Week #23

Hello everyone!

Transfer 3 is about to begin; this morning we got our calls, and Wednesday is when the big switch goes down! Paprtitz nővér is staying here in Szeged and so are Elders Beaumont and Moffett. I, on the other hand, am off to Kecskemét to serve with Hudspeth nővér. I will still be in the South-East Zone, so I will see my Szeged-district missionaries during Zone conference and when the Elders come over for splits.

This past week has been quite eventful. The weather has switched to BEAUTIFUL. Every day this week has been warm and sunny! This week Papritz nővér and I both came down with bad colds. We had all the symptoms – runny noses, swollen throats, tiredness, body soreness, etc and our favourite, that floaty feeling. Haha. But we managed to pretty much heal in time for yesterday which was one of the most eventful days of my mission so far! Let me give you a summary of yesterday. SO good!

Sunday March 25

-time moved forward one hour (it does that a week late here)
-Sister Papritz bakes a cake at 7am
-We go to church
-They skip the talk that Sister Papritz prepared to give (merp)
-The rest of church is great!
– we go over to the Seventh Day Adventist church to hold a baptismal service (such a miracle and blessing that we got to use their font and building!!)
– baptisms go swimmingly! Two people got baptised. One of our investigators and one of the Elders’. District unity to the fullest!
– Us four missionaries perform a song at the baptism (even with colds)
– we have a post baptism social (that’s where the 7am cake comes in) where I receive my first puszi from a man (it is not allowed but I wasn’t able to stop him in time. Oy. Puszi is the double-cheek kiss)
– straight from the social we (the elders and a member and us sisters) head over with another investigator to the Nazarene church out in Hódmezővásárhely in his home-modified family bus/van thing that doesn’t have working seat-belts.
– everyone can tell we are visitors and alot of people come and talk to us. Everyone is extremely nice and welcoming.
– They sing SO well! They have two different hymn books and we all sing together in four parts for an hour. (Such good sight reading practice!)
– Dinner break: they feed us bread and salami and a little lady talks to me for half an hour (such good speaking practice!)
– more singing in parts. This time without an organ. (Even better ear training and sight reading practice!)
– a man then gave a talk that I understood nothing of (which is still common for me at this stage)
– we go back home to Szeged in the same bus/van but this time with the investigator’s family (his wife and three of his kids). It was a zoo in there and it was great!
– The investigator’s wife gifts me one of her song books :) How nice!!

What a great day!

Today was good too. All 6 missionaries (that includes the senior couple) plus a girl from the branch who is about to serve a mini mission were invited over by a member for lunch today. The food was delicious! The man who fed us used to be the branch mission leader so he knows missionaries quite well. Because he knew I was leaving he gave me a neat Hungarian crested ball cap as a gift before we left! He then shook my hand and leaned in for puszi. I protested (because he should know better) but he didn’t care! When I told him “nem szabad” he said that for him it was “szabad”. Cheeky little man. Haha! 2 man puszi within 24 hours. Oh dear. I hope this is not a trend.

Well a slough of new experiences are about to come my way as I fly the coop and leave the safety of my trainer and my greeny area. I look forward to what I can learn from this. I am not feeling very nervous, but I do not know what to expect. I am open to what is going to happen. I kind of like having no expectations. It makes every outcome a good one. I don’t know if I can say yet that I like change, but I can say that through my whole mission experience, right from the MTC even, I have been dealing with change really well compared to my past. I really feel like the Holy Ghost is comforting me and giving me the strength and courage to deal with everything that is coming my way.

I am trying to have the wisdom to use my experiences as growing opportunities. It is easy to fight the growth and try to stay in some sort of comfort bubble. So I am glad they are shipping me off to a new place. It should help me do some learning and growing!

Love you all very much!

Surányi nővér

Super P-Day week!

Hello everyone!

