Sorry I am writing a day later than usual!! I had what is affectionately known as Greenie Training yesterday (new missionary training) and, unbeknownst to me, it was an all day event where we did official paperwork, did a little sightseeing, and had training from our leaders. So, we got permission to email home today instead!
Before I write about, I want to give a couple of shout outs to some people:
First, happy birthday to my little sister, N'Krysta!!!! She turned 17 years old yesterday :D Woot woot!!!!! She is kind of a rock star in terms of how cool she is :D I hope this year is the best of her life so far!
Also, congratulations to my friend, Nicole Grosso! I heard she got called to themission!! That is so exciting :D I am so happy for her!!
'Kay, now back to me :P Jkjkjk. But I am going to focus on a just a few main things this email:
I know you all have been waiting and waiting for these stories! Well, here they are! On super P-day last week, our zone leaders and us drove in a car (which in and of itself was an adventure, since I have been travelling on public transportation every day since I got here) in an awesome "road trip" to an old castle namedand then to the third biggest cathedral in (and biggest in Hungary), named . It was so cool! It is at times like these that I really realize that I am living in EUROPE!!! There is SO MUCH history here! If you are a history buff, I highly encourage you to look up Hungarian history and these places online-- you will get a much better comprehensive history. But, here a couple of cool things that I learned. Visegrád used to be the capital or something of Hungary when it was in its military peak. During the medieval ages, Hungary ruled Europe and at one point, had 40,000 mounted troops and 10,000 foot soldiers under some crazy cool military leader located out of this castle. (BTW, that army is bigger than my entire hometown!!!) Esztergom is GIANT (see pictures) and has been rebuilt a couple of times. There is one super old part of the cathedral, though, where, when the Turks were invading, a priest wanted to save part of the building and broke it into thousands of pieces and then buried them. Years later, after he died, another priest who he told the story to, dug up the pieces and rebuilt the room.
Basically, on Super P-Day, we just got to see a lot of really cool places in Hungary! It was a lot of fun!
I know I talked up the ballet last time! It was really good! We had one investigator who wanted to come with us. It turned out to be him and SIX sister missionaries haha! It was funny! But we all really enjoyed the ballet (although maybe it was a little different telling of the Nutcracker than usual? I am not sure! If someone wants to send a synopsis, that would probably be helpful! I haven't seen the Nutcracker since I was under 10 years old!)
We had Zone Conference this last week!! It was so great! Our mission president trained about the Great Apostasy using a really interesting book called The Inevitable Apostasy and the Promised Restoration by Tad R. Callister. We talked about the evidences of a Great Apostasy. And then we had training by our APs and Zone Leaders. I really enjoyed our Zone Leaders' training, as they talked about the importance of us as missionaries serving with our whole heart to help our investigators build their relationship with God. I really think it is so important to put your whole heart into believing and then working on that belief, whether as an investigator, missionary, or member. Go big or go home! (That is my companion's and mine motto.)
Finally, (and best of all!) Orsi was baptized on Sunday!!!! Woot woot!!!!! It was great! The entire Sunday was an interesting experience for me, though! Guess what happened?! ......... I ended up playing the piano in church!!! (I thought I dodged a bullet with the children's meeting, but little did I know.... :P) I will usually plunk out prelude music before church starts until the pianist comes, but this past Sunday, he DIDN'T SHOW UP! So, I ended up playing! I was SO NERVOUS. I have never played for people before! And it was especially hard for me because I hadn't practiced any of the songs and I had to find them in the English hymn book from the Hungarian names (basically, I just sight read them, figured out what song it was, remembered the English title, then looked it up). I was shaking pretty badly the first song! It went pretty well, though.... until the last song :P But everyone was just grateful to have someone play and so it worked out fine! I also had some very philosophical thoughts while sitting up there about the importance of preparation! If we do not prepare and put in the work ourselves, no matter how hard we pray, God can't really help us if there is no foundation for Him to work from. But, like I said, my ward all thought I was super brave and clever for doing that last minute, and they all thanked me :) It was funny, though, because I ALSO had to bear my testimony on Sunday as a new missionary. And THEN they asked me last minute to play for the baptism too! (Which I said the opening prayer for AND sang in a musical number) My companion joked that they should find something else for me to do haha :P The important thing, though, is that Orsi was baptized! Funny moment: She accidentally inhaled some water when she was immersed and came up and started to cough. We were all a little concerned, but then one little girl, who had been very quiet, asked, "Orsi, jó volt?" (Orsi, was it good?) Orsi nodded and smiled :) So that was cute! And she skipped around the rest of the day, so happy!! And that is why this gospel is so great. The scriptures say that by His fruits, ye may know God. This gospel brings JOY to people's lives! It brought joy to Orsi and her family. It has brought joy to my family and me! This is one way that I know the gospel is true :)
I have felt very humbled by love this past week. I have felt overwhelming love for the members. I really feel like they are like family to me (one woman we visit calls us her daughters and makes us food every time we go over!) And I have felt humbled by their love for me. For instance, on Sunday, when everyone in the ward gave me encouraging smiles, words, and hugs after I botched the piano. Or, last night, we went to a family night with two of our investigators to a member's house. While there, I played with a 10 year old girl named Luca (who gave me stickers!). De Leon told me after that she saw the family members and each of our investigators just plain old look at me with love in their eyes at some point during that night. This was really touching for both of us. I know that I was called to Hungary for specific reasons. I think one of them is to help our specific investigators right now. I often struggle to say things in this language to them. They often struggle to express themselves in the gospel. But, together, through the love of God and His help, we are all learning and growing.
Anyways, sorry this email was less detailed than others in the past (although, I am sure some of you were thankful for the shorter length haha). I didn't have as much time as usual to write.
Just know that I love you! I love this work!
A group of missionaries at that delicious buffet I wrote about last week
At theHalloween party put on by senior sisters
Same party. A senior couple (Bagazzis) dancing on the dance floor. It was super funny haha.
Our Fiatal Est Halloween party. Mummy game!
Examples of monster cupcakes
The best monster we drew, I think!
The old castle we went to on Super Pday
Super P-day on way to old castle.
Pictures of the castle.
Skipping rocks on the Duna
The really old part of Esztergom
is the country across the river. This is me pretending to leave mission boundaries (but really, not even being close, don't worry!)