Sunday, July 29, 2012

Keep on keepin' on!

Hello All!!

So this week has been pretty interesting :)  I don't have a ton of time to write, so to quickly go through the craziness that was this past week:

We went to the zoo last Monday!  Apparently there is a zoo here (which I had no idea existed until one of our investigators who worked there told us about it) and it was actually quite nice.  We saw lions, and tigers.... but no bears (oh well!).  It was fun!

It was Sister Adams' birthday last Tuesday and we got together and got her a cake, flowers (Hungarian bouquets are the craziest!!  Ours had a bamboo curly rod in it), and a picture with notes from each of us.  Sister Adams is like a mom to us out here and it was fun to give a little back to her :)

More randomness: Sister Hardy got a ticket this last week.  Kinda lame.  We were on the vilamos and the ticket checkers came by... and she had accidentally brought her pass from last month instead of her current one.  It was pouring rain, so we missed our stop, then huddled under an umbrella while we got a ticket.  We thought the fine was going to be about ten thousand forint (which is approximately 50 dollars), but when we went to the office the next day (conveniently located next door to our branch house) with the right pass, the fine turned out to be only 800 forint!  Miracle!

We had a tons of programs this week.  Our investigators are doing great :)

We went on blitzes to Szolnok this past week.  For those of you wondering, "Wait, Szolnok, I haven't heard that one before?" (and for the rest of you that can't tell Hungarian names apart, don't worry :P), it is because sisters were put into Szolnok for the first time ever!  I don't know if you remember me talking about how the Békéscsaba sisters were having a hard time, but they actually got emergency transferred a couple of weeks ago.  The new assignment for one of them was to open Szolnok with a different sister.  They had been there for just a week when we showed up with muffins, measuring cups, and extra hands to help expand the work!  It was a lot of fun and we were able to help them :)

That day was my year mark as a missionary (WEIRD).  I got to talk to my group that night on a group phone chat, which was a lot of fun.  I was really struck by how completely DIFFERENT our missions have been from each other, but how we have all learned such important lessons, like relying on God and doing our best. I love my mission!  This is seriously the best thing I have ever done!  (If you are a boy or girl ages 19 or 21, you should definitely think about it!)

We had an awesome multi-branch activity on Saturday.  It kind of reminded me of Memorial Day Picnics in my homeward.  We had the branches from Szeged, Szolnok, Békéscsaba, and Kecskemét come to Szeged.  We split into groups and went around to different game stations (I helped Sister Adams translate at one) where we played various group games, like the water balloon toss, sponge passing, group knot tying, etc. etc.  After that, we had lunch (in true Hungarian style-- soup and bread) and then free time.  I got to play soccer for only the second time here in Hungary (weird, I know) and all of the boys were astonished that I could play (soccer is played mainly by boys here).  I had a lot of fun playing people one on two, or two on three and generally tired myself out and had loads of fun (I was literally grinning as I ran around like a crazy person).  I gained a lot of respect from the teenage boy population who told me I was a very good footballer haha.  The theme of the activity was "It's Better to Look Up" (see this talk by Elder Cook) and at the end, we let off a ton of balloons (to represent letting go of our worries and cares).  It was great!

K gotta run.  Bye!!!


McKenna aka Kramer Nővér

P.S. Also I use the word fun to describe everything I think haha. Which is funny because that word doesn't exist in Hungarian.  How do I survive?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Learn from the past. Look to the future. Live for today!!!!

Dear family and friends,

Definitely had a funny experience coming into the email place today.  We walked in and this black man started speaking French to us.  I was understandably a little confused.  He switched to English when we told him we were from America (and he started calling us Beyonce haha).  But his English was super bad, so the conversation was a little hard.  He was super excited when he learned we were Christian.  ("I like Jesus!  Jesus good!  You talk to Jesus?")  The question we finally got to, though, was "When can we pray together?"  And I was a little suspicious of his intentions (Is he trying to ask us out?) because stuff like that happens.  However, he called his other French friend over, who explained they were Christian and wanted an opportunity to go to church.  So we gave them the address and time.  Chatted for a little bit (they are soccer players from Paris apparently!).  And finished with high fives haha.

