Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Michaela Janae Whitaker

Hellooooo from Székesfehérvár!

This week was filled with unfortunate events for us...don't worry though, nothing too bad.
The first unfortunate event was that we lost Sister Cropper (don't worry, we know exactly where she's at). Transfers were this week and now she is serving in Debrecen, which is clear on the other side of the country. We are no longer in a tri-companionship but now it is just Schnoor Nővér and me. It was the craziest thing when we lost Sister Cropper, because both Sister Schnoor and I have been in tri-companionships for a majority of our missions and at first when it was only us two we would occasionally turn around, looking for our other companion. Then we realized, "Oh wait, it's just us now...weird!"
Monday and Tuesday we spent the majority of our time packing Sister Cropper and getting her ready for her excursion to Debrecen.  Packing is always stressful, especially as a missionary, because you literally have to fit ALL of your belongings in three suitcases. Anyway, we got her all packed up and headed up to Budapest Wednesday afternoon. We arrived at the mission home and everybody met their new companions (only two other companionships were effected). Soon after, Sister Schnoor and I headed back to the train station so that we could return to Székesfehérvár. This is where our second unforunate event happened. We got our tickets, got on the train and prepared for our hour and a half train ride home. Funny thing though, by the time the train took off it was starting to get dark (It get's dark here at four--it's crazy!).As we wer sitting in the train we were joking about how funny it would be if we missed our stop because we literally couldn't see anything, and we had only traveled from Budapest to Székes one other time before this time. Little did we know that our little joke would actually turn into reality. Every train station we looked out the window to look for a sign as to which train station it was and everytime we looked out we didn't see any sign, so we just stayed on the train. Finally we approached a bigger train station and we said "Oh, this must be Székes.." we ask the lady sitting across from us if this next stop is Székes and she says, " We stopped in Székes a while ago, you girls should have gotten off the train then. We are now in Veszprém and if you better get off at this stop, because if you don't you won't make it back to Székes tonight." I have never moved so fast, to get off a bus in my life. Schnoor and I ran to the door and jumped off the train. We had no clue what we were going to do, but we did know that we needed to get off that train! It was dark and we had no clue where we were,but luckily there are elders in Veszprém so we immediately called the elders and asked them what we should do, and if they knew of a bus or train that would return back to Székes tonight. Eventually, we managed to get a ticket on the way back to Budapest (in the direction of Székes) and we hopped on that bus. We were sitting on the train back and we actually asked someone on the train if this train was indeed going to stop in Székes. We asked this older man and he said, "yes, this train will stop Székes." Phew! Okay, so we are sitting next to the man and we rode the train for about thirty minutes and he all of a sudden turns to us and says, "The next stop will be Székes." We thanked him for his help and got up and walked to the end of the train car so that we could quickly exit. Just about as the train is about to stop at the "Székes Stop," the same old man who told us that this is Székes runs up to us and says, "This isn't Székes, it's the next one." Oh my goodness. Sister Schoor and I couldn't believe it. We almost got off on the wrong stop AGAIN! Luckily we waited and did get off on the right stop, which was Székes. When we arrived in Székes I almost got down and kissed the ground...not really, but I felt like it. I was so happy to be back in the RIGHT town. Hűha! We had to wait awhile at the train station for a bus to come pick us to take us back to our apartment, but we finally made it home and everything was good!
Can you believe that all of that happened just on Wednesday? It was a crazy day and it probably wouldn't surprise you if I said that Sister Schnoor and I had a very good night's sleep that night (:
Thursday was a good day, we did our studies in the morning and then we went out and did some streeting. We passed out English Class flyers and talked to some people asking them what brought happiness into their lives. It's always interesting to hear what people say. A lot of people here in Hungary say their families. I would say that that is the most popular answer, but I would say that the second most popular answer would be "pénz," which is money. Hungarians work so hard. I have never seen people work so hard as the magyarok do. It's sad because for all the work they do, the salary that they get doesn't seem like enough. Luckily, I have been able to talk to people not just about money and it's importance in their life, but also God and the role he plays in their life. It's been a truly humbling experience for me to talk to people about God and how they can find him in their lives. Thursday we did a lot of talking to people on the street, it was good.
