Monday, March 26, 2012

Crazy Mc-Craziness - Monday, March 26, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, we got transfer calls this morning and the results were kind of a surprise.  I am leaving Kispest (not a surprise) and going to a city called Szeged (more of a surprise).  However, it is crazy because my companion is going to be someone named Sister Papritz (who is actually the mission nurse).  She is going home in two transfers, which means I am going junior again, which nobody thought would happen (including me) (biggest surprise haha).  But Sister Papritz and I really really wanted to serve together (we mostly know each other through other people, but I am pretty sure that we are soul sisters) and her and De Leon talked to President about it.  And I guess it turned out to be the right thing!  Both of us were astonished when we got our calls this morning.  (I didn't even believe that the APs were serious haha.)  I am so excited, though!  I really wanted to go to Szeged, which is a cool college town full of young people.  I know Sister Papritz and I will have a lot of work to do!

Sister Gallion is replacing me here in Kispest, which is kind of crazy, too, because her and Sister Johnson were MTC companions.  If I could've picked anyone to replace me, though, I would've picked her.  I love Sister Gallion and I know she will take good care of my dear dear Kispest.

I have really loved my four transfers here in Kispest and in the city.  It was super hard yesterday to say goodbye to everyone in church.  It was Fast and Testimony meeting, so I was able to go up and publicly thank the ward and bear my testimony.  I talked about how I came here as a greenie (way back in OCTOBER!  Dang, I've been here a loong time.  But time flies!), became a senior here, and how much I have appreciated their love and support through it all.  I told them they are my Hungarian family.  (Totally true.)  And I have been saying goodbyes ever since.  A ton of members came up to me after sacrament meeting and told me how much they will miss me.  I tried to take a lot of pictures.  It actually has seemed kind of surreal.  I've only cried once.  We went over to Kati Néni's house (she was a less-active we helped come back to activity, who then had a stroke) at her request yesterday after church and she taught us how to make túró (so we will know how to make it in America, where they don't sell it ready made) and then she wrote a note in my emlékkönyv.  After she finished the note, she apologized for her shaky handwriting (she still can't move one side of her very well) and then this sweet sweet woman started crying.  I gave her a hug and she told me how sad she was that I was leaving.  I told her that there will be other great sisters here to be her "daughters" but she cried and said she knows, but that they wouldn't be me.  That made me cry too.  She told me that I will always be in her heart.  It is really hard for me to leave Kispest.  I love the people here so much.  I have worked so hard to serve the investigators and members here and that has made me love them all the more.  I was talking to another member and she told me how she had heard that the first area for a missionary is always first in their heart, too.  I agree.  I am excited to go to another area, but Kispest will always be my first Hungarian home.  I have a bunch more goodbyes to make in the next couple of days, I have to pack, and I have to try and make sure everything is ready to be passed to the new companionship, and then I will meet up with my new companion at the train station on Wednesday, and go to Szeged and start that phase of my mission.

The rest of week was crazy.  Sister Johnson and I worked crazy hard to go out on a good note, which we did.  We ended the week totally exhausted, but happy.  I have loved my time serving with her and I am really going to miss her.

I love this quote (and the only source I can remember it being from is that wise old turtle in Kung Fu Panda haha but I am sure there is a more legitimate one :P) and I think it is really pertinent for this new phase in my life: "There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift.  That is why it is called the "present." " I encourage all of you to really enjoy life NOW and TODAY!  Tell the people you love that you love them!  Go to that museum you've wanted to!  Have a dance party.  Work on your relationship with your family, God, and friends.  Laugh!  We are so lucky to have this time on the earth to learn and grow.  I have been thinking a lot about how lucky we are to have a Father in Heaven who has given us the gift of today and the ability to choose what we will make of it.  Let's make the most of every phase of our lives!

Kramer Nővér aka McKenna

P.S. I am SO EXCITED for General Conference this weekend!!!!  It is such a cool experience to get guidance and inspiration from a living prophet and apostles for us today.  I encourage you all to check it out!  (See  It only happens twice a year, but I always learn so much and come away with a renewed desire and fire to be better!

Yay for Hungary!!! - Monday, March 19, 2012

Hello Everyone!

I have had such a crazy fun week last week!

On Wednesday, my good friend, Becca Adamson, came to visit!!!!  (She was on of my roommates my sophomore year at BYU.)  She has been doing a study-abroad in Vienna and was coming down to Hungary for a few days.  President gave me permission to see her, and so we met up on Wednesday.  It actually started off a little shaky.  We were supposed to meet by a metro stop, but Sister Johnson and I waited and waited and waited and she didn't show.  And we didn't have a telephone number or anything for them so we didn't really have any other option.  After about half an hour, we got a call from a strange number.  It was Becca!  They were at a nearby McDonald's, using Skype or something to call us.  We ran over there (relieved that they were okay).  As we walked towards the McDonald's, I saw Becca outside and we ran and hugged.  She was with two friends from her study abroad and the five of us went to lunch together.  It was super fun to catch up!  Then, Sister Johnson and I showed them our favorite little store (handmade books) and then we walked across the bridge to Buda.  We showed them a great view of the city, then Sister Johnson and I walked to the mission home and back to missionary work.  It was definitely fun to see Becca!  It was kind of weird at the same time because my two lives (mission and normal) were sort of colliding.  The interesting thing was that I am still McKenna, but I am Sister Kramer, too.  And, I realized, that I am very happy with my life here.  I am very grateful for this opportunity to take a break from normal life and to be a missionary.

