This might be a boring posting for some of you. But it is what we do here…
Sunday – we attend the Pest Ward, which is the building on the other side of the Danube. We drive there and it takes about 25 minutes. They have translators for us and we wear ear gadgets that transmit our translators message. They have the normal 3 hour block. Occasionally we attend other wards – to give talks, introduce ourselves, or give messages. This requires the use of a car – so we need to plan for that. We have not been out by ourselves – yet. A GPS is available for our use – however, it doesn’t seem to work all the time..
Monday – The YSA have a Family Home Evening. They plan this out and run it. The YSA discuss any issues they want. Last Monday night, there was a lively discussion about not being judgmental, for instance. We provide the place (the Center) and we provide a dinner. We have about 20-30 who show up for this. Because of the dinner, we usually go shopping for food on this day, also. That usually means a trip to the Mammut Shopping Mall about 4 blocks from our home. Not only is it a 4 level mall but there is adjacent open air food booths.
Tuesday – Institute, YSA Council Meeting following. Before we came, the Sisters in charge of the center decided to have Institute twice a week. They wanted to offer more choices and also to see if because of the choices, more students would attend Institute. Their numbers did rise because of the choices. Institute attendance drives the funding of the center, so numbers are important. So we have Institute on T and F evenings. The YSA have a president and members who sit on the council. We have a weekly meeting with them to discuss what is going on – ways to get more less-actives active, upcoming Gofri night activities, etc. Tonight Sister H, Ron and I also have a meeting with the Bishop of the Buda Ward (where our building is) to discuss the YSA of his ward. We provide a small treat after Institute…
Wednesday – this appears to be a slow day for us. No scheduled activities! Hopefully we can use it to do some visiting of inactive YSA – once we figure out who they are… We have done some serious shopping on this day – going to Ikea, Tesco and Metro to get items for our apartment and bulk food – far away places that need a car to get to.
Thursday – the Missionaries have English Lessons at 6 PM this day. Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced. They have lesson plans to follow and there are a lot of people, all ages, who attend these classes. Many of our YSA investigators come from these classes. What is not to love about the example of our missionaries? We are there in the center for a presence and also to sit in on the classes, if needed.
Friday – Institute, Gofri Night. Gofri means waffle and the original Sisters who started the Center for YSA here used to have waffles every Friday night. But as things go, the kids got tired of waffles and so we vary the menu. Gofri Night includes a spiritual thought. It is done by rotating missionaries every other week and YSA the other weeks. We always have at least one set of missionaries to be with us – until their curfew (9:30 PM). Other missionaries are allowed if they have an investigator. We provide a light dinner and/or other food and they decide on what the activities are. Four times a year there is a large party, to which the whole country is invited. The next large party is going to be the Halloween Party. These every Friday Gofri parties go until about 10 PM – the exception is the 4 times a year parties, which go MUCH later. We are trying to find some council from our leaders about that. It is a little hard on us to be up to 2 AM in the morning. Since some have to travel 3-4 hours to get here for those parties, that has been the justification for the later hours.
Saturday – is supposed to be our Preparation Day. However, that doesn’t work too often. Last Saturday we were at the Pest Ward for meetings at 10 AM-1 PM (Training for Institute and Seminary Teachers.) We were asked to do the Spiritual Thought. Ron did that and also introduced ourselves to the teachers. Then we ran to the store to get some bottled water. We were asked to provide pogatcsas (small cheese biscuit type pastries) and water and we forgot about the water. Then there was a meeting for the Seminary and Institute Students from 2-3:30 PM. Brother C, in charge of Institute, is an amazing and powerful man. He ran both meetings. The Spirit is very strong with him and he will also be teaching the New Testament Class at our Institute on Tuesday evenings. I loved his words – something on the order of – learning God’s Word was more important that the learning of the world. We both introduced ourselves to the students and bore our testimonies – all in Magyar. (President Smith, our Mission President, told us how proud he was of us doing that. We could only do that with the help of the office missionaries and our tutor!!!) This Saturday we will be attending the baptism of two YSA investigators, Peter and Dominique. Peter has been coming to our center before we got here and is a wonderful young man. The Light of Christ beams in him. We do not know the other person, but hopefully that will change. They are from another ward in our Stake – Kispest – and will be baptized there.
Anyway, we often times do not get home until 10 PM. We usually collapse into bed at that time. We are at the Center sometimes as early as 10 – or going shopping by then and so these long days are a bit wearing on us. We could come home for a brief nap or break; however, the owners of our apartment and their workers have been here – doing various maintenance jobs this past couple of weeks – so coming home has not been an option. Luckily we have a nice air-conditioned office and a couple of lounge rooms that we can rest in at the Center.
It is all good! We love being here, baptisms like we will have this weekend are worth it all. And I am assuming the exhaustion will abate once we get into the routine of it all..