Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Companion pictures... We take a lot!!

April Showers bring May Flowers (although, we didn't need any rain for the beautiful flowers to come, because people planted them right in front of our eyes :P)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

We take cute family pictures... it's just a weekly thing, no big deal (:
Oh my gosh, this missionary life though! I promise we work, but as we work we sing and take pictures along the way!!
This is CC! We went to her house and she just started bringing out all of these props and we just happen to take a lot of "Név Nap pictures!" Best friend status? I think so (:
Pictures with CC!
Life here in Szeged, week...freak if I know... I stopped keeping track!
It's been such a freaking good week though!! Not going to lie, we weren't feeling very good this week, programs fell through, I got pooped on by a bird, our patience was tested, commitments weren't kept, I literally got pooped on by a stupid pigeon, and some people dropped us (said that they didn't want to meet with us anymore)....BUT Sister Layton and I decided that we were going to have a good attitude through it all, and all of a sudden it's our rest day, before we know it! Plus, we made the best out of our situations! I don't think I can stress how much your attitude affects your work, not just as a missionary, but just in everyday life. Things are going to go wrong, but if you choose to just push through and be happy while doing so, then it becomes so much easier to get through hard times. Plus, if you have a great companion who will just do stupid (but still following the missionary rules) things with you, it just makes it all that much better!
Let's see, what do I start off with? I guess I could fill you in on what happened with the lady who we met at the bus stop (accidently) last week. CC! Oh goodness, so she invited us to her home to celebrate her "Név Nap" (name day--that's a legit thing in Hungary). She had told us a million times that we would be super suprised at how "creative" her house is. Honestly, I almost feared about what it would be when we got there. For some reason, I imagined...well... I can't really say what I imagined but I was just thinking other "creative thoughts," but turns out her version of "creativity" is of a few random pictures, her own drawings on her wall (she has a pencil the size of your forearm), and small knick knacks that she's made, or rather just painted on, and she calls them art! Oh my goodness, CC! I love her!!  We definitely took a bunch of pictures and had a good name day with her. Oh and we bought her cake and wrapped up a Book of Mormon in Princess wrapping paper and gave it to her as a gift. She cried. We're just really good friends.
One time we met CC in the belváros to have ice cream with her and her "pár" (life partner) so we were sitting at a really popular cukrászda waiting for our ice cream to come out. All of a sudden I feel something land on my head, and I knew exactly what it was. A dumb pigeon literally pooped on my head! That's the first time that I had ever been pooped on by a bird. CC was trying to tell me that amongst Hungarians it's said that if you get pooped on by a bird, that means you'll be lucky. I didn't buy it O.o How could I believe such a thing after being POOPED on! I just wasn't buying it. I was literally freaking out, but luckily CC didn't fear of the feces and wiped it out of my hair with a napkin. Blagh, I was so over that day!
Let's see, we only met with RR once last week, and we literally were so upset about it. He ended up traveling a lot this week for his job and just with our schedule and his schedule we could never set up a concret time to meet with him. Finally on Saturday we were able to meet with him and we didn't just meet him but we also met with his family again. They are so dang cool! His little brother was there and all of his kids. Can I tell you how much I love kids since being on my mission. You just can't love these little Hungarian terrors. No, they're not terrors, they are just great. Anyways it's always fun with RR and his family. We hadn't met with them for a while, so we decided to do a "follow up lesson" asking how everything was going, and it just went so well, like usual! He also came to church, like he usual does, this week. We are so proud of him! (: RR, best friend for lifeee!
Friday, we did a little service project for one of the members in the branch. I think I already wrote about one other occasion that we went over to TZ's house, well... rather his mother's house to pack up stuff. Well we pretty much did the same thing again. Typical Hungarian Néni, collects everything and doesn't throw anything away. It's okay though, we all have a bit of hoarder in all of us, no? We did that for awhile, and by the end we were just all super tired!
We've been meeting with LZ for a while and we thought everything was going well with that, but then today right before we came emailing we got a text message from her saying that she doesn't want to meet with us anymore. That was actually really sad, but she falls into uhh... what is the word in English for them... phases or slumps, I guess. We hope that later she will invite us in again and we can continue to teach her, but some people just need time and we respect that.
Like I said, this week hasn't been all hearts, flowers, and sunshine, but we've had our parade rained on a few times, but hey, if there weren't hard times what would our purpose be here on Earth? I teach this concept every day of my mission and throughout my mission I've come to realize the truth of this, and I'm super thankful that I have those days that are hard, even though it's hard, it helps me to rely on my Heavenly Father who loves me so much! I know he loves you too! I hope you feel that, if you don't get on your knees until you do!
Sok Szeretettel,
Whitaker Nővér

