December 14 and 21, 2014

Check out this evenly cooked bacon!  I'm not a bacon person and don't like cooking it.  But needed to cook it for a recipe for YSA.  You know how ends get done faster and while you're waiting for the middle to cook, the ends burn.  Solution:  cut the bacon strips in half -- they all cooked quickly and evenly!

Whew!!!   It’s been a whirlwind two weeks.  I thought for sure I would get to the computer when we returned from Budapest, but didn’t.  And it is almost 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon and I am just getting home from the church – and Elder Miller will be another couple of hours at least.

Since we don’t have an official interpreter, on December 8th, we took our elders with us to ‘close’ two projects for the Red Cross here in Kaposvar – a homeless shelter and a family shelter which they operate.  As usual, the facilities are old, but well cared for.  All residents have schedules, chores and time limits for staying.  The homeless shelter received some washers – as even the homeless who do not live there can come and wash their clothes.  The family shelter received two small refrigerators and two washers.  Each family has one room, and this gift will mean that each family has their own refrigerator in their room.  They all share cooking times in a small kitchen.  We visited several rooms; one had a mother with 8 children.  They were not home, but the room was neat and orderly.

The 'family' room at the Family Shelter.

In between visiting the two facilities, the director told us she was taking us to lunch.  Of course, the elders were thrilled!   We were in a small falu (village) away from Kaposvar, but had a lovely lunch in a restaurant owned by a pasta company.  At the end of our visit, the director gave us each a gift and wished us Boldog Karácsonyt (Merry Christmas).  The gifts turned out to be a bottle of red wine – red wine from the Red Cross.  Oh dear!

We  had a great home evening that night.  One of the investigators brought his parents.  The elder was giving a lesson on the organization and structure of the true church.   When he was talking about apostles, they asked some questions and I handed them the Liahona with the pictures.  They seemed genuinely interested and paid close attention.  We hope they come again.  They were very sweet.  

And on that day we got word that three projects were approved.  These were rather big ones and two required rather detailed shopping.  The next day we received an email telling us that ALL money needed to be spent by the 17th so that the area could close out the year-end accounting.  Oh my, that meant some serious business!  

The only person we could find to interpret for us is Peter, an investigator.  Thank goodness he was available and can speak English.   He had previously done the online research for one of the projects, so now we needed him to help us make the purchases – also online.  Once things were ordered, then we go to the business in person and pay cash.  Welcome to business in Hungary!

Long story short, we spent many hours the next 3 days getting the shopping and online orders completed for the two projects.  The third project just required paying (cash) for a wheelchair lift to be installed in a van, so that was easy. 

One of the evenings we were able to go to the home of one of our sweet young adult sisters. Évi is a student studying law; her mother is an investigator.  They have a lovely home, are very gracious, and fed us some delicious pastries.  Besides studying law, Évi is very artistic.  She bakes beautiful cakes (she made Elder Miller’s birthday cake); and makes amazing decorations and anything else using her artistic talents.

Fabric store and cutting the fleece

Saturday we left early to get to Budapest before the fabric store closed (stores – except the mall -- close on Saturday afternoon) and bought fleece for 20 blankets for a project.  We carried those sacks on the villamos (street car) back to the mission home, where Elder and Sister Broadhead (the YSA couple in Budapest) helped us cut and prepare the blankets for the young adults to finish at FHE on Monday evening.

As we were leaving the mission home to go find some craft-type scissors (very sharp at the tips), we received a text from Devon saying that if we Facetimed right then we could hear Grace and Jenna play their recital pieces.   What a tender mercy.  Another minute we would have been out of the building and on a vilamos and would not have had internet access.  So, we stopped and listened to their lovely recital piano pieces.  We couldn’t talk; it was the recital – but we watched and heard.  Wonderful!

Sunday we attended the Buda Ward.  Oh how different it was to have a ‘full house.’  President Southwick (new stake president) was released as bishop – finally.  He has been doing double duty for a couple of months.   The ‘wheels’ don’t move quite as quickly this far away.

Our zone

Monday we had our Christmas Zone Conference.  Leading up to Christmas we have all been learning about and trying to emulate Christlike attributes, so the conference focused on some of those – “Just as important as what you do is who you are.”  

Elders drawing a Christmas scene on a paper plate. . .

We had a lovely Christmas dinner and then played some Christmas games and exchanged white elephant gifts.  There are five zones, so the mission president was doing this five days in a row.  

Monday evening was the Budapest YSA – and these wonderful young adults finished our 20 blankets!  

Tuesday brought back many memories of our time living in Budapest.  It was a cold and rainy day, but we crisscrossed town going as fast as possible to the five businesses to pay for our orders so that they could be delivered. 

We came around a corner and there was the New York Cafe.  We took time to have some hot chocolate in the "most beautiful cafe in the world."  The presentation was lovely, but notice the chocolate chip cookie -- emphasis on 'chip' -- either the thickness of a micro chip or the one chip in the cookie.

