Monday, November 29, 2010

Angol Ora

Heather: Angol óra is one of the highlights of our week here in Pécs. We start by making süti for those who come to the class. We do this because we want to have an opportunity to talk to the class members about why we are here in Pécs and what we are doing in this great country. As you see the süti is surrounded by Gospel related material. Our hope is that they will pick up some information about the Church along with the goodies.
The Profi class is for those people who speak English well and is ably taught by Elder Crandall. He has put a recipe for the blond brownies we brought last week that were a hit with everyone. There are about 12 people in this class.
The largest class is the beginners class. Elders Mullen and Galland teach about 50 people every week ranging in age from 10 years old to plus 70. This class takes quite a bit of preparation because the Elders are teaching basic grammar and vocabulary to people who have very little English. This is a great place for a "greenie" like Elder Galland to practice Hungarian because the class is mostly done in that language.
Probably the most difficult class is the intermediate class taught by Elder Bennion. Usually the Elder with the most experience in Hungarian teaches this class. The class is a mix of college age students who are taking English in school and older people who have been coming to classes for a long time and are learning English as a hobby. Angol óra is an important missionary tool for finding those who might have been prepared to receive the Gospel. It is also a valuable community service that the Elders can be involved in. We like angol óra because we get to meet some great Hungarians and make some good friends.

Norm: I was initially concerned about the concept of imposing a western culture thing such as speaking English upon the Hungarians. During the era of communism the people were forced to learn Russian and many of the older folks do speak Russian as a second language although they are not really proud of that era and are comfortable to forget it. Only Hungarians speak Hungarian. No other country speaks that language. Hungary is on the lower end of the economic scale in Europe which makes job opportunity here rather bleak, however being within the European Union allows everyone free travel and work throughout the Union, yet the people are handicapped to do so without being able to speak English or German. So they are motivated students. Our classes have the great advantage of having native speaking teachers which the universities do not have. Besides our price is right and it makes for a great positive cultural exchange and these eager students are coming to us which cuts down on a lot of door knocking. Country wide over a 1,000 people are attending classes in our church buildings per week with direct dialog with the Elders. Missionaries from Germany serving here spend much of their time in the Northwest part of the country where that language is more prevelant.
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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dead Bird Day

For Thanksgiving we'll just go out and buy a turkey...right. Not so, they don't sell whole turkeys in Hungary. At least not that we could find. We did find parts however I guess you buy a kit and put it together yourself. (Some assembly required) A little string, some glue, duct tape and we'll be set .
The parts we did find were huge. Tom on steroids. And yes Heather was in heaven with a neck all to herself. We figured there isn't an oven or a frig that would handle a whole Tom.
And Elder Mullen and Elder Galland baked us a pecan pie. You have to appreciate the fact that pies just don't exist in Hungary. And pecans are a rare find.
Eight hungry Elders serving in Pécs and Kaposvár. Elders Galland, Mullen, Bennion, Proctor, Crandall, Miller, Runnells and Hosch.
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pécs Relief Society Cooking Fun

Heather : Last month our Pecs Relief Society got together for a baking demonstration by our resident professional baker. Konig Silvi bakes for a couple of restraunts in town and makes the most beautiful cakes. So we gathered at the branch house kitchen for this fun event. As you can see, the kitchen is about the size of a closet and is tight for three people let alone the dozen or so that were there.
Everyone loves to make suiti in Hungary.

I was very intrigued by how different baking is done here. Everything is weighed rather than measured. Silvi came equiped with a set of scales instead of measuring cups. I would have great difficulty cooking by this method as it requires one to do math at every step.

Even using vanilla is a pains taking process as the vanilla seeds are scraped by hand from a pod to be used in the recipe. Silvi even made her own powdered sugar in a special machine that she brought. There are no short cuts in Hungarian cooking.
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We all could not fit in the tiny kitchen so resourceful Gizella dragged a table from a class room and we finished the class with everyone lined up in the hall. That way we could all see and take a turn at rolling dough and cutting out the cookies. The whole process was rather involved and lengthy -- much too complicated for my simple skills but Norm sure enjoyed the final results. Now you know why we are looking well fed -- because we are!
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Heather: Pécs is noted for the very unique type of ceramics that has been produced here for over 100 years. This is a statue of  Villamos Zsolnay in the main intersection leading to the center of town. The factory that was established in the late 1800's brought wealth and fame to the Zsolnay family and to the city of Pécs until after the second world war when it was nationalized under the Soviet regime.
This fountain is one of the beautiful examples of the unique work of the Zsolnay factory. The ceramic work is very durable and colorful. The special glaze that gives this work its rainbow sheen was developed by the Zsolnay family and is world famous even today.
The company has recently been revived and refinanced by the city and private investors. There are extensive renovations being done to the factory itself and it still produces many beautiful objects both practical and decorative.
One of the enduring products of the factory is the colorful tiles that are used in roofing. This is the roof of the Mátyás Cathedral on castle hill that was re roofed in 1970 using the Zsolnay tiles. Japan is one of the main importers of these beautiful tiles. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Good Bye Elderek Tracy és Johnson

