April 13, 2014

Storks are common in Hungary.  Here is a stork’s nest on top of a telephone pole.  Now we just need to actually see the stork!  Can you see that the pole is made of cement, like cinder blocks?

Monday began with a meeting with President Smith telling us that we are being transferred to Kaposvár, about 120 miles south of Budapest.   It really was not a surprise; he talked to us about the possibility the first day we were here and has been hinting about it every time we see him – so we were prepared.  A missionary couple who were serving in Kaposvár (he was serving as the branch president) finished their mission and returned home a few weeks ago.  There is no couple coming to replace them.  There is another couple going home in June (and he’s also serving as a branch president) and there is no couple coming to replace them either.   President Smith told us that when he called Salt Lake about his missionary requests, he was told that there are currently 1,900 requests for senior missionaries and the missionary department is receiving an average of 25 applications per week.  There are currently 131 missions without senior missionaries in their office.  There are great needs all over the world.

Friday the office couple took us to Kaposvár to check out the apartment so we would know what we need to take from this apartment and what to donate to the mission.  The drive there was delightful – a gorgeous spring day, small towns, rolling hills, fields plowed and ready to plant and acres of beautiful yellow – canola (oil) fields.  Perhaps that is what the rest of the plowed fields will be planted in for a rotating harvest.

Kaposvár is a city of about 68,000 – much smaller than Budapest – which will be a nice change.  The town looks to be well-kept; at least the apartment buildings we saw as we entered town were in much better condition than most here.   We did walk down the outdoor mall street and met a couple that the Bagozzi's know and went to lunch there – pizza. (Interesting pizzas here:  whatever kind is ordered, there might also be a little corn or mixed vegetables on them.   We had pizza at a Relief Society event and several put catsup on theirs! )

The apartment is on the 5th floor – the penthouse of this building.  There are 96 steps to get to it and no elevator, so we should build some pretty good quads over time. That will be good, since we won’t have all the walking that we now have.   We will be assigned the ‘red rocket’ car.  Could it be this one?   J/K   We would actually prefer walking and public transportation, but are told it is not as accessible in Kaposvár as in Budapest. 

The new branch president has been a member since October and he and the Relief Society president (who introduced him to the Church) will be married on April 24th.  Currently he does not have any counselors.   The branch is small, about 64 members on record, 28 average attendance, 44 families, 8 Melchizedek Priesthood (6 attend), 14 prospective elders (1 attends), 33 women (14 attend), and 13 YSA (3 attend), 10 endowed.  So you see, there will be plenty for us to do as we add Member Leader Support to our calling.  We are looking forward, and pray we will be equal to the challenge.

Yes, we will continue our humanitarian calling, and exactly how that will work from that distance, we are not sure.   Our move will be over a period of about a month before we are settled there, as we have some May responsibilities here.  Our area supervisors (from Germany) are coming for 6 days the first week of May to meet us, visit some projects and do some training.   Then on May 14th, the BYU Chamber Orchestra is coming and will do two concerts in Hungary (one in the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest) and a fireside, and we are coordinating these events.  (We were contacted about this before we ever came and President Smith asked us to do this as he doesn’t have time.)   NuSkin has a good presence in Budapest and as a sponsor is donating funds so the orchestra can present some medical equipment to several hospitals at their concert.  That way their concert can give something, along with PR for the Church’s name.   (NuSkin offices in Budapest are very nice; we enjoyed washing our hands with hot water!)  This assignment is right up Stan’s alley; it’s taken us to places we would not normally go – to get posters and flyers printed, coordinate the VIP reception and catering, meet with the NuSkin rep, etc.  

As soon as the orchestra leaves, another couple from Church headquarters is coming to have us take them Vesprém, a city 60 miles west of Budapest to see (and film) a garden project that has been thriving for a couple of seasons.    Our work is exciting, varied and keeps us moving.

Tuesday of this week Sister Smith invited several of the senior sisters on an excursion to the Easter Market.  Apparently it is not as big as the Christmas Market or the one on the March 15 (Revolution) holiday, but it was fun to see some of the wares. .

scarves and neck wear,


 delicately decorated eggs (big here),

  beautifully decorated Easter cookies,

and potpourri. 

The most fascinating display was the purses made out of long zippers.  The zippers were sewn together and could be totally unzipped and then zipped back up as a purse.

This is looking down the famous Vaci Utca (Street), which opens onto the famous Vörösmarty Tér (Square).  The Easter Market was right at the end of the street.

The day we went to check about the catering, we walked past this well-known Jewish Synagogue. We did not have time to go in it (another day),

but did see the metal weeping willow tree.  It is a Holocaust Memorial and each leaf bears the name of a Holocaust victim.

We also stepped inside this very old Catholic church (built in 1015) and took a picture through the gate. 

This evening we had missionaries to dinner (boy, can they eat) and an open house for our apartment tenants.  Four women came and we had a nice visit – with interpreting help from our interpreter and the missionaries.  All have lost their husbands; one has lived in her apartment over 40 years.  Wish we could have carried on a real conversation; they were delightful.

Life is good.  We are especially grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the restoration of His Church.  We are also grateful for prophets, seers and revelators.  We are grateful for our Savior, His love and mercy and His direction to His children in the latter days. 

May you be blessed this week. 


  1. The stuff in the Easter Market is beautiful. The part of the church that was built in 1015 is definitely hidden beneath lots of wonderful Baroque architecture, likely from the 17th or 18th centuries. It is beautiful, nonetheless. Thanks for the wonderful posts!


  2. I love the metal weeping willow! I want a picture of you in your new car, if its like the one you showed us. At least you won't have to worry about getting any speeding tickets in that car. My VT companion's parents were the last couple to serve in Frankfurt over all of the Humanitarian efforts there in Europe..the Leonards. They loved it. I'm sure the couple you're meeting with soon from Frankfurt knows them. Good luck on your transfer.

  3. These posts really make me want to visit you there. Soon! And yes, those cookies are beautifully decorated.