Week #15

Hi everyone!

Wow this week was busy and great! We gained more new investigators this week than my trainer has ever got during any week of her mission. We were blessed to get to meet with so many people this week! It is incredible how unique each person is. Every meeting is unique and different. I really get to participate in people’s lives as they accept us into their homes and show us who they are. I learn a lot about love and patience as I experience meeting with so many special and unique people. Wow what an incredible opportunity this is for me to grow.

Every week we (as a companionship) hold a weekly planning session. At the end we hold a companionship inventory. Part of the inventory involves suggesting to one another ways to improve. This week I have felt SO grateful for that part. It can be slightly awkward and embarrassing, but I am so grateful for it. I get to improve myself in ways that I wouldn’t have been aware of it we weren’t asked to do this inventory. I picture the blessings that will come to my current and future family as I improve upon these things that my companions suggest to me. I think of how much better I can be and how much more of a blessing I can be in the lives of others if I look at my weaknesses as an opportunity to grow. Ah so good. Do married people hold companionship inventory? Its great.

It is so interesting how variable my understanding of the language can be. It depends on the person’s speed, tone, and which words they choose to use. Sometimes I can understand almost everything that is said, sometimes I can understand maybe a word or two in every other sentence. So humbling. So trying of my patience. Such an opportunity to learn. This week we had a lesson where I was having a really hard time understanding. The lady we were meeting with was talking a lot. I just listened as hard as I could and tried to understand her. As I couldn’t really understand I prayed to have love for this woman and for her to be able to feel that love. At one point she was sharing a story and tears came from her eyes as she shared it. Unexpectedly, tears came from mine as well. I felt grateful that even if I couldn’t understand her, at least I could love her and feel with her. At the end of the lesson she came up to me and hugged me. I told her I loved her, and I meant it. It was an incredible experience.

Another incredible experience from this week was when we visited a family for the first time and asked them if we could sing a hymn. Kimball nővér, Papritz nővér and I sang “Lead Kindly Light” (in Hungarian) and by the end of the song, the couple were holding hands with tears in their eyes and we could all feel a wonderful spirit in the room. The meeting was wonderful and we will be returning to teach this family. I really look forward to it.

Every time we have ever shared Joseph Smith’s First Vision with people, it has been an incredible experience for me. It fills me with such a powerful spirit. I love sharing Joseph Smith’s experience with people; there really is something amazing in using his own words to describe the event. It builds my testimony every time.

Papritz nővér kissed me with a frog this week! It was gross yet hilarious! We met with a lady who loves frogs. She has a pet frog. When she told us we could hold it I got really excited! I can’t remember if I’ve ever held a frog before! He wasn’t a tiny one either, he was palm-ish sized (maybe I’ll send a picture). So we ask if we can take a picture of it and we get the great idea of pretending to kiss the frog in the picture. Well just so you know, if you close your eyes and pucker up to a frog in Papritz nővér’s hands, she’ll make you kiss it! Blerck! She did it on purpose. I almost died laughing. So, I’ve officially kissed a frog now. And that’s the only kissing that will be going down on this mission. Well except for all the double-cheek kisses you get from people here. So forget that, apparently there is a lot of kissing.

I got two letters this week, which was exciting! And I had another “note day” this week in my journal (found a note on one of the pages :) ).

I can’t imagine what is going to come in the future on this mission, so I am working on taking things a day at a time. Its working well this way!

Oh, we go back to Budapest again this week! We have zone conference this week. I am not sure how many missionaries are in our zone, so I’ll give an update next week. But we’ll get to have some training and such I believe. This will be my first zone conference ever! (Every city is a District and then a few districts together make a Zone… I believe haha.) OH wow, the train ride to and from Budapest, I forgot to say, its like you are getting cooked! There is this crazy heater right by your legs. But I think at the very end of our last train ride we figured we could turn it off. So this week we will try right at the beginning and hopefully it will work. Aside from getting fried legs, the train makes me feel like I am on my way to Hogwarts, so that is awesome. I keep waiting for the trolly to come around so I can buy some chocolate frogs and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavoured Beans. I have to not think about the dementors also. ( <3 HP ).

Its funny having Kimball nővér back, because now we are singing all the time, and making up songs all the time, and poor Papritz nővér has to pretend she doesn't think we are nuts. One song we've been singing a lot this week is inspired by the Bukarest sign that we see daily that tells us how far away it is. We've been singing "to Serbia" to the tune to "Disturbia". It's been wonderful.

