Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Gift Exchange

BÚÉK! (Aka Boldog Új Évet Kívánok!) (Aka Happy New Year!)
Wow so I can't give every detail from the last two weeks, but here's a taste of the miracles. I call it the Gift Exchange. 
So here I am in Hungarian. My only Christmas to be a full time missionary in the country with the people I serve. Such a cool experience. Despite being a full-time missionary, I feel like I give so little and get so much in return. 
On Christmas eve we decided to give by caroling in the square. So we went with the elders, brought our hymn books and just sang. And sang. For almost 2 hours straight without stopping. My voice was almost 100% gone after that, but it was so worth it. It was so cool to see how such a simple service can change hearts. We watched several a person rushing about, slow their steps as they walked by. A few dads stopped with their children to have them listen. One sweet néni (older lady) cried with gratitude and wished every good thing she could think of (health, happiness, lots of children...). We had several people thank us for the gift we gave as we just simply sung those hymns. One guy not too much older than us, stood off to the side and listened for at least 6 songs. He then stepped over between songs and stopped us. "Thank you. I hope you notice that the sun is literally JUST shinning on you all right now. I don't think that's by chance." he said and wished us a Merry Christmas. The sun had broken through the clouds in a very movie-like kind of way. Gift Number 1: Sunshine
After our working hours on Christmas eve, Sister Westover and I decided to go back up to the Castle District. It never gets old. We walked around Buda Castle and Fishermans Dwarf. It was such a beautiful day. The bells at St. Matias Church were going. What a cool time to be a missionary in Buda. We then went to the little market place to get some souveniors for family. As we were looking at the scarfs, a man came over and asked if we were Mormon missionaries. We talked to him a little. He asked if we pay our way to serve and we said yes. We save up and our families sacrifice for us to serve missions. Because of that he told us to pick out a scarf and he would give it to us for free as a Christmas present. But the real Christmas present in this story is that he gave us his number so we could meet with him and he also showed up to church this sunday. Gift Number 2: A super nice investigator 
It's always hard to work in an area and not see the end results, because it's so special to be able to see the beginning to the end and all of the change inbetween. I sometimes miss the investigators and members back in Pécs, Nyiregyháza and Szombathely. But even when we don't get to see the end results while we are still there, our hard work is not waisted. Gift number 3 is tri-fold. The Saturday before Christmas, Bogi- my investigator in Szombathely who I worked with for several months, officially got baptized and that sunday was confirmed. She is going to be such an amazing member. Bogi is the one that would come to church with a whole bunch of children she had met when she was a secret santa years ago. We taught the kids a few times. I love them all. Today I found out that one of the older boys has also decided to be baptized. Im so excited for him and the potential difference he will make to his whole family. I also recieved an email from Zoli's wife. She had decided to get baptized a while back but then didn't feel ready and then I got transferred. Well last week she asked me when I go home. This week I got an email from her saying that she has decided to be baptized March 8. I'm so excited for her. Gift Number 3: 3 of my investigators who I absolutely love chose to be baptized. 
I recieved so many gifts for Christmas. Those are just a few examples. But I am so grateful for each one. 
We also recieved a very interesting Szilveszter (New Years Eve) gift this week. The story goes like this:
So I know I always try to write this great miraculous email about how amazing and fantastic missionary work is, but lets be honest- not every moment of life is full of intense thrills.
Well Sister Westover and I had been tracting A LOT. And although the 1 person who accepts the gospel is worth it, sometimes it takes a good 9,000 rejections before you find them. We were getting close to rejection 8 thousand something probably and it was starting to get a little rote and lets face it, exhausting. So one day we prayed to find a little more fun in the work. While we were out, I thought up a game. Ive temporarily named it Rejection. 
We hear A LOT of different excuses for why people don't want to let us in. So I figured why not have fun with that? We made a list of a ton of the different excuses people make and paired them up with directions we would take. For example, if someone says "köszönöm" (no thanks), then we go to the next building that has more then 9 door bells. Or if someone says "nem kerem" (I dont want it), we go to the next green building. Or if someone says "nem ertem" (I dont understand) we take the next public transportation one stop down. Of course finding by the spirit is the most important method of finding, but we figured if the angels know the game too, they can have in on it and play too.
So the next day we tried it. We picked a starting point and played. It took us ALL over. We got one let in and taught a nice older gentlemen and felt pretty good. Then we kept playing and got a "nem ertem" so off we went on the tram down to the next stop. The first people let us in. We walked in looked to the right and there was a man with a silver wig and a funky hat eating a raw pepper. The man who let us let us know that they were about to have a pre-new years eve party. We looked at each other, what had we gotten into? Well they invited us in and we taught a short lesson to them and 2 girls who were also there. Turns out theyre all in a program together- all trying to change and fix their lives. The lesson went well, but we only had one Book of Mormon with us, so the guy who let us in asked us to come back and bring him one.
So we did the next day, but since he was home alone, we couldn't go in. We ended up instead going to the park and walking around the pond and talking to him about the gospel and his desire to be officially changed from his previous self. He asked us what he needed to do and we told him to start, he can pray and read the Book of Mormon and come to church and meet with us. He said "well I'm already starting to do that, I meant what is the NEXT step?" So we talked about the covenant of Baptism. Our News Eve Gift: A crazy fun, and absurd fidning night and a great new investigator
Well that was long and wasn't even a 10th of the last 2 weeks worth of experiences. I hope you all have a fantastic New Year. This new year means a lot for me. Tomorrow is 100 days until I am home. Time is a weird thing. I hope you all have a fantastic new year with wonderful plans to serve, grow and learn. 
Szeretlek mindig,
Curtin nővér



