Monday, September 24, 2012

Life is BUSY

Hello all!

I REALLY don't have a lot of time to write!  So, to zoom through this past week:

Met almost all of our investigators finally!  I have basically just been trying to get to know all of them in our programs this past week.  I am in kind of a weird situtation, where Sister Watts knows all of them and their backstories, but can't actually talk to them.  So, I have to come in, not really knowing anything (except what I have read in their records) and try and address their needs.  It has been going okay, but I think, as a companionship, we will be able to teach the investigators together a lot more smoothly in the upcoming weeks.  Instead of me just trying to figure out who these people actually are :P

We had zone training in Miskolc this past week.  We had a small miracle getting there.  Neither Sister Watts or I had ever taken the train there.  She had looked up the train times, and we were willing to make a go of it.  We woke up at 5:00am to catch our train, went to the train station, bought our tickts, found our train, and both consequently fell asleep on the trip.  However, only about an hour into our trip, I woke up to Sister Watts telling me that the train had stopped and everyone had gotten off of it.  And we weren't in Miskolc.  I was like, Oh dang, what do we do?!  (I haven't really been on trains a whole lot on my mission, seeing as I was in Budapest and the zone leaders had a car in Szeged).  We were trying to figure out where to go when we saw the elders from that city jumping on the train right next to us.  We hurried off, then ran over to their train, and got on.  We found out that we had bought tickets with a connection/switch included.  We had no idea.  We sat next to the elders the rest of the way there and they led us on the bus system of Miskolc to the branch house.  Needless to say, we would not have gotten there as smoothly on our own!  I was so grateful that God was looking out for us when we had no clue what we were doing :P  The training was good.  One of my favorite parts was where they took the junior companions into another room and seperately, we, as seniors, and they, as juniors, talked to the APs about how we could better help each other.  It was enlightening and fun :)

I also finally got to go to church here in Debrecen yesterday and meet the whole branch!  It was interesting.  Sister Watts is part of the Primary presidency, but none of the regular kids showed up.  Instead, we ended up playing babysitter for a couple of sunbeam and nursery age children for the first two hours, so the primary teacher could go to Sunday School.  We built legos, colored pictures, and learned about Noah's ark with toys.  It was pretty fun :)  In sacrament meeting, all SEVEN new missionaries introduced themselves.  (The elders, me, the new senior couple, and the senior sisters are all new to Debrecen (and one elder and the senior couple are brand new to Hungary!))  They are really hoping to strengthen the branch here, which is one of the largest on the books (around 200, I think) but only about 40 people are active.  We have our work cut out for us!  But an awesome group of misisonaries to do it!  I will tell you more about each of them in future emails.

Anyways, sorry this is so short.  Sometimes life is BUSY.  Know that I love you all!  Keep on keeping on :)  SMILE!  Life is great!

Kramer Nővér aka McKenna

P.S. I WILL send pictures at some point.... but not this week!  Sorry :(
P.P.S. Funny story.  It was Elder Beaumont's birthday this past week.  We got him the most awesome birthday present.  Aka most random one haha.  The best part was this super ugly tie we found in our apartment and wrote a birthday message on.  He has a giant tie collection, but we told him this would be the best one :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Every end is a new beginning.

Hello family!

So, this week has been absolutely CRAZY.  I am not even sure where to begin and we do not have a lot of time.

To quickly summarize:

