europe?

We were pretty tired when we arrived back into Budapest.  At least we live where the mission car is parked and did not have to walk home….

Nyárzáró Buli – Summer Ending Party

It doesn’t take too much excuse to have a PARTY!  and the end of summer is as good a reason as not.  So the Student President, Adri, and her co-horts, and the Senior Sisters and the Senior Couple, sat together with two translating missionaries (office missionaries) and planned this one for Friday, Aug 17 – from 7:30 – 2 AM!!!

The Singles had all the ideas and did most the decorating.  We bought the food and prepared it and we bought the decorating items.  All YSA from Hungary were invited!  Some came from hours away – and had to return that night – unless they found someone to stay overnight with.

FUN, FUN, FUN…

Food:  open-face sandwiches, corn salad, ricotta-type cheese spread on bread, fruit punch, chips, several desserts:  banana bread, brownies, etc.

Some of the wonderful youth…

This was a type of line dance they were doing but I can’t seem to upload it to the blog.

Even just some hanging out… (the blonde male on the left is a lawyer from Sandy, Utah who works in Germany and was a counselor at the recent YSA conference and was visiting Hungary with another counselor, the young woman to his right)

We estimate that there were about 80 YSA in attendance throughout the night.  Great turnout!  Some of the youth had a very late train to catch – 5:30 AM, so we stayed with them in the building until about the time they left…. YAWN…

The 24 hour Flight

We arrived at the airport 2 hours early, like the dutiful fliers that we are.  We waited a VERY LONG time in the airport to talk to an American Airline person.  Then we found out that the incoming flight was so late that we would miss all our other connections and please wait while I find you another flight?!  After 1.5 hours, another flight (with all the connections) was found and she did not even charge us for any of the bags that we had (5 total).  I immediately emailed the Office Couple, the C, our new flight schedule  and off we were.  (SLC terminal is so nice to have free internet!!!)  We flew to Dallas, got on their sky high transport system (train that goes around the huge terminal) and got to the next flight (to London) just in time to board.  This was a 777 – a plane type that we have never been on before – and this is how it looked…. 9 seats across.  2 on sides, 5 in middle.

Inside cabin of 777.

Of course, silly us, we had paid EXTRA for exit seats on the trans-Atlantic flight (actually all flights), knowing that Ron’s long legs needed extra room.  Did we get that – NO!  (so that is a phone call that we still need to make to get a refund …)  He did have an isle seat, but it was not too comfy.

We got off in Heathrow at 7 AM-ish, with seats on the 8:55 PM flight into Budapest.  The AA person had told us to try to get onto an earlier flight; which we did and almost immediately got to fly into Hungary.  However, I had to find the internet to tell them that we were arriving early!  Finally I did that and I got back to our flight to find they had just started boarding.

The next surprise – not really after all this – was to find that we had NO luggage waiting for us at the terminal.  NEM, NADA, ZILCH!  Not one of the five bags arrived….  So after trying to find the correct Lost and Found Baggage people – and they realizing that the Cs might be waiting for us…. Ron stayed there to attend to those details and I left – just in time, the Cs were thinking that we might have not made the flight.

They drove us to their apartment and then the Hotel Belvedere, where we would stay until they figured out where we would be staying, about 10 minute walk to the Mission Home/Center.

The Hotel was very nice and COOL (air conditioning is not usually available in apartments here).   We loved the arboretum where breakfast was served!  It is the curved glass-enclosed room.

Arboretum

We stayed there Saturday through Tuesday nights.  The concierge was so nice and called the airlines several times a day for us to help us get our luggage. Unfortunately, it did not help and we did not get it until Tuesday after we left.  Tuesday, we moved into one of the top floor bedrooms of President Smith’s private suite.  We were supposed to move into our apartment (two buildings down from the Mission Home) on Saturday – today – but they have not quite finished cleaning it up.  New date for our apartment moving in is Monday, Aug 20th!  (A National Holiday)

More later…