Week #36 (a few days Early)

Hi everyone!

I am emailing from Szeged! (It is Friday.) My new companion, Roney nővér, and I took the train out to Szeged this morning to attend a baptism that will be this evening! Today is a bit cooler than it has been in the last few days. It has been up to 40 degrees (Celcius) this past week. It is hard to sleep in this heat, but it is a new experience and makes me thankful for temperate Vancouver weather :)

I am loving serving with Roney nővér. I feel very comfortable with her and I feel we get along quite naturally. I feel that when we teach together we share the speaking time really well. Neither of us goes on a long spree – we take turns speaking and asking questions and switch off frequently. It really feels like teamwork.

We also haven’t gotten lost yet, which is impressive because I am so bad at directions. Luckily I am alright with maps, so we have been using the maps and bus schedules and so far always found our way to where we needed to go.

This past Wednesday was transfers and I had to say goodbye to my trainer, Papritz nővér, who went home now at the end of her mission! Wowee, it was a strange feeling and a reminder that the real world is still back home for us when we are done here. It also helped remind me to work as hard as I can now, because it will end soon and I never want to feel that I didn’t work as hard as I could or should have.

Roney nővér and I are continuing to SYL (Speak Your Language – which means we speak Hungarian when we are outside of our apartment) and I think it will be a good way to learn. We have been asking people on transit for help with words and it has been going really well. We are learning new words and also getting to have friendly conversations with Hungarians.

Roney nővér and I are going to try to plan our pdays well so that we can see a few neat things in the city while we serve together. I look forward to it.

Oh! And there is a new greenie Elder in Pest. He seems really happy and willing and capable. Roney nővér and I look forward to getting to know him a little better and hope to help him enjoy his first experiences here in the country. He is from northern California.

We have began meeting with a couple of new people this week. It is always interesting to go into a first lesson. You often do not know the person very well yet, so we try to get to know each other a little bit and then help present our message in a way that they will understand and relate to. It is so evident that missionary work cannot succeed without the help of the Spirit who can guide us to know what to say and how so that the person we are meeting with can feel the truth for themselves. We will never be able to convince anyone with our words (especially with our level of Hungarian) so it is vital that the person receive their own answer from Heavenly Father as they read the Book of Mormon themselves and ask in prayer to know if the things we teach and the things they read are true. It is incredible to see people develop and become happier and more peaceful inside. I know I feel that way in my life because I chose to find out the truth for myself. I am so much happier and am filled with a much deeper sense of peace which replaces the fear that so often tries to creep in. I would never give it up for anything.

I send big armfuls of my love and thank you again for your continued support,

Surányi nővér

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Week #35

Hello everyone!

Guess what?! We got transfer calls this morning! I am staying here in Pest and my new companion will be Roney nővér! She is one of my “ősi”s from the MTC! We are both excited to serve together. She will be my senior companion because she has been in the country longer than I have, but I will be “area senior”. Luckily there is no real extra responsibility that comes with being area senior – it just means that I have been in the area longer. You will probably recognize Roney nővér because there are some pictures of her already on the blog :)

This weekend we had a Cövek Sport Nap (Stake Sport Day) and it was really fun! The weather was incredible! There was table tennis and a giant soccer tournament. About 150 people came. It was an all-day event, so I wasn’t able to be there the whole time, but I enjoyed my time there. I played a little table tennis with one of our investigators and did some cartwheels, round-offs, handstands, etc outside with a member and investigator. I almost got to play soccer, but it is better that the members get to play and enjoy their sport day. A couple of members brought their guitars and played some great music and sang in beautiful harmony and I stopped in to listen to them for a while. They were both Hungarians but sang beautiful English. I almost cried when they played and sang “The Sound of Silence”.

This Sunday I did a new thing! I translated for the first time on my mission! It was a very simple task, but it felt good to do it for the first time. In the Young Women’s meeting (girls ages 12-18) the English and Hungarians meet together at the beginning and I was asked to translate into English. It was a non-stressful environment and I didn’t have to translate in real time, because they would stop speaking and give time for me to translate. I am glad to have been able to help. Even though my Hungarian skill level is still quite low and my vocabulary is very small, I was able to help in a small way and feel like I was part of two cultures working together.