Heather: We have had the privilege of working with great  missionaries here! We have fun with them at Family Home Evening, enjoy an occasional lunch on the tér, and are always sad when they leave us for other fields of labor. Elder Tracy was a great leader here and he played the piano for our Church meetings. We miss him but we are sure he is appreciated in Győr. Fortunately Elder Crandell is still here and is filling Elder Tracy responsibilities very well -- he is a hard willing worker!
Elder Johnson's bright smile has gone to cheer up Szeged and we miss it here. He was only here one transfer and that was not long enough because he is such a good guy and easy to like. He and Elder Mullen were a good match and did a lot of good work together. We are glad that he is still in our Zone so we will get to see him at Zone Conferences.
The past few weeks have had some lovely days but they are getting very short and the color has left the hills, so we say goodbye to Summer fun. I tried to capture as much of the last color as I could to help get through the dark days of winter.

This is, Laci, my favorite virág bácsi. He grows his flowers in his garden in a village outside of town. He cuts fresh every morning and brings them by bus in  big bucket to sell at his designated corner of the city. I think he must have a huge garden to match his huge heart.
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Friday, November 12, 2010

Elder Crandall, Elder Galland (Provo, Utah) Elder Mullen, Sister Rollingson, Elder Bennion (Ogden, Utah)
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November Transfers

You may think you've seen this picture before. It has become tradition when we get new Elders, to do our favorite haunt, the TEX-MEX Eterem. Two new faces have arrived in Pécs. Elder Galland is our new "Greenie". When this photo was taken he had been in Hungary just 48 hours. Elder Bennion is no stranger to us as we have worked with him before when he served in Kaposvár. Elder Bennion will likely be finishing out his mission with us as he goes home in march. Elder Mullen serves as District Leader and Elder Bennion will be serving as Komlo Group Leader. We are priveleged to work with such a dedicated group of fine young men.
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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Count Our Many Blessings

Liptai Éva is baptized in Kaposvár by Elder Swieger. Elder Proctor is on the right.

Pécs Elders are on a roll with English classes. Close to 100 are attending the Wednesday and Saturday classes. The Komlo meeting room was also filled to capacity.

Gofri Est (Waffle Night) attendees receive a cooking class presented by Sister Rollingson.

One of our Friday activity nights featured "Ball Room Dancing Instruction". Elder Mullen (in rear) was our instructer and is shown here teaching the Cha Cha.

More Castle Crawling / Visegrád

Norm: It was a perfectly gorgeous day, the sky was blue and we were surrounded by good friends. The senior missionaries of the Hungary Budapest Mission were on the loose and having a great day exploring. Location: Northern Hungary,The bend of the Danube. The Castle: Visegrád. It is located on a high picturesque hill overlooking the river and was started during the reign of Béla IV in the mid 1200's.
And would you believe they had a small panoptikum (wax museum). This scene depicts the feast from an economic summit in 1335 in which a treaty was signed between Hungarian King Károly Róbert, the Czech and Polish royalty and the traders of Western Europe.

The castle was well fortified and finally besieged during the Turkish invasions.
It was held by the Turks for several years until blown up and badly damaged in 1702
by the Hapsburg Emperor Leopold.
Heather: Restoration has been on going since the 1800's. The glory of former years is slowly coming back to life. Visegrád is a spectacular peice of Hungarian history that we were privilaged to enjoy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day of the Dead

Heather: November first is a national holiday in Hungary. It is called halottok napja -- day of the dead. It is a holiday similar to our Memorial Day where people gather in family groups to visit and decorate their ancestors final resting places. The holiday is connected to our Halloween in that it is the day after All Saints Eve. But it is a much more meaningful and important event than our celebration is.

Families spend days buying flowers and candles to take to the cemetery. Then they spend the day decorating the graves of their departed loved ones. Almost every grave has flowers on it. Some are very lavishly decorated but all are done with care and devotion. This pictures is of the places where the remains of those who have been cremated rest. The Pécs cemetery is huge, well cared for and very beautiful especially in the spring and fall.

Norm: This World War I memorial is dedicated to the many Hungarian soldiers who valiantly fought with the Central Powers of Europe against the Triple Alliance.
The CCCP (Russia) was allied with the forces that prevailed during World War ll. This memorial is surrounded by hundreds of graves of the young men who died for that cause. This memorial is one of very few places in Hungary where the Red Star is allowed to be displayed as it is symbolic of the latter dreaded Soviet occupation.
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