with Erik and my beautiful friend, Noémi.
What am I doing here? It’s a good story…
Shortly after Thanksgiving I received an email from darling 21 year old Kereki Noemi (Hungarians say their last name first). One sentence in her email stood out, “I would appreciate if you could give me some advice where to start learning about Mormonism.” Hans was sitting beside me as I read Noémi’s words out loud and we both jumped with excitement.
Few words could be sweeter. I love my faith; I want to share it with everyone I meet because it makes me so happy. But religion is tricky– I never want to push my beliefs on someone or tell them their beliefs are wrong. I have a deep and abiding respect for all who live their faith and I believe religions can learn from each other. I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge from other faiths, especially Judaism, Evangelical Christians and Catholics.
Rarely, ever so rarely, does someone ask about Mormonism and I could scarcely wait to share.
Everything we sent Noémi was accepted with enthusiasm. She could hardly believe the church has missionaries in Hungary ready and willing to visit her, “But they are so far from home! And Hungarian is such a difficult language.” A baker and chef, Noémi stirred up goulasch and rolled cookies for the young elders. Every time she wrote to me, she expressed gratitude for the missionaries and their amazing work. As a mother of missionaries, her words were manna to my soul.
As Noémi continued learning and studying and asking lots and lots of questions, the answers made sense to her. The gospel does make sense. Everything in the church supports the family and families provide the greatest joy.
The members in Budapest wrapped their arms around Noémi– answering questions, inviting her to events, providing true friendship. At our house, she became like a member of the family– exchanging letters and gifts and birthday cards; sharing in our joys, worrying over us during illness, sharing Hungarian recipes (delicious!).
Yesterday was her birthday, tomorrow she’s getting baptized. We had to come.
Meeting her in person is like visiting a city you’ve only seen in tour books and finding it more charming and interesting than you’d ever imagined. She is a light– truly a beautiful soul. As her mother says, “She is an angel.”