Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Time is Flying!!!!

May 30, 2012
Dear Family,

Ahhh!!! I can't believe it's almost June!!! Less than 3 weeks till I leave for Hungary and almost 3 weeks till I turn 20! Can you believe this?!?! I can't, but at the same time I'm just super excited to get in the field. The MTC is a great place, but being here for 12 weeks is crazy!! Seeing all of my best friends leave for the respectful missions, Matthew to Washington D.C and Adam to Sao Paulo (Technically he is still in the MTC, but he is in a different country so I'm going to say that counts :P), just makes me want to get out of the MTC more. I just can't wait to be in Hungary! (Sung to the tune of Lion King).

Our District starts "Consecration Week" next Wednesday, where we give up a few things for a week, including our native language. So for a week, I can only speak Hungarian.....yeeeaaaaahhhh, It's going to be one of the most difficult things I will have ever least so far. Ha ha, but it's going to be tough and it's a good preparation before we leave for Hungary. Our best friends, "The Finns", just left on Monday. It was only two of them and we hung out with them all the time whenever we had free time (Which is rare here). Their names were Elder Oberhansley and Elder Kääriä (He's from Sweden). They were such awesome Elders and it was a bittersweet moment to watch them leave. I almost got teary eyed for some reason. We only knew them for 9 weeks, but yet it was like we knew each other forever (9 weeks here is like 9 months). But the one good thing about them leaving was that they were able to finally get in the field and it would soon be our turn. All of us are just waiting for the day when we get on that bus and head for the Salt Lake City airport. I think it's like a 23 hour flight including the layover to Hungary. That's what it said on our "Usik" (Older Hungarians) flight plans. We get our flight plans next week sometime. It will have the departure times and arrivals. When I get them I'll let you know so that you can know when I will probably be calling you from the airports. And let Jordan know also, so that if she wants to come over to the house that she may be able to chat for a little bit before my times up. :)

Last night, we had a devotional from W Craig Zwick of the Quorum of the 70 and he gave his talk on the power of the Book of Mormon. He said that there was a day while he was on his mission in Bolivia that he had to go to the hospital and have surgery. He didn't tell us what he had surgery on because it wasn't important to the story. Anyways, he and his companions brought 20 Book of Mormons with them to the hospital and Elder Zwick, while he was in the hospital bed, wrote in Spanish a small and simple testimony and put a picture of his family in each Book of Mormon. They were able to give away all of the Book of Mormons by the time they left the hospital. 20ish years later, he was called to go back to Bolivia by M. Russel Ballard to do something. He went back and gave a talk to the stakes there about something, I can't remember what, it wasn't to important. After his talk was over, a man came up to him and said "you look familiar" and said he had something to show him. When the man came back, he had a Book of Mormon in his hand. He gave it to Elder Zwick and told him to open the first page. In  it was a picture of his family and the small testimony he wrote. The man said that he got it from a man who was giving the book away and took it home and put it on his shelf. During the course of several weeks, his family was getting ready to move and he tried to throw away the Book of Mormon because it didn't look interesting, but his little son said every time "dad, don't throw that book away, you haven’t read it yet." After they had moved, the man decided to take the book of the shelf and see what the book was like. He saw on the first page a picture of missionary and his family and the short testimony on the front page. He said "that was what made me interested in reading the Book of Mormon." He read the whole book in 6 days and found the missionaries and took the discussions and he and his family joined the church 2-3 weeks later. The Book of Mormon is the most powerful book on this earth. It is our greatest tools as missionaries and is what really converts ones heart to the church. If they don't have a testimony in the Book of Mormon, they are not truly converted. We have been challenged to read the Book of Mormon before we leave the MTC and take Moroni's challenge. I challenge everyone back at home, to read the Book of Mormon from cover-to-cover. Finish it by the end of the year starting now. We have been told that "the more times we read the Book of Mormon, the stronger our testimonies grow and the stronger our power grows." With that statement, why wouldn't you read it?

So, some quick comments on the things going on at home. I had the biggest grin when I saw the Blaser picture with Ryan and his sisters. I just thought "Wow, 2 years flew by. I can't believe he's home." I also noticed that he hadn't shaved and kind of chuckled because all of us here have said "You know, when I get home, I'm not going to shave for the first couple of days" since we have to shave every day here. Elder Beck has been in our ward for almost 6 months now right? He's gone through, what, 4-5 transfers in Citrus Heights? That's a long time. Hopefully he's still having a grand old time like the first few months he had when I was there. Thank you for the pictures! I loved them! I really loved the picture with Jordan in the front of the Rexburg Temple. She sent me some pictures a couple weeks ago and there were some of her in front of the Oakland temple. She looks so pretty in front of temples. :) 

I can't say much more. I've already gone overboard on my time. Thank you so much for the emails! And thank you Sister Marshall for the package you sent me! Thank you everyone! Love you all!