Last was to the Sewing Machine Center at West End mall, where we purchased two sewing machines, needles, embroidery thread and yarn for a school and home for austistic children.  We then carried the two machines and other purchases across town and were only 5 minutes late (6:15 p.m.) for my last dental appointment to finish the filling for an abcessed tooth (it took 4 visits!).  

Wednesday morning, we drove to the school/home for autistic children to deliver the sewing machines and some paper and other artistic supplies so that we didn’t have to take them to Kaposvar and bring them back again.  We do not choose to drive in Budapest.  The traffic is horrendous; and there was much road construction on the way to the school.  It took a couple of hours just going and coming to that one address.  If we had tried to drive the previous day to accomplish our tasks, we could not have finished.  The public transportation is Budapest is amazing – we probably never wait for a bus, street car or subway (Metro) longer than five minutes.  I marvel at all that happens underground in these large cities.  

We made a quick delivery; we will go back and ‘close’ the project when they receive all the items.  We had not even called for an appointment, but they were still very gracious and gave us these lovely note cards and gift cards (in the cute paper container) that the students there had made.  There's a good reason they requested art supplies.

We had a little scare:  as mentioned, we had to pay cash for all these items and after getting some large amounts to pay vendors here, Elder Miller was told he had reached his limit!  Help!   We only had a few days left to spend the money before year end.  So, there was a flurry of emails and phone calls to our area supervisors in Germany and Salt Lake and they said they would raise the limit so we could finish.  In Budapest, Elder Miller went to get the cash needed for our Tuesday marathon, and it had not been corrected.  A few more emails and telephone calls. . .  All was adjusted, the companies were paid, the deliveries have been made, and our crazy week was successful. 

Back home I hurried to buy fabric and make some aprons for the sisters I visit teach.  We were invited to the home of the Gutchow family on Thursday.  When I go there every other month, because it is 50 km away, the branch president also goes to visit them (and home teach).  They love to have company and feed us a wonderful dinner when we go. On the other months, they come here for dinner. 

While I was sewing, Elder Miller was finishing up the paperwork and accounting for the projects.  It is quite a bit for each project as well as sending receipts each week to Bank of America and to the area office in Germany.  By the end of the day, he had received word that he had ‘zeroed out.’  YEA!

Friday was time to prepare for young single adults here.  And the attendance is growing.  Actually, because the branch president teaches institute the hour before YSA, he has invited anyone in the branch to attend so that they can also learn.  And then they stay for dinner and other investigators that the elders have invited to YSA – so we had a good crowd on Friday. 

We put together some Christmas ‘boxes’ to deliver to some branch members.
Saturday it was our turn to clean the branch house and then we also attended a program with an investigator we really hope is ready to make a commitment.  Z is a wonderful man, continually tries to do better and improve himself.  He is a school teacher and feels like he is a father to his students and spends much time (and resources) helping them and their families. 

We also took the elders to visit a member whose husband had a stroke and has been flat in bed unable to move.   A couple of weeks ago when we visited, he was given a blessing.  When we went Saturday, he stood up and walked to greet us!  He had made great improvements and his wife even looked so much better.

Today was our Christmas program – some lovely musical numbers and talks about the birth of Jesus Christ.  The Christmas story was read and talked about, but one talk was something we’ve not heard before.  The branch president focused on Joseph – the kind of humble, patient and caring person that he was.  Even though he was not Jesus’ father, he was chosen to raise Him.  President Balint said “if all men were like Joseph, we would not have problems in this world.”

After the meetings (and we had a record 15 in Relief Society), we had a Christmas potluck lunch – with lots of good food, especially desserts.  But I’m sure everyone had their fill.  It took awhile to clean up after; the floors could not be finished until the last family left the building to catch their bus at 3 p.m.   And Elder Miller and the branch president went to visit and deliver the Christmas boxes.  He arrived home after 6:00 p.m. and announced that they had just hit a deer.  (They are fine, the deer is not, and the car is not!  Luckily it was a baby deer following its mother who had just leaped across the road and they missed her.)

We have been busy; that is what we are called to do.  We are so grateful for this Christmas season, for the scriptures that we read daily that testify of Jesus Christ, His birth, His life, His resurrection and His Atonement  -- His mission.  We know that He is the Son of God, that He is our Savior, that He loves each of us and has provided a way for us to become like Him so that we can return to be with Him eternally.  We are grateful now for this coming week of calm – to think about our Savior, and to remember and celebrate His birth with our awesome missionaries. 

Boldog Karácsonyt
Merry Christmas


  1. Glad to see you back on the blog. We were mildly concerned when you didn't post, but assumed you were busy.

    Merry Christmas.



  2. Sounds like you are busier than ever. Glad everything worked out with your projects and the money. Its amazing how the Lord steps and allows tender mercies to happen. We pray you'll have a Merry Christmas and continue to enjoy this time together together. We love you.