Another super fun thing that happened this week was... SUPER PDAY!!!  March 15th is a MAJOR holiday here in Hungary (one of the three national holidays).  It celebrates the Hungarian Revolution of 1848.  Basically, everybody gets the day off work, there are some political talks, and everyone celebrates being Hungarian.  We all wore these little ribbons on our chests to show Hungarian pride.  Sister Johnson and I spent the day with the APs.  In their car, we drove all the way to the Balaton (this giant lake in Hungary and another point of Hungarian pride and love) and visited this cute little town (called Tihany) overlooking it.  The APs brought their whips (a Hungarian mission tradition) and taught me how to crack the whip.  I didn't do it at first, but with a little practice and determination, I learned two different ways to crack the whip!  It was pretty exciting :P  It was pretty funny, too, because we had a crowd of people watching us (weeeell, mostly watching the APs, since they could do really cool things with the whips).  It was lots of fun.  Then, we headed over to a castle.  Super cool.  And then we had dinner in Veszprem (a BEAUTIFUL city near all of this).  I was so glad we were able to do all of that because we went to areas that I will never have the opportunity to serve in (as a sister).  So, it was super fun :)  (See the approximately 100 pictures I took from that day haha)

So, there were all of those crazy events, but we were still able to do great missionary work!  Our other days were kind of crazy busy actually because we had to pack all of our programs into just a few working days.

We had a super great program with a man named Csaba.  We have been meeting with him for awhile, teaching him about the Book of Mormon and the Plan of Salvation in English.  We have good conversations but he has been having a hard time connecting the discussion to action, or even seeing why it matters.  We knew that he was missing that connection and had planned to talk to him about the steps Jesus Christ showed us to take in this lifetime (faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, enduring to the end), hoping that it would help.  As we started the lesson, though, we felt prompted to talk about prayer instead.  We talked about prayer and it came out that Csaba still wasn't sure if God existed!!!  (Kind of a roadblock to accepting that He has a plan for us or reveals that plan through scriptures and prophets!!!)  In such a great lesson, we challenged him to pray and ask God if He is there this week.  He said he would and said that he is excited.  We talked about how such knowledge is life-changing.  When we realize God exists, we want to know more about Him and what He wants.  I was able to share some experiences in my life that have helped me feel God's love for me personally and to know that He truly is our loving Heavenly Father.

This week has just been full of exciting moments-- Sister Johnson and I sang in church yesterday.  (Hopefully, a video of the song (that we recorded later at home) will get uploaded to my blog.  This past week had a special goal of getting people to church.  Sister Johnson and I thought of singing a song to help our investigators come.  We didn't have anyone to accompany us, though, and weren't sure what to do.  We tried singing alone, but it was kind of boring.  Then, Sister Johnson had the genius idea of trying to figure out something on her guitar.  She had tried earlier in the week without much success, but we were desperate (it was Saturday at this point).  She said a prayer and then miraculously figured out a beautiful guitar thing in the next half hour.  And it went GREAT!  We actually had a lot of people (including all of the senior missionaries) come to church!  So yay!

Anyways, this transfer is almost done.  I cannot believe how fast time is flying!  We will get calls next Monday telling us what our future is.  It is almost guaranteed that I will leave Kispest.  I have very mixed feelings about this.  I love the city.  I love love love the people here.  But I know whatever happens will be for the best (for me and the people here).

I hope you all have a great week!  Love you all!

