Monday, September 28, 2015

September 28, 2015

So this week was too fast! We were kept pretty busy with different programs all over the city, including zone conference on Friday at Hajnoczy József. Real fast to sum up the cool things of this week:

We helped an old lady move one of the dressers from her house out to the street, because she didn't want it anymore. Why she wanted it put there, I have no idea, but it was quite a project.

We had the loudest English class of all time with a ton of crazy, rowdy little kids running around the place.

There was a pretty big rainstorm that came through Budapest on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and part of Sunday, which means that we were wet for a couple of days.

We went to an "escape house" for p-day today, which was awesome. Basically, you pay a fee to be locked in a room with a group, and you have to think and be smart and find the clues and keys in the room to unlock your way out. Lots of fun.

In short, we're doing well and looking forward to General Conference with some of our good friends that we meet with here in Kispest! We're on a delay since there's a time lapse because of translation, but we'll be watching the same thing just a few hours behind the rest of you all! Should be great. :)

Gotta run, but hope everyone has a great week and that life is good and you're happy. Be good and help people:) Love you guys!

I think that some of the subway metro stops in
Budapest look like the hovercarrier from Avengers

Popped our heads into the Hungarian State Opera House 
as we were streeting one day, that was cool

Practicing my writing in old Hungarian 

Monday, September 21, 2015

September 21, 2015


Back to Monday again. Not much by way of big news from Budapest, just still here working in Kispest! We're still doing really good, having some pretty good success with meeting with a lot of the people here. We had a jam-packed week last week that was so busy that we were always on the move traveling from one program to another, which was fun! We've even had a few random people on the streets just come up to us and ask us to talk to them about who we are and what we're doing here in Hungary. Pretty cool stuff.

As far as the situation with the immigrants, it's still pretty touchy here. There's thousands of immigrants (like, tens of thousands) waiting outside the southeastern border of Hungary trying to break into the country. The government hastily built up a wall on the border to try to keep them out, but they're trying to push it down in places to get into the nation. The tough thing is that a lot of them actually aren't refugees, but want to take advantage of the opportunity to sneak into Europe by posing as one. They often don't accept food or water that is given to them by humanitarian efforts, and there's been scattered reports about violence between them and the predominantly Christian demographic of Europe. Most don't want to complete the necessary paperwork to become legal citizens, and just want to do what they want to do, which pretty much just means making a mess. I have heard several people say that people are mad at the Hungarian government because of the way they treat them, but it looks like the media isn't telling the whole story... Sounds like when the cameras are out, the refugees and immigrants pose to look starving and abused, and the reporters film only when the Hungarian police try to keep back crowds of immigrants swarming the wall with things like water cannons or rubber bullets. It's a problem...

But other than that, everything else is going well here in Kispest. We spent some time this week cutting wood for one of the old ladies that we know here, which is fun because I've never really had to do that before and it's good to know that she'll have heat for the winter. Fun service projects are the best way to help people, for sure.

Hope that everything is alright back at home! The Hungarians tell us they're a bit scared to see who'll become the next US president, because it might have a big impact on how this immigrant crisis is handled here. Hopefully, everything will work out okay. :)

Love you all lots! Have a great week and be happy. :)

My buddy, Ricky, from Nyíregyháza, works in Budapest on the 
weekends as a Rickshaw driver for tourists in the downtown 
area of the city, and we were able to meet up with him and 
have an awesome time as he drove us around the city on his
rickshaw and even let us try it out, too! It's a lot harder than 
you would think, it's a heavy bike that's pretty long and 
double wide, but it was for sure the coolest way to see the city.

Picture taken with Katolin and the other elders
in front of the Kispest branch house

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

September 14, 2015

Another week's gone, and now there's only a couple of weeks left before the next transfer... crazy. My MTC group hits it's 10-month mark this week!

Things are going good here in Kispest. We've got lots of really good friends here that we meet with all throughout the week, and it's been cool to even get to teach some piano to some of the people that we meet with. We've been trying to use some of our talents to find new people to talk to as well, so we've been whipping in the park, playing some basketball with some of the kids from the neighborhood, and teaching Enlish again as our English classes have restarted now after the August break.

