Week #27

Hi everyone!

Every week I make a list of things that happen that I want to write home about. This week the only thing I wrote down is that my taste in ties has drastically changed over the mission. Haha and it really has! For example, I used to love silver ties with simple elegant patterns; now I like brown ties with orange flowers. Weird. My whole tie perception has changed. Haha I think it has something to do with all the Hungarian “tie bags” that the Elders buy here.

We went to see a play since I last wrote. Well… none of us understood it very well haha! Also, we were the only adults in the theatre who were not teachers. The theatre was packed full of children! It was adorable. The play was fun, and we got the main gist of it… but none of us really understood any of the dialogue. So different from my first area in Seged where I was the only missionary (other than the senior couple) who didn’t understand Hungarian. But the main idea was that there was a magician (who was not good at magic) and a young boy that go around to free a princess and find all sorts of members of a kingdom and reunite them all with their king. There were some songs and dances throughout and it was cute.

We had a baptism and a confirmation too!! The Spirit was so wonderful and strong! A couple investigators came to the baptism and a couple came on Sunday for the confirmation. One of the elders’ investigators told me that she was surprised at how much she could feel the Holy Ghost when Norbert was being confirmed and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was so nice to hear that not only us missionaries were feeling it, but that everyone there could feel it too. Ah I loved it so much!

Playing piano in church is so interesting. I am blessed to feel calm enough, but at the same time my face always reddens and my heart-rate increases. The first week I felt the most calm. But I am trying to not make it about me and just play well enough so the people can sing. Overall it is fine and I notice more than anyone else, so pretty much I get the most benefit from it. I get to learn so much from trying to overcome the embarrassment and difficulty of it. I prefer my obvious trials! Piano playing and Hungarian are such tangible trials. They are so obvious. Its the sneaky ones that are harder. But I know the discomfort of the trials are just the Lord trying to sand off my rough edges and help me become a more smooth and beautiful person.

I love the mail that I receive and look forward to picking up mail everytime I go to mission headquarters in Budapest. :)

Later this evening Hudspeth nővér and I are teaching a lesson to three girls that we met on the street yesterday. We have planned a neat lesson on prayer and I look forward to teaching it. It is so unlike “real life” to meet with people all the time and talk about Christ’s gospel, but it really feels so good to do. Sometimes I can feel a little nervous about a meeting, but once we are in there and talking, I almost always feel really safe and comfortable. It is a wonderful experience!

:D A song just came on in the internet place that we used to listen to in Szeged! God loves me :) It’s another tender mercy of the Lord. Haha and out of nowhere my companion just handed me a piece of chocolate!! What could be better right now? Love it.

I love you all! Notice the small things! God knows you perfectly and He knows exactly what you need. Pray to Him often and you will begin to recognize His hand in your life.

I leave you with tons of love,

Surányi nővér

Week #26

Hello everyone!

A lot has happened since the last time I wrote!

We went to Budapest again (surprise haha) this time for Zone Conference! I was incredible! I felt so much strength from gathering with other missionaries and our leaders. All the trainings were great. President Baughman (the mission president) took his training from the talk The Fourth Missionary. I love that talk SO much and it was a great topic to use for his training. I felt both comforted and chastized by the Spirit. (I always feel that way when I read that talk haha). But it was great to be trained and to discuss how to be a better missionary and how to not only bless as many other people as possible, but how to secure blessings for ourselves as well.

As Zone conference started they announced the program for the day and they announced that I would be leading the recitation of the Hungary Budapest MIssion Purpose. I don’t have it perfectly memorized yet and wasn’t prepared to lead, so it was a bit of an awkward and embarrassing experience (only for me of course, no one actually pays attention. But it was still embarrassing). Also, one of my favourite parts of conference was the departing testimonies given by the missionaries from our Zone who are going home at the end of this transfer. Neilson elder, who was in my district in my first transfer in Szeged, gave a beautiful testimony and it really touched me.

