Thursday, March 24, 2011

Our pantry

This is our pantry. It's a little creepy because at the end is a window that goes between the building. It's also very narrow. But it holds alot of food. Most of the food in it we didn't buy. We need to get a dictionary and find out what most of it is. The other senior sisters just left it for us.
We are getting better at shopping so at least we feel more comfortable with that part of our assignment. We will know alot of food terms by the time we leave here.

Our kitchen

Here's the other part of our kitchen. As you can see we have a very small oven. It only heats on the bottom so you have to be careful when you bake anything. But we have a decent size fridge ( which you can't really see) with a nice freezer. We also have a microwave. So we are very happy with our kitchen. We don't do alot of cooking in this kitchen because we are so busy cooking at the Center most of the time.

Our kitchen table

This is our kitchen table. We like having it right by a window. We have oranges in that basket all the time. The oranges here are delicious. We have even learned how to say orange because we buy them so often. The blue and white flowered cart in the corner is what we take with us to the grocery store. It's very convenient to have when you have alot of groceries, but not that easy to carry up the flight of stairs. :)

Our front door

This is our front door. There are 4 locks on it. Outside we have another wrought iron door with 2 locks. Our landlord told us we live in a very safe neighborhood and then proceeded to show us how to lock ALL six locks. He told us if a buglar comes to break into our house, he will get discouraged because there are too many locks and he will go to another apartment. Our first time trying to get in, we were the ones discouraged. But since we have figured out the tricks of getting them all unlocked. It takes a while but at least we feel safe. The one thing we have learned is you are in real trouble if you need to go to the bathroom. :)

Our bathroom

This is our bathroom. It looks small in the picture and that's because it is small. :) But we have a shower which sometimes has hot water. There's also a small washing machine in the corner that you can't see. It takes about an hour to do one load. We don't have a dryer so we put our clothes on a drying rack. Our clothes are a little crunchy when they are dry, but once you wear them or iron them, they are Ok.

My bedroom

This is my bedroom. As you can see I have bright yellow curtains in my room. Apparently our landlord likes bright colors. There's also a sleeper sofa in my room. Deen wanted to have her own room, so she is in the living room. It's actually very nice to have our own rooms. We just asked our landlord and a couple of missionaries to move one bed into the living room and this sofa into my room. We go to bed and get up at different times so this way we don't disturb each other. We are very happy with the arrangement.

Living room of our new apartment

Here is the living room of our new apartment. We were able to move in a week ago but I haven't had time to add these pictures to my blog. This is where we will be for our entire mission. As you can see it's a very nice apartment. Our landlord is very nice. He added the bright orange curtains just for us. We found some curtain rings in the cupboard so we tied them back to let in the sun. It's hard to tell in the picture, but we have yellow walls so our living room is very bright. But it's a nice apartment. We are just across the street from the YA Center. Once you get downstairs it's about 30 steps to the front door of the office building. So it's very convenient -especially when we are coming home at 10:00 at night.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Elder Jackson, Elder Wanlass and Sister Roderick

This is Elder Jackson, Elder Wanlass and Sister Roderick. They posed for us with these costumes. It was so funny because they were so serious. In the first picture Elder Wanlass is knighting Elder Jackson. It's nice to see the missionaries have a good time. They seem to work really hard in this mission.

Meeting of the Kings

This is a wax depiction of the meeting of the 3 kings in 1991. The king of Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia all met to remember the treaty Poland and Hungary had made in 1335 against Austria.

Vise Grad Castle

This is us at the entrance of the castle. Sorry I don't know how to rotate the picture. There were lots more stairs after this. It was quite a day, but lots of fun.

Langos - yummy treats

This is Laci, Elder Miller (an Office Elder) and Elder Gardenhire. They're eating Langos. The Hungarians put garlic butter, cheese and sour cream on them. They are absolutely delicious and probably about 5000 calories. It's just like a huge piece of fried bread. YUMMY I don't know if you can see the tiny flag on Elder Gardenhire's sweatshirt. Many people were wearing them. This was a big holiday in Hungarian so lots of people were wearing a Hungarian flag on their shirts. This is when Hungary and Poland made a pact to fight against Austria in 1835. It happened at the castle we were about to visit in Vise Grad.

Elder Miller & Elder Gardenhire

This is Elder Miller and Elder Gardenhire. They are the AP's. Really fun guys and great missionaries. They were entertaining us while we waited for the ferry.
This is us at Vise Grad. It's really hard to see the castle on the hill behind us. That's the Danube river immediately behind us. We were there waiting for the ferry to take us across. Sorry the picture isn't better. It really was beautiful.

Csaba and Levanti

The guy playing the clarinet is Csaba and the one on the piano is Levanti. This was an amazing musical number. The accompaniment was very difficult. Levanti had never seen it before that night. It was amazing to hear how well he was able to play. Lots of musical talent in this area.


