Monday, January 12, 2015

Michaela Janae Whitaker

Sziasztok Drágaim!
What's upppp?!? Dang, I feel like I haven't sent an actual email in forever! The holidays were so busy, crazy good busy! Man, I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do. I won't be able to write about everything but I will write about as much as I can.
We had a transfer the first day of January. Both of our Elders who were serving with us left! It was pretty sad! We became really tight as a district and it was really really hard to say bye to both of them, but we know that where they are now is where they need to be. Anways we got two new elders. One of them is Elder Ehardt. I served with our dear Elder Ehardt in the MTC and he is probably one of the funniest people I know. His companion Elder Chambers came to the country just two months before we did, so in other words we are a relatively young district. In fact, 70% of the missionaries here in the mission came last year, which there are about one hundred missionaries in Hungary Budapest mission, so seventy of them are pretty young. For this reason there are a lot of people who are taking "co-senior" or "senior" positions very early, but they are all capable of doing it. As far as a district, it's been pretty good. We only have two weeks until the next transfer, and I'm about ninety percent sure that I'll leave...unfortunantly. My companion and I have done transfer-ology (when we try to figure out where and who everyone will be with next transer) and we don't know exactly, but we have figured out that a couple people from my MTC group (sisters) will have to train. Oh gosh, I feel like i'm still a greenie here in Hungary. The thought of training, kind of scares me, but we'll see what will come out of it.
We have had some dang good lessons the last couple weeks! We meet with one of our investigators, who has been meeting with a LONG time. I think I talked about him in last email. He is the same one who first met with the missionaries by getting an Angol Ora flyer from the missionaries on the street. Yeahh...that guy. We'll call him NT. Anyway, he is a real cool dude, NT has been meeting with the missionaries for about three years. You know... sometimes people meet with the missionaries because they're interested in learning English from them. Sometimes they meet because they are interested in the church, and somtimes they meet because they made real good friends with the missionaries. This is kind of the case with this investigator, as I kind of said in last weeks email, sometimes we forget our purpose as missionaries. People are just so cool and rendes (classy) here and you just can't help but just make friends with them and treat them like your friends back home. Well NT is like one of those cool guys who you just want to be friends with. Anyways a couple weeks ago we sat him down and we told him that we really love meeting with him, but he wasn't keeping his commitments and just didn't seem interested in what we had to say about our church, but more for the friendship. Of course we were nice, and told him that we would love to continue to help him with English or with any other questions he had regarding our church or anything, but that we thought it would be better to not meet as often. At the time I couldn't really tell how he handled it, I had just a feeling that he was a little set back by it, because the missionaries had always, for three years, gladly met with him.  We didn't schedule with him again after that program. Now keep in mind this was before Christmas. A few days before Christmas the Elders and us went Christmas Caroling to a few members and investigators houses. NT called us the night we were caroling and said that he wanted to meet. That was a big surpise to my companion and I. We told him we were caroling and he was a little disappointed that we couldn't meet. Then we had a  thought we should drop by NT's house while we were out. We walked to his apartment and rang his door bell. It was a complete surprise for him, He let us in and we talked to him for a while. While giving the spritual thought, Elder Whiting asked NT how his life has been different since he's met with the missionaries, he admitted that his life has changed for the better and that he feels like he is a better person than he was three years ago. That really stuck with me and I really wanted to hear him out. We arranged to meet with him later that week. The day came when we arranged to meet with him and we had a really good program with him. We talked about a lot of things. He really loves the church and all it's teachings, but he has a few things that are keeping him from being baptized. One of the things is that his father is not very fond in him joining the church, his father has made it clear to him that he will disown (is that the right word...? It's super hard to speak English) him if he joins our church. I understand how hard that would be to NT, he really loves his father and the relationship between a father and son is super important. My companion and I shared a few stories of people we know, that have had the same worry before joining the church, and we shared stories with NT and how it wasn't easy for the people in our lives to join the church, against their families wish or desire, but they did and everything after that fell into place. One of my favorite scriptures that says it better than I could ever is 3 Nephi 13:33, " But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." Really though, people fear about if they pick to follow God that their life will fall apart, but this scripture says (to me) that if we obey and follow God everything else in our life will fall into place according to God's will. We shared this scripture with NT and bore testimony that this scripture really brings us comfort in our lives when we have to choose what the world wants or what God wants for us. It was just a really solid lesson and at the end NT said he felt really good when we talked seriously about things that he was worried about. We told him that it was the Holy Ghost and he said, "Yeah, I felt the Holy Ghost and it's a feeling I want to feel more." We encouraged him to pray about our message and to ask God whether it is true, because realy, we can sit here in Hungary for eighteen months, or the rest of our lives and tell people about God and how much he loves them and such, but until they act on their faith and really ask God for an answer they will just be leaning on our testimonies. There's nothing more important than getting your own testimony and knowing for yourself , through personal experiencees, that this is Jesus Christ's restored church on the earth. So we told him to go home and pray to know if this is true. WE MEET WITH HIM TONIGHT AND I AM SO EXCITED TO HEAR WHAT HE HAS TO SAY! Sorry, but as a missionary when one of your investigators makes just even the tiniest step towards God it just makes your life and confirms why you're here. That's how I feel right now. I just love NT so much and I know that he will be so happy with this gospel in his life, he's just naturally a happy person as it is, and I can't wait for the day that he will be baptized!
