Sunday, February 28, 2016

February 27, 2016


Very short time to email, so I'll just say that we had a really great week! Probably the highlight for me was that we were walking in a smaller area of town, tucked away by the outskirts of Buda called Nyék, trying to talk to people at their homes. We hadn't had a whole ton of success, because most people were either not at home or said they were too busy to talk, and we were about to head back to the bus stop that would take us back to downtown Buda because it was getting a little bit late.

Walking up the last hill towards the bus stop, an old lady was standing in front of her house with a bucket full of concrete mix (dry) and scooping the powder into a pothole in the road. The rain had left the pothole filled with water, and she was stirring the mix into the water to try to fill in the hole and make the road level again. I'm not sure that that is sound logic to make a solid road and fill in any kind of hole, but we offered to help her in stirring in the concrete into her little puddle in front of her house. She told us that she wouldn't like any help, because she preferred to handle her problems on her own. "If you wait for someone else to solve your problems," she said, "you'll be left with puddles forever." She was right, to a certain degree, that the puddle probably would stay there until she or someone else came along to mix some concrete powder into the water.

She was impressed that we had offered to help, though, and she asked us why we were willing to stop and assist a stranger. We told her that we were Christian missionaries who wanted to be like Christ, and she thought that sounded alright. She told us that she wasn't very religious herself, and that she feels like she does well-enough just saying prayers by herself alone at her house, and that there wasn't really any need of an organized religion. She did say, though, that she always seemed to be blessed in her life, and that, whenever a problem came up to which she needed an answer, she would read in one of her books the exact thing that she needed to hear to help her in her life.

We thought that was something, because that's exactly what the Book of Mormon can do! We introduced her to it, and told her that its pages would contain all the answers she could possible look for, as long as she looked for them with prayer and faith. She promised that she would read it and look for the truth that might be found in it.

That's the story for this week! Not much time for anything else! Love you all and hope that life is good at home. We'll talk more next week! :)

Adventure map of Buda! All the fun stuff that we're gonna
have to try to see on p-days later on, filled with old 
paths and trails in the hills behind the city!

We were walking around an area of Buda called Szépilona, and we caught a glimpse of something big and yellow... with an Arizona license plate! Turns out it was a school bus, bought by a Hungarian and shipped to Europe to be turned into a restaurant-on-wheels. How crazy is that?!

Came to a pretty place called Makkosmária, at the end of the trail!

Ended up walking through the forest for a few minutes on
a little trail to get to a small village outside of Buda.
Crazy how close the forest is to the city!

The walk back from the village after we were done was
uphill and in the mud, so we ended up slipping and sliding
 a little bit... but we made it to the top and back to Buda again!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

February 20, 2016


So I'm sure a lot ended up happening this week, but I actually stayed out of the loop on most of it. I got sick last week on Friday as I caught a cold, and ended up coughing a little and being pretty congested by the time Monday morning rolled around, when we had our meeting with President Szabadkai. Just to be safe, President and Sister Szabadkai both said that we should stay home and have me rest to try to kick the cold to the curb as fast as possible.

We ended up coming home, and I conked out and slept for the next several hours. I woke up long enough to eat some dinner and fell back asleep again. When we woke up on Tuesday morning, it had gotten just a little bit worse, and Sister Szabadkai suggested that I visit one of the private healthcare doctors in Budapest just to make sure it's nothing more serious. I was pretty sure it was just a cold, but we checked it out just to be safe. Meanwhile, Elder Krueger (one of the secretaries of the office) had also gotten pretty sick to his stomach. He had some sushi that he bought in a grocery store here in Budapest and had been feeling pretty sick since Friday night, so me and him headed to the doctor together to get checked out, while Elder Dalton (who I served with in Kispest) and Elder Parkinson ended up going together for a little bit to work in the office.

Long story short, the doctor confirmed our suspicions and basically told me that I have a cold and that plenty of rest and a few medicines and it should solve the problem. She wrote a prescription for some medicines and told me to sleep for three to five days. Elder Krueger wasn't as lucky, and he ended up hvaing an IV put into him on the spot to put some water and vitamins into his system to help him recover from whatever had been upsetting his stomach. We later went back that day for him to have an ultra-sound to make sure nothing else was wrong, and then spent the rest of the day resting at home.

Wednesday morning, Elder Krueger and I did some more active resting at home while Elder Parkinson and Elder Dalton were working together. Wednesday evening, I was restless and already tired of sitting still and not doing anything but being in our apartment, so President Szabadkai allowed me to come to Elder Watson and Elder Mellor's departing dinner at their house that evening. I made sure not to cough or sniffle as much as possible, because I didn't really want to spend too much more time in our apartment than I needed to, and it ended up being a fun night getting to say goodbye to two of my favorite comps from before.

