Monday, September 30, 2013

It's a short one!

A wonderful sister from Budapest, Fajta-Németh Leonóra "Lina" just shared a video of Elder Blake Israel Magda singing in Hungary. There are four songs, two of which he sings with Sister Fajita-Nemeth. The last is "The Prayer."

September 30, 2013
Hey ya'll!

So, we had some fun plans for our p-day today, but unfortunately Elder Shoop has been having some more health issues that have been coming up and last night he had let the mission president know and this morning we got the news that we are going to Budapest at 1:00 to get to a 4:30 appointment for him. To be optimistic, we're going to Budapest! There's nothing wrong about being in the city that I love! And also I will be able to see the secretaries and be able to chat with them for a little bit. I love those guys! Doesn't that make me just sound like a nerd after having served as a secretary ha ha. But I definitely loved being a secretary. Not mad about that. :) But we are hoping, my companion and I, that everything is going to turn out to be alright. It should, which is the good thing. 

My word it sounds like home is busy off the wazoo! Dad sounds like he has a crazy schedule! Hopefully he's enjoying it though. At least he has Friday nights for some relaxation and fun. I'm cheering for him and in everything that he's doing! And then both Alisha and you have some crazy stuff going on. But, hey, sometimes being busy can be exciting, right? Maybe not all the time, but some of the time. 

So, just in short, this week has actually been really successful. We have been meeting with people left and right and this week we were able to get 5 new investigators! And the kewl part is, we have been working really hard for it and things have come from it. That's what I have been stoked about as I've looked back from this week. Because I have had past transfers where we would work really hard and would just about get nothing, which, to be honest, I wasn't mad about it. This work is hard, it's not meant to be easy. But, just to see that things have been coming out of our efforts has just put a smile on my face. The small things are what get me through every day, which I think is something that I have really learned to treasure and love while I've been out here. It truly is the small things that make the day that much brighter. Just a little note! 

Anyways, sorry that this is super short. We have a few things to do before we have to get on our train. I might be able to email a little bit more by the end of the day, but I can't make any promises. Next week will be longer! Promise! Enjoy this week and know that I'm loving Eger! And just for a little Magyar (Hungarian) for you: ne feljetek a jövőtöl. Habár nehez lehet amikor sok nehézségünk van, de, mindig összeszámoljuk az áldásainkat. Akkor a nap világosabban nézhet ki. :)   (Ok.  I “Mom” had to use Google translate which isn’t the most accurate.  Here goes…. Do not be afraid of the future.  Though it can be difficult when you have a lot of trials, always count your blessings.  You can then see the day clearly.)

From that one guy who has the blonde hair and blue eyes with a Hungarian last name that is constantly told, 'Do you know that's a girl’s name?'

Magda Elder

Monday, September 23, 2013

Missionary Work = 3 X the Fun!

September 23, 2013
Hey Everyone!

Well this week sure has been interesting. But for everyone who is wondering, my companion has returned! Though he has lost around 10 pounds (yikes!) he still has that same smile that he left with. Apparently the doctors blasted the stone with the Kidney stone-blaster-mabob-izé and he is, right now, just filtering it out now. I'm sure that's not the thing you want to hear, but it's better than saying that he has to go home and have to recover, ha ha. He's still kind of recovering and we have been taking it easy these past few days so that he will be back to full 100% for the rest of the week. So far so good! 
Elder Sterri and Elder Magda
As I informed you all last week, I was in a threesome with the other elders here in Eger while Elder Shoop was in Budapest. And, yes, one of them was Elder Sterri from Rocklin. He is such an awesome guy! We get a long super well and it was a blast being in his companionship for the past few days. His companion, elder Vanderpool, is actually one of my Kicsi from the MTC (part of the group that came in while I was already there) and he is super funny. It almost felt like it was a party every day together, of course, in the good missionary way. We had some kewl things happen that I think many of you will enjoy reading. 

First off, one of their investigators that we met with twice this week gave us some interesting things in each of the programs. The first program was actually an invitation to where he lives. He said 'Do you guys like goats? The knowledge of goats is very important. I can take you to the pasture lands and you can see my goats some time.' So far we haven’t scheduled a day to go visit his goats, but we are sure looking forward to that day when it comes. The other time he had brought a bag of stuff with him into the program. We were curious as to what was in it, then, in-between the program he says, 'I did not come empty handed. I am very good at cracking hard nuts. Do you like nuts?' He then put the bag onto the table, pulled out from within it a few walnuts and a nut cracker and began to crack some open and gave them to us, saying 'They are very healthy. Try them.' At the end of the program, he gave us the entire bag of walnuts saying 'They are very good, aren't they.' What a gift from an investigator! We could not help but smile during the entire program after that. 

