Szentendre – Senior Conference Trip

The day after our Senior Missionary Conference, we traveled by boat up the Danube to Szentendre.  It is about a one hour trip north of Budapest.  There are a series of picturesque towns around there.  This town is wonderfully restored and kept up and lived in.  Although it is touristy, it is not blatant.

Some of us waiting for the boat to arrive.

Some of us waiting for the boat to arrive.

It was a wonderful day – temperature was just right.  We wandered around looking at the charming little curved streets, alley ways, winding steps, churches and of course, shops!

IMG_1659Felsted Elder had fun taking pictures – hopefully he will like one of them enough to paint!IMG_1401This charming walkway led us up some steps to a wonderful old church on a hill overlooking Szentendre.

IMG_1408IMG_1409These stairs also go up to the Church on the hill…

IMG_1423Below is the main square of the town.  We ate a delicious lunch at a restaurant to the left of this square.

IMG_1446We did not walk over to this side of the town… but it looks just as pretty as the other side.

IMG_1452Love the architectural style of this place of business.

IMG_1454Here are some places of business and their wares:

IMG_1426 IMG_1405IMG_1397IMG_1395IMG_1392IMG_1649Several of the seniors bought some hand-made “secret” boxes made by a craftsman in this town. He carved the grand-children’s names for them, while they waited. I did not get a picture of his shop, unfortunately.

Below is the church on the hill.  It is called the St. John the Baptist Church and inside it there are some absolutely beautiful paintings and decor.


IMG_1680IMG_1682One of the altars dated to the 1790s…  There was a lady who sat in the foyer and watched the church during the day.  Perhaps she had a shift to sit there and protect this beautiful relic of their town.  She only spoke Hungarian and German.  I unfortunately had to tell her (Hunglish) that some young boys were using a black marker pen on the walls surrounding the church yard.  I guess that grafitti is a world-wide problem.  I talked to the boys and said what they were doing was destructive; but they disagreed and argued with me.  I should have taken their picture!

On the way down from the church.

IMG_1689This shop had some beautiful pottery.  I bought a small plate – but how to get things like this home safely???

IMG_1690Another shop we went into.  Blue and white fabric is well-known in Hungary and comes from a certain place near Lake Balaton.


In this store I bought a blue and white pot holder that had a pocket with a “chicken” inside.  The chicken becomes a hot pad handle and between the pot holder and the chicken, you can take something out of the oven with two hands.

I found this website with more information about Szentendre:


May Senior Missionary Conference

Every 2 months or so, we have a gathering of all the senior missionaries in Hungary for a Conference.  They are directed by President and Sister Smith and are wonderfully spiritual events!  This one was no different.

We have three senior couples who will be leaving their missions before the next conference, so President Smith had each of the six missionaries relate to us their feelings about their missions.  I told President Smith (afterwards) that I wished he would have passed tissues out before the meeting started!  It was a multi-tissue event!


L-R: The Scotts, The Flammers, The Cromars

I will summarize what many of them talked about.  Their missions were a wonderful growing experience. They learned to study the scriptures better and prayed more diligently for help to do their callings.  They were humbled in trying to learn what some consider the 3rd hardest language in the world.  So they learned they could smile, pantomime, speak Hunglish, or what ever it took to try to communicate to the youth or the members.

They were stretched and never felt more out of their comfort zone.  Sister Scott quoted President Lorenzo Snow, “The nature of those demands upon us [is] such that no person can comply with them, unless by assistance from the Almighty. … He has promised this aid.”  She said she felt very vulnerable when she came to Hungary.  Brother Scott lost his sight shortly before they left on their mission!  He is the Branch President!!!

They showed their love of the members in various ways.  One gave each branch member family a tied quilt they made.   A couple of the senior couples taught music lessons to potential ward pianists and taught the members the hymns (the Hungarian version of our Church hymnbook came out about July 2012).  Many LDS are very talented musically and while on their missions, they used their talents in helping others learn music.  One couple showed CES talks to a few YSA in their home every Sunday evening.  One had Sunday dinners and invited non-members; if there were no non-members, then members were invited.  Many serve in various positions in the branch leadership.  One Elder reminded us to support the junior proselyting missionaries because they are on the firing line and are a basic key to the work!

President Smith then asked his two counselors and secretary to speak.  President Szabadkai, President Ballatoni, and Elder Carpenter, (also known as the Office Missionary).  President S quoted Nephi, “I will go and do the things that the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save He shall prepare a way for them that they might accomplish which he commandeth them.”  This explains why he accepted the call to be a counselor to President Smith and travels 2.5 hours one way to attend meetings –  and also why we (senior missionaries) are here.  President B has a young family is away a lot visiting the various branches.  (He lives in the Pest Ward and his children are darling! He also has a wonderful singing voice!)  He has had offers to work in the USA but feels his mission is with his people of Hungary.  As a convert at the age of 14, he remembers the role the senior missionaries played with him as sometime surrogate parents and mentors. Elder Carpenter was humbly thankful to work with these wonderful men!

