Final Goodbyes

I need to complete this blog.  We have been home 5 months!  I have a new computer and all my pictures are on this old and failing one!  (I have them saved to an external hard drive, but it is easier to work with them on the computer..)

Our last day working with the YSA was Friday, June 7, 2014.  Since it was a Friday, we decided that it should be our Farewell Party!  Sisters Bagozzi and Smith helped greatly to get the food prepared and served.  Both the Bagozzis and Sister Smith helped serve – as we were greeting and talking to everyone.  Several other members of the Church were there, too.

Brother Balatoni, a member of the Mission Presidency and a member of our Pest Ward.

IMG_8696Tibor N., a single adult over 31 but we became very close to him.  He was in charge of technology and so was frequently taking care of the YSA computers.  Also in our Pest Ward.

IMG_8707Panni and Kriszti.  Panni (far left) is YSA age and Kriszti is over 31.  We love them dearly and keep in contact with them still and will as long as we can!  Both are in Kispest Ward.

IMG_8709Viki is a darling girl.  Her mother recently became reactivated and brought her daughter to our meetings.  She is extremely shy and I am not sure she has attended YSA since we left.  She was upset at our leaving… She brought us some roses.. She did not speak much English so that did not make communication easy.

IMG_8713Here is Viki’s mother!

IMG_8746Gergö is a inactive member of our Church.  He is a very interesting kid.  He got trained as a plumber but did not like the language and characteristics of the people he associated with in that profession, so he decided to get trained in accounting.  He speaks English fairly well.  The Church could use his abilities, if he decided to be more committed to his faith.  Lives in the Pest Ward.

IMG_8715“Sonny” was an Institute Teacher for several classes in the past two years.  His wife recently got baptized, so he was very excited about that.  Very outgoing person, works with NuSkin and seems to be fairly successful in that business.  A member of the Buda Ward.  Eszter H. is on the far right.  She is engaged to marry a Hungarian returned missionary.  That happened since we have left!

IMG_8716Taci H and Láci T.  Taci is an American who served a mission in Hungary and returned to Hungary to attend college.  She is majoring in Biology.  (RMs quite often return to their mission fields to visit and for other reasons!!)  Láci has a baptism date for Jan 2015.  Very sweet young man.  We have kept in touch with both of these YSA since leaving!  Láci lives in the Kispest Ward.  Taci attends the Buda Ward.

IMG_8720Zoli T and his wife, whom he recently married.  He is also an Institute teacher.  She joined the Church this spring and Zoli baptized her.  They live in Buda Ward.

IMG_8752Bishop Southwick and his family. He was Bishop of the Buda Ward, which met in the Mission Home.  Same building as our YSA office.  He served a mission to Hungary and came back and married a Hungarian woman.  He received his Hungarian citizenship a couple of months ago and was just made the Stake President in Hungary.  (They only have one Stake for the time being – but are trying to get enough members to have a second Stake.)  He is the second Stake President the country has had in 20 years.

IMG_8762Here is Szandi B a girl from Pest Ward.  She has not attended many YSA events.  But she obviously wanted to say goodbye to us…

IMG_8765Bernadett  K, the (former) Stake President’s daughter.  She has two years left of HS.  She is in a very demanding course – Russian, German, English and Biology!  College bound Hungarian students usually do not graduate from HS until they are 20.  She attended YSA infrequently, due to her rigorous school schedule and outside activities.  Her family are members of the Buda Ward and we really enjoyed working with her father.

IMG_8769The Mission President allowed some missionaries to attend.  We had a few non-members in attendance and we worked with many of the missionaries in our calling.  Elder Squire (far right) came home with a group of returning missionaries in time for Thanksgiving 2014.

IMG_8773Adri was all smiles early in the evening.  However, when it came time to really say goodbye we were all sobbing!  We worked with her when she was YSA President, 5 days a week!  And she was the most faithful supporter of everything… Member of Kispest Ward.

IMG_8783Here is Szandi, Feri and his brother, Láci.  Láci could speak a little English.  Szondi and Feri only knew a few words of English.  And we knew a little Hungarian grammar, very small vocabulary and some memorized phrases!  That was one of the most frustrating parts of our mission – not being able to communicate with the youth that we were supposed to be serving!  Szandi and Feri are members of the Pest Ward and Láci attends the Érd Branch.

