Friday, July 3, 2015

Michaela Janae Whitaker

Debrecen. What can I say about Debrecen. It's pretty much the coolest, most youngest city that I've served it. It has a nice, active night life. I've only been here since Friday but I have met a lot of cool young people here.

What/Who do I even start with? First of all when I got here I met the two cutest girls. One being our investigator, the other being the Elders. The funny thing is that they had just met, while waiting for us, and they already acted like best friends. They could have fooled me. It does my heart good when two people, who at one time were total strangers, make so good of friends and just act so tight from the first time they meet.  I don't have the ability to open myself up so quickly and make friends but these two girls were just way open and then were best friends the next minute.

Okay, well that was Thursday night when I rolled in. Oh speaking of rolling in. I literally rolled in, as I was pushing my bags at the train station (two bags but rolling them on their four weels, upright.) I tripped over them and made this horrid screeching sound that sounded wayyy ugly and everybody and their dogs (literally) looked at me. There was a nice man behind me, however, who helped me pick up my bags (not me...thanks) but then later we happen to go to the same villamos bench, I looked over at this guy and he was biting his lip trying not to burst out laughing, remembering just a few minutes ago this chinese girl was laying fast flat on the cement... haha.  I would have laughed my butt off too. We ended up talking to him, while waiting for the villamos. It was a good conversation. He definintely knew the missionaries and wasn't really interested in meeting but we still had a good conversation.
We got home, I put all of my bags into the house and we headed straight to the branch house because we had a program with Demi. Demi is from a providence in China (freak, I forgot the name) but he came to Hungary about two years ago to study Economics. When he got to Hungary, he spoke very little English rather broken english. Which he still only speaks very broken English. He met the missionaries here in Debrecen about a year and a half ago and started taking lessons from them. A year ago he was baptized, but honestly I'm not sure how much he understood, originally, from the missionaries who first taught him. We are still teaching him but the language barrier makes it hard.
Okay, jump back eight months ago.... Sister Whitaker was serving in Szekesfehervar with Sister Sholly who also served in Debrecen and Sister Sholly would always talk about this little Asian dude in Debrecen. It was my dream from Szekes that I would sometime meet this Demi kid and then eight months later I get transferred to Debrecen. God is real. Anyways, Demi had not been going to church for a good few months, and I was really concerned about it because the sister missionaries who served here before my companion and I did everything they could to get Demi to come to church, but nothing worked. The week before I received my transfer call, that I would be coming to Debrecen to serve. My companions and I came to Debrecen for splits with the Sister Training leaders and the STL's set it up that I would be able to finally meet this infamous Demi guy. When I walked in and saw him for the first time I just felt God's love for him and how much God wants him to come to church so the lesson was all focused around how important church attendance is. I made him promise me that he would go to church the next Sunday. It was actually really cute because I will go to church wherever you go to church and I told him that I would be in Szeged, which is kind of far away and then he said he'd come to Szeged for his last Sunday, because in a week he would be going back to China for the summer. Anyways, I had faith in him that he would follow through and go to church, so we went back home to Szeged and then the following Sunday, I got a call from the Debrecen sisters that Demi went to church for all three hours. Now if you know anything about Demi is pretty much has the attention span of a four year old and can not sit still to save his life so the fact that he went to all three hours was a milestone! I was excited for him to come down to Szeged for his last Sunday, but guess who came up to him... yep, me! He came to church this last Sunday and I translated for him and it was just wayy good. I was so happy that he came because he hadn't gone for a few months up until that point. That was like my miracle that I experienced this week.  Unfortunantly, Demi left us today. Right now he's on his way back to China and will be there until September 9th, but then will come back to Debrecen. That's one of the reasons why I'm hoping and praying that I will die in Debrecen. Die, meaning that I will finish my mission here. Before he left we made him this little picture collage and the goal behind it was that he would always see these pictures and remember to do the things that we want him to do... and not just us but Heavenly Father. It's a really cute collage and we were way satisfied with it. Here is a picture of it and with him holding it.
We love Demi!!

There are a lot of activities that go on here in Debrecen. We have Angol Ora (english class) we have this thing called Magyar Ora (Hungarian class). Because a lot of people come to Debrecen to study, a lot of them don't speak Hungarian which makes living in Hungary a little bit harder. We teach Hungarian class, and even though we don't know Hungarian perfectly, at least we can teach them the basics. Hopefully that will help them out a little. We had this guy named usma, that is from Nigeria come. He was soooo legit. After Magyar Ora we hold Sport nap where I FINALLY get to play basketball again. Oh man, basketball was soo missed to me, and usma came and brought his little brother Najgib (African names are so freakin awesome) plus we had some members and another investigator, Matthew, who lived in the USA and played ball in America so we had a dang good game going on. It was a lot of fun. It was nice to play competitive ball, plus Usman and his brother Najgib were really really fun to play with and they were intense and good. I was the only girl playing, but I felt like I was standing my ground pretty good with all the boys. We had a good time. After Sport nap I talked to Usman about his life in Nigeria and stuff and his family. It was way interesting to talk to him about his life and family in Nigeria. He seemed pretty intrested in our church. Unfortunantly he will only be here for one more semester and then he'll go back to Nigera. We had a good conversation with him and we are hoping he will come back to Magyar Ora and Sport nap this week. All we can do is wait.

I got to meet the whole branch on Sunday and that was great. The branch is super nice here and everyone was too kind to me. I felt very welcomed. Fun fact, the guy who was the branch president's counselor in Papa when I served there has since been married and now lives in Debrecen so I got to meet up with him and catch up with him on Sunday, and now he's a conselor in the Debrecen branch presidency, so that's way cool! The branch is just way cool. That's all you need to know.

Sunday was probably one of the coolest blocks of finding that I've done during the course of my mission. There is this HUGE indoor/outdoor soccer stadium in this HUGE park not too far from our house. It's literally like a family friendly park with sections of nice soft grass to picnic on or play soccer. Then there's a huge fountain that have concrete blocks in the middle of it so that you can walk out in the fountain. The water is far enough way so you don't get soaked but you do get some misty water hitting you at times. Anyways, there were TONS of people in this park on Sunday night and most of them were families. Oh, not to mention there is a track around this park, like with actual track turf, that young fit/old and not so fit are running on. It's a big one two that goes up and down hills and has beautiful scenary. I can not wait to run on the track. It will be a nightly workout. I got to get that good bod before I go home in exactly THREE months today, whhaaaat?! Just kidding, my bod is already a loss cause. Anyways, I took our sign that said 'We are happy because we are Mormon, ask us why we are happy.' and walked around the park with it. We also took Michael with us who is a really solid Asian member here in Debrecen. Michael is just a story in himself, he's so great. Anyways Sellers, Michael and I walked around the park and literally had people come up to us asking us what our sign was about, or why we are truly happy. Then I took the sign and walked in the fountain and I literally had people waiting for me at the end to ask me what this was about. My favorite was this really cute couple, who asked to take a picture with me, they were sooo nice. Let's just say the best finding method ever was just discovered and we will do it again.
Success is found when being a missionary, but having a good time while doing it as well.

Wow, I feel like I have a billion other things to write about this week and I've only been here for a few days.
I'm not going to lie I would be lying if I said that I don't miss Szeged and I may or may not cry a little every night because I miss it so much (well...that last part may be a little lie) but I do. There is a little part of my heart that is definitely there and will stay there until I go back to pick it up, after my mission.
But now I am in Debrecen and these people deserve my 100% best and I'm determined to give them just that.

I hope you had a good week and Happy Fourth of July!!

Sister Whitaker.

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