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