Week #67

Hello everyone!

This week we are emailing hyperspeed! We were in Budapest today (we arrived last night) so that the new missionaries could go and get their Visas. SO LISTEN TO THIS: I got to spend the day with Sister Roney!!! She is also training a new missionary. So while our companions were in trainings and dealing with visas, Sister Roney and I got to be companions again!!

We spent our free time going out to meet with some investigators that we used to meet with when we served together in Pest. IT WAS SO GREAT! We took the buses to and fro, taking all our old routes, and reminiscing along the way. It was wonderful. We got to meet with 6 people that we used to meet with and it was so uplifting. We only had a short time with each of them, but they were so happy to see us and we were so happy to see them. A few of them are preparing for baptism and it was so lovely to show them our love and support in person one more time. Ah it was so great! One lady kept saying that we have gotten so beautiful and that we were glowing and radiating. It was so touching. We love her! It is hard to leave the people you love and move to a new city, but I know the Lord sends His missionaries to where He knows the most good can be done (both for the missionary and for others). The Lord is very involved in our lives, and being on a mission helps me see that so much more clearly.

I wish I had time to describe all the great experiences I am having. There are of course also experiences that are more difficult and uncomfortable, but those make the good experiences even more precious.

I translated again in church this week (just silently for our new seniour missionary couple who have officially moved in) and this week it was more of a discouraging experience. I was more highly aware of all of my shortcomings in the language both in communicating and understanding. But I did not give up! I know that the Lord wants me to look at the positive and to always try harder and to be grateful for what I can do. I was fasting at the time, which I had hoped would give me a more spiritually uplifting experience, but I have come to feel that the struggle is much more valuable than if it had been blissful. Ah the things I learn. I love when I feel something is so true even when it is counter-intuitive – ex. being grateful for struggles – because then I feel that I really am growing a testimony and not just relying on my carnal mind. I like it! I am looking forward for the next not commonly accepted truth! hah. :P just being silly.

Jaj. I really should stop writing but I wish I could say so much more!

Um ok quick list:

– We went to Kecskemét this past week for district meeting. I love singing hymns with my district. 4 part harmony in the strongest way!

– We visited a member family this week and they (over)fed us the most DELICIOUS Hungarian food. It is so wonderful to be fed by the members here especially because almost always they do not have very much money. They give of what little they have to serve us. I am so grateful!

– I only had one person in my English class this week , which was great because it is WAY less scary to do a personal tutoring session than a big lesson. But… we put a thing in the paper and it seems like a lot more people will be coming this week. I’m scared. I don’t know how to teach beginner English. Le sigh du jour. I will do my best.

– we made cutouts of the Plan of Salvation this week. SO GREAT. And we even got to use them twice already. Yay for visuals! Not just for kids. :)

OOOKIE I have like a quadrillion more thoughts… but no time.

I love my mission. I love Hungary. I will never forget being here. It has changed me so permanently. Well, I have decided to make it permanent. No regression I say! I say!

Szeretlek titeket!

– Surányi nővér

Week #66

Hello everyone!!!

What a week!! It feels like this week has been much longer than one. Which is good, because it makes me feel like I still have got a bit of time before I come home!

This past week my companion and I took our first shift teaching at a local highschool/tradeschool (I am not exactly sure what we would call it in English). We taught 3 different classes in a row. Grade 11, grade 9, and then grade 13 (yep, they have that sometimes here!). It was SO interesting and a little bit weird. The students we taught were all studying tourism, and thus had many many English classes. We didn’t speak a word of Hungarian to them, and they all seemed to follow along alright. Amazing! Each class had about 30 students in it, and it was amazing that they could all speak English at quite a high level! The grade 13 class was the one we were warned about. We heard that they are not very respectful and like to talk alot. We were prepared, and some of them did chat while we taught, but many of them participated. We did our best to make the classes interactive and interesting instead of a boring grammar lesson or something. We tried our best. In the grade 13 class, when we passed around a paper for the students to write suggestions for what they would like us to teach and discuss in the future, we got it back at the end of class to see that a few of them had written sweet notes to us. They told us they liked us and that our lesson was good and cute things like that! It made us so happy! I am grateful for kind people.

Ok next story. So there is a prison on the same street as our church, and sometimes there are people who have friends in prison, and they stand on the street and yell up to a window and have a chat with one of their buddies in prison. It is SO WEIRD. Why is the prison so close to society? I think its so funny and so weird and slightly disconcerting.