IMG_8785Lavinia (Livi) is so sweet and loving!  Pure in heart…  She came to everything – much better than being home, I believe.  She would love a job and took some training course; but none of the youth who were in the course were offered a full time job.  She will be over 31 soon, so she will be out of the group.  Attends the Buda Ward.

IMG_8790Karolina is the Stake Patriarch’s daughter and a very lovely person. She turned 31 this past year, so has not been coming to many of our activities.  She is getting her masters in translating.  She speaks German, Hungarian and English fluently and maybe more?  Member of the Pest Ward.

IMG_8793The Heaths were the Assistant Area Auditors and traveled to other countries to help members with the financial dealings in their wards and branches.  They returned home in July 2014.

IMG_8799Andras is about 35 and loved to come to our meetings.  He is a RM and has yet to find his eternal mate!  He recently found a better job and that is always good!  Member of the Pest Ward.

IMG_8801Gabor was baptized last spring and really jumped into the Pest Ward and did what ever was asked of him.  He is older than 31 so he only attended a few of our special events.  We will keep close tabs on what he is up to.

IMG_8804Viki is currently the YSA President as well as the LDS Public Relations Director for the whole country of Hungary.  Her degree is in movie production (or something like that), and she also has a full time job in that field.  She turns 31 this year, so they will have to replace her one of these days – but she is really a dynamo – spiritually as well as otherwise.  Recently released as the YW President in the Pest Ward.IMG_8806Láci has not been baptized yet.  He attends the Pest Ward.  Attends our YSA functions now and then.  Works in a brewery.

IMG_8811More missionaries.  There are 5 sets of young proselyting missionaries in the Buda Ward boundaries, including the Assistants to the President.  Plus the office missionaries (which do some proselyting).

IMG_8812Here is Támas!  He went through several different missionaries in his year long quest before joining the Church.  We hope the Church can help him in his growth and development.  His mother is not supportive of his Church membership..

IMG_8821Brother Bagozzi and Adri.  This is the Bagozzis second mission as office couple here in Hungary.  They worked pretty closely with the YSA when they were here before, so the kids know and love them a lot!!!

IMG_8823Péter N, also a member of the Pest Ward.  Bore his testimony the first time he ever came to Church.  Parents not excited about him joining the Church (but we were!).  Darling person and he is in training to be an EMT.  He and Elder F talked in length every Sunday, so he was very upset at our leaving!  He has been learning English pretty well.

IMG_8826Here are the famous Bagozzi couple!  They have been fun to get to know and will leave their mission shortly after the new Mission President arrives, in July 2015.  The office couple are pretty important and keep everything in the whole mission running smoothly!

IMG_8830Norbi had to work Friday evening and came late.  He works at an LDS owned restaurant, Gringo Amigos.  He is Timi’s brother and he is very artistic, but could not find a job in his field.  Norbi and Timi are members of the Buda Ward.

IMG_8843Here is most who came to say goodbye to us!

IMG_8726Dia, Viki’s good friend, and not a baptized member, YET, made up this book with many of the pictures of our activities and they presented this to us this night.  It is a wonderful memento of our mission.  It sits on our coffee table in our living room…

IMG_8850I will add a few miscellaneous posts in the future… so this is not the last posting – YET!




LDS Media Crew Comes to Budapest

The media crew came to Budapest to record the Magyar audio for the Especially For Youth Conference that took place this summer in another country.  Each participant is given a CD with the music sung in their own language.  (Believe it or not, there are some very talented LDS singers in Hungary!)

However, after they were through with that, our Area Supervisors suggested that we make some videos with conversion stories of some of the Hungarian Young Single Adults.  Viki and the Felsteds consulted and we came up with some possibilities and I hurriedly contacted them and had them write up their stories.  All were accepted!  Then we had to figure out how to get them into Budapest.  Agoston came from Miscolc, eastern Hungary.  Bogi came from Szombathely, western Hungary.  We had Viki, Panni, and Kriszti from Kispest and Pest. They were told to bring changes of clothing for re-enactment of their stories.  It was pretty hectic getting it all organized, but it was fun seeing everything work out.

