Sunday, February 5, 2012

This past week :D - Monday, January 30, 2012

Hello Family!

I don't have a lot of time, so this will be quick:

Last Monday, we played in Budapest with a large group of missionaries.  It was lots of fun!!  A tri-panionship of elders came into Budapest to play.  It was really neat because one of the elders was Hungarian.  (In fact, that is why they were in a tri... He has been called to serve in the Washington D.C. South mission, but he hasn't got his Visa yet.  So until then, he is serving in Hungary with a companionship here!)  But it was super fun to talk to him all day :)  I think I talk to way more néni's than young people here!  So it is always good practice to talk with someone my own age :P
We started the day out by going to "The Palace of Miracles" (Csodák Palotája).  It was this super fun science museum type thing (one of the elders told me to describe it as Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium... pretty accurate description actually).  Admittedly the seven of us were probably the oldest people there (it is mostly meant for kids, I think haha) but it was super fun nonetheless!
Then, Sister Johnson and I were taken out to lunch by the senior sisters (belated birthday treat).  We went to Trófea's (the ever popular Hungarian buffet).  They brought out a cake with a sparkler in it for me!  And sang Happy Birthday to me.  Soooo fun!
Then we tried to find the Chinese Piac.  Ended up in the ghetto of Budapest :)
After that, we went to this little store that sold American items.  We actually found Reese's Pieces!!  And Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream... YUM YUM YUM!!!

We had Zone Conference this past Thursday.  It was great, as always :D  Some of my favorite parts came from a departing testimony from one of the elders in our zone.  I liked these quotes from him: "Have a full mission.  Serve with no regrets."  He told us of his own 2 year conversion and how every single missionary who taught him was exactly what he needed at that time.  Looking us straight in the eye, he pointed and told us, "You are exactly what these people need right now."  It is really cool to think that I and my life experiences are exactly what somebody needs here to help them learn and progress.

Funny moment this past week: We had an investigator who wanted to come to a Cultural Night at our ward.  Not really knowing what that meant, Johnson Nővér and I agreed to go with her.  We thought we would cook Hungarian food or something... Wrong!  We went to this event and found out it was a class about Hungarian history... in Hungarian.  So we learned about Hungarian working songs and other random stuff.  It was interesting :P  And a very good language study haha.

Anyways, I have to run, but know that I love you!  I love missionary work!

Kramer Nővér aka McKenna

“Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a STANDARD for the nations.” - Monday, January 23, 2012

Hello my beloved family and friends!

First of all, thank you all so much for the birthday wishes :)  I cannot tell you how much I appreciated all of the love :)  You all rock and made one little sister missionary in Hungary feel very special!!

This last week was crazy!!!!  This week every missionary in Hungary focused especially on being obedient!  And as a district, we all wanted to get Super Standard this week.  So let me tell you a little bit about what happened:

Monday: "Birthday" P-day!  It was fun :D  I went to my very first Tisza store here in Hungary!  (Tisza is a Hungarian-only brand of shoes.)  Every missionary here gets at least one pair on their mission, I think.  It was super fun trying the shoes on (really, what a perfect day for me, right?) and I think I might have to join the ranks of Tisza-owning missionaries at some point in the future :)  We spent the night before our programs in the mission home.  One of the elders in my district, Mathews Elder, found Oreos (I am not even sure how... they are rare here in Hungary) and he and the senior sisters made an Oreo-layer cake for me :)  (I think my parents have a picture of that they can put up on the blog.)  It was super sweet :)  That night, we went to a member's house for dinner and it was super fun.  This really cute younger couple invited us over.  They told us that they do not invite missionaries over very often (we felt quite special :P).  It was really fun, though, because the husband had served a mission in Provo, Utah, so he regaled us with stories of his mission (in English haha.  It was a nice break from Hungarian.).  It was super fun and they want us to come back and bring investigators!  It is great getting members involved in lessons because they are able to share their experiences, which are so much more special and personal and relatable to most Hungarians.

Tuesday: My actual birthday :)  I am officially 22 years old!  (Yikes! :P)  (And on that day, I had exactly one year left on my mission!  Where is the time going?!)  We didn't do anything all that special-- we had a lot of programs planned.  Some of programs cancelled, though, so we went looking for people to teach.  Sister Johnson really wanted to go streeting (which just means talking to people on the street).  Not really my comfort area.  But we were able to give out a few "Book of Mormon"s and talk to some really cool people :)  That night was fun, though!  We had a program set up with... a FIREHOUSE!  I had just found a contact in our phone labeled "Attila- Fireman".  It sounded interesting :P  So I called him up!  And somehow I set up a program with multiple firemen at the firehouse.  We brought this super cool member named Livi, who can speak English and Hungarian (we thought that would be a help :P), and we went.  It was super fun!  We had a little group of firemen and we talked about the Book of Mormon and what we believed.  We all laughed a bunch, too.  It was fun and they want to meet again!  Who would've guessed haha?  Later that night, we went to the branch house and our elders presented us with a delicious chocolate cake that they had made for my birthday (I am not sure why everyone felt like I needed cake?  But it was delicious :D).

