Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hello All! - Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hello family and friends!

How are you all?  Wonderful, I hope!

First things first, my Dad had a birthday this week!  I don't really know if he is sensitive about his age (which he shouldn't be, if he is!) but I will refrain from mentioning a specific number and instead congratulate him on another fabulous year!  I would like to "publicly" thank him for his example and love!  I am grateful that he is my Dad :D

We had interviews this past week with President Baughman.  Basically, it is just like the zone conference I had last transfer (with trainings and the such by the mission president, his wife, the assistants to the president, and the zone leaders), but during some of the trainings, the president pulls us out one by one to interview us (ask us how life is going, etc.).  Don't worry-- my interview with him went find :)  I truly am loving life, which makes me really easy to talk to in these types of interviews :P  He did tell me that De Leon Nővér and I will almost certainly be seperated after this transfer.  We knew it was coming and now I know for sure, and have time to prepare accordingly!  We also had great trainings!  This time, our president and we discussed Christlike attributes.  I really appreciated the discussion.  I have been really enjoying the Christmas season as a time to focus on Christ. Love each other!  Sister Baughman made each companionship stand up and say two things they loved about their companion.  It was so cute to see 19-21 year old boy saying very sincere and sweet things about their teaching partners!  Yay for missions!  We are all about love and humility here in Hungary :P  We had a lot of funny moments with that, too.  For instance, the senior couples were in our training and stood and shared the things they loved about each other, too.  One of our senior sisters said some beautiful heartfelt thanks for her husband's testimony, hard work, and then, wiping her tears away, said that she loved that her husband rides a Harley Motorcycle.  Hahaha.  It was really funny (her and her husband love to joke around).

Our themed day this week was Superhero Day!!!!  We didn't QUITE dress up as superheroes, but we both wore the colors from some of our favorites.  Picture this: blue skirt, red shirt, black cardigan, black tights.  Who am I?  ..... Spiderman!!!  De Leon Nővér wore black and yellow as Batman.  (I have a really great picture of us standing next to a member wearing a green shirt (we told him he could be the Hulk dressed like that :P) but I will have to send it next week because we are emailing in the mission home today and we can't upload photos onto these computers.)  I studied spiritual gifts that day.  We performed service!  It was fun :D

De Leon Nővér and I have begun singing Christmas carols when we go tabling.  It is actually a great finding tool!  People hear us singing and want to talk to us!!  We actually had one man who asked if we had a CD and tried to give us money.  Instead, we talked about Christ and gave HIM a pass-along card :P  My favorite experience was with this little néni who stopped to listen to us sing then came and talked to me.  She told me she had never met a Mormon before, but heard they were great people.  I was able to give her a Book of Mormon and she walked away hugging it, telling me that she was super excited to learn more!  We ended up running into her the next day while we were tabling in a different spot.  She hustled over to us and excitedly told me she had read from the book!   She also told me she had something for me.  She dug through her purse and pulled out a cute little Christmas bell.  I wore it on my missionary tag for the rest of tabling :D

We were able to go to the Christmas devotional this last Sunday.  It was so good!  I highly recommend you check it out (my favorite was President Uchtdorf's talk-- check it out!!)

I am out of time!  Sorry this is short!  Will write more next week :)

Love you all!

McKenna aka Kramer Nővér

HELLO!!! (I never know what to put in this title haha) - Monday, December 5, 2011

Hello friends and family!!!

What happened this past week?

Remember the member I told you about who always makes us food and calls us her daughters?  Well, we visited her this past week and she wasn't able to move her entire left side.  I thought it seemed like a stroke, but she assured us that she was fine and that this happened every now and again.  She actually even made us food, even though she couldn't move properly!  Well, we got a call the next day that she had, in fact had a stroke, and was admitted to the hospital :(  I am so grateful for the organization of the church because we were able to call the Relief Society president and Kati Néni's visiting teachers (other members who are assigned to visit once a month and share a message and help with needs), and they have the ward mobilized to take care of this sweet older women.  She has had a priesthood blessing, visitors, and food.  I love how your ward becomes like a family to you, loving you and taking care of you!

We teach a group of women that we call the "3 Musketeers" half English/half gospel lessons.  They are super funny :)  The other day we were teaching them how to talk about things we like to do.  Example, "What do you like to do for fun?  I like to read books."  Etc.  However, one of the women was struggling to think of something she liked to do when her friend cut in and sang, "I like to move it move it."  (That song from the movie Madagascar.)  It was super funny and we all started laughing.  Then, the rest of the English lesson, we would break into song when we said a word from a song (example: "September" by Earth, Wind, and Fire when we were teaching the months of the year), culminating in a group singing session of "Last Christmas."