Monday, December 16, 2013

Splits




Sziasztok,
 
We had splits this week. This time it was with my past two companions. What a blessing from being a sister training leader! I got to go back to my good old Szombathely (because being there for more then 5 months was not enough). I loved it. Sister Daniels is an awesome missionary and it was fun to serve with her again for a day. Plus, I got to teach 2 people from before when I was there.
 
First was Zoli. My convert who got baptized back in October. What a blessing it was to go back and see that he is still an amazing member. He's also still always a step ahead of the teaching. The sisters had planning to teach him about fasting and prayer because of a financial difficulty in his life. Turns out he had already prayed and already received his payment. His faith is so inspiring.
 
Then we also taught a lady that the 3 of us had met when we were serving together. I probably mentioned her. She was a "last door tracting" story. Super happy lady. I got to teach her the Plan of Salvation. There was a really special moment in that teaching too. I had forgotten, but this lady was in an accident of some sort and has some memory problems. When I was teaching about the fact that we lived with God before this life, I felt like adding a detail that I don't always which is that we don't remember that life. And then I remembered her situation and how she struggles with memories. (I realize the irony of that). She told us about some situations she has had where suddenly she remembers something she hadn't before and the overwhelming emotion she has as she recalls those feelings. I've see that same reaction as people hear and feel the familiar ring when we talk about the pre-mortal life. That's how it was with Zoli. We gave him a plan of salvation pamphlet before teaching him, and that was his turning point. He came back and just recited to us the details of the pre-mortal life and how it just felt right. He lived with God before this life.
 
I'm grateful for splits. I'm technically the leader, but I always feel like I learn so much from each of them.
 
Now just as a heads up, this may be my last email before Christmas (and potentially before next year). Our preparation day has been changed to the holiday and most likely these little internet places will be closed. So if that's the case- Kellemes Karacsonyt!
 
Merry CHRISTmas.
Szeretlek Mindig,
Curtin Nővér
 
 
P.S. The little details:
 
1. Name days. In Hungary you can only name children certain names. Most, if not all of them, are on the calendars. So you celebrate not just a birthday but also a name day. New Years Eve is on Silvester's nameday, so thus the holiday is called Szilvester.
 
