Changing of the Hat Ceremony

The name of this meeting has changed to New Missionary Assignments; but the old name is sort of cute!  (Shades of Harry Potter…)  We had 16 new missionaries fly into Hungary last night, today they learned with whom they would be serving and in which town they would be serving.  Since we live very near to the Mission Home, we usually attend these meetings.

New missionaries on the right side of the room

New missionaries on the right side of the room

The Mission President and the Assistants to the President (APs) have a meeting right before this meeting to train the missionaries who will be getting brand new missionaries.  Then we have this meeting and all the new missionaries sit on the right side of the recreation room.Their trainers sit on the other side.

(APs are experienced missionaries who literally serve as assistants to the Mission President.  They council with him and help him make the decisions that the mission needs – such as where the new missionaries go; who gets transferred where, etc. Two young men usually serve as APs right before they leave their missions.)

One of the APs conducted this meeting.  He introduced the Mission President who asked that each of the missionaries present stand and briefly introduce themselves and end with a one sentence testimony.  I have to tell you what wonderful young men and women are in the mission field at this time!!!  Some are from small families and some are from 11 or 12 children.  One had 3 missionaries in the field from their personal family.  What a choice generation the Lord has raised up for these times.  As they bore their testimonies – of the Divinity of Christ, of their desire to share the happiness the Gospel has brought into their lives, of their love of families, of their desire to bring joy to the Hungarian people, Ron and I wept.  It is such a privilege to be associated with these youth!!!

With 11 sisters arriving and only 2 leaving the mission field, the Mission President and the APs have had an interesting time figuring out how to arrange them.  There are many three-somes, where one sister with seniority is training two sisters.  Eventually, they will be trained and they will be back in sets, like normal.  Luckily the Lord is involved in all these decisions and the Mission President asked all the missionaries to kneel and pray when they go to their assigned cities to receive confirmation from the Lord that they were with whom they were supposed to be.  Needless to say, it was a strongly spiritual meeting!

Hungary Budapest Sister Missionaries

Hungary Budapest Sister Missionaries

So this is every sister missionary in our Mission – which includes two that are going home tomorrow.

This is just a few of the meetings that help make a Mission run effectively and it shows how the Lord is directlng His Work.  Our Mission Presidents and their wives are choice men and women raised up to be able to manage all the work, make tough decisions and run such a large organization – all with the Lord’s inspiration.  How blessed we are to be here.

Another Adventure

Guess we are getting brave in our old age.  (or we need some change in the routine?)  Anyway, we went down to the major hub of transportation around here, Széll Kálmán Tér, and got on a villamos one Saturday.  Our goal was to ride to the end and see where we were.

IMG_0910This was the end of the viilamos line…  We walked up a cute covered ramp to get to the next leg of the journey.

Pretty charming little covered ramp!

Pretty charming little covered ramp!

Barbie had given us a little Budapet City Guide booklet and it had a map plus a little public transportation outline.  So on the villamos, we could see that there was an interesting train, called the Children’s Railway, that was close to where we would end up.  So at the end of the line, we walked over to the Children’s Railway (Gyermekvasüt) and purchased tickets to the end of its line.  Two children sold us the tickets – they did not know English so we pointed to the last stop on the outline to indicate that is where we wanted to go.  The regular transportation tickets that we use for the metro, villamos, buses would not work for this little train.

Here is what the website says:  The Children’s Railway is located in the hilly outskirts of Budapest, on the right side of the river Danube. It is operated by children aged 10-14 under the supervision of adult railway attendants.  http://www.gyermekvasut.hu/english/chrw_home.php

It is a darling narrow gauge train – “run” by children and primarily for children.  So there were lots of grandparents, parents and grandchildren on the train.  And it goes through the forests of the Buda Hills.  If you take some time to read the information on it’s website, you can see that the children work every 15 days or so (excused from school on those days) for the year that they are working there.  We picked a cabin with no children….

Checking and punching our tickets

Checking and punching our tickets

One of the cutest things we saw were the kids saluting as the trains went by…

Children Saluting

Children Saluting

We roamed around the Buda Hills, through the forests up there and there are other sites to visit on other days.

Janos Hegy (John Mountain)

Janos Hegy (John Mountain)

At the end of this journey, we got on the Cogwheel Train, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budapest_Cog-wheel_Railway.  This was a very wide tram, with rooms that accommodate bikes, children’s strollers, etc.

Cogwheel Tram

Cogwheel Tram

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At the end of this fairly straight-down-the-hill ride, we were back in familiar territory; so we got on a villamos and rode back to Széll Kálmán Tér, and walked back home.  This was a fun adventure…. one that we would do again when families come to visit!

Farsang

Farsang is a holiday celebrated in Hungary for many generations.  For more details, follow this link:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bus%C3%B3j%C3%A1r%C3%A1s

For the YSA, it is another reason to party and dress up (two Halloweens in one year! what is not to like about that?).  And, of course, there are traditional foods eaten for this holiday, also.

