Week #49

Hello everyone!

Wow what a week! It feels like it has been three. We achieved mission standard this week, which always helps me feel like the Lord accepts my efforts and is blessing me with some measure of success. I am grateful for that.

I am working on being more brave. I have consciously tried to do things this week even though I feel afraid. I never regretted any time I tried to push out of my shell more.

A man we talked to on the street this week was really quite rude to us and was personally insulting us. It is interesting to experience that. Most of the time people will say untrue things about God, but when they personally insult us it feels different. I think it makes me stronger. It is interesting to stop and evaluate after talking to someone who says things like that and think.. well, let’s just move on. It kind of puts into perspective how much the things that strangers think or say do not really matter. If we chose to be hurt or slowed down by one rude person, it would be so counter-productive. I would learn a lot less if every person I spoke to was nice. SO in a way, I am grateful for rude people! :)

We had Zone Training this week. I had to ask my companion if that was really this past week. It feels forever ago. It was good. Our Zone came here to us in Miskolc. There are only 4 proselyting Sister missionaries in our zone (and 16 elders I think). It didn’t really feel any different though, it was just interesting to notice. The trainings were about companionship unity, and about goal setting. We have some new practices in the mission now and some new numbers to keep track of. It is interesting as the inner workings of missionary work become second nature to us.

My companion has continued to cook me delicious food, which is great for my tastebuds and terrible for my figure. YUM.

As a random thought: next door to this email place in this mall is a tattoo salon and we have been hearing the tattoo pen going since we arrived. So weird. Someone is getting a tattoo just a few meters away. I am pretty sure it is out in the open too. Oh Europe.

I talked to Sister Roney this week and she said that people from Pest had sent greetings for me. We played an unplanned game where she quoted what they said, and I had to guess who the greeting was from. It was so funny and I was quite accurate too. I have learned so much from her.

I think about my family a lot and they are the biggest reason why I miss home. Living in Hungary is showing me how much culture plays a role in who you are. I am impressed with anyone who moves to live in a different culture. It would be really hard to feel at home I think. I am so grateful for Sundays, because I feel so safe and comfortable when I partake of the sacrament each week and feel the Spirit who is always present there. I feel safe and good here in Hungary, but it is different from home. The people and language make everything different. It shows me how far I am from seeing things the way God does. He sees us all as equals and in God’s kingdom, there are no cultural differences. I look forward to living that way!

Sister Hudspeth and I are going to go to Lillafüred after we email. I hear it is an extremely beautiful place. I hope so! I will send pictures next week.

I send my love and well wishes!

Love, Surányi nővér

Week #48

Hello everyone!

What a week! It feels like it has been much longer than one week since I last wrote! A week ago I was still in Pest. Now I am safe and sound in Miskolc with my new, old, companion Sister Hudspeth.

Guess what I got to do again?! I got to cut her hair for her. Haha! Even though I have no idea how to do it properly, she asked me to do it. I did my best to be careful and patient as I cut. Luckily she just wanted it all one length. She is happy with how it turned out so I am glad!

She has also cooked for us several times already. I am blessed that she likes to cook and I am learning some simple and delicious ideas from her.

We have had some wonderful programs together already here in Miskolc. Since I am new here I have taken the opportunity to ask the investigators about their testimonies and how their lives have changed since they started meeting with the missionaries and taken the message to heart. Some of their experiences have been so touching to me. They remind me of my own experience with searching to find the truthfulness of the things I learned from childhood. I am grateful for the people who we meet with and that many of them are good examples to me. I feel it a blessing to meet with them.

We had a funny experience the other day where Sister Huspeth left me! By accident though. As a missionary rule you always have to stay with your companion. We were traveling by villamos and she said we had reached our stop. We both get off. Then with no warning she gets back on. I am confused. Then I see her looking around for something. My guess was that she had dropped something. Before she finds it, the doors close and the villamos leaves. Haha! I just waited at the stop and she returned shortly. It was so funny.