Some examples of Hungarian names :)
 
1)Boglárka 2) Gabor 3) Laszló
 
 
2. In the form of Pictures: Sister Westover and I went to Fishermans Baston, that's where all of these pictures are. Also, it's in our tracting area :)
 
3.  My "Christmas tree" ? I got this in the mail, according to the instructions, it should finish growing about the time I go home :)
 
4.  My "fancy" dinner, imitation crab and spinach. Big change to my diet.
 
5.  Our tracting area :)
 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mikulás‏ (Santa Claus)

Sziasztok, 
So we got our calls and Sister Westover and I are staying together in Budapest for the holidays! I'm sure it will be great. I'm excited. I also get to go on a split this weekend back to Szombathely where I was just serving. I'm really excited for that too. Ah it's so great and hard to love all of the people and places you serve. So for todays email I think I'll give another one of those clipets of just one day of our work. This one was yesterday:
1. Wake up, exercise, get ready, eat breakfast, do studies. 
2. Flyer our way to the tram then from the tram to our first appointment. 
3. Teach a cute néni (older lady) about the plan of salvation. 
4. Eat lunch at Gringo Amigos (a member.-owned Mexican restaurant).
5. Tract our way back towards the branch house. 
6. Get literally chased out of the building by a grumpy néni.
7. Street our way to the branch house. 
8. Teach a half English half gospel lesson to a new investigator who said she will get baptized when she gets her answer. Gave her a Book of Mormon with my mom's testimony in it. Super nice lady. Set up to meet with her again on Thursday. 
9. Go tracting. 
10. Street back to the branch house to meet the elders' investigator Jeti. Travel with Jeti by villamos to Rita's home. Rita is a super cute member who invited the 3 of us over for dinner. We talked to Jeti and got to know her the whole way there. She's preparing to be baptized in January. I love her already and she's not even my investigator. 
11. Eat dinner at Ritas and have such a great conversation that Jeti decides to start living 100% as if she is already a Mormon starting today. 
12. Travel back with her on the villamos. 
13. Feel like we should get off early and stop by our investigator's apartment. This investigator is someone who we met tracting and he came to church right away. He then later felt like he wanted to read the whole Book of Mormon before meeting with us again. We didn't want to be pushy, so we left him mostly to that until yesterday when we decided to brave it and check up on him. 
14. He was home so we talked to him outside of his apartment. He agreed to meet with us again so we can read together. He's had opposition since we last met. I'm really excited to be able to help him again. I'm so grateful for that opportunity. 
15. Traveled home and got back in time for curfew, planning, journal writing, and bed. 
So that was just one day. And the very short version. I don't think anyone realizes how much happens each day in missionary work. More than my mind can keep track of. Still great though. It's going by fast. As of today I have exactly 4 months left on my mission. Crazy stuff. 
Szeretlek Mindig,
Curtin Nővér 
P.S. The little details:
1. picture- Sister Westover and I on Mikulas in their apartment.
2. picture- I know I just barely got boots... but I think I might need to get a new pair? What do you think? Good thing it was only kind of snowing and raining that night and we accidently took the long way home :) 
3. When you go tracting you could be tracting a building where all the doors look exactly the same, but boy are the actual apartments different. Just as a few examples of our recent let-ins:
a. Normal looking door, turns out to be a man's art gallery. He's a religious artist and the apartment was lined with his art and filled with ready-to-sell notebooks. 
b. Normal looking door, turns out to be cat heaven. I think this man likes his cats. He has about 2 live cats and 2 cat clocks and about 100 cat calendars. 
c. Normal looking door, turns out to be filled with random stuff, like a puppet and a mask of a famous poet. 
d. Normal looking door, turns out to be a normal, nice looking apartment, hmm that's weird. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December

Sziasztok, 
When did it become December? I have no idea. This week was a whole lot of work, but good of course. We had another split- this time with the sisters from Vesprém. It's hard to have both investigators and sisters to worry, pray for, and serve but at the same time it's great. Even with all of the travel time, Sister Westover and I are still trying to work towards the big goals we started with. All is going well and I feel like this next week will be really great. It's the last week before another transfer. Because of the change in tranfer cycles, everything is a little off. This time we have 10 missionaries going home and none coming in. Hopefully Sister Westover and I will be able to stay together. We have a lot we want to get done together :) We've seen a lot of miracles together already and we know we can see more, even if it takes hours on end of tracting :).
 
