Monday, June 30, 2014

Hello everyone!

The work is going forward and onward, here in Sopron! This week has been great! Our finding efforts have increased and we have definitely found the fruits of our labors this week.
We have found many new people to teach and we will be meeting with them this week, to begin our teaching with them and we are pumped!
I have to share an interesting story about how we met one of our new investigators. This actually happened two weeks ago, but I forgot to write about it so I will write about it now! So we had just left the Senior Couple's house and was streeting home. The route that we take from our house to their house and vise-versa is always the same, but this one night, I decided to go a different way. We knew that it would lead to our apartment, so it's not like we were just walking in a different way, and hoping we'd get home, but as a matter of fact, we did know where we were and where we were going. On this particular root we ran into a honey-suckle bush. I never really knew what honey-suckle was. My companion took this time to educate me on what honey-suckle was and how you would go about getting it from out of these lovely blossums that were on this bush. We stood for a while as we gently picked a few blossums off of the bush, hoping that we could pull the stem right so that we could partake of that miniscule, but yummy drop of honey-suckle (?) Ha, I'm not sure if that's how you say that, but it sounds good to me (; Anyway, we had stayed there for a while, because you have to pull the bulb at the bottom of the blossum ever so gently so that the drop of honey-suckle comes out, but we kept on messing it up. I swear I went through about ten, and my companion went through another five. We were about to leave when a lady from the house that the honey-suckle bush stood in front of opened her window and started talking to us. At first, I was thinking "Oh no, she's going to yell at us for picking off her bush." Instead, she was asking us if we had ever tasted of honey-suckle before and then she asked which flowers to pick. The dead ones were brown, the almost dead ones were yellow and the live ones were white, so we told her that the white ones are the ones you want to pick and the ones you can extract the honey-suckle from. Then she said "Can we get together sometime and chat."Uh OF COURSE! You don't have to ask us twice! We learned about where she works, because right now she is taking care of her elderly mother and it's not convientent to meet at her house, but we are to visit her at work. Last week, we went to the place where she worked (so we thought) we sit down at this restraunt and ask her for and the waiter that was waiting on us just said "I don't know who you're talking about."We were a little bummed, because apparently she didn't work there. We ended up going back to her house on Friday and knocking on her door. Now this was around 1:45 PM and her mother answered the door, actually she just opened the window and we talked to her through the window, she said that her daughter was at work, but that she was to get off at two. We said thanks and said we'd drop by later, then we headed home. Then something awesome happened, we ran into her on our street! She actually recognized us, which is a miracle because if she wouldn't have recognized us, we definitely wouldn't have recognized her, but she came up to us and was so excited to see us. We told her that we stopped by her "workplace"to visit her, but that they didn't know who she was. She ended up correcting us and telling us that we went to the wrong place--oops. The amazing thing was that the route we took from her house back to our house wasn't very close to her work place (from where she was leaving to go back home) and it wouldn't have made sense that she take that route, if she was wanting to get home quickly. What I'm trying to say but failing to do so is that the route she took was definitely not the fastest way and it was only because Heavenly Father wanted us to see her so that we could get the location of her correct workplace and set up with her. Another thing that astounded me was her excitement to see us, she just was so happy and gave us hugs and kisses, yet she knows nothing about us other than we are robbers of her honey-suckle bush (; I can't wait to meet with her!
That's my story of the week. I hope all of you made it through the whole thing! (:
That same day, we actually ran into two other people on the street that we had gone to their house and they weren't home, but then ran into them on the street and went home with them and taught them.That day definitely strengthened my testimony that Heavenly Father knows me and knows the perfect timing so that his work can move forward. It just takes patience from our end.