The mission has changed a little in that the districts have gotten bigger. Before, each city was its own district, generally with 2 companionship in it. Now they have paired up cities and made the districts bigger. So, starting next week we will travel to another city Eger every week for a district meeting. I look forward to it.

I still feel a little lost in this new city and look forward to figuring things out and getting my head around the work here. What a cool experience it is to travel to different cities and learn to make it home and to do as much good there as possible. I really hope I can do some good here.

I send my love! I hear there are some beautiful areas near by and hope to travel to some of them on future pdays with Sister Hudspeth. You’ll hear about it if I do!

love, Surányi nővér

Week #47

Hello everyone!

Whawee what a week!! Roney nővér and I worked hard, and many little situations worked out, and we ended up achieving Mission Super Standard together! I don’t even know what stories to pick! This past week has felt like 3. Hűha!

This week we taught a lesson to a family at our church building and we decided to do a lesson that has an accompanying drawing (we call it “the zigzag first” or “dispensations”). We decided that I would do the drawing (on a whiteboard) while Sister Roney and I would teach them and ask questions and explain etc. As I was drawing and the program was going smoothly, I realized how amazing it was that I was doing what I was doing. I can remember when my trainer would be the one drawing and I would be listening and hardly understanding anything and barely contributing to the lesson. Now I was the one leading the lesson and having all eyes on me and knowing what was going on. Luckily Sister Roney also knew, so we shared the task of teaching, but It felt so amazing! I really have learned since getting here!

We have a less active member that we meet with weekly. This week he showed up a little early (we were still in another program) and he started shooting hoops in the gym with a couple other members who happened to be there. After our program we came in and shot a few hoops with them. Then one man suggested we put up the volleyball net. So we did. We didn’t have a volleyball so we used a little polka-dotted rubber kids ball. 6 of us played volleyball with it (4 games to 21) and it was a hoot! We all enjoyed ourselves and were jokingly competitive with one another. It was four grown men and sister Roney and I. It was hilarious. Not only was it fun for us, but we were so happy to have the less active member enjoying himself with some of the other members. We felt it was so great for him to not just sit in a little room with us two missionaries, but to spend some time with some of the members. We all loved it so much that we decided to do the same this coming week. What a great program!

We had some wonderful programs this week and some awkward ones as well. It would be as interesting without the awkward ones. The most interesting and intense of the more awkward programs occurred yesterday afternoon. It involved 12 Roma family members, gaudy golden furniture, them watching us eat large amounts of food, them all yelling over one another (My Big Fat Greek Wedding style) and everyone asking us the same questions at different times. We brought a guitar and sweetly sang to them. They loved it. They all wished upon us to have good husbands. It was so funny and so intense. It was so loud with everyone shouting over one another and so interesting to be two little white girls in the midst of them all watching us. We tried our best to be good representatives of Jesus Christ and to be a joy to them. They seemed to like us and invited us to come back and eat with them again and visit. But… I will not be going back because…

Transfer calls were this morning! I am being sent to Miskolc to serve with Sister Hudspeth. It will be a new Zone for me, I will belong to the East Zone. And Sister Roney is training!!! She is getting a little greenie! If you remember the lingo from emails long ago, this will make me a father. I will be her greenie’s “dad” because I was her “mom’s” last companion. I plan to support the little greenie from afar. Sister Roney is such an incredible missionary. We received the transfer call from the Mission President himself (because he calls all those who will be training). He said such kind and wonderful things to and about us both. He said he is sad to have to split us up. He said he would love to leave us together for the rest of our missions if it were possible. He is so kind. He gave so many compliments to each of us as he extended our new placements to us.

I have heard some really good things about Miskolc and Sister Hudspeth is really looking forward to me coming there. I think it will be a good experience. President Smith explained to me that he feels I can be a very positive influence there in Miskolc, and I trust that his call is truly an extension of the will of the Lord. I look forward to experiencing whatever awaits me there!