Michaela Janae Whitaker

I just wanted to say that I went to a very nice restaurant and had TROUT. It was sooo good, I had to take a picture of it!

Chalking in the Széchenyi Tér
I drew our family tree again! Cool stuff, no? We had the cops called on us twice because, "there are political things on our table." Uh.. do you not see Jesus Christ's face on this pamphlet? No cops ended up coming. We just had a good time, that was it.

Friday, April 24, 2015

More gothic temple pictures.
Zone training with Michaela and the elders
There is an outdoor art exhibit of pictures from Shanghai China (where I was adopted) in Szeged Hungary. Who knew??
The ZL's were having a hard day, so we bought them awkward shaped balloons to brighten up their day, and I think they worked. Look at them laughing!
These are Gofri's... it's like a waffle with weird cream stuff on it... Pretty much the weirdest thing ever, but we called it the "mystery of Szeged" for the longest time, because we always saw people eating them but never knew what they actually tasted like so we broke today and decided to try it. They were uh.... alright.

We visited a gothic temple, suggested by a person who we talked to on the street, and it was pretty neat. Here are a few pictures of inside and out.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

You might have seen another picture that looks similar to this one, except there's a new person in this one. Welcome to the district, Elder Peregoy.
This is Sister Layton and I's companionship... we have this thing called "Ugly Selfie moments." During Ugly Selfie moments we just whip out our cameras and take the most horrifying selfies ever. I think this one is probably one of the best ones we've taken. We were both getting off to a slow start in the morning, as you can tell, I was doing my hair, and brushing my teeth at the same time, and Sister Layton was just laying on the couch waiting for her slow companion to get done getting ready. Sister Layton called it "Ugly Selfie moment," we made the ugliest faces and took the shot. How did we do?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Hello friends and family! This week though! It's been an interesting one, that's for sure! We had plenty of programs to keep us busy. They all went really smooth. It's amazing how close you grow to people in such a short period of time. I really feel like these people I meet everyday are just my best friends! It makes missionary work so much more fun and enjoyable!
Hmmm... what can I tell you about my friends here in Szeged. Tuesday we met with RR (the man who quite smoking and has been our most solid investigator for weeks now), we taught him about the Sabbath Day and keeping it holy. He's been to church three weeks in a row now so it's safe to say that keeping the Sabbath Day holy was already on his to-do list, but we further explained to him what it exactly means and how we do it. The lesson went really well and he commited to keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. We went over to RR's on Friday again, and we brought a member, who happened to meet RR last Sunday when he was at church last week and came up to us personally and asked us if he could go to RR's next program with us. We taught the Word of Wisdom, which we were a little hesitant on doing especially since we had just given up smoking not too long ago (and is still doing good with that). We thought that maybe teaching the Word of Wisdom would be too much to ask of him in such a short time. RR is a coffee drinker and loves it, so asking him to give that up to sounded like a lot, but Sister Layton and I put our trust in Heavenly Father and received the impression to teach him the Word of Wisdom anyway, and that everything would be fine. Turns out that our impression was right (not a big surprise, right?). We went in and taught the Word of Wisdom and RR just accepted it. A part of me was super surprised that he accepted it so willingly, but the other part of me was like, "this doesn't surprise me at all, RR is and has been ready to accept this gospel and everything within it from day one." The lesson just went super well and we talked to him about drinking coffee afterwards these are his words exactly: "I won't be able to quite under a day, or maybe even a week, but with time I will quit drinking coffee. If I quit smoking in under a week with the Sister's help, I can quit coffee." Ugh! Can RR be anymore great?! Let me answer that for! I think I already mentioned that during his non-smoking program week we called him every week to ask him how he was doing and such. Now he calls us! Not every night but every once in a while, he'll call and say "Hi Sisters, I just wanted to know how you guys were doing. How your day was? Can I do anything to help you?" Too sweeet of him, right? Anyway, that's the story with RR. Just being great as usual! Oh, and the last couple of times he's been at church he has stayed for all three meetings! Which is awesome!
