Monday, October 13, 2014

Michaela Janae Whitaker

Family and Friends! How are you guys? What are you doing in America? How is America? Wouldn't it be cool if we could chat instantly with each other? Unfortunantly, that's not possible, as I am eight hours in the future, but hey, like a few people I know say, "beggers can't be choosers." I am just grateful for the opportunity to send this blog email to you all. I hope you enjoy!

Hűha! (Wow!) This week was fantastic, other than my companions and me getting sick in the beginning of the week, I couldn't have asked for a better week! Funny things, embarrassing things Gross things, Sad things, yeah... they all happened. That's missionary life for you, and may I say it's the BEST life!
I'll start out with the embarrassing story of the week, and just get that out of the way!
Alright so after I emailed last week, we had a program with an LA (less-active member).We planned to just have a bemutatás (introduction) because it was our first program with him and we didn't know anything about him and the same went for him, other than he knew that we are awkward on the phone sometimes because of our rough Hungarian. The program was going well and as I was listening to him I felt like I really was understanding what he was saying, so all was good through the whole program. Then as we were ending the program, I asked him if he knew anybody who is having a hard time or is sick, in pain, etc. He then started talking to us about his mother and how she has sok betegség ( a lot of sickness). Namely asthma, pain in her legs, etc. He ended up talking about his mom for a while, and the more he talked about her, the more worse her condition sounded. After he finished, I said, "okay, well we can pray for her." Nobody said anything, then Cropper Nővér said she would say the prayer. As she prayed, I listened for our LA's mother's name but as Cropper said the prayer I didn't hear it. When she ended it, I just kind of looked at her funny, wondering in my own mind, "why in the world did she not pray for this poor woman, that's the whole reason why I asked him that question?" Being the nice person I am (who understand Hungarian perfectly...) I asked "Well, is there anything we can do for your mom, like maybe visit her or something..." all of a sudden my companions start poking me, and saying something under their breath. It took me a while to actually understand what they were saying to me, but I eventually heard "SHE DIED!" The reason why I couldn't understand that they were saying that the first fifty times is that they were trying not to burst out laughing, but then when they saw my mortified face, they couldn't hold it in any longer and we all burst out laughing. It was HORRIBLE! The LA was really chill about it and understood that we were laughing about Whitaker Nővér's horrible comprehension of the Hungarian language. I felt so dumb! This whole time I thought this lady was living and that we maybe we could visit her and such but she died a few years ago. Ugh, welcome to my life. There's at least one stupid/embarrassing moment due to Hungarian in a day. That's the embarrasing story!
So that was Monday
Tuesday, well... it was not a very good day for Sister Cropper. She woke up not feeling too well, and actually got a really brutal stomach bug. Of course, we didn't let her leave her bed. It was actually a real relaxing day. Super unfortunate that Sister Cropper got a bag bug, but it gave Schnoor Nővér and I time to tidy up the apartment and do some other things. I wrote some letters and caught up on journaling. I hope you (the reader) keep a journal. My journal is one of the most imporant things in my life, because well it's a record of my life. It's great to record events that have happened to you. Good or bad. If you don't keep a journal, I encourage you to start now. It's never too late. It doesn't have to be a large entry, but a paragraph about how your day was and the thoughts and impressions that came into your mind during the day. It will be something to read, when you are older (: Most of the day Tuesday we stayed inside. Actually, Schnoor Nővér made fajitas so we went to the Branch House and shared our fajitas with the Elders that night, other than that, Cropper Nővér was just busy recovering.