Our other investigator, I think I talked about him in last week's email to. SA is what we'll call him. He is a baptist that we meet with and he's just a great guy. Up until the lesson with him last week, we haven't ever been able to teach him a solid lesson because of time and other subjects being brought up so my companion and I said that we would teach him a solid lesson, which we had planned a really good lesson, but we ended up answering his questions about our church. It was really good, and although sometiems things got a little intense, he wanted
the answers and we gave them to him. It was really good. That's something I really love is when people have questions about our church. We unfortunantly ran out of time, as he had other questions he wanted to ask us, but we didn't have enough time to answer them all so we will be meeting with him tonight too, and we are excited to talk to him about his other questions.
I think I said this already, but we meet with SI, our pünkosdi (pentacostal) investigator and we went to his church a few weeks ago and it was a really good experience. I will probably be transferred in a few weeks so I wanted to go back and say hi all of our pentacostal friends again. Gosh, they are just a super nice group of people. This time we took the two new elders and one of the coolest members here in Székesfehérvár. It was such a good time. They all greeted us like we were best friends and we even got puszi (kisses on the cheeks-equivalent of a hug in America) by a few of the older people. You know, you don't know these people, but they're so nice. I just want to emphasize the importance of member missionary work again!! It's super important. Bringing our investigators to church, or rather, getting them to come is really hard, and when they do come we want them to have nothing but a good positive experience. I would just encourage all of you, if you see a new face in church, whether it be one of the missionaries investigators or just a visitor, say hi to them!!  Go up, introduce yourself and just be a friend, because a lot of those people have only a few people (probably just the missonaries) that they actually know, so just having a friend can make a world of difference with their experience.
Oh goodness, I don't think I've talked about our cute little Ági. She is a little néni (old woman) who we teach weekly. The Elders tracted into her last transfer, but with her schedule and such, we decided that we would meet with her, but oh man....can you say delicious food?!! Every time we go over there, she just makes SUPER good food and we walk out of there SO stuffed. We can barely walk, but she is just super cute. She made us rokott krumpli this time and then made this really good diós and alma dessert. It was super good!  We had a good lesson with her. She lives in a ten story building, but there are two bedrooms in her house, and well interesting arrangement, she rents the other bedroom that she doesn't use to this family, or rather, this father and his son. His girlfriend comes over a lot, and she's been having problems with them the last couple weeks so we talked to her about they can maybe resolve their conflict and instead of just being mad and avoiding their situation they could instead sit down and talk about things and maybe resolve the conflict.I mean let's be real, just being mad but never trying to fix the situation gets you nowhere, so hopefully that get's all fixed.
HAHA! Oh Gosh, I almost forgot, so we went and did look up's the other day (when we go and look up less active members). We had heard a lot about this certain Néni, so we decided to look her up. It only took us an hour to actually find her house, but we were SO glad we did. Okay, listen, so we walk up to the csengő (door bell--outside of the ten story) and ring her. She answers and I explain to her that we are the missionaries and all she said was "jöjjetek be!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Not going to lie, I was a little worried that she'd be a little crazy, we get to her door and just as we are about to knock she opens the door and she's this cute little short néni. Oh my goodness, she says "gyertek! (come in)" We sit down and the first thing she says to us is that "my boots were NOT good!" Then she goes into this long story about how she bought boots from one of the stores in the mall, but they weren't comfortable so she tried to take them back, but they wouldn't take them back. It was probably the most detailed, long story I have ever heard in my life and not to mention here is this seventy-five year old woman making all these hand motions and pretty much acting out the whole story out. Oh gosh, it was just so dang funny! This lady is pretty much active, but the weather is hard on her body and that's why she's not been coming to church, but in the summer she was an active member. We talked to her a few times about someone coming to bring her to church. Hopefully she can, but not going to lie, we were about to give up giving up trying to find her building because where we thought it was, it wasn't then when we thought we were in the area that it was at, we weren't. We searched a long time for it, but we finally found it, and i'm glad we did and didn't give up because in some way, I think she needed our visit, but we too needed a good conversation with her. We had a good talk with her! We felt the spirit really strongly and we both went out of the program feeling good. God puts people in our life, who has big impacts in our lives, he knows why, even though we don't always know.
Man, I wish I could just put all my thoughts in your brain right now. The mission is truly an amazing experience... I wouldn't trade it for ANYTHING in the world. As missionaries we get asked a lot by members, investigators, people on the street: "Is it hard to leave your home and family for such a long time?" I often tell them that it is hard, but it's worth it. Seeing people change because they have a relationship with their Father in Heaven is the best experience in the world. No doubt!! Yeah, I'm missing my family, friends, and school, but I am gaining so much by just being out here serving the Lord. I love him and his Gospel and will always stand as a witness to his magnificent power and love. I know that his email was a lot about my investigators and such, but I love them so much and they're so dearly important to me, I can't even explain how much the Hungarians mean to me, they will be forever in my heart and my home away from home. I actually got a call from a lady, who was investigating the church when I was in Sopron, the other day and it made my day. They are just all so precious to me and I love them.
I also love you all so much and hope everything is well!!

Sok Szeretettel,
Whitaker Nővér

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