Week #74

Hello everyone! This is my last time writing on my whole mission! This is the last p-day of my life! Weird!

As before, it still doesn’t really feel real that I am going home. This morning we got transfer calls… well actually they forgot to call us! haha We only found out about who Burdick nővér’s new companion was going to be because someone else called us to tell us about what was happening with them, and we asked them to wait because we didn’t even get our call yet, and they happened to be right there with the Assistant who was supposed to call us, so we got to talk to the assistant. Poor Burdick nővér! She had to wait a long time! He apologized for forgetting us, but then we were told that Burdick nővér is actually getting 2 companions! One, who is one transfer older than her, and one, who is one transfer younger. Cool right? One of them is going to have to sleep on an air mattress! There are 11 new sisters coming in and only 2 sisters going home. Our mission is exploding! It is so great!

Also… if you had to take a guess on which day of this past week was my favourite, what would you say? Sunday? Why yes, it was Sunday! Well done! All my Sundays lately have been spectacular!

This Sunday I got to be an active participant in all three hours of church. In Sacrament meeting, they asked me to bear my testimony. So far on my mission, my testimony in a sacrament meeting has always been coupled with a joyful smile as I share the things that I feel and know. This is the first time that a had to hold back tears. During my testimony, there were three members, who are good friends, who looked to each other as a cue and then all made a little heart with their hands for me. It made me smile so big and I almost laughed out loud! I feel such strong love for the people here in Szolnok and preparing to leave them is a painful experience. I thank the Lord for the pain though because it helps me feel how much I really love these people and my mission.

Then I had the opportunity to translate into Hungarian for a Seniour Sister who gave a talk after my testimony. The members are little angels. The ones who speak English, and even some of the ones who didn’t, would look to me and smile and nod and encourage me as I did my best to translate the gist of what the Sister was saying. Could they be any more supportive? Could they be any more loving? I can’t imagine that they could be. Although I am here to serve, I receive so much love and service myself that it is humbling. I am so grateful for the many angels the Lord has sent me throughout my mission. I had such angels in every city I have served in and they make my mission even more joyful.

In Sunday school, I got to be the white board scribe for the teacher. Fun! I enjoyed it. Then, in Relief Society, another Seniour sister was teaching so I got to translate for her. I like translating in Relief Society because it is low stress and I get to translate back and forth into both languages – into Hungarian so the class can understand, and into English so the teacher can understand the input from the class. They are just as supportive there and help me with words and conjugations and they are so patient and loving. I cant get enough!

I am going to miss Hungarian Sundays. Le sigh. Le soupir du jour. Ah I cant remember French anymore. That is on the list of things to do when I get home – get my French back AND keep and improve my Hungarian of course! :) I look forward to Skyping with my Hungarians!

Oh get this! It snowed. It is the end of March! It snowed and stuck! We played in it last night for a few minutes with a couple investigators and members after Family Night. It was so fun! I made some jokes about my plane not being able to take off because of the weather, but I know I must come home. At Family Night, a member prepared the spiritual thought and she made it just for me! She talked about friendship and she read out two poems to me and then she, and the Branch President, shared scriptures from the Bible and the Book of Mormon about friendship. I was so touched! People are so nice to me!

Ah I wish I could write everything. I got some really wonderful mail this week! I love my mail! :)

What can I say as my last words? It is sad to come to an end. It really is. Every day here is something special. Every day I speak in a foreign language, I teach people about things of eternal significance, I pray many times with many different people, and I feel the Spirit working in my life. I know I can feel the Spirit at home too, I have the gift to have Him with me always if I am worthy, but I know it will not be the same. The mission is a spiritually high experience. You think about yourself less than you would back home. Your work only benefits you when you are doing it for others. You don’t have to deal with the stresses of “normal” life because they deal with most of them for you with the mission organization. It is so safe and comfortable here in some ways.

But I am willing to take on the challenge that you all face daily. I am willing to come back and be part of “normal” life again. I am willing to trust that the Lord has plans for me and to step into the unknown and have faith that He will help me uncover the great things He wants for me. I need to make this step – coming home – to secure for myself the blessings that are awaiting me. So I will do it. I don’t know about you but I love blessings!

The number of blessings I have received on my mission are innumerable. I don’t have the capacity to remember them all and am sure I didn’t successfully record them all in my journals. But one great blessing is that looking back on my mission, the hard times are a blur. They are there, I know they happened, but I look back at them with gratitude and don’t feel the pain anymore. What a blessing!

I will be seeing you soon on the other side! I love Hungary, I love my mission, I love the Lord.

