Monday, February 24, 2014

Don't Drink the Kool-Aid!

February 24, 2014
Hey everybody! 

This week has been one tiring week, that's for sure. And next week looks to be even more tiring! We had our weekly planning last night and after making calls and making arrangements for meeting people, looking for a new apartment, cleaning out the old one AND branch meetings, my companion and I looked at each other and almost burst into laughter having almost every spot in our planned filled out with things to do. It's unbelievable how much stuff we have to do! We have so many investigators that we have to meet with and new ones coming in also! Gah! It's intense, I tell you, intense. But, I can't really complain too much cause I'm pretty sure this is what every missionary wants on his mission. 

Alright, because of lack of time, I'm just going to answer some questions that have been asked and see if these can give you a glimpse of how the week went. 
This is some amazing graffiti we found when walking
through tunnels to get here and there.

1. The strangest thing I ate this week. Actually, this week it was something that I drank. My dear companion, oh how loving he is, made me some Kool-aid from a packet that was sent to him from home.  He had put it into the freezer for it to turn into a Kool-aid freezy. You wouldn't think that this drink would be weird. But just wait! So, I think it was Saturday, when we pulled it out of the freezer; both super excited and looking forward to a refreshing kool-aid frozen beverage after a long day, and after taking the first little spoon full, immediately the sour taste of pink lemonade hit our tongues and our faces contortioned in to that face you get after having a war-head. I was like 'Elder, what did you do to this?' 'I don't know, I just put the powder into the cups, filled it with water and froze it. That's all!' 'Did you put any sugar in it?' '........I thought there was sugar already in it....' ':........Elder..........' Needless to say, the reason for the sourness of the drink was because he forgot to put sugar in the cool-aid. Note to self: DON'T DRINK THE KOOL-AID! 
This is Rakott Krumpli, made with potato, ham,
boiled egg, sour cream, and of course
Paprika!  We made it ourselves.  I LOVE IT!

2. The funniest thing that happened this week. I'm going to have to say church would be the funniest thing that happened this week. Not because something funny happened in church, but reason being because it was just super entertaining to see at the end of church, when everyone is gone, how church turned out and finally getting a chance to relax and rest. I never really understood till I came to this city how EXHAUSTING it can be to make church the way it is. Making sure that the sacrament is taken care of, the speakers are on time, everyone has their lessons planned for Sunday School, Priesthood, Relief Society, exc. I'm so tired after church every time. But it makes me laugh seeing how tired I am and how other leaders of the church must feel. I'm just helping with a small branch, how much more interesting must it be to have an entire ward or stake to be in charge of! Crazy to think about. And I've come to really respect the other people with their callings in the church that help keep things moving and keep it well structured. Shout out to all you people around the world that have callings! You are all vitally important! 

3. Interesting finding story. The only thing that I have that I can remember was streeting into a girl that was from Poland. Super sweet girl and it was kewl to actually talk in English for a little bit. Unfortunately she wasn't too interested in our message, but she extended appreciation for what we do and respected our opinions. Super nice and now I can say I streeted someone from Poland. :) 

Because of time I will have to cut this short, but I will include some pictures for you guys. My companion and I just got back from whipping actually.
I've been looking forward to the opportunity to whip since the beginning of my mission, but none of my companions have ever had whips and if they did we were never in the mood for doing it.
(Ok, before you start thinking he is a bit weirder than usual; this is his mom’s side note.  Hungarians are well known for their whips.  They were used by shepherds, wranglers and herders.  You are really missing out on the Hungarian experience if you have not got a chance to go “whipping.”) But today we finally went out with my companion’s two whips and I learned how to whip! It's freakin sick!
Sounds like a gun popping off! We were in the main park here in Eger and we both started to get the hang of it and everyone was staring at us ha ha. Little kids came up to watch us as we cracked these things. I remember when Granddad showed me for the first time a Hungarian whip when I was like 12-13 or  something and when I heard the crack my eyes peeled back from being blown away with how kewl that is.
Hopefully I can get one from one of the branch members here. He makes his own whips out of pure leather and sells them for super cheap for the quality that he makes them out of. Totally going to see if I can get one before I leave. I'll have to show you guys how it's done. I got it down pretty well. I'll have to show granddad maybe a thing or two. ;)

Alrighty folks, sorry to end this so early, but I hope you all have a wonderful week and enjoy the time without me while you can! :) 

Blakemeister, meister Blake

My costume for Farsang was this awesome soccer jersey!
P.S.  I forgot to tell you that our Branch celebrated Farsang!  Farsang in Hungary may mean many different things: Busójárás (e.g. scaring Winter and Turks away), a final party before Lent, a celebration of the end of winter, and eating lots of really fattening food, like ribboned doughnuts. YUM. But, for Hungarian parents of young children, Farsang means an endless parade of children’s costume, buying/making costumes to outdo everybody else’s and more parties. It’s a fun, yet tiring period, making Lent, with its fasting and self-denial, a lot more appealing.  It’s kinda like a Hungarian Carnival. 
Prepping for Farsang
 Last year I celebrated it in Pec, but this year, I'm in Eger!!!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Last Transfer

February 18, 2014
Hey Everybody!

