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