Most missionaries in Hungary have an Emlék Könyv (memory book) in which other missionaries write with whom you have served. At Zone conference, I got my Emlék Könyv back from the Szeged missionaries. Their entrees touched my heart so deeply. The entrees are also hilarious and there are lots of fun memories and pictures, but I am also so grateful for having had the opportunity to serve with such outstanding missionaries in Szeged. They were incredible warm and welcoming to me and I will cherish their words forever.

Yesterday I had a special opportunity to go on “splits”. Papritz nővér came here to Kecskemét for the day and my current companion served in Szeged. Elders do splits with the Zone Leaders onve every transfer, but Sisters do not get the opportunity as often. I really loved splits. I learned some really good lessons. One big lesson I learned is that I came to better understand my role here in Kecskemét. When I first came, I tried to fit into the mould of Kecskemét. I tried not to make any waves. I was trying to observe and see what everything was like so that I could fit in and pick up where was left off. I learned through splits that that is not the right way of approaching a transfer. I should not try to be filling someone elses shoes. I am here to make my own path. I am here to be myself and not worry about fitting into whatever was here before me. I do not know why I did not recognize that sooner, but I am grateful that Papritz nővér’s example helped me learn that. I look forward to splits again in the future so I can learn more new things. :)

AWW there is this 10 year old boy here in the ward named Erik and he is adorable and every time I talk to him I think of my little brother. It makes me love this little boy so much. He likes to count to 20 in German for me, because he can do it really really fast and I am always very impressed :) Ah he is so cute!

Did I mention our Zone goal of talking to 300 people last week? Hudspeth nővér and I succeeded! Woot!

We are going to see a play with the elders in a couple of hours and I really hope I understand hehe :) Then right after we have a baptism!! His name is Norbert :) Some of the Sisters who have taught him before are coming into town to attend the baptism. I think it is going to be a really wonderful experience for him and everyone present. The Spirit is always so strong at a Baptism. I can’t wait to be there and feel it! We (the missionaries and a couple members) are going to sing a song at the baptism. It will be held at a hotel because Kecskemét doesn’t have its own church owned building yet – but they are building one! I have seen the site and it should be done by Christmas they hope!!

Ah I met an adorable old lady in our ward here. We visited her home this week. She makes me excited to talk to my Grandma in Hungarian when I get home! We got along really well :) Next time she is going to tell me her conversion story.

I love the mail I get! Snail mail is growing on me :) I think I might actually be writing to more other missionaries around the world than I am to people from home. Such a neat experience!

Ah there is never enough time to satisfy my desire to write about what is going on here. I am slowly getting more used to Kecskemét. I didn’t get lost even once during splits when Papritz nővér was here! (and for me, that is an achievement)

I love and miss you all but am so grateful for my time to be here and learn and grow at an accelerated pace.

I leave you tons of Hungarian love!

Surányi nővér

Week #25 (Part 2)

Hi everyone!

A quick note!

I wont be able to write again for about a week and a half because we are switching our Pday next week, so I wanted to let you all know :)

Church was great this week! I felt really welcome, and my piano playing went alright too. I got to introduce myself at the pulpit and it went much better than last time (if you can remember what I said about where my brother is serving his mission :S :S )!

This week we have a challenge to try to speak to 300 people. For this goal, we were told that we can count them even if they don’t want to talk to us, as long as we tried. Normally we do not work that way and we generally do not count people, but it is an interesting goal that was given to our Zone for this week. Hudspeth nővér and I talked to over 70 people today. Most of them didn’t want to talk to us, but a few really good conversations happened and we had some good experiences. This goal is helping us talk to people who we maybe would normally not try to talk to. We are supposed to try to talk to everyone, so this goal will help us in the future to be better at that. It is still scary every time I approach someone, but a good growing experience!

Quick Hungarian thing: On Easter, boys spray girls with either water or cheap perfume, and the girls give chocolate to the boys. (Sounds way unfair to me! haha!)

