Life goes on…

Second time for this post – the first version was deleted because of some issues with Ron’s computer!  So now I am writing this first on Word before I transfer it over to the blog…

And I am writing this on Ron’s computer because my Apple is at the local Apple store – getting a new optical CD/DVR drive put in and hopefully, they can retrieve my data from my old hard drive – which was replaced in the Salt Lake Apple Store in the Gateway Mall.

We planned a trip to SLC to visit Ron’s sister, Darlene and her husband, Val, who live in a missionary apartment near the Temple complex.  They have ½ day off on Wednesdays, from their work at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, while they await their visas to their Mongolian Mission.  They are doing some Family History work there:  Darlene is checking the accuracy of some extracted Russian records and Val is doing the same with some Spanish records.  VERY TALENTED COUPLE!  (and that is not all they do – Darlene is a very accomplished pianist and musician; Val’s career was as a psychologist and also had a newspaper column that ran in many papers for many years!)

I had an appointment at 11:15 at the Apple store.  We were there about 2 hours while they tried this and that.  I had previously tried to do a backup with a portable hard drive – but it was too full to take my pictures – and I don’t remember what else I saved.  We were tired and pushed for time.  They said my hard drive needed to be re-formatted, so I said OKAY!   DUMB!

We went off to meet up with Darlene and Val.  They took us to their missionary apartment and we had lunch.  Then we went to the SL Temple to do some family ordinances.  Afterwards we went to the Family History Library.  Darlene and Val wanted to see what records the Church had filmed for Mongolia.  NADA, ZILCH, NEM!  They will have to find out what records Mongolia has when they are there – so they can help the members with their genealogy.   They will be in the capital city, so hopefully they will have some records there.

Back to the Apple Store:  the re-formatting failed, which meant that it needed a new hard drive.  (They had already determined that it also needed a new optical drive.)  So at 8 PM, we left for a quick dinner at the food court at the new City Creek Mall – and then back to the Apple Store.  It was nearly closing; but it was not quite ready, so Val dropped us off so we could get our parked underground car and we parted company.  Back to the store and it was ready at 9:15 – the guy said he would not leave until we got there, even though it might be after hours….  Got home at 11:40 PM  – YAWN…

We stayed overnight Tuesday with Jill and LaMont, a couple that we knew briefly at BYU and then they showed up in our Maryland Ward.  He was our Bishop for a while!  They moved back to the Salt Lake area a few years ago…  She and I graduated in the same field (Microbiology) and Ron and LaMont graduated in the same field (Chemistry) – so we have a lot in common.  Always fun to check up on old friends.

We wanted to get all the computer issues resolved before our mission.  Looks like mine might be done – now to get Ron’s fixed…

Our dates at the MTC have changed.  Kyle, our language teacher, is going on vacation and he could not find enough Hungarian teachers to take his place.  SO, now we are going in June 27-29 and July 2-6 for language immersion and July 9-13 and July 16-18 for regular missionary training.  Luckily for us, we had some flexibility in our schedule.  Our departure date is still Aug 10th for Hungary.  The Carpenters re-arranged their schedule to be with us at the MTC June 27-29!  Their departure date is July 3rd

Studying the language is SO EXHAUSTING.  And it is taking all our energy.  We have lots of chores that still need to be done and after studying for a few hours in the morning, then doing the other stuff, we find we are ready for bed at 8 PM!  However, the alarm system is now working, the toilet working, and the watering system working  – thanks to Ron.  And Kathie is nearly done with finding some clothes that fit and look decent.  (There is no Mr. Mac for us girls… that is a store in Utah that specializes in clothes for boy missionaries.)

We went to Ogden on Monday – the minute our new driver’s licenses arrived – to get our International Driving Licenses from AAA.  That is the closest store to us.  I also replaced my SS card, which had gone missing… Hopefully, that is the end of missionary to do list!

Szia!

Released as Temple Ordinance Workers

Friday, June 8, 2012, was a sad day.  We were released as Temple Ordinance Workers in the Logan, Utah Temple. We have served a year and a half.

Logan Temple

In the Fall of 2010, we were called on the phone personally by the President of the Temple, President Kerr, to come and visit with him.  He talked to us (interviewed us?) and then asked if we would consider working as Ordinance workers.  I needed a fix-it-up operation (delayed many years) so we did not start until January 2011.  (The Temple Presidency is a calling in our Church and the three men and their wives serve for three years.)  We have had a new Temple Presidency at our temple for the last 6 months.

We have loved working there.  The Spirit of the Lord is very strong in our Temples and the other workers were such wonderful examples to us.  We were ASTONISHED at how many of them have served 10 or 15 years as temple workers; how many had served SEVERAL missions for the Church; and of course, diligent in their various callings in the Church.  Their life’s work could have been anything – from farmers to college professors – just like the general membership of the Church.  We were humbled to be in their presence!