Kramer Nővér aka McKenna

This Past Week - Monday, March 12, 2012

Dearest Family and Friends,

So, first of all, I am sure a lot of you are wondering why my email was so short last week!  I can hear you all wondering, "What the heck was Kramer Nővér doing that didn't allow her to write her usual novel?" :P  Well, our last P-Day was CRAZY... crazy AWESOME!  First of many adventures?  The Kispest elders and us went... caving!  (See pictures.)  Lindelof Elder had done it before and suggested that we include it on our list of "Awesome Things To Do Before Christensen Elder Goes Home".  So, we did it!  It was really cool.  Basically, we went INTO Buda Hills!  (With a guide, of course.)  We got to wear these jumpsuits and hats with a light on them and we all went into the dark mountain together, where we proceeded to climb around caves for two hours.  It was super super fun!  I had never done anything quite like it, but I really enjoyed it (despite the bruising on my knees afterwards!  Rock is not that soft :P)  Our guide could speak English and told us all sorts of funny and interesting stories about caves.  We were also able to talk to him about the gospel a TON.  He didn't really know a lot about our church, so we shared how our beliefs have helped our life!  He thought it was really cool that we all believed enough to give up a normal life for two years.  I figure that two years (or a year and a half) is not very much to all to give back after all I have been given :P  Anyways, after caving, we were dirty (the caves had clay in them) and tired, but we decided that we hadn't had ENOUGH adventure for one day, and so headed over to János Hegy with some of the Buda elders.  We had it all planned out-- we were going to hop on a bus over there, take the ski lift up, snap some pictures, and then be back with PLENTY of time to email.  Slight problem arose when we got there and the ski lift wasn't running!  It hadn't opened yet!!!!  Slight kink in our plans!  Determined to see our plan through, though, we decided to walk up the mountain instead.  However, we chose the trail directly under the ski lift... which turned out to be super steep and long!  In the end, we made it to the top, though, which is SO worth it, because János Hegy is one of the highest points in Budapest and you can see the entire city of Budapest from it!  It was SO pretty!  I love love love my city!!!  Anyways, we took pictures, and headed back (although, thankfully a less steep way than we came!).  That walk was kind of long, too, though, and when we got to the bus stop, the bus had started and was just about to leave!  We all sprinted for the bus, ignoring our tired muscles and bruises, getting there just in time!  Weeeelll... MOST of us got there in time.  We ran onto the bus and told the bus driver Sister Johnson and Elder Shipp were still coming (they were just about to the back corner of the bus).  For whatever reason, though, the bus driver totally IGNORED us, shut the doors, and drove away... WITHOUT the other missionaries!  We were shocked!  (And I had major seperation anxiety!!!)  We quickly jumped off at the next stop and waited for the next bus (thankfully, just a couple minutes later) on which were our lost companions.  After that, we all made it back safely to the mission home without further incident, but at that point, we had next-to-no-time to email.  So THAT is why you all only got a few lines last week!  Whew.

Anyways, thankfully I had more time today to email (and I finally sent lots of pictures!  Enjoy!!)!  Let me tell you a little bit about some of the awesome stuff that happened THIS week!

Elder Christofferson, a living apostle, came to Hungary and spoke to us!  It was super special!  We first had a conference with just him and ALL of the missionaries in Hungary.  It was so COOL to see our entire mission in one place!  When the apostle came, he asked to shake every one of our hands, and asked that we introduce ourself by telling him our name and where we are from.  I shook his hand, and told him I was from Connecticut.  He told me he was familiar with Connecticut and asked where, more specifically.  I told him Hartford area... and then moved down the line.  (Wasn't much of a conversation haha... there were about 80 missionaries behind me.)  It was still really neat to talk to him, even if just for a second.  And I think I most appreciated his concern to thank each of us individually for our service. He and his wife were there with our area president and his wife, so we heard from all four of them.  One of my favorite talks came from the area president, who asked the Hungarian missionaries in the room to stand up (there are currently 3 (2 elders, one of which is waiting for his Visa for his American mission, and 1 sister, who is a mini-missionary).  He told us all to look at them and fix their images in our mind because that is what we want.  He challenged us all to baptize our "replacements" on our mission.  He talked about how missionary work has really exploded when the country was able to supply their own missionaries.  And I believe.  So often people here don't really listen to our message because they think it is an American religion or we don't understand their culture properly.  So, he challenged us to pray for help finding our "replacements" or young people to teach that will serve missions.  I thought it was such a cool goal and challenge!!  Elder Christofferson's remarks were really great, too.  He actually opened the floor up for questions and spent most of his time answering concerns of missionaries.  (Although he joked that he did not know what the 3 Nephites were up to, so don't bother asking :P)  There was also a general stake meeting that night, where half the Saints in Hungary came.  (The building was PACKED.)  I really loved what he said-- he told us that if the Prophet Joseph Smith could see all the Saints gathered there together, he would say that all of his trials and persecutions were WORTH it.  I think that meant a lot to these Saints who are pioneers of the Church here.  They give up a lot sometimes to be members and it was so cool to hear an apostle thank them for their faithfulness.  He also told us that Hungary is a really special place (he is TOTALLY right!).

We had a lot of programs this past week, running all over Budapest and keeping busy.  We also got fed a TON this week!  Between Saturday, yesterday, and today, we were fed FOUR times!  I have been stuffed full of delicious food all weekend (NOT that I am complaining!)  It has been great!  I have been able to make and eat a lot of great Hungarian food with investigators and members.  My challenge this week?  Find a new recipe (possibly Hungarian!  It would be delicious!!  :P) and try it!  Try something new :)  Have fun!

Funny quotes from this week:
"Feel free to baptize a violently handsome man for me."- Livi (awesome member and ward missionary)
"I know some people who don't like chocolate!" -me "....they are bad people." -Béla (awesome member whose house we were eating dinner and chocolate ice cream at)

I hope you all are having a fabulous week!

I love you all!

Kramer Nővér aka McKenna  

Really really quick - Monday, March 5, 2012

Hey everybody!

This is going to be my shortest email to date (which will probably be a relief after my super-long one last week, huh?) but we just had a CRAZY P-Day!!!  And now we have basically next to no time to email!

