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)



  1. Unfortunately, I think we're loosing a lot of our couples to divorce. We've had between 5-10 couples (married in the temple) from our ward get divorced in the past year. We've had several "fall away" and say they want to "take a break" from church! Satan is definitely working overtime! Russ constantly tries to encourage the retired couples in our Stake to go on missions. He's having a special fireside in a couple of weeks for couples 55 and older to try and motivate more of them. We'll have to tell them they can go to Hungary.

  2. Reminds me of the hospital in the War Tunnels in Dove, in England. And, I hope the chef was in a good mood when you visited.