Thursday night, we had English Class. It was a lot of fun. I made a Jeopardy game. I don't know if I told you all already, but we teach the kezdő English Class, which means their beginners. Although I have to say, our kezdő class is very intelligent. They are very smart and they speak English very well. Anywho, we played the Jeopardy game. Darn, I should have taken a picture of it, because it was a blast and we had a good time. We unfortunately only got through half of the game. I didn't know that it would take so long, but nonetheless it was good. We will probably continue it later this week. After English class we usually have a few people (investigators and members) who stay and we usually talk about a gospel topic. We call it "beszélgetés" which means "conversation." It's really good because it's just an open conversation where we bring up a topic and talk about it for an hour. It's really good.
Friday was Halloween. It's kind of weird, because Hungary doesn't celebrate Halloween. Nonetheless the branch threw a Halloween party and we went for a while. It was a blast. Almost sixty people were in attendance which is a record for this branch. Mostly it was kids, but there were some adults there too. The costumes were good. We had ghosts, zombies, angels, vampires, witches, etc. We played a lot of games and had a good time together.
Many of you were wondering if Hungarians celebrate Halloween. Hungarians don't celebrate Halloween, instead they have "halottak napjat," which translates into " The day of the dead," or the "Day of remembrance." It's a sentimental kind of holiday that lasts two days November 1st and 2nd. Basically, the Hungarians buy tons and tons of flowers, candles, decorations, etc and they all go to the cemetaries and put everything they bought on their relatives' graves. It's pretty much the coolest thing ever. Saturday night (Nov. 1st) the Elders and us went to one of the cemetaries in Székes and it was stunning to see, especially when it got dark, because normally I would be freaked out walking through a cemetary at night but with all the lights and flowers and candles and such, it was lite up so bright and you just stood in awe of the beauty of it all. It was so cool, and I'm kind of bummed that I won't be here next year for it, but I was only to see it once. So there's an interesting Hungarian Holiday you can all tell your friends about (;
Sunday was an awesome day. I say that because one of the investigators we teach who has MS and is in a wheelchair came to church on Sunday. Yeah, that's right. There are no flight of stairs or awkward angles that can keep her from coming to church. We have great elders and branch members who helped get Andréa to church. We were so happy to hear that she wanted to come and that she didn't fear anything but just wanted to get to church. The whole church experience was really great for her. Funny story, when the men were passing the sacrament, Andréa leaned over to Sister Schnoor and asked "Tojás lesz?" which means "Will it be eggs?" Schoor just snickered and said, "no, it will be bread and water", and Andréa says "Oh...that's good too." Too funny! Andréa stayed for all three meetings and everybody was very friendly with her. I was very impressed. Then at the end of Relief Society (the last meeting), we scheduled to meet with Andréa and to bring one of the members with us, so it was definitely a good experience! I was so happy to see her and the look on her face was just beaming with happiness.
Monday (yesterday) was a bit crazy. The Library is closed the first Monday of the month so we didn't have too much time to email yesterday, that's why I am emailing right now. We met with a few people yesterday. With one of our RCLA's we've been talking about Christlike Attributes with her, and every week when we meet with her we give her a new Christlike Attribute to strengthen in her life. We too have been doing it with her, so far we've done faith and hope, this week it's charity and love. I love Moroni 7 in the Book of Mormon when it talks about how necessary faith, hope and charity are together. If you don't have one, you don't have the others. It's good to develop and then strengthen all three so that we can have a good relationship with God, and also with each other. If you think about a relationship, a lot of it is based on faith(fulness), hope (motivation) and of course love and charity, and when we don't have one in the relationship, it's hard to have the other two. I like to think of faith, hope and charity as a tripod, each leg representing one of the attributes, if we take one of the legs away, what good is a tripod. It's not. It's good for nothing, but when we have all three legs or all three attributes we are able to stand and to use it for the purpose it was made for. We too gain reach our full potential through faith, hope and charity.
Last night was a bit crazy, Sister Schnoor and I were just sitting in our apartment getting ready to plan for the next day and all of a sudden our power goes out. We were sitting in the dark! Neither of us could find our flashlights so we were sitting in the dark for a good hour.
It's been a crazy week, but I wouldn't have traded any of the experiences we went through this week for anything. It was hard at the time, but now we just look back at it and laugh our heads off. That's what you have to do out here. Things get rough, but you just have to make the best of it. I trust God and know that things happen for a reason, and through everything we will learn and grow and become stronger and better people.
Don't you ever forget that either.

I love you all, thanks for being so supportive and great!
Szeretlek benneteket!
Whitaker Nővér

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