Thursday, we had a zone training here in Budapest, which was really nice because it was the first zone training I've had in a long time where we didn't have to drive for a few hours to the city where it was being held! It was just a few steps down the road from our apartment, since we live on the same street as the mission home and branch house, and it was a pretty good zone training.

Friday, we met with some of our good friends, Miklos, Lajos, and the Wöfl family--Bertöld, Eszter, and Anna. Pretty normal day for the most part, actually!

Today, we went with the Simkins to Johnny's in Diósd for lunch on our p-day, and that was so nice! Now we're just back here doing some emailing and getting ready for the next week to come. Hopefully, next week we'll have a little bit of extra time on p-day to go on a quick hike or something fun like that--I need some fresh air!

Everything else is going pretty well, though! Just a little lingering cough and some sniffles from having the cold earlier in the week, but other than that pretty healthy and happy. I love being in Buda with Elder Parkinson! He's great!

Hope you all have a good week of adventures back at home! Love you all, we'll talk more next week!

Last pic with Elder Watson before he went home on
Thursday morning to Brigham City! Crazy that he's already
finished with his mission--I feel like we just started 
serving together! Gonna miss him, he's awesome! 

Elder Mellor also went home on Thursday morning at the same
time as Elder Watson (I served with him and Elder Dietrich
here in Buda about 6 months ago or so). It's a strange thing 
to be with two of your best friends right before they go home!

Elder Parkinson, my new comp! He's one of the nicest people
I've ever met, and he's incredibly intelligent. Even though he's much
smarter than I am, it's the kind of smart that's kind and makes me fee
l smarter about myself, too. He's a really brilliant mathematician 
who'll probably discover the next principle of Algebra or Calculus 
or something like that someday. I've already learned so much 
from him, it's crazy! Super excited to serve with him!

Foggy, rainy weather always makes everything seem 
more mysterious, especially when nighttime comes around... 
That's been Budapest all week so far!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

February 13, 2016


Another fast week. Tons happened, and I feel like it's only been a few minutes since it all started. At the same time, those few minutes have stretched over the space of seven lifetimes in the moments of craziness this week!

On Monday, we finalized the plans for transfers with President Szabadkai, and prepared everything in the office that needed to be ready for the different meetings that we would have here. Elder Blake was getting ready to go home and finish his mission on Tuesday morning, so he slept at our house on Monday night after dinner with the Szabadkai family, and we took him to see Gellért Hegy before leaving to go back home.

Tuesday morning, at around 3 o'clock, Elder Blake got up and ready for the planeride home. We walked him over to the mission home, where the Simkins were waiting to take him to the airport. Then, we ran home and tried to get a little bit more sleep before starting our day. Bright and early, we were in the office and making phone calls to the missionaries to let them know where they would be in the next transfer, and with whom. Soon after we had finished all of the phone calls that we needed to make, we jumped in the car and headed off to the aiport, where we were to meet President Szabadkai, Sister Szabadkai, and the new missionaries who were arriving just after lunchtime. We welcomed them at the airport, and got them filed into the shuttles that we had rented to pack them and their luggage back to the mission home at Hajnóczy.

That ended up being the last time I drove the car, since my year-mark of living in Hungary has recently run up. It was a little bit sad, because it makes many things much easier to have a car to use. (And, of course, I just like driving, too. I feel like it's a major stress-reliever.) But it was great while it lasted! A few more months, and I'll probably be driving at home, so it'll be good.

We spent Tuesday with all the new missionaries, getting their passport pictures done for their Hungarian residency cards and showing them some of the places here in Budapest. We had a little bit of time to take some of them streeting here by Széll Kálmán Tér. and then we took them back to have dinner with the Szabadkai family before seeing the Buda Castle and taking them to their hotel to sleep for the night.

Wednesday morning was really rainy, which was unfortunate for a transfer day of missionaries lugging their suitcases from old cities to new ones. We picked up the new missionaries from their hotel and brought them back to the mission office, where we had their orientation meeting and assigned them to their first cities and companions. After they were all set and ready to head out, we spent pretty much the rest of the day doing work in the office and updating things like mission rosters, preparing list of information for President, and other stuff. Sister Wilson departed on Thursday morning, so we had dinner with her and the Szabadkai family on Wednesday night. I also got my new companion, Elder Parkinson on Wednesday! He's a really smart guy from Idaho, and he knows just about everything about everything. He's also VERY tall. I look up to him in more ways than one! He seems like he's really nice, though, and I'm looking forward to working here with him!

