Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Michaela Janae Whitaker

Sziasztok Mindenki!
What's good in the United States? Not going to lie, sometimes I walk down the street with Sister Schnoor and we have to stop and say to ourselves, "woah, we're in Hungary." You'd think that being here for six months (six months, whaaa??) would be normal but every now and then it still takes me back that I'm a whole ocean away from my family and friends. Then I think of the sacrafice that Jesus Christ made for me and these people in Hungary and I think it's all worth it.
We had a pretty good week here in Székesfehérvár.
Tuesday the sister training leaders (older sisters in the mission) came to Székes and we went on splits. That was a lot of fun. We split up our programs and had a good day. I learned a lot from the STLs. It's always to go on splits with them and see how they do missionary work, because even though missionary work is pretty "standard," it's really not. Everybody has their own way of finding, and teaching. I learn a lot from everyone who I go on splits with and it's always a good time.
Then on Wednesday afternoon, we rode a train back to Budapest with the STLs because we had interviews with President Smith. Interviews were good. During my interview President told me that 70% of the missionaries in the Hungary Budapest Mission came just this year--consequently, there will be some missionaries who will need to fill some important leadership spots maybe more earlier than they had wanted to. Basically, that was just a shout out to me and my companion that we might be going senior this next transfer. Now this is just me making assumptions and I should be smart enough to know that usually when I make assumptions 99.9% of the time they're wrong, but who knows. We will see in ten days! After our interviews we went back to the train station to catch a train back to Székes...well if you remember what happened last time when we tried to get home (we ended up in the wrong town) we were super skeptical about which train we needed to get on and what if the same thing happens as last time and we don't make it back home in time. We bought our ticket and were running around the platforms asking people where this train was (people were definitely starring and laughing at us). We found the train and jumped on, only to find that all the lights were off and that neither Sister Schnoor or I knew this particular layout of a train so then we were definitely sketched out. We jumped off and stood by the train, looking like confused foreigners (woah! we were!). All of a sudden a young guy comes walking towards us and I just thought to myself, "this is the 10th guy we've asked about our train ticket, what's one more..." so I go up to him and ask him if this train will go to Székes. Turns out he was on his way to Székes too and he told us that, "yes, that is indeed the train you need to be on." Schnoor and I hop on the train again thank him for his help. We're about to take our seats and see that this man who had helped us was still walking behind us. We sat down and he asked if he could sit with us.  We were super happy that he asked, because we DID NOT want to miss our stop...plus I think he could see the fear on our faces and just wanted to make sure that we got to Székes. Turns out his name is Marcel and he is going to school to be a lawyer, and he goes to Budapest everyday for his job, so he knew the route real good. He also spoke English, probably the best of any Hungarian that I've met so far, so we ended up talking the whole train ride home about well...everything. It was so cool. We were talking just about Hungary and all of  a sudden this young guy who was sitting in the room next to us comes over and starts talking to Marcel. Schnoor and I both thought that Marcel knew this guy, who came over and started talking to him about everything we had been talking about for the past twenty minutes (eavesdropper? ha.). This other guy goes and gets his stuff and plopps down right next to me and starts talking with us. He too spoke English and he was also from Székes. His name was Debrenceni, which is actually really funny because here in Hungary if you were born in Debrecen, you call yourself a "Debrenci" so we just thought it was funny that this guy's name was Debrenci. He was quite an interesting character but we still had a good chat. They were both super nice to make sure we got off at the right stop and afterwards they helped us get on the right bus. It was super nice of them, we actually gave both of them English Class flyers and told them if they ever wanted to practice their near-to-perfect english, that we would love to have them at English Class. You really find finding opportunites everywhere. It's pretty amazing. Thursday, (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM! I LOVE YOU!)  we had a program with an RC (recent-convert). It was more or less a visiting teaching program but it was super good. This RC has had a lot of struggles in her life and I think she just wanted someone to talk to. She opened up to us a lot and told us about the things that are hard for her and her family right now. It was nice because we were able to share a few scriptures with her that really applied to what she is dealing with right now, and those scriptures brought great peace and comfort to her. Thursday night we had Angol Ora. Angol ora is just a blast, we get to teach people English and teach about the gospel at the same time!
Friday we had zone training. We traveled to Dunaújváros this time. It's about an hour bus ride from Székes. Sister Schnoor greenied (that was her first city) there so she went down memory lane going back to Duna. It was a good training. We talked about getting our investigators to come to church, which is actually unbelievably hard. Especially because Hungarians work schedules can be a little crazy and rarely are they ever consistant but they change every week. Plus, they don't just work eight hours at a time, but some work twelve....even some fourteen. It's a super crazy schedule, and when they are off they are usually sleeping so they can receive enough rest to go the next night, but our zone leaders did give us other ways that maybe we can get some of our investigators to come, we will be trying those all throughout the week. After the training we all went out to lunch and I got to chat with my last companion in Pápa, Sister Kovács, along with other missionaries who I served around. It was a good time. Afterwards we hopped on a bus and came back to Székes. It made for a long, tiring day.
