Tuesday, August 21, 2012

This is a FUN ONE!

August 21, 2012
Dear Family and Friends,

Alright, so yesterday, August 20th was St. Stephan’s Day where we celebrate the foundation of the Hungarian state 1000 years ago.  It is their main public holiday and all of the stores, literally ALL of them, were closed. The only ones that were open were restaurants and fast food restaurants. So, basically, I was unable to email yesterday because all of the internet places were closed. But yesterday we had an extended P-Day, so we were allowed to stay up later to enjoy some of the cultural things that were going on, so I have a lot to say, hopefully. Yesterday, my companion and I started our day by playing basketball with all of the Elders in Budapest from 7:30-10-30. 3 hours of non-stop playing, exercising and being drained of all our energy. It was so fun! And there are so many elders that play the sport really well and we all played really hard.
Skiba Nover, Magda Elder, and MacKay Nover at Visegrad.
After that, we came back home to shower and get ready to go with the Buda Sisters (Sister Skiba and MacKay) and the Secretaries (Elder Johnson and Wright) to Visegrad, which is a huge castle with ruins 45 minutes north of Budapest. The Pest Sisters came also, but they only stayed with us for half of the trip. We started our trip from 1:30 by train and arrived at the city below Visegrad around 2:00. We then took a Ferry across the river, because there was no other way to get to Visegrad, and started our hike up the mountain. Holy cow this was an exercise! We all knew that we were going to hike, but not this much! I don't know how I can explain it with the short amount of time that I have, but let's just say that it took us 20-30 minutes to walk up the side of the hill. Finally we arrived to the top of the hill and toured the castle. I had never seen such a beautiful site. The only way I can explain it to you is by pictures which, unfortunately, I do not have because I gave my SIM card to the Sister Skiba for her to copy some of my pictures to her memory card.
Skiba and MacKay Novers, Headrick and Magda Elders
MacKay Nover and Magda Elder at Visegrad
 She is actually leaving this week to go home, which is sad because she is one of the first missionaries I met here in the field and we have had a lot of fun in the transfer and a half that we had in the same area. She is really excited to go home, but she said that she will really miss Hungary and serving here for a year and a half. She loves this country and hopes to return soon to visit. Like I said before, I don't have the pictures with me right now, but I will get them back this week before she leaves so that I can post them up for you next week I email you. (Since this email to my family, Sister MacKay's mom sent my mom some pictures.  :D  )   

Anyways, back to the adventure. After touring around and taking pictures for 30-45 minutes, we headed back down the mountain, got some ice cream and crossed the river again by ferry and got on the train back to Budapest. Though it was an awesome experience that I am so glad I had, I was so tired from it and I felt like I could pass out at any moment because of how tired my body was. 
Visegrad Castle and Ruins.  They are standing by the Danube.


 But we still had things to do that evening, so I had to push my body for a few more hours. We arrived back at the Mission Home around 7:30 and got changed from our regular day clothes to pros so that we could go out and see the fireworks that the city was going to have. After we got dressed, we headed to Deak Ference Ter and met up with the Buda Sisters and Secretaries and found a good spot by the Duna to watch the fireworks. It was way awesome!! We were so close to the fireworks that when the really big fireworks went off, I could literally feel my pant legs move from the vibration of the explosion. 
The last time I saw really cool fireworks like these, at least that I can remember, is when we went with Granddad and Granny to Lake Tahoe and watched the fireworks for 4th of July. It was like that, but we were closer and I believe there were even more fireworks. I felt like a little kid again when I watched them. I smiled the whole time and kept thinking how cool it was for all the little kids who were watching it also. The fireworks lasted for a half hour and ended at 9:30. After they were over, we had to push our way through the immense crowed of people to get to the Metro station where even more people were there waiting to get on. It was crazy! We literally waited to get on the Metro for 45 minutes when usually it takes 5 minutes, ha ha. But, after all the hecticness of the evening and of getting back home, we arrived safely back home and we collapsed on our beds and fell asleep. Probably the most intense P-Days I have had yet while here in Hungary. I guess it was a holiday, but still, I can't deny that it was an awesome P-Day.

