Monday, April 29, 2013

Bike Flips and Barrel Rolls

April 29, 2013
Dear Family and Friends,

I seriously have no idea how to start this letter. I have SO much that I would love to tell you about how my week was, but I don't know where to start! 

This will be my first story for you all. Wednesday afternoon, around 1 o'clock, my companion and I were coming back from one of our programs and were heading back to the branch house to get some stuff for going out and tracting. So, we are on our bikes, my companion in front of me, and on one of the streets that take us back to the branch house. As we are riding, I hear a car behind us honk its horn at me. I look behind me and he's kind of close to me. I begin to head closer to the curb so that the car can have space to get around me. While I was doing this I was paying attention more to the car that was going around me than I was to the curb the was coming oh so much closer to my bike. As I turned my attention back to where I was, I found that there was to be an inevitable crash that I was not really looking forward to. With the time that I had to think of a quick evasive action, I decided to jump off my bike and do a barrel roll in the air instead of flying forward and doing a front flip and perhaps landing on my face. So, I leap off my bike, do some sort of attempt and doing a barrel roll (I'm pretty sure it was some sort of ugly flip that shouldn't be attempted again) and land flat on my back. Luckily I had my back on which cushioned some of the fall. First I checked to see if all was good, which all was, and as I saw that I hadn't had any sort of injury,
Elder Magda being silly!
I started to laugh and laugh. Ha ha, I could not believe that I had just crashed my bike. My first one on my mission. Plus, and old man, who was behind me and on his bike, rode by and just shook his head at me as he rode away. My companion, after hearing me and my little stumble, turned around and found me laughing on my back and asked if all was alright and I got up and said 'Yeah, except I think I may have landed on my laughing bone or something because I just can't stop laughing.' Oh man, is that a memory that I never want to forget. 

Another thing that happened this week: in our tracting efforts one day, actually I think it may have been the same day as my accident; we had basically no success at all for 3 hours straight. We could not find anyone who would allow us to talk with them about the Gospel. After a while of no luck, my companion and I decided to finish up on the floor that we were on in a 10 story building and go do something else. The funniest things happen on the last floors or last stretches that you do as missionary sometimes. Like this, for example. On the last door of the floor that we were finishing up with, a lady opened up and greeted us and we began to talk to her for a little bit. She asked us where we were from and we replied with 'We are from America'. Her eyes widened and she replied with 'You don't say!' and we began talking a little bit of where we were from. She then asked for our names and we both showed her our tags and she looked at mine and said 'You're not Hungarian are you?' 'Just a quarter' I replied and then told her that Granddad came from Hungary and fled to South Africa during the revolution in 1956. Then, get this, she says 'To South Africa? Why, one of my relative’s families fled with an organized group to South Africa. There were too many who chose this way but I'm sure that there may be a connection.' I have been here for almost a year and have yet to find someone who knows anyone who left for South Africa in 1956. She even went to say 'You know, I don't think our meeting was just coincidence.' to which I replied with 'I don't think so either.' We were unable to talk for too long, but she told us to come back in a couple of weeks and we can talk a little more about it. How cool is that?!?! Someone else who had relatives flee to South Africa!! I can't wait to meet with her again and talk more about it! 

Last big thing that happened this week—yesterday there was a Multi Branch Conference that happened in Dunaujváros, which is south of Budapest. Included in this conference were the branches from Békéscsaba, Szeged, Szolnok, Kaposvár aaaaaannnnnddddd Pécs!!!! So I was able to see all the members from Pécs again!! I can't tell you how excited and happy I was to see all of them again. The group that I came with had already arrived an hour earlier and when I saw that they arrived, one of the boys from young men’s stepped out of the bus that they came together in and I yelled his name and he ran at me and gave me the biggest hug. 
Elder Magda, his former companions and the youth of Pécs

I then got to talk with all the members from the branch and see how they were all doing. It almost brought tears to my eyes being reunited with them all for the short time that I was with them. Included with all the branches that came were the missionaries in their areas too! So I got to meet with all the other missionaries and some of my past companions. I have a few pictures that I will send to you with all of us together. We also were educated by the mission presidency about the work in Hungary and how the missionaries and the branches should be continually working together in moving the work forward.
Elders and Sisters at the Multi Branch Conference in Hungary
Oh, I also got to meet with the Magda family that lives in Szeged! That was another cool thing that happened. Their youngest son is the coolest kid! He's 13 years old (I think) and he and I get a long super well. Plus, there were a few people who said that we looked a little similar. Pretty cool, huh? Basically, yesterday was an awesome day. 

