Monday, October 29, 2012

Well hello there all you people in America!

October 29, 2012
Well hello there all you people in America!

So, as I have already stated in my last week’s email to you, I am now serving in the city of Pécs, which is one of the most southern cities in Hungary. Before I tell you how AMAZING this city is, let me tell you the events that led up to the day that I departed for this fantastic city. I got my call on Monday, but we don't leave for that city till the Wednesday of that week. That means we have 2 days to get some last minute things that need to get done, packing, and saying good bye to the Ward. After I emailed you, Elder Headrick and I went to a store and he got himself an over the shoulder bag, which is like the one that I have that is white that you see in the pictures of me, except his is blue We also had a program that evening with a family from the ward. The wife has been a member of the church for a while, but her husband is not a member but he always comes to church and always shares his insights in Sunday School and stuff and he is a really awesome guy! They also have a son who is 6 years old, I think, and he is the cutest kids! We asked the family on Sunday if they would like to meet with us on Monday and they said that they would love to. The program went SO well. The husband was really open and he even said 'You know, I would like to be baptized, but I don't want it to happen, like, next week.' We told him that that wasn't our purpose to baptize him in a matter of days, but rather to teach him of the Gospel and help him come closer to Christ and that we are here to help him recognize these blessings that come from it, including the blessings that he can receive from baptism. He really loved what we taught him and we set up an appointment with them for the next week.

MacKay Nover, Magda Elder and Headrick Elder

On Tuesday, we had several programs that we had scheduled. One of them was with the girl I baptized in August and she said in our program that she really appreciated that I baptized her and for helping her on this journey. She wished me good luck in Pécs and we took a picture together before she left. After her program we had another with one of our investigators who have been really opening up and progressing really well. The program went wonderfully! Something else that was really cool was that I said a small prayer during the program that Heavenly Father would help me in speaking in the program. It would be my last program in Pest and I wanted everything that I had learned with Elder Headrick for the last two transfers to be put on the table and I prayed that I would be able to say the things I wanted to say and that I would say them correctly. And, to my astonishment, when I felt prompted to speak and it was my turn to talk, I said everything clearly and cleanly! There were maybe one or two things that I had to change in the way I said it, but all-in-all I spoke well!! It was like a miracle to me! It was such a wonderful feeling and I know that it was because the Lord was listening to my prayer and blessed me with that ability to speak.  This is evidence that the Lord does answer prayers, even when they are spoken within your heart. That night I finished my packing and Elder Headrick and I did some last minute calls and then went to bed.

Wednesday was the big day. Because where our meeting place was so close to where we live, we had some time to do some last minute apartment cleaning and we really wanted the apartment to look nice for the new greenie that would be coming to it soon. We then got all of my stuff and departed for our meeting place for all of the missionaries. When we closed the door to the Pest apartment, locked it and began walking away, it almost felt like I was leaving a part of me in that place. I experienced so many things in Pest! It is my greenie area and it was what helped me to grow and begin my life as a missionary in the field. So many memories happened in that apartment and they are ones that I never want to forget.

In one of our Zone Trainings recently we talked about our names and how important they are to us and how important it is to keep that name unspotted, especially in the mission. We are going to be making a legacy where ever we go in our mission and we want each place to remember our legacy as one of righteousness, one that when they hear the name of the missionary they will think 'He was truly a missionary who know his purpose and loved the work.' I looked back at that apartment in Pest and had the assurance in my mind say 'The legacy you have made here is of righteousness.' This is my goal for all of the areas that I go to and I am so glad that I worked my hardest in this area and I can be satisfied to leave it and know that I did my part; I did what I was meant to do.

We then got to the mission home, where Elder Headrick would get his greenie and I would get my new companion, Elder Christiansen. When it came time for him to get his new greenie and for me to go to my new companion, we gave each other a hug and wished each other the best of luck. Elder Headrick is a spectacular missionary and I loved every moment serving with him, through the easy and the tough times. His new companion is Elder Shuck, who is fresh from the MTC and ready for work. My new companion, as I have stated before is Elder Christiensen and he is such a great missionary! He is from Salt Lake City and has been in the mission for almost a year now. He is in his 7th transfer and is now going into his 4th transfer in Pécs. His first 3 were in Eger, which is in the east. I am his first Junior missionary and he said that he is a little nervous going senior, but I already knew, in the first few moments of getting to know each other, that it would be a great companionship and I told him not to worry and that we would work together to help each other out. Along with our companionship in Pécs there is another companionship of Elders, which will be Elder Cox and Elder Smith. That's right, my mission mom, Elder Cox, is going to be in the same city as me!! He is such a fun Elder and he is waaaayy funny, I love being around him. Elder Smith is in the group below me, so he is going into his 3rd transfer.

