February 23, 2014

Elder and Sister Miller with former Hungarian ambassadors to the US, George Balint, February 18,2014

We started this week by attending the only English speaking Rotary Club in Budapest (there are 10 others) at the Marriott Hotel.  This gentleman saw our tags and introduced himself and said, “I am one of the few Hungarians who has met with the presidency of your Church.”   He is George Balanki, former Hungarian Ambassador to the United States, and had visited the First Presidency in Salt Lake City.   We did make a few  other contacts that may be helpful for future projects. 

The speaker that evening was fascinating.  Mr. Gabor Bojar, spoke about “How to Foster Innovation and Leadership.”  He is one of the 10 most successful businessmen in Eastern Europe, received Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award, founded Graphisoft, Acquincum Institute of Technology (AIT) Budapest, is a member of the Governing Board of the European Institute of Technology (EIT), as well as many other awards.   His company designed the first 3-D architectural (CAD) program for PC’s.   Now, 50% of the buildings around the world are designed with 3-D use Graphisoft software.

A few interesting points he made: 

  • The secret to success is when you have no choices.
  • When competition is over, innovation is over.
  • Don’t announce successes too early.
  • There are differences between thinkers and doers, analysts and leaders.
  • Thinking too much prevents you from action.
  • Analysts are happy if they understand the world; leaders are happy if they change the world.
  • Leaders should not be the most intelligent person; they can do harm.
  • "You are a good leader because you don’t let the facts obscure your vision.”
  • Good leaders are born.

We did purchase a number of appliances for several locations of a family shelter (the project that was left for us to finish) – to the tune of about 384,000 forints.  Lest that number scares you, it is less than $2,000.  Our interpreter followed up on Friday, and it seems deliveries were successful so we will go this week to meet the people, take some pictures and make sure they are happy and all is in order. 
There was a bit of a mix up with the delivery of the mattress order.  We went back to the store yesterday and made that correction, so mattresses should be delivered tomorrow. 

The first time we went to KIKA (large department store) to check out mattress prices, we talked to the salesman about the Church, and gave him a Pass Along card.  He said he has a Mormon book but has not read it.  When we were back this week he was busy with customers so he had his associate write up our order, but he came in to tell us that he talked to his girlfriend who is studying religions and she wants to talk to the missionaries (when she finishes this school term because she is so busy), so he gave us his contact information.  

We met with a lady from an agency who helps disabled people to talk about the possibilities of a wheelchair project.  The Church has donated wheelchairs to this agency in the past, however, there are some new guidelines that the partnering agency and us need to meet so we are working on those details.  We will go this coming week to another city to meet with a county center for disabled adults to see if we might help there.  

We also went this week to Tatabanya (an hour away) with the office couple to do apartment checks of the young missionaries – they were training us because we will have that assignment also.   Well, after seeing those two apartments, I am very thankful for ours!   

We went to dinner at another couple's home this evening.  They have a few 'luxuries' -- dishwasher, nice leather sofa and matching chairs for instance.  We are fine.  I'm now used to turning on the tea kettle to heat water to wash dishes and to get a bit of hot water in the washer.

Yesterday we attended a baptism because our interpreter was doing the special number and invited us.  We arrived a bit early and they were looking for a pianist, so Elder Miller volunteered. 

All is well here.  We continue to be amazed at the convenience of the public transportation system – the busz (bus), the villamos (street car/tram), or metro (subway).  Our monthly pass is good on any of these anytime and we have put them to good use.  We have been known to go the wrong direction (we miss those mountains for directions), but no matter, we get off at the next stop, turn around and take the next car the right way.  It’s amazingly efficient!

We attended another LDS ward today – Kispest.  It was all in Hungarian, but the missionary sisters sat by us and did some translating.  These Saints are living and teaching the same Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Many are new converts, but they have strong testimonies. 

Henning Sorknaes, past-president of the Budapest City Rotary Club, with Sister and Elder Miller. Notice the large lighted castle across the Danube.
On the freeway returning from Tatabanya

Taken from our table at the food court of a nearby mall. There are shops on every level.

February 16, 2014

Our welcoming and outgoing dinner. (l to r) Elder and Sister Wiggins (outgoing Humanitarian missionary couple), Elder and Sister Bagozzi (office couple), Sister Weberg (outgoing missionary), us, President Lowell and Sister Lynne Smith, our mission president.

 Jo’ napot to all,

We have now almost completed our first week in Budapest.  We are settled in our nice, cozy, very European apartment – which is just fine.   We have included some photos.  The day after settling in our apartment we decided to go exploring and took public transportation to the Pest side of the Danube River to find a Tesco (Walmart).  We made it to the address, but it is now an Aldi.  No matter.  We bought some groceries and returned home.  We were only lost a couple of times, but thanks to Stan’s good sense of direction, we made it home safely. 

Produce markets are plentiful and colorful and finom (delicious)
The next day we went with our interpreter, Timi, to IKEA to price mattresses for a humanitarian project left for us to finish.  We found a Tesco on the way back.   Yesterday, we struck out on our own again – to KIKA (like IKEA) to compare mattress prices and stoppped at the West End mall (going and coming).  We came home after dark so we saw the lights of the city – Parliament, a castle, and a palace – impressively lit up. See the photo at the top of our blog for an example of night lighting.

Friday morning we attended a zone training meeting – totally conducted and taught by missionaries.  They did an excellent job.  Friday night we were invited to a Valentine party at President and Sister Smith’s (Lowell Smith is our mission president) home with three other senior couples to play games.  So we had a fun time there and learned a new card game, which they call Hungarian Goulash.  