Also, we’ve been running in the mornings! The first few mornings’ results were quite painful, but my legs are finally getting used to it. We run right along the Tisza river and over a bridge, and back along the other side and over another bridge. It is really cold… but so awesome! We smile and say good morning to every person we see along the way, and it is funny how much it throws them off. Just spreading the joy!

Ok we met the most wonderful woman this week! We normally meet with her son, but we felt to ask him if we could come meet his mom, and he said yes! We set up to come to their home. It was like a missionaries’ dream. Their apartment was SO clean and well decorated and simple. We talked with the boy and his mom and it was such a good feeling there. They gave us delicious pudingos suti. We taught them the message of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it was so wonderful to hear their thoughts about it, and watch the mother’s face as she felt such peace and hope. She kept thanking us for being there and set up to have us come back again to teach more. Sister Burdick and I are looking so forward to going back!

I got to do some translating this week in church – it was Branch Conference and the mission president was there. Some missionaries translate all the time, but for me it is uncommon. I silently translated for two seniour couples during the first hour, I translated silently for the mission president’s wife during Sunday School, and then I got to be the translator for the Mission President’s wife when she taught in relief society for the third hour. It was so cool in the third hour! I was stressed during the first hour of church, but the next two were more calm. Translating in relief society was so cool because I had to keep switching back and forth from English to Hungarian. I would translate into Hungarian when Sister Smith (the mission presidents wife) would talk and teach, but then I would have to translate comments and answers into English when the class would participate. It was so cool!! I wasn’t perfect of course, but everyone was able to understand. I didn’t feel like the people were judging me for my language skill. I felt like they were focused on the lesson and that they were supportive of me and looking to understand and help me and not looking for faults. It was such a good experience.

I remember when I thought I would never ever be able to translate. But now I can. Not professionally. Not without hiccups. Not without help. But I can do it! What a cool blessing! The Lord really has helped me a LOT with Hungarian.

Then after church there was a boy who got ordained as an Elder in the Melchizedek priesthood, and they invited the whole branch to sit in. It was a little surprising when they first invited us all (it is a small branch), but in the end it was such a nice experience to all support the boy together. Everyone gave him a hug after or a handshake and it was so great to see. I am so proud of him!

There is a boy here who recently got home from a mission in Spain, and he taught a family history program the Saturday. It was so great! He was such a patient and powerful teacher. I could feel the Holy Ghost there and I felt more inspired to search for my ancestors when I return home. I am glad I got to be there to participate. I hope that I can still be a powerful teacher when I get home, even if I will no longer be a full time missionary. I remember when I took a mission prep institute class before coming to Hungary and my teacher was a newly returned missionary. He taught SO powerfully, it was amazing. I cried almost every class because the Spirit was so strong. I loved it.

I bought a cook book today! Fun!

Every week when I email there are like 50 people I want to shout out to, and so I normally just hold back. But now that I have become a mama ( a trainer ) I have gotta throw a shout out to my mission mama. MAMA!! My mission mama was/is SO amazing and I am so so so grateful to have had her to “raise” me. I try to be as good a trainer as she was. I understand her so much more now that I am in her shoes. I am so grateful that she was always patient with me and supportive of me. I remember looking up to her SO much. I couldn’t imagine becoming like her. It surprises me that I am now doing those things that she used to do for me or help me do. When I worry about whether I am helping my new missionary in the best ways I can, I wonder if my trainer worried about those same things for me and I am so grateful, because I am sure she did. She cared about me so much and she still does. She sends me supportive messages and I LOVE HER SO MUCH.

:)

My heart is full and I am trying to work hard. I feel like home is still a lot of work away, and I am trying to do my very best.

I am happy and healthy and loving my mission!

I have a million more things to say with no time to say it.

Love you all!!!

Surányi nővér

Week #65

Hello everyone!

Wow! What a long week it has been!! Long yes, but also wonderful!

I have received my new companion – her name is Burdick nővér and she is WONDERFUL! I am having such a great time with her and she is so prepared and so willing to work and practice and learn! It is great! She is from Massechusetts (I am sure I massacred the spelling of that) and she has red hair (I am so jealous!).

