This has been the best week EVER!!!! Evelin was baptized!!!! And I was able to go :D :D :D It was so amazing! Let me tell you how the whole day went down:
We went with Sister Hanson (one of the senior sisters in our city) by car, which was super convenient (since the train would have taken longer and would have been way more expensive). We had planned to leave at 7am, but, as travel often goes, we didn't fully leave Debrecen until closer to 8am. It is about a 3 and a half hour drive by car, through which Sister Hanson's GPS took us on the prettiest route EVER through Hungary. We went through little towns, farms, and forests. We shared the road with bicycles, tractors, and horses/wagons. It was awesome! And so so pretty, seeing as autumn is starting to show here. The absolutely funniest thing happened on that trip, though. We were driving along one of these little country roads when Sister Hanson asked me, "What does "ferry" mean?" I looked at the GPS and sure enough, it said "Ferry" at the top where it normally had the Hungarian street name. I told her that didn't make a lot of sense as a Hungarian name (the spelling was all wrong) and we looked at the screen for a second, until the GPS announced that we should board the ferry in 80 meters. We looked at the GPS and then each other in disbelief. And thought, "Is it serious?" But, sure enough, we topped a hill and saw a little river with a small ferry fording back towards us. Sufficeth to say, we all just busted up laughing. We couldn't believe that the GPS was taking us across a ferry! We waited for our turn (the ferry only took 2 cars at a time), then carefully drove the car on. While on the ferry, we took lots of pictures (see attached).
I tried to tell the other driver why we were all laughing and taking pictures, but I don't think he found it as funny as we did :P We crossed the river easily, though, and then just continued on our journey. (It is kind of epic that I can say we drove across the country and even had to take a ferry to get to the baptism! Nothing was going to stop us, though!) We had a few other driving adventures throughout the trip, including the bumpiest roads you have ever been on, the GPS trying to take us down a walking street, being stuck and surrounded by one-way streets, etc., but I am pleased to announce that we arrived safe and sound in Szeged :) It was so cool slash slightly weird being back, since driving in, it kind of felt like I had never left. I really do love Debrecen, but Szeged will always be a home to me. Anyways, it was made even weirder when we showed up to the Adamses and I opened the door and found TWO of my old companions there. Sister Hardy and Sister Papritz (now Autumn) were sitting in the Adamses' dining room. (I actually knew she was coming back to Hungary, btw. So it wasn't a surprise or anything. But it was still crazy to see her!) It was so fun being with my mission family and friends (we, Sister Hanson, the Adamses, the Szeged sisters, the Szeged elders, and Sister Papritz were all there). We practiced a song for Evelin's baptism together and then headed over! Evelin was getting baptized in a water park, actually, on the other side of the river, since the Szeged branch house is rented and does not have a baptismal font. We walked over there, seeing half of our ward on bikes as we were on the bridge. We got to the water park and walked in the front lobby, where I was then greeted and kissed and hugged by tons of my old ward members! It was so nice to be back :) Evelin came barreling at me and gave me the biggest hug and told me she was so glad I was there! (I was so glad too!) In the lobby, we had to get little foot booties to protect our shoes, seeing as it was a water park and all, then walked through to a small mirrored room for the service. We said the prayer, sang songs, listened to a talk, and then it was time for the baptism. We went to the big open room (which I can't properly describe-- I will try and get some pictures of it later) where there were multiple swimming pools connecting to the outside. There was a perfectly circular, raised hot tob in the middle of all of these pools, which was where Evelin was to be baptized. There were some people standing on the ground level, right around the small hot pool, but most of us were on a second level balcony right above it, as it was easier to see. It was kind of weird at first because there were still people in the various swimming pools around us and it was kind of noisy. As Evelin walked into the water, though, the whole room hushed and watched. She stood in white in the water, looking absolutely beautiful and happy. Our ward mission leader said the baptismal prayer and then baptized her. It was so special! The spirit was very strong. It was so amazing to be there and see her take this step. When I streeted her about 6 months ago, she didn't even believe in God! How far she has come :) After the baptismal ordinance, we went back to the small room, where we continued to sing and write notes for Evelin while we waited for her to change. Something kind of interesting happened then. While we were singing a song, Evelin's grandmother, who is not a member, starting crying. Later, when I asked Evelin about it, she said that her grandma was just so so happy about the whole thing, and that at the baptismal she just felt something that she couldn't even explain (the spirit!) and so she started crying from all the happiness and feelings.) Anyways, when Evelin came back after getting changed, we missionaries sang our special musical number, (I personally was beaming at her the whole time, I was just so dang happy!). There was another talk, another song, closing prayer (which she had asked me to give! She had the two sisters who were there when she decided to be baptized say the prayers.) After the service, we went back to the branch house for the "party". Aka we ate a lot of food and talked to everyone there. It was so fun to catch up with my old companions and my old ward. While there, Evelin came up to me and told me that I was glowing! I literally was just so happy :) I was surrounded by those I loved! She had just been baptized! It was all just so GREAT! And it was so cool to see her growth-- I found Evelin, taught her all of the lessons basically, was there when she decided to get baptized, and now was able to be there at her baptism. It was so so special. I asked her how she was feeling, since she was glowing, too. She told me she felt so much and it was all so special that she didn't even want to talk about it because she would start crying. She told me she was so so happy though :D She also told me how grateful she was that I was able to come. I told her it was kind of a miracle (our President had changed the policy on going back for baptisms, and so, under that new policy, I really probably shouldn't have been able to go. But he gave permission! Totally a miracle). She told me, "No, it wasn't a miracle!" Kind of taken aback, knowing how lucky I was to be there, I asked her what she meant. She told me, "Because I prayed that you would be able to come!" Her faith is so awesome :) She is such an example to me.
Everything else during the week kind of pales in comparison to that. We had an awesome palacsinta night with the senior missionaries, have been looking up a lot of less active memebers (one actually lived at the address listed! Miracle. And then let us in! More miracles. We had a really awesome program with her about all of her concerns. I think her biggest one is that she was afraid people would judge her for not being perfect. This church is not the place for perfect people! Yeah, God says in the Bible, "Be ye perfect." but there is no "Now" included in that. Seriously. That is our goal, but we are imperfect people. We all make mistakes. We are all here to help each other get better. To love each other. To grow and to learn from our mistakes!), a few great programs with investigators, and had a generally really good week :) But, Saturday, like I said, was probably one of the greatest days of my mission! So I think I will leave this week's email at that :9
Make the world a better place! Smile! Make good decisions!
Love you all!
Kramer Nővér aka McKenna