Sorry my email last week was so random! I forgot to bring my list of what to write about last week, so I was just writing about whatever popped into my head. But never fear! I have a lovely, LONG, extensive list this week to write about :) So enjoy:
First off, I would like to thank everyone who has been writing me and sending me packages! It is MUCH appreciated :) It's kind of funny, though. I feel like I'm getting so behind on responding-- in fact, I've been writing in letters "Sorry this has taken me so long", etc. However, I realized that some of those letters had only come a week before I was writing back. Which isn't really that long of a response time. However, every week here seems like a month! (In a good way!) I just have so much going on that my sense of time is skewed, I think, haha :P
I gave a talk in church two Sundays ago. They assign talks differently here in the MTC. Actually, they aren't really assigned. Basically, each week, every missionary in the branch writes a talk on one of the points of the missionary purpose (faith, Atonement, baptism, Holy Ghost, enduring to the end) and then, in sacrament meeting, it is announced who will be giving their talk. I was that lucky person! Baha. My talk was on faith in Jesus Christ. I literally had written only two things down-- a page number in Preach My Gospel and a scripture reference (which turned out to be the wrong one haha). But lest you be fooled, I had put a lot of thinking into the topic (one of the branch presidency had told me the week before that my turn was coming "soon." I didn't actually think he was serious, but I thought I should be prepared.) and the talk went really great!
I've been watching a lot of the videos on LDS.org and Mormon.org. A lot of them are so good! I recommend everyone check out the one about the Bible on LDS.org homepage (or homepage archive). A quote I really really enjoyed from one of these videos ("We Lived with God") is, "The more we look at the universe, the less it looks like a great machine and the more it looks like a great thought." I know this is true. There is an LDS site for the youth (who knew?) and there is a video of the temple dedication in Ukraine. I loved it because it showcased the celebration for the temple and all the youth in surrounding countries that had come to celebrate. I loved it so much because the teenagers in the video are like the teenagers in Hungary-- pioneers of the gospel in their country!
We had our first SYL (Speak Your Language) day this past Friday! It went pretty well :) I was surprised by how much I could say and sobered by how much I couldn't :P It is going to become a weekly thing for our district, so hopefully that will help with speaking Hungarian. One of the hardest parts of Hungarian for me is figuring out the grammar while I speak. It's pretty complicated so, right now, I speak pretty haltingly. I know it will get better as I practice, though!
We said goodbye to the ösi this past Sunday. They flew out to Hungary Monday morning and got there sometime yesterday, I think. Before they left, the elders loudly chanted this famous inspirational Hungarian speech (translated, something like: "Hungarians, on your feet!"), like a Hungarian haka (I don't think that is spelled right). Pretty sweet. And we all took a lot of pictures (which I still haven't sent because the photo machine here is perpetually broken!). It was weird to say goodbye to our mentor group. They've been such a big part of the MTC experience for me. But I know that they are all great missionaries and Hungary is lucky to have them. Plus, I know none of them wanted to stay one more day in the MTC. Twelve weeks is a long time!
If they had stayed one more day, though, they would've had a really cool experience! Guess who was our devotional speaker last night? I'll give you a hint: We all stood when he entered the room. He and one of my brothers share a name. He tells it like it is. That's right! Jeffrey R. Holland, of the Twelve Apostles, was our speaker! And it was SO COOL!!!!!! I literally took 8 pages of notes haha! Most of it was directed at missionaries, but it was so cool. Basically, he said be the best you can be always. I know that he is a true apostle of God. I know President Monson is our prophet. I know this because I have prayed about it and God had let me know it is true. Plus, they give the best advice EVER!
Hungarians are SO cool. We've been learning a little more about their culture and history here and there, and I am in love with the country and its people. I don't know how much of its history you all know, but basically, it's been beat up a lot for a long time. Most recently, they were under Communist rule for a long time. Sometime in the fifties, though, kids about missionary age (19-21) decided to take their country back (there are still people alive in Hungary who fought in the Revolution). Using homemade bombs, they actually took their country back! But none of the UN nations would back them and the Communists came back with tanks a couple of weeks later. About that same time, the Olympics were happening. Hungary was (and is) famous for their water polo team. They had to choose whether to compete or not, and decided to compete for their fallen families, friends, and country. They made it to the finals, where they faced the Soviet Union (!!). That game was later described as a war. The water was apparently red with blood. And, when they finally called the game due to violence, the Hungarians had destroyed the Soviet Union. They didn't even allow them to score one goal. The Hungarians are full of spirit, despite all of the oppression they've suffered. Their national anthem is actually a prayer (written when the Church was getting restored, ironically) that asks God to bless the Hungarian. I am so excited to serve such a strong and enduring people.
We are spreading a love of Hungarian to lots of other missionaries here! Kind of haha. Basically, everyone is really fascinated with us and our name tags (because our names are backwards) so we talk to a lot of other missionaries. We usually teach them how to say "Hi" in Hungarian, and, after that, we hear Hungarian greetings all around MTC campus. It is neat!
We had a fire alarm here on Monday night. Probably one of the crazier parts of my week :P (Yup, we know how to live it up at the MTC haha!) It was after we were in our residence hall for the night, and some girl burned something in the microwave or something. But we all had to evacuate the building (loudest, most piercing alarm noise ever!) and sit outside for forty minutes. Fuuun.
We have some characters in my district. One of them is Cox Elder. My teachers call him "Aranyos" or "baby adorable". Daybell Testver said he wouldn't call many men adorable, but Cox Elder is an exception. For instance, the other day, he went up to fill in a chart at the board and did a little dance. Every time he filled in a part of the chart correctly, he sang "Tokeletes" or perfect! My other teacher, Erickson Testver, who is usually very serious, cracked up and sang "Tokeletes" with him and at the completion of the chart, led the entire district in singing it haha. It's kind of a thing now! My district is so fun and we are like family here at the MTC.
Here is the tongue twister I couldn't remember last time: Jamaika a Jamiakaiaké. Pronounced Ya-ma-ee-ka a Ya-ma-ee-aa-ka-ee-aa--kay. Not that hard, right? We also learned the longest word in Hungarian. Get ready: megszentségtelenithetetlenségkedéseitekért. That is actually one real word. It's some Catholic term (not used very often) that means for all of your alls' unsanctifiableness.
Another fun thing we were able to do recently was recite the First Vision in Hungarian outside on a beautiful morning. It was such a special experience. I think that the First Vision is one of the most powerful scriptures ever, and it was a new experience for me to say it in Hungarian.
Some interesting notes about Hungarian that I learned. When we pray in Hungarian, we ask the Lord to bless us so that we SHOULD do something. I think that is a cool way to pray. The Lord definitely wants to bless us and help us. However, we should help ourselves to by doing the work necessary to recieve those blessings. I thought that was neat.
Another cool devotional that I wouldn't to share really quickly before I run out of time was one about inviting people unto Christ. The woman speaking cited 1 Nephi 10:18. There is a way prepared for ALL men to come unto Christ. Do we really understand that every person we meet is a choice child of God with a way prepared to receive the gospel? She talked about the importance of commitments. And I would just like to challenge you to invite someone to know a little more about your faith. Invite them to read your favorite chapter of the BOM, to come to church, to come to Family Home Evening, to come to dinner. Be bold and confident! You could change someone's life :)
Keep sending letters! Feel free to send me packages :P Or even better, stories and pictures about you and your life!