After we had gotten all of our stuff together, we headed toward the train station and began our journey on a 3 hour train ride from Budapest to Pécs. Loooonnnnggggest train ride in my life!! What made it longer was that I couldn't fall asleep! I don't know why, I think it's just me and my inability to fall asleep in a traveling vehicle, ha ha! We finally arrive in Pécs around 6:30 pmish and it was already pitch black, so I couldn't really see what the city looked like. We take a bus towards our apartment. We drop my stuff off and then go shopping, come back and I settle in and we go over our investigators. Unfortunately there aren't a lot of investigators here in this companionship and we have a lot of work to do. I'm really excited though to be here! The city really is one of the most beautiful cities in the country! And the branch here is SOO kind and they are all so welcoming and loving towards new missionaries. I was able, yesterday, to give a little introduction about myself in front of the branch as the newest addition and I told them that I would work my hardest and help this branch in becoming stronger and helping in any way that I can. I can't express how much I already love this area. I have already met with some of the investigators that we have and they are we nice and are progressing well in the gospel. I have already seen the progression in my speaking abilities since I have left Pest. I feel much more confident in my abilities and Elder Christiensen has been really helping me in giving me time to talk and be a big part of our programs. I am LOVING IT here in Pécs!! It's way awesome!!!

Some small updates before I go to answering questions: It is beginning to get preeettttyy cold over here in Hungary and today it is 4 degrees Celsius, which actually is the coldest it has been for me here and I have already been pulling out my sweaters and other winter clothes. In Pécs there aren't any metros, so we just use the buses all the time or just walk. We don't have any bicycles in this area, but I know that there are in other areas. The Branch House is actually 2 minutes away from where I live. We basically walk out of our apartment and go down the street and there it is. But, the Branch House isn't a church building but rather a place that is renovated by the church. It's pretty different than what I have been used to in California and in Pest, but it does give it a little cozier feeling since it is smaller. My apartment is actually not bad. It's quite big, at least the living and dining room. The kitchen is pretty small, and the toilet room doesn't have a door, so we have to warn each other when we are going to the bathroom, ha ha! Also, the little heater thingy’s that we have isn’t working. I have tried so many times to get them to turn on but everything that I do does not get it to work. We will probably have to call the land lord and see if he can figure it out. That'll be interesting to communicate in Hungarian :P But the most interesting part of the apartment is the bathroom with the shower. It's basically a quarter of the size of our bathroom at home and the water pressure to the shower is terrible. Ha ha, it basically pours water out like it is trickling from a stream. And the hot water only lasts for a few minutes so we have to take quick showers. It's so funny, but I love it! Unfortunately the computer place that I am emailing from does not allow us to hook up our cameras to the computer to send pictures, so I don't know when that will be when I can show you. :P

Ok, now on to questions and stuff. Heather is putting in mission papers?!?!?! AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!! That is so exciting!!!!! She NEEDS to be sent here!! Do you know how awesome that would be?!?! Two Magda's in the mission field here in Hungary, including that we are related!!! I can already see it now  'Magda Elder and Magda Nővér, tearing up the work in Hungary!' You have got to keep me up on all of the updates with that. Tell her that I am crossing my fingers and hoping that she is sent here! Then we could talk in Hungarian and use it as our secret language so that no one could understand us.....except Granddad of course. :P Ashleigh got a job at Costco?! That is so legit!! I am so excited for her and glad that Cassandra and Heather D. helped her out in getting it. What a blessing! I hope that she does get permanently hired there. And I won't lie......I did chuckle for a bit that she gets to wear a hair net for her new job. I couldn't help it! We both laughed when we all saw other people wearing them! So it's just natural! :D Unfortunately, with sending stuff, they don't forward it to us. IT just stays there at the Mission home until we come back the next time for Zone Conference or Transfers. It's unfortunate, but oh well. :P

Alright, that's all I have to say. I hope everybody has a good fun week this week! Love you all and I am excited to be here in Pécs!

Magda Elder

Monday, October 22, 2012

I'm Getting Transferred to...

October 22, 2012
Dear Family and Friends,

They've come! Transfer calls have been received and our new assignments have been established! It's time to move into our next transfer; everyone is now a transfer older in the mission. I'm no longer 3 transfers old, but 4! Movin' up the ladder!