That's okay because I was actually way sick this past week with a nasty sinus thing so last week wasn't quite up to par :P

However, we still had some awesome highlights:

-Last week for P-Day, we went laser-tagging with our zone.  Kispest district ROCKED!  We were undefeated :)  It was quite fun!  But that's probably the least important highlight haha.

-We have a baptismal date now!!!  One is the lady passed over from the Pest sisters.  Her name is Mani and she told us that she has been searching for the true church for a long time now, and is so glad to have found the true one.  She prayed about baptism and decided she wants to be baptized on Easter weekend!

-The Pest branch house had an Open House event.  It was so cool.  The members put it all together and it was so cool.  A lot of people came to the branch house to check out our church and what we believe.  There were different themed rooms explaining different parts about our church (like Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, family history, etc.).  I got to help a member in the Book of Mormon room for a few hours.  It was super cool!!  We explained what the Book of Mormon was and what it is about.  The coolest part was that I was able to bear my testimony of the Book of Mormon to EVERY single person that came into the branch house!  That was so neat :)  And after all of the tours, there was a sweet concert put on by the members.

Anyways, sorry this is so short!  I will send a longer one next week (with TONS of great pictures I have from the past few weeks!).  Cool things coming up: Elder Christofferson, one of the apostles, is coming to Hungary THIS Wednesday!!!  We are going to have a special mission conference with him and he is going to meet with the stake.  It should be soooo cool!

I encourage you all to take some time to listen to an apostle's words this week!  Go check out some General Conference talks or something at

I love you all!

McKenna aka Kramer Nővér

It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's... SUPER STANDARD!!!! - Monday, February 27, 2012

Hello dear family and friends!!!!

This week has been CRAZY!!!  But AWESOME :D  Baaah, so many good things happened, I don't even know where to start!  Here is my attempt to tell you about some of the highlights!!!

We met with an awesome new FAMILY of investigators this past Tuesday!!!  Livi, one of the coolest members ever, has been bringing these two little girls (Vivi, age 11, and Nina, age 7) to church these past two weeks.  She introduced us to them and their mom (a past co-worker of hers) and asked us if we would meet with them.  (Um, YES!)  So, this last Tuesday, we went over to their house with Livi to teach them so more.  It was so COOL!  Apparently, these little girls met Livi, and were super curious about this church she was always talking about.  They asked if they could go with her, and she said, sure, if they were willing to wake up at 8am and take the buses to get there on time.  Amazingly enough, they AGREED!  (Vivi told me she thought it was better to do something than just sit and watch tv :P  They are pretty special little girls).  They came and LOVED church.  They have been reading from the Book of Mormon for their Primary (young children) class.  So, we got to go over there and teach them and their parents a little more about our church and how special it is.  We used this object lesson, using cups, to teach them how our church today is built the same as Christ's church when he lived and established it (built on apostles, teaches same doctrine, answers life's questions, has a prophet with revelation and priesthood power, and Christ is at the head).  We had trouble keeping the cups up at the end, so we joked that we are not prophets (the church was restored to the earth through a prophet).  It was pretty funny :P  At the end of the lesson, the little girls asked if we could come back next week.  (Um, yes!)  In fact, they want us to come every week!  Gladly :)  We were able to give the parents Books of Mormon, too, and the whole family agreed to read from it this week!  Yay!  What a great lesson!!!!!  We left hardly believing it :D  It is super cool, too, because these are people that Livi loves and is willing to trust us with.  Speaking of referrals, actually, we also had dinner at some of our favorite ward members this past Monday and they told us that they have referrals for us!  It blows our minds that people are willing to trust us with their friends!  But I am very honored that they trust me to teach these special people in their lives about the gospel, something that is close and dear to the member's heart.

We had a super crazy busy day on Wednesday!!!  It was literally PACKED with programs, including a super awesome passover program in Pest.  (If the investigator is living in a different area than the one the missionaries are assigned to, they commonly meet with the missionaries in that area with the investigator and "pass over" the teaching over to them).  The sisters in Pest had been teaching this older lady named Mani who lives in Kispest.  So, they arranged for all of us to meet with her.  She is awesome!  (We are super excited to teach her after the just one program with her!)  She told us within 5 minutes of meeting us that she is ready to accept this gospel!!  In her program, she told us about her reading (she is in Alma already) and how much she already loves the Book of Mormon.  We talked about the principles of Jesus Christ's gospel (Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Enduring to the End) and she told us that she wants to get baptized!!!  (Actually, she was super cute and asked if she could get baptized in Kispest, instead of Pest.  We readily told her yes haha!)  She is currently praying about her decision and a date to be baptized!  She already has such faith and told us that she knows she will get an answer from God soon :)