We were also very humbled to see very severely handicapped patrons come to the temple OFTEN.  One comes in a self-driven horizontal gurney.  He comes at least once a week with various family members.  Others in wheelchairs, crutches, canes, some with beginning Alzheimer’s Disease, some with Down’s Syndrome or autism.  Once there was a young woman, who could not talk and had to have someone assigned to speak for her.  (I later heard that she had to be fed through her stomach because of her ailments.)   She came to participate in some of the Temple ordinances.  The Holy Spirit was so strong with her; I was reduced to tears and could barely get through my officiating part!  How much easier would it be for them to stay at home.  Yet they sacrifice much for the blessings of temple service – on behalf of OTHERS.  It was such a privilege to be in such the company of such wonderful patrons!

If you do not know why we build temples or why we worship in them, you might be interested in these two video clips:

Why Mormons Build Temples:

Mormon Temples: The Blessings of the Temple:

On to another chapter in our lives….

Temple Workers

Learning the Language & Learning Styles

When we received our language materials, we got grammar pages and lesson pages (as well as other stuff, like a VERY SERIOUS Hungarian grammar book and Hungarian to English and English to Hungarian Dictionaries).  After looking over the lessons, we decided that we each needed our own set.  Ron wanted the pages to be in a booklet form, so we had two grammar books and two lesson books copied and bound by the copy store. I prefer to have each individual lesson in my hands – and make notes all over it, so I just copy each lesson – and I can do it my way. (Think the Frank Sinatra song?)  We started with the Pray lesson and spent two weeks on that.  (Each lesson is divided into tasks: vocabulary, pattern phrases, shadow reading and extra mile vocabulary).

We also decided to get small spiral notebooks to write in our vocabulary words, phrases, rules and other stuff.  I think that was recommended by the teacher or it was in the Church language materials somewhere.  It is easy to carry around with us and when we have a few minutes, we can study something.

Ron is blessed with the gifts of persistence and tenacity!  Once he is determined to learn something, he is like a bulldog – you would have to pry him away from his object.  His attitude is this:  since the Lord sent me to Hungary, I MUST learn the language!!!  He decided that he learns better when he is rested, so that meant he needed to get up early in the morning.  Therefore he has been getting up at 6 AM and studying HARD.  This is the method that he has used since he figured out that is what he had to do in the eighth grade to get an A in his schoolwork.  At the time he did not realize he had some severe learning problems – called dyslexia.  Spelling is hard for him; special things like figuring out how to cut a piece of wall board (and not in mirror image) is very difficult, and if under any pressure, he has been known to freeze up; so you can imagine how hard learning a new language – and one of the world’s most difficult – will be for him.  But knowing him as I do, I am sure he can do it – especially with the Lord’s help!!!

I am a more laid back learner – guess things come more easy for me.  College was a real big shock to me – I actually had to study.  However, I did not have the study habits that Ron had, so my method during college was all-night cramming sessions with a friend.  Really not up to that these days…. TOO OLD!  And “room-mate” who gets up at 6 AM has been a bit of a pressure for me…. so I have been getting up about 7 AM to get some studying in.  Of course, Ron is way ahead of me on vocabulary.  I am going to have to take some serious time to see if I can catch up!  I can be intense, too, and I am sure the pressure will be on when we are in the Mission Training Center (MTC) for the two weeks of immersion language training.   That will be June 18-22 and June 25-29.

Anyway, we can say a memorized simple prayer – in hopefully somewhat recognizable Magyar language and also a simple testimony.  We studied the Testify lesson this week – our third week of Skype lessons with Kyle who works at the MTC teaching old fogies like us.

Tudom, hogy Krisztus el – I know Christ lives!  I really do and I know He directs our Prophet and Apostles!

(Pronunciation:  Too – dome, hodj Kris -tush ehl – accent on the first syllable of each word)

Home Language Study Area – Dining Room!

Home Language Study Area

Home Language Study Area

Szia (c – aw)  Goodbye!

Meeting the Carpenters

We are still not sure exactly in what city we will be serving – we suspect that it is in Budapest – however, it could be Pecs.  Maybe we will receive a letter from the Mission President confirming where – or maybe we will find out when we get there – or maybe we will find out another way! (see next paragraph)

Today we had lunch with the Carpenters, who will be serving in the same mission – and their call is to work in the office of the mission.  They leave for Hungary, July 3.  They will be replacing the Bagozzis.  Sue Carpenter is a real go-getter and she and her husband, Gary, have already met the Smiths, the incoming Mission President (who will be going to Hungary at the end of July) and have corresponded with the Bagozzis, and arranged to meet us!  So, she said she would find out where we are supposed to be..  We had lunch at the Cafe Sabor – a great Logan eatery (converted train station) – and we all enjoyed our Mexican-American lunch!  YUM!