OOOooookie. Now that I am feeling silly it is time for me to go. Love you all!!!!

Muah! I send you all some silly love, but also some sincere love. MUAH (to keep up with my kissing stint). Oh dear, I should stop while I'm ahead.

<3 Surányi nővér

Week #14

Hey everyone!!

I have some big news this week! Remember how I already have an interesting family tree (mission family)? Well, it just got interesting-er! I now have a “foster sister” who happens to be Kimball nővér who was my companion in the MTC!!!! She was serving in another city, Miskolc, but her trainer became sick and is unable to train, so Kimball nővér ended up with us! Wonderful Papritz nővér now has to train two greenies at once! This situation is pretty unheard of. We are doing our best to have it not be too stressful for her. It is great to be back with Kimball nővér! I already feel so comfortable teaching with her! Its only been just over a day together but I feel that this is going to be great and we will all learn from each other.

I wanted to share a few miracles that happened to me this week. I really receive a lot of blessings out here! I often name my miracles. Today I will share: The passport csoda, csengő csoda, and church csoda. (Csoda sounds like “choda” for anyone who is wondering what their head voice should say as they read).

Passport Csoda: Several times this week, either Papritz nővér or I would think to grab a bag or something else of ours last minute before leaving the house. Then it happened at least 3 times that we were checked on public transit for passes. If we had not taken those things with us we would have accidentally not had our transit pass or our passports (which are both required when you are checked). We didn’t know why we felt to bring the extra items, but then we would realize that the night before we had put our pass in a different place or something and had we not taken the extra item, then we would not have had our pass. We also had never been checked before until those days where we decided to bring extra things. Csoda!!

Oh wow. Csoda means miracle. I would go back and write it, but I feel like I should be honest with my lack of remembering and allow you to have wondered through the last couple paragraphs what csoda was all about. You are all pretty clever though, so I bet you figured already.

Csengő csoda: One day Papritz nővér and I came home and we couldn’t get into our building because the keypad (the “scengő”) wasn’t working properly. We tried several times and then gave up and decided to try the other side of the building. As we turned around, we discovered someone was watching us from their car as they were stuck in traffic. This was someone who we recognized and is a person who makes us uncomfortable. As we walked around the building I realized that if the csengő had worked, this person would have seen where we live. Later that day that same csengő worked perfectly. The Lord really is watching over His missionaries.

Church Csoda: This happened two weeks in a row! We have really been wanting for someone (anyone) to accept an invitation to come to church. The past two weeks, completely outside of our own efforts (our efforts weren’t working), someone showed up to church without us knowing they would. After the first week I thought that the same miracle wasn’t likely to happen again, but then it did. Another person came the next week! Ah so good.

I have really been feeling that the Lord is blessing us with success. And He is sending so many miracles for me! More than I even notice I am sure! We have ample people to meet with and our lessons have been going very well. I often feel a strong spirit in our lessons. It feels so wonderful in lessons when you see the look in someone’s eyes that shows you that they came to a new understanding. People get this look of intrigue and interest as we teach them of restored truths. Then when we invite them to not just believe us, but to find out for themselves, we often see them hunger to study and pray for themselves. It is great. I cannot wait to see what happens as we follow up with people.
I had a great experience in a lesson this week where when the lady was speaking, I prayed to have love for her. As I listened to her words and prayed for love, I felt that love that I wanted. I cared for her and wanted more deeply to understand her thoughts and feelings. It was great.
I had a similar experience this week where I started to feel a little bit frustrated. As soon as I recognized my thought process I prayed to let it go and to think positively. As soon as I prayed for that, my mind cleared, my heart lifted, my forehead unfurrowed (which I didn’t even know it was doing until it released) and I immediately felt peaceful and positive. The power of prayer!

Oh wow I still haven’t mentioned Monday in Budapest! Monday I was in Budapest! I got to see my whole MTC district again!! We all came down for the purpose of getting our temporary residency and to get some training from the mission president and his assistants. It was so great to see my old district!!!! I really love them so much and my heart was so bright when I saw that each of them were healthy and happy! I kept saying all day how happy I was to be with them again. Ah it was wonderful. It reminds me of when Alma meets up with the Sons of Mosiah again (but I’m sure their joy was 10000x greater). Time feels crazy. Both fast and slow.