Elder C, Reni and Elder Magda

Alrighty then, some other things to address: I got an email from Elder Abram about he, Sister Surányi and Sister Roney (all 4 of us were in Pest together my first transfer) being in the MTC and meeting Heather! And it seems that he let you guys know about it. How cool, huh? I was so stoked to hear about that!
Sister Surányi, Elder Abram, Sister Heather Magda and Sister Roney at the MTC
And Michael Nelson is married?!?! What in the world?!?! That is so crazy!! Ha ha, I still remember those pictures of us wrestling when we were super little and now were both grown up and he is now married! Does time just zip by or what? I've been keeping in contact with Matthew and we continually email each other back and forth and we have been chatting a bit about our year marks and that his is now up next. Ha ha, we both can't believe that the MTC was literally a year ago. Way too funny. Oh, and for Mother's Day, I will be able to Skype you guys on the 12th. I'm not sure what time yet, but I will let you know next week about the timing and everything. Let me know what time will be best for all of you and I will work accordingly. :) 

Well this week was sure a blast and I am sure that the Lord will have some new stuff for us this week to enjoy. Hopefully he will have stuff for all of you too. Love you all!

Sok Szeretettel,
Magda Elder

Monday, April 22, 2013

Good Morning Békéscsaba!

 April 22, 2013
Jo Reggelt Békéscsabáról! (Good Morning Békéscsaba!)

Well this week sure was a busy one! Elder Ch and I planned for a busy week, but not as busy as we expected it. Everyone that we met with basically wanted to meet twice this week. TWICE!! That's a miracle! As missionaries that's what we want with every investigator, but it has been so hard my entire mission to get people to set up for twice in one week. But this week was absolutely a miracle week. Oh, we were also fed dinner and lunch on some of the days. Nothing can get better than that, right?.......Ok, I guess there are things that are better than being fed. For a missionary it's like the best thing in the world though. :P 

We had some awesome programs this week. One of them we had just met for the first time and she met with us for practicing her English. We told her before that half of it would be practicing English; the other half would be a Gospel message which she agreed to. After the English part, we asked her if she believed in God or was religious at all. She replied with 'Well I don't know if I would say that I believe that there is one Almighty being that governs the world, but I do believe that there are angels.' We asked her if she ever thought if God could send Angels to help us and she said 'Maybe.' With that we talked to her about the Restoration and about God being our Heavenly Father and we being his children. We also talked a lot about the Book of Mormon and that we can know if all of these things are true if we read from it and if we pray. We told her that we know that these things are true because we have received answers from Heavenly Father that they are true. She then asked a great question 'How did you know that what you received was an answer and not just a feeling that you made yourself want to feel.' We then shared with her the scripture from Galatians about the Fruits of the Spirit and that all good things come from God and as we ask with a sincere heart and with real intent, having that faith in Christ, then we will receive a real witness of these things. We asked her if she would do these this and she replied with 'You know, I really want to see if what you say is true. I will read this daily and pray about it.' I cannot tell you how big my smile was and how filled my spirit was when I heard her say that. THAT is what I am here for: bringing people closer to Christ. Amazing!  That program was absolutely outstanding! I am so excited to meet with her again and see if she received an answer. 