Then President Smith concluded with some ideas from the book, The Power of Everyday Missionaries by Clayton M. Christensen.  President Smith listed all the blessings that can be ours if we share the gospel… things like:  none shall stay you and you shall receive strength, and many more which are all taken from the D & C, and then he asked, Who would not want to have these blessings!  So we are asked to stretch even more!  This is way above most of our comfort zones…. but we will try our hardest to be obedient!

The Senior Couples of the Budapest Hungary Mission May 2013

The Senior Couples of the Budapest Hungary Mission May 2013

On a sad note, Cummings Elder and Növér had to leave their mission early.  Sister Cummings had some health issues come up and needed some time to heal.  We hope they can return to their mission when she recovers!

Cinco de Mayo Soap Opera

The Council decided that they wanted to celebrate Cinco de Mayo by doing a Soap Opera for our FEFest, May 3, 2013.  Aniko volunteered to write it. Certain YSA would be the actors – except they decided they wanted Elder Felsted to have a part!  (VERY OUT OF CHARACTER FOR HIM!!!)  Evi would do a history of Cinco de Mayo so we would have some background of this supposedly Mexican celebration. I say supposedly since Evi discovered that more people in America celebrate this holiday than they do in Mexico!   Her history was in a power point format and was very well done. Norbi did the wonderful poster announcing it and also ran the sound system and the LCD projector.

IMG_1565Péti did the “promo” film announcing it and was also one of the main actors.

Luckily the kids have been taking some guitar lessons!

Luckily the kids have been taking some guitar lessons!

Barbie was the perfect drama queen:

The tears looked real!

The tears looked real!

Timi was out of character with her demure part and Feri did a fantastic job (also out of character for him). Felsted Elder practiced his 3 lines for DAYS!!!  You understand that the entire play was in Magyar???

Felsted Elder made a mustache of some white crepe paper and it was held onto his face with some string tied around his ears!  He made his sombrero of poster board and we found a blanket in our apartment that sort of looked like a serapi!  It was pretty hysterical!


And here is the entire group who all had something to do with the play…  From the left, Adri, Norbi, Felsted Elder, Feri, Péter, Timi, Barbi, Aniko, Arne, Levente.  Noémi took a video of it, which for some unknown reason (I have a MAC?) would not load in this post.

We had taco salad for dinner and had a pinata to top off the evening!

AND….. they have decided that they had so much fun doing this that there will be a 4th of July SOAP OPERA, also….  We will try to make up a back ground and some decorations for this one…

Mt Janos Hike

Saturday, April 20, 2013, we had no mission activity planned, so the Carpenters and the Felsteds decided to take a hike up to Mt. Janos.  It is in the Buda Hills and we took the tram 61 to the end, where we caught the Children’s train and got off at the Mt Janos stop.  It was a beautiful spring day and the trees were starting to fill out and we saw some wildflowers.  (I am wishing I had room in my luggage to bring my wildflower and tree identification guide books!)  We walked up a steep path, through the woods, and arrived at this point.  Looks like cars can drive up to this area by another route than what we took.

IMG_1530János-hegy is the highest point in Budapest. The Erzsébet lookout tower offers panoramic views of the city and the Buda Hills.  We walked up the road on the right to the top.

IMG_1531The Erzsébet Tower – Elizabeth Tower – was once used for watching for fires.  It is a very attractive building that has pictures with explanations of its construction and the history of different buildings that were here before this one. There is a chair lift that goes up and down from a certain area.  Some skiing is done here when there is enough snow.  The chair lift was closed for repairs on the day we went.  But you can see it in the video below about Erzsébet Tower.

I loved how they had little sitting areas with windows along the steps!

IMG_1539After viewing the beautiful view, we walked down the hill, got on the Children’s Train to its end.  Then onto the Cog Train down to cur neighborhood.  We found a Chinese Restaurant that looked promising around Széll Kállmán tér – and it was!  Elder Felsted and I actually went back to this one again…

Cooking Demonstrations

One of the things we can to do in our kitchen is cooking demonstrations, which is the only way that we are allowed to cook in our kitchen now.  So the leadership of our council decided that we should have cooking demonstrations about once a month.

Since our new convert, Noémi, is a cooking expert, we decided to ask her to demonstrate something for our April 19th Friday evening get-together.  She told  us what to buy, and we got the ingredients.  She asked Norbi to be her “cooking boy” – or he volunteered?  Lavi and Péti just pitched in and helped!

Getting things ready

Getting things ready

The kids seem to have a great fun interacting while the serious cooking was going on…

IMG_1523And here is the final product – a wonderful creamy pasta with peas, cream, cheese, and the juice and zest of lemon!  – YUM…… and our cook, Noemi and her helper, Norbi!!!  Wonderful Cooking Demonstration

Wonderful Cooking Demonstration

That same night was the first night that Levente, who recently returned from his mission to Utah, attended our YSA meetings.  So Adri made up some cute letters to welcome him home: Isten hozott itthon Levente!   Welcome home Levente – literally, God brought you (that is one way the Hungarians say welcome) home.