Well sorry this week's email was so short, but I hope you all have a great beginning to December. 
Love Always,
Sister Curtin
P.S. The little details in picture form :)
Christmas lights with us.

Window display at the mall.

Our Christmas presents!

Shopping for Christmas presents at the little setups they have in the cities during holidays.
Oh and guess what? Santa comes to Hungary this week! December 6th is when St. Nikolas comes. Baby Jesus is the one who brings presents on Christmas. It's a great holiday season :) 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

hálás vagyok‏

köszönöm nektek,
So last week I told you about how we made some prayerful goals to start a change to the mission. One of those goals involved finding a quadrupled average more of investigators per week. Right now the average is about 2 or maybe 3 and we want an average of 8. We thought it would take several weeks for the reality of that possibility to set in, so we set our first goal of making it go from 2 to 6. Well, this week (even with splits and me going to Győr from Friday to Saturday) we got 7. It all started last preparation day....
Last Monday for our working hours we decided to go tracting. Sister Westover felt like a certain area would be good to start, so we went. We had 2 different let-ins that night, but I just want to talk about one: 
We were tracting inside the building and noticed that the numbering seemed to be off (but honestly, that's really not that uncommon). However, there was a door that looked like it maybe went to a fire-stairwell outside. We tried it anyway. Come to find out, there was the missing door number. We rang the door bell and a guy came out. In Hungarian I told him that we were there to bring a message of hope (remember how last week in our mission, hope was our Christlike attribute?). He responded by saying he didn't speak Hungarian. That always throws me off, it's hard to switch gears and be a missionary in English. Somehow I still was able to translate in my mind what I had said in Hungarian to awkward English and told him we brought a message of hope. He agreed to listen. 
He is from India but is living here in Hungary after a "long story" chain of events. He listened to us share our message and agreed to have us come back the next day. We went back the next day with Sister Feltsted and taught more and gave him a Book or Mormon in English. Then we went back AGAIN that Saturday. I invited a girl who is from Nyiregyháza where I served 2 transfers ago and is now living here in Buda. I knew she spoke English and I thought it would be good. She ended up skipping sport nap (Sport day) to come and help us teach. We starting teaching and he said he felt so go meeting with us, but was concerned about how his background and religious beliefs would conflict. Well turns out this member's minor is Buddhism and she studies similar things and could, with confidence, relate to the things he was explaining. Such a tender mercy. 

THEN he came to church the next day. He sat by me during the Primary program. Unfortunately, the translator he was using wasn't working so he had to just listen in Hungarian, but in the end I think it was perfect. He leaned over to me a couple times during the program and told me how good he felt. He told me he is hoping to finish the Book of Mormon in 15 days. Even though he couldn't understand everything that the children were saying, he could see the great example they set and their innocent knowledge of truth. And of course, their happiness. At the end he told me he felt good. He felt like it was the best stress relief he could have. After the primary program, elder Walker spoke. Our investigator wasn't able to stay for that part, but it did give me a unique opportunity to explain the structure of Christ's church and bear testimony. 

