Saturday, August 24, 2013

Fireworks and Fantastic Reunions

Elder Magda and the former Sister Skiba (Stephanie Skiba)
August 24, 2013
Nos, ez lett egy csodálatos hét, hallod? (Well, it’s been a wonderful week, you hear?)

It sounds like you guys have already heard about my találkozás (encounter) with Great-Uncle Steve and Great-Aunt Mary. But before I tell you how that went, there was actually another person that was, and still is, visiting Budapest that I was able to run into. This person actually was one of the missionaries from my first transfer and who Elder Abram (my first companion) titled as my 'adopted mother' in the mission, since this person helped raise me in getting used to mission life. This person is none other thaaaaannnnnnn.........Sister Skiba!!!! Or, since she's not a missionary any more, Stephanie!!!! She and her mom are visiting for the week and have been able to drop by the branch house a few times to say hello to some people. They also came to church on Sunday and will be there tomorrow also. It was way kewl catching up with her and reminiscing in old memories that we had from last year. Kewl thing also, she still hangs out with Elder Abram back at home and they keep in contact and stuff. He actually still emails me and he gave me the heads up that she was coming to Hungary for a little bit and told me to keep my eyes open for her. I'll attach a picture that I got of us at church last week. (This is a little mom side-note.  Blake does know how to spell the word “cool” but prefers his unique way of spelling it as “kewl.”  There.  We are all on the same page.)

This Wednesday, I met with Great-Uncle Steve and Great-Aunt Mary! It was such an amazing reunion, even though it was our first time meeting each other. The really remarkable part was actually how we ran into them. My companion and I planned on meeting them outside of one of the metro stops near where they are staying. Just so that you can get a little picture of the metro stop; when you get off of the metro you have to take a corner and then go up an escalator to get to the ground floor. I assumed that they would be waiting at the ground floor watching for us to come up the escalator. I kind of knew what they looked like, since you sent me pictures of them, but the pictures were kind of blurry. So Elder Corbishley and I got off of the metro and took the corner towards the escalator. Next to one of the pillars by the escalator I noticed a woman that looked very much like Aunt Mary, but I didn't think it was her because I assumed they would be on the ground floor. Then she said 'Oh! There's Blake! Right there!' Startled, I kind of looked around thinking 'Who, what, huuhh??' It was her after all and she and Uncle Steve were waiting at the bottom of the escalator instead. Ha ha, it was a great surprise to say the least. 
Great-Uncle Steve and Great-Aunt Mary

It was so much fun being able to chat with them! We talked about their trip, how they've been doing, what family they've visited thus far, how they enjoyed being in California and just all kinds of stuff since we had never before talked to each other. (Blake’s Great Uncle Steve was born in Hungary and fled with his mother and brothers to Austria during the Communist rule.  They emigrated to South Africa.  Blake’s Grandfather ended up emigrating to the US and his Great-Uncle Steve to New Zealand. His Great-Uncle is visiting family all over the world in one amazing fun-filled trip.  This is how he was able to see Blake.) They also got to know Elder Corbishley, and it made it more interesting with him being from England and them just coming back from Scotland and England. They started talking about things that I hadn't even a clue about, ha ha. Also, Uncle Steve had invited somebody over, Roboz Sándor and his wife, who was related to us in some way. For all of us it was the first time meeting one another.
Roboz Sándor, his wife, Aunt Mary, Uncle Steve and I
Up until the time Sándor came over we were speaking English, sometimes referring to words in Hungarian. But when Sándor came over, we talked almost completely in Hungarian. Throughout my whole mission speaking the language just felt like a normal thing that one does every day. But when I started speaking with Uncle Steve and the others, every word I said felt different when it came off my tongue. I don't even know how to put it into words! I felt like the words had physical meaning to them. Not saying that when I speak with investigators or with other people about the Gospel that I feel that there is no meaning behind the words I say, because there is, but rather it felt natural speaking it this time. I think I mentioned to Uncle Steve that it was as though there was a different connection as we spoke. He was surprised at first when he was speaking with Sándor and I just listened to them. He asked me 'Do you understand what we're saying?' to which I replied 'sure can!' It was incredible! I am so grateful to have met with them. It was difficult saying good bye, because I would have loved to have stayed and chatted more with them because there were still plenty more questions that I had that I wanted to ask. But I am blessed to have had the time that I did have with them. 

Last thing that happened this week was August 20th, which is the biggest holiday here in Hungary. It's basically like our 4th of July in the states.
Fireworks on the Szabadság Bridge
And, kewl thing about it is that I was able to be here in Budapest for it again! We actually planned on going to Visegrád, which is a castle north of Budapest, like we did last year, but many of the missionaries were kind of low on their budgets and we decided to meet at the park and play sports and then go back to the mission home and play games and watch the fireworks after.  It turned out to be an awesome day, weather wise and fun wise, and also exhausting. Ha ha, we played soccer, two-hand touch football, and even some touch rugby (Mom! Don't forget I said 'touch' rugby). Afterwards we were all practically dead, ha ha, and we knew it would make the next few days a little more painful. But it was worth it.
Elder Magda and Corbishley on Aug 20th
When it got dark, we headed to the Duna and watched the fireworks from the Buda side near the Szabadság Bridge. It was kewl seeing them from that side since I saw the fireworks last year from the Pest side. 

That was my week overall. Just to make dad jealous, my companion just got a package from home and gave me a bag of Jelly Tots since I told him those were my favorites. The perks of being companioned with an Englishman ;) Today we are actually going to get a comp item, which is where we both get the same thing for us to always remember our companionship together. We are going to get real nice, legit Hungary soccer jersey. I've wanted one forever and have been stoked the whole week for it! I'll take a picture of us wearing it so that you can enjoy it too. I'm so glad to hear that things are working out for Ashleigh going to BYU I! That's way awesome!! I'm so excited for her! She is going to have a blast for sure. And people are still getting married and getting ready to leave for missions. Seems like the world just doesn't wanna stop while I'm here does it? Tell all those who just got married and are getting married that I say congratulations! And tell dad I said congratulations on his new calling! That sounds like it will be sooo fun!! I can't wait to hear how it's going to be :) 

I love you all and enjoy this week with all the blessings it holds. And, to see them even better, you can heighten your vision by saying a prayer that morning. Try it out! 

Magda Elder

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