For some funny tracting stories, one day we went out to visit one of my companionships new investigators and see if we can have a program with him. After knocking on the door a few times and without a reply, it was then decided that we'd tract a little bit till the day was over. The street that we were tracting on started out paved and nice, than slowly turned into a dirt road and came to a dead end with a house that looked kind of beat up and battered from the weather. It was on a hill, and we could hear something going on in the house, like someone working on some steel or metal of some sort. The gate to the house was barely standing up, and the gate was hanging open, and looked like it had been like that for quite a while. The other elders and I looked at each other, wondering if we should go up to the house, thinking maybe that this person would come out with a chainsaw or something and start chasing us. We ruled that possibility out and went through the gate and started walking up to the house. As we approached it, we found that it wasn't really a house, but more of a shed and that it was used for a working station. The garage door was open, so we kind of peered through the door to see where the sound of cutting metal was coming from. We then saw the man standing at a work bench, and when he looked at us, I realized that it was the man that we were trying to meet with earlier! When I said his name and started talking to him, the other elders were confused as to what was going on, since they hadn't seen him before since I was with elder Shoop when I first met with him. We talked for a little bit than agreed that we would come back next week sometime. The story may not sound so exciting from your guys' end, but it definitely was a funny surprise for me.

The other story I have from tracting was running into this lady, who was quite old, and having a small conversation with her. Now, just for you to understand, people believe that if they say that they already belong to a different religion that it will just have an instant effect on us and that we will turn and walk away. Ha! I like to whisper under my breath after they say it 'huh, fail!' after they try and use this technique of theirs. Anyways, so this woman tries to use it on us, and says it very slowly, 'I'm sorry boys, I'm a Catholic'. Short pause.........nodding of heads.....than she repeats 'That's right, I'm Catholic.' 'Well, that's great ma’am! Then we're the perfect ones to strengthen your faith in Christ!' Didn't really work, but, it was worth a shot. Ha ha, old ladies are so funny at times. Gotta love'em! 

For the more uplifting part of the week, we had two awesome programs with our investigators this week. One of them we taught the 10 commandments and the other the Plan of Salvation. Both programs were filled with the Spirit and to the one that we taught the Plan of Salvation I could definitely see the joy in your face as we taught her how families can be together forever and that this life isn't the end. She was certainly pleased, and we hope that she will continue to progress as the weeks go by. 

I also had the opportunity to give a talk on Sunday about Elder Eyring's April conference talk about coming unto Him. It stuck out to me when I first heard from the conference session in April when he used D&C 88:63 which starts 'Draw near unto me; and I will draw near unto you...' Ever since I sang this song for a special choir number for church, this scripture has always been one of my favorites, and I was grateful to have the opportunity to expound upon it and of what Elder Eyring taught. It was also great to see the improvement in Hungarian when I last gave a talk in Békéscsaba in May to now, and I have certainly grown in my ability to express myself. Still hard, but definitely not as difficult as it used to be. 

Alrighty then that was my joyous week. Lots of fun with the other elders for 5 days, my companion being back, having wonderful programs and some great and hilarious experiences. Gotta love it! I was meant to include some pictures from this week on the email, but I couldn't find my cord for my camera today. I was in a rush, so I didn't have much time to look around for it, so hopefully it shows up next week because the pictures that I have I would love to share with you! Thank you for the pictures that you sent of your trip to Idaho! Sounds like you guys had a blast! We'll have to do that some time when I get back. I would love the adventure. :)

Well, I'm tired, as I always am. Ha ha, something that seems to never really go away as a missionary. I guess it's kind of understandable. Thanks for tuning in! Next week there'll be pictures (hopefully)! 

From your kewl son in the Hungary Budapest Mission, serving in the small city of Eger,

Magda Elder

Monday, September 16, 2013

An Interesting Week

September 16, 2013
Hey all!

This week's email is going to be short. I apologize, but there is a good reason for it. Recently, meaning Friday, my companion started to have pains in his right side. Immediately my mind went to a kidney stone for some reason, but I pushed it away because I thought that was kind of extreme. Plus, his pain started to go away after a while, so we didn't worry to much about it and continued to work. Saturday the pain wasn't there until later in the day, but he said that it wasn't as bad as Friday. So, we didn't worry about it. Yesterday we had a district conference of all the branches in the East together in Miskolc from 9 till 1230. Since it was a long drive, we had to get up early in the morning and basically slept the whole way there. When we arrived, my companion started to have those pains again. Then, during the meeting, he pulled me out and said that the pain was overwhelming and that he needed to have something done. Fortunately, Sister Smith, President Smith's wife and himself actually, were there at the conference and she was able to call the doctor there in Miskolc and schedule an appointment. When we got there, they took some X-rays and stuff and found that there was a kidney stone passing. All along there was a kidney stone. Can you believe it?? It was such a big blessing though that we were in Miskolc when it started to flare up, because it was there, within our region, where there were the best facilities that he could be in AND that Sister Smith was there to get things ready AND the doctor spoke English so it made it easier.