Who else can I tell you about. I guess I haven't talked about LZ for a while. LZ is our other bap. date. She has been meeting with the missionaries for...well a while. It's been a real roller coaster teaching her. LZ has struggled with depression for a long time, and sometimes she has hard days and at other times she has harder days. We have been trying to meet with her often so that we can bring the spirit into her home. This last week when we met with her, she was more sad then usual so we told her that everyday at 19:00 we would stop by her house to ask her how she's doing and just visit with her. So far that's been really great for her, I feel. The other night we brought her a whole bunch of balloons (hearts, smiley face, decorated) to her hosue and I'm pretty sure that just made her day so much better. At least it made our day better, that's for sure! The look on her face was just a look of surprise and it made us happy that she was happy (: That's the best feeling, when you forget yourself and focus on others but then you do yourself a favor, in disguise, by making other people happy, which ultimately makes you happy! Then when you're happy, you just want to keep doing things that make others happy. It's like a big circle and it's great! We are going to continue to visit LZ until...well... we will do it for however long we need to. That's why were here!
Friday we had zone training, that's always fun. Not just because we get to see all the other missionaries in our zone, but because we get to receive training from our amazing zone leaders. I give zone leaders a lot of credit. We have the pleasure of serving with our zone leaders here in Szeged and they are just always busy, not just with mission business but with their own investigators and so on. After our zone training the ZL's were feeling a little bummed because well... for a number of different reasons so we went out for ice cream with them for a little pick-me-up. They expressed a lot of their concerns and frustration to us, and it was just kind of eye-opening to see how they see the mission. It's a completely different view from just being a regular missionary in the zone. They see and report for all the companionships in the zones and see what they do, how their work is, etc. and they just see a lot more than we do. We had a really interesting talk with them, but it was needed for both them and us.
Oh my goodness, Friday morning. Every morning (almost) we go work out with the zone leaders at six, well Friday morning we went to our morning workout with them and as we were walking home, we hear this loud CRASH! I look up and all I see is a car flying in the air about to land on it's top. Sister Layton and I just stopped dead in our tracks as we see this car flying in the air. What happened is there was a four way intersection (with no yield signs, right-a-way signs or anything) and there was a car going through that and the other driver wasn't paying attention and just t-boned them right in the middle of the intersection, which caused the car to flip on it's top. Plus, there was a person who was riding a bike who got knocked off during all of this. When the car landed on it's top we see people roll out of the driver side and the passenger side and then people rushing to the back seat. Turns out there was a baby and a six year old boy in the back seat. Amazingly everyone just walked away from the accident. Nobody was crying, in hysterics, or anything and from what we could see, nobody was bleeding. Talk about a miracle. I just couldn't believe that the boy and the baby weren't even making a sound. I'm sure the little boy was in shock but the baby... wow! Anways, so Sister Layton and I stay at the scene of the accident until the ambulence and the police come, and then literally just turned to open our door into our apartment. It was right in front of our place. Then the rest of the morning we were a little shookin up ourselves so we spent all morning talking about well... tragedies. It was kind of a rough morning, to be honest. We had zone training and the rest of the day just flowed, but we had a pretty crazy morning. Oh and then we saw another accident later that day, but don't worry, this one wasn't that serious. In fact, it involved a plastic toddler bike and a three year old girl. This little girl was riding her bike in the belváros and she turned a little too sharp and fell over on the ground. She immediately got up and kicked her bike, while crying, and said "STUPID BIKE." It was pretty much the cutest thing I've ever seen!