Later, looking back, our investigator also explained to us and one of the members what a miracle it was that we met. 
The night we tracted him, he had been in a hard state. He was stressed and frustrated, and when we came to his door and said we had a message of "hope" he felt like it mas "magic"- like some sort of "miracle" as if "God himself had sent" us girls to him. I know He did. 
Well that was long, but that was just ONE of our 7 new investigators this week. 
It just goes to show how meaningful, prayerful goals can be accomplished because you have Heavenly help. 
I am SO thankful for the way this week went. We were so blessed. And we hope we can continue to work towards that goal this week. 
szeretlek mindig,
Curtin nővér 
P.S. The little details. Things I'm thankful for... :) 
1. I'm thankful to get in AND out of apartment buildings. In the city, there are several buildings were you don't just have to get someone to let you into the building, but you also have to get someone to show you where the hidden switch is that will unlock the gate to get back OUT. 
2. I'm thankful for baggage weight limits. Because of that, a lot of sisters leave behind a lot of things when they go home or get transferred. My boots been broken already, but I luckily found a different pair of shoes in my new closet. I'm also wearing someone else's skirt right now. 
3. I'm thankful electricity. Budapest is pretty during the day, but at night it is stunning because the most prominent historical buildings are lit up, while the rest of the city is mostly dim. 
4. I'm thankful for our Englsih class students to remind us what day it is. A bunch of us missionaries thought thanksgiving was last week- well our English class students knew better than we did when that American holiday is.. oops. Just goes to show that as missionaries, we have NO idea what's happening in the world. 
5. I'm thankful for my mission. Apparently I'm going home on April 10th. That's only 4 and a half months away. When did that happen? I really am grateful for all of the lessons, and side lessons I've so far learned on my mission. I'm incredibly grateful for all of the people I've been able to work with. And I'm grateful for all of your support and prayers at home. köszönöm!

Monday, November 18, 2013

More pictures - the little details

The little details in pictures: 

1. Bowling on preparation day with the City. 
2. Cool flower that bloomed in my window before I left Szombathely.
3. Us with Gabor, a super awesome member in Szombathely.
4. Sister Daniels and I at the train station.







The City

Halló
Well it was hard to say goodbye to Szombathely. This investigator (see picture) who Sister Peterson and I found tracting was my last lesson before I left. He's getting baptized next month :) 

So now I'm here in the big city,Budapest, specifically Buda. I was a little worried about coming to the city, because almost my whole mission I've been used to opening or re-opening the city for sisters. Well it's been kind of a weird blessing since I got here, because it almost feels the same. We have very few investigators from before so we've had a lot of finding to do. It's felt a  lot like the work I did in the other cities: start from scratch and hit the ground running (or finding). Sister Westover and I have some more huge goals for our time together and we're really excited about it. I think things will go well. Sister Westover and I have very similar perspectives on missionary work and we're excited to work together to be super obedient and diligent. So far this week has been a lot of tracting, but we've actually enjoyed it so far. It's been an exhausting week, but worth it. 

Our mission is studying a Christlike attribute every week until Christmas. Last week was faith as Sister Westover and I made some faithful goals. This week is hope. Hope that we can start achieving them. The goals we made will involve literally a change to the mission. Numbers will need to be more than double and we'll need to see a lot of changes by January. But, since we are in leadership positions and since Elder Teixeira made some pretty specific promises to us while he was here, we feel like it's possible. I think it's pretty fitting to be studying hope this week. Hope is about attitude and about trust that God's promises will be fulfilled. We've been given some promises and we're hopeful that we can do what it takes to obtain them. Well I HOPE that you all have a fantastic week. A great Thanksgiving (No, as far as I know we are not celebrating it. We'll be preparing for going on splits with some sisters and traveling to the other side of the country- but I hope you all enjoy it). 

Szeretlek Mindig,
Curtin nővér
P.s. The little details are coming in picture form
1. Us with our investigator after my last program with him
2. My tri-companionship all dressed up for transfers at the train station- :)
3. Sister Westover and I today


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sister Training Leader

Na sziasztok,

We got our calls this morning. I've been in Szombathely for 5 months now, and today is my last full day here. I've been called to be a Sister Training Leader in Buda with Sister Westover, time for a new adventure. 