Also for our Easter festivities, we finished our Pinata and got to brake it for Easter/Greaves elder’s birthday. We went to a park to do it and got a nice group of people who watched us, haha. It was fun. We had another “sajt nite” where we made and ate fried cheese. We watched an anime movie, and I actually really liked it. Who knew?! It was called Spirited Away and it was actually really good, a little weird, but good. I almost cried a couple times even.

We also made a quick movie at a member’s house on Easter. I will get my dad to post it here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEjV-A5bQXo&feature=youtu.be We didn’t rehearse it or anything, but it was a fun thing to do for a quick Easter thing. The member offered to make it for us, so we accepted!

Oookie. No more time for me.

I leave you with love!

Surányi nővér

Week #25

Happy Easter everyone!

It is still a little weird to be away from my “greeny” area. But I am slowly getting more used to the city. I can find my way to church now which is good. My terrible directional disabilities are really exacerbated here where I cannot use the internet to look up maps and things like I normally would at home. Sometimes my companion gets me to “lead the way” to a place we have been a couple times. I put it in quotes because I always guess the directions wrong. :P I really hope that my spatial reasoning and visual recognition skills get better throughout my mission. :)

I think I may not have introduced you to my new district yet! There are four of us: May elder, Greaves elder, Hudspeth nővér and myself. The three of them really like gaming and anime, but they accept my naiveté on the matter. I think anime is a bigger culture than I realized. I am learning bits about it as we go haha. Greaves elder really likes to sing and quote movies, and he also knows a lot of jokes, so that is fun. We also like to come up with (sometimes highly unlikely) theories. May elder is from Alaska and likes to make fun of Canada. He is pretty good and knowing how to use “eh” in a sentence. Hudspeth nővér really likes to make up songs and she is really fearless when it comes to talking to strangers. She is a good example of courage! She really likes the idea of Canada (she is from Utah) so that makes up for May elder’s picking on me :P

A lot of our planned programs cancelled on us last minute this week, so hopefully next week will go more smoothly. Twice this week we tried dropping in on someone we could not get a hold of, and both times the outcome was really great. I really liked that!

This week my companion and I started making an Easter Egg Pinata. It is messy and fun. It is coming together rather slowly because we do not have much time to work on it, but it is fun! She also had me cut her hair this week. That was also fun because I had no idea what I was doing :)

Fun Hungarian tidbit of the week – there is a popular flavour of candy here which is menthol and things mixed with menthol. So a lot of the time candy people give us tastes like cough medicine. It is not that bad, but it is strange.

One good thing is that I am definitely understanding more Hungarian than before, but it is still hard because there is a lot I still do not understand. I feel bad when I cannot really tell what someone is saying to me. But I try my best to hang onto as many words as I can and then try to use parts of what they said to put together what I should say next. It is really an interesting challenge. It is especially hard to come up with something to say when I have no idea what they just said. I try my best to rely on the Spirit. Did I tell you that I developed an ambiguous face? haha! It is meant to convey either empathy or interest. And I’ve decided that depending on their mindset they will interpret it as the reaction they are expecting. It is great. A little awkward, but the best I can do. If I really stopped people every time I did not understand, they would get frustrated, so it is out of necessity that I pretend to understand more than I do. Good acting practice!

I have started reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning in Hungarian and I am really enjoying it! I am about 15 chapters in and it is so great because I know the beginning so well in English that I can understand what I am reading! It is great!

I am also 3 chapters away from the end of the Book of Mormon in English, so I think I will finish it tomorrow. There is a really good feeling of getting through the book again and feeling the reconfirming witness of its truthfulness. The promise in Moroni 10 is such a blessing to me.

We are emailing early this week because of Easter, so next week I will have to let you know how church goes. I still haven’t met the ward yet because my only Sunday so far this transfer was spent in Pest. Oh yea, Kecskemét has a ward instead of a branch! And they are currently building a church building of their very own! (The current one is rented.) Kecskemét ward also happens to belong to the Stake wheras Szeged just belonged to the mission (I didn’t know that was possible to not be part of a stake! The things I learn from serving in a place where the Church is still getting its footing!) I look forward to meeting the ward, and hope to get to know the people quickly :) I met the bishop this week and it turns out I already knew him! I met him in Szeged when he was still part of the mission presidency and he held a meeting with us missionaries in Szeged.

