Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 27, 2015

Got to email quick today, not much time! We went to Hortobagy with the whole Nyiregyhaza group of missionaries today, and the train ride back took up a good portion of our afternoon. Looks like it'll be a quick letter home for today! :)

It is HOT here now. We've had lots of cool programs with people this week, and we were able to invite Zoli to be baptized! He's been thinking about joining the church for 25 years, and he's been coming to every single branch activity for at least as long as I've even been here. Super nice guy, and he's super excited to be baptized! So are we! :) The sisters have a baptism planned for that day as well, so there should be three all together... Zoli, András, and Ferenc.

Other than that, we're just doing good work here in Nyiregyháza! I love all these people here so much, it's so strange to think that I've only known them for a short period of time.

I hope you are all doing well at home! Love you all lots! :) Szeretlek titeket!

All us missionaries, plus Maija, a Lutheran
 missionary from Washington, D.C.

Elder and Sister Viernes with us on the train
to Hortobagy for p-day today. They are so cool. :)

Balint Istvan "Steve", one of our super legit friends here in Nyiregyhaza! 
He let me sit on his Harley! 1500cc, that's pretty big . The thing weighed,
like, 800 pounds. He was getting ready to ride it in a little parade 
in the town, and we saw him while we were on our
way headed to Sport Nap in the park! :)

We know it's summer time now because all the shops
and vendors have started to set up in the town's square.

This is me with one of our cool friends, Szilárd!
We call him Ricky, because he works in Budapest every
weekend as a rickshaw driver. He's a super fun guy, 
and he loves to have us over to teach him English with his older brother.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April 20, 2015

Happy Monday!

I've been saying "boldog hétfőt kivánok" ("I wish you a happy Monday!") a lot recently to people here. I use it for pretty much every day of the week, but people here get way confused because they're not used to hearing people wish them a happy anything. It's pretty fun to say that to people on the streets here... I get a variety of responses.

Sometimes, it's an old man who's just grumpy with age and abuse and the violence that he's seen from all the different Hungarian revolutions and everything, and he just kind of grumbles or huffs at the suggestion of a happy day. Sometimes, it's a young lady who scoffs that someone from America who speaks Hungarian with an English accent is trying to tell her something. Sometimes, it's a homeless man who's just woken up from a rough hangover and is having a hard time not stumbling as he's walking down the sidewalk. Other times, it's a rude teenager who burps at me and then laughs to his friends smoking home-made cigarettes on the way home from school. Sometimes, it's someone who is having a hard day and they're just able to crack a smile as they say "thanks". Once in a while, it's a cheerful person who chuckles with happy surprise and wishes the same back to me. Lots of variety in the way that these people respond, but I figure no matter how they respond, they all deserve to be wished a happy Monday, or Tuesday, or Friday, or whatever day it might be. I enjoy that. :)

This week, Elder Weaver turned 21! He made himself a little birthday cake, and I found him a cool tie at Tesco for US equivalent of about 2 or 3 dollars. I also gave him a couple of those tie pins that dad mailed me in the MTC since he didn't have any of those. He seemed to enjoy that, so that was good. :) Sister Whittaker is turning 20 on Sunday this week, so he wants to make another cake for her birthday as well. Earler this week, we helped move Ica and Imi, a mother and son in the branch to their new home. They were living in a small apartment in a big Soviet-era building, but now they're living with a friend in a small home on the outskirts of the city because the rent in the apartment was becoming too much for them to pay. Ica is without work right now, and Imi is 19 years old and in a school for special needs children. His birthday was Thursday, the day after we moved them to their new residence, so we thought it would be cool to bring him something special for his birthday. We brought him some little chocolate bars and sweets and helped make him feel comfortable and happy for his birthday, so that was cool too. Lots of birthdays these days!

The weather's getting pretty warm here, but it also has been bouncing back and forth from warm, sunny days to cold, windy, drizzly days. Hooray for bi-polar weather!

A lot of our friends are doing really well here. A couple of them are working towards getting baptised pretty soon, and we're really excited about that! We enjoy getting to meet with lots of people through English class, Sport Nap, Családi Est, and Játék Est. I've taken over teaching the beginner's English class, which is usually taught by the most fluent Hungarian speaker in the area because it involves the most explanation and use of Hungarian in discussions. I still don't think I speak as well as I would like to, but I've been able to converse with pretty much anyone on almost any topic for the past little bit, and that makes me excited to keep learning more and getting better. Definitely something to be grateful for. There really is help for when we need it! :)

Everything's going fairly well here! Hope you guys are all doing super good, too! Love you all! Szeretlek titeket nagyon! :)

So here's the surprise for the week.....
I learned how to play the ukulele! Elder Viernes,
 from the senior couple here in Nyiregyhaza,
 is from Hawaii and is super good at the ukulele,
 and he's taught me a thing or two. I really liked
 it, and can play a handful of songs from memory
now and figure my way around the rest of it, so I
bought a ukulele here in Nyiregyhaza! This week,
we're planning on going out to the town square
to use it to find new people on the street. Elder Weaver
 has a guitar that he found here in Hungary, so we're
 going to see if we can put together a few fun musical
numbers that we can use to bring people in to
talk to us on the streets. Pretty excited about that! :)
I think it'll be good for the people here because
they're just so darn depressed and quiet sometimes...
it should be a good source of healthy smiles for people:)

Giant mural in Miskolc, where our missionary zone
 training was held! Not really sure who made
 this mural on the side of a building or why in the world
he wanted to, but it was cool enough to take a picture! :)

Sister Whittaker's birthday is this coming week,
and her mom sent her some pretty big packages
for her birthday. When the sisters were in a program,
we took all the packages and wrapped them up for her! :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April 13, 2015

Hey, everyone!

