Week #19

Hey there everyone!!

The weather has been so beautiful here in Szeged the past couple of days! The sun has been shining and the snow melting, the winter coats disappearing and the bikes appearing. – spring is coming!! Anna Kut (pronounced “awnah koot”) has been bustling. I wish I could properly describe how fun it is to watch what happens at Anna Kut. There is a statue with four spouts around it, from which pour different kinds of water. Depending on who you ask, it is healing water, or health water, or just clean water. People come with bagfuls of empty bottles and fill them up at the Kut. We pass it daily and thoroughly enjoy watching the different kinds of people that come to partake in the water of the Kut. We almost dressed as Anna Kut and a bag full of bottles for Farsang. It would have been epic. I will try to get a picture some time of a bustling Anna Kut.

Thank you all for the letters you send to me!! (Charlie 1, Charlie 2, Charlie 3…) I love ’em I love ’em!

Mario and Princess Peach came over this week. But not really. One of the members is a plumber and he came to help us figure out was was wrong with our water. Turns out there were disgusting globs of nastiness blocking our taps and that is why our water pressure was so non existent. We are pretty sure it is build up from that first day that our water was all brown from a broken pipe somewhere we think. I am just glad it is fixed now! The land lord even fixed my bed!! Joy joy :)

Did I mention that Papritz nővér and I made stuffed peppers? They were SO DELICIOUSSSS. Tomorrow we are making them again :)

We were taught how to make stuffed cabbage this week. It was fun to make but painful! You have to use pickled cabbage and it stings your winter hands. It was worth it though :)

Oh and also I hummed the Mario theme song for days after our water got fixed. :)

Cool Hungarian language thing: If I started talking to you about Mária for example, and you wanted to know what her last name was you would ask me “what kind of Mária?”. I love hearing that. I think it sounds so, well, Hungarian!

Speaking of Hungarian, I gave a talk in church this week. It was a scary but good experience. Interestingly, the senior office couple from Budapest was visiting so they had Beaumont elder translating everything for them. Thus my talk was being translated as I spoke. I had to try not to imagine what he was saying and pay attention to what I was saying. It was funny and reminded me of the time in the MTC choir when my face was on the screen.
Actually this Sunday was really great. I decided to make myself to talk to a member who I had never talked to before because I was afraid it would have been too awkward if we couldn’t understand one another. It turned out that he spoke English and that made me so comfortable to speak with him, because I knew that if I needed help, he would understand. And he turned out to be a really nice person and I was glad I talked to him. It was a reminder that I need to just open my mouth. I cannot let nerves stop me from talking to people and progressing. I really felt the Spirit it sacrament meeting when a member gave a talk about spiritual gifts. I really felt at home. I generally go to Young Womens’ for the third hour and I had a good experience there this week. I like church. It is tiring and demanding on my brain power, but it feeds and lifts my spirit. The more I come to know the members, the more I love them. It is still scary when I don’t know whether or not I will understand the next thing someone says to me, but it is such a growing experience.

My trainer is so so wonderful. I look up to Papritz nővér so much. She is a fantastic missionary. It is like part of her being. She has such a hold on the ins and outs and she always seems to know what to do. She cares about my growth and is so patient with me. She’s a great mission mama.

I have such a testimony of companionship inventory. I feel like so much growth would be missed if we didn’t conduct weekly companionship inventory. It is always a little bit awkward but so so worth it. For those of you who don’t know what companionship inventory is – you share personal goals and make companionship goals, you talk about companionship strengths and weaknesses, and you tell the other person their strengths, and you give the other person suggestions on ways to improve. It is not a very natural thing to do, but I am so glad we are asked to do it. I always am so grateful for it. You get to reevaluate and see if you are on the same page with things, and so much other good comes from it. (That was good as a noun, in-case you were wondering.) (That last parenthesis clause was mostly for Jenn.) I <3 comp inventory!