Now for a spiritual part of the week that, I think, tops all of my teaching experiences here in Hungary. Again, it was with our investigator from China. We met with him last Tuesday and we felt really prompted to invite him towards a baptismal date because he is at that point in being baptized. I felt prompted to read the talk from President Uchtdorf "Waiting on the Road to Damascus", which I had used once before with Elder Abram for a program with Aniko that we had where we invited her to be baptized after we read it and she accepted. Her concerns were very similar to our Chinese investigator. He believes in all that we teach to be true and he really wants to be baptized, but he wants to be exactly sure before he makes a decision. If you haven’t read "Waiting on the Road to Damascus" yet, then I would ask you to read it now, because it is an excellent talk. If I had time I would give a brief summary, but I don't have time to do that even. So I just ask you to read it for yourselves. Back to the situation, I had felt prompted to use this same talk with our investigator and Elder Headrick felt that it would be right as well. So, for the first 1/4 or so of our program, we read the talk with him. After we had finished reading, he told us "Just like that scripture you shared with me last time from Ether, I feel like this talk was written just for me." He had been praying for a while now, sincerely asking if baptism is the he need to go and if he needed to do it sooner than later and he says that he hasn't received an answer. So we talked with him about what the talk said, that not all answers are big and they don't come the same way every time. Sometimes they come by a feeling, sometimes they come through the scriptures, sometimes they come through friends or family, and sometimes they came through ways we can't even explain. He was astonished by this and nodded to everything that we said, and then we invited him to be baptized on the 15th of September and if he would prepare himself for that day. At first, he tried to explain how he was a logical man and liked to study the whole situation out before he makes the decision. But after talking for a little bit, he stopped, and finally, just simply, said: "Alright, I'll try. I'll try to be ready for that date to be baptized." We felt so excited after he said that. I told him that I was quite the similar person; I like to know exactly what I am getting into before I decide, but when you pray to know what is true and go in faith, the Lord will bless you and say to you "Take my hand, and I will direct you where you need to go." He was kind of nervous and explained that he knows that this is a happy thing and something that is for the purpose for his eternal salvation, but he doesn’t know why he feels a little scared. He shared one concern with us. He asked us when you know when you have a testimony, because he has heard people bear their testimonies, but he is afraid that he won’t be able to bear one to himself when he feels that he has doubt. Elder Headrick answered it perfectly. He asked him, "What do you know about Jesus Christ?" His answer filled the room with the Spirit, "I know that He was a Holy Man and that he is truly the Son of the Lord. I know that he sacrificed himself to save all of us and that we will be able to be perfect like Him." For a man who knew nothing about God when he was first taught, his answer shocked us. We may have brought the Spirit into the room in the beginning, but he sure increased its presence 10 fold. Both Elder Headrick and I almost had tears come to our eyes by the simpleness of this man’s testimony. We said immediately "That, right there, is a testimony. You have a testimony." No one needs a big long speech to know that he has a testimony. This man’s testimony was only 4 facts about Jesus Christ and it brought the Spirit to the room instantly. We continue to pray for him and we are meeting with him again this week and we are going to be teaching some of the commandments with him. I continue to pray that I will have these same experiences that I have in English in Hungarian someday. That is my main goal right now. This really was a spiritual miracle. We hope that he will keep to baptism on the 15th. 

Elder Lindelof's family lives in California?! Where? How is that possible? I have never personally met him before, but I know that he is in Tatabanya right now and is serving with Elder Loveday. That is so weirdly cool! This world is definitely a small one. There is another Elder that just left the mission. His last name is Wiscombe and he lives in Davis. I went on splits with him for a day and he is such an awesome missionary! I told him to stop by Citrus Heights some time and see if he can find you guys and tell you about Hungary a little bit. already (Here is some family chatter my mom will spare you.) I have only gone to a member’s house once for lunch, but other than that I haven’t eaten with any members. But, interestingly enough, two members from America in our ward came up to Elder Headrick and me on Sunday and have asked us to come over for dinner on Friday and Sunday. It was like a miracle for us because it never happens. Tell Emmett I say Hi from Hungary and I hope that he is doing well. 

So, that's all from this Elder. Keep in touch and I'll be sure to let you in on the exciting things that have happened this week. 

Sok Szeretettel,
Magda Elder

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