August 17, 2014

Streat (pronounced street) - a fun little sandwich deli in Pécs where we had lunch with all the missionaries after our zone training.  Meals were served on writing boards instead of plates.

Another fairly cool week.  In fact, there were two days that actually bordered on cold.  Could summer be on its way out?  Last summer temperatures got to 114, but we've only had a couple of days over 90 this year.  No complaints here, but if summer's ending, looking forward to a nice, looong Autumn.  

This was a fairly low-key, normal week.  We went with our branch president to a small village to visit a sister.  We also went with the elders to visit another sister who is having health issues.   Only one young man was at Young Single Adults this week; two girls were gone, one was working, one was grounded, and her friend was babysitting.  The young man is just getting re-activated.  He went last week to the youth conference in Germany and had a great time, learned much and felt the Spirit and was so amazed to see and interact with so many LDS youth.  He is very concerned at this point and wants to keep that wonderful spirit with him.  He’s actually a bit young for YSA, but since he’s the only youth in the branch, he’s included.  The two girls who were out of town this week were at the YSA Conference in Poland.  Apparently they had a transportation issue getting home last night and didn’t get home until 6:00 a.m. this morning.  We’re anxious to hear about their week.  They are both recent converts this year, and this will be so good for them.  

Thursday we rode the bus with our elders to Pécs (1 hour south) for zone training.  

With these missionaries we were instructed in ways to become better teachers and did some role playing together.

We then all walked through the town’s pedestrian street to have lunch together at Streat (pictured above) before returning on the bus.  

We didn't have time to visit anything in the city, but took some pictures of interesting buildings on our walk through town.

The Pécs Synagogue was patterned after the Budapest Synagogue.  At one time there were 4,000 Jewish people in Pécs, but no longer, and the synagogue is mostly a museum.

Regular theater performances have been in Pécs since 1786. Pécs was one of the most significant provincial centers of Hungarian theatrical culture.  Comedians performed in dance halls, town houses, inns and cafes.  This Magyar Nemzeti Szinhaz (Hungarian National Theater) opened in October 1895.  After some remodeling 100 years later, it now has a revolving stage, four-part sinking orchestra pit, new light, sound and video system and is air conditioned (and that's a novelty).  Would be fun to attend a play there, but don't suppose they do them in English -- even though Pécs is a university town and there are many English speaking students.

This was once a monastery, then the Church of the Good Samaritans, a hospital, and at present it is a surgical clinic of the University of Pécs Medical School.

Oh, we walked through the Arpad Mall and stopped to use the restrooms.  These sinks were fascinating -- 6 of them along the wall. (We have mentioned before, things are really new or really old.)

Friday we had three new projects approved, so will be getting busy with those. 

The only reading (for enjoyment) time we take is reading to go to sleep, but we both just finished a fascinating book, Safe Journey, An African Adventure by Glenn L. Pace about his African years and experiences.  May we share just one of the fascinating stories (in shortened form):

Remember when Church members were asked to fast for the Ethiopian drought and famine in 1985?  There had been no rain in Ethiopia for over two years, and hundreds of thousands died. At that time Elder Pace was employed by the Church as the Managing Director of the Welfare Services Department.  The response to that fast exceeded anything the Brethren had anticipated -- $6 million.   At that time there was no infrastructure or license in the Church to deliver aid to various parts of the world so they were dependent on using other organizations.  Brother Pace was sent immediately to Washington, D. C and New York City to learn all he could about agencies involved in administering assistance.  After extensive research he reported to the Brethren and recommended that the Church donate $1.4 million to Catholic Relief Services.  He said he observed several raised eyebrows and was asked to elaborate a little bit.  He explained that his assignment was to make sure the aid reached the people in need, and it was his opinion that the Catholic Church had the infrastructure to accomplish that.  Their  response, “We have no further questions.” 

Next he and Elder M. Russell Ballard went to Ethopia to be check on the actual distribution.  After traveling about 24 hours, Brother Pace was ready to get to their hotel and collapse.  However, before leaving Utah Elder Ballard had found out that there was one member of the Church in Ethiopa.  He was a man from Seattle temporarily assigned there while doing consulting work for Ethopian Airlines. Elder Ballard wanted to find him – right then.   They began asking around at the airport and within minutes someone brought him to them.  The man had been in Ethiopa several months (without family) and was very lonely.  Elder Ballard told him they would be holding sacrament meeting the following Sunday and they would love to come to his home for the meeting.  Tears welled up in his eyes and he began to sob, “I have not partaken of the sacrament in months.”  

So, on that clear, bright Sunday morning they met, they sang, they partook of the sacrament, they bore testimony to each other, and then Elder Ballard offered a closing prayer expressing gratitude to the members of the Church who had contributed so generously and who had been praying for the people of Ethiopa. “Then, with as much power and boldness of authority. . . .he called upon the power of the holy Melchizedek Priesthood and commanded the elements to gather together to bring rain upon the land. . . .”

That afternoon while they were in their hotel, they heard a very loud clap of thunder, which was the beginning of a torrential downpour.  From their window they watched children and adults alike begin to frolic and splash on each other and fill buckets and barrels.  It was a celebration.  Of course, they knelt to say a prayer of thanksgiving. For the next two weeks, everywhere they traveled, it rained.  

That was a fascinating story (at the beginning of a fascinating book) and this experience was the beginning of what became the Humanitarian Department of the Church and LDS Charities.  We continue to be amazed at the mammoth humanitarian efforts around the world and the vision and care of the Church and the blessing that this is to Heavenly Father’s children.  We are so grateful to have a very small part in this work.  We are also grateful to you who make this work possible from your donations to the Humanitarian Fund.  We explain to those we visit that members all over the world are invited to contribute and their small amounts add up to these sacred funds which make help around the world possible.  We know that this is the Lord’s Church and we are doing His work – because all this simply would not keep going if it wasn’t. 

1 comment:

  1. Bulls eye (yet again). The buildings are beautiful, the sink is beyond cool, the burger-like sandwich looks good enough to eat, and the Glen Pace stories are great. Thanks again. We are off to England tomorrow, but will follow you from there.