This week has been a wonderful one! We met with many people and have plans to meet with some new ones this coming week too. Transfers are a week away which adds an additional dimention of things to think about as we work. When I write next week, I should know where or whether I will be moving to a new place :)

This week we had a super pday because of the national holiday. It was a fantastic day! I really enjoyed it and I feel like the day of vacation helped prepare me to get back into the work again. Almost our entire zone (14 people) came to Szeged in the morning and we all went to the Museum which was free because of the holiday. Then we went to the Adams’ house and had lunch there. Then we all went to the “Eko Park” in Ujszeged which was a ropes course. When we got there, it looked small, but as we got into it it was actually really fun! There were all sorts of different little obstacles that you have to traverse and there were also some zip-lines. On one of the little zip-lines, I went too fast and smacked into a tree at the end. But the whole thing was a really good time. The last 2 obstacles before the final and biggest zip-line were the hardest. It was funny watching the people in front of you struggle and know that soon that would be you. Haha. The safety gear made it so you felt safe to try anything. It rocked. After the course we all went whipping for a while. We then went to the Adams’ again and we had a “sajt night” where we ate fried cheese with dipping sauces, and we watched Kung Fu Panda 2. Then the rest of the zone went home and our district played Apples to Apples with the Adams (I love that game!). It was a wonderful day!

This week I had a good experience at a Relief Society (the Women’s organization of our church) activity. At the end of the activity a woman came up and bore her testimony about the temple. Her testimony was so strong about the blessing of temples and it really touched me to hear her. Afterward during the closing prayer, I’ll admit, I allowed my mind to wander a little bit and got distracted by some unimportant thoughts. But as I was thinking, I felt a really gentle and warm feeling in my heart and I pulled my attention back to the prayer that was being said. I knew so strongly that that feeling was the Holy Ghost, and I was so grateful for that feeling. I am grateful to know that the Holy Ghost was present at that meeting and that we could all be uplifted together as women.

One of our road blocks right now is finding somewhere to hold baptisms. Because the church is so young here in Hungary, not all of the cities have church-owned buildings, and thus, no baptismal fonts. We have a few options that we are working on, and I have faith that everything will work out the way it is meant to.

This week we had the special opportunity to support one of our young investigators by attending her ice dance competition. We had a really busy schedule that day but we were able to be at the arena to watch her perform as well as see about 5 other numbers. I could see how much she enjoys what she does as she was glowing with happiness when we went to congratulate her after she skated. It reminded me of how I feel when I dance. I was really grateful to be able to attend and be reminded of how lucky we are to have things in life that make us happy.

I still struggle a lot with speaking and understanding Hungarian but today I had a really good experience. It was our first meeting with a girl about my age and we talked a lot about the Book of Mormon. My companion is losing her voice, so it fell on me to do a bit more talking. And for some reason, as I spoke, the words just came out. I know I made errors, but the smoothness of speech was startling to me. I knew that it was a blessing from my Heavenly Father. I am aware of the struggle I usually have, and it felt so wonderful to be able to communicate more freely during that meeting. I receive so many blessings!

I am so grateful for the many prayers and good thoughts that are said and thought on my behalf. My happiness is proof that your prayers are being answered. Your support is meaningful to me and provides real tangible help.

With lots of Hungarian, whippy, zip-liney, baked goods-y love,

Surányi nővér

 

Straight from my fingers to you!

Hello friends and family!!

My parents won’t have internet access for a couple of weeks, so I have special permission to post my own blogs! haha I know that it doesn’t really make a difference to your experience, but you can sortof imagine it as one step closer to me. I imagine it as one step closer to you all from my side anyway :)

I have had a wonderful week!!

This week on March 8th was nőnap or women’s day. On nőnap it is customary for men to given flowers to women. So the city was filled with women carrying flowers around. I really liked it, it was adorable! And one fun thing about Hungarians, is that they carry their flowers upside down. How smart! Why fight gravity all day?

I received some more mail this week :) köszönöm! (Sugi, I need a return address from you!!) I love my mail!

I got to attend a wedding this week! It was quite different from what I am used to but it was neat to experience! I was in charge of holding the rice that was later to be thrown :) . The father of the groom thought my accent was funny and we had some fun trying to communicate with one another. I have now attended a wedding and a funeral since I’ve been in Hungary. What’s next? Maybe some sort of graduation. I could see that happening.

This week Papritz nővér and I made some home made pasta – nokedli – and it was super good! She and I also had a running joke this week about an “I Am Legend”-esque disease running through the transit system because weird things kept happening with transit this week. I am so grateful that although we try to work hard, we also enjoy our time together. I don’t think there has been a day yet on my mission where I have not laughed.