Anyways, our week was great!  Crazy, but great :)

We had Zone Conference this past Thursday, where we had the opportunity to meet with our new president!  He gave an inspiring training, encouraging us to rise to the challenge of being better missionaries!  He cited the Alamo.  For those of you unfamiliar with the story, the soldiers at the Alamo were fighting of Santa Ana's army to buy time for the American army in Texas to get bigger and more prepared.  It came to the point where the leader of the Alamo knew they would all die if they didn't leave, but looked in his heart and decided that he was willing to die to give the American army a chance and to defend freedom.  He called his men together and told them what he decided, then drew a line in the sand.  He asked them if they were willing to fight with him, and every single person except for one stepped across the line.  President Smith said that we need to draw the line in our own lives and really commit ourselves to the missionary cause!  It was neat :)  I was also able to interview with him for a little bit, and I really like him.  He seems reasonable, with a great sense of humor and dedication to helping us be the best missionaries we can be.  Good combination!

After Zone Conference, we actually went on splits.  I came back to Szeged with Sister Hudspeth (we decided we basically count as companions at this point since we've been on splits so many times!) and Sister Hardy went to Kecskemét.  It was great!  We had a ton of programs with new investigators here in Szeged (met with the train guy who came to church!), which was awesome!  Sister Hardy was able to spread her wings in a different area, which was such a confidence booster for her.  We were so happy to be reunited, though!  We really are a perfect pair :)

Other exciting news:  Had a Pioneer Fireside on Saturday and the speaker (the bishop from a nearby city) talked about pioneers.  During his talk, he mentioned my great-great-grandpa Hill who was the first missionary called to serve in Hungary speaking the Hungarian language!  It was so cool because I was translating for Sister Adams and when he mentioned "Elder Hill", I started and told her, "He's talking about my Great-great grandpa!"  She was so excited and thought I should raise my hand and tell everyone right there, but I refrained :P  People found out afterwards and for a few minutes, I was a sort of celebrity of the Hungarians!  (It was fun, though!  He talked about Grandpa Hill for awhile and quoted stuff from his journal-- including a quote I found very comforting in the MTC "If the dogs and horses can understand this language, I can too!" or something to that effect haha.)  On Sunday, Sister Hardy gave her first talk in church and ROCKED it!  I am so proud of my daughter :)  She is an amazing missionary!

Anyways, I have to run, but I LOVE YOU ALL!

McKenna aka Kramer Nővér

P.S. I hit my YEAR MARK on my mission on FRIDAY!  Time is FLYING!!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

This will be short, sorry!

Hello family and friends!

Due to a series of weird events, I only have a couple of minutes to tell you all about my packed and great week!  Gah!

To summarize very very quickly:

Monday I was in Budapest for Greenie Training for Sister Hardy.  I was able to meet the President for just a moment and then we had a short training with him and our greenies (they had a full day of getting residency permits and trainings... our part was just at the end).  He seems great!   He emphasized the white handbook and really striving to be great missionaries :)  I will have more of an opportunity to meet him this Thursday at Zone Conference.

We went on splits again this past week.  Sister Hardy had an awesome experience leading an older sister around Szeged and through programs.  I am so glad we were able to do this because it was such a big confidence builder for her :)  She really is an amazing missionary!  Sometimes we just need reminders of how capable we are (especially after being totally culture shocked in a new country).  We have been able to work very hard and well this week together.  We actually got standard!

We had to teach the YSA Institute class this past Thursday.  It was on (surprise, surprise) missionary work!  We talked about how we need to let our lights shine, both through example and words.  We talked about how we can share the gospel with everyone.  And then we role played (which they surprisingly liked)!  I had been really nervous because I didn't have a lot of time to prepare for the class, but it went great, with everyone participating, learning, and having a great time!

Saturday, we did service at a dog shelter.  We were able to play with the little dogs (our investigator, Evelin, got into her head I was deathly afraid of dogs, so she made sure I got the assignment to play with the dogs haha... I didn't mind!  They were little and cute!) and clean up the park for their adoption fair the next day.  It is always so great to do service!  I defintely encourage you all to find someway to help someone this week!  It really makes the week so much better :)

We had a ton of investigators come to church this last Sunday!  Including!!.... that random man we met on a train Sister Hardy's very first day with me!  I am pretty sure I wrote about it, but we were able to talk with a Hungarian man recently returned from America who had some limited contact with the missionaries before (like playing basketball with the missionaries).  He had expressed interest in coming to church on the train, but we didn't hear or see him since.  However, he had given us his phone number, so I called and invited him to church.  He told us he would come, but, honestly, I didn't really think he would.  We got to church on Sunday with another investigator and the elders told us there was a man waiting for us.  It turned out to be the train man!  He had read the chapter we advised from the Book of Mormon and came to church.  He told us he will come again next week and set up a time to meet during the week!  It was pretty neat :)

Basically, we see a lot of little miracles everyday!  God really does watch over us personally!  (Honestly, there have been moments this past week where it has all just simply worked out and I skip around singing, "God loves us!" haha)  But look for His help in your life!  I promise it is there :)

I have to run!  But have an amazing week!