Here is the news of what is happening to me and Elder Headrick. Before I tell you what the news is, I'm going to let you in on what we thought would happen. For a while we were sure that I would be getting out of Pest because I've been here for some time. But recently, we have had a hunch that I could be staying here for a forth. We were looking at the missionaries in the mission and thought that things would just stay the same where we are. We have gotten a lot of new investigators and President has really seen Pest grow since we've been together, Elder Headrick and I. Elder Headrick and I thought it would be awesome if we stayed together for another transfer. We love serving together and I have really felt that he and I have really come to love Elder Headrick as if he were my brother. We've worked hard, are battle worn and have seen miracles while serving here in Pest.

Unfortunately our companionship is coming to end. But! He and I are now becoming parents!!! Let me explain myself before you think 'How does THAT work?!?!' So Elder Headrick has been called to be a trainer and is getting a greenie!! In the mission, when an Elder becomes a trainer, the greenie he gets is recognized, or deemed, 'son', and the trainer is recognized as his 'father' in the mission field. And Because Elder Headrick is the father of the greenie he will be getting, that means that I am the 'mom'!!! Here is an example, Elder Abram was my trainer, meaning that he is my father, and the elder he was with before me was Elder Cox, who is my mom, and I am their son. Isn't that just so cool?!?! Ha ha, I wouldn't blame any of you if you did a face palm right now, but in the mission, it's kind of a big deal.
Margit Sziget (an island in the middle of the Duna River) with Headrick Elder

Now the question is, where am I going? I am going tooooooooo....Pécs! And I am going to be serving with Elder Christiansen, who is actually in the group right below Elder Headrick's. Pécs is probably the most southern city in Hungary next to Szeged and I have heard that it is SUPER pretty city, Elder Christiansen is an awesome missionary and the work is going really well. So I am super excited to go there. Plus, my 'mom', Elder Cox, who has been in Buda since I have been in Pest is going to Pécs in the other companionship also! I love that Elder! Already I'm just getting super excited to get there. Tomorrow will be my last day in Pest and on Wednesday I will be getting on a 3-4 hour train ride to Pécs. Funny thing, I'm going to another 4 letter city that starts with the letter 'P' and sounds almost exactly like Pest. I think the one thing I am not going to

I am definitely going to miss this city though. Here are some reasons why. 1. Pest. This is my first area, or 'greenie' area, and it is SUCH an awesome city. I have loved streeting, tracting and all of the adventures I have had here with my companions and all of the other missionaries here in Budapest. I got to be in the capital my first area! How awesome is that?!?!. 2. The Ward. I am really going to miss the ward. I love ALL of the members here. I have really grown a connection with them, and I'm pretty sure it's linked to it being my greenie area and the members have helped me with the language a lot. 3. The Investigators. All the way from the beginning, starting with the first person I met to the last investigator, I love them all. This will also be the place where I had my first two baptisms, one of them with me as the person baptizing. I will never ever forget that day and the Spirit that was there. Anikó is such an awesome member and she is already being a missionary here in Pest. Fortunately tomorrow we have a program with her and I will be able to say one last good bye to her before I leave. I'll probably still have an opportunity to see her if I came back to the city, but who knows. And 4.  My Companions.  I think this is proobably the thing I am going to miss the most. I loved serving with Elder Abram for my first and it was sad to see him go. The same for Elder Headrick; I got to serve with him for 2 transfers and he has really been such a great companion, I don't even know how I can describe it. Both Elder Abram and Headrick have been like brothers to me.
Margit Sziget

In the dedicatory prayer for Hungary that was given by Russell M. Nelson back in 1987 (I think), he said something along the lines of preparing the land of Hungary to receive those missionaries who have been foreordained to serve in this country. And along with that, Elder Christoferson when he was here this past April said something along the lines of 'I don't know what you Elders and Sisters must have done in the Preexistence to be called to serve here, but you must have been true followers of Christ before this life.' I mention this because I really feel like the friendships that I have with all of the missionaries here have been longer than the time that I have known them here in the mission. I feel as though we have known each other for a long time and we just haven’t known it. We all knew that we were coming to this mission before the world was and we all trained one another, prepared one another, in preparation for this calling that we would have when we reached mortality. I knew these men and women, and I am so glad to finally be reunited with them once again and to be in the service that we looked forward to for so long. I don't know if any of them see it this way, but I know that I do and I know that I love each and every one of these missionaries.

