Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Consecration Week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hello everyone!

It has been an interesting week this last week!

-We went on "exchanges" this last Thursday for TRC, meaning that Gallion Nővér and I taught together. It was so fun! We taught about the BOM using an umbrella analogy-- let's say your friend gave you a gift of an umbrella and it was raining outside. You would use the umbrella, right? Well, not reading the Book of Mormon and learning from its council is like walking outside in pouring rain with an umbrella tucked under your arm. So read the Book of Mormon! The lesson went really well. The girl we taught wrote that she really liked it, wanted to read her scriptures more, and thought we spoke really well!!!!! She also forget my name, so just wrote my name as "Szépség" on the comment card, meaning prettiness :P

-I had a funny experience in the cafeteria the other day during one of our SYL days (which means I was only speaking Hungarian). SYL is most hard when people who don't speak or understand Hungarian try to speak to us. I was standing in line for a wrap and an Elder starting talking to me. I communicated that I was doing SYL and thought he would stop talking to me after that. However, he insisted on still talking to me even though he was really bad at deciphering what I was saying. At one point he informed me that he wanted to ask me where I was from, but it was kind of pointless, huh? Laughing, I told him "Connecticut." (Still pronounced the same haha) At another point, he asked me what the weather was like in Hungary and if it rained a lot. He illustrated "rain" with charades. I can still understand English just fine hahaha! Charades aren't really necessary. It made me laugh! But it was nice of him to try! Everyone here is so nice! I feel like I have hundreds of sisters and thousands of little brothers here!

-Speaking of random people met in lunch lines, I met an Elder here who is the FIRST missionary EVER from his country (it is some obscure one starting with a K). What courage he has! What an example! But I think for everyone here, we have made sacrifices. Missions are NOT easy. But I have felt God's love and felt the truthfulness of this message. So how can I not share it?

-Our classroom building's power went out on Saturday, which was weird. We had to study in the dark without any AC. It was an interesting experience! We were informed that it was good practice for Hungary, though, haha, where apparently they don't really use air conditioning!

-This past Sunday was our THIRD Fast Sunday in the MTC! Crazy!! Some people aren't even here for one! (We'll actually be here across four different months- July, August, September, and October! Weird.) Anyways, on Fast Sundays in the MTC we have what is called mission conference and the mission presidency speaks. This last Sunday, a speaker told a story about a woman who wanted to know if God was there. She was riding her bike when a pretty strong wind rose up. She decided to stop and pray and ask God to prove His existence by stopping the wind. She got back on her bike and started riding. Instead of stopping, the wind got stronger and fiercer! When she finally got to the hill overlooking her village, the woman stopped an sarcastically thanked God, believing that he hadn't helped her. She then heard a voice, though. The voice was still, small, and powerful. It said, " I did not still the wind; instead I gave you strength to overcome." She then realized that she had made what was normally an hour long trip in 1/2 hour. I loved this story because THIS is how God helps us! He doesn't take the bad things out of our lives, but instead helps us overcome them with strength and peace! I have felt Him helping me learn this language, and grow as a teacher while I've been here! I know He has helped each of you too! Can you think of an experience where you felt that extra strength?

-The rest of mission conference was SO GOOD! I wish I had time to transcribe all of my notes for you all! I will share one more thing, though, from a different speaker: "When we are prideful, we are imprisoned by men's judgments. We are dependent on the world to tell us our value." Contrast that to knowing our divine worth, as sons and daughters of God. How freeing is that? How empowering? I feel so strongly that it is so important for everyone to know how VALUABLE they are in God's eyes! You reading this, YOU are of great worth!

-I was able to bear my testimony in our Fast and Testimony meeting in our branch (which are always so cool! There are just missionaries lined up to share what they feel!) and it was so neat. I know that God loves us and sees our potential. He answers our prayers. I know this because He has answered my prayers and questions with feelings and answers. I cannot deny the love I have felt from Him.
-Some other great testimonies were one done in Albanian (I couldn't understand the words but I could see how strongly he felt. It was powerful.) and one of our kicsi, Jepsen Nover, told a story I loved. She told about a hike she went on with some YW one time. She, an experience hiker, was planning on quickly going to the top to enjoy the view. Instead, she ended up hanging back to encourage and walk to with a girl who was struggling, every step of the way. She said, "If someone is struggling, we should stay back and help them, because we will get to the top either way!" How true! So be kind this week!

