Gyömrö – Another Service Project

Tibor, a former YSA member, is an excellent home teacher.  He and Adri decided that we could help him with one of his families.  He has been their home teacher for a few years. So he told us where to go, what time to be there and he would meet us there. Actually he got on our train at one of the stops!  Saturday, July 20, 2013.  Temperature in the 80s..

The Budapest Stake boundaries are very large and we needed to take a train to this family who lived in Gyömrö, southwest of Budapest, but inside Pest County.  Get on the metro to Keleti Train Station and buy tickets to Gyömrö.- about 1.5 hour total trip.  Timi to the rescue, again:  Students pay one fee; pass holders pay another fee and those without passes pay 550 ft.  Gofri-est money paid for the tickets.

IMG_3421Inside Keleti Palyaudvar.  We got to our train with 2 minutes to spare!  (Thanks to Timi – as we had no clue how she knew which train to get…)

IMG_3425Our train was one of the older ones… but clean and comfortable.

IMG_3429Norbi, Adri, Richie (green shirt) and you can’t see Viki B, sitting next to Richie

IMG_3430Gabor and Timi

IMG_3431Two of the Pest Sisters – Sister Hardy and Sister Broadhead

IMG_3432Lavi and Sister Sexton – her given names are exactly the same as one of our daughters AND her twin sister is serving in South Korea!

IMG_3434And us!  I am holding a little notebook that Elder Felsted designed and uses to study his Hungarian.  It contains vocabulary, grammar rules, etc.  He typed it up to fit the notebook and after printing it off, cuts and pastes the pages onto the notebook page.  My system – a 5 x 7 notebook – was just not convenient to carry around, so I converted to his system!!!

IMG_3482It appears that a lot of these little Hungarian towns have these colorful maps to show you where things are..

IMG_3435A little shop across from the train station.

IMG_3437After exiting the train, Tibor gathered us around and explained what we would be doing and what we would see.  The family we were visiting were very “old” and sickly.  The woman was going to the hospital every other day (we later learned this was for dialysis, she is on the waiting list for a new kidney) and her husband just had surgery and was not doing well.  (Supposed to be back on his feet in 2 days and it was 11 days later…)  There were all kinds of fruit trees, grape vines, current bushes and the property, in general, needed some TLC.  It was a two block walk from the train to their house.

Colorful homes and businesses

One of the colorful homes and businesses


Beautiful home and property

Beautiful home and property

Variations of orange are a popular house color.

Variations of orange are a popular house color.

Outstanding flower garden

Outstanding flower garden

Once there Tibi got us organized and gave everyone jobs.  My first job was to help the woman, Ilona, get dressed.  She wanted to sit outside and watch and be a part of it all.  Imagine my surprise when it turned out that I met this woman at Church several months ago and talked to her a long time. I had been asking about her in the Ward, since I had not seen her in a long while – but could not remember her name and no one could figure out who I was talking about. I bonded with her since she is an avid genealogist plus she told me that she has authentic Mongolian blood and looks (mainly eye shape, she told me).  She was educated as a teacher.  She was born in Transylvania, now in Romania, but of course, all this was once part of the country of Hungary.  (Hungarians love to tell you that their country was once three times the size it is today!  There are areas in all the surrounding countries where they still speak Hungarian…)  BTW, she is 64!  Not that old, Tibor!


Pruning grape vines

Pruning grape vines

Gathering fallen apples

Gathering fallen apples

A woman friend of the family was helping out, also

A woman friend of the family was helping out, also

Sorting through and cleaning currants

Sorting through and cleaning currants – one of the jobs I did, too.

The YSA had been there at least once before with Sisters Smith and Hanson and Adri recommended that we bring corn on the cob to be cooked while there for our lunch.  We brought 24 ears (nearly cleaned out our little fruit and veggie store).  YUMMY!

We LOVE this pot and setup.

We LOVE this pot and setup.  Now – how to get one or two of those pots home?

Yummy lunch.

Yummy lunch.

The narrow lot is shaded by all different kinds of trees - mostly fruit trees.