Oh also… is it common knowledge that Hugh Laurie is a musician? I saw a CD last pday and was surprised. When I get home, I so want to look into that.

This week on March 7th, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, one of the 12 Apostles, came to Hungary. In the evening there was a general meeting where everyone was invited, but in the afternoon was a meeting just for the missionaries. Both meetings were so wonderful! We heard from Elder Christofferson and his wife, as well as Elder Kapischke of the quorum of the 70 and his wife. At the end of the missionary meeting we all got to go and shake hands with the Apostle. What a wonderful gift.

Hearing from Elder Christofferson was powerful in both meetings. He taught so simply and spoke with such love. My entire testimony was reaffirmed and strengthened as the Holy Ghost bore testimony to my heart of the truthfulness of the things that he was saying. I knew without a doubt that he is a true apostle of the Lord. It was a spritually comfortable experience. Being in the meeting felt so right; it felt so much like home. It felt so wonderful to gather together with the saints in such a united spirit. Last minute Papritz nővér and I were asked to sing in the choir for the evening meeting, so we got to sit in the third row. It was wonderful. In the evening meeting, everything was translated into Hungarian in real time. The translaters were incredible. It was also a wonderful experience to hear everything in two languages. I don’t know if I will ever get to hear so closely from an apostle again, so I am very grateful for this special experience that I had.

Hungarian is continuing to be a struggle. Sometimes it is so rewarding and sometimes it is so frustrating. There are times when I can have a good conversation with someone in Hungarian and I feel so happy. There are other times when I cannot seem to understand a word that anyone says.

It reminds me of my psychology classes all of a sudden, lets see if I can remember the term I am thinking of… something reward schedule… aw I can’t remember. Some of you must be familiar with this: those experiments they did with rats, where the rat had to press a bar and depending on the “reward schedule” food would come out after a certain amount of bar presses. And they found that when the number of presses required to get food was random instead of predictable, then the rats would… press more often or more quickly or something? And it is the whole reason why people get addicted to gambling, because you don’t know when you are going to win, so you keep doing it and doing it hoping that the next time is the win. Well that’s what I think partly keeps me going with Hungarian. Haha. I never know if a certain attempt to communicate will be successful. But when I do succeed it is great! So I keep trying! And becuase it isn’t on a regular schedule where I can predict when I will succeed, it means I try hard every time. Of course there is a spiritual side to all of this, but I still enjoy thinking of rats pressing bars.

This Thursday will be a national holiday! For the past month all over they have been selling these neat little ribbons with the Hungarian flag colours. Papritz nővér and I thought they looked cool so we each bought one and started wearing them around on our backpacks. After a few days of proudly displaying our ribbons, we (embarrassingly) found out from a young investigator of ours that the ribbons are meant to be worn on the national holiday, and the look on his face clearly showed that we looked silly wearing them. Haha I imagine it is like wearing a poppy a month before remembrance day for Canadians. Ah good.

Did I ever mention how vague buttons are here? The buttons to turn on a light, ring a doorbell, and open an automatic door are often all exacly the same button. There have been a couple times where I have rang a doorbell instead of turned on a light because the buttons were right beside eachother. And remember that time I pressed the emergency button on the bus? Same problem. Haha. Maybe I can aquire the minute understanding of the Hungarian button system as my time here continues. I can’t believe there are only 2 weeks left of this transfer! Who knows what adventures await me as I may be transferred somewhere else and begin to serve with someone else! Yipes!

I believe I will see my first baptism before the end of this transfer and I am really looking forward to it!

I love you all bunches and bunches of upside down flowers!

Love,

Surányi nővér

Pretty Bride!

Pretty Bride!

Week #20

Hello everyone!

This week was really great! We attained mission standard again this week, which is great. We are working with some people who are really incredible examples to me. They show me how much it is worth changing your life and how many blessings come when you do. It is incredible to see the faith that some of these people demonstrate as they are willing to change. I know that I too need to be willing.