I will give one more great experience that I had this week. Being a District Leader, I have to go on splits with one of the Zone Leaders at least once a transfer. So on Friday, after our district meeting, I had one of the Zone Leaders come to me as my companion went with the other to their city. Though we had a busy week, for some reason, I could not set up a single program for that afternoon. Every other day was jam packed, but Friday we had nothing. So I looked at my Zone Leader and said 'Well, are you ready to go out finding!' It was so much fun. We went tabling and tracting with, unfortunately, no real big success. But we had a lot of fun while we did it. Ha ha, every time I think about that day I just began to laugh because of how long it was and how funny we made that day. But the reason why I brought up this experience was actually about the next day, Saturday. We had a program that morning before we switched back with someone that we had met with once before and gave a little message about the Book of Mormon. This time we gave her a full lesson about the Restoration and I was just amazed by the Zone Leaders ability to explain the Restoration and ask inspired questions. At the end of the program we bore testimony that we can receive an answer about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and she committed to reading and praying about it and also added 'Are there other things that you guys hold that I can come to and learn more about your church?' That was such a fabulous program and I learned so much from my Zone Leader. Where my patriarchal blessing talks about my mission and that I will have many experiences of learning and growing, it wasn't kidding! I'm learning and growing so much from my mission! I love it! I wouldn't trade it for anything. 

Heather is in the MTC! WOOOHOOOO! On Wednesday, around 4 o'clock pm, I looked at my watch and thought to myself 'She's going to be walking into the MTC soon!' Ahh! Soo cool! I sent her a little 'Welcome to the Mission' email. Hopefully she gets it. Her p days should be on Wednesdays like mine were in the MTC. I keep forgetting that Karl is already married. It's still crazy to think about. Sounds like his and his wife's talks were fantastic! I wish I could have been there to have heard it! 

Well, I am off to save the day! I hope you all have a marvelous week this week and I hope you can see the many blessings from it. 

Magda Elder

Monday, April 15, 2013

The One Thing You Can Count On Is Change

April 15, 2013
Dear Family and Friends,

So, basically I have no time at all to write anything. My time is almost out and I have got to go and do some other things before the day ends, but I will furiously type the things that have happened this week. 

For the main highlight, I am no longer in the same companionship. Yeah, there were some small things that happened in the mission. Elder H, who was my 2nd companion, was one of the Assistants to the President, but this past week he broke his foot exercising one morning and the doctors told him that he would have to have surgery on his foot, which meant that he would have to go back home and have that done. So, this past Wednesday, he took his flight back home. Fortunately he will be able to come back in June, the time when Heather comes into the country, to finish up his mission. Since he is on medical leave, his mission clock stops and will restart again when he comes back. It's such a sad happening! He is one of my best friends and it feels so weird with him gone!! I am definitely looking forward to him coming back. So this is how it affects me. President had a few changes he had to make due to this circumstance. One of the changes was that he called one of the elders from the other companionship in my city to go Secretary, and he asked me to replace his spot as District Leader. So, I'm still in the same city, but in a different companionship. My new companion is Elder Ch from Utah! He is 2 transfers older than I am, but we both are getting along super well and we are excited to be together. Ha ha, it's so funny that this happened, I was just getting settled in with the other elders and their investigators, and now I have to move and start over anew. Fun things happen while you're on a mission :) 

So that's basically the big thing that happened for me this week. I got to go up to Budapest to drop off Elder L and I got to have interviews with President, which was so awesome!! He has been such a great help for me with my questions and personal trials that I have been going through with the work and everything. We also got to talk about Heather for a little bit. He pointed to the board of new missionaries and said 'Do any of them look familiar to you?' 'Ummm....are you hinting to that girl that's on the board that says Heather Magda?' 'That's right! She'll be coming in this next June! We are so excited for her to arrive.' And so am I!!!! I think I may be more excited than president! Seeing her picture on the board brought so much excitement and enthusiasm! Plus she will be entering the MTC this Wednesday!!! WWWWWWHHHHAAAAAATTTTT?!?!?! Ohhhh she is going to have SOOO much fun!! She has to let me know how everything is going in the MTC and who her teachers are. I wonder if she will have the same ones as I had. Get ready to wear that 'Red dot' your first day :) Just 9 weeks and she will be in Hungary with her nephew, Magda Elder! 

Alrighty, that's all I can write for today. Oh, almost forgot, SPRING IS HERE!!!! I can wear short sleeved white shirts again!! It's truly a miracle. :) 

I love you all! And here is my motto for the week

And it came to pass also, that he caused the title of liberty to be hoisted upon every tower which was in all the land... 