Papritz nővér and I were taught by a lovely lady how to make stuffed peppers this week. It was fun! And delicious! Papritz nővér also received some strange mail from the post. A package broke open or something and for some reason they thought it was hers, so they sent her someone elses mail. She received a child-sized onesie, and 3 random pairs of unpackaged socks. Hahaha. My bed broke yesterday (it was broken before I came and had been fixed before I arrived. I managed to undo the fixing). There was room to put my mattress on the floor, so I was able to sleep wonderfully. But we’ll see what happens with the bed. Before I arrived it was called “the coffin”. So we’ll see what happens. Right now its halfway between normal bed and coffin bed… so I look forward to seeing which way it ends up. (I am kind-of rooting for coffin haha).

Its a weird feeling to have “a blog”. You can’t let yourself feel too shy, or too confident. Hm, I guess that is true about everything in life. Well then good. Let us all go on being not too shy and not too confident. Let us be humble.

It doesn’t ever get old to me to express my gratitude to you. Thank you again for your support and caring. It makes me feel loved. It lifts my spirits. It strengthens me.

Looooove, Surányi nővér

Week #13

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

Week #12 (in Szeged)

Hello from Szeged! I still can’t believe it is 2012!!

My right hand keeps trembling as I type because of the whipping excursion that just occurred. Yess. I envision extreme lopsided bodily buff-ness. I look forward to it. :)

Today was a great day! Almost nothing went according to plans, yet I’ve just felt good and happy all day. It was great :)

Many of the things I wished would happen this week happened! And great things I hadn’t thought of happened. And so much more. I am the recipient of so many blessings.

This week we taught the First Lesson of my dreams!!! Ah it was incredible! It was actually a lesson we taught in English and it was so great. When teaching about the restoration through Joseph Smith, Papritz nővér turned to me right at the best part. It felt like she was handing me this big, shiny, beautiful, gift. I’m literally smiling right now thinking about it. In the lesson, I got to introduce and share the first vision. The man we were teaching was Hungarian so I chose to tell him the first vision in Hungarian. It felt amazing! What a wonderful experience of my first time saying the first vision, reciting Joseph Smith’s own words. The Spirit was so strong in the room. I felt so warm inside and so grateful for the knowledge and feelings. Papritz nővér is so so wonderful for letting me do that my first week. Aaa I loved it!!!! Selfishly, that was my favourite part of that lesson, but the whole thing was great and the man was incredible. I am so grateful to have been able to be part of that lesson. What a gift to me!

I still however am not understanding very much Hungarian. My top priority when I am in lessons and conversations is to listen to every word that is said and try to understand. I do not ever want to let myself get comfortable in not understanding. It takes a lot of effort to keep listening when you aren’t understanding. But I need to keep listening. So I do. After every lesson or conversation in Hungarian I tell Papritz nővér what parts I understood and then ask a lot of questions and she fills me in on what I missed. She is very patient with me. She is very good at the language. It is incredible to me. I really do my best to try to contribute in lessons. Sometimes I catch onto a theme and can give some input. I hope to ever increase in my ability to speak and understand Hungarian.

It is really interesting as a missionary. So many experiences occur that never would have occurred otherwise. Strangers let me in their homes. Strangers agree to come meet with us and discuss the gospel. I wish I had time to explain all of the amazing and interesting experiences I’ve already had. There are incredible people here in Szeged, and I hope to meet more of them.

I thought I’d list some funny things that happened this week as well (I apologize in advance if they are only funny to me, hahah!!):

-An old man on the street proposed marriage to me, promising me a large home and a car. I smiled and nodded in response. (reason number 1001 to learn Hungarian, and to remember what your teachers said about not saying yes to things you don’t understand)
-While talking to an old man on the street. he stole a Book of Mormon out of my hands. When I told him he could have it, he gave it back. Then proceded to steal it again. And then return it. I don’t really know what was going on, but both of us were laughing by the end of it.
-I pressed the emergency button instead of the next stop button on the bus.
-We saw a man with a toupé that literally looked like a cat was sitting on his head
-I offered a free English class flyer to a teenage boy, who asked me to repeat myself, then he responded with the equivalent of “bless you” as if I had sneezed. He was just being snarky, but I thought it was hilarious.
-We were about to walk into the church building with a man to teach him but he suddenly stopped and told us he just needed to “meet with a friend” for a couple of minutes first. He makes a call and then a nice car pulls up. He says he just needs to go and “exchange some currency”. So he goes off into the car and Papritz nővér and I wait for about 10 minutes, unable to see what was happening. We had had a previous weird experience that day and we were convinced that some sort of illegal activity, probably involving drugs, was happening. Turns out he was literally exchanging currency- like USD for Forint. Haha. I don’t generally assume negative things, but it seemed really sketchy!!