We are trying to figure out Szolnok together. We have been making lots of phone calls to try to get a hold of people that used to meet with the other sisters when they were here. Other than that, we have been looking for new people to teach! The only missionary who was here before this transfer is Shipp elder, and he is really helping us out. He is helping us know what buses to take, and what days of the week we teach certain programs etc. Apparently we teach at a private highschool! Scary. We will be doing that for the first time this week.

Guess what… the first day in out new apartment we managed to turn off the heater and not know how to get it work again. It turned into a 2 day cold spree… reminds me of last transfer haha. We slept in sweaters and fuzzy socks, and studied all wrapped up in blankets. Luckily our landlord was able to help us get everything back in order. We again have heat :) I am becoming increasingly grateful for heat, something I never really thought of as a blessing. Look how much I am learning from my mission! Unbelievable.

I has the opportunity to quietly translate into English for 2 senior couples who came to church this week. It was a little bit embarrassing, but mostly a good experience. I remember a time when I thought I would NEVER be able to translate for anyone.

Having a new missionary helps me see how much I have progressed in the language since I got here. When I see her struggle with some things, I remember when I struggled with those same things too. It makes it so easy to be patient and supportive of her. She is doing such a great job, and it is such a blessing to me to be able to realize that I have progressed enough to be able to help someone.

One of the most fun blessings of being able to speak and understand more Hungarian than before is that I can have a more playful and light relationship with the members instead of strictly business. I can make jokes with them now and I can understand when they are poking fun at me and I can play back. It was so fun doing that this Sunday with a group of the members!

There is this interesting feeling I have been having here in Szolnok. Even though I have never been here before, there are some of the members that I feel like I already know. It might be because I have been switching from city to city for a year now and talking to so many strangers that it has become commonplace, but it is still interesting to me. I like it. It feels safer and more comfortable.

Oh listen to this other fun thing. Having a new missionary makes me notice how many cool Hungarian things there are and fun mission traditions. I have been introducing her to all these things, and it makes it exciting for me again. So cool! I am grateful to be able to be a trainer so late in my mission. I could not be more prepared than this. There will be so many new sisters coming in in the following transfers that these sisters are going to be training much earlier than I did. I am grateful that I got so much time to prepare :)

I have high spirits and am looking forward to getting to know this city better.

I send my love and European awesomeness!

Sok szeretettel, Surányi nővér

Week #64

Hello!

The hypothermia days are over! But you didn’t even know they began. Listen to this! On Saturday morning I went to take a shower and the water wouldn’t get hot, Turns out the pilot light on our heater went out again. This time it is winter though. It turns out that it was broken and that the needed replacement piece couldn’t be bought until Monday morning. I cannot complain too much, because there are people in this world who live on the streets or in much worse conditions than me, but it was SO cold without heating for 2 days. My companion was wearing 4 pairs of pants and we both slept in hoodies and gloves. We also couldn’t shower – gross! But they fixed the heater this morning! Yay! I feel so clean! And warm again :) Last night was the coldest so far and the Elders surprised us by coming over and dropping of some extra blankies for us. How sweet of them!

Other good news – my toe is practically better now! Yay far walking normally again!

This Sunday we got to go with the Elders to visit two cute little “néni”s (adorably Hungarian old ladies) so the Elders could give them the sacrament, and one of them asked for a blessing. I love being there as the Elders perform priesthood ordinances. I always feel peace and I feel so proud of them as they are doing the Lord’s work – and in Hungarian too! I also think to my brother doing these same things in France and it makes me so so so so proud of him!

Sister MacKay and I went tracting this week in some ten stories. One lady got really mad at us for being there – she tried to chase us out of the building. I get why people don’t always like us there. It is worth bothering a few people though to bring salvation and eternal happiness to those who are looking for it.

This week we tried going to a new café instead of getting hot chocolate at our new place. We should have stuck to what we know. Haha. Elder Headrick and I got milkshakes, but they were more like milk with some bitter fruit smashed in it. Sister MacKay and Elder Abram got fruity drinks though and they were good. Its hard to know: do you stick with what you know is good, or branch out and try something new? Ah café psychology. :P

We are trying to brainstorm some sort of “district item” to purchase so that we can remember our time serving together here in Mickolc. Hopefully we find something awesome :)

I am a little overwhelmed (in a good way) by all the letters I have received since Christmas. I got a lot when we went to Budapest for Christmas! The Elders went to Budapest last week and they told us that they had no mail to bring to us – but it was a big joke and they had a stack of letters for each of us. It was so exciting to read them all! I really wish I had more time so I could respond to them all. I am so grateful that so many of you take the time to write me and think of me. Köszönöm!

