February 22, 2015

Hungarians love red hair dye.  Here are a few samples of the (unnatural) colors.

The walk to church this morning was beautiful, and then it started raining – and it’s still raining.  It promises to rain most of the week.

It’s been a busy week, but we’ve stayed in Kaposvár, and we didn’t do anything photo worthy.  Each Monday we walk to the bank to make the church deposit.  Monday we did that and then accomplished a few other errands, which included a long walk to a dry cleaners.  It actually felt great.   Home evening that night was a bust; no one showed up.  One set of elders had gone to Budapest for new missionary training, so the other set of elders and us used the time for planning, discussing the rest of the week and ways we can help and support.

Hence, we have attended several programs (discussions) with elders this week.  And when the investigator or family hasn’t read or if the program just ‘calls for’ reading, we have read in the Book of Mormon with them – a Mormon Könyve -- in Hungarian!  This evening we visited a less-active family and read together.  Hungarians read (and speak) super fast, but when the 8-year-old read slowly and sounded out those very long words, it made us feel that maybe we were at his level.   We wish we had the magic potion to get that family to church.  They have two teen-age boys and two younger children.  They agree they need to come; but the husband and wife both work 6 days.  On Sunday there is much to do, their family won’t all fit in their little car, and it’s at least 30 km into town to church.  What to do?  Are those excuses or lack of faith?

One positive note and very exciting news from our branch – one of our young single adult girls sent in her mission application to the stake president!  We’ll see now how long the process takes in Hungary.  A number of missionaries from Hungary also serve in Hungary.  This sister is attending university to get her law degree and speaks some English; it will be interesting to see where she is called.  Stay tuned.

CHaS (Church Humanitarian System), the Church’s computer program that we use, was down early in the week, and by the time it was fixed, we assume we missed this week’s deadline for project approvals, as we have not heard about the 3 new projects we submitted.   We worked this week with a translator to research online, make calls from home and order items for current projects.   We are trying something new tomorrow.  We’ve mentioned before that in Hungary, we are mostly required to go to the place of business and actually pay cash.  This translator is sure that a ‘bank transfer’ will work.  So the vendor (from some city in Hungary, and this time we even have one from Slovakia) sends an invoice to a bank in our city and we go to the bank and pay cash.  When the bank tells the vendor the invoice is paid, the vendor will then deliver the goods.  Tomorrow we have 4 different banks to go to; we hope this method works.  It’s always a great adventure!  

This is probably the preferred way of doing business in Hungary.   People do not use checks, and yet there are often more than one bank per block.  

Another interesting development: the mission recently learned that once someone has been in the country for a year, they must get a Hungarian driver’s license.  Apparently the international licenses that we all came with do NO good.   Missionaries have been driving illegally for years!   Currently all the young missionaries’ cars are parked.  So, one of the AP’s and Stan are the guinea pigs – to see how it’s done.   While I was gone to the US, Stan got his required medical exam; he then went to the official interpretation office to submit a copy of his US driver’s license.  For 10,000 ft. ($40) the (very little) license had to be translated and it took 2 weeks!  Friday Stan took one of our elders into Budapest to the Dr., and picked up his license translation.   He then went to another government building (another part of town) to actually apply for the license.  He turned in copies of his medical exam, his passport, US driver’s license translation, residency permit, and an official form showing his Hungarian address.  Now he will wait up to 30 days to receive the answer of what he needs to do next – a driving test and / or a written test – to obtain a license.  This could all cost around $200-300 we are told.   We hope driving school is not a requirement; that could be $600.    And he will use this license for about 3 months before we are released.   Depending what he finds out will determine if he goes through with it to the end.   Some seniors have determined to turn their cars in and use the train, which we may do also.   One more example of a very labor intensive process.

And some people complain about processes in America!

