Week #53

Hello Everyone!

I have officially been gone for a year! October 19th was my year mark since leaving home for the MTC (Missionary Training Center). The next marker point will be in December when I can celebrate being in Hungary for one year! Happy year mark to me!

It was also my mommy and baby brothers’ birthday this week! Happy Birthday to them!

We also had a super awesome Halloween party this week! Happy Halloween to us!

AAAND this morning was TRANSFER CALLS!!! Happy transfers to us!!! (I hope you have been singing the happy birthday song in your head with the end of every line, because I have!)

I will start by expounding on transfers. I have the exciting opportunity to serve with a mini missionary! A “mini” is a Hungarian who desires to serve a short mission – usually one transfer which is 6 weeks – who does not go to the MTC but gets set apart as a missionary by the mission president. Another part which is exciting is that I won’t know who she is until the “sorting hat meeting” on Wednesday at transfers in Budapest. I may already know her, or she may be someone I haven’t met. I don’t know! Exciting! There are no new Sister Missionaries coming in this transfer, but there will be some new Elders, so I wont be all alone in the training. The mission president joked that he will make sure there are several Hungarian girls there so that I wont know which one is my companion. Haha.

Let me also tell you about the Halloween Party. We four missionaries planned and prepared and threw the party. It turned out really well! Everyone who came was positive and willing to have a good time. We played a bunch of little games and also had food and sweets and other activities. I will send some pictures! There is one game involving a candy on a pile of flour and the loser has to eat the candy off the flower without using hands… let me just say… it tastes awful. I had seen people do it before, so I was unafraid to try it as I lost one round. Boy was I surprised at how gross it tastes! I am glad I did it though. My opposite expectations made it all the more funny to me. We four missionaries dressed up, and a few others did too. I dressed as a baby, and really enjoyed it. There are a couple members who joked about it on Sunday still – saying “boy you sure grew up fast'” and such. They are cute.

We four were invited over for lunch by one of the members after church on Sunday. Hungarian food is seriously SO delicious. I really hope I sufficiently learn to cook their foods so I can make it at home. As a side note-Hungarian sandwiches are really funny. I generally like them, but they are so different from our own.

Sister Hudspeth and I were also blessed with some uplifting spiritual experiences this week. We had some really great meetings with investigators and at times really felt that the Spirit was leading our words. It feels so wonderful whenever you can feel that you truly are doing the Lord’s work and in His way. I am also always so uplifted when investigators tell me of Spiritual experiences they have on their own. I feel so happy to know that they are learning to feel uplifted without us being there. I never want them to rely on me – especially because I am not strong enough to be relied on – but rather have them learn to rely on our Heavenly Father. I am so grateful to get to watch people become happier as they progress spiritually.

I myself always desire to continue to progress spiritually. It is easy to push that aside and focus purely on the here and now and on the physical ramifications of actions etc. But it is so much more fulfilling to gain spiritual witness of hopeful and beautiful truths. How much easier it is to fulfill physical and temporal duties and growth when I know what awaits me after this life if I do them well. How much less fear is within me because of what I have learned and because of my testimony of the Saviour Jesus Christ. I feel hope!

Hungarian is still as hard as ever, and I hope to get a lot better at it before I go home.

I hope you are all doing well at home and that you can maintain feelings of hope and happiness even through the difficult trials that come with this earthly life. I am trying to do the same :)

Sok szeretettel,

Surányi nővér

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Week #52

Hellooo!

I feel like I have been typing for hours already today, so I hope I have enough remaining coherence to write this!

First of all, I will have you all know that I am smiling. I just feel good right now, and the smile is kind-of resting on my face. Maybe it will fade, but it is pretty permanent right now. Picture it. Good. :)

If my memory serves me right (which is not always sure) this week will mark my 1 year mark since leaving home. It really has felt like a year. Does it feel to you all that you haven’t seen me in a year? I am so completely consumed by my own current adventure that it is so hard to imagine how you all at home are changing and growing too! I hope I am not accidentally insensitive to your changes as I focus on my own. I will have to take care to be perceptive when I return!

I had the special opportunity this week to speak a bit with my beloved “mama” Papritz nővér. She is still supportive of me, and helped me understand a little more the struggles that arise upon returning home. I am grateful she is opening my eyes a little so I can be more prepared when the time comes to go home. I really have had some incredible companions and experiences on my mission so far!