Tuesday was full of programs, from 9 in the morning to almost 9 at night.  It kind of is not so fun saying goodbye to people you love.  But, I know that they will be in good hands :)  And I do know that this transfer will be good for everyone.  So, I am not worried.  I just knew it was saying goodbye to an era.  Anyways, Tuesday was also Sister Hardy's birthday.  I tried to make it special (in spite of the kabillion goodbye programs) and put little sticky notes every (22 of them!) as to why she was so great.  During our last program that night, the elders called (and we buttoned them, as we were in a program).  We left our program and found a package outside the branch house door with Sister Hardy's name on it.  The elders had left her a gift!  We found them hiding on the street and proceeded to have a princess party for Sister Hardy's birthday, complete with funfetti cupcakes on princess heart plates (courtesy of Sister Hardy's mom), a birthday banner, and presents.  I got her a sweater she had been dying for, the elders bought her children's clothing (Sister Hardy is only 5' tall, so we also joke that she is a child).  It was super fun and such a great way to say goodbye to the district I have grown so close to!  Then, I stayed up most of the night packing.  (Transfers don't really give you a lot of time to get stuff together... and turns out, after 6 months in Szeged, I had a LOT of stuff).  We had to catch a 6:30 train the next morning, but our elders really rock and gave us a ride to the train station (and carried my ginormous, super heavy suitcases).  We caught it in time, thankfully!  It was quite smooth.  Budapest was a bit trickier, seeing as Sister Hardy and I had to lug my luggage around on public transportation.  I am pretty sure we both dropped suitcases at various points in the trip.  Thankfully, for the most part, random men would see us struggling and help us carry our luggage.  The funniest time, though, was when I was carrying my small suitcase upstairs, leaving the larger one a flight down.  A man saw it and went to grab the suitcase in one smooth motion, but, apparently he didn't realize that we were struggling because the suitcase was HEAVY.  It kind of pulled him back down.  But he was a sport, handed me his backpack, and wrestled my suitcase up the stairs. Transfers = half the missionaries in the country at a train station.  It was fun seeing all the friends I have made over my mission!  And all of my sisters from the MTC were there, so we were able to catch up.  Finally, it was time to say goodbye, though, and I handed Sister Hardy off to Sister Hall and went off with my new companion Sister Watts.  We had a four hour train ride to Debrecen, which is in the east part of Hungary, (it was a looong day of travel), but finally got there safe and sound later Tuesday night.

Every since then, I have been trying to get a grasp on this area.  The situation is a little interesting, seeing as they whitewashed the elders, so Sister Watts is the area senior (aka the missionary who has been here in the longest) but she has been here for a total of one transfer- her greenie transfer.  So, we have all been trying to figure it out together :)  We are here with the elders (Elder Beaumont, whom I served around in Szeged and who is coming from the AP spot, and his greenie, D'Angina, who played volleyball for BYU (he is 6'6")), a brand new senior couple, the Cummings (the old senior couple literally just went home today), and we are getting a new senior sister companionship this week.  So, there are a whole bunch of new missionaries in this city!  I think and hope that we will really rejuvenate it :D  I've really like what I've seen of the city so far.  It is very pretty.  I love the members I met so far.  I had heard about a lot of them from my trainer, Sister De Leon, who started her mission here.  Our branch leader seems awesome.  We had a great meeting with him and he told us that he has heard a lot of great things about all of us and excited to use us and make great changes here!  I have had a lot of members tell us that the missionaries are like their family here.  So, while it is still a little strange being away from Szeged, I think I will fit in :)  (Funny story about getting used to the change-- tonight I needed to call our elders to tell them they had a program waiting for them here.  However, out of total habit, I accidentally called the Szeged elders and told them about the program before I realized who I was talking to.  Velasquez Elder was like, "What the heck are you talking about?".  And then I realized I was totally talking to the wrong person haha.  He told me Debrecen was a little far away for a program of theirs haha.)

I actually haven't met a whole lot of the ward, though.  We had the equivalent of stake conference in Miskolc on Sunday.  It was great, though.  I was actually able to see some familiar faces (missionaries, some YSA that I had met in Szeged and Budapest), and some others), which was nice.  I didn't really know who was in my ward versus the other ones, though, haha.  The conference was great, though, with the Smiths and their counselers speaking.  The general theme was temples, and it was great to hear the talks.  One of my favorites came from a counselor in the mission presidency, who is Hungarian.  He told us that everyone always asks him when we are going to get a temple here in Hungary.  He told us he didn't know.  He then went on to give an awesome talk about how our body is a temple, housing our spirit, and how we need to respect our body and our spirit.  He talked a lot about the changing power of the gospel, too, and how it is about becoming good, loving people.  He said at the end that we will get a temple when we better understand the things he talked about that day.  It was pretty awesome :)