I love you all!
Kramer Nővér aka McKenna

“What matters most in learning is attitude. The attitude of the teacher.”

Hello family and friends!

It seems AGES since we last "spoke".  This week has been looong.  What even happened?

Well, my poor little Nancy Drew (aka my greenie daughter Sister Hardy) got sick last week.  She got really dizzy and then started throwing up.  I was quite concerned, to say the least.  We eventually figured out that she was majorly dehydrated.  It's been over 100 degrees here everyday and it turns out if you don't drink water, you sweat it all away really fast.  And then die.  So, we have been going through water like dusty desert travellers this past week, and thankfully we haven't had any more problems!  Well, our apartment has been pretty oven-like, actually, but we've solved that by doing some of our studies in the nearby McDonald's (it has air-conditioning... and milkshakes).  We're all about creative solutions here :P

We had basically all of our investigators cancel last week, so we got to finding a lot in the extreme heat.  We opted to go tracting, as we got to stand in the slighter cooler interiors of buildings, and we met a lot of interesting people!  (Well, I guess we always meet lots of interesting people... it's kind of part of missionary work haha)  But we met this one dog whisperer lady who knew all the people in her building (as pretty much every Hungarian owns a dog) and was able to tell us exactly who we should go look up in the building and around that might be interested in our message.  That kind of rocked, even though she herself wasn't interested at all.  Then, this other guy opened the door to us while on the phone and immediately said, "Come in, come in!"  He ushered us into his kitchen and told his phone friend, "The Mormons are here!  I got to go!  I'm curious about them!" and then hung up.  After that, we just had a very random discussion with him after that.  (Happens quite a bit.)  He basically just told us all of the reasons we were wrong (it was actually kind of funny-- he would ask me a question and no matter what I would say I was wrong.  For instance, "Is there something in your life that would be tragic to lose?"  I said, "Yes, my family."  He shook his head.  "Wrong!  God is the only thing to be afraid of losing."  I mean, I got his point... but I think we were both right haha.  Or like when I prayed, he told me I did wrong by thanking God only for today... I should have thanked him for tomorrow too.).  But, anyways, overall, he was nice... and brought us water!  We also met a cool guy from Africa who spoke French and Hungarian.  He was super nice (I wish I could've remembered more of my French to say to him... but, heck, Hungarian is destroying my English badly enough at this point... my French is long gone :P) and Sister Hardy and I are planning on dropping by with a French Book of Mormon for him (he speaks Hungarian very well but can't read it!).  And we have about a billion more interesting stories (lots of them involving people not wearing clothes) from our tracting adventures.  We have a really awesome week set up this week, directly due to all of our finding efforts last week.  Yay for working hard!

We had an awesome P-Day this past week.  Worked in the morning, then we went to Gyula, a cute little town with a castle that we were able to go to a couple of weeks ago.  This time, though, we were able to actually go into the castle, where we saw all sorts of relics and rooms.  There was one room full of ancient weapons.  Elder Velasquez was standing in front of a giant wavy sword that was longer than I tall.  He looked at the sword, looked at me, and then busted up laughing.  He told me that he thought it the perfect weapon for me, and just was imagining me dragging this giant sword alongand then swinging it.  I figured I could give it the old tennis swing haha.  Our whole district was able to dress up (see attached picture), try some food, and get rained on.  Pretty epicly fun.  Drove back to Szeged, ate a GIANT watermelon, and got really sticky.  Went to see a play that night (the play itself was pretty bad unfortunately... but the location was epic!  They performed it on the steps of the Nagy Dóm ("Big Cathedral") here in Szeged), and then we went to bed nice and tired.  Loong, but fun, day.  (I really appreciate the opportunity to experience Europe while I am here!)