Wednesday: More cake actually :P  A member fed us delicious cake for my birthday and her daughters drew super cute birthday cards for me :)  It was so sweet-- I really appreciated it :)

Thursday: I taught the kids' English class this week.  They were kind of crazy actually :P  Especially since I don't really know how to tell kids to behave in Hungarian :P  But it all worked out and we had fun drawing pictures about our families and things we want to do.  One of our investigator's little brothers came, which was sweet :)

Friday: We went tracting and were actually let into someone's home!  It was kind of a weird experience (I felt like I was going against all I had been taught about strangers and stuff when I was little haha) but it turned out pretty cool!  We were tracting in a 10-story apartment building and at one door a woman actually wanted to know more about what we were sharing (we are so used to people saying no that I think we were a little lost for words at first when she said she wanted to know more haha!).  We gave her a Book of Mormon and she invited us in.  She told us it was weird that we knocked on her door because she has actually been praying and thinking about religion a lot lately.  I thought that was pretty neat :)  And we set up to meet with her again this upcoming week, so we will see how that goes!

Saturday: There was a baptism in our ward!  Her name was Ica.  She is a super cute lady who was taught by the elders and just so prepared.  She has loved learning more about the gospel and coming to church.  The elders asked us to sing a special musical number at her baptism, so Sister Johnson and I sang "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" in Hungarian and it went really well.  After the baptism, everyone told us that we sounded like angels!  And some of the senior missionaries actually made us sing it again so they could record it :P  (I will see if I can get a copy for you all.)

Sunday: I somehow ended up playing the piano again in church!  And I said the closing prayer :P  (I think this ward just likes hearing from me :P)  Sunday was the day that would determine whether or not we would get Super Standard, the goals we had been working all week towards.  This week has been very crazy because we had a lot of programs cancel, which made it harder to get our goals.  But we rallied and had found and scheduled new programs and so finally, we just needed 2 of the people we had taught to come to church!  We waited expectantly, having invited lots and lots of investigators.  However... we only had one come :(  BUT.  That is okay!!!  We still made the Standard goals!!!!  And that is great!  And honestly, the most important thing is that these goals drove us to work harder this week and share our message of happiness with more people than we might have otherwise.  That counts as a pretty successful week in my book :)

So, yeah, it has been a busy week full of birthdays, programs, finding, teaching, and having fun :D  I hope you all had similarly fulfilling weeks!

Love you all!

McKenna aka Kramer Nővér

Inspiration for this email's title came from the talk "Your Light- a Standard to All Nations" by James E. Faust.  Check check check it out!

Another week... funny how time just keeps marching on, huh? - Monday, January 16, 2012

Hello Family and Friends!

I turn the big 2-2 tomorrow!  CRAZY!  I am so much older than I used to be!!!  (Duh, I know.  But I feel old, even though I am not, so that was the best way I could think of describing it.)  I remember when I was a little girl and I thought that missionaries were SO OLD.  Well, what do you know!  Time moves on.  We are all getting older.  There isn't anything we can do to stop the flow of time.  (Ain't that a lovely thought?)  But I read this quote from the Music Man in a talk by President Monson ("Finding Joy in the Journey"... he also uses it in this excellent older talk "In Search of Treasure") the other day, "You pile up enough tomorrows, and you'll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays."  The music professor, Harold Hill, goes on to say, "I don't know about you, but I'd like to make today worth remembering."  That is what I want for my birthday, if I can ask anything of all of you.  Make today and then tomorrow and then the next day worth remembering! Live it up!  This is LIFE!  We are so lucky that we get to be alive right now on this earth during this time!  Appreciate what you have!  Make memories!