This week many of our programs cancelled on us. That gave us a lot of time for tracting. The weather has been quite hot, but it feels good inside to know we are doing our missionary responsibilities.

I received news today that 2 girls in Szeged that I also met with when I was there are going to join the church! Ah it made me so happy to hear!! They have already seen blessings in their life from deciding to live according to the commandments of God and I know they will be further blessed as they join the church and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost as a constant companion and help from our Father in Heaven. It really does make me happy when I see other people become happy too. I also heard that a man the Elders were meeting with in Szeged when I was there is now baptized. Ah! So great!

I look forward to sharing new experiences with you as I get my new companion this transfer. I really only have 10 months left. It sounds eternal and short at the same time. I am trying to really make the best of it. It is so easy to want to be lazy and want to take a break, but I know I only have a short time to really concentrate all my efforts on serving the Lord, and I know I will be disappointed in myself if I do not serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. Last week I was literally falling asleep on the bus one afternoon – I was fighting sleep – and it felt good. I felt that I must have worked hard.

I send my love and the assurance that I am healthy and happy!

– Surányi nővér

Week #34

Hi everyone!

Ah another week has gone by!

My companion and I succeeded in fulfilling the 21-day mission challenge that ended this past Sunday. As a reward we have received a Super Pday and next week will be getting some sort of trinket from Sister Baughmann (the mission president’s lovely wife). For our Super Pday my comp and I are going to Szentendre which is a city an hour away from Budapest. I have heard it is very cute but I dont really know anything about it. I will let you know next week!

This week I got peed on by a dog, and pooped on by a bird!!! What are the chances?!?! It was gross. But I hear that getting pooped on by a bird is lucky… so I guess its not so bad? Hah.

Welly welly. Hungarian is really hard. But I think any language is hard. You have to literally memorize how to say everything. It is not enough to have a large vocabulary and know how to conjugate verbs. You need to know how the people use the language. Do you sit in the bus or on the bus? Do you remember about something or do you just remember it directly? etc. The knowledge needed to speak like a native is GIGANTIC: In the MTC my goal was to speak like a native by the end of my mission. I still desire that… but I think a more likely goal would be to speak well and understand well. Haha. However I have not lost hope. It is just a continuing miracle that somehow we continue on and get by even though we are bad at the language and don’t understand very much. So amazing really.

This week my companion and I met with the Bishop and his wife at their home. We wanted to meet with him to ask him some things and to see if we could help the ward in any way and to build a better relationship with him. I felt so warm inside the whole time we were there. He is such a warm hearted man and so is his wife. They were such a pleasure to be with. I felt so strengthened by meeting with them and I know that he is a good man and a good leader and that the people here in Pest are lucky to have him as a bishop. He and his wife also love each other very much. It is so sweet to see the people interact with such natural affection for one another. You see love in their eyes – not something based on the physical or the temporal – something lasting and beautiful. I hope to have the opportunity to meet with them again!

So many strangers we talk to are negative and see the world as a hard and bad place. Then others are more positive and try to grasp onto truth and be good people. However many of the positive people still look so down-trodden. Life will always always have hard times and trials and pains. We wouldn’t learn a thing without them. But I know – I know – that we can be truly happy throughout it. There will be feelings of sadness, times of sorrow and pain, but there is a God whose plan is for us to be happy people, now during this earth life, and then for eternity. It is hard to see people who have no sight of that. Who feel so weighed down by the bad things in their life. An eternal perspective is necessary to be able to really get the fulness of hope in us. I try to keep the hard times in perspective and feel I am a happy person because of it.

I have run out of time, but I send my love in copious amounts!

Love, Surányi nővér

Week #33

Hi everyone!

It has only been a couple of days since I last wrote, but I do not want to give up another opportunity to write. Besides, it is almost like another journal for me to look back on when I get home! Oh selfish motives :P

One of the most big and shiny things that have happened lately is the musical that Hall nővér and I went to see on Friday – Beauty and the Beast. Ah! It was SO GOOD. Amazing even! It was in Hungarian and there were English surtitles (if that it what they’re called). The cast was BIG. The singers and dancers were extremely talented. The choreography was lively and interesting and entertaining. They had gymnasts! The orchestra was wonderful. We had great seats. They even made the theatre smell like roses at the end!!!! I nearly cried I was so happy! The Beast even floated up into the air as he transformed at the end. AH it was SO GOOOD. The theatre was in a ritzy part of town that I have never seen before. High end stores everywhere, and restaurants and many theatres. It was a wonderful wonderful experience.

