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,