Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Into The West--My Final Epistle

March 18, 2014
Drága követőimnek, olvasóimnak, barátaimnak, családomnak és szeretteimnek, (Dear followers, readers, friends, family and loved ones),

Elder Magda and Krisztina
(He is wearing his "whip")
How absolutely fabulous these two years have been! I know I sure have had fun during this journey, and I hope that you guys could enjoy it a little bit with me. It really is unbelievable for me to think that the time has come to return home. I don't even know how really to explain to you all the feelings and emotions that have been rushing through my body this last week and, even now, writing this 'Last Epistle'. What do I say?!?!

I guess I will start with yesterday. Two of our investigators were baptized yesterday and it was such an incredible way to end my mission! One of them was actually one of the other companionships investigators that we put on baptism date right when we combined. Super kewl woman and has been looking forward for this for a while. The other woman was one that Elder Shoop and I ran into on the street and grabbed us and said 'I have been looking for you guys for so long!!!' She has been an absolute wonder to teach and meet with, and yesterday she was baptized after a month of being hospitalized for having surgery not too long ago. She has been prepared by the Lord for sure and she has said countless times that she feels like this is the church that she has meant to be a part of for so long. She is going to be an excellent member and I am looking forward to keeping in touch with her throughout my life.
I am privileged to have baptized this fine Sister.
I was privileged to have been asked by her to baptize her and Elder Dellenbach baptized the other lady, and it was such a moving experience.
Baptism Day
Both talked to us after their baptism and gave us their thanks for sharing with them the Gospel and bringing them closer to their Savior. There was actually a verse, the morning of the baptism that I stumbled across in my personal study that fit right in with this. I am grateful for my Heavenly Father to have led me to it in preparation of this baptism. In 3 Nephi 19, Christ had left the people of Nephi for a short while and the disciples continued on with their work, baptizing and giving people the gift of the Holy Ghost. Christ then returns as they, a congregation of people are praying, and goes off and begins to offer an intercessory prayer to the Father. These following verses include part of the prayer that He offers.

20. Father, I thank thee that thou hast given the Holy Ghost unto these whom I have chosen; and it is because of their belief in me that I have chosen them out of the world.
21. Father, I pray thee that thou wilt give the Holy Ghost unto all them that shall believe in their words.
22. Father, thou hast given them the Holy Ghost because they believe in me; and thou seest that they believe in me because thou hearest them, and they pray unto me; and they pray unto me because I am with them.
23. And now Father, I pray unto thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words, that they may believe in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one.
I have seen this very thing with these people and all those whom I have taught and have come closer to their Savior, even if it did not result in immediate baptism or may never will. But this I know from these verses—that  Christ prays for us! He intercedes for us! He is the Mediator and prays on our behalf! And He prays for us and for all those how believe on the words of those whom He has chosen that God the Father may bless us with the Holy Ghost. It is through this also that we can become one with our Father and our Savior. I know this to be true! I have seen it upon the faces of my investigators and members of the church here; I have felt it for myself through following the Savior and keeping His commandments and have witnessed it through the power of the Holy Ghost upon the hearts of those I have taught. Christ loves us. Our Heavenly Father loves us, and the scriptures, like these verses, testify of that love. A song comes to mind when I think of becoming one with God called 'Make Us One' where it says,

 'Make us one, that our burdens may be light, 
 Make us one, as we seek eternal life,
 Unite our hands to serve thy children well,
 Unite us in obedience to thy will,
 Make us one,
 Teach us, Lord, to be of one faith, of one heart, one in thee.' 
As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure my mom sang this as a trio (if I remember correctly) at my farewell and it just hit me that I have been thinking about this song all week. (His mom did sing this with a trio for his farewell.  It’s by Sally Deford) Huh, quite interesting. It is a powerful song that I have come to love and I would encourage all of you to listen to it.

Along with our baptism this week we had the opportunity to go to a Zone Conference with one of the members of the Quorum of the Seventy (a General Authority) being there who we were able to listen to. That man was absolutely incredible! I loved how he addressed us and what he touched on. He talked to us missionaries that are going home this week, including the rest of the missionaries when they would be leaving, but specifically to us he said 'There will be times when you will be amongst your friends, when they will call upon you to be your old self. But it is in that moment when you will have to make the choice, whether to turn back and leave what you have learned behind or choose to keep what you have become and make it grow.' Out of all the things he said, this impacted me the most. It struck me right to the core and I felt like that was something that the Spirit was trying to say to me 'That was for you', along with other little things that were said during the conference. It really was an inspired conference. I enjoyed it immensely.