Wednesday was a good day, just something really random and funny. We went tracting and tracted into this really sweet lady...that looked like Edna Mode... off of the Incredibles. The Incredibles is a Disney Pixar produced movie with a bunch of animated characters and Edna Mode in the Incredibles is well...just google her name and you'll know what I am talking about. She opened the door and was just the sweetest lady, she let us in, but told us that fiúk (the Elders) had already been by and that she wasn't interested in listening to our gospel. However, we had a nice chat with her about her family and just about Székesfehérvár. Plus, she had just made a big fresh loaf of bread so her house smelled amazing (:
Later that day, we also knocked on a door and this little boy answered, probably about ten or eleven years old. We told him that we teach free english class and he just stared at us, with the most uninterested stare I have ever got on my mission. Super cute, just not interested at all.
Thursday...yeah...Thursday wasn't great. I just say that because Thursday night I got really sick. It was really weird too because it was super sudden. One minute I was teaching English class, the next minute I was half-folded over a chair because of the pain in my stomach. I bore through English Class but then we came home and I layed in bed. My stomach hurt really bad, but it's all good. I survived, although in the moment I felt like I was going to die.
Wow, this is really weird. Something big happened almost every day this week. I commend you if you're still reading this. I get into these weird spurts where I could write every little detail of my life if I had all the time in the world. I could proabably condense this email down into a few paragraphs, but hey I have time, question is, do you? If not, that's okay, I can wait (;
Saturday, was hands down one of the best days ever! Okay, so we do our studies and all, go to Sport Nap. Unfortnantly, Sport Nap isn't as popular or huge as it was in Pápa. Not many of the investigators have time to come to Sport Nap, as most of them are at their jobs, or sleeping because they worked all night. After Sport Nap, we came home and had lunch. We then planned to go out tracting, but we still feel like we have only seen this little square of Székesfehérvár so we decided to do some exploring around the city, while streeting people. We didn't really know which way to go, but I just thought for some reason that South would be a good way to go, we literally had no idea where the street would have led us, but we just walked down it, and said, "Hey, as long as we stay along this main road, we will be able to make it back home, without getting lost. We walked down the street for a while. As we were walking we saw this intersection and this old man who was walking in the intersection, not within a crosswalk or anything, but just walking in the intersection. We saw him as he was walking very slowly trying to get to the sidewalk, but just couldn't get his legs going very quick. It gave us quite the scare, as the cars he was walking in front of had a red light, but we knew very soon it'd turn green, and that it did. He, by this time, had gotten across one lane of traffic, who had already hit the gas and blew past them, along with the stopped other lane of traffic, as soon as he got to the edge of that lane of traffic, the cars started going, barely missing him. Cropper and Schnoor Nővér ran over and grabbed his arms and helped him over to the sidewalk. It was super scary, but after they helped him he said thank you a million times and sent us on our way. Anywho, so we saved a bácsi from getting hit. That was exillerating, but also super scary! 

