Monday, May 26, 2014

Szia from Hungary!

The city that I'm in is Sopron! My companion is Sister Sexton and she is absolutely amazing! I'll talk about this more later!
Wow, this is a little strange. My first email sent from Europe. First of all, you''ll have to excuse all my typos because the keyboards here are strange!
Well, we left the MTC one week from today. We broke out of the gates of the MTC and started on our journey to Hungary. It was a little surprising that we actually went to the Utah Tracs ( I think that's what it is) station first. We rode that all the way to Salt Lake City, then got on another trac and went to the Salt Lake City Airport. Okay, can I just say that wheeling three suitcases that all weigh about fourty-fifty pounds each, varying in size, is HARD. It was pretty much the most stressful part of my day, plus I had my "personal item" so all in all I was transporting four bags everywhere. Luckily, my mom is super smart and helped me pick out my bags that had four spinny wheels. That made the transportation of luggage a little more easier., Thanks again for that brillant idea, mom!
So when we got to the Salt Lake City Airport we got to eat lunch, which Sister Hawks and I had Cafe Rio, probably one of the most brilliant ideas of the day. After we finished lunch we called and talked to our families. That was awesome. Even though we had just called a week earlier, for Mother's Day, I will always take the opportunity to talk to my parents again. It was great to hear their voices and to hear what is going on back at home. While I was talking to my mom, I was told that we were about to board the plane, so I said my goodbye and on the plane we went.
I had never seen an international plane before. Those suckers are huge! It doesn't look too big from the outside, but you go inside and you're told to go find your seat and it feels like you're walking down a never-ending aisle to find your seat. I finally found my seat, and it felt like the aisle was never-ending because I was pretty much at the very back. Anyway, I sat next to a lady who lives in Orange County, California but was heading to Paris because that is where she is from and where her family lives. I tried making small talk with her, we talked for a bit, but I could kind of tell that she didn't want to chat so I just slowly backed myself out of the conversation. All was good. One of the Elders in my district, Watson Elder was sitting right across from me. I swear he was going to hand out a Book of Mormon right then and there before the plane even began to leave. I admired the way he was friendly to everyone and just had nice conversations with them. Someday, I'll be able to do that. Ha! Hopefully soon!
So yeah, that plane ride was really really really long! Ten hours or so. I didn't sleep at all. It was really hard to, even though it was dark and everyone was quiet. I guess I just don't sleep on planes very well. You know how when you don't sleep during long trips that the trips seem twice as long, and that's exactly how it was. It felt like it was a twenty hour plane ride, instead of just a ten hour plane ride. Oh well. We made it safely to Paris. Luckily it was bright out as we landed in Paris and I tried to take a picture of the Eiffel Tower, but we were really far away (although you could still see it pretty well) so my picture is really really sad! (Sorry, Dad).
When we arrived in Paris, the humidity almost killed me. Not going to lie, it was SO INCREDIBLY hot! After we had to go up some escalators and down some esclators and up some escalotrs and down some escalators, about five times, I felt absolutely disgusting! We finally got to our gate and boarded another bus to take us to the airport terminal. I made it past security fine and then went through the border patrol place where they check your passports. I got my very first stamp on my passport, so that's pretty sweet! We then boarded our next plane to complete the last leg of our journey.
Okay, so on the plane to Hungary from Paris, I sat between Watson Elder and another guy that we talked to on the bus on the way to the airport terminal. It was mostly Watson Elder...actually it was all Watson Elder because he is just so darn friendly. Anyways, we started talking to this guy about the gospel and such. We talked for such a long time and he had good questions that we answered for him. Then Watson Elder gave him a Book of Mormon. How cool is that? I thought it was awesome.  Eventually, I got really really tired and so I decided to take a nap. Watson Elder and this guy were talking when I fell asleep and still were talking when I woke up so go Watson Elder! I only got an hour of sleep, but it still felt good nonetheless.
We arrived in Hungary. It's so beautiful here! We got off the airplane and went up and down more esclators and finally walked around the corner and there was President Smith and Sister Smith ready to greet us! After we all arrived safely we went and put our suitcases into the cars. We took a quick picture at the airport with our whole group and then we left for the mission home. I rode on a shuttle with most of the missionaries.