A million “thank you”s and expressions of my love to those of you from back home who have been with me in spirit throughout my mission. All forms of support made a difference in my life and in my mission – prayers, good thoughts, letters, love, reading my blog, it all blessed me! I am so so grateful. You are my angels from home. It wouldn’t have been what it was without you. Köszönöm!

With all my love,

Surányi nővér

Week #73

Hello! Hello hello!

Listen to this! Remember how last Sunday was incredibly fantastically wonderful?! Well guess what this Sunday was like! AMAZINGLY FANTASTIC! Why the Lord blesses me SO much over and over and over again, I cannot comprehend. He just plops giant dollops of love and happiness into my life for me!

And yes I did have a whole week since I last wrote, but Sunday was again the highlight! So I will start with that, and then if I have more time I will try to get some other things in.

Important events leading up to the magnitude of awesomeness of Sunday:
OK, I think last week I mentioned that I was asked to give a talk the next week, and of course I accepted. I was told to pray about my topic and so I did. And I chose to talk about lessons I learned on my mission. Since, as a missionary, nearly every hour of the day is assigned to something, it is hard to have time to prepare a talk. I started as soon as I could and worked a little bit on it everyday. I prayed that the Lord would recognize my efforts and make my offering sufficient. I paged through journals from earlier on my mission and from the MTC and gathered a long list of lessons I felt I had learned. After a while I stopped looking for more lessons and started to focus in on a few to share. I started picking and writing down a point form list of feelings, thoughts, ideas, scriptures and quotes that I wanted to share. Each day I would review what I had written the day before, maybe make some changes or improvements, and then add on. By Saturday I felt I had to stop adding and changing. I also felt quite nervous. I prayed that I would at least do a good enough job that it wouldn’t make a bad impression for anyone. Haha. They only remember you if you did really well or really poorly, so I figured as long as I could be average then it wouldn’t be bad. (I have the same fear for my “homecoming talk” by the way.) Of course I planned to try my best, but I didn’t need the Lord to make me a superstar. I just didn’t want to fail.

OK. So. Sunday rolls around. Dun dun dunnnnn. I was a bit nervous all morning but worked on concentrating on other things and positive thoughts. It was St. Patrick’s day too! So we wore green! (We got the elders and the branch president in on it too :) ) So first thing that happens when I get to church is that the ladies who are there all tell me how beautiful I look today. My heart was getting all filled up from the moment I stepped in. I love going in and hugging and kissing all the ladies on both cheeks. (Some of them even kiss you three times!). It is so great. Some investigators that we la-la-love also came to church!

So then church starts and all is well. They announce who will be speaking and I get several smiles my way when they announce me. We sing. We take the sacrament (which was quite peaceful considering my trying to suppress my stress) and then the first speaker speaks. It literally felt like she was up there for 1 minute. Oh time! Sometimes a friend, but most often not. So then I go up. And I start talking. And it was really interesting for me. I had read through my notes enough times throughout the week that I didn’t have to look down very much. I felt more or less calm too. I testified, I shared, I spoke, I did my best. Afterward I went to sit down and my companion hugged me. Right away things that I said or didn’t say or did or didn’t do started going through my head and I worried that maybe I didn’t do so well. But then we sing and the third speaker goes up. It is Péter, the most saintly wonderful member who I love very much. His talk was incredible. He talked on the Saviour. I couldn’t even worry about my talk anymore because I was feeling the Spirit as I listened to his every word.

Now I wish I could type faster and be more eloquent so I could really explain my feelings about what happened after the closing hymn. But I will do my best. So after the closing hymn, I stand up so I can go over to Péter and express my awe and thanks for his talk. But to my surprise, I couldn’t get to him because of all the people that were coming up to me. I couldn’t believe all the wonderful things the people were saying about my talk. Some said they wished I could have talked even longer so they could hear more, others thanked me for reminding them of things they had learned themselves, others said they felt the Spirit as I spoke, and many shook my hand and thanked me. Péter later even told me that he really felt the Spirit strongly while I spoke and that during my talk he was given more inspiration for things to use and say in his talk

I was flabbergasted.

Didn’t they notice all the grammar mistakes? Didn’t they notice that I didn’t explain certain concepts very well. Didn’t they see all those things that made me feel almost as if I had sinned during my talk? Satan works SO hard. He really puts so many untrue thoughts into our minds. I can’t believe I listen to him and let him influence my thoughts. I did my very best, and then allowed Satan to make me feel bad about it. Jaj jaj. Satan is rude. But the Lord loves me, so he sent all the wonderful members to tell me that I did a good job.

