May 31, 2015

If your steak is flat,is it 'ironed?'  And if there's only one apartment, should it be apartman!

Oh my goodness, where did May go?  We are not sure, but it means that there are only 5 weeks (posts) left of our Hungarian mission!  

This week has been one adventure after another, making this a very long post.  We left Monday– in the rain – to wend our way across the country to Debrecen to close two projects. 

We drove through the small town of Hajdúböszűrmény that looked interesting.  Because we were getting closer to the east side of Hungary, the buildings reflected Russian architecture.
Silverware is never set on the table, but served on a plate.
In Debrecen we met Elder and Sister Broadhead and had a delightful walk to town for dinner.

I must recant an earlier statement in which I said “there are no smooth sidewalks in Hungary.”  We found one, and walked on this beautiful tree-lined, wide sidewalk to town.   There are no cement sidewalks in Hungary; sidewalks are asphalt (which have been patched scores of times), brick (used in parking lots), cobblestone (historic areas) or tile (pedestrian streets). 

We had some time the next day before our appointments, and took some time to explore: 

The Nagy Templon (Large Church), the very well known Great Reformed Church of Debrecen is the symbol (and largest) of Protestant churches in Hungary.  It has seating for 3,000, and was built in 1805 – 1824.  Its interior is like other Protestant churches – simple and white.   

We climbed above the bell -- largest in Hungary -- (shown in photo set above) to the top of the tower and took a picture of the city from each direction.

Next was the Modem to see a temporary exhibit of a Hungarian artist, Andres V____, (whose name I was sure I would remember) and who, between WWI and WWII, was the first to begin using sketches on cards (postcards).  His work of sketches, oils and water colors was very nice – but we could not take photos.

The Déri Museum recently acquired  (from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) for $5.7 million the third, Christ Before Pilate, (top right) of a trilogy of larger-than-life famous paintings by Hungarian artist, Mihaly Munkacsy.   These were awe-inspiring and very similar to Carl Bloch’s paintings. 

Debrecen is a university town, the second largest city in Hungary, was the largest city in the 18th century, is one of the most important cultural cities, and served as Hungary’s capital two different times. Its ‘town’ area has lovely, wide, and well-kept streets.  

 In town, buildings are well cared for.

Even though a branch, they have their own church building – with an actual mowed lawn (these are hard to come by in Hungary).   Near the church is this lovely home/estate/manor/mansion. 

On the way back to the hotel, we took a walk through the peaceful, spacious and very wooded park.

We then went to the St. Teresa’s Nursing Home where humanitarian funds provided 25 new mattresses and plastic mattress covers.   The lady in red has been a nurse for 40+ years.  She retired and because there was not a place in Debrecen for private hospice care, she started one.  In a small home, she has 10 beds; she buys used beds and mattresses.  She, her daughter and a few staff lovingly care for patients whose families cannot care for them at this stage or who cannot stay in the hospital.  For instance, one 82- year-old woman broke her hip and she is deemed too old for surgery (socialized medicine), so she is lying in a bed.  Because the need is great, she recently mortgaged her home to remodel a larger home for 25 beds.  It is mostly ready, but she is waiting (3 months so far) on the government for their final inspection and to issue the license so she can open.  She already has 25 people anxiously waiting for her to open. 

To close the other project, we were invited to the semi-annual Carnival Day at the Kemény Kindergarten.   Out of their 180 children, they have two autistic groups, and have never received any help for them.  Humanitarian funds helped with a couple of playground toys and some bicycles for the autistic playground section.   They said we were ‘good luck’ because right after we visited, they were able to get their first-ever donation from a pharmaceutical company for the autistic children.  The children were having a great time, and the staff treated us royally – publically thanked the Church and presented us with gifts – a ceramic bowl and hands, an autistic symbol.

Back to Kaposvár and the next day we did missionary apartment inspections – that means baking  a treat for these hungry elders.   The following day we were off to Pécs to inspect three more apartments there.  
Historical and nouveau samples -- a few of the hundreds!