This is Andras. He's in the Branch Presidency in the Buda Branch. He is possibly the nicest person in the ward. The girl sitting next to him with the blonde hair is his wife. She is a mentally a little slow. She was being harassed by some guy so he married her. It was really a sweet thing for him to do. Anyway he came to FHE - Csaladi Este and played this beautiful song for us with the guitar and harmonica. "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" I have it on video but don't know how to put it on my blog. I may be able to post it on Facebook. I will try.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Crochet Class

The Primary and a few YW had an acitivity learning how to Crochet so I taught the class. I had done it before for Girls Camp so we did the same thing. Fortunately we had alot of adults who knew how so that helped a great deal. Almost every girl had a helper. It was a fun actitivity. Elder Allen came by at the end of the activity so I asked him if he wanted to learn. He was very agreeable to the idea so he sat down and work on it with us for a while.

Farewell Party for the Senior Sisters

After FHE the kids in the Center and some of the missionaries had a farewell party for the Senior Sisters. It was very thoughtful of them. They made a big braided bread and a red velvet cake for them. They also had a slide show of activities with the Sisters over the last 18 months.
The Sisters were very touched that they did this for them. The five guys in the front are the missionaries - Elder Gardenhire, Elder Wanlas, Elder Allen, Elder Miller, Elder Hintze - Elder Murray made the cake. He's standing in the back with glasses on. ( hard to see him)
Sister Wade in the orange sweater and Sister Harris in the yellow sweater - both play tennis. I guess they always beat the Elders. But last time Elder Garenhire and Elder Miller were able to win. They were excited but still the fact remains - the sisters are 70 yrs old - so it's really amazing that they are good competition for these 20 yr old young men.

Hedi - my Hungarian friend

Monday morning we started off with a District Meeting Brunch. It was so much fun to get to know the missionaries in our district. Each of us told a little bit about ourselves and then enjoyed some yummy food. One set of Elders brought fruit soup. Apparently a Hungarian favorite. It was good but so far not my favorite. My favorite thing here is the bread. We discovered they have delicious bread here. - That's all I need to survive. I know the scriptures say "man shall not live by bread alone," but I think I definitely can.
This is my new Hungarian friend Hedi - accent on the e. I met her at FHE on Monday night. She was talking to one of the Elders and he was pointing at me. Next thing I know she hurries over to me and starts talking to me in German. She was so excited to find someone she could talk to. Her English isn't great and of course my Hungarian is horrible, so we communicate in German. I'm so excited to be able to practice my German with someone. She's a darling girl. She's only been a member since November. I don't know much about her family. But I'm sure she and I will become good friends.
We had Stuffed Paprikas that night for dinner. They were delicious. They are like green peppers only a little lighter green in color. They called them Paprikas. They put pork and rice inside and then boil them in tomato sauce. There's one on the table behind us. It's kind of hard to see. Sorry I didn't take a better picture of one. We had about 40 show up for dinner. They were very happy with the turn out. It was fun to start meeting some of the youth.

Our First Apartment

Here's our first apartment in Hungary. As you can see, it's very nice. We were very happy with it. The furniture is all small. I think the people here must not be very big. The kitchen was bright and sunny. As a matter of fact the bedroom and the family room also had nice big windows. The bathroom has a shower and the washing machine is in there as well. The toilet is in a separate room which is also convenient. The only problem is that it's up a couple of flights of stairs. We were lucky the Elders helped us because it would have been difficult to get our 50 lb suitcases up there. One Elder carried two at a time. -- Impressive This aparment belongs to one of the ladies in the Branch. One day we tried doing our wash and I broke the washer. We weren't able to meet the repair man so she went to our apartment and waited for him for 3 hours. She was so nice. She also left us a little plate of pastries to welcome us to Hungary.

Mission Home

The top picture is where the missionaries sleep the first night they come to the mission home. This where Deen and I slept our first night as well. I told Sister Baughman I thought it looked like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. She went over to the nightstand and pulled out little signs that said " Happy, Dopey, Doc, Sleepy etc. Apparently I wasn't the only one with that thought. Imagine what some of those tall Elders did when they saw those beds. Of course they were probably so tired, they didn't care where they slept.
The next picture is the family room in the Mission Home. So as you can see - it's all very nice. The Mission Pres and his wife came to the airport to get us. They are super nice. Pres Baughman was CEO of Fischer Price before serving as Mission Pres. They are from Texas. He took us on a short tour of the city. So amazing here- beautiful buildings, a castle, the Parliament Building is gorgeous - all along the Danube River. Deen and I are looking forward to doing some major site- seeing. After the tour they took us to dinner. I was pretty hungry - one orange and a bagel after 18 hours wasn't quite enough. So we were grateful to them. The next morning the Elders took us to our apartment. We are staying in a little apartment outside of town for a couple of weeks until the current senior sisters leave. Then we will move into their apartment which is right across the street from the Center. We had a few hours to shower and unpack, then the office couple picked us up and took us to church. So our first two days in Hungary were nice.