Saturday was just an interesting day. We started off the morning by going to Sport Nap, where we usually play soccer. I consider myself pretty sporty, but when it comes to soccer, I'm pretty much useless. Actually I really enjoy playing goalie when I play, because my hand-eye coordination is a lot better than my foot-to-ball coordination although I usually use my hand-eye coordination in basketball, sometimes I put it to work in soccer. Anways, Sister Layton and I get to sport nap and we just went HAM on the playground equiptment. There is a little kid playground right by the sport pálya where we play soccer and instead of playing soccer we played on the playground and just turned into little kids. It was so fun! The rest of the day we just kind of remained little kids. I don't know what was up with us, but we were just so loud and obnoxious that day. Sometimes you just have to have days like that, you know?
Sunday, cool story time... We went to church on Sunday and it was really good. The talks we heard were good and all of the meetings were good. There was an LDS lady from Washington who was in Szeged because she works for the University of Portland, and she has some students over here, studying at the University of Szeged, so she had to do some kind of interview with them. I had to translate for her but it was good practice for me. She was super nice and she said that she'd give our English class and church cards out to her students. Finding through Americans in Hungary. Wooo! RR came to church and so did TG, but TG always comes to church, he's practically a member, without a record...yet! Anyways, after church Sister Layton and I went on a river walk with the Elders. Then we came home to have lunch, after lunch we went out tracting. We were kind of dreading it, honestly, because he had four hours of it scheduled.We had gone back to a building that we started a few weeks ago, but didn't get to finish, we finished that building with not a lot of success, so we were walking around our tracting area, wondering where to go. None of us really having the motivation to do anything. We started just walking in some direction and all of a sudden this lady stands right in front of us ( I have no clue where she came from) and says "Szia! Hi!" In surprise I say, "Szia, hello!" As her response was "Where are you from?" I told her that we were from America and then asked her how she spoke English so well, turns out that she just likes English and studied it on her own. Then she just randomly switched over to Hungarian, which wasn't a big deal, but we started talking at her bus station and all of  a sudden she says, "here comes my bus" but then she said that she would rather talk to us, but I told her we could get on the bus with her (who knows where that would have taken us) and talk to her, but by the time I got my words out the bus drove away and this lady literally busted a gut as it drove away. She was like, Oh my gosh, I just missed my bus! There was just perpetual laughter after this. At first I thought to myself, who is this lady?? We started talking to her, because, well... her next bus didn't come for another thirty minutes, so we had time...or rather, she had time. So we started talking to her, and we got to know her. She is a very interesting lady, very...outgoing and open, and just a hoot, to be honest. We didn't even have to suggest to meet with her as she was the one who was asking for our phone number and asking when we could come over to her house. We exchanged phone numbers and talked for a while longer. Let's just say she's super funny and we had a very humorous conversation. The bus came and we said goodbye, with a program scheduled already. Wednesday, which happens to be her name day. Hungarians don't just have birthdays, but they have name days, everyone has a name day and it's almost as big of a deal as their birthday. Anways, so later that night we are at home, making dinner, and we receive a call from an unknown number and it's CC. That same girl! She's a talker! She asked us what we were doing today (Monday) and when we told her that we might go to the Plaza to shop around a bit, she immediately asked if she could go with us. Haha, oh boy... this is going to be interesting. Don't get me wrong, she's super nice, but we might be hearing from her, at least, once a day. We'll see where it goes.
This was pretty much my week, pretty busy, but it's good. I like it that way. Six more weeks of this transfer! It's going fast. We're making the best out of it!
Love you all,
Whitaker Nővér

Michaela Janae Whitaker

10:31 AM (1 hour ago)

to Connie, me

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A fun short camping trip to the river with members nonmembers and missionaries.

