Tuesday, December 30, 2014


It was SO amazing to skype with you all! Definitely the BEST Christmas gift.  After skyping you guys, we played some card games with the Elders in the branch house, then went home and made some American brownies which we ate with vanilla ice cream. DIVINE. Now my comps are skyping at different members' houses. 


This Christmas week was crazy and wonderful:

We extended a baptismal date for L. for January 25th. He said yes! I really hope it can all work out... we'll see. I'm a little worried for the law of tithing, which seems like it would be hard for him. L. actually brought one of his friends to one of our programs! And then his friend came to Church and was like "that was the most beautiful mass I've ever been to!" haha!  So one more hurrah for investigators that give you referrals.

we taught Szabolcs and he was so sweet. He was like "I have a question, it's kind of weird.... I love my dog a lot. Will I be able to see him in Heaven?" It was so sweet. We were like "Honestly, we don't know for sure, but I really think so!" 

We did more caroling finding! I got to play the violin too!  So fun.

On Tuesday, we ate at a member's and I literally thought I was going to die from so. much. Food: fish soup, fruit soup, stuffed cabbage, pork chops, pörkölt over potatoes, and chocolate cake. Ya. He just kept bringing out plates and plates. 
Yesterday was one of the best Christmas Eves ever! We went to a member’s house and it was SO fun! We ate fish soup and this Hungarian version of cordon blue and played a bunch of games, it was so great. 

Sunday was also really great. We had a Christmas concert thing with missionaries and some ward members singing Christmas songs, and it was really beautiful. I looked out at Z. in the congregation and saw her crying, it was a really, really touching moment. We sang Csendes Ej (silent night) as our last song with the congregation, and i just looked around at all the branch members and Z. and L. and felt so much love. 

Christmas Zone conference was wonderful. We had a white elephant exchange and watched a slideshow of the mission, so that was super fun. The trainings were excellent, with the zone leaders giving this really good training about humility. I have been so humbled during my mission - trying to speak this language, to teach this people, or to even get people to listen to me. But it's made me trust in God so much, more than I ever have in my life. And he has helped me more than I deserve, constantly turning my weaknesses into strengths. 

I just want you all to know how grateful I am for the Savior Jesus Christ. I know he lives, and that God truly sent His Son for us because He loves us. Jesus Christ truly is the greatest gift. I have loved being able to show the Churche’s video to my investigators, and especially to be able to bear my testimony of the Savior so much this season. I love him, and I love you all. kellemes ünnepeket. 


Transfer news:  I'M STAYING IN SZEGED!!!! Phew! With Sister E.... and Sister C. is leaving. I was SOOO scared that I would have to leave Szeged and I did NOT want that! So I am SO happy I'm staying here! Especially because lately, our work has just really started to move forward. I thought it was going to be hard to do things after Christmas, and to an extent it is because a lot of people can't meet yet. BUT we have just been finding tons of people which is super cool! Basically I haven't really gone tracting in Szeged yet because streeting has been working so well here. The other day, we basically just streeted for  4 hours straight, which was FREEZING cuz it SNOWED (woohoo!) but also super successful. So that was good. Honestly, Christmas was hard to be without you guys, but it felt so good to be at such a kind member’s house on Christmas. And even though it felt good to have a little break,  it felt even better to just be a missionary again! The past few days, we've just been pumpin’ out work and it's what really makes me so happy! I don't know how to explain it.... talking to people on the street for 4 hours in the bitter Hungarian cold of winter doesn't seem like it would bring someone that much joy... but it does to me. It was so cute—I met this lady and she spoke perfect English, and we talked about Cathedrals and how beautiful they are, and she just had this cute little voice that sounded like Snow White. We bonded over our love for Notre Dame and Prague and all that good stuff. So there you go - art history DOES pay off! Haha! Hopefully you hear more about her in the future... we should be meeting soon! The only dumb thing is that Hungarian phone numbers are so unreliable and people don't pay for their phones sometimes, so it can be really hard to get a hold of people :( but, you know, faith. 