From the MTC,
Magda Elder

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Another Week in the MTC

Csaladom es Baratom,

Elder Matthew Hodgson has left the MTC. It´s so awesome to know that he is going to Washington D.C and getting ready to preach the gospel and at the same time it´s a bummer because I really want to be in his shoes right now. It´s been 7 weeks since I've been here and I have less then 4 weeks till I get to be on the plane for 22 hours (give or take a few hours). We are all really excited for that day to come and nervous as well because the language keeps getting more and more difficult. It's as though when we learn something and finally think we get the hang of it, some other new principle is taught and it's like we are kicked back to square one. It's quite the process. The last time I saw Matthew before he left was on Sunday on my temple walk. I only talked to him briefly because I thought I would see him at least one more time before Wednesday. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. I know he is doing well though and will be a wonderful missionary. We auditioned last Thursday and it was such an awesome experience. All I wanted was to audition with my best friend. I didn't care if we got the part or not, I just wanted to put our talents together and represent California brotherhood. The woman who critiqued us was awesome! She said that Matthew "was a wonderful pianist" and that I "had a beautiful voice." The reason we were unlikely to be chosen was because we had to work on a couple of spots and the song was too long (It had to be under 4 minutes I think). Plus, Matthew was leaving the next week and she said that we wouldn't be able to do it together. But she wants me to try again with another song because she believes that I would probably get the spot. I don't think I will though because this language is really difficult and I don't have very much time to spare. It's kind of a bummer, but I need to focus on my priorities. But I loved "Be Still" and I want to sing it while I'm in Hungary. Please tell Jeanne that I will not let her down and I will sing that song again for her. Also, tell Matt Tidwell that I really looked up to him when he sang the song for Jeanne's program. I actually saw Adam today on my way to get mail. I asked him if he had gotten his Visa yet and replied with "No, but hopefully I get it tomorrow." He said that even if he gets his visa, he has to wait another week here before he can leave. I hope he gets it tomorrow.

That is so awesome that Ryan is back home!! He was such an example for me and I looked up to him a lot. There is actually an elder that I made friends with here that left for Samoa this morning. He said he is really excited and is ready for the real world. Hopefully he's been notified or warned about what the people are like, because I didn't read your email till after he left. Hungarians, my teachers have told me, are not like that. They grasp to the gospel very quickly and what usually convinces them to listen to us is because we are learning their language. They are absolutely impressed by the fact that we are learning their language and sacrificing two years of our lives for this work. It interests them and it's our gateway to preaching the Lord's work to them and bringing them back to the fold. One of my favorite scriptures is in Mosiah 28:3, after the Sons of Mosiah were converted towards the gospel. I feel so similar to their feelings defined in this scripture: "for they could not bear that any human should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble." I already love the people of Hungary and I know that love will grow 10 times greater, or even more, when I get there. I am so excited to continue the work in Hungary, the land of my fathers. I can't wait to say in Hungarian "Jövök Magyarorszagot!!!" ( Here I come Hungary!!!) That day is soon at hand and I am working hard to prepare myself.

This is His work that I am laboring. This is His work that I am sacrificing 2 years of my life and my desire is to be like Christ and to do "the will of the Father." Stand as a witness at all times and in all places. Do not stop being good examples to the people of California. They need it just as much as everyone else in the world. Till next week on..........Getting Hungary with Magda Elder!

-Magda Elder

P.S. For Ryan Blaser: I expect a letter or Dear Elder from you soon. :P Ha ha!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Five more weeks until I go to Hungary!

Draga Csodalatom es baratom

Unfortunately this letter may be the shortest out of all the ones I have sent so far. So I ask for forgiveness in advance.

So Matthew and I are auditioning this Thursday for a spot at the musical number on Sunday during the Fireside. He is going to be playing the piano (of course) and I am going to be singing. The song that we are doing is "Be Still" from the list of songs Sister Coen gave me before I left. After hearing Matt Tidwell sing it at her program, I really wanted to sing it also if I could on my mission. So, I saw this as a chance and I asked Matthew if he would be up to doing it and he said yes. Yesterday, he and I rehearsed and got the basics of the song down with the amount of time we had free. And tomorrow around 11:30 we will be auditioning for the spot to perform for 2000 missionaries (at least, that's how many missionaries I think there are here at the MTC. I'm not sure, it fluctuates with departings missionaries and incoming missionaries). Hopefully, we will be able to do it, but if there is a better singer or group that would best fit the position, we can at least say that we tried. I can't believe it's already been two weeks and that Matthew is leaving the MTC to D.C this Monday or Tuesday. I didn't ask him, or can't remember, what day he's departing, but I know that it's next week. Adam said that he has to wait for his VISA and even when he gets it he has to wait for another week till he can leave. Hopefully he gets it soon.