There is also one last thing that I would like to let you in on that happened to me. I first want to warn my family to not be worried in advance, because I know how they can be. This last week, Wednesday, I woke up around 3:30 in the morning with this unbelievably incredible pain in my right side. It was so painful to the point where we had to call the senior couple and have them drive me to the hospital where I remained there for a few hours. I then had a few x-rays and an ultrasound examination where they finally diagnosed me with having a kidney stone. A KIDNEY STONE!!! And the funny thing is that they couldn't even find it with the x-ray or ultrasound. They said that it is probably the size of a grain of sand and is towards the end of its passing. So, since Wednesday, I have been dealing with some incredible pains, along with having to go to a Zone Conference the next day, programs all throughout each day, church on Sunday and a baptism on Monday. This week has been one extremely interesting final last week of my mission. Fortunately, Sunday was the last day I felt extreme pains in my side and I'm pretty sure it will come out any moment.

I have been talking to president about how this all plays out with me going home and everything. Now, this is more towards my family, he said that if I haven’t passed it or if the serious pains have not passed by the time I go home then the result will be me ending up here until that ceases. But, I want you guys to know, first of all, please don’t worry; I'm doing fine and have gotten through the toughest part. I have been drinking a butt ton (is that even a real expression?) of water and have been taking some cramping pills to get it through. I have been praying for it every night for it to pass. And, the main serious pains have passed and I am feeling LOADS better. Tomorrow I will be going up to Budapest and having my last interview with president and the next day I will be heading home. IF things do change (IF is the word), then president will let you know if I have to stay a little bit longer or not. BUT, so far it looks like a clean shot home. 

To tell you the truth, this experience has actually had some interesting things that followed with it. Friday morning I was in terrible pain and we had to cancel one of our programs because of it. There was one other program right after it, but we decided to wait to see if I would feel better before we called to cancel. Not too long after, the pain just dissipated. It was gone. I thought to myself 'Well that was interesting' and I felt like I was well enough to go. We then went and when our investigator opened the door we could tell that something was wrong. We had planned to talk about church attendance but we both felt like that wasn't going to be the right thing. We started to talk with her and felt prompted to start talking about the trial of our faith. After a few minutes of sharing scriptures with her she then began to open up and share with us about some of the trials that she was currently going through and how she has been having stress attacks lately. The program continued to go on and verse after verse came to each of our minds to share with her that were perfect for what she needed.

She began to cheer up and really liked the verses that we had shared with her and she said that they had really helped her tremendously. It was then that I had a feeling that this was the reason why my pain had gone away. She had even said 'I feel like when I am out to help others, there is never anyone there for me and I am left alone by everyone.' It was then that I shared with her about that morning experience that I had and how God had intended for us to be there for her and to encourage her to keep going and to not give up. Her spirit was lifted as we testified to her that she was loved and that her Father in Heaven was watching over her through us. This was such a powerful experience for me this week. Even in the midst of pain we can be a part of miracles. On Sunday one of the speakers talked about trials specifically and said 'When storms come and the rain falls and everything seems dark and gloomy, that is when we choose to dance in the rain.' So true! And I felt like that truly hit it home for me. 
Baptism Day in Eger

This week has been FULL of experiences that I would love to go on and on and on with you about, but I have decided to just tell them to you all when I see you in person this week. It is time for me to return home. I have come to love these people so much, more than they, I think, will ever understand. I love Hungary with all of my being. This has become my home for 2 years and it is a place I can call home. I am so grateful, so ever grateful, for this opportunity. There is a song that has been running in my mind for so long that explains my feelings perfectly that I would like to share with you. If any of you are familiar with Lord of the Rings, you will recognize which song this is, as it is the title of this last epistle: 

Lay down
Your sweet and weary head
Night is falling
You’ve come to journey's end
Sleep now
And dream of the ones who came before
They are calling
From across the distant shore

Why do you weep?
What are these tears upon your face?
Soon you will see
All of your fears will pass away
Safe in my arms
You're only sleeping