We've also had some super great programs lately! We taught L. tithing. I was pretty nervous for this program... but it went really well! We had a member present, and he did such a good job explaining what tithing is, why we have it, and the blessings we get from it. L. was really receptive! He was like "Ya, cuz you have to pay for the lights, for the floors, and the windows" and all this stuff. It was cute :) He said he would live the law of Tithing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh I love him. It's really amazing to see how much God has been helping L. prepare for baptism. Out of the blue, he told us that he left his girlfriend whom he had been living with, and he was going to have to find some place to live. And later he told us that someone called him to tell him that, when his mom dies, he gets her house! I know that is God helping him and I am so grateful for that. 
We also taught K. and B. They're a couple, and K.'s sister is a missionary in Washington, the only member in her family. It's cool how we found them... K.'s number was in our phone, so we called him and set up. The sad thing is, both of them will be leaving to live in Dublin, Ireland :( But, one of the other missionaries from this branch is actually serving in Dublin right now! So that would be super cool if they could meet still! Anyway, we teach them 1/2 English and 1/2 about the Gospel. For the Gospel part, we watched the Restoration video, and it's actually the first time I've showed it to an investigator. Anyway, I  felt the Spirit really strongly as we were watching it. After, I bore my testimony of how I know Joseph Smith is a true prophet. As I said those words, "I truly know Joseph Smith was a Prophet,” tears welled up in my eyes and I felt the Spirit strongly testifying of these things. I told them I know this because I prayed and REALLY wanted to know. And that they can know these things for themselves too, if they also pray with a sincere heart to know the truth, because God always answers to those who seek. And, I don't know, there was just something in their eyes that seemed like they also knew, too, that what I was saying was true. So that was a really great program, and, even though they will soon be in Ireland, I hope they can continue to meet with the missionaries there, and that they really WILL try to know for themselves. 

Also another miracle... our water heater got fixed!!!! so now we aren't freezing in our apartment! Woohoo! Haha! 

Finally, a really meaningful part of the week: we went to mass with one of the Elders’ investigators and it was really good! The priest gave a beautiful talk about loving each other. He told a story of a woman who was a teacher, and one of her young student’s mother died. The teacher realized she needed to then teach with love. The student grew up to be a very successful student and doctor, because of the example of the teacher. I really liked the hymns we sang, and at the end of the mass, the organist played what I'm pretty sure was a Handel sonata or something? I don't know what it's called, but it's a pretty famous organ piece. So as that was playing, we looked at all the stained glass and nativity poster, and afterward we met the Pastor, so that was just a really nice experience. It was also really touching to see all the nénis devoutly kneeling and saying the prayers and singing. It made me grateful that they love God so much and want to have a relationship with him. 

OH! Okay, you guys HAVE to look this up on youtube: Meglátjátok-e azt a csillagot           It's the video of the Christmas program that we did!! You can just skip to the parts of us... but watch it! Köszönöm :) 

I LOVE you guys, I LOVE missionary work, I LOVE Hungary, I LOVE Szeged, and I LOVE this Gospel! AND--- Oh my gosh!! The lady I met and talked about Cathedrals with JUST walked into the place where I'm emailing!!! Miracles. They happen people. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


My new city is SZEGED. Okay. I LOVE IT HERE. Szeged is incredibly beautiful! First of all, we have a new beautiful branch house on Gutenberg Utca and it's the prettiest thing ever. But as for the rest of the city... there are opera houses, theater houses, cathedrals, statues, rivers, towers, everything!! So, because I was the worst at taking pictures last transfer, I think copious amounts of Szeged pictures will likely ensue.But seriously, this place is gorgeous. ESPECIALLY because it's ALL SET UP FOR CHRISTMAS! We went tabling one night, and all the lights in the belváros (downtown square area) including the huge Christmas tree all lit up! I freaked out—haha, it was super pretty. Today, before emailing, we checked out a bunch of the little Christmas fair shops.  I'll be honest; I would totally not mind spending another Christmas in Hungary. :) 
I'll be honest some more and say that I actually have kind of missed Pápa! I didn't think I would, but I just knew everything there! Like, EVERYTHING. I could find my way around super easily, knew all the town drunks, and obviously I miss the branch members. But I do love it here! Just give me like a week or two more and I'll be obsessed with it! Also, there's more to eat here than just döner, which is also a good thing, haha. 
I like my companions!! Sister C, as you know, and I had a religion class at BYU together, and she's really nice and a good missionary. I also really like Sister E- - she's from Salt Lake (East High) so we have a lot of mutual friends! It's cool because Sister E's dad is from Sweden, Carle's is from Scotland (or Ireland maybe?) and then all of our Mom's served missions, which is super cool. Trios are always a little more disorganized and crazy, but I like them. 
So. Angolora, English class, was super fun here with more people attending.  Also, Szeged is a college town! I'm actually emailing at the really cool University library as we speak! So there are TONS of young people, which is the opposite of Pápa - the city for retired old couples or really young children and FEW in between haha! Like I said, there is lots of art, statues, culture, and music here which I obviously love! I'm hoping one of these P-days we can go to an orchestra concert or art museum sometime. 
We also have investigators.. kinda cool, right? Haha! I really like our investigators!
There's L. who is this really funny, B., who came to the baptism, and I think he really liked it! He was there dressed all nice and just really excited to be there :)  The elders had a baptism on Saturday... the first baptism in the new branch house. It was really nice and the spirit was really strong. C. got baptized and I think he's like 20 or 21,super sweet and fluently speaks English. We, the missionaries, sang "Joseph Smith's first prayer" and the Spirit was so strong. I looked at how C. looked so happy :) He was sitting by his parents, who are not members, and just beaming. So sweet. N. also was at the baptism, and at church yesterday! All the branch members were really good about talking to everyone, which was super cool.

