Wednesday, April 15, 2015

So I guess I'll start off with the bad news.... Z. has fallen off the face of the earth!! He is nowhere to be found, won't answer his phone, and we don't have his address because we always met him at the branch house. Sister S. and I are super sad about it and we don't really know what to do other than pray and call. Eventually it may turn into just praying for him. I have to say, sometimes I feel like missions are one disappointment after another. Székes is a hard place. Most of our investigators have come from English class and so it's hard getting them interested in the Gospel. Finding people on the street has been rough here too, as has been tracting.

We had some good things this week, though. One lady on the street said she wanted to invite us to a garden party, haha! We met with T., the most talkative Hungarian I’ve ever met. And that is saying something! But it was sweet—K., the member that always comes with us, told him, "Ya, the missionaries are the most loving people I think in Hungary". Then after, she told us about how she tried to share the Gospel with her friend! We've grown closer with her. 

So we are literally teaching 3 B.-s. Ya, I'm just as confused as all of you are. But I'll try to distinguish them.
B. number 1. we met from English class and he is very nice. We taught him the Restoration-- he said he would read and pray and he came to sacrament meeting. That was cool! B. number 2. the athiest. Read Alma 32, and wants to feel these feelings we talk about (the Spirit), but just really does not want to pray and does not want to have faith. So it's interesting. 
B. number 3. So. We brought a member to our program and it was interesting. He said that, as he has been meeting with us, he has grown closer to God. I thought that was cool.

We also had a zone training in Szekes and took them to see the clock tower and to this ice cream place with amazingly huge 3-scoop cones and it was hilarious watching them eat these ginormous cones and drip all over.   We also went to a member’s house and enjoyed the most authentic chicken porkolt ever, cooked over a fire in a huge bogracs (metal pot).  It was great, as Hungarian as it gets!

I love you guys!  Wish me luck on transfer calls coming up!  And please pray for Z.  Also, A. was baptized back in Szeged.  The Szeged sisters told me she was really happy!

Well. Not really sure where to start. I'm feeling pretty disappointed having just received the call that I will be serving in ANOTHER trio, after having already served in TWO trios on my mission. One of the sisters is younger and I was supposed to go senior with her, but there's a sister who will be going home after this transfer and had nowhere to go. So, it’s hard to go back to another trio….And still no sign of Z.

Other than that, the week was good. We had a really good program with B. number three. He had read some of the Book of Mormon, and the Restoration pamphlet. When we asked him what I thought, he was like "well I think it's true". I was totally caught off guard, didn't even know what to say! We were like "That's great that you think that! Now, if you pray about it, you will feel it". We talked about how we get answers to our prayers and how going to Church and hearing other people speak also helps us. B. responded with, "Ya, for example, on Sunday in Church, that woman with the glasses talked and it really helped me.” So that was super cool, especially when I told S. ("woman with the glasses") and how happy she was that her talk had helped an investigator!

 We also had a good program with D., who had also read a little bit from the BoM. And although T. had texted us and said he didn't want to meet... well we went to lunch with him and he had just been going through a tough time and didn't want to talk to anybody. So hopefully we'll start meeting with him again.
We also had a program with B. and B., which didn’t go very well, but they came to church on Sunday, and so did 2nd B. It looked like B. was crying in sacrament meeting, but I couldn't tell. So I went up to lead the music, and tears were just streaming out of her face. After, she said she was really moved. It was really cool to see her feeling the Spirit so strongly and to also feel that Spirit strongly myself. 

Oh, and we also had the BEST district meeting EVER!! It was the most spiritual one I've ever had! First of all, I gave the "Gospel Picture thought" and I used the Franz Shwartz "Agony in the Garden". (In the April or March Liahona, President Uchtorf gives a really great commentary of the picture.) It's one of my favorite Gospel works of art (actually, it's one of my favorite works of art in general). I talked about how Christ's face just looks saddened by the pain of the mistakes of His brothers and sisters, and how we are missionaries to declare that Christ truly did suffer these things for the pains and sins of mankind. I could hardly hold back my tears, the Spirit was so strong. We did a really cool thing where none of us had prepared for this, but Elder C. (our district leader) had us each teach one of the preach my gospel lessons. It was so cool because it was more like we all just bore our testimonies about that particular Gospel principle. Mine was the Plan of Salvation, and again the Spirit was SO strong!! I wish ALL of my investigators could have been there and felt the Spirit pouring out of those lessons!

It's been a crazy past couple of days!! So, my new companions are from…you guessed it…Utah! Sister D. (who is "dying" at the end of this transfer and goes home) is from Spanish Fork and Sister N. is from Lindon, and her brother served his mission here some 15 years ago. I like them both a lot. SIster N. has only been out for about 4 months - she's 22 and already graduated from the U with a MASTERS in architecture. D. has 6 GIRLS in her family and 2 boys... opposite of ours. So yeah, they're both cool and I like em a lot.

