April 26, 2015

A sign on a machine at the bank! 

“On the road again.”  It’s not a music tour like Willie Nelson’s, but it still seems to be a familiar ‘tune’ for us anyway.

Tuesday we headed northwest to Sopron to visit a home for the mentally and physically disabled that our stake president referred to us.  This county facility and its staff care for 170 residents, ages 3 – 58; then on that afternoon to ‘close’ a project at a Christian school in Győr.   A member is a teacher at this school and her children attend there.  Earlier this school year they separated themselves from their previous partners because of the things that were expected to be taught.  They are housed in old, massive buildings but are slowly renovating.  The children have no outside areas in which to play, and the school is accessed by driving through an industrial area.   Their object is to learn and study.   In America, we have so many extras and luxuries that we sometimes take them for granted.  

They were helped with some tables, storage cabinets and chairs and large rug for the kindergarten, educational books and supplies and musical instruments and headphones for the older classes.   When we first visited, the principal said she had heard negative things about the Mormons, but this time she told us she had changed her mind, and they love and respect the member teacher that is helping them.  Staff are all currently working at 70% of salary until they build up the school to full capacity.

The drives continue to be beautiful as the country is turning green!  Flowers are being planted,

leaves are coming out, 
Parking along the street in front of the hospital has just been completed -- very nice.

summer city and street renovating projects are in the works.  Life is busy in Hungary. 

On the way in to Budapest later that afternoon we stopped at IKEA to buy some metal beds.  After previously pricing them and getting the project approved, we learned that they have discontinued the metal beds!   Now, we are searching again.

Actually, while still at IKEA we received a call from our area supervisors in Germany.  Because the Eastern European countries were not receiving humanitarian missionary replacements, they had told us a month or so ago to not worry about the budget, but to do as many projects as possible.  Well, this call was to halt that instruction.  They are now receiving replacements!  Good news.   And, we forgot to mention last week that the Hungary Budapest Mission is also getting a humanitarian couple, Elder and Sister Lund from Sandy, UT!   So, the area may not approve any more projects for us; we need to leave some budget for the new couple.   We will continue wrapping up the actual projects and paper work for the ones we are currently working on, and, if possible, get some ‘in the works’ for Elder and Sister Lund. 

 Wednesday we crisscrossed Budapest to several places to order and make payments on project orders and then to several furniture stores asking about metal beds. 

We have also been asked to look at a project possibility that would have a high impact on a
large number of people.  We have daily noticed and then it was confirmed with research, 
“Tobacco is the leading single cause of death in Hungary” and “Smoking is the most 
important public health issue in Hungary causing in excess of 28,000 deaths per year.”  So,
have been researching and preparing some information for a possible anti-smoking 
campaign that the Church might partner with the government. Big dreams, absolutely!  Our 
mission president suggested we meet with the former stake president.  We did , and he directed us to meet with the head surgeon of the National Center for Spinal Disorders, who
is a member (albeit less-active), and who has contacts in the Ministry of Health.   So 
Wednesday afternoon we were able to meet with this doctor.  He was very amiable and 
helpful.   He knew and was involved with a government program several years ago in which 
they emphasized:  1) anti-smoking, 2) healthy  eating, and 3) physical education in the 
schools.   He is sending us that program and we will study it and see if we might propose to 
collaborate in some way and continue at least the anti-smoking part.  This is just in 
beginning stages, and hopefully we can do enough to get this off the ground, and it
can be accepted and continued.  

First thing Thursday morning I actually had a physical -- at a clinic in Budapest that serves 
Americans.  I went because Stan had previously had a required physical for his driver’s 
license and was very impressed.  (And since we’re paying for the insurance, decided we 
might as well use it once.)  Contrary to previous mention about the quality of  medical 
facilities here, this place is wonderful and very thorough.  The only result I have so far is a 
'calm heart.'  (The EKG was very routine.)
At Sports Village, we saw these very small skate boards.  Are they for toddlers?
Then there were three more places we needed to go to make payments.  Thanks to our trusty GPS, again we were at opposite ends of town to accomplish this.  One suburb town actually seemed newer and better kept than most. As mentioned before, there seems to be no zoning regulations; this business was in a home – which also was very nice.   The owner’s son (who spoke English) said the town is not newer but they have renovated much of the city.   Wish there was Church presence in that city.

We’ve mentioned before about needing to pay cash for most things.  Another peculiar characteristic of shopping in Hungary is that you will always get at least two receipts, sometimes three.  Even the bigger stores print one for themselves and file in a little makeshift cardboard box on the counter.  If they give us a szamla (invoice), then there are several copies, all of which get two rubber stamps.  Sometimes, they even need to write something by hand on a ledger -- all very labor intensive.  

We arrived home at 4 p.m. Thursday and had company for dinner at 7 p.m.   We made it!   The German couple that we home and visit teach alternate with us each month for dinner.   Thank goodness for their son who translates for us.   She speaks some English, but he speaks very little.   They are about our same age; we have a good time and have become good friends.  

Our branch was scheduled to have a baptism this weekend.  However, there does not seem to be a place in Kaposvár to have one.   They previously rented a pool at a school; it is no longer available.  The branch president has called hotels, schools and other places he has thought of and so far, no one has or will rent a pool.   This is a problem!

While we were away this week there was a murder in Kaposvár just a couple of blocks from us.  Don’t worry, we have never felt unsafe.  Apparently a 21-year-old woman worked at the National Tobacco Store and when she closes at night she is to call her boss.  When he didn’t hear from her, he called and got no answer.  He came to the store and found her.  I guess there was a robber who got away with around $75.  I only mention this because the person that was to be baptized is the policewoman who was called to investigate the case.  She has been very involved this week and probably wouldn’t have been baptized even if water had been found.   So we heard all this from the elders and then we just happened to walk by the place and noticed the candles, so snapped a photo.  So sad. 

We did have a good sacrament meeting today.  Attendance was good; 7 investigators.  A brother who has recently got active again spoke.  He was called about three weeks ago to play the piano and chooses the music.  He loves it, does a great job and mentioned today that he is grateful for this calling.  His message of the importance of conference (stake conference is coming up) was a good one, and his testimony was strong.   Little by little these saints are becoming stronger, the roots are strengthening and we continue to pray that those the missionaries are teaching will desire to know the truth and make the commitment to be baptized.  We are grateful when they continue to attend church. 

This is the Lord’s Church.  We are grateful for the opportunity to serve and represent Him in His work. 


  1. Thank you for your super fun blog!!!! My son, Elder Paul Bunker, is serving there with you and is currently in Debrecen. Unfortunately, he has only been able to send a few pictures, so THANK YOU so much for all the lovely pictures on your blog!!!! It has been so fun to see.

  2. The school supplies, desk, rug, etc. look so nice. I'm sure the kids love them. Who would think you couldn't find a place to baptize someone? I'm reading President Kimball's biography right now and his father baptized him in their bathtub. After questioning if it was legitimate he was rebaptized when he was 12.
    Good luck with your anti-smoking campaign. Sounds like a great idea.

  3. It sounds like a good week. You seem to be very well "earthed" in your work.