Oh so Saturday was weird. For some reason, way more people stared at us than usual. I don't know why, but I always have this misguided feeling that I fit in. I feel like I look like everyone else. Haha. It is probably a blessing that I don't feel like I stick out, but Saturday was just funny. Papritz nővér and I kept asking each other if we somehow looked extra weird that day or something. But … we looked like we look every other day. So, nem tudom what that was all about, but it was funny. It mostly made me smile. Which was probably a good thing, because missionaries are happy people! We always joke that they don't even sell skirts as long as ours in this country. :P

This week, on the way somewhere, Papritz nővér and I discovered an outdoor exercise gym. It is almost like a playground, but for adults. It is all painted red and yellow and the machines are pretty basic and funny. It was awesome. I wish it was closer to our house, because we would so workout there.

One of the members said a pun that I have never heard before this week. "The Church of Cheese and Rice and Rattlesnakes". I like it.

Thank you for following my crazy mind jumps from topic to topic.

Can I just tell you all how much I love my little brother? His existence on this planet is a huge part of why I know how to love people. My parents gave me the best sibling I could have ever asked for. Better even. Not only is he extremely talented and funny and good-looking but he has the softest little heart I have ever had the chance of knowing. He is such a good example to me. I can't even imagine how much love he is spreading in France right now. I am pretty stoked on getting to be his sibling for eternity. God loves me; He gave me exactly the family that is perfect for me.

I love you wonderful people. I appreciate the time you take to rendszeresen read my brain rambles.

WAAH! TOMORROW I GET OLDER! It surprises me every time I remember it. We bought some frightening fire-spewing things today that Hungarians apparently put on cakes. Well I have never seen one in action, but the picture on the package looks frightening. Bring on the flames!

(Est-ce que qqn peut forcer Ian Wood de m'écrire. Merci tellement.)

Talk to you all in a week!

Lots of love!

– Surányi nővér

Week #18

Hi everyone!

I have officially been on my mission for four months now! It feels both like eternity and the blink of an eye. How confusing. :)

We went to Budapest again this week :) . I feel like in every email I am talking about a trip to Budapest! This time it was for transfers. We dropped off Kimball nővér and Nielson elder and came back with a new addition to our district – Beaumont elder. Whenever we go to Budapest we get to pick up mail, and I got some lovely letters from some people I love and I even got a package! ( Thank you Dana!!! I am excited to open it in two days like you said :) !!!!! ) I even got a letter from myself… which was actually a return-to-sender – I plan to resend it this week. Oh and in Budapest the snow was intense! There was heavy snow and strong wind and I felt bad for all the people lugging suitcases around. We also had a funny experience where we accidentally sat in the first class cabin on the train on the way home (it’s between all the second class cabins so we didn’t know) and got kicked out by the ticket checker. Then everywhere else was too full to fit the four of us so we did a train car ballet for the remainder of the trip as people would leave the train. Eventually we all got back together :)

We had our Farsangi Buli this week at the branch house! It is their celebration to usher in the Spring season, and they dress up! We sort-of equate it to Halloween because of the dressing up… but that is the only similarity really haha. Papritz nővér dressed as an orvos (doctor) and I as a beteg (patient). The elders dressed as tie mummies (they wrapped themselves in ties… haha!). There were some fun games like human Foosball and blindfolded-eating-cookies-off-a-window etc. The day after the party we visited some investigators who were not at the party and they said that they had already seen pictures of us on Facebook. Crazy. I thought I left Facebook behind, but you can’t run away from social media!! haha! (I have to not think too far into it because it can get scary actually).

This Monday we were invited by a member for a transfer meal and it was so so good. I ate the most delicious stuffed pepper I have ever tasted in my life. Mmmm delicious memory.

This week I came to the realization that we’ve been lucky to meet many people who have natural inborn desires to do good. It amazes and impresses me. Sometimes the world can look like such a gloomy and selfish place, but then to meet all these naturally giving and caring people provides such a spiritual lift for me. I am so blessed. I keep feeling like I am being blessed more than I am being a blessing. I feel so lucky.

One program this week was incredible for me, and I’d like to share some of the feelings I felt there. I really felt like my heart was breaking during this meeting. I felt wrenching feelings and pain in my heart from sadness. Those feelings were not for myself but for the people with whom we were meeting. The things they shared with us caused me to feel this way for them. It was physically uncomfortable inside me in a way that I almost wished we could leave. Then, as my heart was in such pain, I came to the realization that it was my love for them that was allowing me to feel such feelings for them. I did not know them before, but as they invited us into their home, I was blessed to develop a love for them. My feelings of pain then turned to gratitude as I recognized what a blessing the Lord had given me to feel so connected to these people so fast. That is one example of how I feel I am being extremely blessed. Isn’t that incredible? Suddenly I feel like this has happened before and maybe I have already shared such an experience with you all. Maybe I can eventually learn to skip the pain part and go straight to the gratitude for love part :) :) Either way it is incredible. Opposition in all things! It makes the good part feel so much better!