LDS media people... set up in the Buda Relief Society Room

LDS media people… set up in the Buda Relief Society Room… they do not speak Hungarian.

Bogi came early on Monday morning, June 2, 2014.  She was recently baptized. She was having a party for her birthday and she brought 35 guests to her baptism BEFORE the party!  And almost every Sunday since then she has been bringing people to Church!  She is committed!


Bogi.  Beautiful on the outside and inside…

Karolina was the translator - even though she had a final the next day!

Karolina was the translator – even though she had a final the next day!

Agoston came a bit later in the morning.  The story that he wanted to share concerned his mother’s cousin who came to visit their family.  He shared his testimony about the Church with her and gave her a Book of Mormon.  She was interested and is taking the missionary discussions.  Meanwhile, Agoston comes to Buda every so often and likes to work with the missionaries.  So he has become friends with an older woman who was having discussions (he was present) and she recently joined the Church.  Since the media people wanted to re-enact his story, he called her and she came over to act as his mother’s cousin!

Viki, Panni and Kriszti’s stories have been shared in another post – see Panni’s Baptism.

The media people wanted to film part of our Family Home Evening with some of our YSA so they were there for our meeting.

Agoston listening to Elder Felsted.  His woman friend is between them.

Agoston listening to Elder Felsted. His woman friend is between them.

Last minute directions.

Some instructions.

So sometime in the near future, we hope to see some I Am A Mormon video clips with our own Hungarian Young Single Adults telling their stories!

BTW, Agoston has been serving in Budapest as a Mini-Missionary for 5 weeks this summer.  He really wants to serve a ful time mission, but needs to complete Law School first.  So this is the next best thing for him at this time.  He is really a choice young man and we know he is going places!

Some Good Byes…

The last few weeks of our mission were spent saying good byes to some cherished people that we love so much…


Károly – not active in the Church at this moment, but still loved by us…  He was baptized by Brother Bagozzi July 2012.  So we all went to lunch at Gringo Amigos…

Our Primary Class - the two boys (brothers) were at a friend's church our last day, June 1.

Our Primary Class – the two boys (brothers) were at a friend’s church our last day of teaching, June 1.

Two sets of sisters, one set of brothers and two other girls are in this English speaking class.  There was a similar class for the Hungarian speaking children of this age group.

IMG_8601We had dinner at our Stake Patriarch’s home after Church on June 1st with the Heaths.  Sister Hauck had the table so pretty for our dinner – matching napkins and flower..

Love this family so much!

Love this family so much!

They have taken the dark haired girl under their wing – her mother died shortly after we arrived in Aug 2012.  She lives with her father in very difficult circumstances but she loves the Church and attends regularly.

Our last function was going to be a Felsted Farewell Party on Friday, June 6, 2014.  But several of the YSA could not make that event, so we had a few YSA come and say goodbye before that…

Szylvia came May 30th and brought a home made cake!

Szylvia came May 30th and brought a home made cake!

Vivi and Annamaria came also May 30th.  They are working on a cruise boat this summer.

Vivi and Annamaria came also May 30th. They are working on a cruise boat this summer.

Agoston visiting Buda for filming (another post)

Agoston visiting Buda for filming on June 1 (another post)

Tuesday evening was Institute.  Anna came to say goodbye as she would not be able to come Friday.  Her mother is the Marianne who died recently.  Her older sister is taking care of her now.

IMG_8640The Institute Director for all of Hungary and part of Romania is Brother K.

Our Institute Director, Brother K.  Very special person.

Very special person who always has the Spirit with him.

Barbie and Peter had us to dinner on June 4, 2014

Barbie and Peter had us to dinner on June 4, 2014

Gabor has to work on the weekends – 24 hour shifts – so we arranged to have lunch with he and Timi in the afternoon of June 6th.

Beautiful day for lunch at Riso's on Castle hill.

Beautiful day for lunch at Riso’s on Castle hill.

Plus a German couple from the International or Pest Ward, had some of us senior missionaries over for dinner at their home.  They have three daughters, two of whom were in our Primary class.  They were leaving Budapest and are back in Germany.  He served on the High Council and in the Bishopric while he was here.  She worked in Primary.