We had a program with our investigator Z., who is really close to baptism but is struggling with depression. C., a recent convert who is super awesome, came to our program and was really helpful. Z. asked what we can pray about, and C. was just like "anything!" and started giving examples of what we can pray about. Z. was so surprised, she was like "oh, I didn't know you could pray about anything!"

We also taught D., a girl whose mom is a really strong member, and she's really sweet, but I think, and really respect this, that she really wants to be a member for herself and not her mom. Church was good too; all the members are super sweet and nice. There's D.- - a Sister RM who went to Finland, a really cute family with little girls who played with my hair all during sacrament meeting, haha, and actually quite a good size group of priesthood holders! So that's cool - the mission correlation leader and branch president are both really young, but really nice and good at their jobs. I'm surprised at how many people know 'VanDenBerghe' is from Holland.

Also, remember B., the Christian girl from Pápa? Well, I really only talked to her about 2 times ever, but before I left, she gave the elders some gifts for me! She wrote me a suuuuuper sweet note and gave me a really cute Eiffel tower necklace and a handmade notebook! She is SO sweet! I'll never forget her!
I love Szeged and I lOVE MY MISSION!


I LOVE CHRISTMAS. Christmas finding should be fun! We already tried a little yesterday. We tried to go tracting with the Elders --- they would go around an apartment floor and knock on the doors, and then we would start singing carols. Ya... it did not work, haha! The first floor no one came out, the 2nd one person popped his head out and then shut the door, and then the 3rd some people said they were gonna call the cops on us if we didn't leave -_- So... we left and went caroling in the square by the Christmas tree, which was way better! It was actually really fun! And two of the elders went out talking to people... one lady was crying she was so touched by our singing! So that was really cool. AND I got to PLAY THE VIOLIN!! Elder N. has a reeeeeeaaaaallllllyyyy crappy violin some guy gave to him in Veszprém! But it was a violin none the less! So that was super fun. Hopefully we do more Christmas finding like that. 
Last week after emailing we went to the Dome Church... it's gorgeous (and free!)! It's super byzantine-style and just really pretty.... unfortunately a lot of stuff was covered up though because they're doing construction on it :/ look it up on google though! You guys'd like it. I love the Christmas market! So much cute Hungarian stuff! And, you wouldn't believe it considering I've been here in Hungary for almost 5 months... but i had my first lángos (fried dough with sour cream and cheese -- aka a heart attack waiting to happen haha.) So ya... i like Szeged ha! I think today we're going to go to the Egyptian museum! So that should be fun. 
The week was really good! People are very open here. My companions call me the finding angel-- haha! I just came from Pápa, where we had to find all the time, so I can just go up to and talk to a bunch of people on the street like it's no big deal. But trust me, I did not get to that point without a LOT of awkward situations, haha! I really had to push myself to talk to people, and to not be afraid and just speak. Obviously my language is better now, but I really had to pray a lot and really work hard to be more natural about finding. I talked to a lady on the street who we met with this morning actually. She was really sweet and thought it was crazy how us young foreigners could understand her, could "get" an older person like herself. I also streeted this guy who actually CAME to our program that I set up (that shocked me out of my mind)… but he would NOT come in the branch house! He made us reschedule because he was super self-conscious about his muddy boots, haha! We were like " It's seriously FINE!" but he would not do it (the branch house is SUPER nice). 
Yesterday in fast and testimony meeting, it was so sweet. So we're teaching M's family (M is 11 and just got baptized). He has the really cute sisters that always play with my hair. Anyway, the Mom and Grandma LOVE everything - Church, The Book of Mormon, everything, but the Mom's living with her boyfriend :/ and the Grandma thinks she's too old to be baptized :/ Anyway, in Sacrament meeting, M gets up with his mom and starts telling this story, but he got really emotional! It was so sweet! So his mom finished it for him: she kept saying "Jesus Christ was with us" because they had left a ton of money on a train and when they went back to get the money, it was still there.
