January 11, 2015

EU, county and country flags going up on our main street.

Have you ever hosted a party to which no one came?  Or dreamed that that could happen?  Monday was home evening night and no one came!  Oh, the elders came, but they were the only ones.  They enjoyed the refreshments, we had a good visit and they left.  About 9 p.m. our young Aaronic Priesthood holder came along and was surprised that everyone had left.  Sixteen-year-olds – they’re all the same!  Working out was so important; he assumed the rest of the world would revolve at his schedule.

Tuesday we drove to Szombathely to close a program for the county institute for the disabled.  Some wheelchairs, walkers and canes had been previously delivered and we brought warm coats and the blankets that the young single adults in Budapest had helped make.  Sweet people, disabled themselves, are devoting their lives to serving others.  

Our area office sent us some Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD’s to give this year at our closings.  So we decided to also give a Book of Mormon.  It turns out that one lady there had read it, and the institute president (in the wheelchair), has read some of it. He had us sign if for him.  At one time they had representatives of several religions come and talk about their churches.  They made arrangements for our elders to come again.  

Notice the size of this kebab (gyro).  It was fresh bread right out of the oven, 
and as big as Elder Blake's hand.  He served in Kaposvar with us.

After we had a quick lunch with the elders who helped translate for us, we headed to Győr for meetings with three different potential projects.  Our contact for one was a member sister (from Vashon Island, Washington), who is married to a Hungarian.  She invited us to their home for dinner, which was very nice.  They have four cute and very nice children.  It was nice to be in their home and around some children for the evening.  
We met with a man, who in 1988 had a Mikulás (Santa Claus) suit made for him so that he could play the role.  Children began writing letters and he and his wife began answering the letters.  Over the years he began helping needy children to have Christmas.  He then received a letter from a 14-year-old girl who had been abused.  Mikulás showed the letter to a psychologist, his wife wrote a response, but by the time he found the girl, she had committed suicide.  Because he had the letter for 4 days before it got delivered, he felt responsible and committed to do something so that wouldn’t happen again.  Since 1995 he has run a hotline for young people in crisis.   It is a single number for the country of Hungary, the lines are manned by about 200 volunteers in several cities, they receive about 135 calls a day, but the suicide rate has been greatly reduced!  He is doing a wonderful work.

Here’s the dilemma:  of course, he would like money to help pay the telephone bill.  We cannot give money.  He would like us to talk to the telephone companies they use to see if they would donate or give him a deal. He has tried.   The companies are in England and Norway.   Anybody have any connections to Vodafone or Telenor?   His foundation is truly helping many.  We don’t want to say “your cause is just but we can do nothing for you.”  Any ideas?  We are praying and pondering on this one. 

On our drive we went through a village with this 1956 Revolution Memorial.  Very striking.  I tried to find out something about it, but I only found photos; guess the year says it all.  

Also on our drive we are reading a most fascinating book that my brother sent us for Christmas – Christopher Columbus, A Man Among the Gentiles, by Clark B. Hinckley.  Biographers have really never told Columbus’s real story.  In his own library of books, he has made more than 2,500 margin notes concerning his thoughts, inspirations and revelations about being guided by the Holy Spirit.  Very interesting and inspiring – a must read.

When we arrived home the temperature in our apartment was about 11ᵒ C.  Our heat and hot water were off!  We called the landlord and he had someone come right over.  They turned it on and we went to bed.  Morning came and we had a very nice, warm apartment – but no hot water!  After district meeting, they came back and turned some more dials.  The hot water came on, but by evening, the heat was gone.  (I decided having hot water was the better of the two.)  Saturday morning they came again and now we have both hot water and heat.   These radiators (that use hot water) really are effective and heat the rooms quickly.  And, I’ve discovered they are a great place to set a pan of bread dough to rise – when they are working! 
On the left is President Szabadkai -- when he attended a closing with us.

Saturday we learned that the new mission president for the Hungary Budapest Mission will be President Szabadkai -- from Hungary!!!  He has been serving in the mission presidency for several years.  This is huge!  This will be the first mission president from Hungary and the first that speaks the language.  This means that Hungary is maturing and can provide its own leadership!
We enjoyed two elders and a family for dinner today.  The husband is a faithful member; his wife is not a member, but their 11-year-old daughter has started coming with him each week.  And then the other elders came over this evening to teach a man, who we so wish would make that final commitment.  I’ve written of him before.  He is such a great guy, made a commitment years ago that he would not smoke or drink (a rarity in Hungary), is an elementary school teacher and is always doing ‘self-checks’ – to make improvements.  He’s been through many sets of missionaries; he now just needs to take that leap of faith!

We are so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and for the faith that we have – to sometimes step out into the unknown with need to trust our Heavenly Father and His Savior. Of course, we always need increased faith and the pure love of Christ – for which we pray daily – so that we “may become the sons [and daughter] of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is;. . . ." (1 John 3:2)

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