Before I finish, some answers to some questions. Yes, I did get the package from mom. Thank you SOO much for it! I loved it so much! Ha ha, I got super excited when I saw the Taco Bell packets. Not to say that I didn't like everything else in the package, but that was a really big surprise for me. Taco Bell is probably the only fast food restaurant that they don't have here, so that packets were quite a big thing. I don't know how to change the keyboard to Hungarian style, unfortunately. I know in the MTC there was a program that they had that you could change it to any language keyboard style that fitted your language, but I don't know if that comes with the computer or if it's a separate program. Oh, and if you want to mail me something it has to go to the Mission Home address, which is the same one you have been sending them to already. I asked the office elders if we could get stuff sent to our apartments instead and they said no. Elder Payne is going to love it in Lincoln! I love that city and the people! Funny thing, there is actually an Elder Payne in Hungary and he is in his last transfer as if this transfer. I found out that South African pancakes are actually called palacsinta's here (paul-a-cheen-tuh). I hope he enjoys them! I have talked to Elder Beaucannon from time to time. He has been in Kaposvár since I've been in Pest and now he is going to Nyiregyháza. I'm excited for him.

I feel like a terrible son!!! I didn't wish you a happy birthday mom!!! I have been meaning to for WEEKS but every time I run out of time and my brain panics in cramming in everything and I forget to wish you one. So mom, BOLDOG SZÜLINAPOT!!!! I hope that your birthday was filled with blessings and was fun. :D And of course I remember The Trolls! How could I forget?! Ha ha!

Tell everyone back at home that I love them and miss them, especially those at Valley Choral. :)

Have a good week everybody, and the next time I write you I will be in Pécs!

Magda Elder

Monday, October 15, 2012

Perseverance and Transfer Nerves

Dear Family and Friends,

 Transfers are next week......Kinda nervous over here. Ha ha, not really, but it is a little nerve racking with the possibilities that could happen with the mission and where you might go which can change your mission in a lot of ways. My companion and I have been looking at last transfer papers where all the missionaries are in Hungary and what could possibly happen to us. We are both thinking that I may be leaving Pest because I have been here for 3 transfers, which is quite a while in this mission, and Mission President probably wants another missionary to take my spot in Pest. Personally I wouldn't mind staying for another, which would be my 4th in Pest and my 3rd with Elder Headrick, who I love serving with! We have been really getting things working hear in Pest and have got really good investigators too. Plus I love the ward here, the city and I have a special connection with it since it is my first area. It'll be sad when the day comes that I have to leave, but that's how things happen, you continue to do your work where ever you go, working with the same amount of enthusiasm, or more, and keep on moving. So, like I said, I will probably be leaving and going to another city. A city I would love to go to is Kecskemét because that is the nearest city to Izsák, which Granddad said there are some family there (I think?) and Bocsá which is the little farm area where he was born. So, if I go there, I can visit Bocsa on one of my P-Days or something and look around. I don't know which house was his, so if he has some information about that that would be way awesome! But, we'll see what happens.

Oh, by the way, today is Elder Headrick's 20th birthday! Woo hoo! We are celebrating by going to Margit Sziget, which is an island in the middle of the Duna River. He also hits his year mark this week, so it's quite a big week for him. My mom is now going to post some pictures from last week's p-day adventures caving under Budapest.
Budapest Elders and Sisters:  Caving Adventures!

Elder Magda in a "Tight Spot!"
Elder Corbishley, Burch, Headrick and Magda coming out of a hole on the right
This week wasn't so big for us, unfortunately. A lot of our investigators weren't able to set up with us this week so we had a lot of streeting and flyering to do for the week. Unfortunately, out of all of our efforts in streeting, most of the people we came in contact with did not want to talk with us, a few stopped and we were able to give them a pamphlet but didn't really want to give out their number to us, and the very little percentage actually gave us their number. It's hard! One time, while we were tracting one day, a man was leaning against his railing outside of his apartment smoking, and, being that we are missionaries and want to talk to everyone, I went up to him and greeted him and asked a question. He put up his hand and straight up said 'No'. My companion asked if we could at least give him an English flyer and he turned us down again. So, we moved on to the next apartment and then had to head back towards him again to go down the next flight of stairs, in which he told us that we should stop doing what we are doing and stop pestering people. We were about to say something to him, but we felt that we should just move on and not argue with the man. We are doing all that we can to extend our message to people, but everyone has their agency and choose whether or not to accept it. It's sad to think of at first, but we must always remember that we would not be where we are now if we were not blessed with the gift of agency.

