Saturday, January 31, 2015

January 27, 2015

Email from Elder Priest's mission president, President Lowell  Smith:

Dear Missionary Family:

Your missionary, along with nine others, has arrived safely in the Hungary Budapest Mission! We are excited to finally receive these new missionaries. Here is a photograph which we took in the Mission Home, following our dinner.

When we returned from the Airport, I conducted initial, brief interviews. These interviews are helpful to me as I prepare to make companionship assignments. Following dinner, we enjoyed a wonderful Hungarian dinner. At the conclusion of the meal, the missionaries sang (in Hungarian) “Come Thou Font of Every Blessing.” It was wonderful.

The missionaries then went to Castle Hill, where they overlooked the Danube River, the Parliament, Lion Bridge, and other significant Hungarian sites. The Dedicatory Prayer for Hungary, given by Elder Russell M. Nelson on April 19, 1987, was read.

Tomorrow, the missionaries will have photographs taken for residency permits. They will also be “contacting” individuals on the street (called “streeting”). They will then return to the Mission Office, receive training, and will then be assigned their first companion and be assigned to their first city. The missionaries will depart to their new area of service immediately following the assignment meeting.

We have asked the missionaries to e-mail their family on Preparation Day (Monday). You should expect to hear from your missionary then.

Thank you for your prayers on behalf of your missionary - and on behalf of all of the missionaries in the Hungary Budapest Mission.

Friday, January 23, 2015

January 22, 2015

Sziasztok ujra!

Another week's gone! In fact, we're almost out of the MTC, and I NEVER THOUGHT IT WOULD COME. Don't get me wrong, this place is great, but it is SO time to go haha. 10 weeks here have felt like 10 lifetimes, and we are just stoked to head to Hungary.

We've been studying like crazy this past week. Not like we haven't been working this whole time, but this past week especially it finally started to click that our learning time is almost up and now it's mostly time to practice with real-life stuff. That is beyond scary, because our teachers tell us we still are speaking like little Hungarian children might. It'll be okay though! I think it's good to get the basics down here, and then the rest will hopefully fall into place as we're using and learning new words every day there.

With it being our last week here, we've been making sure that we're all packed up and ready to go. Our final week's schedule here in the MTC is a little bit more relaxed in that we have about 2 hours every day to make sure that our bags are all packed and that our residence dorms and classrooms are all cleaned out for departure on Monday morning. It's been kind of fun to get to put all of our clothes and shoes and ties and stuff all into suitcases again, because it feels like we're leaving on an adventure, but then it just makes us play the waiting game that no one really likes to do...

We also got to speak with and teach some Hungarians via Skype this week! I'm not quite sure what kind of Hungarian they were speaking, but it definitely sounded like some new language altogether hahaha. Me and my companion did pretty well--we had a hard time understanding a few of the words that they used and there were a couple of times that we didn't know exactly what the people were saying, but it was way fun to just get to try speaking the "real" Hungarian.

Anyways, just another week of experiences here in the MTC! Not much left to write, we've just been packing and studying all week. We're heading out earlyyyyy on Monday morning (3:30 a.m.), so we'd better get back to packing all of our stuff up! Keep looking for ways that there are little tiny miracles in your life! We see a lot of them here, and I know for sure they're in everyone's lives if they're just willing to look for them and find them. Remember that it's not about us! It's about helping others and thinking about what the Savior would do. Smile and have an awesome week full of adventures! Same time next week, this email will be coming from southeast Europe! :)

Foggy MTC

Elder Priest's travel itinerary! 

Elder Priest with Vanem Marchionda and
Vanam Willder

Scenic picture from MTC

Kinnon and his MTC class

Elder Priest and Vanhin Nissen found ice chunks 

Elder Priest sporting his orange tie
with another elder

Saturday, January 17, 2015

January 15, 2015


The time here is UNREAL and I'm not going to stop saying that until it stops happening lol. We're getting so much done, but at the same time it feels like we should be so much better at Hungarian by now, and we're just all so ready to be out of here. So many groups of English speaking missionaries have already left here during our stay alone, and two groups of Spanish-speaking missionaries (and those speaking similar languages) have already left. Less than two weeks, though, and that'll be us!! 

One of our teachers, Beaumont Testver (Brother Beaumont), came in to our class the other day and asked us why we were in class and not packing our bags up. Apparently, there was some kind of mis-communication along the way, and he was told that we were actually leaving the 20th. We all got super excited and riled up because we thought we might be breakin' out of this joint! Turns out, the email he got was wrong and we're still here until the 26th haha. We don't have our travel plans yet, but hopefully they'll come soon because we're dying to know when we're going to leave! The MTC is great and all, but now it's time to be done lol. Europe!!! In 11 days!!! Whaaaa?! What makes it even cooler is that even though we're not by any means fluent with this language yet, our teacher told us that if we had to pack our bags and leave today for Hungary, we'd all be capable of surviving. I think he said that partially to make us feel better about ourselves just because there's a fair amount of people who speak some degree of English in Budapest.