Aside from the work, this week was a super bonus extra awesome week of great additions. My birthday was wonderful wonderful! I wrote down a list of 9 awesome things from my birthday:

1. We went for a morning walk for our exercise and the sunrise was so beautiful!
2. While I was in the shower Papritz nővér hid 22 post-it notes around the house. They all had really kind notes written on them. It was such an amazing and touching surprise!
3. Papritz nővér made me her own little gift certificates for my birthday :)
4. The Adams, the senior missionary couple in our district, had us all over for a birthday lunch for me!!! So nice!!
5. The elders and Papritz nővér and I had a district dinner at the branch house (the sisters made stuffed peppers and the elders brought ingredients and we all made polacsintas together).
6. The elders and Papritz nővér gave me this AWESOME Hungarian flag for my birthday!
7. Viki, a member here, gave me a set of Hungarian playing cards and a bunch of rules for games to play with them
8. Through the day I got happy birthday phone calls!
9. My birthday exceeded all expectations!!

Don’t I sound spoiled???? I sure am. I really thought that my birthday was just going to be another normal day. But everyone else treated me so wonderfully and made me feel so incredibly special. I haven’t known these people very long, but they were so kind to me. I feel so blessed. I don’t know why I get to have so many good things happen to me all the time. But I love it!!

I got a new name tag this week that has the proper “Surányi” accented. So awesome!

Also, just to make this week even more amazing than it already was, there was the Disznotoros Palinka Fesztival. Which was pretty much a sausage and brandy festival. And it happened right by our home. Papritz nővér and I just loved that festival with our whole hearts. There were something like 50 wooden huts that they built for the festival from which people would sell different things. A good half of them just sold brandy haha. Another good portion just sold meat and sausage and food. And then a bunch had neat trinkets and Hungarian things and such. Ah it was great. We bought whips!! (I never thought I would end up buying a whip). And we went whipping today even. Papritz nővér is IN LOVE with her whips. haha. We really enjoy them. We had to go by the festival many times on the way to and from the branch house and this one day there was some sort of competition going on it seemed, and there were just people handling animal innards all over the place. It was kind of crazy, and we didn’t really have time to check it out, but it looked like a sausage making competition or something. Kind of gross, but culturally neat. And they looked like they were enjoying it. Over the 4 days of the festival, we had an increase of joy. The memory still lives on though! I <3 Palinka festival. (but not Palinka).

It actually snowed again last week… but we are pretty sure its gone for good now. The sun is shining now and it is slowly warming up from time to time!

We are going to Budapest on Wednesday to hear an apostle speak! I may have already mentioned it, but D. Todd Christofferson is coming to Budapest and the missionaries get a special meeting with him in the afternoon and then there is a preisthood meeting and later at night a general meeting for everyone. Not every missionary gets to stay for the night meeting, but Papritz nővér and I are lucky enough to have a ride back to Szeged after, so we are allowed to stay for the evening meeting! Ah I am looking forward to this! We've been reading up on some of Elder Christofferson's past talks this week and it is getting us more excited for what he might say. He is very good with words and is quite straight and to the point. We look forward to hearing whatever he has to say to us! My phrase of the week has been "An apostle! There are only 12 of them on the planet!!". Ah we are so lucky!

This week in church, during the 3rd hour there was only the teacher, one young woman, and myself in the class. The class was about honouring your mother and father and since there were so few of us they had me participate in everything. The majority of the lesson was the teacher asking us questions from the manual about our mother and father. Aside from clearly demonstrating how much more I need to learn Hungarian (I had to ask them to clarify every single question, I kid you not) it was a great experience. I got to think about my parents and how much I love them. I also got to think about how much more I could and should honour them. How much more I should show them I care about them and how I should really try to get to know them. It is so easy to feel like it is their responsibility to raise me and know me. It is easy to be selfish. I hardly ever concentrate on what I can do for them instead of what I can get from them. That is definitely something I can improve on. And must. Not only is it a commandment to honour our parents, but they deserve my respect more than any one else in my life. They continually give their everything to me. I can do a lot better at giving back.

My mission remains as the best decision I could have made in my life right now.

I am so grateful for the support that you all show to me and for the letters you send to me. (Which reminds me, Erika, you sent me a dearelder but I don't have your return address. I love you Erika!)

Woah I forgot that we had Zone interviews this week! It was great. The Zone all came to Szeged and we had several different trainings and we each got individually interviewed by the mission president. It was a good day. I think we get to do that every other transfer. Should be good!

This next week is full of meeting with people, so there should be lots of amazing experiences!

I leave you now with much love,

~ Surányi nővér