What can you see
On the horizon?
Why do the white gulls call?
Across the sea
A pale moon rises
The ships have come to carry you home

And all will turn
To silver glass
A light on the water
All souls pass

Hope fades
Into the world of night
Through shadows falling
Out of memory and time
Don't say: «We have come now to the end»
White shores are calling
You and I will meet again

And you'll be here in my arms
Just sleeping

What can you see
On the horizon?
Why do the white gulls call?
Across the sea
A pale moon rises
The ships have come to carry you home

And all will turn
To silver glass
A light on the water
Grey ships pass
Into the West

Az utolsó bizonyságomat teszem nektek, hogy ezek a dolgok, amiket prédikálok két éve, igazak. Tudom, hogy a jó Megváltónk él és, hogy szeret bennünket az egész szívével. Én is tudom, hogy Joseph Smith valóban Isten prófétája volt és Isten irányítása alatt lefordította a Mormon Könvét. Bizonyságom is van arról, hogy amennyiben bízunk az Úrban és követjük fiának a példáját, amit megmutatott nekünk, Mennyei Atyánk meg fog áldani minket azzal, amire van szükségünk. Az Úristen megáldjon benneteket! 

Nagyon szeretlek benneteket! Legyetek erősek és bátrak mindig!  (I love you! Be strong and of good courage always!)

Sok sok szeretettel, (With all of my love)
Magda Elder

Monday, March 10, 2014

Spring Has Hit Hungary!

March 10, 2014
Dear Friends and Family,

GAHHHH!!! This is SOOOOO weird that this is my last full week in the country. I feel like this 9 year old kid that's running around the room that doesn't know how to react about something. I don't know. We'll just leave it at that.

Let's see, what to fill you in on from this week.....Spring has hit Hungary and it is SOOOOO nice! Winter was super short here (can't really complain) and we decided to start up a sport day on Saturday since the weather has been so nice recently, and it was an absolute blast! Basically everyone who went was investigators, and some of our investigators brought their friends and we played some soccer, Frisbee and some inter mixes of other sports. It was soo nice being out in the sun and playing sports again: though my body disagreed with it quite a bit. I am definitely out of shape. That’s something that is definitely going to have to change when I come home. :P 

We also went on splits this week with the Zone leaders. I went with one of my Kicsi  (little ones) from the MTC, Elder Hatfield, and we had quite an adventure. We went tracting for quite a while since all of our programs rescheduled for another day and we had some fun stories from it. One woman came out and after listening to us for a second she started to give us a piece of her mind. After her little rant we asked her if she may know someone that may be interested in hearing our message. She replied with 'Good heavens, I hope not!' After we departed both of us started to chuckle. You can't help it! It's just so funny to see someone start telling you the things that you should be doing instead and how wrong you are. I don't know, maybe I've just gotten used to it and my sensitivity layer has been strengthened over the course of two years to that kind of stuff. Laughter has been the best way, and more enjoyable way, of getting around that stuff. Sure, not the best thing to be doing in certain circumstances, but it is definitely fun to do after something like that. Elder Hatfield also had an interview with one of the people who is getting baptized next Monday. She is definitely ready and is looking forward to being baptized. We are right beside her with that. We also have another person being baptized on that same day and she will be having an interview this week with the Zone Leaders again. It'll be super kewl! We are definitely looking forward to it all. 

This week is going to be a pretty busy week again. This last week went really well and we had quite a bit of programs. This week we are looking at the same, along with a baptism next Monday on the 17th, the Monday before I go home. 

So you wanted to know a little bit more about Elder Dellenbaaaaccchhh. Info time: He is from Holiday, Utah. He is now 19 and is actually the youngest of 3 boys. He actually had a brother come home from his mission from Alaska while he was in the mission. Luckily they got permission to see each other in the MTC when his brother arrived. He always tells me how much he loves skiing along with hunting. When he gets back we are planning on going on a hunting expedition. He's freaking hilarious! I love the kid to death. We have both been in this city for so long and we laugh at all the things that have happened while we have been here. 
Last thing I have to answer. You asked about how things work with the branch. The branch president is actually the elder senior couple, but since he doesn't speak Hungarian we translate for him (more like me, since I'm the oldest) and get a lot of things assigned for the upcoming week. There is a first counselor member in the presidency, but basically I fill the second and the clerk, since I also deal with the finances and computer stuff. We, the missionaries, also teach some of the classes in for Sunday school and priesthood, depending on the week. It's not like Békéscsaba where we did absolutely everything, but the missionaries here still have quite a bit of responsibility in the branch. This week I actually gave a talk on Women because this weekend was 'Women's day' in Hungary and next week I am going to be doing a musical number with one of the members. It'll be nice. 