I gave another talk in church on Sunday.  Didn't have a lot of time to prepare it during the week, so I wrote it before church.  It went pretty well, though.  I talked about how we need to develop a love for the scriptures and the gospel before we can teach it and challenged everyone to up their scripture study.  (Based some of my remarks off of this talk.)  I also got to help teach Primary a little bit (Hungarian kids are the cutest) and went to Young Women's and helped out there.  We manage to stay pretty busy here!

Then, this week (the past couple of days) has already been pretty crazy (which is why I am emailing on a Wednesday, not a Monday), but I will save all those details for my next email.

Till then, read your scriptures!  Love life!

Love you all!
Kramer Nővér aka McKenna

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Feel free to send me more brownie mixes :P - Monday, July 2, 2012

Hello all!

Well, this week has flown and crawled all at the same time.  Time goes really weird on a mission.

It seems like a billion years ago, but we had a really great district meeting this past Tuesday.  We had some great trainings and goals.  I think we have a pretty good district (consisting of the Adamsék, Nealy Elder, Velasquez Elder (who was in my district for two transfers in Kispest), Sister Hardy, and me).  I also think we have the mission's shortest district, with Velasquez Elder ringing in at the tallest at a grand 5'8" (maybe 5'9") haha.
We actually had a Géza feast this past week, even though it is not the end of transfers.  Géza made one of his classic legendary multi-course meals to celebrate Nik's baptism, and so the missionaries, Nik, and a couple members did our best to stuff ourselves silly in order to properly celebrate the event.  It was quite the introduction of Hungarian food to my little greenie (who I've decided to christen Nancy Drew, btw.  So if I ever call her that, you'll know who I am talking about.), who did her momma proud by packing more food in than half the room despite her five foot tall stature.

Other news-- We blitzed Békéscsaba this past week with the elders.  Sister Hardy and I were really able to help the sisters there, who have been struggling a little bit.  We got there on Friday night, talked, painted our toenails, and made brownies.  AMERICAN brownies.  (What more could a girl ask for?)  Needless to say, we greatly enhanced the mood :)  And then the next day, we were able to help them with their work.  I feel very lucky to have been able to help a lot of the other sisters out here!

We had our first English class of the cycle this past week, which meant we fliered a lot to try and get new people to come.  It worked, with over 40 people coming collectively to our class (which is really good) and 20 of them new!  I survived teaching the intermediate class for the first time (although it was basically just full of nénis... who found me adorable.  It's a néni thing.).

One of my favorite stories from this past week: Sister Hardy and I had an adventure trying to make a pumpkin cake.  Our can opener was broken and we needed to get at the conveniently squished pumpkin at it.  So, I went over to our next-door neighbor, whom we have taught before, to ask if she had a can-opener.  I brought the can and opener for helpful explanation and she had me come inside while looking for her own can-opener.  She couldn't find hers, but took the can from me and proceeded to demonstrate how I should open the can without an opener.  She took a small knife and placed the tip against the top of the can.  Then this sweet tiny 80 year old néni in her sundress took a giant butcher knife out of her drawer and proceeded to bang the handle of the small knife with the flat of the butcher blade until she had made a hole.  Handing the can back to me, she told me to watch out for my hands and fingers.  "It's dangerous, you know?"  Haha.  I ultimately had one of our upstairs neighbors, a bácsi in his boxers, open it with a real can opener.  (I like my fingers, what can I say?)

Anyways, I don't have a lot of time to write this week.  Just know that I really appreciate all of the love and support you all are showing!  You rock :)

Kramer Nővér aka McKenna

I'm a MOM! (Missionary style) - Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hello all!

I don't even know where to start with on this CRAZY crazy week.  Well, okay, I guess at the beginning.

Tuesday was insane.  Sister Papritz and I had 7 or 8 goodbye programs.  And then she still had to pack.  So, it was super super busy, to say the least.  But we survived (barely).

Wednesday, we had to wake up at 5AM to catch the train up to Budapest.  It was a miracle we made it, to be perfectly honest.  We thankfully didn't have to drag her luggage along (the elders were driving it for us), but we had to grab all her remaining stuff and get ready.  It took a little bit more time than we expected, so we missed our vilamos and had to wait for the next one.  We thought for sure that we had missed the train because of that and that we would have to wait an hour for the next one.  However, we got to the train station and saw that the train left three minutes later than we thought, so we sprinted upstairs, bought tickets, and ran to the train (half expecting to have to jump onto the moving platform).  However, we got there with a full 60 seconds to spare!  Small blessing from upstairs :)