As we were driving through the city of Pest and then into Buda, I was marveling at the beauty of this place. It is so green here. I absolutely love it. The vegatation is awesome. I was looking at all the different signs, that I didn't understand at all, and the people. I was also looking at the marvelous buildings here. There are some super pretty buildings and statues here. On the other hand though, there are some pretty old-looking buildings, that aren't in the greatest condition. I noticed that a lot of windows have bars across them. It made me really sad as I thought about what communism did to this country. Our teacher would tell us a lot about the conditions of Hungary during the Iron Curtain. It was really sad to hear, but once you get here and you can physically see the results of it, it even hits you harder. I felt  tremendous sadness as we drove through Pest and Buda, and now that I'm in an even smaller city, it's nearly everywhere. Although, I was told by Sister Sexton that Sopron is one of the more richer cities of Hungary, because it's so close to Austria, that many people who live here go to Austria to work, and I guess they make more money there. Living situations here are still not grand. I have felt very selfish for some things that I have taken for granted all my life in Amerika,since I've been here, that's for sure.
So we go to the mission home and we put all of our bags into one room. The Sisters had interviews with President Smith and the Elders went out streeting. We were warned that we would probably go streeting on the first day, so we were prepared. The interviews for the sisters took until dinner time, so the sisters didn't go streeting that night. We had a home-cooked meal by one of the members in Buda. We had a salad and some pasta with some kind of marinara sauce with pork. It was really good!
Because there were so many new missionaries, we actually got to stay in a Hotel our first night. That was very very interesting. The lights and the shower were a little perplexing. You had to put your room key into the card reader thing, and keep it there for the lights to work and the shower was a little different. I took pictures so, you can see kind of what I'm talking about. It was a good night. I slept really well, not because I was over jet lag, but I was just so tired. I ended up waking up at four and it was light out. Not like, the sun was rising bright, but that the sun was already up and shining through our windown bright... at four in the morning! It is so funky! Anyway, we had a nice breakfast at the Hotel. The food was good, and we then headed back to the mission home.
After we got to the mission home we went streeting. Sister Hawks and I ended up getting two numbers during our first streeting session. I was very proud of ourselves. We also ended up getting left in the middle of the this busy courtyard area. We were talking to this guy and got his number and then we looked around and turned to each other and said " you see any missionaries?"' There were none in our sight. I felt like Sister Hawks was freaking out, but I, personally, didn't worry. I knew that they'd eventually realized that we weren't with them and that they would come back to find us. Plus, I didn't think it would be a good idea to try to find our way back to the mission home because then we would get even more lost. Maybe I should have been a little bit more concerned than I was, but I just saw it as an opportunity to street even longer. I really enjoyed it, even though I understood, ziltch.
Eventually we saw a whole herd of white shirts and ties come over the hills. It ended up being a group of elders that were on their were going home (end of their mission) from the mission home but they just happen to walk by. We asked them where the mission home was and they directed us pretty well. We found our way back and made it back in time for the meeting that we were supposed to be at, with three minutes to spare.
We had a small meeting regarding finances and then we had our "sorting hat'" meeting. I don't know if that's supposed to be a Harry Potter reference but that'ls what it makes me think of. Ha! Anyways, that's where we got our new companions. It was quite a bittersweet meeting. It was super exciting to meet our new companions and go out to do our work, but it was a little sad saying goodbye to my sixteen other, nine week siblings. Come to think about it, I didn''t have much time to say goodbye, but I know that they're doing great, wherever they are!
Sister Sexton and I were put in our companionship and assigned to Sopron. It's on the very west side of Hungary, in the little part that jets out towards Austria. We had to go to the train station to catch our train. That was another stressful trip, because again I had to transfer my huge pieces of luggage. Luckily, Sister Sexton had pity on me and helped me with my luggage. Just on a side note, when you're riding a metro and it stops and starts very abruptly, it's hard to keep your balance, meanwhile trying to look and sound like a normal human being with all your luggage. Anyways, we made it to the train station where we met Heilan Elder and Flake Elder, who are assigned in Sopron with us. We boarded the train and began our three hour train ride to Sopron!
We arrived in Sopron in one piece, and met the senior couple who took us to our apartment. First of all the senior couple here, Elder and Sister Brown are just way too cute and precious! I love them so much! They're so friendly and nice and willing to help us with whatever we need. I love them!
Sister Sexton says that our apartment is the smallest apartment she has ever lived in during her mission ( and she goes home in fifty nine days). So she's been many places. In a nutshell, our apartment is puny. I love it, but it's puny and the stairs to get up to our room are killer, not to mention the ledge you have to duck under, while going up the stairs to our apartment. The first blessing that I witnessed while being here was that luckily, one of the residents from across our apartment entrance door was outside when we came with my bags. He helped take all three bags up the stairs of death. I was so thankful for that because honestly I don't know if Sister Sexton and I could have done it. 
