We have had two Senior Missionary Training Meetings since we have been in Hungary. For these, all the Senior Missionaries come to the Mission Home for two days of training, visiting and visiting famous sites. This is important to receive needed counsel from our Mission President and his wife and also to “recharge” our batteries.
Some of the Senior Missionaries serve in what is called Mission Leadership Support. They are called to live in the outlying branches and wards to help with the leadership needs of their congregation. However, they are usually many hours away from the other Senior Missionaries, so these training meetings afford them the opportunity to visit with the rest of their far-flung compatriots.
The first senior meeting was at the end of August. President gave us some words of encouragement about the growth in Hungary and our roles in Hungary in that in our training meeting. He had a great power point to go along with that. (He loves technology!) Later we went to visit Heroes Square. The centerpiece of the square is the Millennium Monument, built in 1896 to commemorate the 1000th anniversary of the Magyar conquest. Think about that for a moment!!! We then toured the nearby Vajdahunyad Castle, which was built originally of cardboard at the same time as the Millennium Monument. It was much loved because of the various architectural styles that were used, and it was later rebuilt of brick and stone.
We also visited St. Stephen’s Catholic Church; St. Stephen is the patron saint of Hungary. Some of us climbed the 302 circuitous steep stairs to the balcony around the main round steeple… I did – Ron did not…
And we also walked by the famous statue of Ronald Reagan. The Hungarian people love him because they feel because of him “The Wall” came down and they regained their freedom from the Soviet occupation of their land.
We also had dinner at a local favorite, The Bistro, and lunch at another wonderful place, The First Strudel House of Pest. Not only was the food delicious, but the decor was charming: antiques displayed on the walls and even under the clear plastic sinks in the bathrooms! (A family history nut like me loves this kind of stuff…)
Our last senior training was October 17th and 18th. This time Sister Smith had us bring various foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The training meeting on Tuesday afternoon was informative and deeply spiritual. President Smith had each of us talk about the various jobs that we did. It ended up that we reported of some of the miracles that have occurred while we were doing our various service. For Tuesday night’s dinner she hired a local Hungarian make Rokött Krumpli and we brought salads.
The next day we toured The Parliament Building. WOW! What a beautiful building! It is one of the oldest legislative buildings in Europe and is currently the largest building in Hungary. It was bombed during WWII and had to be repaired. Some of the beautiful stained glass windows were hidden away and re-installed when things were safer. It sits overlooking the Danube and they are currently doing some construction around the Danube side. I have used some Wikipedia pictures for this posting.
Afterwards we walked down to The Shoes on The Danube, a very poignant memorial to the Jews that were forced to take off their shoes at this spot before they were shot by a local pro-communist and anti-Jew group in 1945. After they were killed, they fell into the Danube. Man’s inhumanity to man is staggering. I am glad that God is our Judge.
We then got on the Vilamos (tram) and rode over to Gellert Hill. We walked up the hill to the top – a MAJOR climb with stairs and paths (235 m or 771 ft high)!!! Gellert Hill is named for a Christian martyr, who tried to bring Christianity to the early Hungarians. It also has been a fortress and has a Statue of Liberty (also called the Freedom Monument) on top.
We also walked down the hill to the tram to get back to the Mission Home after getting to the top! This was the most walking we did in one day since we have been here – several miles total. Ron’s knee was sore for a few days… I was glad I had been doing early morning walks three times a week with Sister Smith!!! It was beautiful fall weather and a very nice day.