Saturday we had a pretty good day, We had a few programs. One of our programs was with this really cool guy who is in the Hungarian Army. His name is Bence and he's pretty legit. He speaks English really well, and we met him a few weeks ago streeting in the belváros. We have met with him only a few times before and he has taken everything we have taught about the gospel really well. Then on Saturday we met with him and he told us that he had one problem with the Book of Mormon. Sister Schnoor and I were ready to take on whatever he had. He said, "Can I show you my problem with the Book of Mormon." Glady... he opened to the very back and showed us the barcode on the last page and said, "this is my problem with this book." Then continued to explain to us how that is on all chocolate bars and cans of pop and well everything that is marketable. "It's just a way to get money out of people," he said. I actually couldn't help but giggle inside, we explained to him that it comes out of a distribution center and that the money that is used to print the Book of Mormon is from tithes from members of the chuch and it's not just a book you can find in any shop window, but he was very insistant that since it had a barcode people could take it that way. "Maybe you should talk to your boss and tell him that you need a different tracking identity for these books..." Okay Bence, we'll just call up the first presidency to get that fixed for you. We don't give The Book of Mormon out for any cost, we give it to people for free. Why should people have to pay for God's word? I'm not sure if he was convinced, but he said that he kind of felt cheated that we told him that the Book of Mormon was from God but all of a sudden he found a barcode in the back. The actual Book isn't from God, it's the words contained within the book. We will see where he goes from here. Let's see we held  Angol Ora again. Guess who came....Marcel...the lawyer who we met on the train on the way back from Budapest. It was so cool that he came! He came into our kezdő class, just because he knew us, but afterwards I talked to him and he knew everything that we taught so next time he said he will try the profi class. He's totally capable, he's a smart guy. Not too much happened on Saturday, really.
Sunday we had stake conference. Stake conference was so cool. Right now there is only one stake in Hungary, but we are working hard to establish a second stake. As it is now though, there is one and we all traveled up to Pest to go. We met as a district (with the elders) and our investigators (total seven) and headed up to Pest. When we got there and got to the stake building there were people EVERYONE. There were seventy missionaries and their investigators there and a couple hundred members there. It's safe to say that it was full. There were some A.M.A.Z.I.N.G talks there. I wish I would have take notes, all I did though was write a few quotes that I liked. Here a just a few:
"Truth both saves and condems." Those who apply and act on the truth they receive they can receive many blessings and open many doors. On the other hand those who reject the truth or go against it, it can cause a number of consequences.
"An attitude of gratitude prepares the heart to receive the truth." If we are grateful for the things we have and experience we are much more willing to receive truth into our lives.
On Sunday they just called a new stake presidency for the Budapest Hungary Stake. One of the speakers were talking about the newly called presidency and he just happen to notice the beautiful flower arrangement on the pulpit. He reached down and picked one of the roses out of the arrangment. Continuing his talk he said, "Look at this rose, it's healthy, it's beautiful. This rose has no flaw. Right?" I'm not a florist, but hey what he was saying sounded right. Then he said, "Now, if we put this rose under a microscope you know what it would look like..." he paused a moment and then said, "It would be hideous." It was so funny, because previously he was talking about the newly called presidency and after he made the statement about the rose being ugly under the microscope, he turned around and looked at the newly called presidency (by the way, the new stake president is American. He served his mission here in Hungary, and came back and married a Hungarian women. He's been a bishop in Budapest for a while now, but now he's the stake president. Cool, huh?) and said, "You know where this is going." He went on to compare the macro image of the beautiful rose to our macro image of the newly called stake presidency. Sometimes we expect people who are called to the stake presidency to be perfect, but really, they have faults too and we don't know everything about them but they too have struggles in their life. We cannot hold them to an unrealistic standard and expect them to be faultless in their work. Then he went on to tell us not to do the same to ourselves, he said, "Don't put yourself under the microscope, your best is enough." That was comforiting to me, because being a missionary is hard but I know as long as I do my best that everything will work out and God knows that I put all my heart into his work.
It was just such a good day to see everybody. I saw a bunch of people from the other cities where I served. It was so good to be able to actually talk to them and understand them. Plus I got to catch up with a lot of other missionaries I served around. It was like a huge reunion. Everyone was everywhere and we just had a blast talking to everyone. I got to see the Shirleys again, I love that family so much! It was a good day!
Well, that was my week. Crazy like usual, but I'm not complaining one bit! I hope everything is well with all of you! I love you all so much!
Szeretlek titeket.
Whitaker Nővér

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