Elder Roberts (Pleasant Grove, UT), Elder Heilein (Germany), Elder King (Orem, UT),
 Elder Martineau (Santa Clara, UT)

We’ve been having branch members with one set of elders (for translation) for Sunday dinner.  We just have a few left to come, but none could today so our four great Kaposvár elders came.  

Life is good.  We are always very grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the restoration of the Lord’s Church in this dispensation.   We are blessed to be included, to be able to represent our Savior and in some small way, help His work go forth. 

February 15, 2015

A couple of menu listings that made us smile -- "according to the cook's mood (or what he found in the market)" and "Beef Nonsense"
We spent most of the week in Budapest – meeting with 4 new places, shopping for project items, delivering items to the autistic school/home and a single mothers’ home and then we had two days of senior conference.  It keeps us moving, which is good.  There was no snow in Budapest and when we returned, almost all of the snow is gone here!   The sun is shining; the birds are singing.  It’s a beautiful day. 
One of the places that we visited was a home for disabled children.  We visited several rooms with men/boys who are severely handicapped.  Some might be able to sit up in a wheelchair for a few hours a day, but most spend their life lying in the bed.   Again, old facilities, but kept VERY clean and orderly.   There is always a staff member in the room – 24/7.   Each day all are bathed and cared for.   There were some very bent and twisted little bodies – but always with smiles.  The staff say they care for them with love.  It shows!   We have so much for which to be grateful, but looking at the big picture – ALL of these special children of Heavenly Father will be with Him one day.  They have already earned that privilege!  

Official senior conference photo -- 'photo shopped' in front of Fisherman's Bastion.
The first order of business at the senior conference was the president telling us that out of the 11 senior couples that we have left here, seven and a half of them will be leaving by the end of July (the half is a senior sister and the other one will be leaving in September).   So far the only replacement is for the mission president!   We were asked to let our friends and family know how desperately senior missionaries are needed – in Hungary and around the world.   President Smith says when he calls Salt Lake, they tell him the number of senior missionaries is way down – and missions everywhere are in great need.

Remember Elder Holland’s talk in the General Priesthood Meeting of October 2011.  He was talking to the young men – and young women – to enlist on the Lord’s army and stay worthy to  serve missions.  And then he said:

“Now, you fathers and mothers, don’t smile and settle back into the comfort of your seats.  I am not through here.  We need thousands more couples serving in the missions of the Church.  Every mission president pleads for them.  Everywhere they serve, our couples bring a maturity to the work that no number of nineteen-year-olds, however good they are, can provide.  For good and sufficient health, family, or economic reasons, some of you, we realize, may not be able to go just now or perhaps ever.  But with a little planning many of you can go."

“You can leave your recliner and the remote control for a few short months – and yes, you can leave the grandchildren.  Those little darlings will be just fine, and I promise you will do things for them in the service of the Lord that, worlds without end, you could never do if you stayed home to hover over them.  What greater gift could grandparents give their posterity then to say by deed as well as word, “In this family we serve missions!”

Want an adventure of a lifetime?  How about replacing us when we leave in July?  
In senior conference we discussed the Europe Area Plan for 2015 and ways we and the younger missionaries and members can work together to make this happen:

  • ·         Double the active membership.

  • ·         Become spiritually and temporally self-reliant.

  • ·         Discover the blessings of enabling the salvation of our ancestors.

It’s simply stated, but it will take all of us working together to accomplish this.  The missionaries are diligently teaching here, but the investigators seem to enjoy the sociality, but don’t seem to want to make the baptismal commitment.  And for every member that returns to activity, it seems that another drops off.  There’s some similarities to the Church in its early years.  And, as always, we all need to be constantly vigilant.