We taught L. the 2nd 1/2 of Jesus Christ's Gospel. He is actually really attentive to everything and I think he really understands. We talked about baptism, and I told him to think about baptism and pray about it. He was like "well I can't do it tonight or tomorrow" and then at the end of the lesson, I asked him what his assignment was this week and he was like "Keresztelő!" "Baptism!" Haha!  Also, his wife's friend and her daughter were there, and they came in during the last part of the lesson when we were talking about baptism. We thought they were going to think we were really weird or something, but they were super nice, and they were like "next time you meet with L, come to our house to do it!" So basically they just referred themselves, haha!  
Our other investigators are also cool!
-Z is super sweet and likes everything, and she had a bap date, but she's struggling with some personal issues.
-N comes to church a lot and I think he likes everything, but he can't get over the fact that he doesn't see angels like the people in the Book of Mormon. We talked a lot about faith with him, but he kept asking questions we had already answered. 
-S is a young guy who is really sweet. He said the sweetest prayer for our program, and asked God to bless everyone that they would have a great Christmas :)

I have been listening to Handel's "For Unto us a Child is Born" on repeat, and getting ready for Christmas!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOHOO-- I LOVE CHRISTMAS! and I get to SKYPE you guys NEXT WEEK!

So we did free hot chocolate finding this week. It was SO fun!! I want to do that more.  We got like 6 phone numbers out of it so that was cool! One lady was like "Hm, i'm gonna try and come to Church on Sunday... I haven't tried this church yet!" She didn't come... but I got her contact info so all is well. I also talked to these 2 people, and one of them was (supposedly) really impressed with my Hungarian, even to the point of telling me "Magyar vagy" over and over (which means "you're Hungarian") and the other one was like, "oh, wow, ya, you do speak really well!" so that was a confidence booster for sure! 
Last week wasn't too packed with stuff... but this week we got a bunch of programs lined up so hopefully they all work out! also, Zone Conference in Buda on Thursday! So ya, this week’s goin to be good!
The other day we went tracting in uj szeged (new szeged) and it was freezing and dark and misty, but actually kind of cool! We tracted this really nice guy who spoke perfect English and was like "I'm really glad you guys are here. We need people like you here. Our morals are so low, and we need people to be telling us how to live well. Thanks for being here!" so that was super cool. It made up for the lady who kicked us out of her building, that's for sure! 
We taught the M’s family about the word of wisdom. M is so ugyes! Just like totally on top of answering all the questions and why things like cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol are bad for us. After, he had us play a game where you stand in a circle and pass someone a balloon and then you have to say nice things about that person. :) so sweet. 
Okay, so, we had been planning on giving L a bap. date, and so we'd been thinking and praying a lot about it. I was praying about it, and the thought of "January 25" popped into my head. Sister C was looking at the calender and was like "hm, I think January 25 would be good!" So that was super cool that we had both thought of the same day! Unfortunately, we didn't get to meet L at all this week :/ he wouldn't answer his phone! Which is SO unlike him! I hope everything’s okay, and we're gonna go knock on his door if worse comes to worse, haha! 
As for our other investigators i told you about
-we gave N to the Elders, because he just hasn't really been progressing with us
-didn't meet with S this week

-we did get a few new investigators though, because we had to go through our phone and call everyone, so hopefully stuff works out with them, and also a bunch of the people we've found in the past few days. 

Gosh. I love this missionary life. Love you all!!