This the second mission for the Carpenters.  They served in the office in Singapore.  Gary is a CPA, has two masters in accounting – so they are naturals for running the office of the Mission President!  Sue says maybe they did not get it right the first time – but I think it is because they have the skills necessary to do what they have been called to do…

Us on the other hand, ???  I am thinking we will be severely STRETCHED…

Anyway, they told us how to handle our personal finances while in Hungary – so we stopped on the way home from lunch at our local bank and applied for a Visa card through our bank that can be used as a debit card in Hungary.  Ron can handle most everything – including paying tithing – through the internet; so we learned a few more things on our list of unknowns.

The Carpenters will be with us at the MTC the week of June 18th for the language immersion training.  We four will be the first senior couples to go through this immersion experience for the Hungarian language!  That is exciting!  (Really, I am terrified to think of studying a foreign language for 8 hours a day – I guess we will find out if old dogs can learn new tricks!!!)  They will not be there the second week, because they are leaving the first week of July.

I think we will have a new circle of friends through this mission – senior missionaries and the Hungarians that we will meet.

I have already been corresponding with Flammer Nover (Sister Flammer).  She is a cousin to someone in our Cove Ward.  (very small Mormon world!)  They have been on their Hungarian Mission since January and she has answered LOTS of questions, given information, thinks the Hungarian Mission is the BEST and she has a blog, which is great (and funny):  http://elderandsisterflammer.blogspot.com/

Last night, a Brother Haslem from the North Logan Stake, called me and we talked for 45 minutes.  He is his wife served a mission in Hungary and came home a year or so ago.  He answered some questions that we had and they offered to meet up with us, if we wanted.  The Church has so many really nice people like them – who will go out of their way for you!  I think they got our names and phone number from a friend that we have who works with us at the Logan Temple.

Magyar: Hungarian Language

Ron’s sister and her husband put their mission papers in a bit earlier than we did and they were assigned to go to the Mongolia Ulannbaatar Mission and their primary assignment is to work in the Ulannbaatar Family History Support Office.  They are about 1-2 months ahead of us, so they have been sharing what they have learned with us.

The first thing they said to do, once we got our call, was to call the number given in the materials the Church sent us about language support.  So we did that.  We were emailed a list of language materials to buy from the Mission Training Center (MTC) bookstore, which we did.  Then we were given an email address to ask for individualized help from a former Hungarian missionary through the MTC.

We actually started looking over the lesson material and practicing sounds and words as soon as they came.  (What can I say – two first children!)  We found a website that had the alphabet and their sounds and practiced that.  According to Wikipedia, “Hungarian is a Uralic  language, more specifically an Ugric language; the most closely related languages are Mansi and Khanty of western Siberia.”  Also, “The basic vocabulary shares a couple of hundred word roots with other Uralic languages like Finnish, Estonian, Mansi and Khanty.” Magyar is considered a very hard language to learn – but we will give it our all!

Our first lesson over Skype with Kyle was May 22, 2012 from 5 – 6 PM.  After some questions to get to know each other better, he started with a lesson.  He gave us some homework and we were on our own for a few days.  We have lessons with him every T and Th.

Luckily for us, they do have a Romanized alphabet….. but really, who needs 4 o’s and 4 u’s??

Details of our call

We started putting in our mission papers in December 2011.  Once we let the Bishop know we wanted to go on a mission, he got the ball rolling and in a few days, we were sent the materials that we needed to fill out – all online.  We had previously decided that we would let the Lord decide where we would go. We did prefer to go foreign, so we signed up for 23 months and put no other specifics.  Well, Ron mentioned that we would go to a third world country and I mentioned my love of Family History Work.  We had no idea about how long it would take to fill out all the paperwork!  And Christmas time was not a great time to be working on that!

Then in January we started getting all the medical visits accomplished.  The Church wants to make sure their Senior Missionaries are healthy, so we had to take care of any past issues and have everything documented. – dental work, eyes checked, internists, specialists, etc.  Ron’s left knee had been giving him more and more trouble, so that necessitated knee arthroscopic surgery and some physical therapy before we could finalize our paperwork.  It was not until April 15th until we had our interview with the Stake President.

On May 10, 2012, we got a call from the Post Office that there was a letter from the First Presidency of the Church and did we want to pick it up at the Post Office – or have it delivered?!  (ONLY IN UTAH??)  We knew were were saving it to open in front of the children, so it was delivered.  We emailed the children and a couple of close friends that we would open the letter at 7 PM that night. Our family and friends got on ooVoo so they could see us and we opened the letter with them seeing us.

THE LETTER

Quite a thrill to think that the Lord needs us in HUNGARY!  And we were to work with the Center for Young Adults (ages 18-30).  We did not even know those centers existed!