De Leon Nővér and I have decided to have a themed day every week of this transfer to help us keep this transfer fun and exciting, despite the cold.  This past week, we celebrated "Princess Day".  We did fun things like paint our nails, wear pink and purple clothes, wear sparkly headbands, and eat chocolate.  However, we also studied divine identity, read the talk "Your Happily Ever After" by President Uchtdorf, watched the Mormon Message "Women in Our Lives" by President Gordon B. Hinckley.  It was super fun to focus on how special people are and to share the belief that we are all God's children and therefore special.  What a neat message!  YOU (you reading this) are loved and special.  While sometimes I think of how small I am compared to the universe or maybe others who are more talented or successful than I am, in reality, I am a "princess" to God!  And that makes me important.  That makes you important!  We matter!  What we do matters!

Other good news: We have another investigator who committed to be baptized!  We teach this adorable 22 year old girl named Kinga.  She has been so busy with school and work (she is a scout leader or something) that we haven't been able to meet with her very often.  However, she has felt that this church is the right place for her for awhile.  So, this last lesson, we challenged her to take action based on that feeling and asked her to be baptized in March.  She agreed!  And is super excited!!  So yay!  (Picture attached of her and us)

We've been out in the cold a LOT this past week, though!!!  I am really grateful that I grew up in Connecticut!  At least I've experienced this type of humid cold before (although I've never stood outside for hours in a skirt in the middle of winter before this!).  We went tabling in the cold the other day and De Leon Nővér and I came up with a new way to catch people's interest (and forget that we are cold!).  We started singing songs from the Hungarian hymnbook and, if I can say this about myself, it was really pretty!  We sang Silent Night a bunch of times, though, because there are only about 3 Christmas songs in the hymnbook.  (HOWEVER, we just barely got NEW HYMNBOOKS!!!  They are bound in hardcover green, with the biggest collection of translated hymns Hungary has ever seen.  So next time we will bring one of those hymnbooks because there are more Christmas songs.)  People stopped to listen and our elders would go and talk to them about the Book of Mormon and what we believe.  It was great!  So, in addition to being a missionary, I am now a "street performer" haha!

Speaking of music, I am officially the new ward pianist.  I think I said last time that the normal pianist broke his wrist and our investigator, Zsuzsa, played in church last week.  However, I was told 10 minutes before church started yesterday that I would be accompanying.  AND that our mission president and his wife had chosen that day to visit our ward!  (No pressure!)  But I was able to choose the hymns this time, so I picked the ones I knew and it went really well!!  It is very funny to me, though, that somehow I am the best pick for ward pianist!  I am not that good!  But people told me afterwards that they really appreciated and enjoyed my piano playing.  With compliments like that, I know the Lord is helping me!

Something funny I have been thinking about this week is about logic and knowledge.  We have a lot of investigators who think our theology is very interesting and like to ask very random, specific questions about our beliefs, but won't take the challenge to read the Book of Mormon or pray about it.  I've been reading a couple of books that addressed this problem.  The books had answers to random questions like those asked by our investigators, but at the end basically said, "Yeah, we can answer all this stuff (see preceding chapters) but in the end, it is not really important.  If we could answer all of your questions perfectly, would that make this gospel and church God's true church on the earth?  No.  But if God Himself told you that it was true, but we weren't able to answer all of your questions perfectly, would that make this gospel true?  Yes."  That is what is so neat about this gospel!  Every person can find out for themselves if it is true by reading the book and asking God.  Every person who is a member of our church has done that and has felt God answering their prayer that this is true and right for them.  And, honestly, I love that the more I learn about this gospel, the more it makes sense in my heart AND mind.  The scriptures say there should be two witnesses to the truth, and I think we get a witness of the truth of this gospel to our hearts and minds.  Isn't that neat?

A little more about my studies (I hope this is at least a little interesting to you!  I just study and think about this stuff every day!): One of our elders let me borrow a book called Men of Valor that I have been reading the past couple of days.  I liked this quote, "In short, the Lord seeks to transform our nature, not just to modify our behavior."  When we truly try to follow Christ's example, it will be more than just acting kind or just doing a good deed because we should.  The true goal is to become sincerely kind and love everyone, and then our actions will reflect that.  That is my goal on a mission and life!  Heck, it is not always easy.  But, I am grateful for this opportunity to serve others because it is teaching me to think about others more than myself and to see them as God sees them.  Step by step, I am getting there.

Anyways, I know this email was super long, but just know that I love you!  I appreciate every note and prayer you send my way!!

Brighten someone else's day this week!  Christmas season is in full force!  Let's all have that goodwill and charity for all this week!  Loving others is SO much better than being annoyed or sad with them!  Be happy!