So, yesterday we spent most of the day at the hospital where they had him rest and stuff and today we took him to Budapest where they will either be breaking the stone with a machine of some sort or having surgery and taking the whole thing out because it's quite a big one, 7 mm in length and 4 mm in width. So, that was my whole day today being with him at the hospital and getting his meds and some other stuff and then driving with the Zone leaders to Budapest to drop him off and driving back. I'm super glad though, because we know what the problem is and he is doing really well. The kidney stone picked the right guy, being that Elder Shoop is a super positive guy and that he is someone that can take anything. I'm looking forward to hearing the news that he is all good and ready to come back to Eger and continue working, which he too is looking forward to. Sorry if this email seems a little scattered or doesn't have a lot of info about things in detail. But, in short, my companion has a kidney stone, bad part, and is taking it well, good part. :)

Oh, and about me I guess, I am actually with the other companionship in Eger for the time being. They said that Elder Shoop should be able to come back in a week at most, so I will be with them until his return. It'll definitely be fun. Back in a threesome! Way fun! And, just on a little update for the rest of the week, we have been having some awesome success in the work. We have been finding people left in right through our finding efforts and people have been willing to give their numbers and allow us to come back, even let us in! It has been an incredible week and I have been so blessed to have been able to experience it with Elder Shoop. He and I have just been out doing the work and just loving it. It's been awesome! 

Before I end this, I would just like to tell Ashleigh how excited I am to hear about her first few days at BYU I! Holy dang that just seems so awesome that you are already there now. I'm so stoked for you! Of course getting adjusted to the whole college life will take a little bit (which I wouldn't really know since I haven’t been there yet, but I'm just assuming) but I know you will just love it and just take off with it all. Keep me updated on all of your adventures there. You can email me personally and I am happy to talk to you about things if you need it. I love you to bits (including the rest of the fam)! 

Already, that's what I have. Keep my companion in your prayers for a speedy recovery and I will see you (email you) next week on the happy adventures of Mágda Elder (accented for fun)! 

Love you all!
Elder Blake Magda

Monday, September 9, 2013

Transfers, Tiny Pillows, and my Mission Dad is translating for General Conference!

September 9, 2013
Sok szeretettel, köszöntelek benneteket ezen a mai gyűléseken a blogomon,
(I welcome you today with lots of love as we meet on my blog)

Wow, it's so weird to finally be out of the office! It's hard to explain, but mainly the big change is the schedule and amount of proselyting work significantly changed. I mean, of course I have been a part of this same schedule for most of my mission, but after having a 3 month change while being a secretary, it's been interesting trying to get back into the swing of things as a normal missionary again. I definitely loved my time in the office, especially serving with Elder Loveday and Corbishley for those two transfers, but I definitely feel relieved now being here in Eger from the different responsibilities of being a secretary. 

Some stuff about the city and where I am. This place is SOO pretty. Probably one of the prettiest cities I've been in my entire mission. Also most Hungarians say that it is the prettiest city in Hungary, and so far I agree with them. Our apartment, though, definitely doesn't represent the beauty of the city. Ha ha, probably the ugliest apartment I have been in thus far. Basically it looks like it was built in the early 1900's, late 1800's, and still has some of the technology from that era. The ceilings are super high up and you can throw a ball or Frisbee between the rooms they are so big. It's not a bad apartment I, just really really old.

But I will say, the beds are the worst. Mostly because of the pillows, which, there aren't any. I don't know how the elders in the past do it, but there are 2 choices for pillows. One is having to sleep on a pillow that is the size of a small table, which I tried sleeping on and I could not seem to get my head on the pillow at all, so I woke up with my head underneath it. The other option, which is the one that I am sadly using, is having to sleep on two small pillows that are barely bigger than your hand. I've found that this is the better choice of the two, but it is far from being comfortable. While we were shopping today, I was looking for a new pillow that I could use because it has been dang hard for me to sleep these past few nights, and the only things that I could find in the main store were pillows that were waaaayyyy to big. I also didn't realize how expensive they can be. Holy cow! So I just ended up throwing my hands up in the air and just dealing with the pillows I have until I find a store that has a descent sized pillow. But other than that, apartment's nice. :) 