There were some hard parts to this week, too.  Thursday night, I had to teach a very difficult program with a member (Johnson Nővér was needed in the missionary meeting in the next room).  It was with an investigator we had met with many times, and who really loves us and loves talking to us, but is unwilling to take any action (reading, praying).  I had to explain our purpose as missionaries and to tell him that we are here to help people draw closer to Christ, not to just talk on a theoretical level.  It was really hard to tell him that unless he was willing to take steps, we couldn't meet with him anymore :(  It is hard because we love him and his family.  However, I came on a mission to help people to take those steps to come closer to Christ.  And I know that there are a lot of people who need this message and these steps.  So, it was hard, but necessary.  That night was made harder because I came out of this draining program to a crowd of concerned Hungarians and missionaries who told me Sister Johnson had had a breakdown after the meeting.  Apparently, the language and everything just overwhelmed her (and not understanding the meeting was the breaking point) and she had started crying :(  Sometimes going Senior so "young" in the mission is really tough.  Heck, sometimes being a missionary is tough.  But, we talked about how it is okay if we are not perfect.  All the Lord asks is that we try our best.  And we know he will make up for our imperfections :)  Our ward was really cute, too, with the members telling us then (and in subsequent days), that if we ever don't understand or need help, to just say, because they love us and want to help us!  I love the ward and members here and am so grateful to have served here in Kispest!

Back to happy, though!  We had Zone interviews on Friday (pretty much like Zone conference, but with personal interviews with President).  The trainings were all really great :)  My favorite part, though, was hearing Christensen Elder's departing testimony (missionaries who are leaving all get a chance to bear their testimonies and share words of wisdom with their zone in their last Zone conference or interviews).  He shared Ether 12:27 and talked about how he had experienced the strengthening power of the Atonement on his mission.  It was simple, but so sincere and heart-felt.  Everyone teared up a little, I think.  It has been really cool to make such good friends on my mission-- Christensen Elder is one of them.  He is like a brother to me :)  It was really neat to hear him share his love of this gospel and this country after serving here for two years.

We also had "Missionary Day" this past Saturday.  The ward members came out and we distributed fliers and Books of Mormon at a local market.  It was SUPER windy and my hair went kind of crazy haha.  But we were able to talk to a lot of people!  The funniest moment was when Sister Johnson and I were talking to these two bácsi's (old men) and they took a flier, asking us why we were here.  We told them we were missionaries and they asked, "Oh, so you two pretty ladies didn't come here to marry us?"  Haha.

We also had district meeting on Saturday.  We mad district lunch of mexicoi (burritos.  Lindelof Elder's mom sent him a Mexican food care package with real tortillas and sauces.  (You can't really get that stuff for cheap here.) Yum yum yum!!)  Sister Johnson and I gave the training in the meeting, about asking questions in programs.  Since we were training a bunch of 19-21 year old boys, we started off with an object lesson, of course.  We hid candy around the room and told them how many pieces were hidden.  They searched and searched and found most of them, but still some were missing.  Finally, one of them asked me for help.  Pulling the last piece of candy out of my pocket, we talked about how much we can learn when we ask questions from our investigators and when we ask for help from the Lord.  We also shared this quote that I really liked, and I share it with you all: "The mediocre teacher tells.  The good teacher explains.  The superior teacher demonstrates.  The great teacher inspires."  (Easier said than done, but that is our goal as missionaries!  To help inspire!)

After that, we had the ward Farsang party.  For all of those of you who don't know what Farsang is, don't worry, it's Hungarian haha :P  Not that widespread of a holiday.  But, it is kind of like our Halloween (which they do not celebrate) insofar as they dress up.  Traditionally, they dressed up as animals to scare winter away.  And they eat a lot of doughnuts for some reason, too.  So, our ward had a party, with people dressing up (mostly little kids... and Sister Johnson and I!  We were Hungarian candy... I will send pictures next week!) and with games and food.  It was quite fun :)