The second day of the conference we visited the Hospital in the Rock.  Under Castle Hill in Budapest, there are 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) of natural caves.   In 1944 during WW II, when hospitals were crowded, Budapest City government  built a hospital in part of this cave system. 
Kitchen 1944 and 2002
At the time it was built, it was the most state-of-the-art hospital.   It was designed for 60 beds, but the need quickly expanded to 600.  The hospital was in use all during the war.   There were times when the bombings affected the water in Budapest; thus there were times when the underground hospital could also not get water.
Because the patients at least felt safe underground, they often bid family and friends to also come underground for safety.  You can imagine these narrow passageways with patients lying on stretchers on the floor and 2 or more patients in the beds because of the overcrowding. The hospital closed after the war, but reopened during the Revolution of 1956 and was used again for several months.

1944 and 2002 photos
Now it is  a museum, but they have done a masterful job of recreating each room with mannequins in uniform and doing their duties, patients in beds, on stretchers, on operating tables.   The re-creation of the blood and bandaging is quite realistic.   It is amazing that no two faces of the mannequins are the same.    The drawers, shelves and cupboards are still full of  medical equipment and supplies, some original and some from the 60’s.    

The machinery – air supply, water, and electricity – still operate today.   Communications equipment and machinery are mammoth and all had to be taken inside in pieces and re- assembled there.  The hospital didn’t need heat and cooling because the temperature stays constant year round.  There is also an area displaying a Gulf War helicopter and war scene --  the helicopter also taken inside in pieces.

This photo of a 1984 ambulance was the only one we were allowed to take.  Others are from online.

After leaving the hospital, above ground on Castle Hill. 

Once again we are mindful of the blessings of living in the times and places that we do. We are especially grateful to live when and where the Gospel has been restored in its fullness. We are truly blessed, and know that “for of him unto whom much is given much is required.”  (D&C 82:3)


February 8, 2015

Snow began falling lightly on Thursday night and continued all day Friday.  By Friday night we had about 14-15 inches -- a winter wonderland.

Stan posted last week pictures of my father and about me going home for my his passing.  I am so grateful to have gathered with my three sisters and three brothers to be with my father when he still knew we were there.   It was a bittersweet experience.  He was 92; and I guess I hoped he would live forever.  He was a good man – a bit stubborn at times, but steadfast in his faith and integrity.  He has been dealing with several health issues the last couple of years, and with his hearing practically gone, he has sort of felt he had no real purpose.  So now he will be able to hear and to walk and to serve where he is needed.   I know he had a great reunion with his parents, 10 brothers and sisters, and grandparents.  I would have loved to be there when he met his hero, his great grandfather, Daniel Webster Jones.  What a sweet and informative reunion that would be.  Thank goodness for the knowledge we have that he is now in a better place with loved ones and can continue the Savior’s work.  

I had a fast but good trip to Arizona.  Our children all came and also saw their granddad while he still knew they were there, I think.   So that was a bonus for me.  I only saw 6 grandchildren.  I was secretly hoping there would be time to slip up to Utah so I could see some others and hold Carlee, but that didn’t happen.   I was able to attend the memorial service held for my father in Arizona, but had to return to Europe before the funeral and burial in New Mexico. 

Now back to work with my calling here.   A couple of projects were approved while I was gone, and appointments were made to meet with some new places.  Stan did some preliminary research and pricing and we will leave today (Sunday) for Budapest to do shopping and meeting with the new places.  We also have a mission-wide senior missionary conference on Wednesday and Thursday, so we will be busy.  
To back up a bit, on our way to the airport a couple of weeks ago, we were quite early so when we passed Memento Park a ways out of Budapest, we decided to stop and take a peek.  After the fall of Communism in 1989, all of the statues from the Soviet Era (1949-1989) were taken out of Budapest and put in an open air museum.   The statues are big and grand in scale, show hard working men and women, heroic soldiers and support the ideology of the Soviet Regime.  The park is not beautiful, not well kept, and probably not well attended.  That’s not surprising when you think of the depressing feeling and memories it causes.  

Stalin’s boots, a symbol of oppression, stand outside the park.  They are from the original huge bronze statue of Stalin that was torn down in the Revolution of 1956.