So lots of goodbyes before our final big bang event with the YSA…

Panni’s Baptism

Panni was invited to a Book of Mormon Open House that the Pest Ward had in the summer of 2013.  Viki invited her after making a list of names of acquaintances and praying about who she should invite.  Panni accepted but with the conditions that the missionaries did not proselyte her.  Viki agreed to tell the missionaries not to try to contact her… which she did.  However, Panni’s curiosity got the better of her and she attended a ward meeting.  There were friends there that she knew and soon she was meeting with the missionaries and doing English classes.  She brought another friend, Kriszti to English classes and that is another story…

We were present in the building when they were having their missionary discussions and since they were YSA age we were interested in them.  However, there seem to be something special about Panni and Kirszti for us.  They both seem to be special young women and they seem to love us, too!  Even though they did not speak much English, we communicated through love.

Kirszti got baptized Nov 1, 2013 and Panni was originally planning to be baptized on Dec 6, 2013.  However, she changed her mind and wanted to wait until this summer.  We were sad to think we would not be there at her baptism, but she did not want us to pressure her!  So we sadly said, OK!  However, in April she called us at our apartment and said I have some news, can you guess what it is?  Elder Felsted said … Is something changing?  And then she told us that she would be baptized Friday evening May 16, 2014.  We were very excited!  We planned on having FEFest in the Kispest Ward that evening so our YSA could be there to support her!  (Both she and Kriszti live within the Kispest Ward boundaries and attended there before their baptisms.)

IMG_7029Elder Ekstrom baptized her but she went through several sets of missionaries in the months preceding her baptism.

Kriszti and Panni

Kriszti and Panni

Quite a feast...

Quite a feast…

The Kispest Ward is known for putting on a fabulous feast when new members are baptized.  Kriszti is a professional cook and actually helped with this food.  However, we brought food, too, since many of our YSA attended this function.  (The prettiest sandwiches were made by Kriszti, though.)  But the famous Felsted brownies are always a big hit at these functions!!!

Panni and her mother with us.

Panni and her mother with us.

Panni is an only child and lives with her parents.  We really loved her mother, too!

It all started with Viki's invitation...

It all started with Viki’s invitation…

These young women certainly radiate the Love of Christ – or as Alma so powerfully states:

14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?

19 I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?

These experiences were some the highlights of our mission!!!

Barbie and Peter’s Wedding

Barbie was one of the YSA when we first arrived in Budapest.  When she joined the Church, her mother and grandmother told her to leave home.  She served four mini-missions (usually 6 weeks depending on how long the mission needed her).  (Mini-mission = when a mission has an odd number of missionaries and instead of having 3 missionaries work together,  the mission sometimes uses local youth to be a companion with a missionary.  They are set apart for the calling and have to follow the exact same rules as the other proselyting missionaries.  Many of these mini-missionaries can not pay for their mission, so the mission pays their costs.)  Barbie loved the missionary work; but it also gave her a place to stay.  She also worked as a nanny in England for a time.  This is also another way that many of our youth get employment and a roof over their heads.  She went through a period where she stayed with members.  Eventually I think that the Church members found a trade school where she could attend and it had dormitories for their students.

Barbie has a bubbly personality and we ended up calling her Miss Sunshine.  The first picture I have of her is Aug 25, 2012 and she was serving with Sister McKay in the Buda Ward.  We had them and Sister Hansen for dinner.

IMG_0039Peter had a good friend, Kristoph, who introduced Peter to the Church.  Peter attended YSA functions two years before he was baptized in September 2012, after we arrived. She and Peter met at our YSA functions and started dating summer of 2013.  It started with a little play – Mexican-American-Hungarian Soap Opera – that Aniko wrote to commemorate Cinco de Mayo.  Barbie still calls Peter Pedro because of that… She was Barbarita!  It was fun seeing their relationship grow and develop over the past year.

On Saturday, May 3, 2014, Barbie and Peter were married in Szombathely.  Her father’s second wife, sewed her dress and her father paid for their wedding.  Her mother and mother’s mother chose not to attend.

At the Hivatal before the ceremony.

At the Hivatal before the ceremony.

Some of our previously married YSA couples attended, in addition to many YSA…

IMG_6648The Hivatal marriage room in Szombathely is supposed to be one of the prettiest in Hungary.