For the most part, the people that we meet here are pretty normal. Sometimes, though, we meet some interesting characters who are not necessarily as normal... Sometimes that's a very funny thing, but other times it's pretty sad. The other day, we were riding home on the metro right before curfew, and a homeless man who had had a lot to drink started to serenade us on the metro. He started to sing pretty loudly and dance on the metro, kind of making most passengers give him some pretty confused looks. Then, he asked us for money, and proceeded to try to convince us to give him some Forints by doing push-ups and pull-ups on the frame of the tram. When that didn't work, he knelt down and pretended to pray to us. It was a bit discomforting, and kind of sad when we glanced into his open bag on the floor next to him (full of empty bottles, crushed cans, and a few homemade tobacco containers to hold his leaves). Moral of the story: don't do drugs, kids.

As for the refugee situation here in Budapest, it's about the same. There were a couple of marches and demonstrations in parts of town, and a few riots in isolated areas. We get first notice by text message from our zone leaders, though, and we know for the most part where and when those things are going to happen so that can avoid the conflict. There's still lots of refugees around the train stations, but I think the government here is trying to send them either forward or back to where they came from. The Parliament here is catching a lot of flack for not handling the situation any better than they are, and a lot of the people that we meet with tell us that they're frustrated with the way everything's going down.

But we're safe and doing well here in Kispest! Still doing great and trying to help people to be happier here. Hope that everything is going okay back home in AZ, as well. :) Until next week!

Went to get sushi with some of our investigators this week!
Really scared at first (because Hungary is land-locked and
so that sounds dangerous to buy fish and seafood here),
 but it turned out to be okay and none of us got sick!

Gnarly fence outside someone's house... A little bit intimidating.

Went to visit the Budapest zoo for p-day, and they have a 
truck that is part of the tiger's pen. There's the truck, a 
glass window, and the bed of the truck. A tiger 
just happened to be napping in the back.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

September 8, 2015

Not much time to email today! Sorry I wasn't able to email yesterday! We met with some people that were only able to meet yesterday at a certain time, and there wasn't enough hours in the day for us to be able to email and get everything done that we needed to. We called President Szabadkai and asked him for permission to email today instead.

The biggest news for this week is, like everyone might have already heard in the news, Budapest is having a pretty big issue right now with immigrants and refugees flooding into the country by the thousands. The biggest part of them are coming from nations in Africa and the Middle East that are experiencing serious civil wars or violent struggles like that, but there are some now coming from all over the world.

The problem is that all these people are trying to escape the troubles in their mother countries, but they get stuck here in Hungary trying to find refuge. Hungary is a fairly poor country to begin with, and there's not a huge excess of jobs or opportunities for these people to be integrated into the society here. Germany has now said that they will be accepted into their borders, but mostly only the ones who have "promise" with potential of supporting the work force and bringing skills into the country. Anybody else is turned back and sent to Budapest, which is a big checkpoint in the process. Basically, there's a lot of crowded, upset, hungry foreigners here in Budapest who think there is a place for them here but can't seem to find it yet. Most don't speak English, and almost none speak even a word of Hungarian. We've received instructions from our mission president that we're supposed to avoid any of the main train stations or transportation checkpoints in the city, because there is potentially dangerous situations in some of those places. We're safe and totally fine, but it's interesting to watch this fold out right in front of us. The other day, we were walking home after a program and watched as a SWAT team was walking through the terminal of the train station checking for illegal immigrants.

The church also has a senior couple here in Hungary who works with humanitarian efforts, and they are currently trying to coordinate some kind of help for these refugees here in Budapest.

Other than that, it's been another interesting week of adventures here in Kispest! Hope that everything is going well at home! Not much more time to write for today, but more to come next week. Love you all. :)

This picture of a communist building in Kispest represents
the Hungarian people. All of the windows are in the same
(sometimes bleak and boring) grey concrete, but each window 
is unique and different. If you look at just one window, it might 
look kind of poor and unappealing to the eye. Look at the whole
picture, however, and suddenly this whole thing became
a super deep analogy about an entire nationality.