Thursday, August 13, 2015

FROM JULY 20, 2015
Sziasztok! Many tourists here in Budapest--I have met so many Americans and English speakers, and a lot of them came to church on Sunday which was cool. I keep working on different finding approaches in Buda, and lately I’ve actually been getting people’s phone numbers on the bus—something I’ve rarely had success with before.  One night we were coming home (thus we had a long bus ride) and I saw this lady sitting by the window and she looked kind of sad. So I sat by her and talked to her, and as we talked, she looked a lot happier. I talked to her about the Book of Mormon and explained to her a little about it and gave her a copy and she seemed pretty interested and gave me her number. She was so grateful for the book. That moment sitting on the bus in Budapest, talking to this random lady in Hungarian about the Book of Mormon, reminded me how lucky I am to be able to do this--to be able to talk to random strangers on the bus about a book that changed my life.

We met a British guy while out streeting, and he was angry with God for all the sickness he’s endured.  We had an interesting discussion that involved the Book of Mormon and why we are here, and he said he would take one, but when we returned, he wasn’t there.

I went on my first splits as a sister training leader, the first time I’ve been in charge.  Several companionships of sisters come and work with us in Buda for a day. Anyway, I went with Sister L. this time, who is a lot like my companion, Sister S.  I LOVE MY COMP, SISTER S.  SO fun and happy--25 and graduated from BYU-Idaho with a degree in political science. I REALLY hope she stays for her dying transfer, but we’ll see what happens. Sister L., whom I went on splits with, is 26 and graduated from BYU in linguistics. We talked to some really cool people that seemed interested and gave out some Book of Mormons. We got let into a home while tracting, but this lady’s grandson kicked us out because he didn’t want us confusing her with Mormon stuff, he said. 

The next day I went on splits with Sister C. and we gave another Book of Mormon and really had fun together. We both had a mini freak-out when we found out that we’re both obsessed with classical art and music, etc. We both feel that we are doctrinely Mormon, but aesthetically, all things Catholic (music, art, architecture) are more pleasing … if that’s not too unorthodox!

My ego boosted when one day, this man literally insisted that I had to be Hungarian and woudn’t believe me when I told him I wasn’t Hungarian, haha! He thought there was no way I was an American. So ya, that was a confidence boost in some way or another!

We had a meeting with all the zone leaders and sister training leaders and the mission president --- ALL in Hungarian, so that was kind of exhausting, but good for us. We have to give 2 trainings this week but think we can do them in English.

I played the violin in this music shop today…. I am SO rusty-- it’s way sad. Oh well.

We had a bunch of new people come to English class, and we got their numbers so that was nice. This one guy was SUPER nice and seemed really interested, too! He said his old girlfriend used to be Mormon and that the church helped her stop drinking alcohol, which is so cool.

We met with our investigator, C., to teach him about prayer. We had that 16 year old member come with us and she told the sweetest story, about how she went to this school where the girls were mean to her and she didn’t have friends. So she prayed to know whether she should stay or not, and she felt strongly that she needed to stay. So she stayed, and then became best friends to the girl that was mean to her. It was such a sweet story that just made me love her so much. Her faith is so strong and she is already such a great missionary.

My new district here in Budapest consists of four companionships, mainly the office elders and us.  Two of the elders are German and one is half Cuban, half Hungarian, so he speaks Hungarian fluently with a Spanish accent. We also have a senior couple who are just the BEST! They are so loving and they love all the members and are so kind and just such amazing people! I love them! And of course President and Sister S. are amazing. Their daughter L. is so cute! I already feel like I have a lot of friends int he ward and area .  I’m happy here in Buda.  J 

FROM JULY 27, 2015
We went on splits with the Érd sisters, so I got to go with my old comp! It was grand. We still teach so well and in tune with each other, just like we did in Székes, so that was cool. We had planned to teach V. the plan of Salvation, but she had some questions and didn’t really seem to understand the Restoration, so we went over that.  She said she knows it’s true, but we committed her to pray so she can get that spiritual confirmation. I love that she said she feels good when she meets with us. J I love her.

Most of the rest of that day was finding and I later went out finding with Sister H. and we stopped this one girl who literally was SOO freaking excited that she was talking to two American girls. She was the most excited anyone has ever been about getting a Book of Mormon and potentially meeting with us…. And then she dogged our program twice and now isn’t answering. I don’t get why that happens ALL the time. People seem so excited, so ready, so prepared. And then they just disappear.

But I will say, BUS FINDING WORKS IN BUDAPEST. I don’t know what it is… but I seriously love it here! I feel like I get a number, or give out a Book of Mormon… or both, every time I ride the bus…which is super cool because everywhere else it has NOT worked. Maybe I’m just more comfortable now.

We had to give two trainings this week, one here in Buda about relationships with other missionaries and another one in Győr (the city I love and always wanted to serve in… but probably never will L) that went really well, I think, about building relationships with the members—something I’m trying to get better at…the one lady who gave me 3 referrals my first Sunday is coordinating and hopefully can meet some of them soon. I talked to this other church member who has a really cool conversion story and told him he had a really strong testimony and should share that with his friends.  He said he would.

We also met this less active member who also has a SUPER cool conversion story. She read James 1:5, too, and prayed for God to show her the true church. A few months later, the missionaries showed up at her door. She has a coworker whom she wants to share the Gospel with, but doesn’t want to overbear her, so we decided to all pray about being able to share the Gospel with her coworker.