IMG_0785These are open faced sandwiches, which are a very popular food here.  There is also an art to how they are arranged and presented.  Sister Smith and Sister Carpenter made these.  Elder Felsted cut all the meat, cheese, veggies for them…  I was home with a stomach issue (there is something here in Hungary that bothers my stomach every so often – and I have not yet figured it out…)  I was okay about the time the party started!

IMG_0784These are Hungarian doughnuts called Fank.  Ron and I made them all day Thursday and Friday.  They do not have a hole in the middle; but a thumbprint in the middle holds jams and jellies.  They are like a yeast cake and are fried.  We made about 200, since the council wanted a doughnut eating contest…. However, no one wanted to take part in that – so we ended up giving many fanks away at the end of the party.

The Council planned this party well.  They had cute decorations, a get-to-know you activity, a costume judging contest, pinata, line dancing, and karaoke.  And since the party only lasted until 11 – 11:30 PM, no one got bored!

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Tomás, a friend of Barbie.  Cook uniform.

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This is Barbie…. Cowgirl

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Clark Kent… oops… Péti

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Levente, the gangster….

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Moses and his ten commandments: Istvan and his fiancee, Evi

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The cowgirl, Aniko…

 

 

 

 

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Adri, the ghoul…

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Feri, in his camoflage

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Klaudia and her friend.  Think she was a cat!

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And Norbi, with his Iron Man suit, which took him days and days to perfect.  Made of cardboard pieces, paint, and ingenuity – remarkable!

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Timi and Gabor painted their faces after they got to the party!

Cowboy Felsteds 2

We found some cowboy hats at a store – so that was when we made the decision to go as cowboys!  Luckily we brought a pair of jeans with us… (HINT:  if you go on a YSA mission, bring a couple of costumes…)

I uploaded a video clip of a popular line dance that they do to a song called Cat Man Joe on my Facebook page, if you want to check that out.   Where in the world did they learn that one???  (Probably either from a young missionary or a senior missionary…)

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Eszter and Levente got to know each other at the party.

IMG_2812Many thanks to the Office Couple, the Carpenters, for helping out!  Could not have done it without them… and Sister Smith helped so much, too!

Birthday Celebration

On Saturday, February 23, 2013, Elder Felsted and I celebrated my 71st birthday by going on another adventure on the public transportation.  We got on one of the fancy villamos trains down on Széll Kállman Tér and rode it to the end of the line.

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That took us over the Margit Hid (Margaret Bridge) to Pest, around the touristy part of Pest and back over the Danube (to the Buda side) on the Petrofi Hid and to the end of that line.  We paid for the trip back; but got off the villamos on the Pest side of the Petrofi Hid and walked down the stairs under the bridge, where we caught another above surface train that went along the Danube ( called Duna here).  It swung around the back side of the Parliament Building and we got off at the Margit Hid.  Then we walked up to the road level and walked across the bridge.  It was a rainy and overcast day… but the air temperature was good.

IMG_0859From the middle of the bridge you can see the Parliament Building on the left.  The hill you can see in the background is Gellert Hill, and if you enlarge the picture you can see the Freedom Statue on the top.  Across the Duna is the Buda Castle.  (We live behind the Buda Castle in a little “valley.”)

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Across the bridge is a popular Hungarian Restaurant, Trófea Grill (Trophey Grill).  It was about a block from the bridge, so that is where we ended up!  Many consider it pricey but we will go there again!  Very yummy food – and all you can eat, too.  We found out one of the reasons the price is high – all you can eat includes all you can drink – so we are paying for the booze others drink!  The Duna is on the left of this picture.

IMG_0866After our meal, we walked part way across the street to the villamos and rode back to Széll Kállman Tér and walked home…  here are some sights we saw on our trip:

IMG_0871I like the paint job on this renovated building… at least the outside is renovated…

IMG_0883This red and white painted store is a CBA grocery store. It is about 1 block from our apartment and 1 block from  Széll Kállman Tér and we quite often buy last minute groceries here.  It was formerly a Match store, owned by a German company.  CBA is a Hungarian company and they completely renovated the store, including the fresh red and white paint on the outside.  CBA fired all the students who worked for it, so that unemployed adult workers could get jobs.  At least, that is what Timi told us, who used to work at a Match.  Sounds like what a government would do to get their employment figures up!  Although, if you are a student, you have special perks, like it is easier to find jobs.  The colleges and universities have employment centers to help the students.

On Monday, Feb 25, the Senior Sisters in Buda gathered at another restaurant to celebrate my birthday and Ann Heath’s birthday!  (One party after the other!!!)

IMG_0896From left, Sisters Smith, Wiggins, me, Carpenter and Heath.

So that was a fun few days – two restaurants in two days….  GOSH!  I am old…