But first, a small portion of the miracles of this last week:
So, remember how I said we as a tri-companionship made some huge goals when we got together even though we would only be together for 3 weeks? Well one of those goals was to get 5 baptismal dates. That was a huge goal considering we only had one and that was (Orem) who had been working out of the country and we hadn't been able to teach her for several months; so let's look back on the last couple weeks. 
1. (Brad)- I love this girl so much. She and I have the same minor (International Development) and I’ve been talking and meeting with her for quite some time. I mentioned last week- she has agreed to be baptized. She likes how she'll get to be baptized as an adult just as Christ did :).
2. (Tony)- Tami is a guy that Sister Peterson and I tracked into. He’s hilarious. In our second meeting with him this last week, we extended a baptismal date to him and he agreed without much hesitation. We talked about how he'll be spiritually clean through baptism and when we explained it will be by immersion he was even more excited- clean inside AND out :).
3. (Margaret)- I don't know how to describe the meeting we had with her and Zoli (Our convert who just got baptized). It was probably one of the most intense lessons I’ve ever taught. We watched the Joseph Smith movie and then talked after. Sister Grigg extended the baptismal date and it shocked (Margaret). She asked to leave the room for a moment and we were worried that we had done something wrong. But she walked back in and just said "Igen!" and then couldn't stop smiling. She's still a little hesitate, but her testimony and the way she supports her husband is such an amazing example to me and I know she will make it. 
4. (Orem)- So (Orem) got back from working out of the country. I was starting to think that I wouldn't be able to see her again because of transfers this week. But then yesterday we decided to stop by their house (we knew she got back to the country this week but her phone wasn't working). As I started to knock on the door, they opened it up because they were about to leave and there was (Orem). It was SO good to see her. They let us come in and we sat down for a minute to catch up. She agreed to get back on track to be baptized next month. What a huge miracle and blessing for me to have been here long enough to see her and personally pass her over to my companions. 
5. We are one short of the 5 baptismal dates, but it is still great to see  so many major miracles as a companionship and the goal really pushed us. I'm so grateful for my time in Szombathely and I'm sure I'll grow to love the “City” too. 
Szeretlek Mindig, 
Curtin Nővér
P.S. The little details:
1. It's finally turning into winter here. The last couple days have been SOO windy. Last night we literally got blown into each other as we walked in between the buildings we were tracting. 
2. A lot of restaurants have outside seating. In the winter, each chair is supplied with matching blankets. 

3. Last week we went bowling as a city, upstairs. The pins where on strings, but it was still fun. Unfortunately we have to email at the other library today so pictures will have to wait until at least next week. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Graveyards

Sziasztok,

Great week. We had district conference with Elder Teixeira and his wife. Of course we talked about how the work is rolling forward.
Here's a few of my most favorite prominent miracles from this week as an illustration:
1. November 1 was a holiday here in Hungary called All Saints Day. People go to the cemetery and decorate the graves with candles and ribbons. We originally weren't going to go because we always have hundreds of things to do as missionaries. But after prayer and realizing that other finding would be ineffective because basically the whole city would be there, we decided to take our dinner hour to walk around the cemetery. Thousands of people where there, so it was a huge surprise when we first walked in and ran into one of our investigator's mom. She invited us over when we were done. We took a little loop around the cemetery (and also ran into a couple of the kids that our investigator has been bringing to church). First of all, it was such a cool experience. The thousands of candles in the old cemetery were beautiful and we had some good conversations as a companionship. Then after that, we walked over to our investigator's home. We spent a little time there with her mom and aunts, but had to get back in time to do studies. Luckily our investigator got back in time to give us a ride home; because on the car ride home she agreed to be baptized! :) We originally were not going to be able to meet with her this week because of the holiday, but because of a hundred little events that lead us to her home that night- she is now preparing for baptism. I'm so excited for her. 
2. This one is still an unfinished story, but I'll tell it anyway: So we had about an hour before one of our programs so we decided to tract a building even though Sister Montenegro and I had been there several months ago. Nothing was happening, we just tracked from the top down. It was getting closer to our program time, but I decided we needed to do just one more floor. I'm so glad we did. We knocked on the last door and a lady came out almost laughing. She said we came at a perfect time because years ago she had come close to God through a trial, but recently something new has happened in her life and she is re-searching for him. We will be going back this week. I don't know all of the details yet, but she seems really nice and so ready. I'm always grateful for those "last door" experiences.