Waiting in Paris

Here's Deen taking a nap while we waited for our plane in Paris. We just got off an all night flight from SLC. Deen didn't sleep much on the plane. I don't know how she was able to sleep here but she did. It was cold in Paris. We didn't want to bother with changing our money so we ate a couple of oranges we had with us and a bagel. Both of us were thirsty but we weren't sure if the water was safe to drink, so we just waited for our next flight. We had a 4 hour lay over. I wrote in my journal while she napped. The wait wasn't too bad. Our flight from Paris to Budapest was only 2 hours long.

Elder Bednar

Look who we saw at the airport. I just quick took a picture because our flight was about to leave. Later I wished I would have at least gone up to him and shook his hand. I was surprised that he wasn't surrounded by throngs of people. Maybe in Utah it's no big deal to see an Apostle. But we thought it was way cool that we did.

Leaving the MTC

Here we are getting ready to leave for the airport. It's about 1:30 pm on Friday March 4th. We were both excited and grateful for the wonderful experiences we had at the MTC. We were also nervous about what we would do when we arrived in Hungary. We were the only missionaries leaving at this time. We had a 10 hour flight from SLC to Paris which left at 5:00. Even though we spent alot of time getting our luggage to weigh the exact right amount, we were still hoping that everything would be Ok when we got to the airport. My suitcases actually weighed 51 lbs each. But the lady at the counter was really nice and told the attendant to put 50lbs - so no moving stuff and no extra charges.

Friday, March 4, 2011


This may be a strange picture to many of you, but it was not easy to get our luggage to be the right weight. We brought our suitcases to these scales many times during the day to get it exactly right. Here's a funny story- one of the sisters saw me weighing a few things on the scale, like lotion, shampoo, hair dryer - just small items. She said "What are you doing? They aren't going to weigh that." I wasn't sure what to say, because if it's in my suitcase, they are going to weigh it. We aren't on the same flight as she is, but my guess is, she's going to be in for a big surprise when she gets to the airport. The fines are pretty high too - $150 for over 50 lbs and $300 for over 70 lbs. They don't mess around when you are flying international. So we're very happy to have all of ours just under the 50 lb weight limit. We worked on it almost all day yesterday getting ready. We did ship two boxes, which helped us make it under the weight limit.
Deen's daughter has a friend who works in the shipping business, so she is helping us. We're hoping that will give us a better chance of us actually getting our stuff. We'll see
So we leave in 2 hours. We're excited but also a little nervous. We've sure had a great experience here in the MTC.

Elder Nielsen

Elder Nielsen arrived here on Wednesday. I looked for him all day but never saw him. Yesterday morning I was eating breakfast and I heard "Sister Smith" -- actually it was even a little bit loud. There he was smiling from ear to ear. It was so great to see him. He's very excited to be here. We tried to get picture of him with Mathews Elder, but we never saw him.

It's very busy here so it's not always easy to find people you want to see. But so great to have both of them here. Who knew that a few years ago when I had these young men in my seminary class that someday I would be serving a mission with them. I always talked to them about serving a mission, but didn't realize at the time, I was speaking to me as well. Such a great opportunity for all of us.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Norriss and Carol Webb

This is Norriss and Carol Webb. They are from Lake Oswego, Oregon. They have also been called to serve in Africa to help with the PEF program. They've been told there needs to be careful scrutiny about how the funds are used because so many people in Africa are poor. They help them find jobs to pay back the funds they borrow from the church. They must make a payment every month- even if it's just a small amount. Super nice couple

Richard and Suzanne Stagg

This is Richard and Suzanne Stagg. They are from Oregon. They have been called to serve in Congo to work with the PEF program. There are 3 couples in our group going to Africa. We had a security meeting this week and Africa and Russia were two areas of concern.

Glen & Virginia Stacey

This is Glen and Virginia Stacey. They only joined our group this week. I don't really know why that happened. They are from Centerville. They will be serving in Albania. They will also be working in a CFYA ( Center for Young Adults) like us.

Marvin & Vickie Paxton

This is Marvin and Vickie Paxton. They are from Cedar City. They have been called to serve in Frankfurt Germany. I'm a little jealous of them because it would have been fun to improve my German. But I'm happy with my assignment. She will be taking care of finances for much of Eastern Europe. Marvin will be working in the office as well, but I'm not sure what his assignment will be.