Something else that was cool this week is that the Senior Missionaries who are in charge of Family History came to Sopron this week and gave us a really awesome presentation on Family History and Family Search. We talked about how to start Family History and the many many resources that you can use to find our family. I have never really been interested in family search, but my mom and dad have been, and they have collected many records from their ancestors regardinng their family. The elders and us actually went tabling (when we set up a table and have pamplets and fliers talking about our church) and while we were tabling we did some chalking (which is drawing on the sidewalk information or questions about our church that some people might want to know about). It was so fun and this week we did chalking about family history and tried to invite as many people as we could to come to our családikutátasi (Family Search) program. I took some pictures of my family tree that I wrote on the ground, but it was really fun and according to me, it was a very effective finding tool, because tons of people looked down and even though they gave us strange looks, once we started talking about what family history was and why it's important they took an interest to it. Even some of the members called us after we were done, later on in the day and was like "I saw your drawings on the ground!"So that was cool too. is a great place where you can learn about your ancestors (It's free, too). I encourage all of you to try and spend a set amount of time each week learning about your family and ancestors, for it was because of them that you're here today, and they made great and mighty sacrifices for our behalfs (I don't think that's a word, sorry, my english is already slipping). Try to go and look up somebody in your family this week. That is a challenge (;
Lastly, I just wanted to share a little thought that I had this morning when I was studying. I was reading about commitments and how it is important that we, as missionaries extend commitments to those we teach. One of the main reasons for commitments is that we show our Faith and our willingness to follow Heavenly Father. We make a decision to change, and my companion shared an interesting quote that her father shared with her and the quote goes something like this "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." I thought about that quote for a while and I concluded that, it is so right. If we go throughout our whole entire lives just thinking about praying or planning on going to church, or intending to read the scriptures but don't actually do it, what good is it? It's not. I read in the scriptures today and no where could I find that it said that we would be judged according to "our intentions" or "times that we almost did..."but they say that we will be judged according to our works (Alma 41:3 and 1 Peter 1:17 plus a billion more sciptures). Work is a word of action. You have to be active when you do works, whether it be for yourself or if you're serving other people. It's important that we make a commitment today to follow the Savior's example and that when we stand come upon the bar of judgement that we won't see a film of our thoughts, but instead of our works that we performed to build up the Kingdom God.
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Whitaker Nővér

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

                                     At the Train muesum
                                               Elder Flake playing engineer
                                    This Iron Curtain today (not what I expected)
                                  Engineer Michaela
                        The trees have bloomed and produced a beautiful daughter
                              the palace gardens
                                  A room in the Palace
                                  More P-day fun
                                   another locomotive

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hello Everyone!
This week has been really awesome! I've experienced ups and downs, and I am totally fine with that because that's part of being on a mission.
That reminds me of something that Elder Holland said during one of the devotionals that I attended while in the MTC. I can't quote him, verbatum, and even if I could, it still wouldn't mean the same, because let's all admit that Elder Holland is amazing and speaks with such conviction and power. Anyway, in essence he said that missions weren't meant to be easy, because it was never easy for the Savior. I think about that often, because a number of times I've felt upset, or inadequate but then I remember that Jesus Christ experienced that. Any feeling that you or I will experience throughout our whole entire lifetime, he has already felt. I know what it feels like to feel sad or mad or hopeless and it's not a good feeling, I couldn't imagine feeling all of those feelings at once. I'm so thankful for his atonement.  I think of the sacrafice that Heavenly Father made, to send his only begotten Son down to earth, knowing that he'd be mocked, and eventually crucified. That couldn't have been easy, but he knew that in order for us to learn and progress and return back to him, he had to send the Savior of the world to die for our sins. There is no greater sign of love than that.
Okay, now that I've talked a little about the atonement, I can't stop expressing my gratitude for my Savior Jesus Christ.
I'm not a perfect person, and I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, I am so grateful for the atonement. I know that it can free us from our feelings of guilt and shame, for it's done exactly that in my life. I'm so glad that I can be forgiven by a loving Heavenly Father. It's a good reminder to me, as well that when someone offends me or commits a fault towards me that I need to forgive them. For I know that I will be judged after I die, and if I don't forgive people, The Lord will not forgive me.
Something that has always struck me with awe, is when Jesus Christ is on the cross and he says "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Okay seriously, that is mind-blowing to me. Everytime I read it, I tear up because after everything these people have done to the Savior, he pleads with Heavenly Father to forgive them. I think about how upset I get when someone does the smallest thing, and most of the time it's not even affecting me physically, but it's because I have dumb pet-peeves that get my feathers ruffled, that I get so angry and I just want to give them a piece of my mind. But then here's the Savior that has gone through so much physical pain because of these people and he is asking God to forgive them. I love that so much!
I could seriously go on and on about the atonement. I am just so grateful for it, and I pray that we all use it in our lives, and that we always express gratitude for our Savior, Jesus Christ.
As, I said, I've experienced hard things, but I wouldn't take them back for anything. I love it here in Hungary. I've learned so much and made so many great friends here. The Hungarians are truly amazing people. For everything they've gone through, I am amazed at how open and loving they are once you crack that little shell, that they're encased in.
I love you all, and hope everything is going great for you and your families.
Whitaker Nővér

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

                                  Elders and Sisters at Palace gate
                                        Michaela on balcony
                                    Palace main building
                                       Michaela behind the iron curtain
                                      Main building of the palace
                                        Dog playing in one of the many fountains
                                        Elders and sisters having fun

                                       New Bathroom!!!
                                           P-day crazies
                                      Railroad museum
                                         The sisters
                                       drawing fo the iron curtain on the western front
                                    Palace gates
                                   Palace from the back
This is Sister Brown (Senior Couple Sister) and I with our matching blouses.