The coolest miracle of our week came yesterday, at the end of our crazy busy week!  We had made a goal this week to reach Super Standard (certain number goals set by our mission president, concerning lessons taught, Book of Mormons handed out, etc.), even with all the other crazy things happening (we basically had two work days cut due to interviews and our crazy Saturday)!  We knew it was a pretty lofty goal, but we knew that it was one we could do :)  We had met with tons of people and worked our tails off every day and finally just needed one more program on Sunday.  We had two scheduled, but they both ended up cancelling!  Undeterred, we called pretty much every one of our investigators to see if they could possibly meet with us that day.  None could!  :(  We racked our brains for what to do and I came up with the idea of bringing a Liahona (magazine put out by our church) to one of our old investigators we haven't been able to meet with in awhile.  We prayed that they would be home (and I prayed that I could FIND their home haha... I had only been there twice before!) and we set off.  We found their apartment, thankfully, and rang their bell, waiting with bated breath!  They answered!!  (Yay!)  We told them that we had brought them a Liahona and they buzzed us up!  Excited and sure we had that last program in the bag, we confidently knocked on the door.  The daughter (in her 30s) let us in and asked us what exactly we had brought them?  I showed her the magazine and asked if maybe we could share a little bit about one of our favorite talks in it.  The daughter informed us that they were actually quite busy, and didn't have time.  A little deflated, but still not defeated, I pulled out a sticky note to mark the talk and shared a little spiritual thought about it.  She waited, practically with her foot tapping, but, heck, we wanted to help them and we wanted this Super Standard!!!  I told her and her mother (who was there at that point... I am not really sure why they were too busy; the mom told me they were just altering clothes) that we loved them and that we would like to say a prayer with them maybe before we left.  Kind of rudely, the daughter told me that they usually prayed and that would suffice.  She pushed us out the door, wishing us good day, and leaving us distraught on their doorstep.  What were we to do?  Our golden plan... in ruins...  We got back on the vilamos and rode back towards the church house.  We got off and saw two homeless men on a bench.  Pretty much out of options, Sister Johnson grabbed the Book of Mormon from my backpack and started walking towards them!  (We really wanted that Super Standard haha.)  However, the homeless men got up and walked away before we reached their bench!  (Darn! Even the bums were running away from us!)  We followed them for a little bit to see if they would find a new bench, but decided that it wasn't actually that great of an idea anyways.  Totally deflated and depressed and out of ideas, we started on our way home.  As we were walking by some 10 story apartments, Sister Johnson suggested that we try one door before going home, so we really would have tried everything.  We tried a few buildings, but the doors were locked.  What were we to do?  (We're still not that great at talking our way in to buildings haha.)  We were walking past a door when suddenly all of these young people came out.  We tried to nonchalantly turn around and sauntered over to the door and went in as they were going out.  (Success!)  Sister Johnson asked which number we should try, but I countersuggested that we just try the whole building (because why not?).  We started at the top and worked our way down, with nobody responding to our message for the first 5 floors.  However, we finally came to this one door where this man opened and listed to our little intro.  He told us that he believed in God and we started talking about faith a little bit.  He asked if it was necessary to believe in something or someone.  I answered yes.  He said, well, come on in then!  AND INVITED US IN!!!!  It was a miracle!  (To put it in perspective, some missionaries go their whole missions here without ever being let into a home while they are knocking on doors!)  But he let us in, right when we needed it!  He must have needed our message, too, because we talked to him and some of his family about God and faith, sharing some scriptures from the Book of Mormon.  We gave him a Book of Mormon, and he told us he would read from it!  We will see if it goes anywhere, but we left his apartment glowing!  It was added testimony to us that God really does hear prayers and that he wants us to succeed in our good goals.  So, we made SUPER STANDARD!  Yay!!!!  We worked for it, but when our efforts weren't enough, the Lord stepped in and helped us!

Anyways, I know this is a super long email, but it matches our super long week :)

I love you all!  Look for the little miracles in your lives this week!

McKenna aka Kramer Nővér

Happy Valentine's Day!! - Happy Valentine's Day!! - Monday, February 20, 2012

Hey everybody!!

This week was great!!!  Some moments:

Sister Johnson and I actually went on splits with Christensen ELDER this past Tuesday.  As a zone leader, he is allowed to go on splits with a sister companionship, and we had to do it this past Tuesday because Schwieger Elder was starting his assistant to the president duties a day earlier than Christensen Elder was getting his new companion.  So we became his companions for the day, which was made funnier by the fact it was Valentine's Day :P  We had a really great day, though.  We had a few programs set up and Christensen Elder really helped us with our investigators.  It was really great to teach with him, actually, because he is way more experienced in the teaching and the language.  He asked a lot of really good questions that made our investigators really consider the importance of our message.  It was really nice to teach with someone experienced again, I have to admit.  We also had a program at the Westsik's.  They thought the three of us were super funny and insisted that we take a picture (see attached haha).  We had split inventory at the end of the day, and he told us that we are both doing great with the language and teaching (which was nice to hear.  Sometimes I think we are a little hard on ourselves).  He challenged us to be more bold in our programs :)

We had an awesome program with a girl named Timi this past week.  She is so prepared.  We have only met with her a couple of times, but she has been reading from the Book of Mormon and told us last time that she believes that it is true scripture from God!  We talked a little bit about baptism with her and hope to give her a baptism date this week sometime!

We had a cute néni teach us Hungarian embroidery this past week.  She was so cute, showing us how to do every stitch.  And even how to seperate the embroidery floss haha.  She also fed us shortbread cookies and peach jam.  Yum.  This lady is so sweet and honestly interested in learning more about the gospel.  She has come to Sacrament meeting a few times and had a lot of questions!

Sister Johnson and I gave the spirtual thought at Gofri Est this past Friday.  We were only asked a couple of days before and tried to come up with a good idea.  We decided to share a thought from "It is Better to Look Up".  (It is a great talk- you should check it out!)  It talks about how we should look to God for our goals and relief.  There is one story about how a bunch of people wrote things that were weighing them down on pieces of paper and then tied them to balloons and let the balloons go.  So, we gave everyone a balloon with the Hungarian translation of "It is better to look up" on it.  We also put a picture of Christ on the ceiling and talked about how we can look to Christ and His Atonement for relief.  It went really well, I think.  The crazy thing is, we were kind of nervous.  And then we got there, and there were more than THIRTY people there!!!  (There are often only about TEN!)  There were institute teachers from all over Hungary and Romania here for a training (I actually met some people that knew some of my friends who had served in Romania!).  The large amounts of people didn't really help our nervousness :P  But it went really well :)  A lot of people participated and it was great :)

Anyways, we had a lot of great programs this week!  I think Sister Johnson and I are really getting the hang of this missionary thing :P  We were very close to getting Super Standard this past week, and we have a goal to try and get Super Standard every day this week!!!  I think all of our hard work last transfer is paying off this transfer :)  We have a lot of really cool investigators!  I will keep you all updated!