One other quick note of interest.  In the Google Alerts this week (headlines we receive), was this ‘wonder piano’ developed and built by an award-winning Hungarian pianist and engineers.  “Steinways are great and you can’t improve on them,“ the pianist said, so they went another direction – to get a unique sound quality different from the last 100 years.  The legs are built to deflect the sound to the audience and the piano is built of a carbon composite used in space technology.   It is now in Budapest; would be interesting to see it sometime.

We attended programs with the elders this week.   Our branch is having a temple preparation class and about 8 people are attending.  Also, the RS president announced today upcoming monthly week-day meetings.  And, the young sister who taught the RS lesson didn’t just have everyone go around and read a paragraph from the manual.  Progress!!!  These are wonderful, humble people – and they are learning!  

Life is good.  Have a great week.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Myles Rey Jones, Sharon's dad, at age 92. He passed away January 29, 2015.

Sorry we missed posting to our blog last week. Sharon usually writes the blog each week and puts in such interesting stuff and photos. She's gifted. But she's in Arizona while I stayed in Hungary so I decided to write a post today.

Sharon's parents, Myles and Elsie Jones, lived in northern New Mexico for most of their married lives but moved to Mesa, Arizona about five years ago. They bought a home in a retirement community which is located near several family members including two sons, Blaine and Nathan. 

On January 15 Sharon's dad, age 92, suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed and without the ability to swallow. After a short time in the hospital he was moved to a hospice center in Mesa where he passed away January 29. 

Sharon went from Hungary to Mesa to spend a few days with him while he could still communicate. She will be there for a memorial service Monday, February 2 and will then return to Hungary so we can complete our mission which is scheduled to end in early July.

Here is the obituary:

Myles Rey Jones, age 92, passed away Thursday, January 29th in Mesa, AZ surrounded by family.  He was born September 14, 1922 in Goodyear, AZ to Daniel Dudley and Daisy Eleanor Huber Jones.  Most of his childhood was spent in southern Colorado.  He graduated from Mesa High School in 1940.

Myles then attended Arizona State University until entering the Army in 1943.  He was wounded in the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944 and spent three months in the hospital in New Guinea before being discharged in March 1945.

On a visit to Kirtland, NM he met Elsie Rose Swapp.  They were married in the LDS Salt Lake Temple August 21, 1945.  He so looked forward to celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary in August.

He graduated from the University of Arizona in 1948 with a degree in civil engineering.

In 1951 they moved to a farm in Fruitland, NM where they raised their seven children. 

He served faithfully as bishop of the LDS Kirtland Ward and in many other callings.  He visited his home teaching families hours before suffering a stroke.  Together Myles and Elsie served LDS missions in New Zealand, the Mesa, AZ and Albuquerque, NM temples. 

Myles is survived by his wife Elsie, their seven children:  Sharon (Stan) Miller, Marsha ('Chick') Edwards, Arthur (Diane) Jones, Carma (Brent) Reeder, Blaine (Marylee) Jones, Nathan (Chantal) Jones, and Myla (Michael) Palmer; siblings:  Mary Eleanor Foutz (Evan) Lewis, Kent (Jorge) Jones, LaVaughn (Sherry) Jones, Elaine (Bill) Berkey, Hugh (Jayne) Jones, and Maeveen (Michael) Jack, sister in-law Mary Jones and brother in-law Duane Winn, 33 grandchildren, and 80 great-grandchildren.  Preceded in death by his parents, sisters: Urva Jones, LaVona (Jones) Hawkins, and Cleona (Jones) Winn; and brothers:  LeBaron, Lamar, Dan, Donald, Grant, Dudley, and Sam Jones.

A memorial service will be held Monday, February 2nd at 11:00 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4640 East Holmes Avenue, Mesa.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, February 7th, 10:00 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 473 CR 6100, Kirtland, NM.  A viewing will be held at the church prior to the service, 9:00 - 9:45 a.m.  Interment will be in the Kirtland/Fruitland Cemetery.