WE kept walking and eventually we ran into a bunch of ten-story buildings. We decided to track one of the ten-stories, as we walked around the ten story we had picked to track, we saw that behind the ten story, was this HUGE childrens park, called "Koronás Park" We saw it from inside the ten-story and said okay, well we should visit it sometime. We continued to track in the ten story we were in, but found that we weren't having much success, plus there had already been a few people say that the Elders had already come not too long ago. Knowing that, we decided to pray to know whether to keep tracting the building or not, we all three received an answer that we shouldn't but we should go streeting.
We left the building and decided to check out this children's park we had seen out of the window. There were tons of kids running around, screaming, yelling, having a good 'ol time. We walked from the Entrance to the Exit and decided that someday, we will go play on that playground, but that it was working time and we should focus on talking to people. The children's park exit lead into another general public park where there were benches and such. It happend to be a nice day, so we decided we would do some park finding. There have been many times on my mission that my companion and I would walk up to people on benches and just ask them how they are and try to get to know them, maybe hand out a flyer here and there, but just to get to know people. I suggested that method to my companions, and reminded them that one of our teachers in the MTC taught a Restoration lesson on a park bench before. I always looked up to my MTC teachers and if I could teach a Restoration lesson on a bench, that would be the coolest thing ever. There were a lot of people just chilling on the benches enjoying the good weather and that this would be a good opportunity to bench find . Neither of them were really fond of my idea, but after talking to them about how to go about doing it, they were more than willing to try it out. I call it "benching people." (For all of you who know anything about working out, that's also a work out term: "benching" I can't literally bench a person though). Anyways I walked up to a younger woman who had a baby in the babakocsi (stroller--direct translation--baby car)  and said "Hello, we are missionaries..." I don't even think I got to missionaries until she said "No, I don't care." I could just feel the confidence of this finding method, in my companions eyes slowly sinking down... it surprised me when even though that lady had said no, my companion took the lead to the next bench where a cute little white-haired Néni (Grandma) sat. She walked up to the néni and told her about English Class, she glady accepted the flyer from my companion and we started asking her about questions about her family. Turns out she has lived in Székes for the majority of her life and that she knows A LOT about it. We asked her about the children's park and a bunch of other things. One thing led to another and the next thing I know, we were teaching a Restoration lesson...on a bench! That was the coolest. We gave her a Book of Mormon and will most likely be meeting with her this week. I can't wait.
Saturday night we had a few hours after dinner to go finding, we decided to go streeting in the belváros (downtown). We were walking around and all of a sudden we see two guys walking towards us, we couldn't clearly hear what they were saying but it didn't sound like Hungarian. As we got closer we realized that it was English that they were speaking. We stopped them. Cropper Nővér stopped them with the normal approach: "Hey, do you speak English?" Haha, we give her a lot of grief about it because they were literally by us when she asked it and they had been speaking English the whole time they were walking towards us, anyway they stop and the one guy says to us, "yes, we do speak English." We told them that we are missionaries here in Hungary and one of the guys says to us, "You're speaking to a member." We about flipped about!  Let me tell you a little about this guy, he is from Nigeria, he is a member of the church, he served his mission in Ghana, pretty much the coolest guy ever. He worked in Cyprus where he met his Hungarian wife and they had a child three months ago. Now he lives here in Székesfehérvár but occasionally goes to Budapest for buisness. Pretty much the coolest guy.
His friend, was actually Hungarian. He was really really cool too. He spoke English super well, and could understand everything I was saying, and I didn't have to change the tempo of my speaking at all. We had a good chat, as Schnoor and Cropper were talking to Stanley in the beginning. Long story short, we met those cool people, got their numbers and they are totally down with meeting with us, to help us get to know the town and such. We have friends here, wooo!
Sunday, we went to church, it was fast and testimony meeting, we heard a lot of great testimonies from the members here in the Branch. The Branch here is great, there small in numbers but huge in faith. You can just feel it when you walk into our little chapel!
After church we needed a few more finding hours, so we decided to do some more streeting to get to know the town and the people more. We to the other side of the belváros this time and talked to a few people. We came upon a bus station that had a few benches to the side of it, there were a few people sitting on the benches, and I jokingly said to my companions, "Hey, do you want to do more bench finding--your favorite (: " They, to my surprise were down. Just a little side note, I LOVE MY COMPANIONS, they're so brave and great! Sure enough the first guy we benched, he immediately started speaking English to us, and we ended up having a good conversation with him, that lasted a good thirty minutes right there on the bench. By the end of the conversation we had exchanged numbers and he knew every reason why we're here in Hungary and how we just want to serve and help people. It was just like the previous night with the two guys in the Belváros
This was my week, and this was an extremely long letter. I'm sorry, and if you made it through the whole thing, congratulations, when I get back home, you get a hug!

Basically, what I learned from this week is that you are never anywhere on accident. As missionaries, our purpose is to "invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end." We invite those who are ready to accept this Gospel. We don't always know who is ready, and we see hundreds of people on the street everyday. Where we are not capable of making those distinctions Heavenly Father is, he knows us and knows who we need to talk to, he will make it so that we come in contact with those people who he has prepared to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through all the situations I just told you about, I could write another email, as long as this one, talking about how if one little thing would have been different in those days we wouldn't have been in those places at that time to talk to the people we talked to. Like I said before, you are never somewhere by accident.
I love this gospel and I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve here in this wonderful country. I know that God loves his children, yes that means you, and as we turn to him, he will bless us in ways we didn't know that were possible.  I love you all, and wish you the best week!
Whitaker Nővér

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