After inspections, and since it was our last time in Pécs the elders suggested we visit the Zsolnay Cultural Quarter, home of the famous Zsolnay porcelain.   Zsolnay porcelain began in 1800, exhibited at two world fairs, and by 1914 was the largest porcelain manufacturer in Austro-Hungary.  During WWI, production was stopped, and facilities were used for the military.   After the Depression, production resumed but during WWII, their production plant in Budapest was bombed and during Communism, the factory was nationalized, the Zsolnay named dropped, and they only manufactured everyday tableware.   Finally in 1982, it regained its operational independence, its name and became a public company.  Five years later it was purchased privately and now has a contract with IKEA – to produce 5,000 tons of ware annually. 

In the beginning, everything was pink!  Lard pots and other uses of pink in the home. 

And on the Street of Shops we stepped into a candy store just in time to see the process for  their menthol candies from beginning to end:  1) pour base (sugar, corn syrup, water) in form and mix in food coloring, 2) remove forms, knead by hand (using gloves) and pull like taffy over hook on wall (not shown), roll in snake-like tube,  3) put through extractor machine, and candies will emerge in long chain with perforations, 4) knock them against the glass and they will separate to perfectly sized, individual candies. . .


. . .to be packaged ready for sale. 

 And there is even candies that look like porcelein tiles! 

Also in the sector is a glove manufacturing business.  Turkish leather tanners formed a dynasty in the area in 1762.  Janos Hamerli, master of tanning and glove making opened the first glove factory in Pécs in 1861.  His gloves, made of perfectly processed leather, were a match to even German and French gloves. The hand is very intricate and to make gloves that look smooth and will move like a second skin requires knowledge and skill.  The peak of the factory was in the 1980’s, with an annual output that exceeded 3 million pairs of gloves and employed 3,000 people.  After many changes through the country’s history, the company now operates as Gant Pécsi Kosztyű Lt. and makes gloves for the international fashion world. 

 Porcelein tiled roofs in the Zsolnay Quarter.

Buildings and fountain in the Zsolnay Quarter.

Friday Stan was asked to drive a missionary (emergency transfer) to another city; I was preparing for our Friday night YSA activity.   

And Saturday we were asked to find a doctor for another missionary.  We found the address of a clinic suggested; it was not open.  We went to the hospital, they sent us to another clinic.  We went there and waited our turn.  then the doctor would not see us because people in Hungary are assigned to a doctor (socialized medicine) and the missionary didn’t live in the right area for that doctor.  He sent us to another clinic.  As we walked up, we were greeted outside and taken in by the receptionist (we think that’s who he was).  When it was finally out turn and the missionary showed his insurance card, we were in the right place!  She said missionaries had been there before!   She prescribed antibiotic for his very sore and inflamed tonsils that have been bothering him for quite some time. Success! 

Afterwards we walked through the Rippl Ronai Spring Festival happening in town.  We saw a young branch member and her friend after they had been to the face painting artist. . .

. . .and lots of booths, lots of people, but only one head of this red color!

President and Sister Balint were out of town today, as was the sister going on a mission.  They all needed to go to Pécs where the stake president would be visiting to get their temple recommends signed as they will be going to the temple for the first time in a month – a very exciting happening.  Wish we could be with them!

Church attendance was sparse today for some reason, and we only had one non-member.   Since transfers are coming this week, and we think we will lose some of our good elders, they came for dinner.  A sister in the branch was going to come with them, and at the last minute she had company arrive. 

We continue to be grateful for the Lord’s hand in our daily lives and activities.  We know He directs His work.  We are very blessed to live at this time and to be serving in the Hungary Budapest Mission.  We know the Lord loves His children here, and will bless their homes and families as they choose to follow His teachings  -- just as He promises His children throughout the world.    


  1. Sounds like you had a busy week and saw a lot!! I can't believe you only have 5 weeks left. Its going to be really hard for you to leave & you will be GREATLY missed. You asked about our next trip to Central American….not sure with Jacob's wedding coming up in August. We've spent more than planned on trying to get all of our family to San Diego for the wedding. Will you be going in Nov.?

  2. This one almost got away from me. I am glad I got the email reminding me to look, because this one was a doozy! I loved all the good stuff and Holden (Millie's son who was looking at it with me) thought it was super cool. He particularly loved the candy and the porcelain roof tiles. I love it all. You are the best mission blogger ever, and I, for one, appreciate it. I will come back again tomorrow and look at several of these things in more depth.