Monday, May 30, 2011


My machete girl gets cabin fever if she spends too much time studying Hungarian at home. When she saw that our landlady was working in the yard moving a big pile of dirt around, she rallied the troops. She says it's not a good day if we haven't sweated a bit from good hard work.

Our reward was a genuine Hungarian picnic on the patio--as you can see here: lots of sliced raw bacon fat (the white strips), Hungarian kolbasz (the dark sausage on the right), red onions, tomatoes and peppers to put on the brown bread on the top left. Nagyon finom!

Spring snow?

Snow at the end of May? No, just the cottonwood blowing around. I tried to get a picture of it blowing through the air but you see it best in the "drifts."

Rose tree?

Hungarians in Sopron love flowers. I think I told you that it was named the "spring flower city" for all of Hungary. The latest set of flowers in bloom have been the roses. How do you like this rose tree across the street from us? It's way too big to be a bush. These are in yards everywhere with red the most popular color.

Before or after?

If this is the "after" picture for this barbershop, I'm not sure this is where the missionaries should get their haircuts.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Szombathely District Conference

Here is Elder Rocha, an Area Seventy from Portugal who came to train and speak at the Szombathely District Conference. We were the chauffeur to and from the nearby Vienna airport.

There were about 120 there, 30 from Sopron. The highlight was the Sopron Priesthood Chorus singing "Called to Serve," to the amazement and thrills of everyone, including the members of the chorus.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Couples conference

Twice a year the couples get together for "training." Here we're getting ready for our training cruise up the Danube to the tourist Mecca Szentendre. The president said that getting us all to the same place at the same time was like herding cats.

Earlier, Caroly and I stopped off at the Terror Museum--a pleasant looking building on a tree-lined boulevard leading to Heroes Square not far from the opera and other cultural sights. In the basement is a dungeon where the Nazis and Communists tortured and killed various people who disagreed with them from the 1940s until 1989. If you look closely, you can see how this sign along the rooftop casts a shadow that says "TERROR" on the face of the building.

At night we enjoyed the lights of castle hill. This is the national library where Kim spent a day last month when she visited us.

Do you feel like a knight should be coming up the stairs?

This is the back of Mattias Church.

Sorry that the night view across the Danube didn't turn out so well--but you can see the effect of the night lights.

And the winners are...

We've done our "Lelki Pizza" with almost everyone now. Here are the winners for the various tossers:
Mountain top pizza tosser: Csaba

Longest shaped pizza tosser: Kiki

Best dressed pizza tosser: Thompson Elder (Don't you love my bib?)

Most intent pizza tosser: Öcsi

Most surprised pizza tosser: Peter

Special pizza glove award: Tibor

Most original pizza shape: Jenci

The best pizza topper: Bence assisted by Timi

The best pizza cutter: Ferika

The best pizza taster: Kata (I think she downed two whole pizzas!! She looks like she is starting to feel the effects.)

Does this last pizza crew look well fed?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Helping hands

Our branch took part in the national clean up day. Here is part of our crew.

We worked side by side with others to clean up the border with Austria.

It was mostly picking up cigarette butts and pieces of paper. Hungary tends to be rather tidy. Half of the Helping Hands vests the church gave us were written in Polish or Czech so no one was sure who we were.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

YSA start up

Here are five of the seven who made it to our first Young Single Adult activity--a short lesson, ping pong, and Italian cream cake.

Next week it's a pizza party at our place. We hope to pack the place now that the fame of our pizzas has spread around the branch.

Gift flowers

When you visit, you often take flowers as a present. Here are some of the flowers we've gotten with our pizza parties. Rozsi néni brought these roses.

Judit cut these fresh from her garden.

You can see how creative Andi is.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Spiritual sauerkraut?

As you know, we've been having the families in the ward over to make homemade pizza, play balloon volleyball, watch a DVD, and talk about sharing the gospel with their neighbors. Sister Bordas is in a wheelchair so the family couldn't come to us--so we took the fun to them. However, since their oven isn't working, we went German instead of Italian in honor of their son Öcsi (in the yellow shirt), who just returned from his mission in Germany.

We used our crockpot to make our family favorite sauerkraut roast with betsies (spaetzle) and cucumber salad. The weather was perfect so we ate outside, picnic style, and turned our volleyball game into beach volleyball. (Sister Bordas enjoyed playing that.) Topping off our picnic was chocolate and lemon ice cream and cookies for dessert--yum,yum.

We couldn't finish our beach volleyball game because our "ball" popped when it hit a prickly plant and I forgot to bring extra balloons. (Our side was winning 4-1) We still had fun and they were inspired to show the DVD to grandma and talk to her about the church.

Friday, May 6, 2011


Who are these two? You never know who you'll meet on the streets of Sopron!

Giving Service

To help develop self sufficiency, we have been helping members and nonmembers put in gardens. Of course, this working in the outdoors also helps machete girl mom to be energized. Here's our starter balcony garden with plants that mom gives to people to help them jump start their gardens.

Here we are helping our friend Tom weed his raspberry bushes while we talk to him about the meaning of life.

Who is this checking on our work? Tom's artistic son created this chainsaw art garden gnome last weekend from a fresh stump.

Tom is a retired doctor who lived for 48 years in Cleveland and is a diehard Cleveland Indians fan, so we had to take a break to play catch. He said that Americans like to work too much.

He has been trimming the willows in his yard. He demonstrated a Hungarian "dowsing rod" using a forked willow branch to find underground water flow for digging wells or for making sure the ground isn't so wet that it will cause building problems. He says if the rod is held gently with the tips of the fingers like holding fishing line while you fish, you can feel the rod twitching like when a fish nibbles on your bait. When he found the underground flow of water in one corner of his yard, he had us try to see if we could feel it, much like passing a magnet over a hidden nail in a wall.