Hello again everyone! I am in wonderful spirits right now! I just read emails from my family members and wrote to them as well. My heart is filled with love. My mother and father are wonderful gifts to me. They are the perfect parents for me. And my brother is an amazing added gift to my life. I can barely contain my excitement to live with them for eternity!! Wow I cannot even begin to think right now about how much more joy can come into my life when I have the opportunity to build my own family in the future. Blessings overload! I have to think about something else before I cry from joyful excitement!
No whipping this week :( But I still have dreams of lopsided muscly wonder.:)
Here come some updates from my life and some things that happened this week:
So one cool thing that I completely forgot to mention before is that my companion/trainer Papritz nővér is the mission nurse!! Isn’t that cool?!?! Before coming on her mission she was a surgical nurse in the intensive care unit of a hospital. Her story of deciding to serve a mission is wonderful! Being the mission nurse, she gets a lot of calls from other missionaries seeking medical help and advice. We sometimes get some pretty funny calls, but Papritz nővér is such a blessing to so many of the missionaries here. It is hard to explain in few words, but I can tell that as she helps people with their physical well being she is also helping them with their mental, emotional, and spiritual health. She has such a good grip on reality and really helps people, me included! She is a wonderful companion!
As a ‘greenie’ (that’s me, a new missionary) you cannot pull your full weight in the missionary work. Your companion has to take a lot of extra responsibility as they do their own work and yours as well as train you (thus they are also called your trainer). Papritz nővér is so good at balancing all of that. This week she has encouraged me to lead on more sections in lessons and helped me prepare for more things. She is trying to help me learn by stretching me, yet always being beside me. It makes stretching feel safe, because I know she is there if I need her. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? I am blessed here.
This week we held our first English class. Even though it was my first time, I had to teach a class all by myself. Luckily I taught the “profi” level class, so the whole thing was done in English. I also had a lesson book to work from, so I prepared my lesson from that. ~35 people came to the beginner class, ~15 to the intermediate, and there were a grand total of 5 people in my class, two of which were the senior couple serving here in Szeged, so I had 3 students really haha. It sure made everything less intimidating! Sister Adams (the senior sister attending my class) gave me a wonderful compliment after the lesson, so I try to trust her that it went well. I will continue to teach the same class, so I can update you all if anything interesting happens. Luckily all 3 students as well as the senior couple were willing to participate, so it will make the class more interactive and interesting. :)
Oh! I had a neat experience this week in a lesson with a recent convert. This lesson was all in Hungarian so I was not able to give too much input or understand much of what was going on. During the lesson my companion’s cell phone rang and she left the room to answer it. When she left, the girl we were meeting with looked to me. So, I started talking. While Papritz nővér was gone, I was able to convey my thoughts without too much difficulty and understand the answers and input the girl would respond to me (which is usually the hardest part). As soon as Papritz nővér returned, my ability to communicate and understand decreased noticeably. I was literally in the middle of a describing a thought when she returned, and as soon as she was in the room, I had a considerably harder time communicating. I talked to Papritz nővér about it later on and she told me how the same thing happens to her all the time on her mission. When she needs it, she is given the ability to communicate, and often as soon as it is no longer needed, she loses it. Just as I had experienced! It was so neat! The Lord seems to be continuing to give me what I need when I need it, just as He promises He will.
Have I ever mentioned before about some of the “mission language”? There are certain words used in the mission that are new to me, and still sound pretty funny to me. Here are some that I have learned:
– when someone does not show up to a lesson that you planned, you’ve been “dogged” or they “dogged you”. They even made a Hungarian equivalent, making a verb out of the word for dog. Haha it sounds so funny to me.
– your trainer is your mom (or dad if you are an elder) So Papritz nővér is my mom.
– if you are someone’s last companion before they go home from their mission, you “killed” them. Papritz nővér is a “serial killer” because she has “killed” several missionaries. (Isn’t that awful sounding? haha) And if you go home, they say you “died”. So you will literally hear conversations like this- “When did elder so-and-so die again? Oh that’s right, elder such-and-such killed him a month ago in Budapest.”
And has anyone ever heard the word “trunky” before? Like feeling trunky? I have never heard of feeling trunky, but missionaries use that word here. They use it to mean that you want to go home or are homesick or are ready to go home or something in that likeness.
Oh haha and you know how I said that Papritz nővér is my mom? Well you have a whole family tree actually. I have a dad. Your dad is your mom’s last companion before you were “born”. But actually, my family is interesting, because my mom’s last companion is actually my sister and not my dad. She is my sister because she was a greenie like me. (Usually you do not train two greenies, especially not back-to-back.) So the old greenie is my sister, and the companion before that is my dad. Oh and my grandma is the person who trained papritz nővér. And then you can fill out the family tree more from there. Haha. Apparently I Papritz nővér will be helping me write it out some pday soon. :) fun!