-The Albanians have been doing their Consecration Week this past week (which is interesting because we start ours once they end theirs!) but we have been able to communicate SOMEHOW even on days when we are just speaking Hungarian and they Albanian. I'm actually get pretty good at Albanian :P Sometimes I act as their "interpreter" but mostly just because I'm really good at guessing what they mean. Sometimes my guesses have been right on the dot and they bust up laughing. The Albanians leave Monday and we are really going to miss them. if your district is like your immediate family, the Albanians have been like cousins to us. They have been here the whole time we have and we are really going to miss them!

-I was able to hear Adams (my little brother here) recite the first vision in Portuguese the other day! That was so neat! He told me that it was really hard with me staring and smiling at him, so I studiously looked at the ceiling while he did it. It was so good, though! He has it memorized!

I start Consecration week today after the temple. Just Hungarian! We are also, as a district, giving up desserts. The other sisters and I are giving up opening our letters this week, so we can focus more on our purpose. We can still open packages! And we will open all of our letters next Wednesday, so please send some really great inspiring ones this week :)

I love you all!

<3 McKenna aka Kramer Nover

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Another week (9?)

Hello all!

Time is FLYING! I cannot believe that I am in my NINTH week in the MTC! To put this in perspective, I have gone through three English transfers and one foreign language transfer. I leave in less than three weeks!! Crazy! I will start my Consecration Week (an MTC tradition where you speak only your mission language (mine being Hungarian obviously) for an entire week before you leave) one week from today! Bahhhh! I am excited though! I go to Hungary in less than three weeks!!!!!!!!

Fun news from my tiny world:

-We had ANOTHER apostle come and speak to us! We are on a roll!! I am totally okay with them making this tradition, though, haha. We had Elder Russell M. Nelson come and speak at our devotional last night. Like all devotionals, it was great! I learned so much! The Choir sang "Lilies of the Field" (which some of you will remember I have sung in church with Rachel and Kylee) before he spoke. Quite a beautiful song. And then he spoke exclusively about the Book of Mormon. The church had put out a special issue of the Ensign/Liahona this month entirely dedicated to the Book of Mormon. Elder Nelson told us that he wanted us all to have one, and, in fact, we were all given one last Thursday with the challenge of reading it by Sunday. It is great! It has testimony from each of the Twelve and personal experiences and history timelines and so much more about the Book of Mormon. I highly suggest you all read it! What really came across to me is how lucky we are to have the Book of Mormon. It is a gift from God. For those who don't know, Joseph Smith didn't write the Book of Mormon. Rather, he translated ancient writings from the prophets in America. It's a companion to the Bible and it is GREAT. It is the foundation for all we believe. Anyways, Elder Nelson spoke of the importance of the Book of Mormon as the foundation of our religion. You know the BOM is true and you know Joseph Smith was a prophet who saw God and the church is true. And the cool thing is? Everyone can know for themselves if it is true by reading the book, thinking about it, and asking God. So I challenge you all to read from the Book of Mormon every day! That book has POWER to change lives for good!

-Daybell Testver left this past Saturday :( Sad day. I know that he is doing the right thing for his family, though, so that is okay. After class on Saturday, during which we begged for story after story and thought after thought from Daybell Testver, we took pictures and drank sparkling cider. I don't know if Daybell Testver realized how much we all loved him. He was definitely one of the best teachers I have ever had and taught me so much. Half the class cried after we left the room for lunch (we tried not to cry in front of him). We were able to give him a fun gift, though. Johnson Nover is a really great artist, so she drew a cartoon version of our district and teachers (uncanny resemblances, I promise). Each of us wrote a personal note on the back and then laminated it for Daybell Testver. It was personal and neat. In my note, I included a note I had translated for him, "Mindig amikor egy csengo megkondul, egy angyal kapja szarnyait." It means "Everytime a bell rings, an angel gets its wings." Baha. One day in class, we went around in a ciricle telling a story (in Hungarian) about Peter a Sarkany. (Peter the dragon). It was to help with our "umms." I can't remember if I told you all about this, but basically the elders said Peter was sad because he couldn't fly and died. Then it was the sisters turns. Christensen Nover said he was resurrected. I said he was happy now because an angel gave him wings and he could fly now. And then the story ended happily. Daybell Testver couldn't remember the word for wings at the time, though. So, I wrote that sentence to always help him remember :P