I still feel so dumb for pressing the emergency button (nothing bad happened luckily). But interesting things sure happen around here!

Oh! So, they don’t hug each other much as greetings here in Hungary as we do back home. I had the most awkward experience when I opened up my arms wide to invite a girl to hug goodbye. You should have seen her face. I cannot even describe what happened. It was like slow motion, extreme fail. She really slowly was moving toward me and I had no idea what she was doing. I am sure she had no idea what I was doing. Ah I am having a hard time describing this, but it was just incredibly the opposite of smooth. I don’t even know what happened in the end. It was horrible. Hahaha. Ahh, I have a lot to learn hahaha.

I honestly feel so loved when I think of you all who support me and care about me. I think about a lot of you individually at different times. Certain people I see will remind me of some of you, or a certain circumstance will bring to my memory a certain experience we had together. I am so grateful to have you all in my life.
Many of you have written me letters and I appreciate them so much. I am working on responding to them all. I am so grateful for the time you take to read about my experiences. I feel so honoured. I wish I could have more updates on the things going on in your lives. Please know that I look forward to taking my turn to hear about all Ive missed in your lives when I return.

This week in my personal studies in the morning, I read Mosiah 2:19 in the Book of Mormon and a thought stood out strongly to me. If we value and appreciate other people, how much more should we appreciate God. It was worded much better than that, but it really got me thinking. I am so drawn to people. I feel a lot of people are so wonderful to me and I come to love them dearly. When I think of the people I love and feel that love for them, I rarely remember to consider the Lord’s hand in the matter. There are so many ways that my feelings of love would not be possible without our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ. I hope my love for other people can help me grow my love for our Father in heaven and for the Saviour. Thank you all for being people I love. Thank you for teaching me about love. And thank you for loving me. I hope I have shown you a small portion of how you play a role in my growth and happiness.

So many times this week during my personal studies I have wished I could have one of you with me so we could discuss together and learn together. Maybe that can happen one day with some of you, but I know it is also important for me to learn to learn things for myself.

My heart is so full right now. I feel so good looking back on my week and reminding myself of all the good things that happened, and also thinking of you all and my love for you. It’s hard not to feel good when you think of so many incredible people in your life. I wish I could start listing you by name and expressing my love for you. But instead, this will have to do:

I say: “_(Please insert your name here)_ I love you.

I’m glad we did that. We may have to do it again sometime.

There is a lot of work ahead of me, and a lot of growing and personal improvement that I can and must accomplish. I know that with the Lord all things are possible. I know that whom the Lord calls, He qualifies. I know I can serve a good mission, and I really hope I have the diligence to rely on the Lord and to push forward with His help and accomplish it. I hope to do more and become more.

Thank you all for being with me here. You’ve taught me, you’ve loved me, you’ve cared for me, and so much more. You are part of me; I take you where I go.

I close with love,

Suranyi nővér

Week #11 (In Hungary)

Happy New Year from a Hungarian keyboard!

I’M IN HUNGARY!!!

My brain is full of thoughts, but I’ll do my best to make sense :)

Firstly where I am now: I am in a city called Szeged with my new companion Papritz nővér. There haven’t been Sister Missionaries in this area for 4 years we’ve been told, so both of us are new here and are working on finding people to teach. From my experience so far, I am pretty lucky to be where I am. I’ve been told that our apartment is the nicest one in the mission! I really do like it. It has sort of a second floor deck inside where our beds are. I fear I may one day fall down the stairs, but they really are neat! They are shaped in such a way that they dictate which foot you have to start with hahaha. The Elders who were in the apartment before us left the place in a bit of a mess (that is putting it lightly) so we are continuing to try to organize and clean the place. But its great! And its home now! Also, the elders before us must have spent their last day wisely, as they labeled several objects and surfaces around the home with giant orange post-it notes. So there is a note on the wall for example that says (in Hungarian) “Wall. Generally there are four of them in a room”. Szeged has many beautiful buildings! Luckily Papritz nővér is good with directions because I still haven’t a clue how to get around. I’ll surely be doing some map studying! We get around by foot and public transit in Szeged. The church building is close enough to walk to, which is wonderful.