Oh and my little “France” mishap is still following me around. One person, who I had never even met before, who wasn’t even in the meeting when I said the France thing, who isn’t even a member of the church met me and said “oh you’re the France girl”. Oh boy. Maybe when I leave Szeged it will stop following me.

Ooh another great thing from this week is that we had a “mini missionary” come serve with us. There are a couple different situations where you might find a mini missionary, but in our case, we had a member, Viki, come serve with us for two days. She didn’t live with us, but we did morning studies together and did all our programs together throughout the days. She was such a good example of courage to me. She did such an amazing job in all of our programs and was such an added benefit. Her testimony and the way she spoke were a great help to those with whom we were meeting. One day we scheduled two programs at the same time. Papritz nővér invited another member to teach with her in one program and then Viki and I taught the other program. Papritz nővér asked Viki to be the Senior Companion in the lesson which meant Viki would lead the whole lesson. She did such an incredible job!! I was so impressed at how well she lead and guided the lesson. The whole experience working with her for the two days was a good one. In church on Sunday Viki bore her testimony about the things she had learned during her time with us, and I was so happy to hear that she also benefited from it. The Lord blesses everyone involved when we try to do good things!!

I haven’t taken much opportunity to talk to children in Hungarian yet, but this week I had the chance to talk to a little boy and a little girl. They were ADORABLE!! But the best part is that they don’t understand that I don’t understand Hungarian. When I ask them what a certain word means they just get confused and say it again. I can’t really describe it, but it is adorable and funny. I hear that is the norm with children. That is so interesting to me. I’d love to learn more about that.

It is still snowing in Szeged. We thought for sure it was done several times, but then it always starts up again. Luckily we have enough programs that we are not outside too much :) But the eternal slush on the sidewalks is tricky to manoeuvres in. I have warm boots though, so its not so bad.

Im onto my third bed now! My first one broke, then I was sleeping on a makeshift one on the floor, and now that Kimball nővér is no longer living with us I have taken her bed. It is kind-of a miracle bed. Every morning, I wake up and the top cover has slid off my bed onto the floor in this perfect accordion fold. Its kind-of neat. But I do wish the cover would stay on.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson is coming to Hungary on March 7th and the missionaries get to have a special meeting with him! I look forward to this!! (He will be in Europe already and he is making a stop in Hungary).

Things are good here. I am still learning all the time and have so much growing to do. I feel so blessed and know I need to always recognize those blessings and know the source from which they flow. I love serving with Papritz nővér and I have a lot to learn from her.

I love you wonderful people!!

Surányi nővér

Week #17

Hello everyone!

This morning I received my first “transfer call” of my mission. Every 6 weeks is transfers for everyone, and you get a call in the morning telling you where you are going to serve next. Papritz nővér and I will both be staying in Szeged together and Kimball nővér is being sent to serve in Miskolc. Neilson elder from our area is being transferred to Pécs and replacing him will be Beaumont elder who is actually from Abbotsford stake back home! I look forward to serving another transfer here in Szeged :)

This week I finally read a talk that has been suggested to me many times: The Fourth Missionary. It was incredible. I am reading it again. Ah so good. Although it is geared toward missionary work, the points made in the talk are true to anyone in life. Ooh and a fun thing for me with this talk was that there was a section that had a really clear logical argument. So, after I read the talk I went back to the section I noticed and then formalized the argument into symbol logic/predicate logic. The logic was already really clear, but it was really rewarding to use something I learned in school and apply it to a real life situation. I was giddy in my brain from it. It was so fun for me!

Also this week I realized how funny it is that all the animals in animal crackers are the same size.

I also learned that Bucharest is not at all in Serbia but in Romania. I have been singing my “to Serbia” song a tonne. le sigh.