Thursday was fairly normal, with just a few scattered errands being done for President Szabadkai and preparing everything for the MLC meeting that was scheduled for Friday morning.

Friday, we had MLC, and someone named Elder Matthias came in from France to teach us a little bit about using the church's 12-step Addiction Recovery Program. It's a pretty well-done program from the looks of it, and it'd be very useful here in Hungary, but it requires a pretty extensive support-system that doesn't quite exist here yet. Hopefully it'll be possible in the future, though!

And today has been pretty quiet. It's a rainy day, which is already a little bit quieter, but we're also just kind of taking it easy because I'm feeing a little bit under the weather and want to just get over it already. We had lunch with the Simkins today, and that's about all we've got going on today so far.

I think that's all the major news! Elder Watson's doing well in Pécs--he's excited to go home next week! Hope everyone at home is doing well, love you! :)

Not many pictures for this week. This is the top of
the statue from Gellért Hegy, and the angel at the top is massive!

This is a weird thing that I've never seen before. They put
a fence up in front of the door in the apartment building
so that they can't be bothered, but then tie a rope
to a stick and let people use that to reach the doorbell. Really weird.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

February 6, 2016


To summarize this week, we were really busy again!

Monday started off like any other normal week, but then we started to have tons of stuff going on right away. Missionaries from Dunaújváros and Szombathely came up on Tuesday morning and Wednesday morning, respectively, which means that we had nonstop splits for 48 hours straight, and at one point six people in our apartment! Splits were really fun both days. With Elder Paul, we did lots of lookups in some of the villages that are far away from Buda and hard to get to without a car. Everything turned out pretty well, and then we came back just in time to get some sleep at home before the next split started the next day with Elder Krueger. He's probably one of the smartest people I've ever met. I think the whole time we were travelling somewhere during our splits, he was just describing to me how electricity works, what makes computers run, different things about radiowaves and physics, and a ton of other stuff I'm not even sure if I totally understood. We got stuck in the rain and ended up being soaking wet, but that didn't stop Elder Krueger from being happy and continuing to explain to me how different everyday appliances work and how to make them better.

Thursday was the only day that was relatively normal! We did some work in the office, went out and did some more work in the city, then came back and filled out our car report for the month of January. We had to clean every part of the car, inside and out, since a new senior missionary couple is going to inherit the car from us when they come into the country next week on Wednesday. We went to the car wash at a Shell station nearby, but the carwash's doors were broken--the entrance door was stuck open, and the exit door was stuck shut. In the end, we ended up getting a car wash just fine, and then had to drive like Mater from "Cars" in reverse through the obstacle course of the parking lot in order to make it back to the place where we could use the vacuums to clean out the interior. I was pretty proud of myself for that, because there's no way I could have done that before in America.

Friday morning, we had our landlord stop by to visit us from Germany. Our apartment's heaters and oven was broken, so he had to take a look at those and figure out a way for them to be fixed. Sometime next week, someone should be by to service them. We had district meeting, did other work, and that was it!

We just had a super good Saturday with the Szabadkai's. We were really in need of some fresh air up in the mountains, so we all headed up to Visegrád in the Szabadkai's car. Had a fun hike that turned into a bit of a mud-fest, since the mountain was finally starting to thaw and unfreeze. After a few detours, we made it to the top and back again, and now we're just back emailing for today!

All in all, had a pretty good week. Next week's gonna be even more crazy. Here we go! Hope you all have a good one. :) Love you!

Heading with the Szabadkai family to Visegrád to
go hiking on p-day! We needed some fresh air,
and the Szabadkais did too, so we all jumped
in their car and drove up to the mountains north of Budapest. 

Szabadkai Elnök driving

Lea Szabadkai came up with us, too.

Running up the mountain!

Ended up getting lost and following the trail of 
an abandoned ski lift to get up to the top of the mountain

It was really steep...

But the view was worth it! You know those commercials
 for the Viking river cruises that we see ads for sometimes
back in America? Those float right down that river to Budapest!

I learned how to fly.

Castle at the top of the mountain

Trail to the top

Sun's poking through some of the mossy trees!

Really pretty forest! Felt so good to be out of the city for a little bit!

While on splits and doing some lookups in some villages
away from town, we took a quick stop to look at the
 famous Basillica of Esztergom. It was HUGE.
(Look at the building's left-most tower, and at the
 person in the reddish shirt at the base of it for scale.)

Just thought you all might be curious what our
house looks like. It's very old! This is our bedroom.