Monday, September 29, 2014
Hello from Székesfehérvár!
Wow, this week has been a crazy week, and I haven't even been here a full week. Don't worry though, it's been a good crazy!
Transfers were good. I love transfer day, but it is also the most stressful day! There were two of us from my companionship in Pápa who were leaving, so we had eight bags we had to get to the train station before six-thirty in the morning, between the three of us. It is easier said than done, let's just say that, but we made it on time and put our bags on the train and headed to Budapest. We got to Budapest and found all the other missionaries. It's always fun to see those who you have served around. I saw the people I served with the MTC, and from my first area, it was good to catch up with them and see how their work is going in other parts of the country. It's safe to say that the work is going forward everywhere in Hungary! (:
I met my new companions. I am in a trio again, but the other two people who I am serving with are sisters who I served with in the MTC. We are all four months old in the country, six months old in the mission. Seeing how we're all serving together we are "co-seniors," which basically means that we all share the "authority" in our companionship. Usually there is a "junior" and a "senior" companion in a companionshp--senior having"authority" over the junior-- but since we all came into the country at the same time, we are "co-seniors." President Smith has told us that becoming co senior in the mission this early is unusually rare, but with the number of sisters going home and the sisters coming into the country not balancing, people have to step up to leadership positions quicker. Another special thing about this companionship is that my companions and I "opened" Székesfehérvár. Opening a city means that last transfer (nine weeks) there were not sisters serving here, in other words, when we got here we had no investigators, because usually when you are transfered you just take the investigators who had been taught by the missionaries there before, but seeing how there was only one companionship of elders here, there wasn't any additional work to pick up here. Let's just say that we had a lot of finding time this week. Luckily we did some Area Book work (records of people who missionaries have taught in the past), and picked up some new investigators from that (four, to be exact). That was a huge blessing, really.
Okay, so funny story. We were doing some Area Book work the full day here and I looked at a lady's paper who usually comes to our Angol Óra (English Class). We happen to have English Class the next day so I sat down with her and asked her if she would be interested in meeting with us, she pulls out her work schedule for the whole month of October, and basically the days that she will be off, she scheduled to meet with us. That was a huge blessing! My companions thought it was funny because after English Class we were siting at home eating dinner and all of a sudden I said, "Oh, hey by the way, I planned eight programs with that lady... we have programs with her all the way through October." They just busted out laughing. I'll say, it was pretty funny!
We went tracking a lot this week, and it was super fun. There are a lot of ten-story buildings here, and I had never tracked a ten-story building before. In Pápa we tracked all family houses, so it was an experience for me. We didn't get any let-ins but we did talk to some really sweet people. We were on this one floor tracting and we had just knocked on this one door on the floor so we were standing there waiting to see if anyone was going to come to the door, well meanwhile, the guy across from the door we were waiting in front of started blasting this Hungarian Opera and started singing Opera. It was soo funny. I thought it would have been cool to talk to him so we rang his doorbell and knocked on his door, but he didn't answer. I think he was singing too loud to hear. It made our day though.
We have set up with a few other people this week, so I have some big hopes for them too. The Elders gave us a couple of their RCLA's so we need to try to contact them, hopefully they will be successful!
Well, let's see, our apartment is interesting. During this transfer the Elders and Sisters had to switch apartments because now that we are in a trio, the other apartment where we would have lived is not meant for three, instead just three, so we switched apartments and I don't want to complain because I am super grateful to have a roof over my head, but it's been kind of a stuggle for the last couple of days. I'll just say that I've never lived in a ten story communist building before. It's super old, but hey it will work. We just have a really bad smelling bathroom, plus the door handles don't stay in the door, plus their are random wires hanging out of our walls. Plus there are clocks hanging on the wall made from the U.S.S.R. Zeah, it's pretty old, but it's part of living the Hungarian culture, no? Yeah, other than that, it's a blast.
