Horváth Gergö, Imre, and Péter of Budapest, Hungary


Horváth Gergö, Imre, and Péter of Budapest, Hungary

The “beautiful blue” Danube River flows through the middle of Budapest, the capital city of Hungary. Budapest is actually two cities—Buda and Pest, which are situated on either side of the river. High on the hills of the Buda side, three Latter-day Saint boys, Horváth Gergö (11), Imre (10), and Péter (8), live with their parents. (Hungarian surnames are used first, followed by the given name.)

As one of the major cities of eastern Europe, Budapest offers a wonderful array of historical and cultural experiences. The Horváth family enjoys attending the opera and the ballet. Because the family has only three season tickets, the boys take turns attending the ballets and operas. They have seen Mozart’s Magic Flute many times; it is Gergö’s favorite opera. Imre never wants to miss a ballet; he loves to watch the graceful dancers.

Music is also part of the boys’ life at home, at school, and at church. Gergö and Imre have taken flute (recorder) lessons at school, practice enthusiastically at home, and sometimes accompany hymn singing in sacrament meeting. Two hymns they like to play are “Jesus Once of Humble Birth” and “We Are Sowing.” Péter enjoys singing, especially “I Am a Child of God.” The Horváth boys often participate in Primary opening exercises, lessons, and Sharing Time.

“Our family loves to play together and work together,” says Sister Horváth. She explains that every year the Horváths plant a large garden because “we can grow things well here.”

Péter and his brothers like to garden. During the winter months they study plant and seed catalogs and choose what they want to grow. This year Gergö wanted to order 25 strawberry plants. Imre chose raspberry plants. Each year Sister Horváth starts seeds indoors in small containers, then transplants them outdoors when the weather warms. She loves flowers, particularly impatiens. They all have learned that growing a garden is a process and takes time. In order to harvest the fruit, they have to work hard and water, weed, and protect the tender young plants.

Péter, Imre, and Gergö also like to help their mother in the kitchen, especially when they have company for dinner. Chicken paprikash and goulash, two famous Hungarian dishes, are meals they enjoy preparing and eating. They also relish their mother’s tortes for dessert.

Imre, their father, is a retired engineer. He and the boys often go hiking in the hills surrounding Budapest during the summer months or play chess together during the winter months. Gergö, Imre, and Péter find any time of the year is a good time for a wrestle. Péter likes to ride his bike around his neighborhood, Imre plays soccer whenever he has a chance, and Gergö challenges his brothers at computer games.

The boys attend elementary school, where they study math, science, language, and current affairs. Imre excels in reading and Gergö in math.

The boys’ mother, Erzsébet, joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in June 1990 when her cousin introduced her to two missionaries who had come to Budapest from the Austria Vienna East Mission. Their father, though not a member of the Church, is very supportive of his family’s Church activity. All three boys were baptized when they turned eight years old.

A month after Sister Horváth’s baptism, a new mission was established in Hungary, and many more missionaries were assigned there. Since the headquarters of the mission are in Budapest, Gergö, Imre, and Péter have had many opportunities to spend time with missionaries. Newly arrived missionaries often stay at the Horváth’s home when the mission home is full. Imre was especially excited to meet one missionary, Elder Thomas Emery Peterson, who not only liked to wrestle but also has the same first and middle names as his—Imre (Emery) Thomas. Each of the Horváth boys wants to serve a mission.

The whole family travels to Freiberg, Germany, every year so that Sister Horváth can attend the temple. She says, “The children like to go to Freiberg and always remind us that it is time to go. They are outside and I am inside the temple, but we are very close together. That is important to me.”

Gergö, Imre, and Péter look forward to the time when they will be able to attend the temple themselves, whether it is in Freiberg or, dreaming of the future, perhaps some day even in their own city of Budapest.

[photos] Photography by Janet Peterson and Marvin K. Gardner

[photos] Top: Péter prepares his favorite dish, chicken paprikash. Above: The Horváth family enjoys an evening visit with the full-time missionaries. Below: Imre and Gergö perform a hymn on their recorders.