Saturday, September 6, 2014

I can’t begin to tell you about how great this experience has been.  Today we will have our first baptism in our branch since March.  The sister that is being baptized is awesome.  We have worked with her in English class at the branch and she has been investigating the church for about a year, since moving to this area.  Her dream is to teach school.  I know the Lord will bless her as makes changes and depends on Him for what needs to be done.  We have great missionaries here in Szombathely, and they are working hard to grow the Branch.

Tell Henry and Avery the field is white, so they can thrust in their sickles with there might and go forth and serve.  Many are waiting for them.  It's not easy but when they see the changes in the lives of people they serve. Oh, what marvelous feeling.  Just ask Sam.

On a personal note we watched our 40 year old son get married last Sunday via internet and Skype from Hungary to Hawaii.  We have received permission to attend the Japanese reception in October in Kyoto.  Of course we have to fly like missionaries.  The problem is that the flight is 14 hours each way.  We will have to adjust again to jet lag.

Your Brother and Sister,

John and Carol

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Dear friends,

We have met some wonderful people here in Hungary and continue to be amazed at their industriousness, perseverance, and cheerfulness when faced with difficult circumstances. Many of the folks we meet live in large concrete apartment houses that were built by the Russians - very small spaces - and work odd shifts at factories. The factories are old, cramped and not air-conditioned. Those who have been educated as teachers, engineers, etc. still often seek factory jobs because the pay is better there than in their field. One elderly woman lives on the 9th floor and has no elevator so she cannot make it to church but has a strong testimony and enjoys our visits.  Another single mom here just completed her high school requirements in night school while raising 3 teenage boys and cleaning homes for a living. One woman told us that when she was a young mother, her husband was an alcoholic.  She was working as a seamstress supporting them but life was very difficult.  With no religious background, she began to pray for help.  She was not surprised when she returned home from work one day and the Elders were waiting for her, led by the Spirit. Her three sons served missions. One son is now the branch Elder's Quorum President.  Although there is great strength among the youth, we know many examples of young people who have embraced the gospel and been totally rejected by their families. They try to give each other moral support, but many struggle to get by and set goals because of their limited resources. One sister just returned from her mission in England, but family members reject the church and suffer from alcoholism. John has been assigned to audit the District records.  He is also preparing to train some members to begin a pilot Addiction Recovery program at the branch. We continue to visit branch members, locate the less active, plan Young Single Adult Family Home Evening and activities and anything else the branch president (who is 26 years old and has been a member for 2 years!) asks us to do. We feel the Lord's hand in this work and are working hard to learn the language.

LTL - Love the Lord,

Carol V.