Monday, January 19, 2015

Happy 2015! I can't believe it! About a YEAR ago, I got my mission call to the Hungary, Budapest mission. And now I'm HERE in the best place in the world, speaking the best language in the world and talking to the best people in the world. I wouldn't trade my mission for anything else in the entire world--no matter how stressful or difficult it is sometimes. This week was a little crazy with transfers and going up to Budapest. It was really fun though, and it's always fun to go up and see all my friends, and see Sister K. who is going home in about a month!! Sister S. said that the really cute old couple in Pápa (who we showed SLC to on google earth) gave her a book dedicated to her and me with all these pictures of places in Pápa,
So our L., who is scheduled for baptism, works a ton and is hard to schedule with, so we're just kind of moving his date around right now. We've also been trying to get our investigators to just really DO stuff, like actually come to church, or stay for the whole time, or whatever. I will say, that can be really stressful and frustrating --- people's free agency! Haha! But things work out. Pray for L. and that he can keep progressing!
New Years was also our p-day, but we literally did nothing except play Settlers of Catan with the Elders forever, haha. (because nothing is EVER open on holidays here. Because Hungary.) We heard fireworks like all evening, but couldn't see anything! I finally saw a few tiny ones from our window, but that was the extent. 
We had another good program with K. and B. - I don't know why, but their programs have just all been so good! K. asked why, in the Restoration movie, when Joseph's dad is baptized, is he immersed in the water. So we kind of started talking about baptism. I asked if they had been baptized. I then asked if, when they felt that the things we teach them are true, they would be baptized. B. said "igen, lehet" or "yes, possibly" !!! K. said he didn't know. But it was really cool! I think B. is actually quite into everything while K. is a little more skeptical as of now. 
We were streeting, and this woman came up to us and asked us for help in English. Turns out she had this cute family with her - two little boys and a husband, and they were from Serbia. They were super cute and nice, and they wanted to know where the mall was so we walked them there. I talked with the woman about the standards we live by in our church - Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity stuff. The whole time I was thinking - "sweet, we'll send a referral to Serbia" but then I realized there aren't missionaries there :( at least I'm pretty sure... especially from what the woman was telling me about how much warfare there was there in the last few years. Anyway, the next day, we were streeting again, and I saw the family walking away in the other direction, and they probably thought I was a freak because I just made Sister E. and I run after them and stop them and say hi, haha! I heard somewhere that, in general, a person has to have 7 interactions with the Mormons before they're willing to listen to the missionaries? or something like that? Well, anyway, let's hope missionaries will one day go into Serbia, and that family will remember the weird sister missionaries that ran after them to say hi, haha! 
So I streeted this one girl who said she would come to church, and called her to try and set up, and she said she was coming to church once more. Anyway, I didn't think she was coming, but she DID! And brought her boyfriend!! I think they both liked it, and it was fast and testimony meeting, which was perfect. After, she asked me why everyone kept saying "this is the true church". So I kind of started to teach the Restoration, but we didn't have much time. Hopefully she and her bf come to the program we set up with them this week! 
This morning, we met with J. in the square, and taught her the Restoration right there on the street, committing her to read 5 minutes from the Book of Mormon every day. So that was pretty fun. And, once more, it reminded me of how my mission is so much like the "Errand of Angels" movie, right down to the little details like meeting with people by statues in the town square. I love missionary life. 
I love you guys so much!! Have a nagyszerű week!!


Sziasztok! This week was interesting with a lot of downs but a lot of ups, too. It was cool to see this week how, when some things don't work out, God always helps other things work out.
One day, we went to look up this one lady we had met on the street. We went to the apartment where she lived, and there was this lady there and we were like "hey is there an M. who lives here?" She responded, "I don't know any M. I'm not familiar with her." And right when I heard her voice I knew that SHE was M! Haha! So we left the building and called M., and we heard the phone immediately ring in one of the apartments, haha! It was kinda frustrating, but mostly just hilarious. 
We had our last meeting with K. and B. We taught about 1/2 of the Plan of Salvation, and again, the Spirit was strong. All their lessons have been really spiritual! I think B. is ready for this. K. probably needs more time. But they're going to keep meeting with the missionaries in Dublin, so I really hope things can go well for them. 
We took V., a 20 year old member to L.’s lesson and she did so well! It was about the word of wisdom, which he committed to live :) As we were taking the bus back, V. helped a woman who seemed really stressed out get on her right bus. We started talking to her and she was really nice, and asking about our nametags. We got her information, because she was interested, but she's from Székesfehérvár .  :(   But we gave her info to the Székesfehérvár sisters so hopefully they can meet with her. We also met with V. two other times this week and she was really helpful! One was with this old woman whom V. had helped carry her bags to her apartment and the woman was way skeptical of us and didn't want us to come without V.  But the woman ended up being really sweet. The other was with this guy that we streeted who is super smart - a teacher who studied theology! So we tried to teach him the Restoration, but he just kept questioning all the little details with vocabulary we hadn’t encountered yet, so it was really good that V. was there because she just bore her testimony to him of how she came to know the Church was true for herself. We told him about the Book of Mormon, but he was really skeptical. For some reason we didn't have one on us, and there was none in the branch house! But he was super curious about reading it. I feel like he will be someone that actually reads and takes his commitments.
Okay, so one day we got dogged again and I was pretty annoyed. But this lady came up to the branch house, and she wanted to know about English class. Then she started asking about the family history center and said that she had just been at her friend's house and that her friend was really interested in family history. The other day, a different man came up to the branch house and was also talking about how he was really interested in knowing about his family history! So that was really cool to see how family history interested these people! Hopefully more about them in the future too...
The members held a Szilveszter party, or a New Year’s party in which we had karaoke and games and food and it was really fun! I didn't know Hungarians are WAY into karaoke, haha! They would play these 60s and 80s Hungarian songs and everyone would know all the lyrics, haha, iIncluding sweet L, our investigator. Speaking of L.-- he also accepted the law of chastity and he brought his friends! We're teaching them today – A., who has 2 daughters, and then A.'s brother. Basically, at the party, A was saying, "We want to be a part of this organization, like if there’s like a baptism or something", and we responded, "Ya, we're actually preparing L. for baptism right now" and she said, "I would like to be baptized" and her brother said "me too". UM. WHAT?? Is this real life?!?! So that was crazy! --- I hope!! Also at the party, one of our English class members came. I always thought he was super great and would be such an awesome member, but we all just assumed the missionaries had already tried with him and he wasn't interested. Anyway, I asked him, "Have you already met with the missionaries personally?" He responded, "I don't know what you're talking about?" I was like "Ya, we meet with people and teach about our church" Him: "Oh, I didn't know that!" Me: "Would you be interested in that?" Him (I was bracing myself for him to say no): "Ya, I'm really interested in what you guys believe! One of my classmates asked me what the Mormons believe, and I said 'I don't know, but I love the Mormons!" I was SO happy!!! 
And yes, the new mission president coming in July is Hungarian!! So I bet it will be really awesome to have a Hungarian mission president, but will be sad to loose President Smith for sure though. We all love him so much.