I had my trainer meeting at 11am, so we waited around the mission home, talking to other missionaries and taking occasional turns by ourselves.  Finally, the hour came, and with butterflies in my stomach, I went into the meeting.  The APs talked to the seven trainers about how to be good trainers, President Baughman talked a little bit, and then the greenies came in.  We sang a song, then (as trainers) had to introduce ourselves, talk about our families, what areas we had served in, and bear our testimonies.  I felt so young next to everyone.  Everyone else was older (except for Sister Johnson) and everyone had had more areas than me.  I kind of had the thought-- am I supposed to be in this meeting?  But I knew that I was.  I bore my testimony about the transforming power of the gospel and then sat down to assess which of the two sisters would be my greenie!  They both seemed very cute.  Sister Papritz had been convinced I would get the one named Sister Fox, as she knew her.  But I wasn't so sure.  And after the two of them bore their testimonies, that feeling was even stronger.  But, I didn't know for sure which one I would train until President announced Sister Fox's companion as... Sister Johnson!  And, using my powerful deductive skills, I realized that meant that I would be paired with.... Sister Hardy!  (see attached picture)  We hugged, sat down, and that was that!  I finally had received my long-awaited greenie!

Before Sister Hardy and I left Budapest that day, I had to say goodbye to Sister Papritz.  And I would be doing her an injustice if I didn't include in this email a little bit how much I love her!  And how much I appreciated our time together!  She was an amazing missionary!  And a best friend :)  I was really lucky to serve with her!  I know it is her time to go home, and I know that she will do amazing things there, much like she did here!

Anyways, after lunch and goodbyes, Sister Hardy and I headed back to Szeged on the train (thankfully, with elders taking our luggage again).  She was so tired, poor little greenie (traveled from Monday-Tuesday and had a busy Wednesday already).  We talked a lot, then she took a little nap as I made phone calls.  Actually, most of the people in the car were sleeping, which was unfortunate because I really wanted to talk to some of them with her about the gospel and introduce her to missionary work from the start.  I considered poking someone and asking them if they had heard about our church, but figured that wouldn't go over so well.  (Just kidding, of course.)  Finally, though, at the end of our train ride we were able to talk to a man sitting next to me.  I asked him (he had finally woken up haha) how close we were to Szeged and he answered me in English!  Apparently he was coming back after 14 years of living in America.  We were able to talk to him about our church (he knew about us, having visited one our temples in Hawaii and having played basketball with some missionaries in America) and he said he would love to come to church in a couple of weeks!  We will see if he comes, but it was still a neat experience :)  The elders picked us up and we took the long way home through Szeged so that Elder Nealy and I could show our new companions this beautiful city that we love!  We are all very excited to be here :)

Sister Hardy and I have had an amazing week since then.

First of all, NIK WAS BAPTIZED!!!!!  (see picture)  It was so special to see the culmination of her two years of investigating this past weekend.  Her baptism was very special.  She had a lot of missionaries there who had been part of teaching her.  (Since Sister Papritz couldn't be there, I drew a little Sister Papritz on a piece of paper (see picture) so she could be included in the pictures with Nik... she had a big part in Nik's growth and decision).  There were ward members there supporting her.  Even her mom came!  (Her mom is not very supportive of her involvement in the church, so this was a big step.)  The baptism was beautiful.  It was full of music (Nik wanted lots of hymns to be sung!).  The talks were great!  Nik couldn't stop smiling :)  Which is how it should be!  We receive a lot of joy when we are obedient to God's commandments!  Nik received the gift of the Holy Ghost this past Sunday and it was again very special.  She absolutely beamed afterwards.  She told me she has been feeling happier and calmer :)  I am SO HAPPY for her!

Second of all, God has REALLY been helping me be a trainer!  One example in particular:  We had a program with an investigator named Dr. Ágnes this past week.  Sister Papritz and I had met with her a few times and she was always super difficult to understand.  She is super educated (she is a professor here at the university and is a voice therapist) and just really enjoys speaking beautifully and poetically.  Anyways, so that was worry number one that I wouldn't understand.  Also, in the past, whenever I spoke, she insisted on not understanding me.  I don't know why-- I wasn't even saying anything out of the ordinary.  But she would always look confused and say, "I don't understand."  Which was always really frustrating and my worry number two-- that she wouldn't even understand me if I said anything!  I had debated inviting a church member, but in the end decided this was one of my tests as trainer.  We went to her house to teach her the Plan of Salvation.  And-- here's the miracle-- it went great!  We had a really great lesson, addressing some of her concerns and questions about where we go after we die.  And we were both able to understand and talk to each other!  Miracle.