Sister Tanner & Sister Kartchner-Hauley

This is the other set of senior sisters in our group. The one in the blue is Sister Tanner. She is from Colorado. The one in the red is Sister Kartchner-Hauley. She is from SLC. They have been called to serve in Madrid Spain. Sister Kartchner- Hauley already speaks Spanish, so that will be helpful to them. They didn't know each other before they came, but seem to be getting along great.

Glen and Patricia Johnson

This is Glen and Patricia Johnson. They are from California. They have been called to serve at Yale University to teach Institute. Neither of them have ever taught Institute or Seminary. Sister Johnson is pretty nervous about the whole thing. But she worked so hard during the CES classes to try to understand what was being taught.

Final Testimony Meeting

After all our classes today we had a testimony meeting. It was such a great meeting to hear how people felt about their experience in the MTC. Several people have made sacrifices to come. One couple had a grandchild born since they've been here. Another couple is expecting a grandchild this weekend and they are leaving tomorrow. - so just a few days too soon. Another couple is going to have a daughter sealed while they are gone. But as it says in "Praise to the Man" - Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven. One of the best lessons we learned in one of the CES classes is - Sometimes we have trials in our lives and when that happens, if it is not a result of disobedience, we can know God thinks we are ready to grow. That usually happens to us thru some kind of difficult situation. Many people today bore testimony of some difficult things they were asked to do and how already it had blessed their lives. We have been privileged to associate with some great people here. They have asked us to do some hard things, but it has been such a good experience. One man told a story about a incident in the cafeteria. He said a sister missionary sat down with her tray of food. Then she bowed her head to say a blessing. While she was saying a blessing, an elder sitting across from her, took her drink and put it on another tray, took her plate and put it on his lap, and slid her tray down the table. When she finished praying, she discovered she had prayed her food away. Then he said " these are the young men the Lord is sending out to Preach His Gospel. If the church wasn't true, these 19 year old young men would have ruined it long ago. :0) So true - this church is true and that's why all of this works. It has been such a good experience to be here. I have been to the edge many times since I've been here. I'm so grateful the Lord has faith in me that I can do all that is expected of me.

Final Devotional - Richard Edgley

Tuesday night was our final devotional. The speaker was Richard Edgley from the Presiding Bishopric. He told many missionaries stories. He told all of us we would be going to the 2nd best mission and have the 2nd best mission president because of course his mission and mission president were the best. He told us how important it is to get our investigators to come to church. They will feel the difference. They will feel the spirit. He also talked about how many missionaries feel they failed because they didn't baptize very many on their mission. But he said missionary work is generational. Even if you only baptize one person, that can have a positive effect on many people for generations to come. He said many people have trouble with the Joseph Smith story. It's hard for them to believe a young boy of 14 could actually see God and Jesus Christ. He said "I like to tell them, well there were two other witnessess to the event, ASK THEM!!!" I think it's a perfect answer.
He also told us something most of us already know - tracting is not the most effective way to find investigators. He had a companion who wouldn't tract. Later in his mission he found out this same companion was baptizing the most in the mission. His secret was he found a positive way to work with members. He went to part-member families. When he taught the non-member, he would invite him to bring other friends and family members who didn't belong to the church to the discussions. Many people joined as a result. Pres Hinckley's concern was to retain, Pres Monson's concern is to rescue. We can all be a part of this. We just need to have the courage to open our mouths and invite people to hear the Gospel.
I know it's scary - but as we "go to the edge", we discover we are able to fly. It's a great feeling. I've been to the edge many times in the last two weeks. I've done so many things already that I never thought I would be able to do. I hope I'm able to do it more and with less hesistation when I get to Hungary which will be very soon.

Final Week in MTC

We just finished our final CES classes today. Most of the CES lessons I've already had in seminary. However they presented some great ideas. One great thing I learned is "Teach Eternal Truths First". Whenever you're preparing a lesson, make sure you teach the things that are essential to know. If you have time, go to the fun to know or nice to know. As we all know there's seldom time enough to teach it all. Essential truths are things our class needs to know for their salvation. For example in the story about the Liahona - It's essential for the class to know -God Guides His Faithful Servants- It's nice to know that some people respond differently to God's commandments and why that happens. It's fun to know that Nephi's bow was made of fine steel and how a bow like that would work.
They taught us so many great things. Never teach without participation. "If you tell me I will forget, if you show me, I'll remember, if you involve me I'll become." We want the principles of the Gospel to go from their mind to their heart. Once it's in their heart, they will be motivated to apply the principles to their own lives. Don't tell the principles to them, let them discover them.
It's also important for our students to feel we love them so they are willing to learn. There were so many great things taught in these classes. Too bad all teachers in the church aren't able to attend these classes. I feel very fortunate I was able to hear what they had to say - such valuable information. Of course they practiced what they preached and involved us in the whole process. I discovered for myself it's an excellent way to learn.