Well I hope that everything is going well at home! Another transfer is coming to an end for me here! Next week I will be able to write about whether I am being transferred and/or getting a new companion.

The next two transfers will be “short” transfers (5 weeks instead of 6) and then I will be coming home! Weird! It still feels far away!

I send my love!

Surányi nővér

Week #63

Happy 2013!!!

The craziest part of it being 2013 is remembering that I left my home in 2011. How is that real?? Wow. Its too much for my mind to grasp. Luckily I am quite used to not understanding everything… so it works for me :)

Ok let me start with this “fun” story: On Saturday we were getting ready to leave the house and I put my socks on as a final preparation. Well these socks are a bit slippery. As I was leaving our bedroom I slipped on my sock and jammed my toe into the doorway. It hurt a lot, but I tried to limp it off while cringing. As I went into the other room I noticed that I started bleeding through my sock. Who is the biggest wimp in the world? Me. So I start feeling dizzy. I hobble back into the bedroom and lie on the bed and proceed to break into cold sweat. So funny. I am such a wimp. It got all swollen and purple too. But I put a bandaid on it and found a way to limp so we worked anyway. In the evening we played doctor, and Elder Abram had a look at it for me and he and Sister MacKay wrapped it in gauze and medical tape. I may or may not have almost passed out. Wimp status is mine. We decided it is not broken. I bled through 5 sets of socks that day and a couple more the next day. We even went skating that first night before playing doctor … smart :) I have been hobbling since Saturday – I cant put weight on the toe. But the pain is diminishing a bit each day and I am sure I will be able to walk normally soon. So funny. I will send a picture. It isn’t too bad, just a funny experience.

On Sunday in church two girls were confirmed and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Elders gave one blessing each. I was so proud of them to hear them doing it in Hungarian. They are are so great. It felt so wonderful listening to them speak and to feel the peace that the Holy Ghost brings. I loved it.

New years eve was a normal pday but we were allowed to do our working hours earlier in the day. So after working we ate together and then spent some time together. We still went home and to bed by normal missionary time though. This cute investigator girl kept inviting us to go out with her, but we weren’t interested in the noisy things going around in the city. Joke’s on us though haha because there was a big concert going on less than half a block away from our apartment. It was nice to hear that people were out being festive though, even if it made it harder to fall asleep.

There is a family that we visit usually about twice a week and the mother finds it really funny to try to talk to us about dating and things like that. It is so much funnier because it is in Hungarian and she can sound so blunt. So many priceless experiences are had here in Hungary. I am glad that so many things are out of the ordinary.

We went “tabling” with the Elders last week, and today Sister MacKay and I are going to go over to a lady’s house because I talked to her on the street while tabling. It is so interesting how strangers become friends as easy as that sometimes here on a mission. You talk to someone one time, and they invite you to come to their home. Next thing you know you are visiting them every week and they are feeling more blessings in their life and they are praying and reading the scriptures and you love each other. All because you had the guts to talk to a stranger on the street. I wish I had the guts to talk to every person. Sometimes I get scared. But it so worth it.

My little brother is a superstar and talks to everyone he can on his mission in France. He inspires me to try harder and be less scared. I know I can do better, and I will keep trying!

The holidays were fun and now its a new year and a new opportunity to buckle down and work! Sounds exhausting. But surely wouldn’t be any good if it wasn’t hard. With the end of my mission in sight I want to end with a bang and work till the finish – no letting up!

Thank you so much for so many Christmas wishes and letters and cards, I felt very loved this Christmas and did not feel depressed to be far from home because I felt love from there and I feel that I am in the right place right now. I do look forward to spending next Christmas and New Years at home though :)

I hope all is well and I look forward to hearing what everyone has been up to when I get back.

Ok here are a couple more crazy stories before I close. On Christmas Eve a total stranger got on his knees and begged my companion to be his wife. It was sad but also creepy.
A couple days after Christmas (the Elders were on splits), and we went caroling in a public square. One man who heard us started dancing, later another did some heel clicks, a cute kid waved at us, and a nice old lady closed her eyes to listen. A few people clapped too. It was cute.

Missions are awesome!

Sok szeretettel,

Surányi nővér

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