Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October 24, 2016


Lowdown for this week is as follows:

Tuesday was a busy day of getting everything ready for the transfers. Elder Fitzgerald got himself all packed up and ready to move to Dunaújváros, and I spent some time cleaning our house. We visited our good friend Zoltán and our landlord, Éva, so that Elder Fitzgerald could say goodbye.

Wednesday morning started at about 4 am, when we showered and got dressed and called a taxi to take us to the train station in Szombathely. We rode the first train we could get on to Budapest, where we journeyed in to the mission home and unloaded suitcases. It was strange to be at one last transfer and to have to say goodbye to most of my friends, since I won't see most of them again until someday back in America. Elder Fitzgerald was probably the hardest one to say goodbye to, since he was such a great companion and friend, and it really was quite enjoyable to serve with him. We'll for sure have to see if we can hang out in a year or so when he finishes his mission.

We had an orientation meeting where we met the new missionaries who came into the country, and they told us all who would be our new companions. I currently have two, since they're both going to stay here in Szombathely after I leave to go home in November. Elder Graham has now been in Hungary for four months, and Elder Lowe just came here to the country. Also of note is that another elder arrived to Szombathely (also fresh from the homeland) named Elder Garrett--we're going to see if there's any cross-overs in our family trees sometime. He's from Oklahoma. Elder Graham and Elder Lowe are both great missionaries and it's been good to be with them so far! It's quite a change, and they're by far the youngest companions I've ever had, and living and working in three's is always a whole new ballgame, but it's working out well so far!

We've had a few busy days so far, including such activities as trying to get Elder Graham legally registered to Szombathely with the government, doing a service project out on a farm to dig up and transplant rose bushes to another property, meeting with our friend Zoltán and teaching him, and studying lots and lots of Hungarian. Especially because these two are both so young in their missions, we're trying to speak as much Hungarian as possible so that they'll be comfortable and stable when it's just them in a few more weeks. It's been fun so far to teach them everything that I can and try to help them better understand what's going on.

That's mostly all the news! Keep you updated on more next week. Love y'all, have a good week!

We went out to the forest outside of Szombathely by a
little village called Dozmat to help someone on their farm on
Saturday. The drive out to the farm with member
Takács Gábor was quite a refreshing sight!

I think the sign that I can see daylight through the bottoms
is a pretty good indication that they're ready to be retired.

Finally had to splurge and buy some new dress shoes... 
The old ones are pretty wrecked at this point.

Some big 'ole Hungarian longhorns out on the farm

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

October 17, 2016


So this week was fast. Again. It's unbelievable how quickly the time is passing now. The week was filled with activity, as the Sopron elders, Römer and Gabel, came here to Szombathely for splits. We had a fun little three-way split where Elder Gabel and his trainer, Elder Rodgers, also got back together for a little bit of time, so it really was a good opportunity to get to see all kinds of people here in our city!

That was Tuesday and Wednesday, and Thursday was a pretty fast day because we had a few people to meet with, and we also had our English class in the evening time. 12 people ended up coming out, which was huge!

Friday and Saturday also passed quicly, because we were on splits in Tatabánya with the elders there. I had a chance to work with Elder Szuch who actually has Hungarian family and is from Idaho. He was awesome to work with, and it was a great split there!

We came back and had church yesterday in Szombathely. It was an awesome day at church, and we and the other missionaries from Szombathely had gotten together and planned to teach the class to the young men in the branch here. We talked about missionary work and what it means to be a missionary, and even shared some special experiences and stories from our own missions to the three young men who were in attendance--Barni, Marci, and Levi. At the end of the class, we all took off the ties we were wearing and gave them to each of the boys as a special gift from the missionaries. All three of the boys, who are 16, 10, and 15, respectively, were excited about serving missions, and they seemed to like the lesson that we shared. It was a neat experience!

Yesterday, we had family night with the Takács family from the branch here in Szombathely. They had also invited the family's grandparents, Magdi Mama and Peti Tata to come as well, and we had a good lesson about how sharing the gospel is one great way to be happy!

And today is our p-day. We're getting ready for the transfer tomorrow, since we just received our transfer calls this morning. We were surprised to hear that Elder Fitzgerald would leave Szombathely, since he's only been here for two months, and he's going to serve in a city called Dunaújváros. I'm really sad to see him go, because he's been such a great friend and companion, and it's been great to work hard with him and have many good times along the way. I'm also excited for these next four weeks, though, because I'm getting two new companions here in Szombathely! One's name is Elder Graham, who I've actually never met before. I think he's been here in Hungary for about 4 months now, and then a new missionary is also coming here from America this week, which should also be fun! It's always interesting learning how to work with three people on one leash, but it's going to be an adventure!

Talk to you all soon again next week! Stay tuned!

Elder Fitzgerald and I with our good
friends, Magdi Mama "Grandma Magdi" and Mariann!

We came across this little gem this week.

Our lovely English class here in Szombathely!

We made waffles this week with banana bread batter, and let
 me just tell ya that they were the best thing since Kraft Mac n' Cheese!

Monday, October 10, 2016

October 10, 2016


Another week's lowdown's coming right up.

