March 15, 2015

If we were in Italy, we would wish you “Happy Ides of March.”(We were reading about this fateful date of Julius Ceaser earlier this week.)  However, since we are in Hungary, we will wish you “Happy Hungarian Spring.”  This day in Hungary stands for democracy and freedom and commemorates the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, a bloodless fight for freedom from Habsburg rule, which then grew into a war against Austria and her allies.  Hungarians were only asking for freedom of the press, to establish a parliament and government, freedom of religion, a jury, a national bank, a Hungarian army and the withdrawal of foreign military presence (freedoms most of us take for granted).  In 1849 Russia intervened on the side of Austria, and won!  Independence for Hungary was short-lived once again – really until 1989.  These tri-color ‘cockades’ are now proudly worn by Hungarians on this day. 

Today is the start of a new Hungarian law – stores begin today to be closed on Sunday.   While that sounds wonderful, and hopefully it will be, there are quite a few exceptions that are controversial.  Apparently, small family-owned businesses have a choice, malls with theaters can stay open and businesses that cater to tourists or are near transportation stations can also stay open.   You see the conflict / discrimination – especially  for those people and stores who depend on the weekend employment and shoppers.

Monday at family home evening we celebrated Elder Heilein’s birthday with his favorite banana cake  -- his family’s special German recipe his mother sent me.  The bottom is sort of like what we call German pancakes, next a layer of sliced bananas, then a layer of pudding mixed with whipped cream, and drizzled with chocolate on top.  He was happy. 

Tuesday we headed to Győr to a carpet store to buy and pay for some carpet (with roads and villages) for a kindergarten room and drop off some books and earphones to a school we are helping.  They are waiting for the delivery of some cabinets and some gym equipment for the kindergarten, so the ‘closing’ will be the next trip that direction. 

We continued to Budapest and took Elders Parkinson and Depallens with us to ‘close’ a project with the Sisters of the Good Shepherd Catholic Order.  This is a home for mothers in crisis, and the Humanitarian Fund provided them with 3 small refrigerators, a washer, a stove, some baby bottles and thermometers.  Some directors make a big deal out of ‘closings,’ and others just express their thanks and appreciation and it takes 5 minutes.   This was the latter.  Here the appliances are not yet in their specified rooms.    

We hoped to visit something of note that evening, but places were closed.  We even tried to find an English language movie, but the only one available didn’t start until 9 p.m. – too late for this night.

The next morning we met at the mission home for Zone Conference, with visiting general authority President Patrick Kearon of the Europe Area Presidency.  We felt the Spirit throughout the day.  Elder Kearon is a master teacher, as he reviewed and taught principles from Preach My Gospel.  A few of his comments: 

  • The miracle of having 85,000 missionaries is that the best and brightest are out at a time they turn from caterpillar to butterfly. . .
  • Nothing happens in missionary work until you find people to teach. 
  • Long before you speak, impressions are made; look the message, become the message. 
  • ‘Investigator’ is such a harsh word.  What does it bring to mind?  Let’s call those we are teaching ‘friends.’ 
  • Don’t ‘drop’ the friends we are teaching; ‘rest’ them for a season if necessary.
  • When meeting with less actives, ask them how they joined the Church; let them relive their conversion.

Back home, we attended programs with the elders on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 

Friday our interpreter came to help us make appointments in a couple of new cities.  It was rather discouraging as it seemed that principals and directors were out of the office and we were told to “call back next week.”   Later, we realized that this is a holiday weekend.   We will try again Monday and are hoping to head out this week for areas in Hungary we have not yet served. 

Because today was a holiday, there were fewer attending church today.  But afterwards it was the branch ‘linger longer” – a pot luck meal on the third Sunday of each month.   It’s a rather casual meal after the meetings, and the members are participating better (bringing food) each month.  Our high counselor and family members were visiting today; they surely helped the attendance numbers. We sang Happy Birthday to Zsuzsa; her cake had the traditional Hungarian 'sparkler.'

We continue to pray for senior couples to serve missions.  The lack of replacements is true also in the  Europe Area humanitarian missions.  Of the 13 couples who are serving in countries in our area, only four are currently being replaced.   We are told the budget money is there, so we can do practically unlimited projects.  In the next few weeks we will try to meet with many new potential projects – and then with no one coming to complete them, we will need to wrap everything up before we leave.    

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is true.  We are grateful for that witness.   We are grateful to represent Jesus Christ and in some small ways help His Church and His work be known and go forward in the country of Hungary.   And, we have truly been guided and blessed in our experiences. 


  1. Better late than never. We looked at the post earlier, but didn't have time to comment.

    I loved the historical review of Hungarian struggles, and the German banana cake looks really good. Be sure to bring that recipe home with you.

    We will check in tomorrow and see how this week went.



  2. The banana cake sounds delightful! And I loved Elder Kearon's comments about asking less actives to share their conversion story. It can be so powerful. xoxo