And thus it begins; the beginning of the last transfer. It's pretty freaky, I must say, actually knowing that I am actually going home soon. Cause up until this point I thought it was some sort of fickle imagination of my mind saying that I would go home someday but really I would be here forever. I actually wouldn't be too mad about it, but there is still that other part of me that is looking forward to coming home. We'll stay clear of that topic for a while now.

So, on to the results of the transfer. So, in short, I am dying here in Eger (dying is slang in missionary language for 'going home'). But that's not the weird thing that happened. We all assumed that I was just going to stay and die here in Eger, but we were also thinking that everyone else would stay too. Reasons: Elder Flake (my companion), I just got him last transfer and it would make sense for him to just kill me (more missionary language for 'the companion that serves with you as you go home') and then go senior companion as I leave. Elder De Vries, just got here as well, had surgery this last week on his hernia and was told not to be moving heavy luggage around for the next month or so and probably would stay. Elder Dellenbach, because his companion can't help with luggage carrying he too would stay and all would be happy in the land of Eger..........such a result did not happen. Instead, both my companion and Elder De Vries are going to Szombathely and I am just moving in with Elder Dellenbach! WHAAAATTT?!?! Crazy!  Elder Flake and I were so bummed when we got the call. Of course I was glad to hear that I was staying because that was what I was hoping for, but I really wanted to be with Flake till the end. Super sad. Plus he was really getting along with the branch here and we have been having a blast together....quite sad, like I've said before. And then De Vries is leaving, which was a super weird one with him having the surgery. So we are going to help him along with my companion getting his luggage to Budapest on the train. So that'll be fun.
The little dog I tried to get a picture of wouldn't cooperate.
But I am looking forward to serving with Elder Dellenbach. He and I have been serving around each other for 4 1/2 months now and we just got out of a threesome together last week and now were back! I don't think I mentioned it already, but they actually closed the other companionship down here in Eger.
Success!  A little Hungarian doggie
There have been two companionships (sets of elders) up until now, but as of today there is only one companionship. SO now we have both companionship’s work put together and it's going to be one heck of a week! Included with that is trying to find another apartment for us to live in because our landlord sold our apartment to someone else.  We have till March. Go figure that I would have to be searching for an apartment right before I leave. Well la dee friggen daaaaa! Life is loads of fun on the mission. :) 

Anyways, this week was pretty busy. Not as busy as last weeks, but it was still busy enough to keep us going. Friday was Valentine's Day and we actually went to Miskolc (another city where missionaries are) to have a Zone training, which was really kewl. One being that 2 other people from my MTC group were there and we got to see how well everyone was doing with getting ready to go home soon. Second being that we had a really kewl training from the Zone Leaders about companions and the importance of them and how we should treat them as we are serving for two years. It was fun because we related it to them being our 'valentines' and listed stuff that we would want to see in a companion and how we should strive to work together and doing the work. It was really fun and everyone enjoyed the training. We then had, later on, our game night which, as usual, was super fun! Everyone has such a great time there. Plus, I actually did get your package mom this week and we wore the ties that you put in there for Valentine’s Day. Everyone got a kick out of it! Thank you so much for the package! Both my companion and I were really grateful for it. 
Valentine's Zone Meeting 
Work-wise, we were able to put another person on bap date this week. It's actually the son of the woman that I baptized in November. He's 10 years old and is such a fun kid. He's a little bit shy, but we talked to him about baptism this last week and we committed him to prepare for baptism for March 8th. We're excited for him and for his mom. We also had an awesome program this week with one of our couples that we've been meeting with since I've been here. They are progressing amazingly! It's been so wonderful to still stay here and be able to see their progression in the Gospel. They have been reading through the Book of Mormon and have been starting to pray, which is something entirely new for them, and I can't even put it into words how great it is to see their faith grow. We asked them if they could see themselves being members in the church, which they responded with yes but they said that they want to be 100% confident in themselves that they are going to endure to the end. They told us that it is so different for them to see the way we think and that that is what is the most difficult thing for them to do is change their way of thought that they have had for their whole lives. We shared with them Moroni 6:3 which says that those who entered into the church of God covenanted to serve Christ to the end.  That is the core of the way we think. Every other thing we do or how we act is according to that one thought/desire in our minds 'I will serve my Savior and King till the very end'. It is when we establish that way of thinking that other things will come together. 
Someone must have said, "No more food for you!"

