March 29, 2015

We were in an obscure area at lunch time.  There was a nice-looking pub.  The menu said 'enchiladas!'  Stan said they were more like veggie burritos and had no sauce.  Never mind, they had a southwestern flavor -- and at least two whole potatoes worth of fries (which he didn't eat)!   The other is gnocchi, lunch another day.

The train is going downhill and is speeding up!   This week we were in Budapest again to make a payment and had appointments for potential service.  We are pushing to meet with several institutions this week and next and then we will spend the time getting the projects completed and all the paper work finished before we leave in just over three months.  Some projects take 2-3 months, and we can’t leave anything unfinished since at this point there is not a humanitarian couple coming to replace us.  In fact, we learned this week that the number of younger missionaries arriving in the six few months is down and apartments will need to be closed.  Sad!  Hungary needs the missionaries.  Perhaps the younger missionary age surge is now leveling off.   Also, we heard that for seniors, age 65 is now 70.  People are working longer and perhaps in 3-4 years there will be a surge of seniors serving.  Hope so.

We also had three projects approved this week, and will start working on those.  One is just ordering some medical equipment, another is outfitting a children’s activity room for a family shelter, and the other will require shopping in quite a few different places – craft materials for a home for disabled adults. 

This building in Budapest was home to the Postapalota (Posta Palace). It was built right after WWI, but has been empty since 2008. The round tower on the corner of the palace used to have a practical purpose: it was the machine room of the elevator.  The building is in a prominent place overlooking the main transportation hub in Buda. Some have thought this would be a great building for the Church to buy and turn into a temple/mission home/meeting house.  Interesting idea. 

About the main transportation hub – Széll Kálmán tér (square) -- was pretty old, quite dirty, and very dilapidated.   Currently it is a war zone as it is getting a much needed renovation!!!   That whole part of town is absolutely 'upside down' to drive through, and many of the trains are not operating; but it continues to be busy because of its location. We see noticeable progress each time we are in town.  By this time next year, it promises to look like this:
Yesterday one of the senior couples (who served a previous mission in Kaposvár) drove down from their city in northern Hungary and she made a presentation about the history of Relief Society for our RS celebration.  She did a nice presentation, but unfortunately there were only 7 sisters there.  If these sisters come from their villages to town on a weekend, they may not come back on Sunday.  But Sister B said she was glad to see some of their friends from their time here 3 years ago.   And we appreciated them coming.

Today was the change to Daylight Savings Time in Hungary.   There were a couple of members who ran in at the last minute to church, but most were there early.   Hungarians are morning people.   When I’m out early, the streets and sidewalks are already full of activity.

This week will be transfer week – which is an unhappy thought.  We have loved and enjoyed the four elders who are currently serving in Kaposvár.   What great missionaries they are.  We have attended many of their programs with them; we know those they are teaching, and we are praying for them to have a witness of the Spirit.  Today the elders came for lunch – the last supper!   They took photos, but we didn’t and won’t get their copies until after this letter is posted.   After lunch we watched “Meet the Mormons.”   We watched it once before, but the elders were excited to see it.   It is much better the second time.   I can think of several ‘friends’ who are learning about the Church who should see it (those who speak English).  We will plan a time before we leave to have these friends over to see it.

Since we have been here, there has been an elder who either played the piano for Sacrament Meeting or who could operate the electronic piano (with hymns programmed in it).  We’ve wondered who would be doing this after Elder R gets transferred this week.    Today one of the members (who was less active when we first arrived) was sustained to be in charge of the music.  He was there ½ hour early, had the hymns chosen, put numbers in the board and played with a huge smile.  He is quite shy, but he sang out – I know because I was leading.   This is exciting because slowly, the branch is becoming self-sufficient.  We can see lives slowly changing for the better and it is heartwarming.   We love these friends and so want them to have all the blessings of the gospel in their everyday lives.  We know the Lord loves them way more than we do and is just waiting to bless them as He is waiting to bless each of us in our obedience. 


  1. Loved this post, too. How was the gnocchi? I love the stuff. I can't believe you will be home in 3 months. I am so glad you have such a nice feeling for the Hungarians. That is one of the best parts of a mission: learning to love the people and culture, and you have done such a nice job of connecting with the culture. Your comment about them being out and about early really shows how you notice that sort of thing. I will miss your posts. You will have to keep blogging when you return.



  2. P.S. I loved seeing the transportation-hub project. You will be amazed with the projects in Provo, particularly at BYU and the new MTC.