Our new Hungarian group just came in today. We met a couple of them as they came through the door and we are so excited to introduce them to the MTC "Hungarian style".  Plus, this is another sign that we will be leaving soon and will be hitting the field. 5 more weeks and I will be in Hungary. :) I don't think my companion and I will be getting any new residence mates. We didn't get any today, so we are assuming that we are just in our residence alone.....for another 5 weeks......But we don't mind, it's kind of kewl to have the room by ourselves. I am actually getting along better with Beaucannon Elder. We've started to bond more this past week and it has been really awesome! I just hope that it will continue like it is now. For us Magda's, apparently the name "Magda" is like the name "Smith" here. There is a sister from Hungary and an Elder from Hungary who are serving in Finland and D.C North (respectively) and they were like "Oh, are you Hungarian?" and I was like "No, but my Grandfather is. He was born in Bocsa." They replied with "Oh that's great. You're name is very common there." I just thought, well that's awesome. Hopefully I'll find a Magda that's related to me.

Thank you so much for the flag and other little goodies!! Beaucannon Elder and I put it up on our wall for all to see when they walk-in. Showing our Hungarian pride. I am having such a good time here! Things have been picking up and I am just so excited to learn new things everyday. And it makes it even more awesome when you have awesome teachers. And thank you Sister Hilton for your care package. It was such a surprise to receive that and the letter from you. I cannot tell you how grateful I am. Thank you :) And for a language update, I am definitely doing much better than I was last week. I wish I could just send you a video of a lesson with me and my companion teaching in Hungarian. It's so awesome how well we are doing. And the language is so fun to speak! Even though it's really hard, I'm having a lot of fun with it.

As I end this letter, here is my testimony in Hungarian:
Tudom, hogy az evangélium igaz és Thomas S. Monson profétai igaz, és tudom azt kaphatunk kinyilatkosztatas a Szentlélek által. és tudom a Mormon könyve igaz.

I love all of you and pray that the Lord watches over you every night.
Magda Elder

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Draga Csalodom es Baratom

May 9, 2012
Draga Csalodom es Baratom,

My goodness, again, so much to write in so little time.  It’s kind of a bummer that I only have this much time to write an email.  But I understand it and I don’t complain.  That’s so kewl that Ryan is coming home so soon!  I can’t believe it’s been two years since he’s been gone.  Time sure does fly by.  When he comes home, tell him that I say hi and that I’ll see him in 2 years.  I’ve run into Adam a couple of times and I’ve run into Matthew a couple of times while they have been here.  Mostly it’s been in the cafeteria, but I also got a picture with him on Sunday on our temple walk (I’ll send a picture of us to you soon) and he sat in front of me on Tuesday in choir.  He and I both sing tenor and we sang for our MTC fireside “Come ye Children of The Lord”.  And the song was arranged by…can you guess?...Mack Wilburg (I think I spelled it correctly).  It was great!  And the speaker was Elder D. Todd Christofferson.  His talk was quite interesting because it wasn’t necessarily a talk.  It was more like a discussion.  The topic was on the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost and why we recognize them as one.  And the way he approached it was by having us all read scriptures from 2 Nephi 31, 3 Nephi 11 and 27.  Then, he asked us questions and had us answer by having people run up with microphones to the Elders and Sisters who wanted to answer the questions he had.  It was interesting.

That's terrible to hear that Juan (Jordan's truck) clunked out on her. Juan has gone through a lot, he's a fighter. Ha ha! Hopefully he'll keep running for her. Beaucannon Elder and I both came in on the same day along with my whole district. He and I are companions till we depart for Hungary, which we will still be companions till we land in Hungary. We won't get any new residence-mates till next week, I believe, when the new Hungarian group of 13 comes in. Our other Hungarian group of 3 left Monday for Hungary, leaving us behind as the only Hungarian group till next week. We are all looking forward for next week in getting our Kisi (younglings). Oh, and I'm really sorry for not being able to call you on Mother's Day. It is definitely a bummer, but I will be able to call you when I am in the airports of my departure to let you know how I'm doing. I know that my departure day is on June 18th, but I don't know what time in the day I will be leaving. But when I do, I will let you know as soon as possible. :)

I know this is probably a big thing to ask, but is it possible that I could get the (or a) Hungarian flag so that I can hang it up in my room? I definitely don't need it and I don't want you to go out of your way to get one, but if it is at all a possibility, that would be super great. And a little update on my language: I'm doing much better and am continuing to progress in it.

I love you all and I am so blessed to receive letters from all of you. I have such a great family and great friends. Continue writing or Dear Elder'ing me. :)

Magda Elder

P.S There are two actual Hungarians that are here serving missions in Finland and Washington D.C North. One of them has a friend who's boyfriend's last name is Magda. I told her where Granddad was born and she said that there may be a small chance that we are related in some way. And this for Uncle Josh. One of the Finnish Teachers (Brother Peterson) said that Uncle Josh was his trainer in Finland. Thought he'd like that. :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May 2, 2012
Szia Családom es Barátok (Hello my family and friends)!