I have seen a lot of miracles like that this past week!  I am so grateful that God is helping me with this responsibility!!  Because it is a big responsibility to train a new missionary.  I think I am more stressed about it than my greenie is :P  But I have also been blessed with an amazing "daughter".  To let you all know a little bit about her: Her name is Sister Hardy.  She is from Portland, Oregon.  She was studying English at BYU and wants to go to grad school to be a marriage and family therapist.  She has cool hipster glasses and great fashion sense.  She loves being a missionary!  She is a hard worker, not afraid to talk to anyone, picks up Hungarian very fast, is super fun to be around, has awesome insights into the gospel, and has a very developed understanding of the fact we are here to become better everyday.  I think we are going to have an amazing transfer together!!!  I am excited :)  And I can definitely see, in just the few days we have been together (although it seems way longer) that we were totally meant to be mother-daughter (trainer-greenie).  I am so grateful that God knows best and is willing to send inspiration so that we can be happy :)

Also, in other big news, the Baughmans (my mission president and his wife) are going home this Saturday!  I can't believe their time is over.  I have really appreciated President Baughman's leadership and his encouragement to enjoy and to learn from this mission experience.  I think his leadership has allowed me to learn so many important lessons and to have so many amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.  I am very grateful for the love he and his wife always showed us :)  I don't know how well any of you know him, so I included his last email to us missionaries so you could get a taste of what kind of man he is.  I don't really know very much about the new President Smith, but I know his leadership will also be inspired (although almost guaranteed different from President Baughman).  I will let you all know more about him and his wife when I do!!

I love you all!  Sorry this is the longest email EVER!  Have a great week!  Notice the everyday miracles in your lives!!!

Kramer Nővér aka McKenna

President Baughman's Email:

Dear Missionaries:
It is hard to believe that this is my last e-mail to you as your mission president.  Words cannot describe how Sister Baughman and I feel at this time other than to say that we have an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the people we have come to know and for the amazing experiences we have had in this land of Hungary.  When we were called to serve, we had no idea what was in store for us.  We just had faith that if we tried to do our best, the Lord would make sure everything worked out OK.  And He has!  Our cup truly runneth over in every way.  When we accepted the call we thought that we were making a sacrifice, but now we realize that when it comes to serving the Lord there is no such thing as a sacrifice.  He has given us far more than we could ever give Him.  

I want to thank you for your obedience and hard work, and for the love you have shown Sister Baughman and me, each other, and the Hungarian people.  You are becoming true disciples of Christ.  We will continue to pray for you, your families, and for the Hungarians - members and investigators.  We hope that some of what we have taught will remain with you and help guide you, not only as missionaries, but as future leaders in the church, in your families, your communities, and in your chosen professions. You are building the foundation of great and consequential lives.  Never underestimate your potential, and never fail to recognize the power you possess to change the world for the better, especially as you continue to be worthy of the guidance of the Spirit.

I am so grateful for the knowledge I have that God lives, that He loves us and has a plan for us. I am also grateful for prophets throughout the ages who have kept the flame of eternal truth alive and who have sealed their testimonies with their lives. I am especially grateful for Joseph Smith and all that he did to help bring about the miracle of the Restoration.  I have come to cherish the Book of Mormon as a powerful second witness of Christ and as irrefutable evidence that Joseph Smith was, indeed, a true prophet of God.  It is amazing to me that many good people accept the reality of ancient prophets but do not see the need for modern prophets.  To me, nothing could be more obvious. And, I am so thankful for the Church itself and the opportunities it gives us to live more Christlike lives by loving and serving each other.

Many of you have asked if I have any parting advice about what you should do after your missions.  I do.  Strive to obey the two great commandments - love the Lord and His children with all of your heart, and remain totally active in the Church and fully engaged in His work.  I am convinced that if you do those things, He will guide you to a world of opportunity that you can only achieve with the guidance of the Spirit. Focus on finding the right spouse, and on pursuing  educational and career opportunities that will not only provide a suitable living, but allow you to become a person of influence. The Lord expects the saints to become "the salt of the earth".

Sister Baughman and I pray that someday we will all be able to stand before your Father in heaven and hear Him say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant - enter into the joy of the Lord." 

