March 16, 2014

Looking east across the Duna (Danube) to St. Stephen's Basilica.

Again this week we visited more organizations:  Bethesda (a children’s hospital), a home for the visually impaired operated by nuns, a children’s home (for children who need to be removed from families for various reasons), and a home for the disabled.   There are always many needs in these places, so we will be submitting requests this week.   We are very impressed with the people who direct these facilities and care for those who live there.  And in each home, they are very well kept by those living there – very neat bedrooms and common areas.  They are taught well.   At our visit to Bethesda Hospital, we mentioned our US well-known Bethesda Hospital in Maryland.  He told us there are Bethesda Hospitals in Germany and Holland (probably other places as well).  Did you ever know this name came from the healing pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem?  Bethesda means ‘house of mercy’ or ‘house of kindness’ in Arabic or Hebrew. 

Wednesday we attended Zone Conference for most of the day.  We were blessed to hear from President Klinger (‘best stake president in Hungary’ says our mission president – he’s the only one), President and Sister Smith and Elder and Sister Dyches (from Europe Area Presidency). (We met Elder Dyches a couple of years ago when we were in Reno, NV.  He was Chris and Marjie’s home teacher and stopped by to give them some dinner rolls he had just made.)  The theme was teaching with the Spirit.  A few thoughts from the day:

  • It is not so important what you say to investigators as how you say it – radiating enthusiasm and happiness.
  • We need to help and teach people to find happiness.  If they are not baptized now, they will be much closer to accepting the Gospel later.
  • The Holy Ghost is as important to man as sunshine and water are to plants. Take the Holy Ghost away and our church is no different than any other church.
  • A convert commented, “The Holy Ghost is like an old friend who had guided me in the past, but has now come to stay.”
  • We attend church every Sunday to partake of the Sacrament, renew our covenants and feel the Holy Ghost.
  • Baptism is not the end, it is the beginning.
  • Elder Dyches told the Parable of the Oranges:  a young man working in Arizona was hoping to be promoted in his job.   However, when an opening came up, another newer employee was promoted.   The first employee asked why.  The supervisor told him, “My wife needs some oranges for a party, please go buy some.”  So the employee returned in about 15 minutes with a bag of oranges.   Then the supervisor asked the promoted employee to do the same thing.   He returned in 30 minutes with 2 bags of oranges.  He had called the wife to see what kind and how many oranges she needed.   She told him her recipe called for a mixture of tart and sweet oranges and she would be serving 30 people.  So he asked the grocer and the two kinds were suggested.  He also asked that since he was buying 2 bags, could he get a better price – and did.  Any question why one was promoted over the other?   This had to do with doing the job with real intent.
  • Excuses never produce results.
  • We are accountable for what we have been given.
  • President Eyring has said, “I know when I teach by the Spirit; I always learn something.”
  • “Without the Spirit, no man can know the will of God or that Jesus is the Christ.”  President Joseph F. Smith.
  • You will know through the Spirit why you were called to this particular mission.

Saturday, March 15th is a Hungarian holiday – anniversary of the 1848 Revolution.   Stores were closed.  We walked with President and Sister Smith and Elder and Sister Bagozzi (the office couple) up to Castle Hill. All the way up were fun crafts, Hungarian artifacts and much food to look at, admire and even taste.  It was a bit like going to Swiss Days in Utah (but cooler and fewer people).  

Chimney Cakes --  pastry dough being cooked over charcoal.
They will be rolled in cinnamon and sugar, nuts or seeds.

 We saw the outsides of the Royal Castle and Royal Palace – the complex for Hungarian kings completed in 1265. Castle Hill is famous for its medieval, Baroque and 19th century buildings, many still private residences.  Streets were all very old cobblestone.  We watched the changing of the guards at the Presidential Palace, saw groups in period costumes, went into the Hungarian House (a meeting and cultural place), saw medieval ruins, enjoyed the panoramic view of the city and generally walked around with all the people there for the holiday.  The photos and commentary are below, and we will go back on another day to see inside the buildings.  We arrived home in the nick of time as the day turn blustery and very chilly.

Medieval ruins on Castle Hill

He didn't flinch a muscle!

St. Matthias Church, site of coronations and weddings, over 700 years old!

Looking across the Danube to Parliament.

One of 7 turrets symbolizing the 7 Hungarian tribes that arrived in the Carpathian Basin in 896!

Fisherman's Bastion (Square), built to commemorate fishermen who protected 
the city100 years ago and now a favorite overlook.
I finished two great books this week.  One was Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s biography.  I saw it in the mission home when I got here.  You can imagine how wonderful that book was – learning all about him and his life as he progressed toward discipleship, which was the theme of the book.   I first knew about Elder Maxwell when he was the Church Commissioner of Education.  I had no idea about all that he did before that call – politically, educationally (at the University of Utah} and on general Church committees and assignments.  He was amazing!  Of course I would recommend this book.

The other one I loaded on my Kindle to read on the 3-hour train ride, Life’s That Way, by Jim Beaver. This is a true story about a couple (both actors) in CA, married for 10 years before being able to have their daughter.  When she was two, she was diagnosed with autism and two months after that the wife was diagnosed with lung cancer (non smoking type).  This is his (mostly) nightly emails for a year to family and friends through this journey.   It is well written, insightful, sweet, tender, helpful to anyone on this type of ‘journey,’ and very wise.   You would probably know the actors he mentions, but I don’t watch those TV shows.  I only knew a few.  I also recommend this book.

This evening we were invited to dinner at another couples' apartment.  Once again, we are grateful for ours. We did have a very enjoyable time, however.  

We had a 'aha' moment in our reading this week -- that 'enduring to the end' is one of the fundamental doctrines of Christ.  Of course we need to endure to the end, but hadn't thought about it as a principle of the gospel (it's not in the 4th Article of Faith).  That is why the purpose of missionaries is to "invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end."   It says it right there!!!!


  1. We are so grateful to have your commentary and pictures. It makes us feel like we are right there with you on the mission. By the way, your hair looks great Sharon. Have a wonderful week. Bryson was here with Mike and Erin and it's the first time I had seen him in a long time. He and the 5 girls of Devon were having a fun time here. PS: We had breakfast on the patio and it was 85 today! Becky is on Spring Break and Paul had surgery today to insert a feeding tube - to keep him hydrated and stop losing weight. We complain if we can't but too much at a time is not good. He and Becky are overnight at the hospital. Jennifer us coming with her NERDS for an event on Wednesday and we will meet her for dinner.

  2. The chimney cakes look great along with all the other food in the pictures. I'm sure you tried all of them, right? I love seeing all the old cathedrals. It seems like nobody builds church's anymore, except us....oh, I guess that's a good thing. I do enjoy touring them though.