I'm so sorry for not taking any pictures this week. We did take one group one for Elder Dellenbach's birthday. We went out to eat for his birthday and the senior couple made some cake and ice cream for him and we took a picture of us all. That day was also super nice cause it was filled with programs. 
Elder Dellenbach's Birthday

Alrighty ya'll. I have one more p-day next week and it will be on Tuesday. I will see you next week on my last entry of Gettin' Hungary with Elder Magda'!


As Always,
Magda Elder

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I would never change this experience for anything in the world!

Monday, March 3, 2014
Hey Everybody!

So my time is short, so this will have to be brief unfortunately. 

This week went pretty well. We did plan a lot of programs for the week, but, as surprising as it may sound, a lot of people dogged. Super dumb! I've gotten used to it more, but it is still annoying as heck when someone dogs! One, for example, set up for us one day and didn't show up and I called him back asking if he was coming or not. He replied 'Oh! I totally forgot! I will be there tomorrow.' 'Alright, sounds good.' Next day.....didn't show up. Both of us were like 'Are you serious?!?! Come on!!!' Although we had some dogs, our week was still really good. We had a really good program with one of our bap dates this last week. She has been trying to figure out how to solve a certain trial that she is facing and we have been helping her with it. We talked about the law of the fast this week and we encouraged her to fast this past Sunday, which say accepted to try. The day before, we met with her again and she had some questions concerning prayer. She asked 'I feel like I'm not getting any answers. When I've been asking for something I don't feel anything or hear anything in my thoughts. Am I doing something wrong?' Instantly my mind went to D&C 9 where it talks about the way to discern what kind of answer we are receiving from the Holy Ghost. When we read it to her, she stopped and paused after the part where it says 'You assumed that I would just give you the answer. You must first ponder it in your minds THEN ask me if it is right or not.' She continued to read the verses and afterwards we talked about it a little bit. It was also led perfectly into our lesson about the Trial of our Faith. I had actually wanted to find answers to that question for a while and in my personal study that day I found so many things!! So many answers!! And they just fit for an amazing program! 

This is the thing I want to share most of all to you guys. This week I have recognized my great love for the scriptures. I have learned and have grown so much from reading them! I look forward to starting my day off reading from them and feeling the Spirit every morning and expanding my knowledge of the words of the prophets. Recently my studies have been reading through the Book of Mormon and looking for things that relate to the Atonement and also the Book of Isaiah. I remember reading Isaiah back in Seminary and thinking 'This language is crazy!!! This isn't even English!' But these last few weeks I can hardly put the book down! It contains so much of the personality of God and his great love towards his people and the House of Israel or, in other words, us! Along with all this, I think one of the greatest things I have been learning about is the mercy of God and the power and gift of repentance. It truly is a wonderful gift! I could read of scripture after scripture with you guys and show you the evidence and merciful hand of the Lord, the power that it has to change us to become the incredible people that we can be, to cleanse us of our wrongs, the love of God that we feel when we turn to him and trust in him! I could go on and on, but I'll just have to wait till I come home with their being a lack of time for me to tell you guys all about this. But, that's not to far away either. But I have really come to have a greater understanding of how Alma felt to cry 'O if I were an angel and could cry repentance!' I could never change this experience for anything in the world. The power I have experience of the Holy Ghost working through me and, even greater than that, seeing the Holy Ghost work through my investigators and testifying to them of the truthfulness of these things is worth more than any kind of worldly riches in the world. I am so grateful to have been called here. I cannot thank Heavenly Father enough for Him to have picked this country, the cities I have served in and the companions I have been able to serve with and the investigators and members that I have been able to be around. Such a blessing, not even words can describe. 

Well, my dear family and friends, brothers and sisters of the royal army, I am off to start another week. It’s still weird to think that I only have one complete week in Hungary after this one. And, btw, Elder Dellenbach's birthday is this week! Shout out to the soon to be 19 year old! :D 

I love you all, and keep on prayin'!