The members I have met, though, seem nice.  I had heard about some of them from my trainer.  Like there is this one girl named Ananda, who is from Nigeria randomly enough.  She was baptized last year and is totally awesome.  She is active, a teacher in Sunday school, but doesn't speak any Hungarian.  She just knows this is the truth, so that is why she does it.  I met her for the first time last week and she is awesome.  She told me it felt like she had seen my face before, but I figure we were just meant to be friends :)  I also met a recent convert of a month, who is from Afghanistan (apparently this ward is multi-cultural.  (Oh, yeah, btw, there is a major university here in Debrecen, too!  I am in a university town again!)).  He got a copy of the Book of Mormon in Persian, read it, and wanted to be baptized.  The sisters call him their "saint" because he doesn't understand everything, but has such a desire to follow God.  And then, I met a lot of Hungarians, too!  The rest of the YSA is great, too!  (We just had Family Night with them.)  There is a girl named Dori, who I met last year in Kispest when she came to visit with her brother one time.  She is super sweet and loving.  There is a boy named Tamás, who totally turned his life around to be a member.  And tons more.  My testimony is constantly strengthened by the examples of the people I meet here.  It is really my privilege to serve here.

So, basically, I still don't know a whole lot about the area, still haven't met all of the investigators, but Sister Watts and I are making it through together.  I think it is going to be really great!  I am excited! (Also super excited for a nasty cold I have had ever since I came to be gone.  That would make everything a lot easier).  I will keep you all updated on life, don't worry!

Love you all!  Szeretlek!
Kramer Nővér aka McKenna

P.S. Sorry that I haven't sent pictures in forever!  I need to buy a new camera connector cord thing!  Don't worry, I am still taking pictures though and will send them when I can :)

Monday, September 10, 2012


Hello all!

This is going to be SUPER fast!!!

Exciting news:  Number one, GABRIELLA IS ON BAP DATE!!!!!!  We had an awesome program with her about taking steps of faith (how often times, we need to take a step and then we get the confirmation of God... think of Indiana Jones and the invisible bridge.  He had heard it was there but he had to take action to find out for himself.  That is how God sometimes work.  We make decisions and then he lets us know if they are right.  He always catches us, always helps us, but I have found in my life that i have to take the first step.).  She decided to take this awesome first step of faith and will be getting baptized on December 1!  She is worried because she doesn't know everything and isn't sure how it all will work out with her job and everything, but she is trusting in God and the inspiration she has received so far that this is good and true!  She has been praying and reading from the scriptures regularly and has really felt the difference in her life.  She is such a special lady!!!!  She came to church this past weekend, after really feeling that she should, and felt so good there!  She has really found her place, I think :)  I am so happy for her!

The hard part about it is I will not be here to help her grow because.... I am getting transferred!  I got the call this morning.  I am going to Debrecen to serve with an almost-greenie named Sister Watts.  Sister Hardy knew her in the MTC and says she is awesome!  (I do know she is Australian!)  I am going to miss my little city SO MUCH though!  I know I have just gushed and gushed about it recently, but I have really enjoyed my time here!  I love this city, I love our investigators, I love the ward, I love my district, I LOVE MY COMPANION!!!!  I am going to miss Sister Hardy so much!  I know she needs this separation from her "momma"  (trainer), though, to spread her little missionary wings and fly.  I have total confidence in her to take care of our beloved city.  We had such a dream couple of transfers together, though.  I really do know that transfer calls are inspired.  We were so meant to be companions, mother-daughter, sisters, best friends!  I love her!  We cried a bit this morning after we got the call.  But, knowing that these calls are inspired, I know it will all be okay.