My favourite experiences this week have been with teaching families. Although I enjoy meeting with individuals as well, there is something really special and different about meeting with families. I hope that “my” missionaries felt it was special as they met with my family when my little brother and I were small. I will forever love and appreciate the missionaries that taught my family about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and I hope I am worthy of the same kind of love I get from the wonderful Hungarian people here.

I really love and support my mission president here. He is such a warm and positive influence. His words are always uplifting. The times I have heard him speak out about rules, he never spoke a condemning word. What an example! I hope I can learn to use such speech in my relationships with others and later in parenting.

We are preparing for a Halloween party that will be this coming weekend. Us 4 missionaries are trying to plan and head up the whole thing. To be honest, I am quite nervous. But I think it will work out. I believe we have purchased mostly all the supplies necessary. Halloween is not a big celebration here in Hungary-but they do celebrate the day of the dead. However due to media, they are of course familiar with Halloween too. We hope we can bring some Halloween fun to the members and investigators here in Miskolc. We are planning lots of games and activities. I will try to take some pictures. My companion will be dressed as a pirate, and I as a baby.

My personal study this morning was so uplifting and fulfilling. I read from one of the books in the approved missionary library called, “Our Search for Happiness”. The part I read was so wonderful it brought tears to my eyes. I look forward to continuing to read it. I also began the book of Enos in the Book of Mormon today. I like that part too. I receive so much peace, comfort, and strength from the scriptures, that there is no way I will ever want to go a day of my life without reading from them. The next time I play the game where they ask you what 3 things you would want with you if you were stranded on a desert island, one of them would surely be a copy of the Book of Mormon.

I also accumulated a few more Hungarian recipies this week! I look forward to trying to cook these things at home with American ingredients! I know I will miss Hungarian food. It is SO GOOD.

I send my love!!

Surányi nővér

Week #51

Wow! What a week!

I wish I could repeat the elements of this week for the rest of my life!

One of the highlights of this week was General Conference. I look forward to 6 months from now when the next one will be held. A sweet man in the ward, Józsi, set up a special room with English conference for us missionaries. (The members watched in another room with the live Hungarian translation.) I was so grateful to watch the conference in my mother tongue and feel the full effect of the words and emotion spoken by the Prophet, Apostles, and other leaders of our day. I laughed many a time, and cried as well. The Spirit was so strong and bore testimony to my heart of the words spoken.

There was an incredible announcement about missionary work!!! It has long been the standard that boys may leave for their mission at the age of 19 and girls at the age of 21. The prophet announced that the standards have been adjusted so that as soon as young men have graduated highschool and reached 18 years of age, they may leave for their missions. Then he went on to say that women may begin their service at 19 years of age! This announcement surprised me in the best way. It has also been told that the time missionaries will spend in the Missionary Training Center will be reduced by one third. WOW: I know that these changes are revelation from God. We are sending out younger missionaries and faster. The youth of our day have been saved for such a time! These youth have been prepared by the Lord before they came to earth. They have been prepared to be bold and loving representatives of His truth and His church. I am SO grateful to be alive now and to be allowed to witness the changes in the world that will come about because of the revelatory adjustment. I will get to experience a new step in the gospel being shared with all the world! Wow.

Conference was also very humbling. There was a talk given where an Apostle put much trust in the missionaries throughout the world. He would put forth a concern or a question and say that if you yourself had such a concern or a question then “ask the missionaries; they can help”. I felt joy, but also great responsibility. The apostle reminded me that my calling here is of great importance. The Lord is trusting me to do His work, and to do it well. I am not here for me. I will receive many blessings of course, but I am here to bless others. I am here to serve. We serve a mission. I feel great responsibility as I reflect on the weight of my calling. If I do not fulful my call, I am withholding others from blessings they deserve. The Lord will bless them in other ways or by other means, but I will have to account for the good that went undone because of me. Maybe my father will be so kind as to put a link to that talk at the end of this message :) It teaches a little bit more about what the role of a missionary is. You all can get a bit more of a look into what is expected of me and other missionaries throughout the world!