Let's see. On Sunday we got to meet our branch, it's a pretty strong branch. Our bishop served his mission in London, so he speaks English and is really cool. Of course, we try to speak Hungarian, but it's just nice because he does speak English too. Our branch is really really nice though. We have a lot of kids in our ward, which is awesome. Oh, I forgot to mention that we had two baptisms on Saturday. They were two kids. It was awesome to go to that, we had to take a bus over there, and it was in this little swimming pool, hooked to this motel. It was super awesome to watch and the light in those kids' eyes was just heart-warming. They knew that they were making the right decision. I actually asked one of the little girls how she felt after her baptism and she said, "really good and happy." It was super cute! Anyways so we met a lot of the members during that. After the baptism we all went outside and ate süti (dessert) that was on the trunk of a communist car. Only in Hungary... I love Hungary! We met the cutest little girl, her name is Andi. She's nine years old and she is the cutest little girl ever! I can't stand it. On Sunday she gave me and my companions each something special. We had only known her for barely twenty-four hours but she gave us each something that she made. It was too precious!
Sacrament meeting on Sunday was really great. Of course, being the newbies we are, we had to introduce ourselves to all the members in sacrament meeting and bear our testimonies. It went well, there are so many kids in the branch so whenever I would look out into the congregation all the little kids were looking up and smiling at me. It was a sight. Sunday school was good, I sat by a recent convert. I'm glad I was too, because I brought my Hungarian scriptures with me, and when we started looking up scriptures up in the Bibia, I had no idea which book, or in what chapter and in what verse we were reading so finally he just told me to hand over the book and he looked them all up for me. What a nice man... (: Relief Society was good as well, We had a good chat with the Sisters and talked about a conference talk from last General Conference. The one given by Elder Anderson where he talked about strengthening our roots like how trees do when mother nature does her thing.
Speaking of General Conference. Next week is general conference and my companions and I are praying that they will let us watch it in English, because well it's easier to pay attention when you understand what is going on. That's something that I have struggled with on my mission, if I don't understand someone, I just seem to tune them out, but now being in my third transfer where I actually feel like I am understand more and more everyday, now it's easier to keep my focus on the conversation, but hopefully they will let us watch conference in English! I love conference time! It's the greatest. Listening to our prophet Thomas S. Monson and his apostles is a great opportunity to get questions answered and have our faith strenghtened. I challenge all who read this to go to conference with a question in mind because those men pray for inspiration, weeks before the actual conference to know what to say. If you have a question write it down and I'm sure that something that someone will say will be an answer to your question.
I guess the last cool thing that happened this week was on Sunday afternoon, we went on a kirandulás (adventure). One of the girls from our Profi (advanced) English class invited the missionaries to go on this adventure. It ended up being this "forest" which was actually really cool. We brought a few of our investigators and just hiked in this forest. It was suuper fun. Tons of bugs and spider webs, but it was fun, nonetheless. I took a few pictures. We hiked for a little while and stopped at this watch tour thing, then hiked a little bit more to this pavillion place, we stopped and had a little lunch. It was a blasty blast. My companions and I were talking to some people we know, because some of the people we had never even met before, but anywho we were talking to acouple of the people we were familiar with and it was just fun because they would help us with our questions about Hungarian and then in return we would help them with their English Questions. To be honest, they were teaching us English. They were telling us about all the different tenses we have in English. I honestly didn't know that there were so many! I just talk and don't think about what tense I'm using. We had a really great time chatting., the whole area was about a four mile hike, but we didn't do all of it as we had to head home because of another obligation we had. It was pretty much the best Sunday I've had on my mission. We talked about the church to some of the people who wasn't familar with it, and it was really great!
Well this is definitely not a short email, but a lot happend this week. I'm really really excited to be here in Székesfehérvár. The first couple of days are always the hardest, because you have no clue where you are, you don't know anyone, and you just feel a little bit out of your comfort zone. Luckily, I already knew my companions and had a good relationship with them in the MTC, so that wasn't so much of a struggle. It took us a few days to get all settled in, but now we are all good and have been having a great time.
I'm so thankful to be serving here in Szekéesfehérvár. Heavenly Father loves these people of Hungary, I can see it in our work, every day. I hope you know that I love you all, and Heavenly Father knows and loves each of you as well. I wish you alll a good week, and until next Monday...Viszonlátásra.Whitaker Nővér