What a week! Sister Roney and I spoke Hungarian all week this past week – at home too – and we calculated that we spoke over 100 hours of Hungarian! I really hope that some progress comes from it!
On Friday the mission leader asked if I would give a “missionary minute” (misszionáriusi perc) in church this Sunday. The most stressful part was to keep it to 3 minutes like I was asked. I prepared and practiced, and it is amazing how fast 3 minutes goes by! (Especially when you cannot speak the language very quickly). But I did my best, and many people thanked me for my testimony.
There is an IKEA at the big bus loop near our home and we decided to grab a meal there once. Roney novér had never been in an IKEA before so we decided to go up the stairs to have a quick peek at what it was like. Well… IKEA is a trap! Once you start you cannot go back! You have to go through the whole windy display and see all the rooms and levels. Periodically were placed little maps showing where you were. And we laughed as we speed-walked as fast as we could to try to get out. It was hilarious.
The new mission president has given us a few updates on the rules. There were certain rules in the missionary handbook that we were not required to keep with the former president. President Smith has lovingly asked us to begin keeping certain rules. Of course there is a bit of a wish that we could keep the more lax old ways, but it feels good to have a bit of a change and an opportunity to show the new mission president that we support him and sustain him as a servant of the Lord. I know that when I keep the rules that the mission president sets, that I am being obedient to the Lord. I know I will receive blessings for my obedience.
I was going to move on but I imagine you might be curious about what kind of rules I am talking about. For example we used to be allowed to wear regular street clothes on preparation day, but the white handbook says to wear our proselyting clothes. We also used to only have to do one hour of studies on Pday but now we are asked to do full studies like the handbook suggests. I am looking forward to see whether there will ever be another Super Pday. Super pdays do not exist in the white handbook so we will have to see what the new president says!
We have a hilarious investigator right now. He is in his 50s. He speaks French and Hungarian natively and he also speaks English fluently. He likes to complain about how “poor” his English is. (His English is fantastic.) He generally speaks in English but likes to throw in the other languages whenever he feels like it. He is aware, and does it for fun and play. Luckily I always understand what he is saying. :) This week we taught him a “cups lesson” in which we build Jesus Christ’s church out of cups with pictures on them. Half way through the lesson he started building his own churches with the cups. My companion and I nearly peed ourselves laughing. Seriously, it is like he is 6. We love him. When I get home from my mission he is going to help me practice French over Skype.
Ive said it before, but there are so many experiences I am having – and very personal and intimate ones too – that I would never have the opportunity to have if I had not come here. I get to peek into people’s lives. Strangers become friends and loved ones, and trust is built. Many people do not appreciate us, and I understand their point of view. Then there are others that truly feel God’s love through us. It is so worth the nearly consistant rejection, to find the people who need us. We find people who need to know and feel that they matter and that they are loved. My heart us so much more “on my sleeve” than it has ever been in my life. I really find it an interesting experience full of growth and learning and feeling. I wonder how the Elders react to all the feeling – it must be even more interesting for many of them.
This week we went to Sport nap (sport day) again and played basketball. I did a little better this week than before! I kindof wish I had been more interested in organized sports when I was younger so that I could be more “ügyes” now and be able to play. But its not too late for me to learn. Roney nővér and I have still been playing basketball and volleyball in the mornings which is both good and fun.
This week in church I just felt so happy. I had a completely sincere and real smile on my face for almost the entire 3 hours. I loved being there. I feel so happy so often here. There are disappointing moments and frustrating times and tiring times, but the overall feeling is that of real happiness. Sometimes I imagine looking at myself from the outside and I wonder if I look anything like some of the missionaries I looked up to when I was home. I remember the Sisters always looked so happy and shining. Then when people say the same of me it seems surprising. I hope people see in me the same happiness I saw in the Sisters back home.
I am in such a strange position with the language. I understand so much more now, and speak so much more, but there are times when my language skills are still completely insufficient. I kind of have to go into each conversation hoping that this time my skills will be enough. And sometimes they are, and sometimes they aren’t. I am half way through my mission and still struggle so much. I am starting to prepare myself to accept that I may never speak flawless or even “very good” Hungarian. I think that I can attain understandable Hungarian. That is my current goal. If they can understand me and I can understand them, I am happy.
Many Hungarians are not used to people learning Hungarian. People don’t generally learn Hungarian. So they often have a hard time understanding our accent, because they do not usually hear accents. Also they do not know to slow down and use simpler words, because they have never had to do that before. If I am patient with myself and others, even the communication failures can be fun and a learning experience.
I leave you with my love!!