The story, in a nutshell:

She went to Tesco and got a blouse but it was on the wrong hanger, come to find out it was a size four...the size I wore, so she gave it to me and went back to Tesco and got the right size for her. The day that she gave it to me was on Saturday and she told me not to wear mine on Sunday because that's the day she was going to wear her's. So we went home and I decided to change into mine, because it actually went really good with the skirt that I was wearing that day. So we had English class that night and guess who shows up in the same blouse that night... Sister Brown and I. It was soo funny and soo unintentional!

Sorry, this one is pretty short--but there hasn't been a ton of interesting things this week.

Since I've been here in Sopron, my weeks have been amazing, but I will be completely honest, this week hasn't been the greatest. We had a lot of people cancel on us and not a ton of success for finding efforts, but I have faith in the Lord that things will get better and that we will bless the lives of the people of Sopron as dilligently try to do the work. I've learned the importance of fellowshipping with newly baptized members and how important it is to be persistant in strenghtening them, even though they are baptized, because Satan works on them still. They need strong friendships in the Gospel so when Satan tries to tempt them or brings temptations into their life that they have their feet planted in the gospel sod.
I hope everything is going well for all of you. God be with you 'til we speak again.

Whitaker Nővér

Monday, June 9, 2014

                                  A baptism I participated in right after I arrived
                   Brother in blue shirt is branch president
                      my companion with investigators
                              Elders also serving in Sopron
Szia! Hogy Vagytok!? (Hello, how are you all?) 

This last week in Sopron has been great, as usual! Every week I meet new people and experience new things that make my love for Hungary even greater than the prior week. 
This week Sexton Növér and I had a few opportunities to serve people in Sopron and I would like to speak about my experiences while doing so and what I learned from them.
Our first service opportunity happened Wednesday afternoon. There is an orphanage, here in Sopron, that one of our investigators goes and volunteers at, weekly. The senior couple here, Elder and Sister Brown, are the kindest people you will ever meet and Sister Brown has a love for children that just melts your heart, well of course when Sister Brown has an opportunity to go interact with children she does not hesitate but instead pounces on the opportunity. So on Wednesday, the Browns, Sexton Növér, our investigator and I went to the orphanage to play with the children. Now as you of you know. I was in an orphanage for the first eleven months of my life and though I don't remember what it was like, I can just assume that the life for children in some orphanages is not good. This orphanage though, was the exact opposite. The children were so friendly and so incredibly happy that we came to visit them and play games with them. The smiles on their faces were just a whole bunch of Kodak moments. Sadly, I forgot my camera, but I can still picture in my mind how glad they were to see us. 
Okay, so quite honestly, I've never been a huge fan of babies or children. That doesn't mean I don't love them or care for them, it's just I wasn't like zealous about the opportunity to hang out with them, like Sister Brown, but as I sat with the kids and talked to them (in my broken Hungarian) I started to feel a connection between us. Even though some of them were significantly younger than me, I felt as though we had just created a friendship that could last forever. As I served these children I devolved a love for them and a desire for their happiness. Now, that was another thing that surprised me. It's got to be a hard thing to live I an orphanage, especially when you're older and realize why you are there and why you stay there, but I didn't see one unhappy kid, in that orphanage and they were just so incredibly loving towards one another. They acted as if they are one bug family living in a big home together. They even call the workers there anyukam (my mother). The workers are so sweet and loving to those children and you can see it on their faces!
From the orphanage, I learned the principle of love. Those kids were some compassionate towards each other and willing to help in any way possible. That was just astounding to me, especially given their circumstances. Also, when you serve people, even though you aren't necessarily friends or acquaintances, you will develop of love for them that you didn't even know was possible to obtain.

Our second service opportunity happened on Friday. There is a family that lives a couple of blocks away from the Browns. They are not members or investigators, at the moment, but they are just a neighboring  couple of the Browns. A tragic fire started in their house earlier in the week and it burned everything upstairs and left very few things untouched downstairs. We decided to go over there Friday afternoon and help them pack up things that were still okay. 
I had never served anyone who has lost so much, ever in my life so that was a very humbling experience for me. As we walked in and you just saw black everywhere, my heart ached for this couple and their son. While nobody was hurt, you could tell that they were just physically and mentally drained from this experience. It made me so happy that we could go over there and help them out. 
Sometimes I feel like life is hard and I question why I go through tough times, but my touch times don't even come close to their tough times. Then I feel very selfish when I realize that I have all of my clothes and books and all the necessities back in my apartment and that they are not  all burnt to ashes. The Lord is good to me and my family, but gives us trials and tribulations not to stop our progress but to help us experience things that make our progress more meaningful and helpful, later on in life. I know what this family is going through right now is hard and they don't know why it had to happen, but The Lord has so much in store for them, if they just are patient and wait for The Lord to deliver them blessings, in his timing.
I thank The Lord every day for what the opportunities he has give me to serve the people in Sopron at this time. This is truly a wonderful area and I can't think of anywhere else I would want to be than in Hungary, right now.  Again, the Branch here is great and filled with wonderful people as is the whole town of Sopron. 
I hope everything is well with you all and God be with you 'till we speak again!

