Monday, August 13, 2012

Life is joyous :)

Hello all!

This week has been so awesome!

We were so busy this past week!  Basically, every single day was crazy.  We were packed full of programs or other activities, like English class, teaching Institute to the Young Adults, district meetings, etc.  Seriously, a few days this week, we left at 8am or before and were gone for the next 12 hours.  At least.  Craziness.  But GOOD craziness :D


Our district meetings are now in Békéscsaba, which is pretty crazy!  (That is an hour and a half away by car.  And we have been encouraged to make sure we hold our district meetings weekly.  Which translates into a lot of driving for us!  But that is okay.)  Our district now consists of the four Békéscsaba elders (sisters were not put back into Békéscsaba) who are Rosen Elder (my ősi from the MTC!!!), his greenie Elder Vanderpool, Elder Olsen (I served around him in Budapest for two transfers) and his companion Elder Hansen.  And still us Szegedi's (us, the elders (Velasquez and Hatfield) and the Adamses).  We had our first district meeting last Saturday, where we talked about goals and ate palacsinta's :)

Sister Hardy and I got a new washing machine.... unfortunately, it, too, is broken.  We are pretty sure we are doomed to never have clean clothes haha.  We have had quite the adventures with our washing machine over the last month and a half or so-- we have already done our laundry at other places 4 times (one time we lugged it all the way to Szolnok to do it in the sisters' apartment there).  (Oh yeah, Hungary doesn't have laundromats, btw.)  So, we are really hoping this most recent washing machine gets fixed!  Just another adventure in the life of sister missionaries haha (following the Broken Cellphone Calamity (it kept turning off... even during calls with investigators!  Don't worry!  We got a new one!))

There has been an awesome fair right outside of our house this week, so I was able to introduce Sister Hardy to her very first Hungarian fair and fair food (see pictures)!  It was quite fun and we were able to hear some Hungarian folk music from the live band.

We had some funny experiences tracting.  I think my favorite was one bácsi who talked to us for about 15 minutes about all sorts of things.  He told us that he had seven lives (except they call it having seven birthdays in Hungarian, which I thought was kind of neat) and told us all sorts of crazy stories about times he almost died (like one time he dived into a river after a couple who couldn't swim).  He told us he was 88 years old and attributed that to never smoking.  He was quite pleased when he found out we didn't smoke either and encouraged us to help the youth quit smoking.  He didn't want a Book of Mormon, though (he told us to give it to someone else that was younger and more able to benefit from it), so we eventually moved on.  After we finished that 10 story shortly thereafter, we were walking away outside when we heard an old man call, "Lányok!"  (Or "girls!")  Our old bácsi friend had followed us out of the building.  When he caught up to us, he gave us a newspaper article he had found just for us-- on the dangers of smoking.  And encouraged us to give copies of it to those we meet with haha.  We thanked him kindly, and he hobbled away after wishing us well and wishing us much success.

We had awesome programs with a lot of our investigators this past week!  Livia has been on fire, coming to literally every activity!  We came out of Ward Council yesterday and she was still in the branch house, talking to some members!  It is so great to see her open up to members :)  Our other investigators are doing pretty well.  We have investigators praying about God's existence, the Book of Mormon, baptism, and lots of other stuff.  It is so cool that we teach them all of this stuff, but then, they can each go to God and ask Him if the things they are learning are true or not.  I am so glad that they don't just have to take our word for it!  Prayer is real :)

I gave a talk yesterday (which due to all the craziness, I did NOT have a lot of time to prepare for, but still went great!) on God's love for us.  I used some quotes from President Uchtdorf's talk on the subject and I recommend you check it all out (follow this link).  I was able to share in Family Home Evening tonight one of the greatest life lessons I've learned and I shared that our worth does not change in God's eyes, no matter what we've done.  (Of course, my second lesson was "Come what may and love it!"  I think that might be my personal slogan for life :P)

I saved the BEST news for last!!!  Our much much beloved investigator Evelin decided this past week... that she wants to be baptized!!!!  (Which, btw, please don't post this email on my Facebook or blog for one week, as Evelin has some individuals she wants to be the first to tell the news to.  And I wouldn't want to wreck that!  But forwarding this as an email is fine and updating Facebook/my blog next week would be better.  Thanks!)  Anyways, this is how it went down.  Evelin went to the YSA Conference this past week and she, in her own words, met all the right people at the right time who were able to answer her questions and address her concerns.  We met with her a few days after the conference, during which program, she just GLOWED about all of the amazing activities they had had (they had religious classes every day interspersed with meals, service activities, games, firesides, dances, testimony meetings, etc.).  After sharing details from every single day of the conference and telling us about all of the amazing people she had met from all over Europe (the conference was for Eastern European Young Adults, with additional attendees from countries like the United States, Mexico, England, etc.), she paused and said, "Okay girls.  I have news.  I have decided to get baptized."  To which announcement, we initially just stared at her, and then, grinning, hugged the heck out of her.  She is getting baptized on October 13th!!!  I couldn't be happier for her :)  It was SUCH a special experience to hear her testimony about this gospel and our Heavenly Father this past week in our programs.  I remember finding her four months ago and it has been an absolute privilege to meet with her and see her devour the gospel in the time since then.  She has been such an amazing example to me of truly taking the time to learn and think about the gospel.  (She always says, "There is a hurricane in my head!  I need to think for a moment!")  And I love that she makes sure she understands each principle.  And studies it.  And I have just seen her grow and gain confidence and happiness as she has learned about God's love and plan for her.  I love this girl!  And it is just really special that I have been here for every step she has taken up to this point!  I have been really privileged to meet so many stellar people on my mission.  I have been really humbled by their examples and I am just grateful I have been able to serve in small part the people of this country, members and investigators alike.

Anyways, I am STILL loving my mission.  Imagine that?

Love you all!
McKenna aka Kramer Nővér

P.S. Shout out to my amazing mother!  It was her birthday this past week :) :)  Don't worry, I sent her her own birthday present, but someone give her a hug for me, 'kay?  Thanks :)
P.P.S. Included some other pictures of our P-Day today spent with our district at the ruins of a mansion outside of Békéscsaba.


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