This week, Elders Martineau, Winkel, and I got to help out with welcoming the new missionaries again, but this time as traffic directors! It was freezing outside, but the police officers for BYU came to help us out and we all got to wear those super cool bright neon jackets that you see them wear sometimes for big events or when a stoplight doesn't work or something like that. They also gave us those little packets that you shake up and they're super warm for your pockets, and those were really cool because we just don't really use those very much down in nice, warm 'Zona! So we got to direct traffic and feel really important and all that good stuff. That was pretty cool. And free hot chocolate!!

My companion's been super sick these past couple of days, too. He's missed the last six or seven days of class to stay and rest in the dorms because he's felt super crummy, so we've been in and out of the doctor's office a lot. I've made some friends at the BYU student pharmacy where we go to pick up his prescriptions. Turns out, it's basically just a cold that feels super bad because he's got minor asthma that occurs when he's sick, but that's actually good news because that means that hopefully he'll recover in time to leave for Hungary! I've been super lucky to not have gotten sick at all. This is his fourth time being sick, and that's just here in the MTC.

So not much time left to write, but just wanted to share one cool experience that happened this week that's strengthened my belief that God knows us and our needs! Elder Nordberg and I were going on a split to check on our departure information in the main office, and on the way we past a group of two elders standing on the side of a hallway. One of them was crying hysterically, and the other was obviously overwhelmed because he didn't know how to calm down his companion. We decided to stop aside for a moment and see if we could help with anything, and this missionary proceeded to tell us that he was being sent home. He had been struggling with severe anxiety, depression, and sleep insomnia, and his body was apparently taking a physical and mental toll as a result. We didn't know him before we met him, but we just gave him a hug and told him that it would all be okay someday. We told him that God loves him and that we love him and that whatever happens will happen, and it will work out to help him in some way. In the end, he was still pretty distraught and sad, but at least we had had the chance to tell him that. It only makes sense that God knows us since he's our Heavenly Father, so it's awesome that sometimes he lets us help other people like true Christians would do.

Anyways, just wanted to share that quick little story with you all! Have another great week, I'll look forward to writing home one more time before we leave the MTC!! Nagyon szeretlek titeket es a legeslegjobb vagytok!!

Saying goodbye to the Japanese elders

Saying goodbye to Sister Stigen

Provo, UT temple, taken by Kinnon

Kinnon and his friend from Arizona, Elder Johnson

Kinnon and Elder Winkel

Saturday, January 10, 2015

January 8, 2015

Hey hey!

Another week's gone by. Only 2 1/2 more and we're breaking out of here!! Hahaha the MTC isn't quite as bad as some people make it up to be, but it definitely does try your patience and make you crazier than you've ever been before. Although it's good to be here and learn how to better care for others and speak a language, I'm definitely very obviously excited to go to Europe and have the real adventures that we all know are going to happen. It's going to be GREAT.

So this week's been kind of quiet, mostly! Our new Finnish missionaries are here now, and they're pretty much settled in by now. One of them ran against us as a Mtn View Toro! (For Coach Selby, it's Elder Nissen, going to Finland.) In fact, he and I decided to try to co-set the mile record here at the MTC since they start all the records over at the beginning of the new year. I've been playing basketball mostly for the past couple of weeks because the track is just too tight and tiny for my taste, and the exercise field outside has been closed for a while now. Basketball's been a lot of fun and it's kept me from gaining any weight, but I've definitely lost some running ability from sitting in a chair 12 hours of the day. I'm very excited to come home after everything's been finished and to be able to run again. That'll be the legeslegjobb (the best). Anyways, we co-ran the mile together and he beat me by 12 seconds. I was a little bit bummed about losing to a Toro, but it was okay because I'm just pretty glad that after so long here in the MTC, I could keep up with him that well! So no mile record for Priest Elder this week, but I gained a new friend which is way better. 

Lots of interesting events this week! Our Hungarian's obviously getting better every day, but it's also a challenge because there's still different rates that everyone learns at and it makes it stressful for some of our district members when someone else speaks/writes/understands well and it's harder for them. I'm so stinking excited though, it's going to be great to finally fly to Europe and see what we've all been waiting for. We got the unique opportunity to skype-teach someone in Hungary yesterday morning, and we realized very quickly that, although our Hungarian's been improving, it's not nearly good enough yet to speak as well as we want to with others. It was okay though! We understood almost everything that he said, and I really believe that the Lord is going to help us when He knows that we need it. The man that we taught was named "Ruhast" (pronouced Rue-hawsht), and he told us that he wants us to come find him as soon as we're in Budapest because he wants to cook some real authentic Hungarian food for us! How cool is that!! Good food AND a new friend?! Deal!!