Each time we go out we have walked between 2 – 6 miles, so we have gotten some exercise.  We walk about a mile down the hill from our home to catch the first tram to anywhere else we go.  We have a goal this week to learn the way to walk clear to the mission home, about two miles.  We had a couple of rainy days this week, but yesterday and today were beautiful, sunshiney, no coat days.   Rain is coming again, however.   

Buda and Pest are old European cities, old architecture and still some small, quaint shops.  However, there are many new, modern large stores.  Of course McDonalds, Burger King, and KFC are everywhere (we even saw two McDonalds across the street from each other).  The two malls we have seen look just like any American mall with brand name stores.  Some streets are quite narrow, many sidewalks are also narrow, and are made with cement, bricks, cobblestone or asphalt – all in many cases – but have been  but quite patched and added to.  People park their cars on the sidewalk.  Some sidewalks are divided in half – walkers and bicyclists.  

Our assignment to a ward is pending, so we thought we would visit different ones each week.  Today we attended the Pest Ward, which has some English translation.  It was a good-sized ward, thanks to many ex-pats living and working in Budapest.  We first met Creed Miller, serving in the bishopric, who knows Scott and Jennie Miller.  Then we met Elder and Sister Broadhead, a family history missionary couple.  They are Nate and Sandra (Stolworthy) Broadhead.  She was raised in Farmington, NM and knows our family and they went to school with Art and JoAnn in Las Cruces.  They asked about Art and said hello.  They are from Yuma, AZ and know Linda (Farnsworth) Turner very well.  Small world!

We are doing great.  We look forward to this adventure.  In our excursions Stan is very good at striking up conversations with strangers which includes introducing the Church – and we/he has given out 4 pass-along cards.  The missionary work is going well here; the missionaries are enthusiastic and are teaching many investigators.  At the zone training meeting on Friday, they upped their goals.  We hope we can help them.  This is the Lord’s church and hope we can share its eternal message with someone we meet.

Entry hall (kitchen & bedroom on right, bath on left)

Very comfortable bed
Our closet (cabinet)

Cozy European kitchen
Notice the size of the fridge

Dining room/office

Sitting room
Laundry day
Separate water closet.
Notice the small European washer--two-hour cold wash.

February 6, 2014 We finished the MTC training

January 27, 2014 Senior Missionary Training Center Group

We have completed our MTC training.  Wow!  What a place.  We thoroughly enjoyed our experience there.  Because it is in Provo, we saw quite a few people that we know who serve at the MTC as branch or district presidents and their wives.  Besides Caleb (grand nephew) we saw a couple of other missionaries that we know.  So that was good.   And of course, we made new friends with many of the 26 other senior missionary couples who arrived the day we did ready to serve at home or in many places around the world.  

The Spirit was very strong, the teachers are amazing, Preach My Gospel  is an inspired teaching tool, our testimonies of the Church’s welfare program are certainly strengthened.  This is the Lord’s Church and His work.  It simply would not work if it wasn’t.   We did a lot of role play, were a bit out of our comfort zone; we toured Welfare Square, and learned much.  Here’s a few things:

  • We are first called to be missionaries – to do whatever is needed.
  • We teach people, not lessons.·         
  • Building relationships are so important; listen twice as much as you talk. 
  • The Book of Mormon is the most powerful resource in conversion. 
  • Never say “this is the way we do it in Utah.” 
  • You can’t stay in the comfort of calm waters forever.  In the deep waters, life is about others. 
  • “Every stone laid and every temple built lessens Satan’s power”  (Joseph B. Wirthlin) 
  • You can always tell when a testimony is being borne or a doctrine is being taught in a language you don’t understand because the Spirit will bear witness. 
  • There are no small rules. 
  • You have 18 months to serve and an eternity to think about it.  Have no regrets.  
  • The Spirit’s job is to convert; ours is to love and serve. 
  • “If you give something to the people, give them the very best.” 
  • “You can’t have peace of mind and be in want materially.  You can’t have the spirit of the gospel in your hearts with an empty stomach, and so in the plan of the Master there is provision not only for the salvation of the spirit of man, but also for his physical being.”  (Matthew Cowley) 
  • “The great blessing of the quorum and the ward is that instead of one person feeling lost and alone, he will feel that there are a hundred people or more working to help him find a job.  We as a people do not understand the quorum organization yet.  When we do, we will find there will be a ‘power surge’ through the Church that will electrify the world.”  (Vaughn J. Featherstone)
  • We are not a humanitarian organization; we are a church doing humanitarian work. 
  • Our spiritual progress is inseparably bound together with the temporal service we give to others. (President Uchtdorf) 
  • Water is the best drink.  Other beverages do not prevent dehydration.  In fact, carbonation, chocolate and caffeine slows gastric emptying. 
  •  There are many temples built to God.  The only temple to the Holy Ghost is our body. 
  •  Small and simple people can do what the Lord needs. 
  • Whom the Lord calls He qualifies. 
  • Welfare services is not a program; it is the essence of the gospel. 
  • True happiness is not found outside the commandments. 
  • The whole purpose of this organization (the Church) is to prepare the earth for the Second Coming of Christ.  (David A. Bednar).
  • You can’t do it all, but you can do much.

(l to r) Elder McCarrey, companion to Elder Caleb Hensley (our nephew), MTC President and Sister Lon Nally, Sharon and Stan Miller. The Nallys are friends of Elder Hensley's grandparents, John and Kathy Hansen, Stan's sister.