The narrow lot is shaded by many trees.

After lunch, Tibor gathered us around and gave a spiritual lesson about King David’s reaction to cruel words and actions towards him by Saul.  Tibor counseled us to turn the other cheek as would Christ.  Always a valuable lesson.

lona as Tibor was giving his home teaching message

Ilona as Tibor was giving his home teaching message.

The rest of the group as the lesson ended.

The rest of the group as the lesson ended.

After lunch we worked on the front of the property.  Some bushes and trees to trim.

IMG_3475I found two different kinds of plum trees over on the right… They used their property to help feed themselves if they had to – our kind of people!

Ilona moved out front to keep an eye on us :)

Ilona moved out front to keep an eye on us 🙂

Afterwards our little group walked back to the train station.  These bikes were left by their owners, who used the train to get to work or go into Budapest or ??

Bikes are an important mode of travel in Hungary.

Bikes are an important mode of travel in Hungary.

A wonderful day of service.  We are very proud of those who sacrificed their time for this Pest Ward family – YSA, Sister Missionaries and a great home teacher!

IMG_3485And we got to ride in a new train on the way home…. We tried to stay awake….





IMG_3317The Danube enters Hungary from Austria and bends and turns south towards Budapest. There are some little towns at the bend, which have a lot of historical interest.  One is Visegrád.  We had a free Saturday, July 13, 2013, and we and the Carpenters decided to check this town out.  Fortunately for us, that weekend happened to be a once a year, Royal Palace Festival, which celebrates the “golden age of Visegrad,” with participants in all kinds of medieval style clothing.  We originally thought of traveling there by train, bus and ferry but the Carpenters helped us decide that getting there by car would be easier!

IMG_3283From the parking lot we could see the Upper Castle. Visegrád means high fortress and was first referred to in latin documents in 1009. The Mongols destroyed the first fortress during their raids in 1241-42.  After they left Hungary King Béla IV (1235-1270) built the current fortress.  The Turks put an end to Visegrád’s heyday in 1543 when most of the 350-room palace and the town were destroyed.  The town started to flourish again after the Compromise between Hungary and Austria in 1867.   (LOTS of history here…)

As we arrived a parade was going on…. not your usual parade…

IMG_3284IMG_3285IMG_3286IMG_3292IMG_3293IMG_3299IMG_3303Visegrad Parade 5Visegrad Parade 10Visegrad Parade 9Visegrad Parade 8These last four photos came from Sister Heath.  The Heaths and the Wiggins went to the Festival on Friday, the day before we did…

It appears to me that there are people all over Hungary who participate in these kinds of events.  I base that conclusion on the fact that there were camping areas set apart for participants.  Just like we have Civil war reenactors, Hungary (and maybe other countries) have their own historical reenactors.  Very cool – and we saw children dressed and participating with their parent reenactors.

IMG_3312Of course, there is the typical yellow Church at the town center.  If you look carefully, up on the hill, right above the yellow-orange house peak, you can see the upper castle.  As the parade ended, we followed the crowds to the left of the church – down the main street for a while.  (Main street = Fo Utca)  As we walked I took pictures of some of the parade participants who were walking back.

IMG_3319IMG_3329IMG_3334As you can also see, there were all kinds of booths set up lining both sides of the street.  The entrepreneurs sell their wares all across Hungary at similar events.  However, we saw some new items that interested us.  Like these pots and tripods!!!  (We are not your typical tourists, that is obvious.  Not into doo-dads but anything that can be used for preparedness does catch our eye!)

IMG_3324We will see one of these pots again in our next posting – in action…

After about an hour, we realized that we needed to hustle if we wanted to get up to the upper castle.  We wanted to walk up there – a 45 minute walk, we were told.  Soooo off we went.  We used the small tourist map (like the first image on this posting) to get us to some steps that we assumed would take us there.

IMG_3338IMG_3341The steps kept going up for quite a ways.  From this point you can see the Danube and across the Danube – which is still in Pest County, Hungary at this point.  On other points on the Danube you can see across to Slovakia.