There was one moment that really highlighted my week. It was a small one, but for me it was huge. It begins early in the morning on Saturday. Every Saturday in Pest we hold a Sport Day for all missionaries to come and bring their investigators and play sports, varying from basketball, soccer, volleyball etc. At the end of every Sport Nap we give a spiritual thought for the investigators to ponder about. This Saturday was my turn. Recently I have been using a paper back copy of the Book of Mormon and going through it and writing in the margins thoughts and ideas that come into my mind. I found a scripture that morning, 2 Nephi 26:13, which explains that Christ will manifest himself to us through the Spirit, and it is through our faith that we can receive that manifestation. This kind of hit me more than the others that I had read that morning. I didn't know why, but I felt like I should share it. After Sport Nap, I shared the verse and testified that this was true and that I have had a personal witness in the form of a thought in my mind or a feeling in my heart that these things are true and that Jesus is the Christ, and that it is only through our faith that we can receive the witness. 

No one came up to me afterwards so I thought that I might have said something incorrectly (because I'm still learning the language and it's tough to speak) and it wasn't as powerful as it could have been. So, I went throughout the day and forgot about it until we talked with the Pest Sisters later that day after they had met with one of their investigators who was there at Sport Nap. The sisters asked if she had any questions and she told them 'Actually, I do, but it's a statement rather than a question. It's something that Magda Elder said in his spiritual thought.' She continued to say that she had been praying a lot more recently for a new job and help with learning English and she said that she has now found a better job than her previous one and her English has been getting much better and she testified to the sisters that the scripture I shared was true, that the Lord will manifest himself to us and will answer our prayers. She said that she now has a testimony of prayer and of the scripture I shared. This strengthened my testimony of the Spirit working through the Lord's servants. I didn't even know that this was the Spirit prompting me to use this scripture! I just did it and later I found out that it was a prompting! I felt such joy after I heard this and I know that joy came from the Spirit testifying to me that I am a servant of God and am worthy of it. How great is the Holy Ghost in our lives!? We must do our best in order to have these magnificent opportunities of being the Lord's instrument. Stay clean and worthy of the Spirit. 'Know ye not that ye are the temples of God?' and that 'the Holy Spirit does not dwell in unclean things?' When we are clean we 'will be filled' and the Lord will use us to bless the lives of others. And the great thing about this is that you don't have to be a missionary to do this! Awesome, right?

Well, that is my spiel for the week. And to end this letter:

Az evangélium szerint éljetek! Törekedjetek, hogy mint Krisztus lehessetek! Mindenkit szeressetek! Krisztussal járjatok mindenben! És amikor ezeket a dolgokat csináljátok, áldottak lesztek.  Here is my Mom’s Google translation:  (Live the gospel!  Seek Christ!  Love Everyone!  Walk with Christ in all things!  And when you’re doing these things, you will be blessed.)

Isten áldj meg titeket!
(God bless you all!)
Magda Elder

Monday, October 8, 2012

Conference and Caving

October 8, 2012
Dear Family and friends,
This week has definitely been super awesome!! General Conference, our first Family Home Evening—that  we held at our investigators house, caving, along with tracting and teaching lessons. Pheeeww! Just so much!

Let's start with what I just finished doing a few hours ago: caving. For our P-Day today, we planned to go with another companionship of Elders and Sisters. We heard from a previous group of missionaries, including Elder Abram, who had done this that going caving was super awesome and that you are literally under the city of Budapest when you do it. They also said that it would be a little hard, but being as daring as we are, we didn't want to turn down this wonderful opportunity of adventure. So we went to the place after our shopping for the week and the tour guide got us our caving suits and helmets. He then took us to the place where we would enter and all it was was this metal door in the side of a mountain. He smiled and asked as, 'Are you all ready for this?' We all smiled back and replied, 'Well that's why we came here, right?' So we went throughout this cave, going through cracks, tunnels, under really small openings and climbing up narrow passage ways. The tour guide told us that it gets really cold down in the cave, but none of us felt it because of how much moving we had to do. We could see our breath in the air, but we definitely didn't feel the cold. It got really hard at points, but all of us made it out and were exhausted by the end, but were totally glad that we did it.
Our "Ninja Caving" Tour Guide
  Before I end the caving adventure I had, I got to let you know how awesome our tour guide was. He spoke perfect English and was super funny! He was kind of tall and thin (I'll try to attach a picture of what he looks like) and he made the entire trip fun. But what was so impressive was that he would give us a little history of the tunnel and then he would tell us that we have to go up this ridge or down this hole and after he told us, we would see him climb up the ridge in, no joke, a second or less! And there would be a point where he'd say we have to go down this hole, and the next thing we know, he's already on the other side. The man was like a ninja caver! He was way cool!

