Pioneer convert served from Hungary

Interest in a living prophet led to her conversion in 1992, serving 1993-94

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Erika Ibolya Kozma is a Hungarian pioneer, the first sister missionary to serve from Hungary. She served in the Budapest Hungary Mission from 1993-1995, having become a member only a year before her mission call.

Sister Kozma said that she decided to serve a mission because she felt if she didn't go on a mission "something would break within me. I love the gospel and wanted others to feel the way I do."

Sister Kozma was raised in a religious family and wanted to devote her life in service to her church, but things weren't going well because she questioned why there wasn't a prophet and continuing revelation. "When I asked them about this at my church, they didn't like it, and called my questions foolishness," she said.

She was introduced to the gospel by her brother's dancing partner, who had spoken to the missionaries. Her brother's dancing partner told the missionaries that she wasn't interested, but that she knew a family with eight children who went to church every Sunday. She gave the missionaries the address of the Ibolya family.

When the missionaries visited their home and mentioned a living prophet, that interested Erika. The missionaries spoke of the Book of Mormon. "I said to my father, 'This is the truth, this is what I have been searching for,' " she recalled.

The family then moved to the city of Budapest. One day, as Erika was coming out of work, she saw one of the same missionaries; he had been transferred to Budapest. The missionaries were invited to visit again. "From then on it seemed like a straight path," she said of her conversion. "The greatest thing that touched me was the principle of eternal families and also the restored priesthood."

In 1992, Erika was baptized, the first in the Ibolya family to join the Church. Later, four of her siblings and her mother were baptized. Erika's mission call arrived exactly one year after she had been baptized.

She met her future husband, Robert Kozma, in February 1997 in Church. He learned of the Church in 1992, while a student at Dresden University in Germany, when missionaries visited a friend. He was baptized after about two months. He works as a support consultant for SAP Hungary.

At the time they met, she was a counselor in the district Young Women presidency and, since she was traveling quite a lot for her calling, she was not always at meetings in her branch. One day she asked for Robert's help regarding a Church assignment. He was engaged in computer work, so she asked him to type something for her to send to the respective branch presidents. When he finished the task, they met and talked. He walked her home and then both agreed to go to see a movie together in two weeks. In the meantime, he invited her to go to the Freiberg Germany Temple with some young adults at the end of March 1997. They returned to the temple six months later, this time to be sealed as husband and wife. They are parents of four children, Rebeka, 7; Levente, 5; Csaba, 3, and Eszter, 11 months.

Brother and Sister Kozma teach Sunday School classes in the Gyoer Ward, Budapest Hungary Stake. They were present when the stake — the first in Hungary — was created on June 4.

"Becoming a stake is like a calling with blessings and great responsibilities," Sister Kozma said. "The family is my priority, and I feel that the stake will have a great effect on my family."

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