I am so grateful to have had the chance to serve two full transfers with Roney nővér- She has been an incredible example to me. She has also been a positive influence, a great companion to work beside, and a joy to be around. I never had a moment that I didn’t love being beside her (which is rare when you are stuck with someone 24/7). I also heard from my trainer (“mom”) today, which brought back wonderful memories of the beginning of my mission and how much I loved and depended on my trainer.

Packing is stressful! Haha. It is hard to put your whole life into 2 suitcases and lug it around. It is so worth the stress though. It will also make me more grateful for my home when I return. :)

By the way, Hungarian food is SO delicious. I don’t know why we don’t make more of it in Canada. Why don’t we have tejföl? Where are the turorudi? Where is the paprikás krumpli and fasírt? I can’t think of a Hungarian food I haven’t liked. (No surprise my face is looking chubby in the pictures. I look forward to normal exercise when I get home.) We love telling Hungarians how much we like their food. They always feel proud as we list all the things that we don’t have back in (North) America. We also always get stuck when they ask what traditional American food is. All this talk of food is making me hungry!

I send my love!

– Surányi nővér

Week #46

Hello Everyone!

I am doing well :) Next week are transfer calls and I am nervous. eep. But I am focusing on the now, because serving with Roney nővér is incredible!

Here are some things that happened this week:

– We went to “város liget” – which means city grove – with a couple of investigators and it sortof reminded me of Stanley Park back home. There is a bathhouse there that looks like a palace. There are statues and walking paths and trees and little ponds. Nearby there is also the Budapest Zoo and an amusement park. It was fun walking around and taking pictures and seeing a beautiful part of Pest.

– Roney nővér and I wore matching shirts again at Sport nap for the 4th week in a row. Awesome. We played indoor soccer and basketball and table tennis. The investigators that come enjoy it, and we missionaries enjoy it too. There were about 15 people there this week.

– The weather has been warm, but not excruciatingly hot!

– After our district meeting on Wednesday, the 4 of us had lunch together, which Roney nővér and I provided. We called it a picnic and we all really enjoyed it. (It was really fancy… ramen noodle soup, pretzel sticks dipped in Nutella, PomBar chips, and chocolate). Haha not very healthy, but fun and delicious. The Elders were very appreciative which made the whole experience more enjoyable.

– We got “dropped” this week by one of our investigators that has been meeting with missionaries for a long time. (Dropped means they don’t want to meet with us anymore). It was a sad experience for both us and him. I really loved him and will miss meeting with him. Something good I can take from it is that I am glad he knew we would understand. He didn’t feel like he had to meet with us if he didn’t want to. He knew we teach in such a way that we are not pushy or threatening. Although I feel sad that he is rejecting what we teach, I feel happy that we are still friends, and happy to know that we come across as gentle teachers.

– We ran into some church members that we know from Szeged and Kecskemét this week! Since Pest houses the Stake Centre, we get to see some members from other wards as they gather for stake activities. It was fun to run into them again. It is especially rewarding to be able to actually talk to them now that our Hungarian is a bit better.

Missionary work is hard work, but when I accepted my call, I promised the Lord I would do the things He asks of me. One of the hardest parts for me is doing the things that scare me. I am grateful to have such a supportive companion who I trust and love. Doing things together makes it so much better. I know that feelings of fear hold me back. They hold me back from helping other people, and hold me back from blessings. So I work to not allow the fear to stop me. This week I am going to focus more on replacing the fear with faith. I know in my mind what is right, but it can be hard to make myself do it. If I allow my faith to be stronger than my fear, a lot more blessings come to myself and to those around me too. It is so worth it.