All of the people we meet with seem to really like the sister whose place I have taken, but they are all very warm to me and accept me quickly. It is a good feeling. I look forward to getting to know them better and to finding more people to teach here. :)

I hope everyone has a happy Easter back home! I send my love!

Giant hugs!!

– Surányi nővér

Week #24

Hello everyone!

Hú-ha! I am in a new city with a new companion! I didn’t realize how much Szeged became my home and comfort zone until I had to leave it. I really loved my experiences in Szeged, and as I look back, I can only see through rose coloured lenses. I am so grateful for my time there. I am still getting used to my new city of Kecskemét (pronounced kech-keh-mate) and the new missionaries here. I am working on opening my heart to them and making this my new home. I still feel a bit like a visitor, but I know the Lord can help soften me as I continue to pray and desire and work on settling in. :)

It has been windy and chilly all over the country this week, but the sun has been beautiful and shiny! I know the hot sun will come soon, so I am trying to appreciate the not-too-hot weather for the little while longer :)

I finished reading the last page of the last general conference Ensign this past Saturday morning, just in time for this conference! How perfect! I was able to watch three sessions of conference (in English too!) and they were so great and uplifting. I love hearing from our dear prophet and other apostles and church leaders. I appreciated all the messages about family. When we had the opportunity to sustain the prophet, I felt the Spirit again testify to my heart that Thomas S. Monson is the true prophet on the earth at this time. It was a wonderful feeling. I look forward to studying the talks from this conference and hope to get through a little faster this time :P

I went to Budapest twice in this past week! Once for transfers and once for conference. I still cannot find my way around there and am very grateful for other missionaries who have served there who help me get around! Haha! Did I mention that we take a train to and from Budapest? It feels really European taking trains across the country :) I like it!

Haha so, alot of missionaries have troubles pronouncing my name, which I completely understand, but this week a really funny situation came of it. So, in Kecskemét this week I have met a few of our investigators, and we were meeting with a woman and her son and they asked me if both of my parents were from Sudan. I told them that I had no heritage from Sudan. They assured me that my companion had told them that her new companion was going to be Sudani. My companion and I were very confused at this, and she assured them that she never told them that. After a little while it clicked in! Surányi not Sudani! It was very funny at the time, and we all got a good laugh out of it!

Oh here is another fun mishap that occurred before I arrived. Somehow the falsehood got perpetuated that I know how to play the piano well.So, I am the new ward pianist. And not only will I play for all the songs in church, but also the choir is performing. So my first Sunday with them (since there was no church this week because of conference) I will be playing for the choir and for the congregation. Haha! I have been trying to practice if I ever have time between lessons at the branch house and I hope the Lord will bless me with enough talent to let the people be able to sing. (No one else can play the piano is what I have heard). Well.. I hope they like just the right hand! haha. Oh dear. This is going to be fun.

I have already met some really neat investigators here in Kecskemét and look forward to getting to know them better. Since Papritz nővér and I originally “white washed” our area together in Szeged, we started fresh with no one to teach and built from there. It is interesting here where there are already people we are consistantly meeting with, and that my new companion already knows them because she has already been meeting with them. It makes me grateful for the work that missionaries before me have put in. It is a good new experience.

One hard thing is that the missionaries here in Kecskemét do not speak Hungarian as well as the missionaries in Szeged. (I didn’t realize how blessed I was in that aspect!) So I am not sure what kind of a dynamic that will cause, but so far we have been blessed to understand enough to be able to teach without too much difficulty. It is kindof a miracle. I will be forced to speak more now, so as long as I can learn from the Hungarians, then maybe this will be a better growing experience because I will not rely on others so much.

So hopefully I have given you a taste of what new experiences lay ahead of me. I can see areas where I will need to grow and learn and I hope to be able to look back at the end and be pleased with my efforts and growth.

I leave you with a giant bundle of my love,

Sudani nővér ;)