Elder Shoop is my new companion. My goodness is this guy a ball of fire. He is just a missionary ready for absolutely anything that is thrown at him. A little about him; he's from the Washington, Seattle area (if I can remember correctly). Like I said before, this is his second transfer here and is quite young in the mission. But, despite his mission age, I have been impressed by his language skills. We have had several programs where I've had him talk and he isn't afraid to throw out what is on his mind even if it may be difficult to explain. And, at the same time, he does it really well! I remember when I was in my 2nd transfer and I was just a shy missionary, afraid to say anything because I didn't want to mess up. But Elder Shoop, I think, has quite the confidence to combat those fears. Probably something that has really stood out to me about him this week. He is also super dedicated and determined with the goals that we make weekly and daily. He makes sure that we do everything we can to achieve them. And, one last thing, Elder Shoop is always ready to find. Luckily they have quite a bit of work already here and we have some people that we are meeting, but when there is time to find, he is on it like a fly on poop (yes, I said poop). 

This week has been one of those weeks where we have been out finding mostly actually. Elder Shoop and his previous companion had programs set up for the week, which were quite a few, and we had planned them for what we were going to teach each day. But, out of the 8 or so programs that we had set up for the week, only 3 went through. For me it wasn't much of a surprise, since I have dealt with dogging and cancels for most of my whole mission. But for Elder Shoop, it was kind of new. He got so bummed when he saw that our investigators couldn't meet this week. I felt super bad for him. Of course I understand why, but it was different since I haven’t met any of these investigators and he has already made a connection with them while he has been here. But nevertheless, that didn't down his spirits from getting out and finding. Ha ha, there have been times where I have felt that he has been the one getting me out the door to go find.

Every night when we come home, we finish planning and I lay on the bed and could almost fall asleep immediately, if it wasn't for the pillows I would say. I haven’t felt this tired in quite some time actually. It's been kind of hard re-adjusting to the normal schedule of a missionary. But it's been nice having that feeling again of pure exhaustion, ha ha. Probably will wear off after a few weeks, but, it's nice while it lasts. Elder Shoop has definitely been getting us a working. We were able to find a guy yesterday while tracting that seemed really interested how the Gospel answers many of our questions. We were able to explain how the Book of Mormon is one of our greatest sources of finding these answers and he told us that he would like to hear more about this book and be able to read it (we didn't have a copy on us, so we planned on coming back to give him one). It was a great program, especially when afterwards your companion his so happy that he can do double backflip with how excited he was. Ha ha, quite entertaining, but refreshing at the same time. 

So, I don't know if I told you guys before, but this transfer is the start of 9 week transfers. Nine weeks!!! Crazy long! Especially when this transfer is actually 10 weeks with the Mission President having one of the General Authority's being here for a Zone Conference, so he didn't want that to fall on transfer week, so he made it 10 weeks instead of 9. But the rest after this will be 9. It's going to be interesting, that's for sure. But one thing I will know, that at the end of each of these transfers, it's going to feel like home is just around the corner. Time is just taking off and not slowing down. 

Now in response to some of your notes and questions. I actually got an email from Elder Abram that he was going to be helping with Hungarian translation at General Conference. He sounds so stoked! And I'm stoked for him. That kid. He and I have been keeping in contact since he left and he sounds like he is having a blast with school starting up. I'm looking forward to seeing him, hopefully, when I get home. He is such an awesome guy. Love'im to death! Niners beat the Packers!! What a start for the season! I hope that it was intense! It looks like it must have been a good game with the scores. Maybe they'll get to the Super Bowl again. Elder Shoop, who is a huge Seahawks fan, disagrees with me of course and says that the Seahawks are going to be the best in our division. We'll just see about that...Sounds like there is a lot of stuff going on in the family. Dad is studying and Ash is getting ready to go for school. My word, it still is hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that she's going to college! WHHHAAAAATTT!!!! She's going to have so much fun! I can't wait to hear about it all. And, just for her, I am writing a letter, so don't be mad! Hopefully I'll have it done by this week. Jerum's home?!?! That's crazy!!! I remember when he left! Man, what in the world is this?? It would be way kewl if he were still around when I came back. That would be way awesome! And for Alisha, treasure up this time that you have having lessons with Sister Visher. You have the best out of all 3 of us! How lucky is that!! I would have given anything to have been in the position that you are. You are going to love learning from her and she is going to make singing fun. I look forward to coming home and having us sing :) 

Well, that's my week. I'll have plenty more for the next week. Stay tuned! Love you!!

Magda Elder