Hoist those banners for all to see! Let them wave with pride! Let all see who you stand for, who you fight for. 

Magda Elder

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Glass is Half-Full

April 8, 2013
Whhhyyy Helloo Theerrree!

Wow, can you believe that it's been a year since I've been on my mission? I sure can't! What the heck?!?! Where did the time go?!?! I remember looking at the chart back at home right before I went into the MTC and saw it completely blank, also seeing how many stickers it would take to get up to the year mark. Little did I know that this would be the fastest year of my life! How did it feel on your end? For me this past year felt like it was maybe a half-year or less! Did it feel fast for you? Slow? Regular? Another weird thing that I have also recognized from hitting my year mark; my birthday is almost less than 2 months and I'm going to be 21!! (Looks down at the earth and throws-hands up in the air) Come on! Can't you give this guy a break here! Stop rotating so fast so that time doesn't have to go as fast! I'm going to be an old fart soon! Laaammmmeee. 

Weather forecast in Békéscsaba for this week: Absolutely miserable. Seriously, we did not see the sky at all this week because of the dumb clouds.  Included with those clouds was nonstop rain! Friday was an absolute downpour. At one point in the day, we were walking out of a 10 story building to get to a bus stop that was about 30 minutes away and by the time we reached the bus, our entire bodies were soaked from head to toe. There was no part of us that was not wet. Ha ha, poor Elder J's shoes, which are now beyond the title of just 'veteran shoes' and should now be titled 'going into retirement', were like sponges and absorbed every small puddle that he would walk in. Towards the beginning of this expedition he was avoiding puddles and trying to dodge any sort of water that would possibly soak his shoes. But that ended very quickly with the amount of water that was coming down on us and he just started trucking through puddles. Though it was kind of a dismal day, it was still way fun and memorable. 

So I did get those packages that you sent just this Friday! Thank the Zone Leaders who were in Budapest this Wednesday and brought them down to our District Meeting we had on Friday. Such awesome elders. Thank you OOOOOHHHH so much for the packages! It was just what I needed! Shout out to The Henries and Sister Marshall for the goodies that they sent! I cannot tell you the expression that I had on my face when I opened them up and saw the Peanut Butter. It was like manna from heaven almost, ha ha! 

A little more about Békéscsaba. Being in Pest and Pécs, I was kind of spoiled a little bit. Both are pretty big cities and everything is really close and we just used the bus systems to get from place to place. Békéscsaba, pedig, is much much smaller compared to the other two cities. I don't know how to explain the size difference.....example........hmmmm........the city is so small that we basically just walk everywhere. I don't know, ha ha, I'm terrible with examples. Don't judge me!! Also, with the branch, there are, on average, 10 people that come to church, aside from the missionaries. So there are usually 16-20 of us at church. Pretty small, right? A lot smaller than my last two areas. But that just means that we have a bunch of work ahead of us to build up the branch! Woohooyeahyippeskidileedoofwaaa (in the way that the Angry Birds cheer when you beat one of the levels). We are all really excited about it :) 

Conference was an interesting set-up, because we were in charge of setting it up! It was so weird being the guys behind the scenes. It's a lot tougher than it seems. Plus, we watched it all in Hungarian, besides Priesthood session because the only priesthood in the branch is the missionaries so we just listened to it in English. Unfortunately they didn't announce a temple that would be built in Hungary, but it was mentioned by the Prophet Sunday morning! That's the next best thing! When we heard President Monson talking about the city Debrecen (which is in the South East) we all got super excited and were super happy that our country was mentioned in Prophets talk. 

Alrighty, I am going to have to end this short unfortunately because I'm at an internet place that times you and I'm almost outta minutes. I feel like I'm on some sort of cell phone plan when I use these kinds of computers. One more shout out to the future Elder Clayson! Congratulations on your mission call! I'm super stoked to hear about it! 

Love you all and ‘stay on the sunny side of life!’

Sok szeretettel,  (Lots of Love)
Magda Elder