There was also a baptism this weekend!! At a baptism is one of the places where I feel the most pure and sweet Spirit. Edina is her name, and she prepared very hard for her baptism. She is such a good example to me of diligence and love. After her baptism, Edina bore her testimony and gave a small talk. As part of her talk, she mentioned each of the missionaries who have taught her and the things she has learned from each of them. I was so touched as she thanked me personally and spelled out the part of her testimony she felt I helped her gain. I felt so humbled in that moment as well. I knew that it was not my own smarts or wisdom that helped her, but the Holy Spirit that works through us. I was grateful to see a fruit of my efforts, and was reminded how little I really have to do with it. I need to be a good tool, and a good conduit. I have to push my own desires and wishes out of the way so that the Lord’s will is done.

I hope the experiences of this week make lasting changes on me. I want to feel that the Lord is proud of me, and I need to grow to be worthy of that. It is silly every time I say that I “hope” something will change me or that I will change. I know it is my choice and hope doesn’t really have much to do with it. I need to make the changes. Let us all make the changes in ourselves that we hope for!

I pray that you will all feel the sweetness of the Spirit at times as I have this week. The comfort and love and peace are of such worth.

WIth lots of love,

Surányi nővér

Week #50

Hello everyone!

Has it really only been one week?! To me it feels like about 3! The days themselves do not go by too slowly, but the overall passing of time often feels to drag on. I woke up in the middle of the night with a bad sore throat and it is still bothering me, but luckily it is my only symptom – other than that I am feeling great! I am also viewing it as an answer to my prayers, because I had been saying that if I had to get sick, it would have to wait until after last week- and it waited!

Why did I need the sick to wait??

Because this week I traveled with my companion to Budapest, for two days, to record singing for the Hungarian translation of the 2012 EFY cd (a church CD for youth – Especially For Youth – that comes out with original songs every 2 years I believe). I got to sing some back vocals for two songs, and sang lead vocals for another. I didn’t know recording could be so much fun! I had a language coach helping me pronounce things better, and she, and everyone else involved, were so patient with me. It was so much fun! The fact that it was in Hungarian was a little stressful, because I know I was not able to sing the words perfectly, but I pray it was good enough. We had a little makeshift studio in the Kispest branch house, with fancy headphones and a fancy mike, and a cool sound guy. After we finished recording my song, we listened to the whole thing through, and my companion and I, and another lady who was helping, danced as we all listened. It was so fun and stress relieving! My sweet companion was paprazzi for me, so I will send some pictures! I even have some video clips. I find them pretty funny because a lot of them end with me making mistakes haha.

I don’t want to spend my whole email taking about the recording, it was just really fun and an out of the ordinary experience!

We also traveled to Eger this week, as a city, to attend a District Meeting (since our districts includes both the cities of Miskolc and Eger). The meeting was wonderful. Our district leader held the meeting, and the way he ran it made everyone feel comfortable and uplifted. We started by singing a hymn together, followed by an opening prayer. Then we had a spiritual thought, a language tip, and some time to share some positive experiences so far from the transfer. Then we made some goals for the transfer and had training from the district leader (who looks like Brad Pitt by the way). We finished the meeting with another hymn and prayer. Not until writing this down did I realize how out of the ordinary such a meeting is. 8 young people, most barely 20 years of age, holding a self-governed meeting together with goals of spiritual nature. It sounds much more odd than it feels. It feels unforced, and natural, and positive. I loved it.

We also had some great experiences staying in our city :) Sister Hudspeth and I had many uplifting meetings this week. We met with families, individuals, young people, and those aging, and every meeting has its own flow and feel. Some meetings require more patience, some are so touching, some are hard on my brain (Hungarian-wise), but all are valuable experiences. Both we as missionaries, and the people we meet with are uplifted and blessed by the time we spend together discussing the gospel of Jesus Christ, what it means, the blessing we can receive from it, and what we need to do to receive those blessings. I love teaching people about it because it helps me understand it better too. I learn every time someone else learns. Every time I explain it in a new way, the Spirit helps me better understand it myself. What a blessing to do this every day!

Also! General Conference will be this week!! Every 6 months we get to hear from the living prophet and the 12 apostles of our day, and this weekend is one of those times! They will be showing the broadcasts here in Miskolc so I am glad we will not have to travel to see it. We will also be having a baptism here this Saturday afternoon! What a wonderful upcoming weekend! I really look forward to it. And I hope I make the days leading up to it meaningful as well.

I send my love!!!

– Surányi nővér