Letters to Hungarian Missionaries

We have been working on getting the YSA weekly meetings more organized…. things planned for each Monday Family Home Evening and Friday night activities..  It has resulted in a variety of things to do.  One of the things that the council decided to do is to write our YSA missionaries from Hungary that are serving all over the world – one even in Hungary!  This is turning out to be a great service project for our YSA.

April 15, 2013 was our second time doing this once-a-month project.  And it was fortuitous that the YSA received an answer back from one of the Sister Missionaries who is serving in Germany on this very same day!  She included a very long letter – deliberately long she said, since she has not had the opportunity to speak or write in Hungarian since she left and she missed her native language!  She included several pictures…  Image

Gabor read the letter out loud while others were gathered around writing their letters.  There was an audible gasp when he read about her missing Hungary but that she would definitely redo this experience of serving her mission.

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It was definitely a choice experience for these YSA to interact in a positive way with those who have chosen to leave their lives behind for the 1.5 or 2 years of their mission.

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Some of their interactions are hysterical…. I wonder what was so funny!  Notice also, the Chocolate Twinkle Cookies that Felsted Elder made….Image

Great Service Project….

Spiritual Saturday

We had a fun and spiritual Saturday.  There were two YSA aged youth baptisms that we attended.  And another activity after that.

One we have known about for a month or so… Noémi.  Noémi started following a blog called scenesfromthewild.blogspot.com.  After a while, she asked the author, Michelle, where she could find out more about the Mormon way of life and  the Church?  See Michelle’s blog for more details.  She has been attending our YSA activities for a while and there were many YSA who came to her baptism!

The Lehnardts, Noémi and her mother.

The Lehnardts, Noémi and her mother.

You can see what a darling person she is – her personality just shines!  Her mother told me that Noémi is her angel.  Noémi was confirmed today, Sunday, April 14, 2013, in the Buda Ward.

Noémi thought she was in the Erd Branch and was taught for a while by the Erd Elders.  She also attended meetings there and even was given an assignment for Visiting Teaching.  However, once her address was known, it was noted that she lived in the Buda Ward boundaries.  So she came to her first meeting there and was overwhelmed.  She knew NO ONE, the ward is BIG, she was upset.  She wrote Michelle she was not sure about this anymore.  Michelle found my blog and immediately contacted me.  SO, we made sure she was invited to the YSA activities.  The missionaries brought her to Institute and she met with the 10-15 kids that normally attend that.  A few took her under her wing and she was happy again!  She is planning on demonstrating some cooking skill this coming Friday.

Our capable leader, Adri, cut some paper in half, got a cover designed and after the baptism, while people are waiting for the baptized person to dry off and get dressed, Adri and her helpers, passed out the sheets of paper to the audience to write something for Noémi.  Then they made a little booklet and presented it to Noémi.

Noémi, Norbi, Aniko, Péti, Adri

Noémi, Norbi, Aniko, Péti, Adri

Noémi will be a great addition to our little group!

The second baptism we just heard about a week ago.  Evidently Kori and his father received a Pass Along Card and came to the Church, wanting to know more.  So they had discussions and decided to be baptized!  They are in the Kispest Ward, which is in our Stake.  We had thought about getting there by the Metro and tram, but we found out that the Mission President and his wife were also attending.  So we rode with them!  The Bishop of that ward baptized them…

IMG_1367Elder Felsted invited Kori to attend our meetings.  He seems to be a serious young man and would also be a great addition to our YSA group.  Look for him in pictures of our activities…..  The Kispest Ward outdoes itself with after baptism food.  The sisters come with bags of bread and other ingredients and set to making the traditional Hungarian open faced sandwiches.  Others bring cookies, brownies, cakes.  There was plenty to eat by those in attendance.  YUM!

The third activity that we attended was after the food was served and cleaned up in the Kispest Ward.  There is a YSA who just returned from his mission to the Ogden Mission/North Salt Lake Mission.  His mission was split after he got there and he ended up in the Bountiful North Salt Lake City area.  We first met him at the Mission Home Tuesday April 9, 2013, where the Stake President came to release him.  Timi, a good friend, came to see him!

IMG_1271We met Levente and his proud family.  At 6’6″ he is the tallest one in his family at the moment.  (There are a LOT of very tall Hungarians!!!)  He has 4 younger brothers, one whom was born after he left on his mission!  They now have a model older brother to emulate.  We knew that his family was having a get-together – like a homecoming event – at the Kispest building but we did not know who was invited….. until Levente asked us to stay for it after the baptism.  So we informed the Mission President and his wife, that we would be taking the Metro home!

Levente had a computer set up with a LCD projector and put on a small slide show that showed his MTC group and some scenes from his early mission days. He was in a group of non-English speakers – from Tonga, Portugal, Singapore, Hawaii, and other places.  He explained most of the slides in Magyar, of course.  However, he bore a powerful testimony in ENGLISH, that had us in tears.  He had to start his Mission in Hungary, as his visa to America was delayed in getting here, so that is why he has one of his missionary name tags in Magyar.