So, you asked about the woman that we met with that asked how we could help her with her family. Well, we actually were able to hold a Family Home Evening at her house this past Friday!! Last week we were supposed to hold it, but her husband wouldn't have been able to make it if he had it that day, which was actually good for us because we wouldn't have been able to make brownies! Yup, we made brownies, and they turned out really well. We also prepared a really awesome game for their two kids that they have, one of the boys is 3, his name is Benji, and the other is 7, Máté. The game was set up with 18 cards set down on the floor with one card of 1, then 1 row of 2, then 3 rows of 4, then another row of 2 and another with 1. The purpose of the game was to get from one side to the other. But, here's the catch. There is a certain pattern that you have to take in order to get from the beginning to the end and there was only one person that knew the So the kid would have to take a step, thinking carefully before he chose—then make the decision. If he chose wisely, then he could move on to the next possible direction he could go. If he chose unwisely, he had to start back from square one and try again. But the was one person that could help him, or actually two in this case, and that was the boys’ parents. Elder Headrick would tell the parents from time to time what the next move would be and the parents would tell their son the way. After the game was done, we compared this to how parents are so important to us in our lives because they help guide us through our life problems, telling us the correct paths to take. We then gave them 'a Család' or 'The Family Proclomation' and read the section with them about the roles of the parents and the children and how crucial they are. We also told them that family prayer is wonderful ways of uniting a family and shared the scripture from 3 Nephi 18 where he addresses the Nephites and Lamanites about family prayers. The mom asked us if this really works and Elder Headrick and I testified to her and her husband that has certainly unified our families and that our Heavenly Father answers the prayers of a prayerful family. After the activity and lesson we sang 'Families Can Be Together Forever'. We then ate the brownies and talked for a little bit.
The dad showed us his super awesome sound system that he has. He also had a record player and a huge collection of records and showed us how it worked by playing a Journey record on it. It was so awesome! I thought of dad a little bit when the father of the family was explaining his love for music I just thought of dad and how he loves all different kinds of music. He introduced us to a Hungarian folk band that we liked called Ghymes. I think dad would like it. Check it out! Also, when we first got to the home, the mom had us sit down in their lounge (which, by the way, they have an AMAZING house) and she asked us if we would like tea and we said we didn't drink tea. She asked if herbal tea was ok and the first tea she suggested was, can you guess?.........Rooibos!!!! My eyes got GINORMOUS and I said 'You have Rooibos?!?!' 'Of course, it's one of our favorites.' She told me that you can get it any of the main stores here. So today, I found the same brand of Rooibos that we have back at home, vanilla flavored, for 2.00 dollars for a bag of 20. I don't know how much it is back home, but to me this was a DEAL! I can't tell you how excited I was when I heard they had it here. I thought I was going two years without it! A little miracle in my eyes. :) By the way, for Christmas I want to send back some little goodies. I know dad and all of you would like that. I actually bought a bag of Smarties today and I thought of dad and how he likes them. So tell me what you would like and I'll try to keep the list till Christmas. Don't be shy!
Tabling with Headrick Elder and the Pest Sisters

Our next transfer is October 24th, which is in 2 weeks (whhhhaaaaaatttttt?!?!) and I am really sure that I will probably be transfered out of the Budapest because I've been here for 3 transfers and to another one quite far out. The next one after that is December 4th (I believe). So whatever city I go to after December 4th I will be there for Christmas and New Year’s. That reminds me, for Christmas and calling back home, I can Skype you. So, get a computer camera so that I can see you all! I can use my Skype account from home, which I still remember the username and password for.

Now for the next order of business—General Conference. We were able to watch it here in Pest AND in English. It was so awesome! Especially when we heard that the age limit was brought down for Elders and Sisters. How amazingly awesome is that!?!?! A lot of the sisters around us were super excited to hear that girls can serve sooner. And there was one guy who is 17 and finishing his senior year (he's from America by the way) who we saw his face just stunned and his family looked at him and we told us that he will be weighing his decisions more now. Pretty big thing. We all loved Elder Nelsons talk about us saying 'Ask the missionaries! They can help you!' All of the missionaries were laughing when we heard that.

Well, the time has come to finish this email, unfortunately. But, the work still needs to be done. Conference has really refreshed us with what we need to do and has given us a lot of encouragement.