We got all of my bags up to the room and then went out to eat with the Elders. I had a chicken Quesadilla, not a Hungarian choice at all, but It was stil really really good.
Okay, so we arrived in Sopron on Tuesday. Unfortnately, my health, sleeping schedule and eating schedule are still on their way. Wednesday morning I felt as if I was put in a bag, and hit by a train. Okay, sorry that's a little violent, especially for a missionary, but I felt sooo incredibly sick. Not stomach flu, luckily, but my nose was running, I had a headache, my stomach wasn't feeling too great, I had a sore throat. I kind of wanted to lay in bed all day and just drown myself in my own self-pity. I felt really bad because I didn't want to keep Sister Sexton inside all day, plus I was so gung-ho to start streeting and doing the work that I was called to do. We went out a little bit, but I was just so ridiciously drowsey and sick that I didn't feel like I was productive at all. Oh, and I believe we had a few programs. We did. We had one, or two, I believe. I didn't really talk, but more or less just listened to Sister Sexton and the investigator talk.
I didn't feel any better on Thursday. I felt about the same, even though I had been taking medicine and such. We made an effort to go out more that time. I felt like we were a little more productive. Oh! So we had a program with Marika Neni. She was so cute. The old ladies here are just so adorable. She had some dessert ready for us and we just chated. She is an ""inactive member"" just because she is too old to travel really. She mainly stays in her house. Spritually she is very active. In fact, towards the end of our program with her, I just started crying. It was the crying that I couldn't stop. That's only happened to me twice, that I can remember. She asked me if I was sad and I said no, and then Sister Sexton told her that it was my allergies, but that wasn't right either. I just said that I felt the spirit and that she is a very spiritual person. Then she told me how I am a choice soul and that I came to Hungary because the Lord needs me here. That just made me cry even more. We visit her weekly and I can't wait to see her again!
Since I've been here, we've met with a lot of people. We have quite a few investigator and a lot of inactives. I was surprised to find out that most of the inactives here, are inactive because they were offended by something someone at church said to them. That just told me of the importance of being nice to everyone. Greeting them as they come in, if you don't know someone, go and talk to them and think before you speak. I know that I need to do that more, but now that I'm in Hungary where I can't speak as much, and where I do literally have to think before I speak, it's helped me a little bit that I can't just blurt things out. But really, it's super important that we are nice to everyone and to not make quick judgements. Not just at church, but with everyone we meet.
An experience that happened on Friday night really made me realize that I'm here for other people and not myself. In the talk "The Character of Christ"by Elder Bednar, he says to "Get over yourself, it's not about you." Well that was engrained into my mind again on Friday when the Elders called us and asked us if we wanted to check our some temples, because there is one day out of the whole entire year that all the huge temples are open to the public to see. Well Sister Sexton answered the phone when they called and she poliety declined their offer saying that we had planned to do nightly planning and that she felt like that sounded like a P-day activity. Honestly, at first, I thought to myself, are you serious? First of all, you didn't even ask me what I wanted to do and second, why can't we have some fun and go out and explore a little. Well turns our that our weekly planning session, where we prayed for our investigators and planned for their lessons was the most productive and a very spiritual experience. I was amazed at the work that we got done. It's crazy to me that I don't know barely any of the people that we talked about but I had impressions and thoughts that came into my mind that I felt like they needed. With the work of Sister Sexton and I's dilligent planning, we managed to set specific lesson plans and activities that would best for our investigators. Plus, I believe that we grew closer as a companionship, because we talked about many things that we had in common, like our teachers at the MTC (I wonder if they'll read this) and such. It was seriously what we needed to do as a companion ship and I'm so glad that Sister Sexton was obedient and said that we needed to do other things, instead of go out that night. Always be strictly obedient!
Sunday was my first sarament meeting. I had to bear my testimony, which wasn't hard at all, and Sister Sexton said I only made small mistakes, like accusative "t". It get's me everytime, but everyone was so sweet.
Every time I talk to someone, they say "You speak really good Hungarian." I'm not sure if I believe them. Actually I believe them. Nothing makes me more annoyed when people question the compliments they're given, so I'll take every compliment I can get. I even had someone say I speak better than Sister Sexton, after I said just one word. That is definitely hamis (false)!
I've had such a great time here so far, and I could talk about many many many other experiences that I've had thusfar, but I feel like what I have said will suffice.
Hungary is beautiful and I absolutely love it here! The people are so great!
I hope everything is going well back home! I miss you all!
God be with you 'till we speak again

Whitaker Nover

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