Week #62

Hello everyone!

CHRISTMASTIME IS HERE!!

We had a really neat last few days! Let me give you some highlights :)

Friday – Christmas Zone Conference in Budapest! In the morning the Elders picked us up from home to drive us to Budapest. They had bought us each a pastry in the shape of a heart and had folded us each a little heart out of paper. It was so adorable! We really enjoy being together and I am really looking forward to spending Christmas with them.
At zone conference we got to play games, win prizes, get gifts from Santa, sing Christmas songs to mention a few. It was so fun and felt like a real Christmas! Of course it is hard to be far from family, but it is great to have such a great group of missionaries to spend the holidays with.

Saturday – Christmas Concert and party! On Saturday, us 4 missionaries put on a Christmas concert and party here in Miskolc. We performed several musical numbers and people really seemed to like it. We even wrote and performed a short Christmas play. We put the whole thing together with as little practice and preparation as possible (because there is a lot of other work to be doing) but it all came together and we had a great night. It took a lot of patience during the party because there was often 3 different people competing for my attention, but I managed to completely keep cool and I did my best to help everyone have a good time. YAY FOR CHRISTMASTIME!

Sunday – Baptisms! Two girls got baptized on Sunday! It was great to see them take this step to show their faith through action. It was wonderful to be there. A boy who only got baptized three weeks ago got to baptize the younger girl. It was so exciting! He said it made him so happy! Ah. So great!

Monday – Christmas Eve – Skype my family – Today! Today is Monday. It is Christmas Eve! I got to Skype with my mom and dad this morning for an hour!!!! Twice a year we get to talk to our parents, and one of those times was now! It was so great to see them and talk to them! I really miss them, but I know I am in the right place now and that I will see them in not too long. Later today we will go to the branch house with the Elders and we will possibly do mani pedis or something fun like that. (It was the Elders’ idea – no joke. haha!)

Tuesday . Christmas Day!!!!!! This hasn’t happened yet, but here are some of our plans. We are going to go to the branch house with the Elders in the morning and we will exchange gifts and also open packages that we have received from home. We put up a Christmas tree in the branch house this week, so it will really be like Christmas! Also it snowed last night and maybe it will snow again, so we could have a white Christmas!!!

OOOKIE! My fingers are getting tired and I am getting hungry. :) Ah this is going to be such a great Christmas!

I send tons of love! Thank you so much to those of you who have sent me cards and letters and packages and money. I am so so so spoiled!

MUCH MUCH LOVE – SOK SZERETETTEL

Surányi nővér

Week #61

Hi everyone!

What a week!

Its been snowy and rainy and cold – and all four of us missionaries here in Miskolc have colds! But we have been happy and active nonetheless. :)

This week I finished reading the Book of Mormon in Hungarian! I had a goal to finish it by Christmas and I succeeded! It took me about a year though, so it’s not very impressive as a speed record – but it is the first time I have read the whole Book of Mormon in another language! I think that means I have read the entire Book of Mormon so far 3 times on my mission. It is good every time. I really love the Book of Mormon. I get what I need from it – sometimes I find what I am looking for that I know I need, and sometimes I realize that I needed it after I found it. And there is always a feeling of peace that accompanies reading the Book of Mormon, and that is one of the best feelings. I am so grateful that we are given study time every day here.

I got a newer release date, which is hopefully the real one. It is hard to know for sure when we are going home because the mission is always changing. But I am probably coming home a couple weeks earlier than originally planned. My expected date is now March 28th. Fun!

We found a really fantastic cafe not too far away that has about 7 different kinds of hot chocolate! So far I have tried 3 of them – all delicious! We are really into hot chocolate now that the weather is so cold.

President Smith came to visit Miskolc this past weekend. He took us out to dinner on Saturday night and it was so yummy! Then on Sunday he and his wife spoke in church and the Elders translated, I was so proud of the Elders as they translated. It is such a humbling experience to try to speak Hungarian. It is so wonderful when some degree of success is reached. (But I want more! haha)

Oh story from this week! So we were on the villamos (which they call a “tram” in English but I don’t even know what a tram is so I don’t know if it is a good translation haha) and a man walked up to us. There was an empty seat beside me and so I asked him if he would like to sit. And he responded that No. But he would like to see my transit pass. I didn’t see that he was a transit worker (they often come on and make sure everyone has passes). I didn’t think it was all that funny that I didn’t notice, but my companion and the girl who was with us kept making fun of me for it. Now every time they see a transit worker, they ask me if I am going to invite him to sit down. haha. Ah good. It is good to make a fool of yourself sometimes :)

Today we will be going skating with the Elders! I haven’t been skating in over a year. I remember a couple years ago I was into skating and my daddy and I went a few times together. I love good memories like that.

Also – big surprise – we are planning to get hot chocolate after skating. Hello flavour number 4!

Next week I get to Skype with my mom and dad!!! I am so excited!

It is almost Christmas!! We are having a Christmas concert this coming Saturday at the church. I have decided that my voice will work by then. I sure hope so. Because we are doing a lot of singing. I hope the other missionaries heal too of course!

The day before that, on Friday, we get to go to Budapest for a special Christmas Zone Conference put on by the President Smith. I am really looking forward to it!

I send lots of Christmas love!

-Surányi nővér

Week #60

Hello everyone!!!

The snow seems like it is going to be a more permanent fixture from now on! It is really pretty, and actually falling right now as well. We plan to go play out in it today. It is about -7 degrees Celsius today. For me, that is really cold. For my poor new companion who is from Las Vegas, this is cold torture for her. Las Vegas doesn’t get cold. She thought hats were just accessories and has never had a winter coat before.