IMG_1460Another fun FEFest!!  Fiatal Egyedülálló Felnőttek evening – or in English YSA evening.  (Note:  A BYU professor is sitting up near the piano.  He brought a group to Budapest for some activity and wanted to drop in at one of our activities!  He was impressed!)

Our Wards Here

NOTE:  I wrote this in October 2012 but forgot to post it??

We went to our regular ward today in Pest.  It is called the Pest Ward or the International Ward, since they have translation for us who do not speak Magyar.  Most of the Senior Missionaries here in Pest go to this ward because of the language issues.  There is a box of earphones for us and someone sits in the back of the chapel and translates for us.  I wanted to share some things that we assume are typical to small wards and branches – especially in these new-to-the-gospel lands.

Pest Chapel from the back parking lot.

Pest Chapel from the back parking lot.  It is the Stake Center.  This picture was taken Dec 23, 2012, showing one of the first snow storms that we had here.

First off, a young girl got up to bear her testimony.  I believe she is 11.  Her mother died 2 months ago and she is an orphan.  She and her mother were the only members of their family to join the Church.  Not sure where the father is or who is caring for her now.  I know that the Relief Society was asked to bring dinners for quite a while after her mother’s death.  She told how sad she was when her mother died but now she has hope and she knows the Church is true and was thankful for it.  Of course, not many dry eyes during that testimony!

The organist is an oriental young woman of age 14.  Her family does not speak Magyar. The father works in Budapest. The chorister is a young woman of 13, whose family also does not speak Magyar.  One of the former counselors to the Bishop (just released) is from Germany and works here.  He does not speak Magyar and is now on the Stake High Council for the third time.

There have been some new families that have moved into this ward.  One from America (can’t remember from where exactly) and they will be here for 2-3 years.  Another family just moved in from Utah.  Today was their first day to Church here.  The mother just had her 9th child.  Their oldest child is 15.  Her husband was a former Hungarian Missionary 20 years ago – when the Church first came into Hungary.  They felt that the Lord sent them here and the family has been learning Magyar for the past 3 years.  The father got his job here through the internet.  (The mother’s parents are serving a YSA mission in Norway!)  She has been home-schooling her children.  They since have been asked to attend the Érd Branch, where their talents can be more fully utilized!

Our YSA are an active presence in this ward and others – serving in various positions, such as RS counselors, EQ presidencies, Mission Leaders, teachers, etc.

Yesterday, we went to the Kispest Ward Open House.  The YSA were out in strong numbers there, also.  Every person feels needed in countries like these.  The Kispest Bishop was excited that some local dignitaries came to visit the Open House as well as a Roman Catholic Priest.  Hopefully, this open house will bring in some new members and reactive some others.

The Lord’s vineyard continues to grow.

Goodbye Connor

One of the advantages of having a YSA group in a large metropolitan area is that young single adults from all over the world drop in occasionally.  They might be touring or going to school for a semester or working in Budapest – or in the case of Connor, working at the US Embassy.  Many of these youth are former LDS Missionaries who served their missions here in Hungary and when they have the opportunity to return, they jump at the chance.

Christopher on the left.

Christopher on the left.  Tortillas for dinner…

We had Chris from Cedar City here last fall for a semester abroad experience with a local university. He did not serve in Hungary (served in Japan) but has a Hungarian grandfather. Livi befriended him and translated for him and helped him with his Hungarian genealogy. As it turns out one of his friends from his university was here serving her mission (see below).  We hear some updates from Chris.

Christopher and Sister Hudspeth (now home)

Christopher and Sister Hudspeth (now home)

We now have Arne from Germany who is working here until July.  He served his mission in Hungary.  He has fit right in, also, as you can see from the Institute picture below.

Institue Class AArne is in the plaid shirt on the right side of the picture, next to Timi.

Conner came for one BYU semester.  He served here in Hungary and when he saw the chance to do an internship at the US Embassy, he was thrilled to come back.

Livi, Connor, Viki

Livi, Connor, Viki

Connor’s mother came over to do some touring with him after his work with the Embassy was completed.

Connor and his Mom

Connor and his Mom and we can see who in the family Connor looks like!

Connor is very outgoing (and talented) and so he just jumped right into all the activities!  (Of course, the fact that he had nothing better to do after a day a work, might have had something to do with his decision to spend so much time here at the mission center.)  He danced at the dances, sang at the Karoke night, got to know the missionaries assigned in Buda Ward and was a friend for everyone. He found my blog before he came and so he was familiar with some of what was going on here.  It was fun having him.  He was a good example to the YSA here.  Thanks for coming, Connor. Good luck back at BYU!