My companion and I also got asked to help teach a lesson in front of about 100 new incoming missionaries this week so that we can show them how to understand people. The presentation was called "People and Purpose," and it was really cool because we got to learn more ourselves while still helping to put the new missionaries at ease and helping them to know that everything's really not as stressful or crazy as some people might say. So that's really good.

The new Finnish missionaries had the lucky task of flying to LA for a day to visit the consulate and start the visa process for their country. We we all super jealous because Hungary lets you come into the country on just a passport, and it's not necessary to travel with a visa. They got to spend a day in LA seeing some different sights, talking to some real people on the streets, and other adventures. One of the Finnish elders brought back some of that MoonSand stuff that you find in the art section of a lot of stores--the kind of play sand that molds together and doesn't make a mess, ya know? Anyways, they brought it back with them, and, long story short, we now have a twelve-inch by one-inch beach in our dorms. Pretty great.

One of our Hungarian teachers is taking an internship opportunity in Washington, DC. this week, so we said goodbye to him on Friday and sang "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" in Hungarian to him. That was actually pretty sad. He looks like Andrew Garfield from the new Spiderman movies if you ask me.

Just another fun time in the MTC this week! Not much time left, but just wanted to let ya know how it's going here! Nagyon szeretlek titeket! Mignem talalkozunk oire, sziastok! :)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

January 1, 2015

So it's New Year's Day in the MTC! Whooo! 2015!! Crazy, right?!

So this week has been another adventure. The zone got super crazy small this week with only two districts and fifteen missionaries left since we lost all of the Finnish and Albanian missionaries when they left early Monday morning. Elder Winegar and I woke up at 3 so that we could help them to their shuttles on time since we're the zone leaders. That was a lot of fun! Sad to see our friends that we've "grown up" with leave, but the're gonna do awesome and they all said they'd write us (hopefully). Medveczky Elder even told me to come find him after my mission so that we can keep practicing Hungarian! He gave us messages and notes to take to his family in Budapest. Sounds like everyone in Hungary knows everyone if you're a Mormon, so we'll see his family a lot while we're there.

Yesterday, we had the awesome chance to host again, and to help get the new missionaries settled in to the MTC life. Crazy enough, one of the first missionaries I saw was Elder Tyler Johnson from home! He was one of me and Ashton's super good friends, and it was so cool to get to see him here and give him a solid handshake half-hug! I also ran into my friend Sister Alicia Stigen from home during hosting! She's a super awesome example, and I'm so glad that Sister Layton from our District hosted her so that she'd be taken care of. I also saw Elder Taylor Kelly this week on Christmas! He's headed to Paris for his mission, and the other two are going off to Australia. Crazy to think that I've already been here for six weeks, and they've all just got here, and they're STILL going to leave weeks before I will. Hahaha.

Christmas Day was an experience I'll never forget. We woke up on Christmas to get dressed for the day, and it had snowed a solid six inches overnight! I was kind of scared because I really didn't want to be colder hahaha, but it was kind of fun to see something different for a change! We made snowmen and played in the snow for a while and it was a blast. Elder Nelson ended up coming to speak to us on Christmas Day, so that was way cool! The whole day was an awesome experience, but it was especially cool to open up our little "stockings" with nice thoughts and notes from the other people in our district. Some anonymous Santa had brought us some little gifts like a mini foam soccer ball and a finger puppet (kind of weird haha) and some chocolate and some fancy pens and stuff, so that was really neat to see.

Christmas Eve was even better though! We were asked to be the "angels" in our MTC Christmas pageant and to sing "Angels we have Heard on High" on stage in front of all 2000 missionaries here. That was okay, but then I found out we each had a solo, too! I was honestly pretty terrified because I've never done anything like that before, but it turned out to be okay and we all made it through! We rehearsed before the performance in this little glass alcove entry way kind of thing (like the ones at Malls that you walk through to get into JC Penny's or Macy's or something) and it was the most beautiful sounding thing I've ever heard. No piano or accompaniment, just plain singing echoing in this little glass room. It was incredible.

Not much time to write emails since I spent most of the time sending pictures your way, but I just hope that everything's going well in Mesa and that everyone's having fun! Smile and enjoy life, it's important to share happiness around! I love you all and look forward to writing again in a week! Nagyon szeretlek titeket! :)

Elder Priest, his companion, and
the Sister Missionaries

Elder Priest and his district 

Elder Priest and Elder Medveczky

Kinnon and his companion,
Elder Winegar, at the Provo, UT temple

Playing with Icicles 

Christmas dinner at the MTC

Christmas Day with Kinnon's district

Classroom window at the MTC

Elder Priest and Elder Kelly

Elder Priest and his first snowman

Kinnon and few of the other 'angels'
who sang for the Christmas devotional

Kinnon and other 'angels' from his zone

Hungarian missionaries and their socks

Kinnon on New Year's Day
with his district

Elder Priest and Elder Winegar

Kinnon's goofy MTC class