Monday was a good p-day last week. Kinda quiet, but we ended up going to the branch house with the other elders from here in Szombathely and our mission correlator here in the city, Zoli, and we threw a football and frisbee and played some basketball in the afternoon. We had a fun time, and somehow we managed to get the frisbee stuck on the branch house roof in the process. The good news is that Elder Shepherd is exceptionally tall, and with the help of his height and our throwing skills, we used the other balls to get down the frisbee to a point where he could grab it from off the shingles. It was a good day!

Tuesday was a fairly normal day, and we just did our normal work of looking for people to meet with. We did actually end up getting let in by a lady in her 80's named Zsuzsanna, who told us that she would talk to us for about ten minutes, and that then she would be done. In the end, we spent almost a full hour in her apartment, sharing a message about the Restoration of the original gospel with her. We then asked if she would be interested in learning more, and she replied that maybe she would call us back when she decided.

Wednesday was busy mostly with going to the "hivatal," the Hungarian governmental offices that take care of all kinds of official things. We were given a packet of paperwork by President Szabadkai to fill out, and were told to update our residency information with the Hungarian government. It took about 5 hours of waiting in lines, talking to immigrations officers, asking for validation of our documents, and making photo copies of everything on the other side of town, but we are now officially legal residents of Szombathely.

We left early on Thursday morning to go to Győr, where President Szabadkai held interviews with our zone. We were there to check up with the missionaries while they were arriving and make sure that they were also doing alright. After interviews were finished up, we started splits with the elders who were there, Ure and Gentry. They're both awesome missionaries who are working as hard as they can and doing great things there in the city, so it was a good experience to be there with them! I got to serve with Elder Gentry, who happens to be a young 18 year-old who's signed to play football for BYU when he goes home. He's HUGE. It was quite a fun time to be around such a big guy and serve with him for a day.

Friday and Saturday were spent back in Szombathely, and we also had splits on these days. This time, it was with the assistants, Elders Evans and Heaps. I had a chance to be with Elder Heaps again, which was really fun because he was my companion right before Elder Fitzgerald came here to Szombathely at the beginning of August. He's doing really well and loving life in Buda, so that was good, too!

And then Sunday was spent at church, where we finished watching the Sunday afternoon session of conference. (We get the conference a little bit later here because of the time difference.)

The weather's been REALLY cold for the past week. I think it dropped about 25 degrees Celcius, and we're all freezing and breaking out our coats already. No snow yet, but it's definitely cold outside.

Hope you all have a good day! Love ya!

Splits in Győr with Elders Gentry and
Ure--they're awesome missionaries!

Elder Heaps and Elder Evans came to visit us in
 Szombathely for splits, and we met up with our
landlord, Éva, who took a picture with us all!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

October 3, 2016


It's P-day again. So here's the jist of our week! (Did I spell that right?)

Monday was a good day last week! After finishing running all of our errands and emailing, we headed out with the other elders from here in Szombathely (Rodgers and Shepherd) and hopped on a little train going out of town to Kőszeg, a little village just by the Austrian border on the Hungarian side. We took our bikes with us on the train, and we biked around the city and got to see some of the cool sites of that old town. Part of that included taking our bikes up a steep hill and seeing the "Chapel of Calvary" (Kálváriai Kápolna) on the edge of Kőszeg. After that, it was starting to get dark already (fall is here already) and we needed to get back to Szombathely to finish our day with work, so we saddled up and rode our bikes back in caravan formation. That was for sure one of the highlights of the day--riding bikes all in a row looking super fly in our missionary white shirts and ties, flying down the road on our bikes with ties flowing graciously in the wind as we cruised through other smaller villages in the rolling hills between the two towns. We made pretty good time, and the 30-some-odd kilometer trip was finished in just about 45 minutes.

Tuesday was a busy day, and we spent the whole thing on trains and in Budapest for a zone training. Unfortunately, it was more of a business-related zone training dealing with things like obtaining new residency permits in Hungary (since the laws regarding foreigners has changed here) and bicycle safety (one of the missionaries was accidentally involved in a car crash, and the police came to talk to us). By the time everything else was taken care of, the training itself was only a few minutes long, and then we were back on another train to return to Szombathely.

Wednesday and Thursday were pretty normal days of trying to find people to meet with in Szombathely. It was a slower week for meeting with people, because the few people that we normally teach were either busy or out of town for the week.

Friday was fun, because we met with two of the very nice people here in Szombathely, Magdi Mama and Peti Tata. After teaching them, we headed out for Pápa, another city in our zone where we had splits. We finished our splits with the elders there (Smith and Biesinger, who were both great) and came back to Szombathely just in time on Saturday night to ride to the branch house and watch the first session of General Conference.

Sunday was spent at the branch house as we watched General Conference with all the members there. It's always a fun time because everyone brings some kind of something to share with each other, so we made some really good banana bread to bring to the branch. Tell ya one thing, it was superrr good.

And that brings us back to now!

Gotta run, but love y'all and hope you have a good week!

The Szombathely missionaries and Brother Shulte, our
 American member friend who's living in Szombathely
 for work for a while! :)

Neat Catholic church in Kőszeg

The "Church of Calvary"

Riding back through the Hungarian
 countryside to Szombathely from Kőszeg