This week was really good! We met standard goals for the first time on my mission. Don't get me wrong... numbers aren't important. But we still celebrated by making a package of my American brownies and listening to Handel's Messiah (the missionary party life if you know what I'm sayin.) 
Transfers are next week. I'm freaking out. I DO NOT want to leave Szeged. Egy általán nem. Not at all. Soha. Never. Ughhhh but I'm probably going to :(  I'm so sad. I LOVE IT HERE!!!!!!!! :(  But it's God's work, not mine. 

SO. L... is doing great! Remember his friends that he brought to the party and said they (one of them named A.)  wanted to get baptized? Okay, so we taught A. twice last week, and once more today. We taught her Restoration and the first thing she said was "I want to prepare myself for baptism" she had all these questions about baptism! The next day, we had a program with L., and he randomly brought A.! So we decided to teach the Plan of Salvation (as kind of a review for L., too). L. actually did a really good job helping us teach the POS!! A. said she wanted to be baptized when L. was. too. Ahh, love him. Then we just barely taught A. Jesus Christ's Gospel today, and committed her to February 14th, the same day L. will be getting baptized!!

 SO. we asked L/ if he's been living the Word of Wisdom and he said yes! We asked, "Do you drink coffee?" and, it was so cute, he was like, "I don't need to! I just sleep, and I'm not tired!" We also committed him to move out of his girlfriend’s apartment, and he has several options for where he can live. It's been so cool to see that we, the missionaries, have really done very little to prepare L. for baptism -- God is totally the one behind it all.
So at church, this one less active member came whom L. actually knows! L.talked to her after church and she has an option for him for a place he can live! Cool. Then contrast them to my other investigators... who are sooo hard to get to do anything!! BUT. M.  and Z., after much "pleading" finally came to Sunday School, not just sacrament meeting!! And Z. stayed for Relief Society!! I'm so proud of them. Baby steps.  But steps nonetheless. 
Getting dogged is literally my least favorite thing in the entire world. But, like Sister E. always says, whenever we get dogged, it just means there is someone we're supposed to find. We found a woman after we got dogged who was really interested in the Book of Mormon! Then, another time we got dogged (an hour before English class), a girl shows up like 1/2 an hour before class and we showed her around the branch house. I asked her if she'd like to learn about our church with us and she responded, "Sure! I love learning about the world!" Just some of the miracles we see every single day.
Also we had Zone Training here in Szeged and it was really good--about change and repentance. Honestly, before my mission I never really understood repentance. I understood that we do it, and that we can receive forgiveness. But now I know that Repentance is CHANGE. It's not just telling God we're sorry and that we want to do better - although that's the huge, first step.  It's about using the Atonement to literally change ourselves, even if it's just changing the littlest of things. I just got a letter from Sarah she quoted Levi on his mission ... i LOVE what he said: "You don't have to do something wrong to change. Sometimes change just means becoming better." Like L. not drinking coffee anymore, or M. and Z. coming to the other classes of church. Sometimes we don't know why we need to change, but when we have the faith in God, we really see how our change makes a difference in our lives and it's really beautiful. I know as a missionary, when I've tried to change just the slightest bit - work a little bit harder or whatever... I just see these huge miracles that I don't even deserve. But I guess it's not a matter of deserving, it's a matter of God being God, being our Father in Heaven who loves us and wants to make us happy. I say that to people all the time every day. Saying it is one thing. Living it and seeing it is a different, life-changing thing. 

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