Another week's already gone by... What even is time? Hahaha. Hoping this email finds everyone happy and well wherever they're at! Not sure how the weather's been there, but if it's anything like here, then it's gotten way hot really fast. Last week was another winter relapse week here, but now we're sweating buckets when we go outside. Rainy days aren't particularly liked by the Hungarians, but they're welcome in my books because they cool down the temperatures and make everything smell fresh again. We've only had one this week so far, and other than that it's just been fairly hot and dry.

But we've had a super good week! We met with a lot of interesting people, as we seem to always be able to do. One day, we were walking around the city square with the sisters and passing out flyers for our free English class here, since that is one of our best methods of finding in Nyiregyhaza. While doing that, a stranger came up to us and addressed us in English, asking if we were from America. We came to find out that he is a Hungarian, but he speaks very well in English, and his pronunciation is really good. He has a job interview today (Monday), but he wanted to practice with us for the interview because it would be conducted entirely in English. Super nice guy, and we ended up having a good conversation with him for an hour and a half or so! Hopefully the interview goes alright, he said he'd call later to tell us how it turns out. Fingers crossed!

We're having a lot of fun meeting with all of our other friends in Nyiregyhaza as well. On Sunday, we had a social kind of thing over at the Viernes's house, and the turnout was way good! Elder Viernes made some ribs and wings and other barbecue foods, which is impressive because it's almost impossible to find those kind of ingredients out here. Good food and good turnout, and then we showed the Testaments in Hungarian!:) They were about a forty minute bike ride outside of town, but it was nice weather and the wind felt good, so we enjoyed the trip.
Zoli is one of our friends closest to baptism here in Nyíregyháza right now. If he wanted to, he could be baptised this weekend. He comes to every single church activity that we can possible plan, and he loves all of them. He traveled for an hour and a half by bus to go to zone conference with the branch, and he even came to watch general conference with us. He's a really nice guy trying his best to do the right thing, we like him a lot.

Frank (Ferenc) was traveling this week to different towns across the country to play in chess tournaments.... he's crazy good. When Elder Gonzalez was here, they played once a week or so, but even though Gonzalez was super good, Frank always won. He's really talented. He said he might teach us sometime how to be good at chess, too...we'll see!

Earlier this week, we gave Easter to a poor family in the branch here, and that was some of the most fun I've ever had. A nice lady gave us a lot of candy and meat and cookies and things for Easter, but it was was way too much for us to ever use and we didn't want it to go to waste, so we decided to just give it all away to this family... it became fun when we tried to do it anonymously hahaha. To bring it to their apartment, though, we had to be let into their building by someone with keys. Luckily, we found Imi in the playground outside (the son). Imi is very nice, and he was happy to help us. We arranged the candy and food nicely outside their doorstep, and then we told Imi to keep it a secret. We left a note saying "Better late than never! Jesus loves you, from the Easter Bunny." Imi is a little bit slow, so he didn't even remember that we were there. Later, we had a program with the mom, Ica, who was so excited and was beaming to tell us that someone had given their family Easter. They had no idea who had done it, but she was very happy about it. Really great feeling doing service like that. :)

Today for p-day, we went out with the sisters to play soccer in the park at Örökösföld here in Nyíregyháza. That was lots of fun, too! Sister Whittaker is a BALLER. Elder Weaver is super good at frisbee, and Sister Wilson brought a whip that she bought from Hortobágy, and together we all just had a blast at the park today! :)

Anyways, probably got to go pretty quickly here... not too much more time to write for this week! Love you all lots and think about you all often. Be good this week and do something to change the world. :) Sok szeretettel, Priest Elder

The flowers here have all opened up! These are in one
 of the squares in the city, they're looking super good
 and all of the people here say that they'll look even cooler
 in just a couple of weeks when all the trees are blooming as well! :)

Check it out.... blooming trees everywhere!

Part of the city square... lots of people out
now that the weather's warm!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April 7, 2015

Hi, everyone!

Crazy week this week with transfers in Budapest and prepping for that earlier this week. We're finally getting settled into the groove of this next transfer as well, and I'm excited for what it might bring as well.

Elder Weaver is from Logan, Utah, and he is much different from Elder Gonzalez. Not a bad thing, for sure, just interesting. He's a nice guy though, and very, very smart. When he was at home, he made his own rubix cube out of wood and magnets. He can solve any rubix cube--whether it's three by three, four by four, five by five, or any of the unique ones in his collection that are made in all kinds of different shapes and sizes. He's a super good piano player as well, and he's a computer wiz who likes anything that has to do with figuring new stuff out. This is actually his last transfer here in the country, so he'll be heading back to America in the next nine weeks or so.