Thank you for everything and see you next week!

Magda Elder

P.S. 49ers all the way! Send me a picture of the dotted wall! Tell the girls that they can email me too if they would like and I will send them a letter soon to them.

Monday, October 1, 2012


October 1, 2012
Dear Family and Friends,

6 months.
6 months ago I woke up at 3:30 in the morning to start a new day.
6 months ago I put my suitcases in my family’s van to go to the airport.
6 months ago I stood at the bottom of an escalator, waiting to go up.
6 months ago I spent my last few minutes with my family for the next two years.
6 months ago I stepped on a plane, headed for Salt Lake City.
6 months ago I entered the MTC and began my work as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to serve in the Hungary Budapest Mission.
6 months ago I began my two years to serve a mission for my Heavenly Father, fighting in His army, an army that cannot be defeated.
6 months ago I made one of the best decisions of my life.

Can you believe it? 6 months!! It seems like 6 months should have felt like ages have passed by, but it feels almost completely the opposite. It feels like it was only 1 to 2 months! This is crazy!! And at the end of this month it will have been a year since I put my mission papers in. Whhhaaaattt? Time is so weeeiiirrrdd! But, life goes on, especially as a missionary, and you gotta make every day count.

So some things that have happened this week that I would like to let you all know.

Monday: Wasn't super eventful. We played basketball early in the morning, then shopped, came back and got ready for the day and went emailing. We had a program scheduled for 6pm  and we finished emailing at 2:30pm, so we didn't have much time to really do anything. So, we went to one of the Elder's apartments and played a board game called Settlers.  It's basically an economics game and it is waaaayy fun. I can't really describe it because of the time, but I will just say that it us up there with Risk, which is one of my top favorite board games. We also found a Hungarian Tabloid called 'Hihetetlen' which means 'Unbelievable'. On the front cover was the painting of Christ visiting the Americas. Basically our church was the main story of the tabloid. Ha ha, it was funny to read because it had some things that were true, but a lot that weren't even close. After all this we headed over to our program with Istvan.  It was our second program with him. Last time we gave him a commitment to read the first chapter of 1 Nephi. He came back and said that he read up to Chapter 5. He said that he was impressed and even agreed with Laban being killed by Nephi. He said 'Well, God gave him 2 chances, and I would think that's a lot from God. And if you don't agree with it, well, who's going to win, God or a mortal king?' Totally not expected. We taught him more about the Restoration and he watched the Restoration film with him. After the film finished, we asked him if he had any questions. He looked at us and just said 'Van', which in translation means 'They exist'. So we answered his questions and he said that he would continue reading and would pray about it. Also, he even wanted another Book of Mormon for his friend to read. He is already being a missionary and he doesn't know it!

Tuesday: Had 5 programs set up, only two happened. Our first two dogged us, so we fliered and streeted for several hours before our next program which is with Aniko, who is the girl I baptized two months ago, so we knew that she would probably make it, which she did and we taught her some English and the Word of Wisdom. For those who don't know, after a person is baptized the missionaries still meet with them for a while and teach them the principles and commandments again and other things about the gospel to keep them strong and help them with any of questions they may have. After we met with Aniko we played some volleyball with some of the members of the Pest Ward, Aniko, the Sisters, and a few of their investigators. After that we had a program with Szilard, who has been a new investigator of ours for 3-4 weeks and he is progressing really well. We teach him English for the first half and then gospel for the second and he really likes it and has been keeping our commitments. We had another person scheduled for a first program. She came to the building, but we were still in our program with Szilard. The Sisters were there and they told her that we would be out shortly. They said that a minute had passed and she had already got up and left. After our program we gave her a call and all she said was that it was a bad day for her. We were just like 'Alrighty then'.

Wednesday: Had a District Meeting and I was able to give the spiritual thought for it. A little background before about what I shared, in one of my personal studies I came across 1 Nephi 18, which is the chapter about Nephi and his family taking sail for the promised land and what happened to them during their journey. As I was reading, a whole bunch of ideas and thoughts came to me and I started writing in my copy of the Book of Mormon (a paperback one) all over the place and it was the coolest experience to have! So I decided that this would be my spiritual thought for the meeting. I told our district to think of the story as all of us, personally, going through life as we read the chapter. I won't go over what we all discussed about, but let me tell you all, you have got to try this with this chapter. Just consider your own lives and compare it to the story and your paradigms will be shifted, or as I like to say, increased.