-Another fun story! Daybell Testver was our investigator "Mate" and on Friday, during our last lesson with Mate, Christensen Nover and I challenged him yet again to be baptized. (Not because it was our last lesson, btw, but the timing just worked out really well.) We had asked him to be baptized a few times before and he responded with he had already been baptized and then he just wanted to learn more first (he didn't feel ready) on those occasions. This time, we bore our testimonies about the importance of baptism and then challenged him to pray about it right there. It was so special. He asked God if it was what he should do. After the prayer, he told us his heart was pounding and that he knew baptism was important. He told us he wanted to be baptized!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Christensen Nover and I were so excited, we could NOT stop grinning! After the lesson, we did a happy dance in the hallway! It is so NEAT to be an instrument in God's hands in helping people come to know their Savior personally and helping them take the right steps!

-The four of us Hungarian sisters want to try out to sing in a devotional or fireside. We were thinking maybe the Olive Tree? If anyone has any great suggestions for a song, send them my way this week! (With the music, too, if you have it!)

-We have been hanging out with Elder Jennei (the elder FROM Hungary) a lot and it is so cool to talk to him! He is totally willing to just talk and talk about Hungary! And he told us our Hungarian is really good! That is comforting to hear. While my Hungarian is nowhere near perfect, at least a real Hungarian can understand me when I talk! Yay!

Anyways, sorry to all those I wasn't able to write this week. I've been a little sick, so when I have free time (never really) I've been trying to sleep to feel better. I WILL write you all back though! I love hearing from all of you! Anyone, feel free to write with questions, stories, whatever

Love you all!

-McKenna aka Kramer Nover

Week 8 (I think?)


So listen to the week I've had:

-In TRC (the Teaching Resource Center, where volunteers who speak Hungarian come in, and we teach them small lessons) this week, we had Daybell Testver's wife (she comes in every week) and a sister who just returned from her mission in Hungary one week before! Crazy, right? She had been Daybell Nover's greenie in the mission field, so they came in together. It was SUCH a cool lesson. We taught about Joseph Smitha and I was able to recite the First Vision in Hungarian to them. It was one of the most powerful spiritual moments I've ever had, I think. While I spoke the Hungarian words about this American boy who lived 200 years ago, I felt such a burning feeling in my heart. I know that was the Spirit testifying to me that Joseph Smith DID see God and Jesus Christ in a grove in New York. I know Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, who restored God's church to this earth! The rest of the lesson was just as cool and powerful. Sister Feller (the newly returned sister) wrote afterwards on our comment card that she "Loved it!" and "felt the spirit." She "loved that they made me bear my testimony. That threw me off and it was just what I needed!" And as a result of the experience, she wrote that she wants to "Come more often!" How validating! How cool! I love that we are able to help strengthen testimonies now! Also, at the end of the lesson, she gave us a Milka bar from Hungary! Very delicious chocolate!

-I finished the Book of Mormon last week sometime. That means I have read it once since I have started my mission (start keeping track!). As with every time I read it, I learned SO MUCH. I think the Book of Mormon is the foundation for my belief and knowledge of the truthfulness of what I am teaching. It wasn't always easy to read and study. But, as I've read it time and time again, as I've taken classes about it, as I've followed the principles taught within it, I've come to know that it is scripture. It IS the word of God. And, more than that, I followed the promise given in Moroni 10:4-5. That promise states that if we ask God, he will tell us that the book is true. I've done that and felt God's love and felt the truthfulness of the book. I was able to do it this last week and I just felt peace as I prayed. I know it is true. And THAT is what I think is so cool about going on a mission! It is not like I am trying to force anyone to "join our church." Rather, I am an inviter and a teacher. I invite people to learn more about something that is so cool and important and true. I can teach them about what we believe. But the cool thing is, I can say all I want and it still won't matter. What changes hearts and changes lives and converts people is when they take the questions of whether what I am saying is true to God Himself. Because it is a true promise (read Moroni 10:4-5) that if we pray with true desire to know, we will receive confirmation (not from our own minds but from the Holy Spirit) that all this is true. And that feeling of God's love is the transforming power that causes me to know and act today. So, yeah, sometimes (sometimes often) life is hard. But I know where I came from, why I am here, and where I am going. Through the scriptures and church, I have the "recipe"for happiness. And I know that Christ loved me enough to die for me and you so that we can return to live with Him and Heavenly Father someday. That peace (both through the Spirit and knowledge) makes every hard time here on my mission worth it. It helps me get through those hard times. So, if any of you are still reading after that giant paragraph :P, I would like to challenge you to start reading a chapter of the BOM every day with me! If you don't have a copy, the LDS church will send you a free copy! And as you read, think! I will start posting my thoughts about what I read. Hopefully you will comment what you thought! And that way, we can read through this awesome book together :)