Whitaker Növér

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

                                          Cool arch
                                          The Danube
                                         Part of the Berlin Wall
                                         Budapest Train Station
                                         Castle Hill Budapest
                                          Beautiful building
                                       Budapest and Sister Sellers
                                          Train station Budapest
                                         View from hotel room first night in Budapest
Szia from Sopron!
Guess what everybody?

I GOT MY FIRST BAPTISMAL DATE, THIS MORNING!! Can you tell how excited I am about this!? This happened this morning at around ten and I'm still on cloud nine about it.
Sexton Nővér and I went into the lesson today with the hopes to help this indvidual understand the importance of being baptized. She had been baptized when she was a baby, and thought that, that would suffice. As I studied in personal study,  I thought about many things that I learned in the MTC and I thought that it would be good to talk to her about the importance of exercising her own faith.
The problem that I faced was not to come across as acting superior to her. I prayed really hard and studied the scriptues all morning so that I could hopefully find the right scripture to help me teach this complex but very important concept.
So we put on our brave faces and went in and taught the lesson. Sexton Nővér actually decided to sit back and listen as I attempted to lead the lesson. I read some scriptures that are very dear to my heart about exercising "even a particle of faith..." We had a great talk and after I was finished Sexton Nővér said that we have a baptism in two weeks, and extended an invitation to her and asked her if she would like to come and see it. Not only did she say yes, but she said that she wanted to be baptized. If I hadn't had been holding on to my chair I might of gone through the roof (which is saying a lot, because we were on the fifth floor of a ten-story building). I was so happy and am still so happy!
Afterwards, Sexton Nővér and I talked about the lesson and she told me that I said all these great things, the crazy part about that is that I don't remember saying everything. That is just a huge testament to me that we, as missionaries, are truly the Lord's mouthpiece here on this earth. We are not the teachers, but the spirit is and it can bear witness to people through a power that is mightier (is that a word? probably not.) than anything or anyone on this earth.
Just witnessing that change of heart in someone that I just met a few weeks ago, was the greatest experience of my life.
While I haven't been with the people of Sopron for an extended amount of time, I already feel the love for them, and I get the great opportunity, as a missionary, to feel just a tiny bit of the love that God has for all of his children and let me tell you, it's a lot, because I felt like I could just hug and squeeze my investigator this morning forever! I felt so much love in my heart for her and was so proud of her decision to be baptized.
Just one other quick little story, last week I got to witness my first baptism in Hungary. The Elders in Sopron, baptized a woman that they had been teaching for a while. She is the sweetest lady ever.
Just being able to be at her baptism Saturday night was such a spiritual experience. The baptism that I witnessed on Saturday was way different from any other baptism I've been to. Not because it was in a hotel hot tub (but I've got to admit, I've never witnessed a baptism outside of a church building). But as a missionary, you understand two additional sides of a baptism. You understand the many hours of finding and planning that goes in as a missionary and they're sincere desire for their investigators to accept their message, and you also understand the many many sacrafices and commitments that the investigator makes in order to enter the waters of baptism. It really makes you look at their baptism in a different way. I felt the spirit so strongly during this particular baptism and the beaming smile that this women had on her face after she came up from out of the water was so heart-warming.
I know that this woman will receive so many blessings, in this life and many eternities to come, because of her decison to be baptized.
This past week has been awesome. We've had quite a few programs and everybody has been just so nice and welcoming. I have yet to go tracting, but I hope that it happens sometime this week. We will probably experience different reactions, but I don't care. I am willing to have a million doors slammed in my face, just so they can see who the missionaries are and what they look like, and while they won't necessarily accept the gospel now, I have faith that they will some other time.
In an email my dad wrote me a couple weeks ago he said something that really stuck out to me. He said that I need to remember that I stand on the shoulders of missionaries that have been before me, and that some missionaries might have gone home without a single baptism, but through they're hard work and efforts I may baptize someone who they found and taught, who decided not to get baptized at that time. That humbled me a lot and I thought that this isn't my work, but the work that I'm doing now and the work that I will do, is because of dedicated missionaries who served before me and that when I leave, there will be missionaries who stand on my shoulders who will baptize the people that I find and teach. That was just super relevent to me and I thought I'd share.

The field is white and all ready to harvest, and I am so thankful that I get to be a part of it. I encourage all members to be missionaries. You don't have to have the nametag to be missionaries, but you can do so by just being a good example and taking advantages to teach people the gospel, which brings you so much happiness. I know that if you do so, that the Lord will bless you.
I will say szervusz (bye) for now.
Whitaker Nővér