Thursday: We had some time before English class and we felt that we should tract the building next to ours. We assumed that our all of the buildings near us haven’t been tracted in a really long time and we felt prompted that we should try it out. There were 5 floors, each with 10 apartments on them. We were able to give out 2 Book of Mormons. One was to an old lady who was just so happy to see boys representing Christ. She was Catholic but she wanted to see what we were giving away, so we gave her a copy and she started hugging the book saying 'Thank you SOO much! You boys are so kind!' We were unable to speak with her more, but we may be able to see her some other time. The second copy we gave was a really amazing let in. We knocked on the door of an older man in his 70's and he let us in to his apartment. He told us that he was a basketball player in his younger years and loved Stockton and Malone during their glory years. He also told us that he was Catholic but didn't mind hearing about us. So we gave him a brief lesson about the Restoration and he had good questions. At the end we gave him a Book of Mormon and he said that we could come back anytime. But before we left, we were able to say the prayer and I was asked to say it. I included in the prayer that the Lord could bless the Hungarians and help them in all ways. After I said the prayer I looked up and saw the man’s face, filled with tears, and said to me 'That was a beautiful prayer. Thank you so much.' Prayers truly are a gift from God. They bring the Spirit so fast and it can fill an entire room. It was such a blessing to see this man's heart touched by the Holy Ghost. 

Friday: We had a service project working at a woman’s house doing yard work for several hours. It was fun and tiring. We had to pull out an entire tree stump and several bushes that had died from their roots and it just exhausted us. We were also fed A LOT, and the women who fed us just kept telling us 'Eat! Eat boys! Or you'll get sick in the winter!' So we ate a lot, needless to say, ha ha. And, this is a little thing for my mom; I ate an entire bowl of vegetable soup. That's right; I just said vegetable soup was good. And, it was quite delicious. :P After the service project, we still had to finish our studies from what we missed in the morning and it would take the rest of the night. We were tired also and we thought that it would be good to catch some relaxation. But when we finished showering, Elder Headrick felt that we should tract our building, at least for an hour or so. So, we did, and there was really nothing from it. One woman even told us in the middle of our sentence 'I'm Catholic and I'm staying!' It was a funny interruption. We came up to the apartment that was exactly above us and we said to each other 'Alright, this will be the last one of the night.' The woman opened the door and let us in without even a word from us. Incredible! We spoke to her for an hour about the Restoration and answering some the questions that she had about news that she has heard about us. For some reason Hungarians think that we are Amish because of some film. It's really funny because we show our watches on our wrists and the phone that we use and say 'Yeah, we are definitely not Amish.' She was really firm in her faith and basically said that she just likes hearing about other religions. In the end we gave her a Book of Mormon and asked her to read it and that if she had any questions that we were the apartment right below her. She gave us cookies when we left and they were SOOOO good! And just a little fact, this woman’s house, along with many other Hungarian houses I've been in, smell exactly like Granddad’s house because of all their Hungarian cooking, and they smell SOOO good! So the next time you walk in their house, just note that many of the houses here smell just the same. By the way, did you know that the cucumber salad is a Hungarian dish?? I sure didn't know that till someone told us here.

Because I am short on time, Saturday and Sunday were really great days also. So many things happen and I wish I can tell you them all! But at least I write in my journal every night, so when I come home and you have questions about certain things, I can go back to my notes and be able to tell you the details of everything that happened.

It is so cool to hear how connected Dad is with the missionaries back at home. So connected that he even has a nickname! That is way awesome! Tell all the missionaries back at home that they he is recognized as the coolest dad from his son in Hungary and they sure are blessed to have someone like him helping them out and taking care of them. The 49ers defeated the Jets! And the Springboks are taking name in the other greatest sport in the world. I will send pictures! Hopefully today. I'll try. But if not, then next week for sure. I am not sure if I still have the Pez dispenser from Ashleigh. I'll see if I can find it in my luggage. Another package?! I don't want you to feel like it's needed for you to do that. They are great, but I don't want you to feel like it's a commitment. I will definitely looking in the mail though. Thank you so much! My companion and I will keep America in our prayers. Even though my Hungarian patriotism grows every day while I'm here, my patriotism for America shall never die. I hope that all things work out in the elections and that the hand of God is in the work.

This week has been fantastic! A quarter of my mission has passed, but as President Uchtdorf has said, 'Always keep in mind that you are in the middle, wherever you are in life.' I am still working hard and still moving forward.

Az egész Szeretetemmel,
Magda Elder