IMG_1374Levente has another great skill:  he is an awesome musician.  He plays the organ (as well as other instruments) and was able to play the Mormon Tabernacle Organ on one of his Preparation Days.  You can view it on his Facebook page… (where I snagged this photo below)

Levente Medveczky at MoTab Organ

And he will be another powerful addition to our YSA group!  At least someone the kids can “look up to” !!!!

 

Quick Trip to Pécs

When the last batch of new missionaries came to Hungary, five of the sixteen arrived without all their luggage.  It appears that some of the luggage were randomly checked as they came through customs, as they all had the same closure tags locking their bags.  So after their initial meetings at the Mission Home, most went off to their new areas without all their luggage.  We were asked to take some luggage to Pécs, for one of the Elders there. It was a Thursday, March 28, 2013, not a busy day for us, so we said, SURE – especially since we had never been to that town before..  It is near the border of Croatia.

On the way to Pécs

On the way to Pécs

The weather cooperated, which was good.  We had quite a snow storm earlier in the week and you can see the remnants.  Pécs is southwest of Budapest and it took us over two hours to drive there. We wanted to start earlier in the day; however, the suitcase was locked in a room and the two separate people who had keys were other places.  So we waited an hour or so before we left.  That made a tighter schedule since Elder Felsted has an art class he runs every Thursday at 7 PM.

Old Church and New Church

Old Church and New Church

We drove by this old Church on the way to Pécs and we assume the one next to it is the newer version.  I wish we knew the history of this church or its name…

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There are some substantial hills to drive through to get to this area of Hungary.  Here is a view of some of the drive as we approached Pécs.

The Elders were not close to the city center when we arrived, but the Sisters were.  They all live within a few blocks of each other, so it was fine that we left the suitcase with them.  We met up with them near the walking street where they live.

We drove the blue van, which belongs to the Mission.

We drove the blue van, which belongs to the Mission.

We love the cobblestone streets and roads that are found everywhere here.  We heard that Pécs is home to some branch of the UN, so they have received some funding to upgrade their town.

The new sisters meeting a friend, who sings on the street.

The new sisters meeting a blind friend, who sings on the street.

The mission has seven groups of three sisters – until the newest sisters get fully trained.  This is the three sisters in front of their apartment on one of the cute walking streets.

Love those smiles!

Love those smiles!

We offered to take them to lunch – but it was too late!  They ate at a normal time.  But they took us down the street to a very nice little place that was a favorite of theirs and we bought a very yummy chicken pita sandwich to eat on our way home.

Cute walking street

Cute walking street

We did not have too much time for sightseeing, so we left and saw some Middle Age ruins on our way out.  “The early Christian necropolis is from this era which became an UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 2000.” (Wikipedia)

IMG_1155Here is a Cathedral, built in the 11th Century.  This area has been inhabited for 6000  years.

IMG_1152We arrived back in Budapest in time for the art class – after a nice drive through the countryside of Hungary!

 

Normafa Hike

We have planning meetings every Wednesday evening with the YSA Council and one of the activities they wanted to do was a hike in the Normafa area, March 23, 2013.  Normafa is in the Buda Hills and is a large park area (we might call it a preserve).  The name comes from the Norma Tree (Norma, a type of beech, fa is the word for tree).  It was a forest and it would have been better to take this trip in the later spring or early summer, as all the trees were bare!  However, none of us knew that we would have an unusually late spring!  Where is our crystal ball when we need it?

Gabus, Lavi, Adri, Péti, Arpi, Ezti

Gabus, Lavi, Adri, Péti, Arpi, Ezti

We met at the Center and made our lunches, and then went to Széll Kálmán Tér to catch the number 21 bus, whose final destination was Normafa.  It was overcast, a bit brisk but not too cold, and it did not rain!!! (We just learned the other day that this has been the rainiest Jan, Feb and Mar in over 100 years here in Budapest!!! – it has been VERY BORING WEATHER)

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We were not sure we could do this hike – we are 71! – but Ron took Aleve for his knee and I had my inhaler.  When we got there it did not look like our hikes in the Sierra Nevadas of our youth, so we chanced it.  There was only one of the six YSA who had ever been to this area before, and that was Arpi.   We assumed that Adri had, since she is the one who suggested it.  Arpi was a little nervous about not having a map.  But we just took off on one of the trails.  We meandered around for a while on the trails.  We crossed the Children’s Train tracks at one point.  This trip gave us another view of the area we went through on that little train.

Which Way??

Which Way??

After going downhill for about 1/2 hour, we (Felsted Elder and Sister) decided that was probably our limit.  We could see a junction a little ways off. So we all went there and then we decided which way to return.  They decided to return with us.

Memorial of Some Kind

Memorial of Some Kind

We came across this stone pile marker and cross, which noted some military activity.   Close by was this marker below – written in original Hungarian script.

IMG_2877We even saw a tent set up in the woods – we were thinking perhaps a homeless person stayed there.  Our little band of eight survived the trip and we got to explore a new area of Budapest!