Three more sentences about my new companion: She is seriously model beautiful. She is crazy talented at the piano. She is super outgoing and has a big shiny personality.

Much fun is planned to be had!

Allow me to fill you in on some of the remaining plans for today: playing in the snow, going out for hot chocolate, finger painting, ordering pizza – all with the Elders.

I am so glad Elder Headrick is here. We have renamed him Elder Angel. He is wonderful. He is probably the most gentlemanly Elder I have served with here in Hungary.

Sister MacKay is helping us spend more time with the Elders, and it is good to get to know them a little better.

We had the Elders come to a program with us this week, and it was a really wonderful program. Elders Abram and Headrick helped us practice a baptismal interview with a family. They are good Elders, and I hope we can have other opportunities to teach together. I really felt the Spirit there as we taught and talked with the family.

Sister MacKay and I have made a goal to visit all of the active members of the branch this transfer. We hope to be able to build their confidence in us, and to bring the Spirit into their homes, and to help strengthen the branch here in Miskolc.

Oh, here is something embarrassing that I did this week. We were trying to get to a nearby area to visit a family. It takes about 20-25 minutes by bus to get there. It is hard to explain exactly how it happened… I will attribute it to my extremely poor spatial reasoning skills and directional skills and all that… so… we missed the stop and ended up on a 2 hour bus ride adventure before making it back home.(I tried to find the stop on the way back… and missed that one too.) Luckily, the family we were on our way to see ended up not being able to meet anyway, so we didn’t let them down. We just wasted a bunch of time due to my error. :( embarrassing. I don’t plan on doing that again.

Other fun things this week is singing lots of Christmas Carols with Sister MacKay. We are also learning a song that her parents sent in the mail. Christmas is Love – by Sara Bareilles (I do not know how to spell her name). It is especially fun because neither of us has ever heard the song, so we are sharpening our sight reading skills. All I have to do is read the singing line and the words and I make mistakes all over the place. Somehow she sight reads the entire accompaniment AND the vocal line AND the words all at the same time. She is a miracle woman.

I fear I am going to have a lot less time to write letters this transfer. We are planning to do a lot of ‘fun’ things, which means I wont get much time to write letters. It is really important to me to write, so I am going to try my best. I really love receiving letters from back home. I feel loved and supported. I feel bad that I cannot write back to every letter I receive. I wish the rules were different for when I am allowed to write, but I know it is better to obey the Lord’s standards for missionaries than to do what I want to do.

I could just keep writing and writing and writing… but I should stop. Time always keeps moving! Can’t it take a break for a bit? Haha.

I send my love! And I thank you all for yours!

~ Surányi nővér

Week #59

Ok hello!!!!

Listen to my good news!!

We got transfer calls this morning, I am staying here in Miskolc, my current companion is finished her mini mission and I am getting MacKay nővér! She is awesome!!!! Christensen elder is “dying” – his mission is over and he is going home. In his place we are getting Headrick elder!!! I served with Headrick elder in the MTC and in Pest. He is SO SO AWESOME! We are going to have a GREAT Christmas season with this new group. WAAHOOOOO! I am sure pictures will soon follow and you will be able to see the joyful love that will be present in our area. YAY.

Also, hear some great things that happened this week:

On Sunday it snowed – and not just snow, hanem, beautiful, white, slow-drifting, puffs of snow joy. You could not feel any happier as you watched it slowly fall. Nature is beautiful (even if its cold)!

We also had a baptism this week. Joy! It was so great :) Csányi nővér and I made sajtos pogácsa for the occasion. The boy who was baptized is so wonderful and I am looking forward to continue to meet with him as he takes his first steps as a new member. The fruits of missionary work are very sweet!

This past week, the mission president came to Miskolc to meet with each of us individually. They call them “interviews” when you meet with the president, but it is in no way stressful or intimidating. I love interviews with President Smith. He always lifts me up and is so kind and patient. He always emphasizes the good things he sees in me and I am so so grateful. I really trust him and am glad that he leads the missionary work here in Hungary. I love serving under his authority.

I got poison ivy-d for the first time in my life this week! Well… I am about 90% sure. There was a church meeting and one of the members brought some herbs and flowers from her garden to make some herbal tea. She also brought a plant that they only used the Hungarian name for but I think it was poison ivy. Because they talked about how it stings. I said how I had never felt it before so they insisted I try it. Haha. My companion rubbed it on me, but it didn’t work, so it was so funny, the member who brought it, took the bundle and sort-of smacked me with it a few times on the wrist. It was so funny. How often do people hit each other with plants?? I had to laugh. And it worked. Sting-y! :)

Also, I got a copy of the C.D. that I am singing on. Doing the recording was really fun, but my accent is weird on it (Hungarian is hard I tell you! haha!), but overall it is okay. It isn’t really a professional C.D. especially because half of the songs are sung by non-Hungarian speakers. One of the young adults from Szeged was visiting this week and he made sure to tell me how weird my accent is in the song. Gotta love the kindness, haha!

We are still busily working! Doing our daily studies, and then going from program to program. Meeting with members, investigators, teaching English class, etc. Never a dull moment. It is hard work, not usually physically, but mentally and spiritually it takes a lot of effort. Serving a mission really inspires a lot of growth! There is no time to take a nice long break – you have to keep going, and do your best always! But that is life too. We can’t take a break from life. We always move forward.

I have met so many wonderful people here in Hungary and sometimes fear how I will have time to keep in touch with them when I get home. But I will let time take care of that and do my best to be supportive even from far away.

I hope that in some way I can be supportive of you all at home even though I am so far away right now. I pray for many of you by name, and many wonderful memories with you uplift me.

I love you all!!!

Surányi nővér