I know I have already changed for the better since I have left my home almost a year ago. But it is not enough for me. I want more and I want better! When I can see the things holding me back, that’s when I can attack them head on. I hope I get better at pushing down stumbling blocks and overcoming obstacles faster and better. I want to be wonderful. I want to be obedient to the Lord. I want to be a joy for everyone to be around. I want to radiate the love of Christ. I want to be fantastic!

Your support from back home is helping me become those things I want to be! I am so grateful for your love and kindness and time.

Make sure you know who you want to be. Most likely, the winds of life will not take you there if you let their random ebbs and flows guide you. Become who you want to be and do it on purpose. It is worth the effort!

I send my love!

– Surányi nővér

Week #45

Hello everyone!

This week has been a good one. Sister Roney and I almost got standard but we needed one more member present lesson. (We got “dogged” a couple times this week). I really love my mission president, He is a caring and kind man and I also believe he is called of God to lead us here in Hungary. I trust him and enjoy seeing him when I have the chance.

This week I had a small hard experience, but luckily it only lasted a little while. I prayed for emotional healing and I really felt a difference after I read the scriptures and prayed. The Lord really can heal us emotionally. I know it because I have experienced it many times – especially on my mission.

Lots of good things happened this week too. We have met with a lot of new people this week. It is always a little stressful and exciting to meet with someone new. THis morning we met with someone new and she is adorable! She has 3 young kids and wants us to come back and teach her and the kids. This week we had a “streeting let-in”. Someone we met on the street invited us to their home right then and there. Afterward, I mentioned to Sister Roney how strange it is that it is not commonplace to us to saunter into strangers’ homes. We feel comfortable with it. It is so interesting.

I wonderful couple from Angolóra (the free English class we teach) invited us over for dinner this week. They were so kind and I enjoyed being around them. The food was DELICIOUS. The only problem was the sheer amount they felt they should feed us. They stuffed us past the brim! They even sent us home with leftovers! They fed us hús leves, pörkölt, nokedli, uborka saláta, palacsinta (3 kinds!), and ice cream. They also made rantott hús but we were way too full to eat it. We kept telling them that they were treating us like royalty. They had a small but very comfortable and well organized apartment. It felt like a good home. Sister Roney brought the guitar and we sang for them after dinner. They loved it and even filmed us to remember, haha.

SUNDAY WAS NOT BOILING HOT! It was amazing! There was wind and not too much sun! I think it will last for a little while. I have heard Hungarians talking about a “cold front”. I think this is it! YAY.

Every week our mission president write a general letter (email) to all the missionaries and every week we are expected to write a letter to him. This week I thought I would copy a portion that I wrote in my letter to him:

“With every passing day, I am aware that the lessons I am learning here on my mission are eternal lessons. I am not just doing things, but becoming someone. I know it is a slow and gradual process, but I am grateful that I get to experience it. I really feel that if I had stayed home, I would be missing out on lessons and skills needed to prepare me for motherhood, wife-hood, work, service, and also eternal life. Sometimes I feel that the Lord wants me to learn faster and change more, so I use that as a driving force to help me to move forward. I am so grateful for the Atonement because I know without it I would be lost.”

I probably have voiced (written) those thoughts before in previous emails, but I really do feel that this mission is blessing me more than I am blessing others. I can’t focus on me though, or else it stops working. Like we learn from the Bible, he who loses his life for Christ’s sake shall find it. When I forget myself and concentrate on the work I have been called to do, then I gain the most from it personally. It is an incredible paradox.

I am still loving all the moments I spend with my companion and hope I am remembering to fully appreciate her. She is an incredible example to me and I learn a lot from being around her.

I send my love to you all back home and hope you are taking the time to learn whatever lessons are afforded by your current trials and situations. I know that with the Lord’s help, we can overcome anything and learn everything we need to help us overcome future trials. I know working hard in this life is worth it. All things can be made right and fair through the Atoning sacrifice of our Saviour Jesus Christ. True happiness will come by not running away from our trials, but by climbing the mountains ahead of us.

Love, Surányi nővér