Even though my birthday ended up not being on p-day it was still great! The Elders are so great and they made this little surprise party for me and ordered pizza! Also, because Hungarian holidays are also dragged out as long as they can possibly be dragged out... Easter is also on Monday here. The boys go to the girls homes, recite a little poem that basically asks if they can spray them with perfume. So the boy sprays with perfume and the girl has to give colored eggs, chocolate, money, or alcohol. If the girl doesn't do so.... she gets sprayed with water. So the branch president sprayed us sisters with perfume, but we didn't have eggs to give..... so we totally got sprayed with water. Jajj. So ya, it was a good birthday :)

Transfers is always a good time, meeting up in Budapest, but i didn't get to see Sisters E. or W. because neither of them got transferred, so that was too bad :( But this adorable little Reformatist man came up to me and some others and I talked to him for a bit, so that was cool. I also sat by this guy on the train who was reading a Bible, and started talking to him about that... he said he'd already met with the missionaries before. But that was cool, too.

We went to another castle and ran into a Soviet Memorial—Szekes feels a lot more Soviet influenced than my other cities, especially the 10-story concrete wonderland apartments.  Back in the day, a lot of older people had to learn Russian in school.   Other interesting news includes that we started back up with our sports nap (sports day) and had a great turn out.  We met with T. again, and also B. and B.  They both came to the first session of General Conference, but I don’t know how much they got out of it, with the most of it being about families.  However, B, the atheist, came and stayed for THREE SESSIONS!  Even priesthood!  We had lots of good conversations with him in between.  He must feel the Spirit because who stays for 3 two-hour sessions?

So I loved conference—and the women's conference  SECOND video of people talking about their families?? The last girl is speaking a different language......... HUNGARIAN!! So Christian and I both got shout outs in conference!!! Although, his was a lot cooler.... BANGKOK THAILAND TEMPLE!!!!!!!!! Ya, I was definately FREAKING OUT in Székesfehérvár Hungary when I heard the news :)

Also.. ELDER HOLLANDS TALK. Ya. Enough said. But it was especially meaningful to me because of the following back story: we have this investigator who believes in reincarnation and is this really interesting, hipster, hindu-ish guy. we were talking about the plan of Salvation  and he asked, "so you guys believe Adam and Eve were real? like that actually happened?" And so we talked about how we believe things not just because we read them in the Bible, but we pray to know if they are true, and then God spiritually confirms these things to us. And then I realized I've never actually prayed about Adam and Eve before. So I did that, and I was like "well, I'm gonna bring this question of 'Were Adam and Eve real?' to conference even though it probably will not get answered". And then I heard Holland talk about how Adam and Eve and the garden was a real experience (which of course I knew too--I think I just needed that spiritual confirmation) and I literally dropped my notebook and pen out of complete SHOCK that my question had been totally and completely, 100% answered. Thank you, Heavenly Father, and thank you conference!!! I loved too many talks. I loved the one about the guy’s inactive sister and the other inactive lady. Both SO great. And Pres. Uchtorf, of course. And of course the Prophet. Oh I love him SO much!!

Okay, I've gone CRAZY with this email!! Also, update from Szeged: R., of the G family from Szeged...... is QUITTING SMOKING AND IS ON BAP. DATE! Best b-day gift EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The weather is WARM now--SO nice. And now, I finally appreciate the wind of Székesfehérvár, haha, which wasn’t so great in winter! Also, SO many more people are out on the streets! So I am welcoming summer with all my heart! 

So this week... hmmm.  there was legitimately a pillow fight with a bunch of people in the town square-- haha. Hungary... you confuse me sometimes. And also, we got interviewed by these people who asked us to recite a poem. I literally recited Moroni 10:5 . They were like "Uh... is there another thing you'd like to recite?"
 Also, we were taking pictures of this statue with these pretty flowers, and this guy was like "do you all want to be in a picture?" (He said it in English). So we started talking to him and asking him about his beliefs. He's said, "Well, I don't know if I believe in God. Maybe He exists though-- Because I'm doing this dissertation about the emergence of hip-hop in the Bronx and how it affected the hip-hop in Hungary. I was trying to understand some lyrics from Zulu Nation, and, just yesterday, I was trying to figure out WHO could help me understand the lyrics, and you did. And so maybe it's a sign!" haha. So we tried calling him, which didn't succeed, but still cool none the less. 

We had a member come with us to B. and B’s program, really just trying to get them to pray. They both think they can't just because they don't think anything will happen, but we are really just trying to get them to TRY! The member showed them a lyric video of the "Heavenly Father, are you really there?" song and B. teared up :) But B. the second, came to ALL of church yesterday. He wants to know the truth. He doesn't have faith. But we explained that it's like seeing a piece of cake that looks good, but you'll never know if it's good unless you try it. Yes, of course we WANT to know if the things we're teaching are true, we want to know if God is there.  But we'll never know unless we TRY! Unless we just get down on our knees and search. Unless we exercise a particle of faith-- or even just desire. 

We also had a very prayer-oriented program with hipster Z., helping him understand that he can also pray! For some reason, all my investigators just seem to be so apprehensive to pray! They're scared and uncomfortable about it. So with Z., we talked about how prayer is just like meditating, which is something he already does, it's just with these words in our head, addressed to God, who is what we call the thing that connects us all as human beings. So lots of cool, interesting philosophies that we have been trying to relate to God and the Gospel and having a relationship with him.