Unfortunately that was all I have to write about my week. I know there isn't much in the email about it, but it really was a good week. I could go days and days and days about each program that we had, but, one, that would take too long and, two, it will be way better to tell you guys in person when I come home. Plus I have all my planners that I have used throughout my mission which can help me remember what we taught each investigator for the week. 

It is unbelievably kewl to hear that Chris is a dad!! I can't believe it!! I remember him getting married a few months after I had started my misison! That is so uber uber kewl!! Tell him and his wife I say congrats!! It's also weird to hear that the Olympics are happening. I just arrived into the country when the summer Olympics started and now the winter ones are starting right as a I am about to come home. Friggen sweet! I just heard actually on the streets that USA beat Russia in hockey. That's right boys. Rock it out!
That's my week. Next week I'll let you in on the scoop of the new adventures of Magda and Dellenbach!

Sok szeretettel......és fingokkal,
Magda Elder

Monday, February 10, 2014

I'm Loving It!

February 10, 2014
Hogy szolgál a kedves egészséged?  (Google translate doesn’t give us much.  Something about how nice is your health…)

Alrighty everyone, we have one small problem. We just found a new email place here in Eger (FINALLY!) and we are excited to find that it is way faster than the branch computer AND we all get to use the computers at the same time! But, the only downfall is that we only have an hour to really use the internet. We don't know yet if we are allowed to sign up for another hour after our first hour is up, but if not, then I must apologize in advance for the shortness of this email. 

This past week was SOOOOO busy! Since we had Elder D with us this week, we had both our investigators and his investigators that we had to meet this week. It was exhausting! I now know how it feels to be exhausted from finding all day and from having programs all day. Holy dang! Definitely not complaining, I'd rather have this than a week full of finding, but it definitely took it out of us. Plus it makes the days go by way faster. It's been really weird this past week for us because each night when we would hold our nightly planning we would look at each other and say 'Weren't we just finishing our day yesterday not too long ago?' We couldn't believe how fast the days have flown by. 
On the tracks in Eger 

We have been meeting with so many investigators and they are all progressing so well! For one, one of the couples that we have been meeting with (the one we went over to Skype) came to church for the first time yesterday! They missed the first hour of church and we didn't think they'd be coming after we saw that they didn't arrive for the first hour. But as we were getting ready to head up to Sunday school, my companion looked out the window and saw them with their little baby! We were so stoked! They could only stay for the 2nd hour of church, but they said they enjoyed it and set up to meet with them again for this week. They are so kewl! We also taught the Word of Wisdom to our investigator who is on baptism date for the first of March and she is coming a long super well! We absolutely love meeting with her and she always lets us know that she enjoys learning from us. 
In front of a weird building that looks to have been occupied by a few bums here and there. 

One of the things that all 3 of us have really realized this week is that we have had a great flow with our teaching. Teaching in a threesome is pretty difficult most of the time, trying to give each person time to speak and fitting everyone in so that the investigator still understands what they are being taught. But for us 3 it felt really natural and everything had a connection. After each day we would talk about our programs and how we felt in them and whether or not we could feel the Spirit and we have been really focused on making our teaching effective as possible and the incredible thing is we have seen it throughout the week how effective we have been able to teach! We are sad that it is coming to an end this week, which is also good news because that means Elder D gets his companion back and that he is well after his operation, but it is somewhat of a bummer because we really liked how we have been teaching together. 

I honestly don't know what else to talk about for this week. It's just been really busy and super fulfilling spiritually. It's just been great to see our investigators coming closer to their Savior and seeing the change that they are making in their lives. I think that's another thing that I have been learning on my mission, seeing the changes that people have to make out of faith and having that hope that they will be empowered and blessed for the sacrifices that they have to give and, as they do, developing a greater love and charity towards their Savior and their fellow brethren and sisters. These people have been such a great example to me and how, even though been a member my whole life, I need to continually look keep my faith strong and having a 'perfect brightness of hope' and growing and nurturing my charity towards everyone. Gosh there are just so many things that I am learning out here!  I'm loving it so much! I can't tell you how great it is to be out here in the field.

Alright ya'll, I've gotta go, but I'll throw in some pictures to keep this entertaining you. I love you all! See you on the other side sooner than you think! 

A szolgád és kis Magduskád, (The humble servant, Magduska)

Magda Elder

Monday, February 3, 2014

Prayers and Breadcrumb Trails

February 3, 2014
Na, csákány sztok!

Alrighty folks, this week was interesting for starters. One being that the busy week that we planned turned into a not so busy week filled with an oh so wonderful time of finding. Not what we were exactly looking for, but we made it fun anyways. We were able to find a few people that were interested and 1 of them said they would be able to meet this week. On the bright side, all the people that we weren't able to meet with this week said that they would promise to meet with us this week. So this week will be full of teaching opportunities. Super stoked! 