IMG_3387Here is a little farm hidden away on the other side of the mountain.

The steps eventually gave way to a path; sometimes it was obvious it was a run-off during the spring time…  But it was continually up all the way!  Boy, am I glad Sister Smith asked me to walk with her 3 times a week….

IMG_3388Sweet little church along the way.  It had what I would call “stations of the cross” signs along the path until you got to the church.  One is on the right in this picture.

IMG_3394We finally got to the castle in about 50 minutes…. not bad for 70 year olds!  (Sue is MUCH younger…)

IMG_3344We got a reduced rate because we are retired … nyugdíjas.

IMG_3345Beautiful view of the Danube.

IMG_3346 Another view the other way, overlooking Visegrád.

IMG_3351IMG_3366Some parts are blocked off and not restored… my camera could fit in between the grate.

IMG_3371IMG_3375Beautiful views from the highest points of the castle.  Looking towards the other side of the mountain…

IMG_3368A cute maiden and her daughter decided to take a tour of the castle…

IMG_3376And we close with an aerial view of the castle.  It only took us 30 minutes to walk back down to the town.  We ate our packed lunch and drove up the road to see Esztergom – very briefly looked at the Basilica there (largest in Hungary) and came back home.

800px-Visegrád_Mountain_Fastness_01Very fun day – beautiful weather, in the 70s – one of our favorite places so far!  (We like little towns best.)

New YSA Leadership

Adri has been our YSA Council President since May 2012 – that is before we arrived.  She has done a great job.  She has been flexible and willing to learn new things.  She is very creative, also!  We have tried very hard to mentor her and not “be in charge.”  Her secretary was Péter H, and Péter V, Norbi, Aniko, Evi, were on her council.  It appears she did not have “counselors” like is supposed to happen (we think).  We met with this council every Wednesday evening since we have been here.

IMG_1455This is what those meetings looked like – sitting around a table discussing various things for one hour.  On the table you can see they all have a 3 month calendar, which they update weekly, as they add or change upcoming events.  The calendar is then posted on the bulletin board so everyone knows what is going on…

Once a month Adri and Péter H also met with the Advisory Committee, which consists of a representative of the Stake Presidency, the Institute Director, the Mission President and us.

Well, changes have to be made every so often.  Adri has worked hard and now would like to do some other things, like work on submitting her papers to serve a mission.  The Stake Presidency called Levente, a recently returned missionary who served in the Salt Lake City North mission, to be our newest YSA Council President.

IMG_1986He was set apart by President Westsik on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 and he conducted his first meeting as President on Friday, July 12th.  He is a bit overwhelmed with everything at the moment.  But seems to have some good ideas and we know he will be the leader that the Lord wants as our YSA Council President at this time..  Now he has to pick his council and get to work!  (And he speaks English…. so we will be able to understand what is going on a bit better!  Although, I am thinking Adri is still going to insist I learn more Hungarian!! She loves to tease me about nem beszélek Magyarul…)

IMG_1809Levi loves to play the piano and organ and is quite gifted in those endeavors.  He has hopes of getting a music college degree – organ preference.

Picnic on Margit Sziget

After being cooped up in our building all winter, Adri figured that we needed some picnics.  The first two were rained out since we decided that being out in parks is not the place to be in thunder-storms with severe lightning strikes!

5876976However, on Monday, July 8, 2013, the weather cooperated and we agreed to meet at 6 PM at the entrance to Margit Island. Margit Island is between Pest and Buda and one gets to it in the middle of the Margit Hid (Bridge).  The 4, 6 villamos line takes us right there. Margit Island was closed for several weeks after the Danube flooding.  In this picture the Margit Hid is at the far end.

IMG_3255Once there, we walked past the newly designed water fountain and down to the middle of the island, to a large grassy area.  There we set up our picnic dinner (sandwiches, veggies and dip and cookies), ate, played badminton and frisbee, talked, watched people peddling rental bike carriages, battled mosquitoes, noted some homeless men gather their sleeping gear from hiding places in the woods, etc.

IMG_3239Here is most of the group.