Peter and his mother

Peter and his mother

Barbie and her father.

Barbie and her father

The actual ceremony is very brief

The actual ceremony is very brief.

Extinguishing the individual candles and lighting the family candle.

Extinguishing the individual candles and lighting the family candle.

The official leads the married couple out of the room

The official leads the married couple out of the room

The reception was held at a local community building that is used for these kinds of events.  It had an entry, a large hall, a kitchen and upstairs rooms for staying overnight.  Several of the YSA kids stayed there – in addition to Barbie and Peter!

Some of the family

Some of the family

The decorated reception room

The decorated reception room

Tibor is the ever-so-Hungarian Master of Ceremonies

Tibor is the ever-so-Hungarian Master of Ceremonies

Peter was allowed to progress towards Barbie by answering riddles...

Peter was allowed to progress towards Barbie by answering riddles…

Non-traditional wedding dance.

Non-traditional wedding dance.

Plenty of food

Plenty of food

Wedding cake - the couple served everyone

Wedding cake – the couple served everyone

Wedding at 5 PM.  Reception at 7 PM.  We left at 9 PM because we had a 3 hour drive back to Budapest!  We hope they have a wonderful life together!!!



Wedding of Livi and Zoli

Another great LOVE story…  Livi and Zoli met at a Young Men Young Women summer activity, the summer of 2013.  They were both counselors and helped direct the activities of the YMYW (14-18 year old youth) during this summer camp.  Zoli is a returned missionary – having served his mission in Germany.  He is also studying something like bio-engineering at a university in Veszprem.  Livi has been working in Pest, since graduation from college.  She actually has two degrees – in a field like management.

We have become very attached to Livi while here.  She is a beautiful young woman who has overcome so much in her life.  She is a self-made woman, putting herself through school.  She worked as a nanny in England and also had some menial jobs in England to support herself and get through school.  She is always trying to improve herself, teaching herself how to play the piano, was one of her goals; learning how to sew was another.  (See previous posting about that.)

Karolina sent Livi a picture of a very simple and modest dress from a store in St. George Utah.  I even Skyped the store to see if we could buy a pattern… NO, it was made somewhere else… The dress was simple, yet elegant, and cost way too much for most Hungarians.  Then there would have been the shipping costs!  Here is the beautiful dress that would be our “idea” to work towards:

Livi had me meet her at a certain fabric store – but it was CLOSED the day we went.  So we looked at other stores, but we did not find the right material.  We did find a pattern, of sorts, that could be modified into the dress she wanted.  We went back to the original store (very nice place) with Viki on January 25, 2014, and Livi bought the fabric.  About $100 US money.

Fabric Store across from Kileti Train Station

Fabric Store across from Keleti (East) Train Station

The dress design is actually two identical dresses, a lace dress over a satin dress.  I had Livi cut out the dress with some scrap fabric, just to make sure the pattern was true to her size.  Then we had to modify the skirt pattern to make it longer and to make it flow like she wanted.  Then both dresses could be cut out!

Livi usually came on Thursdays, after her work.  It was the same time as 4 English classes being taught by the Missionaries.  We sewed in our main recreation room off in a corner during one of those classes and later during the art session Elder Felsted had.

However, sometimes Livi sewed during other times, on Fridays during FEFest, for example.

Very funny shot with Istvan demonstrating his ability to JUMP!

Livi and Viki sewing on side. 

Very funny shot with Istvan demonstrating his ability to JUMP!  The point of the Spiritual Thought was sometimes you have to bend your knees to reach higher.  (Humble yourself)  He did not jump as high when he did not bend his knees first.

Both Viki and Livi are sewing on projects during a Friday Evening

Both Viki and Livi are sewing on projects during a Friday Evening

We debated about covered buttons down the back of the lace dress and ended up with little pearl ones.  Much easier.  Of course, they had to be sewed on – all 40ish of them… I started that and she finished them.  Then a satin-like cording was used as the button loops.  I hand-sewed that on, matching each button.. I also used a double sided iron-on facing at the neck, hem and sleeve hems – instead of sewing the edges.

Getting close!

Getting close!

The satin under-dress...

The satin under-dress…

Lace dress nearly done...

Lace dress nearly done…

Wedding Day - Waiting for the wedding room to be ready...

