Friday, September 4, 2009

Our Work in Sopron

We are working here in beautiful Sopron.

All of the streets are not tiny narrow like this but many were build when horeses and carriages were the means of transportation. I keep having to remember that much of this city is older than our country.This is our first apartment. It is one the Elders are using and they moved in with the other set of Elders here in Sopron. It was pretty spartan living. Notice that one of the beds is a stack of cushions. The trains ran through our back yard, and there are lots of trains here. You will notice that one of the beds is not a bed but a stack of cushions. I did have to take a day to clean under the stove and refrigerator. And to clean down the sides of the stove. The kind of dirt 19 year olds don't see. But other than that the Elders had it neat and tidy for us. It is good to see what the life of a missionary is really like. I like these elders very much. They have wonderful hearts and work hard. And they can speak hungarian!

The next set of pics is our new apartment. It looks alot nicer. We do wish it had a bit more furniture, like a chair and a book shelf, but we are very happy here. Please notice our fancy dryer. It is the way everyone here drys clothes. Stoves work on an on and off system. You have to have a thermostat and keep turning it on and off. Our landlady is also one of our members and she is a great lady. She tells me that she has this feeling that we have me before. I keep telling her we were friends in the life before.

We love working in Sopron. I have not taken a picture of our little church yet. We have the third and fourth floors of a building here and the Elders live on the fifth floor. It is pretty hard to tell that it is a church. We understand a real sign has been ordered.
Bruce has been made the new branch president in the Sopron Branch. His job (and mine) is to train. It is hard to do this when you don't have the language but we are managing. We use a lot of the Elders time so we try to shorten tasks of their days by getting their cleaning to the laundry, taking them to the store so they don't have to walk, and anything else we can think of so they have time for "finding". They take a table with posters into the town square. They call that "tabling". The try to talk with everyone on the street. They call that "streeting". Here are two of our great Elders as we are on our way to meet with the a ward member.

One of the great difficulties here is the membership records. The records are only updated when the branches turn in changes. And the branches never turn in changes. So the ward records show members who moved years ago. The process for updating the records is a little difficult and requires a lot of paper work for the branch and/or missionaries. And they just don't do it. We have found that of our 35 family units, 5 are not here for sure and others probably. We have only visited 1/3 of the members so far. We search the area record book kept by the Elders and these things have been known for some years but no changes have been. This is not just a problem here in Sopron but all over the country. Part of our efforts here is to get at least Sopron straight. Bruce is spending a lot of time on it. We walk all over the city tracking down addresses so that we know right where to go when the elders get some free time for us.

We also cover the areas of Szombathely and Papa. We have been asked to start an outreach program there, which amounts to activities for the Young Adults. Szombathely thinks that with only 40 active members maybe we should start by inviting the whole branch. It is called waffle night (Gofri Est) as we always fix waffles and have activities. we already invested in the waffle iron and think perhaps we should have 2.

Szombathely at one time had almost 200 active members and were divided into 2 branches but then there were some problems and we have just one branch with 40 active people. If Bruce and I go down there to track down all their addressess we will be here for more than 18 months!
This is the wonderful church building in Szombathely.
This is a wonderful work to be involved in and we are very happy. We miss our children alot and are so grateful for google chat and skype because we can talk and see each other. But if you decide to come on out Sisters, leave your heels at home and bring comfortable walking flats

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