-This week, my district is focusing on charity as one of our goals. We are studying it in the scriptures. We are finding ways to serve. We all have envelopes in front of our desk that we place nice written notes to each other every night. On Sunday, we are going to read all of the notes we received from our classmates. I would encourage all of you to have a charity week! The Beatles said, All you need is love, and they are right! We can never have too much kindness and love. So try this with your families and friends! And I promise you that your week will go so much better as you focus on other people other than yourself!

-I've made a lot of random Hungarian connections this week! I sat next to a girl who is half Hungarian in choir the other day. She told me everything she knew in Hungarian and told me to say hi to her family if I find them. Some other sister who held the door for me said her Grandma was Hungarian. We've taught about half the MTC campus how to say hello in Hungarian, I think, haha. (Servusz). Also!!!!!! THERE IS A HUNGARIAN MISSIONARY HERE! He just arrived yesterday. He is from Hungary, going to England. To realize how cool that is, there are only 4000 members in Hungary. And one of them is now here! I haven't been able to meet him yet, but the other sisters who did said that he told them Hungarians love brownies and chocolate chip cookies. Apparently they don't exist there? So feel free to send me some recipes so I can make those for the Hungarian people!!!

-Some sad news: Daybell Testver is leaving. His wife got a job, so he is leaving this one to focus on school (he is applying to the Accounting program). He is the best teacher I've ever had and a large part of it is that he just really truly cared about us. Also, every single thing he ever said to us about the gospel or the Hungarian people or the language made me consider those things in a new way and taught me how important it is to serve with love. The entire class (and him) might've cried when he told us. His last day is this Saturday. They already have a new teacher hired. But Daybell Testver said he will come to the TRC every week until we leave so he can still be part of the process with us. I"m glad! I love him!

Out of time!

Love you all! Send stories, pictures, whatever!

<3 McKenna

Monday, September 12, 2011

Another Week (Hooha, Time is FLYING!)

Hello Everyone!

Today has been a GREAT day! Wonder why? Well, I'll tell you :P

-Adams, my little brother, came to the MTC today! YAY! He has been called to the Brazil- Porto Allegre North mission, but his visa hasn't come in yet. So, instead of going to the Brazil MTC, he came here to Provo! Today is my P-Day, so I was able to see him when he came in. My dad had said that he would be arriving around 12pm, so my companion and I made sure to wait by the curb about 10 minutes before then. I was so nervous that we had missed him! I was pacing the wall and scanning the entrance when I saw this tall figure just waiting by the gate. I did a double-take when I realized it was my older brother, David Seth. He had come (unexpectedly to me, at least) to drop Adams off! I was so excited to see him that I jumped up on the wall and yelled his name and waved my arms. Security wasn't too happy with me haha :/ But mostly because they thought I was yelling at random people or a friend. When I explained it was my brother and pointed to my brothers coming in the gate, the security man told me that I better go and say hi. (They like families here in the MTC.) So I ran over to the shuttle that had just driven in and gave Adams a giant hug! (We are allowed to hug family, don't worry!) We were able to take a picture of the three siblings :) I'm so happy that Adams... I guess I should start saying Elder Kramer, actually, haha! Anyways, I'm so happy that ELDER KRAMER is here! I'm so excited every time I see him on MTC campus! And I hope that I can help him adjust :)

-Another reason why today is awesome? We are getting kicsi (pronounced keechee) today! This means that a new Hungarian district is coming into the MTC today! There is something very unique about this district, though. I've never heard of this before, but there are NO elders in the district! Instead, we are getting three Hungarian sisters! Crazy! I was able to meet one of them already (verrry quickly. I just gave her a hug and welcomed her.) but we put little notes and treats in their room. We'll for sure meet all of them tonight! And then we will help mentor them through the MTC! Hungarians are all really close (because there are never very many of us haha), so I am so excited to get to know these new sisters!