This week at church there was a YSA cowboy themed party. They asked Kimball nővér to choreograph a line dance for it. It was a really fun event. We did line dancing, ate food, had a seed spitting contest, tried to lasso, and played some other games. There were a bunch of non-members there and it was fun to have a good time with them and help them see that Mormons are nice and fun! Next week the ward is having a Farsang party (which is like Hungarian Halloween) and I am really looking forward to that!

This Sunday Kimball nővér and I sang in church (the Hungarian translation of How Great Thou Art) and it went really well. It was the least nervous I have ever felt singing in front of people, and she said that it was the same for her. Papritz nővér accompanied us and played/improvised a really great arrangement. They are both really musically talented!

Every week here I am learning and growing (usually slower than I wish though :P ). I feel that I am more capable than ever before at recognizing my weaknesses. It is kind-of painful but mostly I am very grateful for it. I see how much growing can happen when the Lord shows unto me my weaknesses. My mission is the best decision I have ever made in my life. I realize that I am only one transfer in, but I feel strongly that I can already say that. The more I am concentrating on serving other people, the more I feel I am learning. Some of my hardest moments are when I am in a lesson and I just want with all my heart to understand what is being said. My heart literally aches because I desire so strongly to know what they are saying. But, can I tell you how much of a blessing it is? It is incredible. So I am sitting there, literally aching inside, and then so often comes this feeling of deep love for the person. The ache turns to a different kind of feeling. It turns to this desire, not for myself to understand, but for the benefit of the other person. It is kind of amazing. I go from hurting inside, to feeling this strong love. It is wonderful. I still really really want to understand better, but the feeling of loving others is something that I am needing to learn right now. What a blessing. My life is incredible.

You know what else is incredible? I performed a miracle with water this week. OK that is a lie. But the circumstances lined up so well that it looked a lot like a miracle. So, I wanted my bottled water to stay cold so I put the two that weren’t open yet outside the door. One froze solid, but the one closer to the house stayed liquid. So when I wanted to start a new bottle of water, I went out and got the liquid one. So like I said, it was liquid. I open the bottle – still liquid. I start pouring it into a glass – still liquid. The glass starts filling – NOT LIQUID! It turned into thick thick slush as soon as it got in the cup. I kind-of freaked out because it looked white-ish and I thought it was turning to some kind of gel and I was super confused and worried. But then I saw that it was ice. So I added raspberry syrup and had a slushie! The water happened to be at the perfect temperature for that to happen, but of course I announced it to my companions as a miracle first. And I mean in a way it is. The way the Lord created water is incredible. It is so perfect and unlike other substances. I enjoyed my delicious water miracle.

Thank you again for reading this blog and for sending me letters. They brighten my life. :)

We’ve been teaching a family, and this week we set up a baptism date for two of them. I have such a strong desire to really help them be prepared for it. I know they need to develop their own personal testimonies and really understand how baptism is the gate onto the straight and narrow path to return to live with our Heavenly Father. They need a desire to stay on that path before we show them through the gate. I hope we can help them see the whole picture and that they can feel prepared for the many incredible blessings that lie ahead of them as they enter the gate and then stay on the path.

Thank you for your prayers! I keep seeing in the scriptures how the Lord answers prayers and I am so grateful for your help.

I love you all bunches and bunches of oats,

Surányi nővér <3

Week #16

Brrr, I mean hello!

We thought that maybe winter was over and spring was coming early… but we were wrong! haha! It started snowing about three days ago – snowed for at least a straight day – and its been on and off ever since. Now I already know that many of you (for example my friends in Alberta and Ontario) will laugh at this, but to me it’s cold! There is about a foot and a half of snow and its around -10 degrees Celsius. And its humid cold, so its just very cold. But we bundle up and make ourselves as busy as possible so we do not have to spend much time outside :)

This morning something happened with the pipes in our building so we had brown water for half of the day, but luckily its back to normal now!

We went to Budapest again this week (before any of the snow), this time for Zone Conference. We actually combined with another zone this time, so there were something like 30 missionaries there. It was a day of training (all in English except for our role plays). The mission president did training on the Plan of Salvation, and we also had training from the mission president’s wife as well as from the assistants to the president and from our zone leaders. It felt like good old MTC times :) so I liked it. They asked me to say the closing prayer for the conference, which was slightly nerve-racking around my peers because it was in Hungarian and I am from the greenest group of missionaries who were there. But its good to push our comfort limits! Hungarian is a consistent comfort limit pushing experience. It is great!