IMG_3245Adri handed everyone notes to write something for Arne.  Arne left for home, Germany, two days after this.  We will miss him… but this seems to be our lot with the RMs that drop into our center for a few months here and there.

IMG_3246Felsted Elder and Arpi talking.

IMG_3242Norbi and Barbi trying their hand at badminton.  Barbi and I also played about 20 minutes. A fall, which resulted from me stepping into some animal hole, did not stop me!

IMG_3257The gardens were beautiful.

IMG_3261On the way back, we stopped and watched the beautiful water and light show at the brand new water fountain.  Shows on the hour every hour.  They took the old fountain out and replaced it with a new one and it was just opened this last month.

IMG_3274Arne, Viki, and Adri.  Viki just moved to Budapest for a job from Székesfehérvár and we are happy to see her actively involved in our YSA here in Buda.

I took some great movies of 4 or 5 of the musical presentations.  Here is one:

IMG_1277Cute bike-ride-mobile that you can rent…

IMG_1308This picturesque church was near the far end of the island.  From the sign on the front of this church:  “The St. Michael’s Provostship Church of the Premonstratensians was built in pure Roman style in the 12th century.  During the Turkish Wars, in 1541 the building was completely destroyed.  The ruins were excavated in 1923 and the little church was rebuilt in 1930-31.”  These last two pictures were taken on our first trip to the island this Spring.

Margit Island also has a very large public pool system and water slides, etc. There are other items of interest on the island too – clubs, concerts, etc. The whole island is off limits to Junior Missionaries.  I believe that is because of the skimpy clothing (or lack thereof) of some of the public, although we have not witnessed that in our two visits to the island.  (thank goodness…)

4th of July Drama

July 4th Soap OperaOur latest dramatic endeavor was a story originally written by Aniko and Timi – then modified by Gabor, who decided the characters were not “fully developed.”  Norbi did the cute poster entitled:  Independence and Constraint.  Adri and Norbi directed. Gergö filmed everything.

The plot revolved around some Revolutionary War period friends who were undecided about how they felt about claiming independence from Great Britain.

There was Peter and Barbie as Edward and Elizabeth …

IMG_3211Timi and Gabor as Jane and William ….

IMG_3213Arne and Annamaria as James the congressman and Caroline, his wife…

IMG_3215We were cast as aristocrats and parents of Elizabeth and Caroline.

IMG_3217Felsted Elder dialogue was:  És terméteszetes.  Legyetek nagyon boldogok!  Naturally. We are very happy!  I had two words to say:  Igen! Csalatados!  Yes! Amazing!  (one audience member said he would never forget the way I said Csalatados.. which means I pronounced it REALLY wrong…).

I prepared a Keynote (power point) presentation with a very brief outline of the 13 Colonies and why they sought independence. Gabor and I read it out loud to the audience and Gergö filmed both my presentation and the play.  This is most of it – not all was filmed.

Then Peter made a very wonderful video clip of the various actors, writers, camera man, director, etc.  He used some footage from the US History Channel as the background.  Hopefully he will put that up on Facebook…

Then the play began.  Hoping that eventually gets on Facebook, too!

Some really cheap props helped create a classic look:  hats for the men designed by Felsted Elder – 3 sided poster board shapes, hats for the women – crepe paper circles held in place with rubber bands.  Long tights or socks worn under the short pants for the men.  I pulled my skirt way down so it would appear floor length…

Also, the new sheet I bought for us was used as a backdrop, with the LCD projector behind.  They brilliantly reversed the lettering on the various backdrop pictures, so it could explain to the audience where the action was taking place… congress building, park, etc.

Some pretty creative minds in our little group!  By the way, we had 35 in attendance, which included President and Sister Smith and three sets of missionaries with 3 investigators.  Our dinner consisted of grilled hot dogs (electric grill that Sister Smith found in the storage room of their apartment), baked beans, coleslaw, watermelon and chocolate chip cookies. A typical modern-day American July 4th picnic dinner.