Ready for my random list of stuff this week???

-I guess I've never really told you about the floor I study on, have I? It is mostly a 12-week language floor. Next door we have the Albanians, then down the hall are the Estonians (there are just TWO total! And elder and a sister!), and the Finns. Also residing on our classroom floor are the Greeks (all of them are from different countries in Europe!), the Georgian (there is only ONE elder!), and some random Spanish elders. It's a pretty awesome floor.

-We've decided to start SYL-ing (Speaking Your Language) every day we can. This is helping our language a lot already! I can tell! I think I am one of the best two speakers in the class. We've gotten to the point that we understand most of the grammar principles. Now it is just a matter of applying said principles and memorizing memorizing memorizing vocab! I am officially halfway through the MTC (weird) and I have a lot of work to do!!!!!

-We got new desks! They are great! They are big enough that our stuff doesn't slide off them! And we can write on them with dry erase markers. That really helps with memorizing! So far, I've memorized some commitment questions, the First Vision, and Moses 1:39. (I was actually able to recite the First Vision (one of my favorite passages of scripture) to David Seth today! I don't know that I did the greatest job (I got nervous saying it to someone's face instead of the air, like I normally do!) but I made it through it!)

-Everyone loves my shoes! The elders in our district thanked us for not wearing boat shoes haha. But I'm always getting compliments on the shoes I wear (so thank you Dad and Mom!). Both my running shoes (which are bright blue and yellow-green and are probably my favorite sneakers ever) and all my other shoes. I love that I can still have a little shoe collection here :) All my other clothes are working really well, too! I love that we can be colorful as sister missionaries! It's so fun! There is a give away bin on my floor that the Hungarian sisters and I have been finding cute items in. We've been storing them in a closet that we call the "Traveling" closet (first we had the traveling skirt (like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants), then the closet haha). Anyways, I guess I just wanted you all to know that I am still me, even though I am a missionary!

-The weather is starting to get cooler. It's weird when I think that it is September already! I have been here parts of three months- July, August, and September! I can't believe it is starting to become fall. How is school, everyone?

-Some interesting Hungarian tidbits: Stephen (my father's name) is István (pronounced Eeshtvan) in Hungarian. For short, you can say Pisti or Pista (pronounced Peeshtee or Peeshta). In my class, we have created investigator characters for ourself so that other missionaries can teach us the lessons, and we've chosen Hungarian names to go with those characters. Cox Elder, in my district, named himself "Pista Kék" which, first of all, is backwards (in Hungarian, the family name goes first, so it should be Kék Pista), but, more importantly, is pretty funny because it is kind of pronounced like Piece of Cake.

-Another fun Hungarian word: hug (pronouced hoog). It means little sister! I love the English coincidence, though! I love giving my little sisters hugs :D They are just so huggable!

-A fun Hungarian phrase (translated): potato! Yup, it's about as random as it seems. Apparently, in Hungarian, when they fist bump somebody, they say (in Hungarian of course) potato.

-We had mission conference this past Sunday. We have it every Fast Sunday. Our mission presidency and their wives spoke and it was so good! They are all great men and women :) Our mission president decided to just go off notes and speak from his heart. He spoke about missionary work and about how he worries about us. He wants us to be the best we can be. He shared his feelings with us. I'm pretty sure there wasn't a dry eye in the room!

-I recommend that everyone check out and the "I am Mormon" videos! There are such a variety of people in this church! The gospel is for everyone! Because it is TRUE!

Anyways, I'm out of time! Keep sending me the letters and love! I really really really really appreciate all the support that has been shown!

I love you all! SMILE! Be happy!!!! I know that I am SO HAPPY right now! And it is the hardest thing I've ever done! But, I have a lot of peace and joy knowing that it is the right thing. And knowing that God loves me :) I wish you all that same peace and joy!

<3 McKenna aka Kramer Nővér