Wedding Day – Waiting for the wedding room to be ready… Love those RED shoes!

Six of the YSA who attended with Sister Bagozzi, Sister Hauck and I.  Note Viki's dress that she designed and sewed for the occasion.

Some of the LDS females who attended. From left:  Greta (marrying another Zoli in May), Evelin, Dia (investigator), Viki, Livi, Sister Bagozzi, Karolina, Eszter, me, Sister Hauck.  Note Viki’s dress – she designed and sewed it for the occasion.

Is this an Hungarian tradition - holding the groom?  Elder Felsted, Peter, Jay (an American who came to Hungary for a visit, Andras, Zoli (marrying Greta), Gabus, Elder Bagozzi, holding Zoli the bridegroom.

Is this an Hungarian tradition – holding the groom, Zoli? Elder Felsted, Peter, Jay (an American who came to Hungary for a visit), Andras, Zoli (marrying Greta), Gabus, Elder Bagozzi.

Another shot of some of our YSA who attended…

IMG_6147Panni, standing in the background

Lovely bride and groom.

Lovely bride and groom.

The family…

IMG_6170Let the party begin…

Variety of foods...

Variety of foods…

Beautiful flowers on the tables

Beautiful flowers on the tables.  Viki arranged the red paper on each table.  She said that it takes a lot of time to get it correct!

Artistic wedding cake!

Artistic wedding cake!

Traditional first dance.

Traditional first dance.

Pest Ward member dancing with his 3 daughters.  Their family is from Germany.

Pest Ward member dancing with his 3 daughters. Their family is from Germany.

The newly weds getting ready to leave.- with Karolina.

The newly weds getting ready to leave.- with Karolina…. (Know anyone who wants to marry a beautiful girl, who is a returned missionary, fluent in German, Hungarian, English, a temple worker and getting a Master’s in Translation?)

There will be a total of four weddings this spring – which will include 6 of our Budapest YSA members.  This is a great thing for Hungary, to have these YSA marrying fellow members and becoming active members of their wards.  As mentioned before,  Livi is the Stake Employment Specialist and the Ward Primary President.  Zoli was just made the Elders Quorum President in the Pest Ward.  Both have been called to also serve in the Temple as Temple Workers!  They were sealed for Time and All Eternity in the Freiberg Germany Temple over the Easter holiday.  We were so blessed to be even a small part of it all..

Farsang Buli – Feb 2014

Our second Farsang party… and the first on on a Saturday afternoon!   We decorated the room the Friday night before.  Our event started with a Fireside by President and Sister Hauck.  He is our Stake Patriarch.  He talked about the details surrounding the Golden Plates, including demonstrating with a box with 50 pounds of weight inside.  That is the approximate weight of the plates.  He wanted the students to understand how heavy they were.

Patriarch Hauck in on the left.

Patriarch Hauck in on the left.  I did not get a picture until the talk was over.

Lots of food:  open faced sandwiches, as well as sloppy joes.

Lots of food: open faced sandwiches, as well as sloppy joes.

Veggies plate. Corn chips and accessories..

Veggies plate. Corn chips and accessories (refried beans, salsa, cheese sauce, tomatoes)

Traditional fanks and other desserts, too!

Traditional fanks and other desserts, too!

IMG_5670IMG_5666IMG_5663IMG_5660IMG_5661Missionaries are allowed to come (BRIEFLY) when they have investigators…  Several investigators at this party – normal for many of our YSA functions!

Bagozzis have stepped right in to help us at these parties.  We are hoping they will bridge the gap - between when we leave and a replacement comes for us... !!!

Bagozzis have stepped right in to help us at these parties. We are hoping they will bridge the gap – between when we leave and a replacement comes for us… !!!

Some of those who had costumes... They insisted that I was in the picture - I had a headband with boingy things!

Some of those who had costumes… They insisted that I was in the picture – I had a headband with boingy things!

Everyone here loves Cotton Eyed Joe!

Everyone here loves Cotton Eyed Joe!

Eszter was leading us in a folk dance step.

Eszter was leading us in a folk dance step.

Not a huge turnout – but those who came had fun…  Not sure how they will handle the parties in the future; but we will be gone before the next scheduled one.