I love you all!!!  Have a great day and week!!!

McKenna aka Kramer Nővér

"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln - Monday, February 13, 2012

Hello Everyone!

What a week this has been :)

Last PDay, we celebrated Mathews Elder's birthday.  He wanted to go walk around some interesting areas of Budapest.  Well, we ended up having a blizzard that day!  So we walked around in the snow.  It was very cold haha.  I decided that day that I should probably buy a hat that covers my entire head instead of just wearing that little red ear-warmer-headband type thing :P  Later that day, after lunch, we went bowling with our district.  It was super fun :)  I feel really lucky to have served with the people here in Budapest.  They are all excellent missionaries and good people!

We had a really cool member come to one of our programs with the Three Musketeers (awesome ladies that we teach half gospel, half English to).  They are all moms, so we invited the old Relief Society president, who is also a young mom.  (She served a mission in Ireland a few years ago and told us how much she misses it.  It is crazy to think that my mission will end some day!  I am trying to make every day count, though, so I go home (a long long time from now) with no regrets.)  Anyways, she was a super star!  These moms believe in reincarnation and this member was a champ at answering their questions.  She bore her testimony about the joy to be found in families in this life and the next.  Afterwards, her and I were talking about the program and she mentioned how sad she thought the idea of reincarnation was.  It removes our sense of responsibility in this life (why does it matter what I do if I get a do-over next time?).  I am so grateful for this opportunity as a missionary to tell people that there is a meaning and purpose to this life!  What they do today DOES matter!  It brings responsiblity and meaning and joy into our life when we understand that.

Sister Johnson and I went on splits this last week with the Pest sisters (Sister Hall and Sister Hudspeth (my ősi from the MTC).  It was super fun :)  Sister Johnson went to Pest with Sister Hudspeth and Sister Hall (who is Sister Hudspeth's ősi) came and played in Kispest with me!  It was really neat, actually.  Sister Hall and Sister Hudspeth were put together when they were in their 4th and 2nd transfers, so Sister Hall and I were able to talk a lot about the stresses of going senior so young.  It was really cool to hear about her experiences and to share mine and talk about things that have helped both us (member presents are key!  They speak Hungarian waaaay better than us haha).  Sister Hall was super cool and she was a really good example to me; when we went to look someone up, she talked to everyone we passed, handing them a flier and talking to them about upcoming events.  It was a good example to me because I have gotten set in some of my ways, and I think that I am not always that good at just talking to people on the street as we are walking by.  But it is really quite simple to just hand them a card and tell them a little about our message.  So, I was very grateful to her example :)  It is really cool because, even as missionaries, we can be better every day.  This whole life is all about trying today to be better than you were yesterday :)  We are not perfect, but I think the important thing is that we are always trying to move forward, putting our trust in God.

So that was some of the good this past week; there was also some of the... strange, too.  We had a super weird program this last week.  It was probably the weirdest on my mission actually.  We have been meeting with a man from Angol Óra (English class) that seemed super cool and interested.  However, he didn't come to church yesterday and when we called to ask him why, he told us a weird story and told us that he could never ever come to church.  Concerned (and a little confused- he had never brought up problems before), we set up to meet with him later that afternoon.  We met with him at the appointed time and something was different and off right from the start.  He was very hard to get focused (he was talking about all sorts of random stuff other than the gospel), but I finally steered the conversation back to the gospel and asked if we could start with a prayer (which we always do).  That was when it got really weird.  He told us no, he was not actually comfortable with that (which was weird because he has always been open to it before, even saying the prayer quite often).  We asked him why, especially since it had never been a problem before, and he then went into a crazy long explanation, sharing that he was actually a Scientologist with the spirit of Samurai and that prayer is for the weak who have spirits of children.  Rather taken aback, we tried to talk to him.  He told us that he had been sent to learn about our church and that is why he had met with us and pretended to be interested, but really he had felt more and more uncomfortable every time.  We told him that we were sorry he had felt uncomfortable; that was definitely never our intention.  We were just there to share what we believed and had helped us find happiness with others.  It was weird, though, because as we continued to talk, he kept contradicting himself.  At one point, he told us he had never prayed.  At another, he told us he had.  Sister Johnson flat-out asked him about the contradiction and he said something about how he must have remembered wrong (20 minutes before?!).  As we talked, I noticed that his pupils weren't dilating and he was kind of twitchy.  I came to the conclusion he was probaly high on something (and possibly kind of crazy).  Having had a really bad feeling the whole time we were talking to him (and since he kept bringing up weird things and getting kind of worked up), I texted our elders and asked them to come by the branch house.  They were there within 10 minutes (I love my elders!).  We were wrapping up the program at this point (We told him that we know that prayer and our relationship to God helps strengthen us and invited him to keep reading from the scriptures and praying.  We all mutually decided not to meet again, though.) and then walked him to the door, the elders right there with us.  Nothing really bad actually happened, but I was super glad our elders were there because who knows what could've happened.  I felt much safer with them there.  I am so grateful for their service!