Then in the following two hours of church, members kept expressing their love for me. It was so wonderful to me. I expressed my love in return for them. In the second hour I got to be scribe for the teacher and I quite enjoyed it. In the third hour there was much talk of how much the members love one another and feel united. (We had a really nice event on Saturday.) Then after church was choir; we have an Easter Performance this coming Saturday. And then after choir we had a meeting with a new investigator. Péter agreed to come teach with us. It was such a wonderful program! It was humbling because I think he is a much better teacher than I, but it was really great to have him there. He really was a blessing to Sister Burdick and I and to the new investigator. It was just so much joy packed into a single day. I hope all my Sundays can be this joyful!

The Lord loves me and He keeps sending me love through other people. That way I cannot miss it. I know He loves me.

Well I ran out of time as I feared. But I think my Sunday experience should be enough of an update for now :)

Next Sunday a seniour couple is coming to Szolnok to speak and they have offered to take my luggage to Budapest for me so I don’t have to lug it on the train. I am so grateful. So I am already getting started on packing! Even so, going home doesn’t feel real. I’m sure it will happen though. I just don’t know what it will be like. My trainer wrote me a nice long email which I printed out and will read later. I bet she will give me some really uplifting words and help me prepare to handle going home. I loved my trainer when I was with her and I love her even more now as I understand more of what it was like for her and as she continues to support me. I love my mission mama!

OH and one more thing! This coming Saturday we are invited over to be fed by a member family and since I am leaving the mom is SO sweet and made me pick EVERYTHING. So cute. What food, what kind of soup, what kind of noodles in the soup… I am not kidding. It was SO sweet. I tried to tell her that whatever she makes would be great but she wouldn’t have any of that.She wants me to get what I want. WHY DO PEOPLE LOVE ME SO MUCH??? Nem értem. I really don’t get it. But I love it!

OK I really need to stop writing now.


Surányi nővér

Week #72

This past week has been absolutely wonderful!

It has been a week where so many things have happened that have felt like Heavenly Father telling me “My sweet daughter, I love you.”

There are no better feelings than these that I have so far experienced in my life.

I feel like the Lord knows my worries and is trying to show me that He is proud of me and that I served a good mission.

He answers me through sweet whispers of the Spirit and through feelings of calmness and peace, but also through other people. This week I have received so much love and joy because of those around me.

3 people this week accepted invitations to be baptized. Such an immense joy comes from that. My heart bursts with happiness as someone I love tells me that yes they do want to follow Christ’s example. And on top of that I get to be here and help them on that path! It is incredible! After each meeting where a baptismal date was accepted, Burdick nővér and I had to suppress shouts of joy as we laughed and hugged each other. It really is a different and more fulfilling kind of joy than that brought by temporal things. Ah my heart. I think it grew a few sizes this week! Just like the Grinch’s. (Sidenote: The Jim Carey version of The Grinch is one of my favourite movies of all time. Just saying.)

So I thought that those experiences were pretty great, and they were, but the Lord had even more in store for me this week.

On Sunday, I had one of the most joyful experiences of my life so far. When I arrived at church, I was surprised by a group of 7 people from my last area (Miskolc) who came to see me and surprise me! They got up very early in the morning, and spent the little money they have to buy train tickets to come visit me! I could barely contain myself!!!!!! 4 of the people who came had been baptized while I was there in Miskolc, another came back into activity while I was there, one got baptized after I left, and the 7th is getting baptized in a few weeks. I came to love those people so much while I was there, and had come to accept that maybe I would never see them again in this life. But they came to me! They came for me! They all had tears in their eyes as I took turns hugging every one of the girls and giving the most heartfelt handshakes to the men. I never wanted to let them go. They just kept hugging me and crying and saying wonderful things and telling me how much they love me. It was almost too much happy for one person! I told them that heaven will be like this; we’ll get to see the people we love who we haven’t seen in a long time and it will be such a joyful reunion.

I just felt so loved. So loved. I felt love for them and I felt their love for me. I felt Heavenly Father’s love and Christ’s love and the love of the Holy Ghost, and I felt love back for all of them.

I am so grateful they did that for me. I am so blessed that I got to be one of the tools the Lord used to bring those of His children closer to him. I got to feel a lot of happiness and joy and love because of the Lord’s choice to send me to Miskolc.

Then other members also told me how much they love me too. This morning I got one of the most kind and loving and uplifting emails from my baby brother and from my mission president.

The Lord is gathering together all these loving people around me and having them lift me up. He loves me so much!!!

There are even more such experiences that happened this week through which I felt the love of God.

These experiences have given me hope that I will have many such joyful reunions accompanied by expressions of love when I return home. I also feel that the Lord really is aware of me and watching over me and He will help me with my future as I move forward into the uncharted territories of my life. I need to trust Him and His timing and everything will work out for my benefit and for the benefit of those around me.