It's interesting, though, for a couple of different reasons. Being that Gonzalez is a native speaker, I have to speak much more now that he is gone. It's good though, because that means that I'll be learning a lot of the language by usage this transfer instead of listening like last transfer. I'm excited for that, and I can already tell that a lot of what Elder Gonzalez was helping me to learn has become part of my commonly used vocabulary. It doesn't mean that this language is any easier, for sure, but maybe just that I'm getting a little bit better at speaking and understanding (thank goodness). I love it though. :)

We have a lot of more work coming up that we need to get prepped for, so it looks like this might be it for emails this week! We're doing really good out here still, happy and having a blast every day! Love y'all lots, have a good week and we'll talk to you next week! :)

Elder Weaver and me!

One of the members took us archery shooting! That was really fun.

I guess there was once a church out here in the middle
of nowhere and this was the tower... but now
 there's no church and just a steeple laying on the ground.
This thing was HUGE. 1 Nephi 22:14 maybe?

Easter eggs here are on a whole new level of craziness...
These are carved out of egg shells and
painted by hand. Very impressive.


This is a Hungarian craftsman's booth in an indoor
marketplace where he makes flowers carved
 out of wood... Super intense stuff!

Some of the Hungarians in a small falu near Nyiregyhaza
put on a traditional Easter dance display... super cool!

Outside the stablehouse of one of the houses in the countryside!

Always interesting to travel outside the city to the
Hungarian countryside... it's like going back in
time into the 1800s of Magyarorszag

Ricky and Patrick, two of our super cool
 friends in Nyiregyhaza! Ricky's a rickshaw drive
in Budapest, and Patrick... well, he's just six.

Very last picture with Gonzalez! Super sad to see
 him go, but we're for sure gonna be best buds for a long time.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

March 31, 2015

Hey, everyone!

Another busy week this week, especially with transfers coming up tomorrow. Lots to do around the apartment to get it ready for the next 9 weeks, and lots to do so that we're ready to catch the train to Budapest tomorrow morning!

Anyways, we had another sweet week full of adventures in Nyiregyhaza! All of our friends here are super cool and are willing to help us out with whatever we need. One of them helped fix the old, broken bikes that the mission had kept in our basement here, so we've been able to ride around a lot to different appointments all over the area. Another made us a cool little photoshop gift and little fridge magnets and stuff that have funny pictures of us on them haha. Everyone we visit offers to give us food, and most of the time they try to send us home with some as well! They are all very kind to us here.

For transfers, Elder Gonzalez is leaving Nyiregyhaza and heading to the opposite side of the country to go serve in Pecs, over by Croatia. I'm very sad to see him leave, we got along really well and got a lot of good work done here, so for sure we're going to email each other to stay in touch. It should be interesting though to work with a new companion! I'm staying here in Nyiregyhaza, and they're sending out Elder Weaver. He's getting ready to go home in 9 weeks, so it should be fun to see what he's learned so far from his mission and to see if we can keep up the good work here! Sounds like I might be here in Niregyhaza until September or so, since he goes home soon and they usually try not to have both elders leave at the same time. So I guess that's good because it gives me even more time to get to know the area and people really well! :)

We meet people every day on the streets who are looking for a better way to be happy. With the Easter season here, we are always really excited to share with them how we are always so happy and to invite them to try it out, too! There's a cool video that the church put out about the Easter season. We watch it in Hungarian here, but the English version is also available. Try it out, see if you can guess what the titles are saying! http://bcove.me/mm0myijj

Easter eggs and chocolates are fun, but just remember what the real reason for Easter is: a chance to be happy and stoked about life! It's entirely appropriate that Easter is in the springtime. The birds, flowers, trees, and everything come back to life again. They start a NEW life. In just the same way, we can choose to start a new life, and what better time to do that than around Easter! The Savior died, and was resurrected. That's great and all, but sometimes people miss the last step. If he was really resurrected, then that means that he now lives. How significant and beautiful is that?

Hope you all have a happy Easter season! :) Love you all! Szeretlek titeket, es boldog Husvet!

Last picture with Elder Miguel Gonzalez before transfers

So once every couple of months, they have this thing
where you throw out old stuff into the street and it gets
 taken away... either to the trash or by the Gypsies here.
 We had a nasty old torn, gross couch that no one knows 
where it came from (including our landlord), so we
broke it (because it wouldn't fit out the door) and took
 it downstairs to the pile of junk on the street, where the Gypsies
 looted the frame for firewood and then
took the metal pieces to scrap. Fun stuff.

Look what one of our investigators made for me.
 Geza is a graphic designer who is learning English
with us and thought he'd make us "a funny gift"!
 See, told y'all I'm Captain America ;)

Geza, the guy who made us those funny photoshopped pictures!

Coloring Easter Eggs! Guess which one I made ;)