I don't want to end this email on a bad note, though!  This week has overall been really great!  This morning we had breakfast with our Elders (blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes with syrup!  It was very American and very delicious :D) as we waited for our transfer calls.  Some crazy things are happening here in Hungary this transfer!  ....Not with me and Sister Johnson, though (thankfully)!  We are both staying!!!!  The APs totally built it up on the phone, making us wait and wait, but finally just told us that we would stay here together for another transfer!  Yay!  I love Kispest and I am so glad that I do not have to leave the people I love here yet!

Like I said, though, crazy things are happening.  For instance: Schwieger Elder (one of my elders (aka an elder serving in Kispest), who has been here every since I have) was supposed to go home after this next transfer.  However, President called him last week or so and asked him to extend so he could be AP.  Which he did!  (All in secret of course!)  So Schwieger is leaving to be the Assistant to the President for the next two transfers!  It will be weird not to have him around (he has been my big brother these past three transfers) but he is going to be a great leader!  We also learned that Elder Chistofferson (of the 12 apostles) will be visiting our mission in March and we will a have a mission-wide training with him!  The mission is also opening two new cities this transfer, which is so cool!!!  They are both just for elders at this moment, but it is so neat to see that the work is moving forward :D  There are so many people we have to share the gospel with!  It is going to be a busy transfer :)

I have to run, but know that I love you all!  I invite you all to tell the people you love that you love them TODAY!  Something I realized when I though I might be leaving this transfer is that time is precious.  Take the time today to make it count.  (And take lots of pictures!)  You never want it to be too late :)

Have a great week!  SMILE!

McKenna aka Kramer Nővér

P.S. I bought bright pink waist-high pants for seven dollars the other day.  (I am currently wearing said pants.  Will try and take pictures.)  I love Europe :)

"Blow, blow, thou winter wind, thou art not so unkind as man's ingratitude." -William Shakespeare - Monday, February 6, 2012

Hello All!

BRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!  It has been REALLY cold this past week!  And these past few days have been full of snow.  It has been... interesting?  Okay, mostly it has just been cold :P  BUT!  Don't worry!  We are staying nice and warm :)  I have lots of sweaters and leggings and a nice pair of boots.  Also, we have been doing a lot of area book finding this past week to avoid turning into icicles.  (For those of you who don't know what that means, we have a book with records of people we have met with in the past.  So, this week, we looked at old records and called people who hadn't been met with in a long time and asked if they were interested in learning more.)  We actually saw some great success with this!  We have set up quite a few programs for this next week with people from the area book.  And it has been fun!  We have records from back to 2003!  It has been interesting to look through some of the history of my area and the missionaries who serve here.

We also tried to look up some people in the area book who didn't have phone numbers attached to their names.  There was one really cool sounding lady who had accepted everything the missionaries taught, but who's husband was against her meeting with the missionaries.  We decided this past Friday to brave the bitter cold to find her house.  We walked, bundled in our coats, scarves, mittens, and hats (but STILL somehow freezing haha).  We finally found her house and were so excited to ring the door.  We rang the csengo (the doorbell outside of their gate) and waited while their dog barked at us.  When someone finally came out the door, it was her husband!  :(  He told us they were not interested in our message and then went back inside.  We felt a little deflated.  BUT!  We left an Conference-issue Ensign (a special issue of our church magazine with talks by the prophet and apostles) with our telephone number and a note asking her to call us if she would like to learn more.  (Johnson Nővér snuck it in their mailbox :P)  I hope she gets it and reads from it and maybe something good comes of it :)  But, honestly, this is a sad, common story here.  A lot of people have misconceptions about our church and forbid their family members to join our church, but aren't willing to learn from us about what we believe.  I just think that is so weird-- we are the primary source for information about what we actually believe!  People are sometimes way more willing to believe what they read online or what they've heard instead of believing us when we talk about how we live and what we believe.  Humph.

We were able to meet with a lot of people this week, which was also good, and we will meet with even more next week!  I am excited to tell you stories from all of that!

Until then, I will leave you with a quote from one of our English speaking investigators.  He said, "Life is like a bowl of cherries.  And I am picking the best pieces."  Enjoy life!  It is great!  We are so lucky to be here on this earth :)  Choose to enjoy each day!  Even if it is cold or hard or whatever, you can still have fun.  You can still help other people.  You can still be happy :)  But most of that is up to you :)  Be grateful for all of the good things in your life!!!

I am sorry this email is short!  Today (okay, this transfer!) has been kind of crazy!  We will be getting transfer calls next Monday and I will let you know how that goes!  I hope I stay in Kispest, but I know wherever I go is where the Lord wants me :)

I love you all and really TRULY appreciate your love and support!

McKenna aka Kramer Nővér

Oh, P.S. Last Monday, for P-Day, we went on a tour of Parliament!  It was so cool :)  It wasn't a very long tour, but we were able to walk through this elaborate government building and hear a little bit about its history.  We also took lots of pictures :)  It was fun!