I have been asked to give a 10 minute talk next week in sacrament meeting at church and I get to pick the topic. I prayed last night and this morning to know what my topic should be and right now I think I will talk about lessons I have learned through my mission. It will give me an opportunity to look back and see how I have grown and also give me a very personal witness of the things I will share. I also hope to apply it to the members here and incorporate scriptures and teachings of modern prophets that touched me and helped me learn so that it can be a benefit to those who hear it. My topic might change, but right now that is what I am thinking. I have never given a 10 minute talk in Hungarian before. But I will never be more ready than now.

There are only about a million other things I wish I could write. But I will pick one before I close. I pick: nő nap. (“ő” is pronounced kind-of like the “u” in “pudding”. And “nap” rhymes with “drop”)

Nő nap is women’s day. This past Friday was women’s day. Right away you can tell it is a special day because everyone is carrying around flowers. (Remember how I said they carry their flowers upside down? Well they’re still at it. And I love it.) And really, a LOT of people had flowers. Women had flowers, and men had flowers because they were on their way to give it to a woman. So cute. Loved it! At the end of the day we had a program with a family we love, and the little 9 year old boy gives Burdick nővér and I each a little wrapped marshmallow and says “Boldog nő napot” (happy women’s day). It was so cute! Then his mom gave us each a box of chocolates! REeeaally yummy ones too. And then the boy and his sister each went into their rooms because they wanted to give us something else too, so they each give us a little rubbery figurine thingy from their collections. They are adorable. Isn’t that so sweet? After our lesson, which went really well, the girl did our hair and it was really fun. Sister Burdick was multitasking and playing a game with the boy as she was getting her hair done. It was so cute. It is such a blessing to have wonderful people let you into their lives and you grow in love for one another. I can’t get enough!

To finish off nő nap we went out to dinner with the Elders (who happened to be on splits) and it was a nice ending to a great day.

I know God loves all of His children. He has shown me this week so many times that reminded me of that love He has for me, and I know that I am no more important to Him than any of His other children. He loves us all equally and really wants to help us feel it. I know that the more I follow His guidance and the example of His son Jesus Christ, the more times I will feel their love for me and experience the blessings that come in response to being worthy of them. I would never trade back my mission for anything. It is the hardest thing I have done so far in my life, and the most rewarding and joyful thing as well. It is worth every tear, every rejection, and every stress and sadness to feel the joy that I have felt this week.

The Lord is in charge and He knows what He is doing.

I trust Him. I will always follow Him.

I send my most joy-filled salutations and wish equally amounts of heart-bursting happiness to touch your lives and the lives of those around you.

Love, Surányi nővér

Week #71

Wowee! Another week has gone by!

Happy March!

Yesterday was a really good day at church, I really liked it! Two of our favourite people came and I was just so happy that they were there with us! Church was about to start and they hadn’t arrived yet, and then we heard the front door open, and Burdick nővér and I both jumped up at the same time to go see if it was them. Maybe we were a little too excited, but it was great! There is a guy who just recently got back from his mission, and he gave us a knowing smile when he saw our excitement over people coming to church. It is nice to have someone who gets it haha. Since it was my last testimony meeting of my mission, I took the opportunity to bear my testimony one last time in church. It was so sweet because a few other people in their testimonies expressed their love and respect for the missionaries. I had to hold back tears as they said such kind and loving things about us. I love the members here in Szolnok. Remember how when I first arrived I felt like I already knew some of them? So fantastic!

I love emailing every week especially because I get to read emails from my parents and brother. My family is such a support to me and a strength! My wonderful brother always sends the most uplifting emails that make me feel so proud of him and make me want to be more like him. My parents always send me their love and support and they lift me up. I want to be like them to my future children, My family is a huge blessing to me!

And on top of that, I have so many wonderful friends and mentors and loved ones. Those people are you! You that take the time to read this blog and to love me and think of me. I am so grateful to have you. Dear reader – you rock my world! Literally. <3

There is this one family we meet with and we are helping to prepare the youngest girl to be baptized (she is 7) and she is possible one of the cutest parts of my mission. Every time I see her my heart just bubbles. She is so loving and sweet to everyone. Her mom says she can be a handful, but I always see her being loving to everyone. Everyone in church loves her and she hugs them all and holds their hands. So sweet! She had us play charades with her the other day and it was SO adorable. She is such a pure little spirit – I love being around her.