Monday, April 13, 2015

It's just another day in Paradise here in Szeged.
Well, this week was pretty busy for us, we met with a lot of people.
I can't tell you how great our investigators are here. They are just amazing people who are so serious about learning out the message that we have to share. You can really feel it and tell that this is no game to them, but that this is really interesting to them.
We have three people who have a baptismal date. All of them are in May, and all of them are progressing really well.
I talked about a man that we did the no-smoking program with, a couple weeks ago. We still visit him on a weekly basis. He has not touched a cigarette in two weeks, nor has had the desire to smoke. God is real and he helps people overcome addictions and obstacles which they don't think they can overcome. That's what I've learned by teaching this man. This man is also a regular attendee in Church, he comes every week and has just started bringing his two daughters as well. After this last Sunday, we called him that night and asked him about his experience at church and he said that he really liked it and that everyone was really nice to him and he felt like we were very close, like a community. Na, this is exactly what I was saying about how IMPORTANT members are in missionary work. If they make people feel like our investigator felt last Sunday, they are going to want to come back and feel the way they felt again. It's that simple, just be nice (you can do a lot more than just that, but this is a good start).
Another one of our bap. dates we met with a few times this week and well.. okay funny story. We met with her in the beginning of the week, and when we walked into her apartment, the sun was out, birds were chirping, no clouds but then when we were finishing up, we walk out and it's pouring rain! Again, my companion and I didn't have our coats so our investigator gave us an umbrella to use, we ended up still getting soaked but we get home and throw our umbrella on our porch so that it can dry over night. Well we share porches with our neighbor (it's just a long walk way) and funny thing about this neighbor that we have never really met, just have seen him and every time we've seen him, he's been really nice to us. But the first week that I got here, we had swept our kitchen and put the broom on our porch, well the next morning someone had moved it, but we eventually found it. I can't remember our other experience with our moving our crap, but we basically came to the realization that nothing is safe to be left out on our porch, unless we want it moved to a different location. We forgot about that though, because nothing had happened for a while, so we put our umbrella on our porch and the next morning it was in the trash... what the heck?? Haha, okay, who are you to throw our umbrella away. We actually just laughed about it as we went to buy our investigator a new umbrella the next day. We told her the story about how her old umbrella is somewhere in the dump but that we bought a new one for her and she just laughed. We all had a good laugh about it. Our teachings with her are going really well, she came to church Sunday, which is actually a big step for her, she likes church but she does not like being around of crowds of people so it makes her really uncomfortable when people are near her, but she came on Sunday and really enjoyed Sacrament meeting.
Like I said, our investigators are taking steps in the right direction and some of them are small, but the majority of them are personally big for them and we are so proud of them!!
Sunday we took another big step with one of our investigators. We meet with a young boy, well...not so young, but anyways he has been meeting with the missionaries since January and this kid just took in everything the missionaries gave him. This week he finished the Book of Mormon (in three months--I've never finished it that I said this kid is great!) and he said that after he read it, he prayed about it and he felt that it was true. He was actually so passionate about it that we gave him A Book of Mormon to give out to someone and he was so excited to give it out. Talk about future missionary, which he will be. His parents aren't too keen on the idea of him getting baptized in the church, that's the only downside, but on Sunday we were invited out to the village he lives in (by his parents) to have a "traditional" Hungarian lunch. We actually ended up going out on the bank of the Tisza river and making fish soup in a big pot, over a campfire. Talk about fun! Oh, and TG (I'll give our investigator that name). TG's dad is a crazyyy fisher, he goes on fishing trips to Italy and catches 200 lb catfish. You walk into this families house and he has the biggest fish heads he has ever caught mounted on his wall. Talk about cool! So we made fish soup out of one of his catfish over a campfire on Sunday. It felt like I was back camping again. It was so fun, and we had a nice chat with his family. His parents are so nice and his mom had prepared palacsintas for us, as a dessert. Sister Layton and I both ate five each... oh my gosh, I thought I was going to explode. Hungarian food is waaayy too good!! Anyways, that's not important. The fact that we got to talk to TG's parents was the real reason why we went out there and that the meeting was successful. We didn't just talk with them, but we set up with them again in a few weeks so we can go out to their house and his mom can teach us how to make lángos. How much better can it get, making friends with your investigators parents, gaining their trust and eating yummy food at the same time. I'll take it! (: Sunday was a good day!
Unfortunately, I think I pulled my hamstrig this week. My companion and I have been getting up early in the morning with the zone leaders to go on runs and well... sadly, I have definitely slacked off on exercising during my mission, so I thought it'd be good to start up again, well I think I went a little too hard and it ended up in a hammy injury. It's so great though, because every morning we run along the Tisza river and it's so beautiful. I will have to take my camera and take pictures of the Tisza in the morning. It's quite the site.
Well, that's all I got this week. It wasn't too crazy of a week, but it was a good one, at that!
I love you all and thanks so much for all the love and support you have given me since I've been out here. I owe you all. Six more months. (:
Whitaker Nővér

Michaela Janae Whitaker

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Here is a picture of me and one of our investigators daughters with Sister Layton's name tag on.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Michaela Janae Whitaker
This past week was really full.