With much love,

President Baughman

God bless you, dear Elders and Sisters.  We love you and will miss you!  xox Sister Baughman

"We learn by teaching." -James Howell - Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hello everyone!

So BIG news!  I don't know if you all have been keeping up with the calendar, but it is officially the last week of the this transfer and we received our transfer calls this morning!  (Drumroll please!)  I received a call from President Baughman himself this morning to inform me that I would, in fact, be training this upcoming transfer!  It is official!!!  I will be "mom" to some little new missionary getting "born" into the missionary field.  Before you ask, I still don't know who exactly.  I will go up to Budapest on Wednesday, have a trainer's meeting, then go into a big room with all of the other trainers and greenies, where President will follow inspiration and match us up right there.  So, I will let you all know next week what my new companion is like!  There are two sisters coming in with a few elders, so it is a 50-50 chance between which one I get :P  Sister Papritz is really hoping for the one from (get this) her hometown!  We'll see :P The other crazy thing is--- guess who the other sister trainer will be?  My old companion Sister Johnson!  We are both on the younger side to be training (but not unheard of-- my trainer, Dels, trained in her seventh, too), so we went seniors together and now we will be going trainers together too!  I am glad we will be able to talk to each other about this!  I personally am nervous... but excited.  It is a lot of responsibility because I will influence on this missionary's entire mission and attitude towards missionary work.  (Hűha!)  But President told me that he is confidant that I will be a great trainer.  And, heck, I know if this is what God wants me to do, then he is definitely going to help me out with it!

Other than that, this past week has been CRAZY with trying to get missionary work done while at the same time preparing for Sister Papritz's departure for America this next week.  Our work paid off, though, because we had a lot of investigators come to church this past Sunday!  One in particular had a really amazing experience.  I sat next to her and afterwards talked to her about what she thought about our sacrament meeting.  She told me it was different than she thought (I think she envisioned a sort of mass), but it was so perfect just the way it was.  She told me that every talk and song went right into her heart and how she just felt so GOOD there!  She then asked if we had church every Sunday.  "Yes!", I said.  "Come!," I said.  And she wants to!  This investigator, named Gabriella, is amazing!  She is so kind (she works at a sweet shop here in Szeged and invited us to come over there this past week while she was working.  We did, picking out all sorts of desserts so we could buy a lot from her... and then she told us she wanted to give our giant package of goodies to us as a gift.  We felt kind of foolish and piggy-like, but she insisted.  She is truly very generous!) and she feels the Spirit SO strongly in our lessons!  We talked to her a little bit about baptism in our last program with her and she is interested.  She really is looking for God to show her the right path and wonders if this might be it.  We told her to pray about it!  (God has promised to show us the right way and to show us which things are true.  We just need to ask (sincerely, and study it out, and listen to/act on his answers!)).

One of our other investigators, Nik, is going to be baptized THIS Friday!  (Which kind of really sucks for Sister Papritz because that is literally the DAY after she flies home.  Sad.  But it will be an awesome intro for my greenie, I guess!  And, anyways, the important thing is that Nik is getting baptized!)  She is still SO excited!  It has been fun to see her entire countenance change with this choice.  It is like a weight has been lifted from her shoulders.  She is so happy all of the time!  (She even helped us out in Gabriella's program this past week!)  We really do recieve a lot of joy when we follow God's commandments.  Anyways, her baptism will be on her TWO year mark of investigation!  What a neat thing :)

Anyways, I am super tired (we went to a cute little city called Gyűla today and saw a castle there (Sister Papritz had never seen a castle before, so that is what we did on her last P-Day!).  It was about a billion degrees outside.  And inside, since air conditioning is rarer in Hungary.  And then, after that, we (barely) survived another feast at Géza's, that member who feeds the missionaries to bursting at the end of every transfer.  Seriously.  Today, we got two soups, two main dishes, three salads, and two desserts.  It kind of just hurts to breathe!!!) so I think I will cut this email short.  Also, Sister Papritz and I have to use every minute we have left together!  We are such good friends and it has been a bittersweet experience to "kill" her (to be her last companion here in Hungary).  I am so grateful I have had the opportunity to serve with her!  We are off to go laugh and have some last bits of fun (while packing her stuff haha).

Just know that God loves you!  I love you!

(Also, pray for me?  I am definitely going to need some extra help this week!!!!)

Love you all!
McKenna aka Kramer Nővér