Also, for this week, we actually have an addition to our companionship.....Elder Dellenbach! Simply put, one of the elders from the other companionship here in Eger had to go up to Budapest today and will be up there for the next week or so for surgery for a hernia that he has. Ouch, I know. But he's a way kewl guy and isn't worried about it at all. I don't know about him, but I for one would definitely be a little bit nervous. Surgery just does not sound pleasant, but he is taking it like a champ. In result, his companion, who has only been in the country for 5 or so months, is staying with us for the week and we are excited to have him with us.

We actually had a funny weekly planning with him last night though. Their companionship is been going through a bit of a dry spell lately and has been finding nonstop for the past month or so with very little success. It hurts me seeing it because I know exactly how they are feeling having been through similar situations. So when we planned for our week and started talking about our investigators and writing down what we were going to teach them all, a little more than half way through our investigator list Elder Dellenbach says 'Holy cow, I have to go on to my next page in my planner!' Poor guy, ha ha, I couldn't help but chuckle though after he said that though. But he is excited for this week and having lots of programs planned with us. We're going to have a lot of fun. I've been serving around this kid for the past 3 months or so and he is an outstanding missionary. He has been a great example to me and reminding me about that greeny fire that has always been burning within me and to keep it alight all the way to the end. For a shout out to Elder Dellenbach's family, you have a great son. I love him to death and he is doing a marvelous job. 

For a funny note this week, when I went shopping last week for food, normally I get some kolbász, which is the Hungarian sausage, to go with some of my meals. I just grab it from of the shelf and then go. Well, later in the week when I was going to use it for the first time, I go to open up the package that it is in and realize........someone had cut a piece off of it already!!!! And that's how it came!
The skimpy sausage
Wrapped, packaged and everything! Someone had the audacity to sell kolbász with a piece of it missing! What, did the guy at the factory or something get a little hungry and looked at it and was like ' know, I didn't have enough lunch this afternoon one will notice'. Pfffffttt, thanks a lot big guy! It sure made for a good laugh though. Took a picture of it too. I think it pretty much expresses my feelings after realizing what I bought. Note to self: Look at the entire package BEFORE purchasing. Stupid move on my part.

Now, on a more spiritual note, this week I got to prepare for another district training for district meeting and had the kewlest experience ever! I don't know if I've expressed it already before, but I absolutely love training at district meeting because I have the greatest experiences in my preparations for it. For this week’s training, like all of them, I had no clue what subject to train on and my mind was not producing any sort of ideas. So, I turned to prayer and asked for some guidance during my personal study to find that which I should teach my district. After closing my prayer I just decided to turn to where I left of in my Old Testament reading. These past few weeks I have been getting into the book of Isaiah and have loved it! On a quick side note, I have really recognized the innate feeling that I have towards looking forward to the Savior's second coming and having gone half-way through the book of Isaiah, I have come to love his words! Not only that, but I have finally begun to really understand what he's saying and the symbolisms that he uses. Anyways, so I went back to where I stopped and one of the verses from the chapter I had read the previous day really stuck out to me. It read, in Isaiah 35:3-4 'Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you.'  That first verse specifically had an impact on me. So I decided to use that somehow, but had no real clue how. Keeping that prayer that I offered in my heart, I decided to look around and right things down that would come to my mind and the scriptures that I started to find along the way. It wasn't until AFTER I finished my training outline that I realized that this was exactly what the Lord was leading me to teach.

I got the biggest goosebumps after having finished it. I recognized too how the Lord, with the scriptures I found, led me to the final result like a trail of bread crumbs. I can't explain to you how invigorating it was! Later in the week after that I also found a scripture that explained perfectly the experience that I had with the Spirit, when Nefi, before he sneaks into Jerusalem to get the plates from Laban, he says in 1 Nephi 4:6 'And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.' I really had no clue what to teach! But after praying, I allowed the Spirit to direct me and by doing so, I was lead towards that which I should do. Plus, Elder Dellenbach gave the spiritual thought before my training at our district meeting and the verse he used was one of the ones that I was going to use! And Elder Flake chose the opening Hymn and picked How Firm a Foundation, which also went perfectly with the training. And after I gave the training I had that confirming feeling within my entire body that what I taught was what I was meant to teach. Such a testimony builder! I love the scriptures! I love prayer! I love having the Spirit with me! It is the greatest gift to ever have! If I could declare to the entire world how absolutely life changing these things are I would. I love how the Lord has been guiding me, in this instance and in others and in ones that he will in the future. Read your scriptures! Pray beforehand especially! And I can guarantee that you will be blessed immensely. 

Well that was my spiel. I hope you enjoyed this issue of Gettin' Hungary with Elder Magda. I love this work and I love the Lord. What more can I say! 

Sincerely, a te fiad, (your son)
Magda Elder