During the conference I had a literally 1 minute long interview with the mission president. It was hilarious. I heard he does quick interviews, but it was funny to actually experience it. He just had one question for me, which was probably why it was so quick, it was just surprising that after 60 seconds he stands up shakes my hand and thanks me. haha. This time we didn’t have to train to Budapest! Papritz nővér got to go in the car with the Senior couple in our district and Kimball nővér and I were driven by the elders in our district. On the way back from Budapest we played an intense game of Contact (a word game that i LOVE). Anyone who has ever played Contact with me knows how much I love that game!! We also did some riddles and other word games. I really enjoyed it.

I had another “note day” in my journal this week :D (THANKS JENN!!)

Ooh and I received some mail this week :) Thank you so much for sending me letters!!

I’ve been having some weird dreams lately, but I like them. This week I had a dream involving a building that turned into a snake and started chasing me. I also had a dream about soup and another dream about helping Ali Baba the thief. Both of my companions also had weird dreams this week. Maybe there is a gas leak in our apartment… nah.

Today for a Preparation Day activity the elders and we went to a big Synagogue here in Szeged. It was freezing cold inside, but beautiful. I sent a picture that my dad might be posting. (It will be interesting for me to see how the blog looks when I return home). We also did our weekly food shopping and some other little things.

Real-time info: I just developed a strong desire to drink some hot chocolate. I <3 Csoki.

One neat thing about serving a mission is that the scriptures apply to you in a new way. As I define myself as a missionary so many new scriptures are meaningful to me in a different way than they were before. It is interesting to read the same scriptures I've read before, but from a new perspective. I am sure the same thing can happen with any life change. As a wife, as a parent, I am sure the scriptures will again become interesting in new ways. I guess even during certain trials or life situations the scriptures can again pop out in different ways. That is one reason why the Gift of the Holy Ghost is so wonderful. He can help us recognize things that can help us in our current situations. I am really appreciating the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

This past Sunday wast fast Sunday and I had some great experiences. One thing that was meaningful to me was that something I was fasting and praying to learn more about was given to me to grow from. Lately I've been recognizing more and more times where I don't know what to do, say, or think. I always make a decision but I feel like if I didn't pick one, I could just sit there confused and doing nothing. It is sort of a strange feeling when I recognize it happening. I've been praying to better know what I should do in those situations and for the Lord to help me to grow and become better at recognizing the guidance of the Spirit. That same day I was given a difficult situation where I did not know what to say, think, or do. As the situation occurred, I could tell that the Lord was working on answering my prayers. I know that for me to get better at these situations, I have to experience them and grow through them. If He took all those situations away from me, I would never learn how to deal with them. So I felt grateful that right away I saw that the Lord listens to my prayers and wants to help me grow.

I really really hope I let myself grow. Luckily I have been given Hungarian as a trial. Compared to many growth opportunities, it is so concrete and it is easier to track your progress and to notice if you are not progressing. It is also easier to progress because you are more or less forced to use it if you want to accomplish your missionary purpose. But I hope I can grow in other ways too. It takes effort to grow, and I hope I can do it. I will keep trying!

I know I say it often, but I really have faith in the fact that the Lord can shape a person through their missionary service. I know He can make me a tool in His hands if I let Him. I'm trying to let Him :)

Time on a mission is so crazy. It feels fast, and slow, and normal, and confusing, and perfect, and off, all at once. Papritz nővér read us a neat quote about time this week. Something about how we (all people) are strangers in time. We are eternal beings. The fact that we need clocks and watches everywhere shows that we are not comfortable in time, that it is not part of who we are. We have to keep reminding ourselves of it and trying to work within its confines. I thought it was really interesting to think about.

Ok we are off to a program. I have enjoyed this time to think about you all and to reflect on some parts of my week. We met with a lot of people this week and are meeting with an even larger amount this coming week. So many interesting things happen on a daily basis when you meet with people from all walks of life!

I look forward to when the people I meet with are you all! I know there is much to be learned from all of you.

I love you all bunches of oats.

MUAH

Surányi nővér