Do you know that game called Questions? Where you have to have a conversation only using questions? Well Papritz nővér hadn’t heard of it, so I taught it to her and then we did nightly planning only speaking in questions. It was hilarious! I also taught her to play “contact” (an incredibly fun word game that would take way too long to describe here but those of you have played this with me know how much I love it). But, contact requires at least 3 players. So we played with one person being “it”, and the other person being two people: them, and one of their hands as another mouth. It was incredibly hilarious.
I tell you, we also do missionary work. We attained “mission standard” this week for the first time. I guess that doesn’t really sound like an accomplishment since it is called the standard, but we reached all the goals that are required to meet this standard, which to me feels like an accomplishment this week. It required effort and work to reach, and I am glad we did it. I hope we can do it again.
I gave a talk in church this week. I wrote it (in Hungarian) and then Papritz nővér helped me improve and fix the grammar. People understood my talk! But I hope they aren’t lulled into a false sense of where my language skill is. I feel bad because I often think they do not realize how little I understand. But I love being in church. The three hours of church are some of the most tiring hours of my week but also some of the most uplifting.It is incredibly tiring to use all my effort to try to understand Hungarian but I feel so much peace in church. I feel at home even though I don’t understand much of what is said. It is an incredible blessing.
Haha, to add to the language struggle, our washing machine is German. So everything is written in German. There is a very limited note from the previous elders on how to use it and that is it. It is kind of intimidating to me every time I use it because it is so different from any machine I’ve used before. But its a little bit funny as well.
This week a lady who Papritz nővér had only ever talked to once and who I had never met before invited us to her home to teach her, and she made us home-made doughnuts! I think I will send my dad a picture of them. Isn’t that amazingly kind of someone to do for complete strangers? She even sent us away with some in nice Tupperware. How kind and trusting! I really enjoyed our lesson with her. Oh dear but I just remembered her dog, who really “liked” me. My leg in particular if you catch my drift. Luckily it was a small dog, but it was so kind of awkward… the whole time we had to keep pulling this dog off of me. I swear I shower daily and wash my clothes so I should have smelled nothing like a dog. … maybe it was the German washer!!! :P
The journal I’m using right now is a gift from my friend Jenn (Hi Jenn!!!) and before she wrapped it up for me, she snuck in little notes on some of the pages throughout the journal. The last two days happened both to be “note days” and it makes me so happy! I have used my self-control not to look ahead to read the notes, so it is a wonderful surprise when it is a note day. <3 Things like this remind me of love from home and I am so grateful. I think last week I went way into how much I appreciate love from all of you who read this. My thoughts from before are still as true as ever. Thank you all!
So many things in these first three weeks have made me grateful for my time at the MTC. I think from my previous letters you could all tell how much I loved the MTC. I am so glad to experience that that which I learned is all proving useful here. There are surely many things that the MTC cannot prepare you for, but everything that we took time to learn has been helpful. When I arrived in Hungary, I already had a strong testimony that the MTC is an important place for missionaries, but being here strengthens that even more. It feels weird that 3 weeks in I can already have MTC nostalgia, but I do. haha. Mission life is so weird and so wonderful. Time is so warped.
Oh here is a super random thing. So there are these… I have no idea what they are… but I call them barf berries. The barf berries fall from these trees that are near our apartment. We call them barf berries (Papritz nővér agrees with the name I've given them) because when they explode, they smell like vomit. Strong. They are all over the ground and about 80% are popped. So it smells like vomit and then if you accidentally step on one, you get an immediate strong dose of added vomit smell. It is terrible. You cannot avoid these because the only way to get away from them is to walk in traffic. So when we have to go a certain direction or come home from somewhere in that direction, we have to tip toe through the barf berry forest. Bleck. Hahaha.
Well I hope you could follow my jumpy topic changes without getting whiplash! I love you all, and as I've said before, I cherish the time that I can think of you during the week, as well now as I write updates and stories.
Whoa I just remembered next Monday is a special day! We (all the greenies and their companions) have to travel to Budapest to get temporary citizenship papers for us newbies. I get to see my MTC district again!!!!! Ah I am excited to see them! So I may not get to email on Monday as I normally do, so the update may come later than expected, but I believe we will still get to email at some point.
Love you all! Keep being good! Help others and let others help you too. In the wise words of High school Musical: we're all in this together!
Love, Suranyi nővér