Some memories of mine from this past week:

Well, we had the cutest program EVER!  We set up with this cute little lady and went to her house.  She told us she would meet us at the bus stop.  I had never met her before so when we got off the bus, I looked around and this little old lady came running at us.  She gave us giant hugs and kisses and told us she was so happy that we had found her okay.  Linking arms with us, she walked us to her house.  Her house was so cool, full of collections of books and things she had collected from various countries around the world.  She showed us some rocks from various countries.  She had some sand from the Sahara Desert.  She let me touch it, and after I did so, I told her, "Now I've been in the Sahara Desert!"  She was like, "You've been to the Sahara Desert?  When?"  I said, "Oh, just now... when I stuck my finger... in.. the... sand..."  (Joke fail haha.)  She told us lots of stories about her adventures, fed us tons of delicious food, and we were able to talk about the Book of Mormon.  By the end, she had offered to teach us Hungarian embroidery and actually GAVE us some (it is really expensive to buy, so that was a REALLY nice gift).  I hope we are able to meet with her again :)

We did P90X with our elders for exercise one morning this past week.  The one we picked was called Plyometrics and was super intense.  During the warm-up, when we were lunging, the instructor said, "If you are having a hard time with this, this work out is going to be really hard for you!"  We kind of looked at each other and laughed nervously.  And then it turned out to be really hard.  But we finished it!  And then had sore legs for the next two days haha.  But it is important to take care of your body.  Exercise!  We also were able to attend this Tai Chi class put on by one of our members.  I liked it!  I had never done it before but it was really neat!

Yesterday, we went to baptismal services in Békéscsaba (Sister Johnson's old area).  There were four women baptized!  It was so cool!  There isn't a baptismal font in their church building there (it is really small) so they had to search around for one.  They finally found a hotel willing to let them use their jacuzzi.  So, we set up a bunch of chairs around the jacuzzi and did the baptismal service there.  It was pretty tight going when the ladies were baptized (we baptize by full-immersion in this church).  It involved some tight geometry and angles.  Some of women had to be dipped a couple of times so all of them went under.  But it all went though!  It was inspiring to see these women's faith.  They believe in God and the scriptures so much that they were willing to make this baptismal covenant in a little hotel jacuzzi.  They were all confirmed at church later that day and that was beautiful too.  It is so cool to see little branches like the one in Békéscsaba.  It is not easy.  But these members believe enough to make it their life.

Anyways, it has been a good week overall :)  Sister Johnson and I are getting in a better groove, I think :) 

Sorry my emails have been kind of short these past two weeks.  I am TIRED.  But happy :)

Wish me luck!  Better yet, say a little prayer for me :P

Love you all!
McKenna aka Kramer Nővér

I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it. ~Thomas Jefferson - Monday, January 9, 2012

Hello All!

This week has actually been really hard.  Sister Johnson and I decided we wanted to try for Mission Standard (our mission president puts out a list of numbers (called Standard) to help motivate us, including things like how many lessons we taught, how many Book of Mormons we gave away, etc. that helps us to focus and work hard) in our first week as co-seniors.  We thought it would be a great way to make us stretch and to show everyone that we are here to work!  And that we aren't scared of the language :)

We didn't end up making standard :(  BUT.  We were super close!  We hit our goals in almost every area!  And it was a great goal to drive us to work hard.  I think by working so hard for it, we learned that we have the ability to do this co-senior thing.  It hasn't been easy, but we've had a lot of support and we've seen some small miracles :)

Some fun (and funny) moments from this last week:
-Singing songs at the hospital with Kati Néni. A nurse came into the room to see where the "angel sounds" were coming from.
-Listening to our investigator jam on the guitar while at Gofri Est (while trying to write my testimony in a Book of Mormon for his friend... and using the cell phone to check my spelling)
-Sister Johnson and I singing Disney songs (which we both know all of the words to haha) at the top of our lungs in our apartment.
-A random man offering us a ride in his car when we were fliering.  We gave him a Book of Mormon instead :P
-Doing tai chi (in a skirt) at a newly baptized member's home with the elders and some investigators.
-Somehow setting up a program with an entire firehouse haha!
-A member here telling me that I was the most beautiful missionary she's ever seen.
-Calling about a million people... and everyone told me to call back later.  Actually, one person told me to call back the next century (I don't think I will still be in Hungary by then haha).
-Calling the elders about a million times because we have no idea what we are doing.
-Tabling in the freezing cold with members and sick elders for Missionary Day.  And despite the cold, laughing and sharing the gospel anyways :)
-Teaching lessons all by ourselves... and somehow understanding what was going on!  And being able to resolve their concerns :)

So, it has been hard!  But I am grateful for all the great moments we had too :)

Love you all!  Have a great week!

McKenna aka Kramer Nővér

P.S. My 22nd birthday is next Tuesday (January 17th!  WEIRD.)  I have been on my mission for almost half a year!