Every week is a challenge and I am grateful for it. Burdick nővér and I have been watching more of our beloved training videos (you know you are a missionary when you love those things) and the missionaries on the films talk about their struggles. It makes me feel normal that it isn't easy for us. It is strengthening to see that it doesn't mean you are doing a bad job just because things don't always go the way you plan them. It is important for me to work on not getting down on myself and to help others feel good as well. I am doing my best!

My parents are doing a good job of preparing for me to come home. I am both excited for it, and trying to ignore the reality of it at the same time. It is a confusing situation to be in. But its good :)

I love everyone! I love the members.I love the people we meet with. I love my companion. I love the missionaries. I love my friends. I love my family. I love the strangers I see on the bus everyday. I love 'em all! I even love the people that say rude things to us. I don't love that they do it, but I love them. It is a good feeling to look at people and love them. Some days my spirit feels more apathetic and I miss the feeling of loving everyone. It feels good to love people. It hurts when they let you down, but it feels so much better when someone gives you love back. I love love! (Cheesy?) But really I do.

I figure it is OK to be cheesy because I am not a writer, nor do I plan to ever be, so I can break as many literary rules as I please! :)

Wellllll I wish I could write more, but we've gotta be off to other things.

Hungary is wonderful! It is a great place to be!

Sok szeretettel,

Surányi nővér

Week #70

Guess where I was today?

Yep. Budapest again! Turns out a few people had to go back to iron out some things with the residency applications for the new missionaries.

It is nice to have gotten to see Budapest so much recently! haha! It kind-of throws off our pday, but it is good.

OK so here are some highlights from this week! We had a few days that were really fantastic!

– Farsang party. My companion dressed as a cowgirl and I was a toy doll. I got to wear fake eyelashes so I was happy! The party was really fun! We had a charades-type game, and a funny humming game, and a blindfolded feeding game. It was way fun! We had fun ourselves and also did our best to help those around us feel comfortable and have a good time. Yay for farsang!

– New investigators. We met with some new people this week and some of them are so sweet! This one lady from our English class met with us and we love her so much. She is so great!

-Hilarious let in. We were tracting one day (knocking on doors) and at one door a man pops out of the window (hangs about half of his body out) and says hello. And I said hello. I told him we were missionaries and before I could say anything else he was like “come on in”. When he opened his gate to let us in there were a bunch of noisy geese in the yard. And he was like “these are geese!”. He was so funny. He and his wife are some fantastic version of Hungarian hippies and they have a really cool son who goes to university and speaks really great English. They had us in and had us share the message of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We just loved the family so much right away. The parents were so funny – especially the dad. I wish I could describe him better. Here is an example: He wanted to start talking about Jewish people, but instead of just saying it, he tried to like act it out and make us guess who he was talking about. It was so funny! He really is a quite intelligent man (the whole family is); they are just eccentric in the most fantastic ways. He also spent about 10 minutes telling us a story about a picture of 2 sheep. So great. So great.

-It snowed again this week. Not really a good thing. But a thing. But today it is a bit warmer! Yay! The windows were open on the train ride home this afternoon and the wind felt so fantastic!

-PMG movies. There are these training videos that we watch as missionaries and since my companion is a new missionary, as part of her training, we watch these movies sometimes. To us, it has become a fun part of our day. When it is “movie time”, we grab snacks and blankets and get comfy on the couch to watch the training movies, Haha. We know it is a little ridiculous but we like it.

-Miracle directions. So in case you don’t already know – I am terrible at directions. This week we went out to a village to try to look up a family that used to be taught by missionaries here. We only had a vague description of how to get there and no map of the actual village we were going to. So as a good start, I (unknowingly) get us going off on the wrong street once we get off the bus. Then the directions that had been given to us didn’t make any sense. I prayed to find the place. I knocked on a door to ask for directions and the lady was so helpful and pointed out the way. I asked a couple more people on the way and eventually we found it! Ah my directional skills. That is one skill that I have not developed on my mission. Not because I don’t try though! I was just born without that ability in my brain, I think. I am grateful that the Lord takes care of me and that my companions are always better than me at directions. Phiew!

-We taught at the high school again this week. Always scary, but always goes fine. We teach at a high school! It is so weird so say and write! Weeirrrd.

Weeeellll. Things just keep on going out here! I am trying to keep up and do my best! The prospect of coming home is scary and exciting. Oh so scary and oh so exciting!

One thing I am looking forward to when I get home: yoga pants. Well pants in general, but especially yoga pants.

OK and also: sleeping in, biking, hugging my parents, (…boys), music, friends.

Well that’s a short list. I thought more would come to mind. Well I am sure being home will be good. But I’m scaaaared. But its OK :) I can handle it!

I send my love in big ol’ bunches!

-Surányi nővér