We got new two new elders with the transfer. They are pretty cool, and we get along really well as a district.
It was Easter this past weekend, plus conference. Gotta love conference weekend. I actually understood a lot more this time, as we watched every session in Hungarian. I didn't understand all of it, but at least I understood the main point so that was nice. From what I got out of it, there were a lot of talk about temples and marriage. I found that interesting. Oh! I'm glad that three new temples were announced. That's exciting!
I hope you all had a great Easter. Easter is one of the bigger holidays in Hungary. Let me tell you a little something about Easter in Hungary. Waay back when, there was a tradition started where guys would go out with buckets of water and cute poems and they'd go up to a girl and say the poem and dump the bucket of water on them. Then in return, the girls give them chocolate or painted eggs. Sometimes the boys even get money from them. Yeah, all of this was attractive at one time I guess? Anways, to this day they still carry on this traditon. Hungarians celebrate Easter on Sunday and Monday. Monday is when the locsolkodás (sprinkling) happens. Although nowadays boys just walk around with a bottle of perfume in their hand, and have a cute little memorized poem that they receite. Girls continue to give them chocolate eggs or hand painted eggs. The handpainted eggs are unbelievably pretty. Sister Layton and I got sprayed four times. It was so weird, but so cool at the same time. That was our easter.
Our investigators last week were troopers, given all the preparations they had to do getting ready for easter. We managed to meet with the majority of them. I think last week I talked about the person we were doing the none-smoking program with. The program was successful and to this day, he hasn't smoked a cigarette! We were so happy for him! It's been awesome to hear him talk about how he felt, that with God's help, he was able to go a whole week without smoking, even though he was around his friends who tempted him with cigarettes. We're so proud of him! Every day that week we called him, to ask him how he was and how the program was going. Come Saturday and time for us to end the program, which means no more calling him nightly, we told him it would be hard for us to not call him every night, although we did give him a scripture reading calendar so that he can keep up with his scripture reading every day after giving that to him he immediately bursts out and says, you guys called me every day last week to see how the program went, I will call you guys every day this week and tell you how my scripture reading is going, starting tonight. Sure enough, he called us that night. That moment when your investigator keeps daily contact with the you, whaaatt? That was like the moment of the week.
Hungarians celebrate Easter on Sunday and Monday, so we were supposed to work on Monday, we ended up doing a service project with the other elders and a member who's mom passed away about three months ago. We helped in helping pack up her apartment. Talk about a lot of things collected over a period of time. I had never seen so much...well...items in one little apartment. It was a good service project, although we barely made a dent in that apartment. We had a good time, and then afterwards we were invited out to another members house to have an Easter dinner, and that was yummy. 
I always say that the week was packed full, but then I realize how little I write, I'm sorry. I've gotten a little lazy lately with my blog emails. I'll have to get on those better. The upcoming weeks, I'll do better.

Love. Peace. Incense (:
Whitaker Nővér

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Angol Óra tabling with the elders.... we all look so stoked. It's always a good time.
Okay, funny story about second picture. First of all, can you see our matching outfits... we didn't plan this, but we walked out and we were both wearing that bright blue color, so that was cool! (: Anyways, does one of my eyes look weird, specifically the right one. A few minutes before this picture was taken my companion and I were walking down the street and a bug flew into my eye and it wouldn't stop watering for like an hour. I kept on washing my eye out in the sink and all but it would just water so one of my eyes has make up on it and the other is just a mess. It's gross... but that was my day. It was good. haha. Stories of this missionary life.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Our District with our awesome investigator Gabor (the tall one in the middle) with a couple other members (background). Last Sunday together as a district, before transfers.

We went tracting the other day and tracted into this really really sweet older lady who let us in. She spoke English fluently because she's an English teacher. We spoke with her for about an hour and then decided it was time to leave, by that time it was raining heavily outside but we didn't have our coats with us so this sweet little néni gave us two spare coats and told us to bring them back whenever we come back next time. Too nice!! We just wanted to take a picture of these classy coats! The next day it was gorgeous