Service Project

There is a 85ish year old sister in the Buda Ward who needed some deep cleaning done in her house.  Perfect service project, right?  So it was planned and 4 of the YSA and two senior missionaries show up Saturday, June 29, 2013.  Adri was to meet us there and the rest were to meet us at 9 AM at Szél Kállmán Tér.  We were delayed because we were waiting for one of the youth at there – waited for over 1/2 hour!!  The person forgot that the Metro line was not working this weekend – annual rail check.  But we could not go ahead – since only Timi knew how to get there..

IMG_3164Here is Felsted Elder with the home in the background.  This was a suburb of Budapest – it took us an hour to travel there – end of the villamos line and then onto a bus… It was a very nice suburb with individual homes.  Her home had all kinds of fruit trees and a wonderful garden.  She later told us she used to have chickens and rabbits, also.  I would say her property was about 1/4-1/3 acre…

IMG_3165The problem was this:  no one thought to ask how of us many she wanted!  And SIX PEOPLE sort of overwhelmed her…  So she banished us to the darling swing set in a corner outside…  She would not allow us to touch her garden… We would have gladly done some weeding for her but she did not know us and I do not blame her!

IMG_3174Meanwhile, she took a couple of the YSA into her home at a time and had them do various things…  once she got over the initial shock of having six people show up at her house!  Timi used to Visit Teach her, so she knew Timi…

IMG_3169Adri cleaning the top of a cabinet.

IMG_3171Timi sweeping cobwebs out of corners…

Arne Service ProjectArne dusting the light covers… florescent light bulbs are big in Europe!

IMG_3166Lavi vacuumed the rugs.  Here are all four in there one time I poked my head in…

IMG_3177Here is our sweet sister with the super great helpers, Timi, Arne, Adri, Lavi!  What great kids to give up a Saturday morning to help someone else!

We went back to the Center and had LUNCH – Sandwiches – bologna and salami, cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers. Nutella on bread was another option.  Chips, salsa, carrot sticks, drink….

Then play practice – for the Fourth of July DRAMA… they said not to call this one a Soap Opera!  We got home about 5 PM….

International Guests

As mentioned before, because we are a large center in a large city, we have YSA come and hang out with us as they breeze through Budapest.  In June we had a few guests come and visit.

Two former sister missionaries who served together in Riverside California Mission, came to Budapest for a week or so.  One, Sharlene, had her wallet stolen in France – with her green card and could not return to the USA until she went to the Embassy and got a new one.  She is originally from South Africa; her family moved to the US and she is in the process of becoming a US citizen.    These friends were visiting Europe and one of them, Kandice, had a sister who has been a nanny in a Hungarian town near Györ, near the Austrian border.  So a visit to Hungary was an obvious choice.  They stayed one night in a hostel in Pest.  It was a little “iffy” but they met a darling Chinese boy there, whose name was “Luis.”   He took this name for himself since he is studying Spanish in Spain.  He was touring around by himself and stayed at the same hostel.  So they invited him to our Monday activity – Family Home Evening..  He showed up!Image

They are showing off Felsted Elder’s carrot cake!

The two young women were really impressed with his gentle spirit and how helpful he was – he lugged their baggage all around that night.  So they asked if we had an English Book of Mormon to give to him (English is the basic language of the world, we are finding!)  However, the only one that I could find in our library – was CHINESE!  He was so excited and thrilled that we would give him a book in his native language…  Hopefully he will email me sometime in the future and I can find out how he is doing… (Hope he can bring it into his country??)

Then the week that our YSA were table-ing with the Sisters in Szél Kállmán Tér, this darling young woman ran up and said “You are Mormon?  I am Mormon”  She had joined the Church in Japan in May and was here in Hungary to go to Medical School.  (First a few months learning English very well; then Med School).  She is now a member of our YSA…

Here she is at one of our cooking demonstrations – Viki and Livi made a zucchini tomato pasta dish – and homemade lemonade!!!


Another YSA, Edina, was in town to receive her Patriarchal Blessing – she is on the second row in the plaid shirt…

So we never know who is going to show up at our meetings – it is always an adventure…  Luckily I know how to cook for large groups…