I have SO MUCH to do today, though.  I will send a much better, longer email next week with all sorts of interesting details about my new area (which is where De Leon started HER mission!!).  Until then, be good!  I love you all!  Thank you all for your support and love!

Kramer Nővér aka McKenna

Monday, September 3, 2012

Home is where the heart is :)

Hello all!

This week will be quick!  I had a super dramatic moment in church yesterday when I realized that this week is probably my last full week in Szeged (transfers are in two Wednesdays (the 12th), and I am almost guaranteed to leave, seeing as I have been here for four transfers) and had a minor freak-out.  Turns out, I really really love it here.  (Surprise!)  And don't particularly want to leave.  But, I realized that I should probably come to terms with it and get everything done that I need to this week, so I will be more ready to go when the time comes.  So, I have been trying to come to terms with that depressing bit of my life, and packed our P-Day today FULL of stuff.  Which means I only have a little bit of time to email.  Sorry!  (Although I am sure some of you are grateful for the break from my small weekly novels :P)  I am learning that sometimes things end before we are ready to let them go.  But that really means we should make the time count- work as hard as you can and spend time with the people we love.

ANYWAYS, our week was good, really and truly, minor freak-outs aside!

Some updates:

We had a fun service project with the Relief Society!  We knitted hats on those little circle looms.  The nénis all loved it, commenting on how easy it was.  We all churned out hats, chatting and eating the necessary and much appreciated süti :)  The hats will go to some children's homes here in Szeged, along with some games that Sister Hardy and I have helped prepare.  I love service!

Had a super good program with Béla.  He had some questions about repentance, which led to an awesome lesson about repentance and then the whole point of religion and the gospel.  We were able to talk about how the Atonement is offered to help us change our natures.  We talked about how there is actual power in that.  It is not just nice words.  I have experienced God's help in my life to become a better person :)  Béla told us that we gave us him stuff that really made him think.  He marked the scriptures we used during the lesson (one of which was Mosiah 3:19, which was just so perfect because he was talking about how sometimes he felt like there was a part of him that didn't want to do what God wanted him to do) and told us that he is excited to go home and read them again and think about them some more.  I love that the truth we teach makes people THINK!!!  It is so cool to people gain testimonies one little bit at a time.

We were able to go visiting teaching this past week!  We went out to one of my favorite families, the Budaiék, to their house in a small city about 30 minutes away by car with Sister Adams and visit taught their mom.  The whole family was around, though, so, as we taught, we were able to color with the small 4 year-old, laugh with the teenages, eat delicious lemon cake that one of the daughters had made, hear the conversion story from the dad, and generally have an awesome time!  When it was time to go, the 4 year old girl asked her dad to pray that we wouldn't go, which was SO cute :)  I love the members here!  I love their love for and support for us :)  There were a couple of other cute stories this past week (I really feel like this ward is family!).  Géza (the much beloved member who always stuffs to bursting full of food!) came up to Sister Hardy and I after church and surprised us with big hugs!  He said, "Nobody saw that!"  Zoli, another member, was right behind him, and said, "I saw that!!"  And Géza was like, "No, you didn't either!" and skipped up the stairs calling us "tündérek"  ("fairies"... actual term of endearment here :P).  Another time, a member named Judit came up behind me and put her head on my shoulder and gave me a hug while she talked to me and the elders about when we could all come over for dinner this week.  Small things like this just make me feel so loved!  I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve in this branch that loves the missionaries and really helps us in our work :)  I also love just working with the members and helping them!  I really believe that we are out here just as much to strenghten the ward and the members as it is to find new people to teach about the gospel :)  And I have been privileged my whole mission to be surrounded by amazing members.  I have met so many faithful and inspirational people that simply try and do what God has asked.  Which is pretty dang awesome, if you ask me!  So, really, in the end, my own testimony has been strengthened so much through their examples and service :)  And I am just trying to give back a little bit!

Anyways, I am going to run!  Have a great week!  Make the most of it!  Serve those around you :)  SMILE!

Love you all!
McKenna aka Kramer Nővér