Ahhhhh!!! Can you believe it's already been a month since I've been away from home?!?! Time is already flying by. Before you know it, I'll be home speaking Hungarian. Ha ha, that'll be miraculous if I can get that far in Hungarian. Because right now, the language is basically laughing at me (at least that's how I feel right now). But in reality, I'm doing pretty well. Beszélom magyaról nagyon jól, da beszélom angul sok könnyűsag.

I saw Matthew today!!! Ahhhhh!!! It was so kewl seeing him! He was one of the first Elders to come out of the door and I ran up to him in my P-Day clothes (Since today is my p-day) and gave him a huge hug! We couldn't really talk since he had to drop off his stuff and do the whole orientation thing here. Hopefully I see him again so I can talk with him and get a picture or two. He's going to be an excellent missionary, already knowing who he is and how well you said his farewell talk was. I didn't see Adam though (you didn't say if he would be here or not in your email so I wasn't sure). Hopefully he is here because I would like to see him also.  

I just got back from the temple. We did an endowment session today and, as usual, it was absolutely wonderful. So Spirit filled. After the session was over, we went to the cafeteria in the temple and had breakfast there. So delicious! The food in the temple is, needless to say, "heavenly". My district and I and also two elders going to Finland (Vanhin Oberhansley and Vanhin Kääriä) took some fun pictures at the temple afterwards. I am having such a good time here! I have some awesome friends here. Sure, at times, people can start to get on my nerves since I'm basically with them 24/7, but I get over it really fast. You have to if you want to get through it ha ha. We had a devotional last night with Keith Edwards of the Quorum of the Seventy. He spoke about the "worth of souls is great in the eyes of God". He also defined the meaning of success as a missionary and how it doesn't mean how many baptisms you have but how strong the Spirit is with you when you are preaching the gospel. And he said that things don't come easily. He said that long-suffering is a trait that many people look over and believe that if we have the Spirit, that means everything is easy and the Spirit will do everything for you. Sure, there are cases when that can happen, but usually the Lord wants us to use the Spirit in tough situations that require long-suffering in order for us to receive a great blessing. Such an awesome talk! I love it when the General Authority speak to us. They have such insight that I never would have thought of on my own. Oh, and I have been singing in the MTC choir for the past couple of weeks. We sang yesterday "Jesus, Once of Humble Birth". Such a wonderful song. Parley P. Pratt can definitely bring the Spirit in his words and in music. I love exercising my talent to sing. Hopefully Matthew and I will be able to do a song with him playing the piano and me singing. I would really love to do that. I have also really felt the Spirit as I have been in classes and in discussions with investigators. At times, in class, I have gotten the language stuff really easily and I know it is because of the Holy Ghost that I am able to understand the principle in the language. I've also felt it when I'm planning for a lesson and when one of us (either Beaucannon Elder or I) say something that would be a good lesson for the investigator, I'll have this feeling that either it's a good idea or a bad one. And when I'm in a lesson, I'll feel what needs to be addressed and what I should testify about. I recently bore my testimony in one of my lessons with an investigator (it's my teacher role playing) and I felt this overwhelming power in my chest as I bore testimony (or at least tried to since it was in Hungarian) about the Atonement and how I know through prayer that Christ really did atone for us. It was so powerful. I can't wait when I'll be able to actually speak the language somewhat fluently. It'll be awesome!

To answer some of your questions, there are a total of 10 missionaries in the MTC who are serving in Hungary. 7 of them are in my district and the other 3 are in another and are leaving next week Monday. We hang out with them basically 24/7. Oh, and one of the Elders in my district (Elder Judd) is from Fairfield! How awesome is that?! And, this if for Auntie Nesie and Uncle Dave, I met an Elder named Elder Jarome (I think that's how you spell it) who says he knows them and was actually in their ward. And I also met an Elder named Elder White who just got here and is going to serve in Finland. He's from Grand Junction Colorado and knows Lance Duncan!!! He is currently serving in this Elder's ward right now. It was so awesome coming across these two elders. Ever since the Floridians left, my companion and I haven't had any new residence-mates. We didn't even get any today! So frustrating because it would be awesome to get some new elders in our room. There is a bookstore here where we can get all of our hygienic items and stuff so you won't have to worry about that. :) I really don't mind with whatever you send me. I always get excited when I get something in the mail. Even more so when it's a package. If you ever have the feeling of wanting to send me anything, just surprise me. I love whatever I get.

I pray for you guys every night and I only hope that things are going well while I'm gone.

Magda Elder

P.S Thank you for the pictures! That was so awesome to get.

Email me soon! Or Dear Elder, or write me :)