We met with A., someone who reminds me a lot of our former agnostic investigator—unsure, cautious. He doesn’t want to mislead himself or be misled, and is afraid of ‘making himself believe” if that makes sense. That’s why we’re trying to focus on the Spirit and helping him recognize it.

We also met with M., this super cool guy from English class, the one whose girlfriend used to actively go to church. He has a lot of faith in God and Jesus Christ. We talked about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration, and I think he felt the Spirit as we taught.

We met with G. and it was SO good. She hadn’t been met with for a LONG time, so Sister S. and I were sure she hadn’t been reading and praying but she HAD! She said her day goes so much better when she reads the Book of Mormon and she gets so much comfort and peace from it. How cool is that?! We asked how she feels when she meets with us and she said AMAZING. She feels like she is sitting among angels--the feeling that comes from us is so amazing, and she wants other people to feel that when they see and talk to her! We talked about the Gift of the Holy Ghost that we receive after baptism that allows that feeling to be always with us. She even asked about baptism. She told us, “I know there are commandments, but I mean what is it like every day to be a member?” We talked about reading and praying every day, and trying to always remember Jesus Christ.

But isn’t that interesting? She herself realized that as a member, it’s an EVERY DAY kind of living, not just going to church on Sunday and being baptized. It’s remembering Jesus Christ, like we covenant to do every time we take the Sacrament. So how do we always remember him? Through prayer and the scriptures… Through being grateful for his sacrifice and his love for us. God promises us that we will always have the Spirit to be with us when we do this. I know this is true. I am so thankful for Jesus Christ and his atonement.

 FROM AUGUST 4, 2015
So another transfer happened and I'm getting a new sister training leader companion here in Buda, Sister D. She's from my MTC group and she is super cool--I like her a lot. It's sad to say goodbye to Sister S. after just a short time with her. But it'll be fun with Sister D.-- she's from Minnesota, I think. 
A. came to church! That was super cool. He fasted with us, so I hope that was a good experience for him. He's so interesting.... very intellectual, so questioning of everything, but not in a bad way, though. He's a tour guide, also, so he's always GONE! This makes it hard.
We went on splits with the sisters from Dunaujvaros, so I was with my old companion, Sister N., which was fun. Then, yesterday was really good-- we had a bunch of really good programs with everyone. V. said she prayed before she read the book of Mormon, and then she read it and she had a good feeling, and then she prayed afterward as well. She LOVED the plan of Salvation, and is just really sweet. 
We met with G., and she is doing super well. She wants to be baptized! She is worried though, because she has been smoking and drinking coffee for more than like 30 years, but we assured her that we can help her quit. She also has a hard time coming to church, but she said she'd come this week. The only problem is that she is actually from pest :( …so we may have to give her to the Pest elders.  :(

M. is ALSO from pest and she is going to have to go to the Pest elders too :( ughhhhh. SHE is so cool, too! We asked how she feels when she reads and prays and meets with us, and she told us, "I feel such a peace, such a good feeling. I don't understand. Why does this feeling only come from these things?" We explained that that is the SPIRIT and it testifies of the truth -- it testifies of God and Jesus Christ when we read and pray and come to church. We taught her the plan of salvation and she LOVED it. She asked a lot of questions and she asked how repentance works. She is so great.................................................................... and now she's going to the Pest elders, which is sad for us.
In Church, some members brought their Aunt from Serbia to church. I talked to her, and she had been to church before and she LOVED it! She said she had seen missionaries before but she could never find a church in Serbia. She said, "Maybe you can talk to someone about getting the church in Serbia? It is such a great community and everyone is so friendly and nice!" I translated in church for her (she spoke English), and got her a Serbian Book of Mormon--she was so grateful! So cool. 
FROM AUGUST 10, 2015
Today was a fun p-day. We hiked up to Gellért hill where the dedicatory prayer for missionaries in Hungary was read by Elder Nelson. So that was cool! I feel lucky to be serving in Buda! It's like I get to be a tourist and do missionary work at the same time. Every day we ride the bus, our bus gets off right across the river from Parliament, so that's cool. 
We had some good programs with some new people, so that was great, and met with one girl and her boyfriend--we talked about the Spirit. They both are Christians. Her boyfriend said, "the Bible says that not everyone can feel the Spirit," to which she replied, "No, everyone can feel it. If you pray, you can feel it!" –Insightful!
Á. has been reading the Book of Mormon and he came to church yesterday, so that was good!  You’d think serving in Buda would get you a lot of work and investigators, but sadly that's not the case :( I swear, everyone lives in Pest!!! One day, my comp, Sister D. (she is awesome by the way! From Minnesota, studying nursing at BYU), and I were streeting in the blistering sun, and we hear "Hey, are you guys Americans?" So, we stop and talk to these two guys, one of them an American just visiting, and one of them Hungarian. The Hungarian's wife eventually came with their kids, and he said he had used the Family search tools from the church, so that was super cool! We set up with them so hopefully we can meet them tonight.
We visited our less active G. again, and she got emotional as she talked about how God loves us and is aware of us and always helps us. I know this sounds strange, but it almost feels like when we meet with her, it helps ME more than I’m probably helping her. Crazy how missions do that. 

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