Aside from that, Hall nővér and I have continued to press forward with our work. A lady we met in a park last week came to church this Sunday and absolutely loved it. She was a little grumpy when we first met her and spoke quite negatively. But at church, she was smiling and happy and even signed up to come next weekend to help make sandwiches for a youth activity! Amazing!

I like to notice the things, that I experience as a missionary, that I would probably never experience if I hadn’t have come: As a missionary you talk to a lot of strangers. Sometimes someone just opens right up and starts to tell you all about their life. I can feel the person’s sincerity as they share their memories. It is so evident that some people just need someone to listen for a while. Most often these people are not prepared to hear our message, but we get to serve them by listening to them. We show them that God loves them. We are a living example that they matter and that what they think and feel is important to someone. These people often tear up as we gently listen to them. It is incredible. Only as a missionary would I have this experience so frequently. I am so grateful I get to experience this.

There is so much to be learned from living a missionary schedule and by missionary rules. There are certain things required of us and there are certain freedoms for us to plan our own ways to complete our work. I am learning so much from it and being changed inside as I try to live more and more like the example Jesus Christ set. It is hard sometimes to keep going, but I always feel better when I do the thing that I know is right even though it’s usually not the thing that is easy.

I know there are other ways to learn some of these lessons, and I look forward to seeing the growth that has occurred in many of you as you have gone along your own lives and lived and learned through your own experiences. I know I can learn more from you when I return home and see you all again. Even small things can make a difference. We are an example to everyone who sees us and all with whom we come in contact.

I love this growth I am experiencing and maintain a positive view of the future. There are so many big things in my life that haven’t happened yet! I look forward to experiencing them!

With lots and lots of love,

Surányi nővér

Week #32

Sziasztok!

Bocsánat hogy annyira késtem a levelemmel!

I am writing so late this week because we had to switch our pday again, and we didn’t decide until after we wrote home last week. We switched because tonight we are going to go see Beauty and the Beast at a theatre in Buda! One fun thing is that we don’t know whether it will be in English or Hungarian. We are hoping Hungarian. The title is in English on the tickets we ordered, but so was “West Side Story” and that was in Hungarian when I went in Szeged. So we’ll see. We have really been looking forward to this!

This week was not as measurably successful as the previous. We are still trying our best though!

This week I am on a baby stint. I keep seeing people with their children and reading about families and just – ah!! I am so excited for when I have the opportunity to be a mom in the future. It always comes to mind how hard it must surely be, but seeing all these children makes me so excited for my own!!! Le sigh. It makes me feel so young to know how many more experiences lie ahead of me. It is a good feeling.

There have been some really crazy storms this week. The weather cannot make up its mind and it changes in an instant! Rain, thunder, lightening, sun, wind, calm, all unpredictably in a short time span. Luckily most of the time we have been inside when the weather was at its worst :)

Get this! There is a man from England in my ward here in Pest, and he looks just like he could work at Gringotts (minus any mean or scary-ness). I can’t wait to get to know him better. It makes me like him right away. (<3HP)

This week Hall nővér and I have added a "csoda" (miracle) box to our daily schedule. Every night during nightly planning we discuss what miracle(s) we saw during the day and then we check off the miracle box. It has been rewarding and wonderful. It even helps us during the day to keep our eyes open for "csodák" (miracles).

We have been blessed this week to witness some incredible changes happen inside people. On several occasions this week we would be talking to someone and they would be grumpy and uninterested. They would often complain about their lives, and this and that, and be quite negative. As we listen to them, ask them questions, and bear testimony to them of eternal truths, we have seen people change. For some reason, they soften. They begin to smile, and their attitude changes. It is so wonderful to see and feel.

We also had Zone Conference this past week. It was wonderful to catch up with some other missionaries and to discuss and receive trainings. I love Zone Conference and find such uplift in the moments when I get to interact with other missionaries.

I love you all and will write again in a few short days!

Love, Surányi nővér