Before I tell you about some more experiences I’ve had so far, I want to explain some of my overall feeling right now. Although it’s my 6th day in Hungary, I feel I haven’t yet had the chance to really get into the work. The first day here was mostly spent in the mission home in Budapest, the second day was mostly meetings and travel, then we had to spend part of a day getting our apartment livable (we were left no toilet paper in the apartment for example hahaha), then – both a sadness and a blessing – we were given two “super preparation days”. I am still unfamiliar with the concept of a super preparation day but it had to do with the new year holidays I believe, so we didn’t do much work on those two days. And now its today and I’m emailing. (We email on Mondays). So. after emailing, I am so so so so so itching to jump in!

I have however already had some wonderful experiences! I spoke with a woman in one of the airports on the way to Hungary and was able to connect with her. She shared a lot of her pain and sadness with me, and I really felt for her. I was then able to share a wonderful message of comfort and happiness with her and offer her a Book of Mormon. I have a testimony of the healing power of the Atonement. I was glad to have shared that with someone. Upon arrival in Budapest we got to go out and talk with some people in a public square. There again I was able to connect with some people (in Hungarian!).

Interestingly, my first day in Hungary was my most successful language day. I had long conversations with people in the street in Hungarian. Since coming to Szeged, I understand maybe 4% of everything that is said to me. Papritz nővér luckily speaks very well! I really want to learn to understand and speak better so I can better fulfill my purpose as a missionary.

Papritz nővér and I got to have a meeting with a recent convert in the area and he is INCREDIBLE! He is such a good example to me of living the gospel and having faith. (He spoke wonderful English which helped me a lot.) I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of amazing people here in Hungary!

There are also two elders serving here in Szeged, so there are four of us total in our district. We all get along and I feel I can learn a lot from my companion. I am doing my best to pull as much weight as I can as a “greenie”. Erickson testvér, one of my teachers from the MTC, suggested we do our best to serve our trainer, so I try to always remember that and act on it.

Ooh here are two fun stories:
First, I went whipping. It is a big thing for missionaries in Hungary to buy whips and learn to crack them. The two elders in my distinct have happen to have bought 2 each, so on one of our Super P-days we went whipping. I need more of the back story on where Hungarian whipping originated.. horse-men? It is embarrassing but I am willing to admit that I have no idea. Grossen testvér, my other teacher from the MTC, showed us his whip that he got on his mission and I found it to be very intimidating-looking, so I didn’t take much interest in learning too much about it. But when the time came, how could I say no to doing something so peculiar (and possibly cultural?) as “going whipping”?? So I went. And straight away whipped myself in the face!! Haha literally on my first attempt! But I ended up actually having a really good time!! Over the course of our whipping expedition I whipped myself several times including my ear. But other than the pain, it was fun. Whips are loud! You probably knew that. haha. And now my “whipping arm” hurts, but who knows maybe I will return from Hungary with an extremely buff whipping arm. Ah good.

Story number two happened at Church on Sunday. First a bit about Church. Although I had a hard time understanding most of everything said by everyone, I really enjoyed church. I introduced myself to everyone I saw and tried to remember some of their names. I could feel the Spirit in that meeting and I felt comfortable even though I didn’t understand much. Ok so the story, the bishop asked the new missionaries to introduce themselves and bear testimony in the meeting. So I did. And it was great! … except for one thing I said. So… I learned before coming that if you tell someone to “go to France” you are telling them to go to a much worse place than that, and it is very rude. What I did not know is that you have to be careful about how you speak about France in general. So, in my introduction on my first Sunday in church, I told everyone about how my younger brother is currently serving his mission in hell. Everyone in the congregation laughed when I said it and I had no idea why. Honestly I was quite confused. I thought I had said a different word wrong or something. It turns out you have to say “France country” so people will know you are actually talking about France. One of the members started calling me “Sister France” after that. Luckily no one was offended and they all knew what I was trying to say… but oh dear.

After church there was a meeting and again I was in the dark with everything being said, but something wonderful happened. I looked around at these people who I had only just met, and I felt love for them, for all of them. I felt it is a gift from Heavenly Father to me that I can love them without knowing them first. I pray to develop this love for all of the people I see. Every soul is important to the Lord and thus they should be important to me.

As I get to dedicate my time fully to my work, I expect I will feel a sense of comfort in knowing that I am doing what I was sent here to do. I have an added measure of desire to get working, so I cannot wait to tell you what comes of it!

I love you all. Happy 2012! I can’t believe it’s 2012!

Love, Suranyi nővér