Szeretlek mindig,
Curtin nővér

p.s. the little details (in pictures)
1. Me with a member we've been working with
2. Can anyone tell me why I took this picture? (The one at the top of this page.) I love néni fashion. (néni = aunt according to Google translate).
3-4. Pictures of Michelle's apartment, a members house. She said it was the nicest missionary apartment in the mission. She didn't want me to post these pictures because she said the apartment wasn't clean enough. I said she better clean it up and I am posting the pictures to make sure she does!


Their bedroom, her two companions. Michelle said she sleeps on a couch in another room.

Nicest kitchen in the mission

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Opera

Sziasztok everyone,


Sorry for the delayed email- here is my excuse as to why..
Transfers last week where a big surprise. I'm now in a tri-companionship with Sister Daniels and Sister Grigg. Both awesome
Sister Grigg had her residency card stolen in Pest, so she had to get a new one- that meant that we had to come back up to Budapest for her to apply for a new one. This meant that we had to switch our preparation days. It also meant that we had a super cool opportunity to be in Budapest and we went to the Opera house, so after a full day in Budapest and some beautiful Opera, we are finally emailing in a little email shop downtown. 

Overall this transfer has been good. The schedule has been crazy, but we have some great goals and our first week together we achieved standard of excellence, not too shabby. My companions are super cute. I probably won't get to stay with them too long through because there will be another transfer in just 2 weeks. 

My companions have really hit it off with my investigators. Its been fun to see. One cute girl that we've been teaching is considering baptism. We told her she needed to start coming to church. Well.. she did... with 7 children. It was so fun. Then a super nice family in the branch invited them ALL over for dinner. I am so impressed with the kindness of the people in this branch. Overall things are great. This computer is a pain because I have to push the space bar about 20 times to make it work, but after going to the Hungarian Opera house today I don't think I have the right to complain about anything. 

Tomorrow should be good. The area president is coming for Zone conference so we are spending the night here. Hopefully I'll have lots to write about next week and some awesome pictures to send.

Hope all is well.
Love Always,
Curtin Nővér 

P.S. The little details:
1. Public transportation in Budapest is great. Metros, trams, trains, cars... anything you can imagine.
2. The Hungarian Opera house is pretty small but gorgeous. One of the best preparation day activities yet (if you can't already tell).
3. The weather here lately has been amazing. It feels like late summer. Love it.



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Best Week Ever!

So first- this week is a "mini-transfer" because there are some missionaries going home this week, so that is why this email is a day late. We got a surprise transfer call. Sister Peterson is going to transfer to serve with my old companion Sister Montenegro. I'm super excited for them! I on the other hand, am staying here for at least the next 3 weeks. And I am getting not one, but TWO new companions. Sister Daniels and Sister Griggs. Sister Daniels came last transfer so I will finish training her, and Sister Griggs came a couple transfers ago. Huge surprise  I'm sure it'll be great. 

1. We met with Zoli earlier this week. We've been meeting with him at least every week for the past 2 transfers. After every lesson we always ask if he has any questions. Every time he said, "No". This week he had one. When we asked if he had any questions he said, "When is Saturday!!!??" It was so fun to see how excited he was for the baptism. 
2. The baptism was so great. A lot of people came and it went smoothly. Sister Peterson and I sang the Hungarian version of "Oh my Father" because one of our favorite moments teaching Zoli was when he found out he lived with God before this life and how strong of a testimony he gained of that. His wife Mariann and his Godson Roland came. Both are so supportive. Mariann cried with joy for her husband. It was so sweet to see. 

3. We had a really powerful lesson in Sunday School this week. The elders have an investigator who is literally changing his life to prepare for baptism. He has stopped drinking, is trying to stop smoking and is getting married in December.  All for his 3 little children. But it's been hard for him. 
In Sunday School Gabor was teaching and called this investigator up. He said "Hey give me 5000 forint!" The investigator replied that he didn't have any. The investigator tried asking someone else for the money and Gabor said " No, I asked YOU for it!". But the investigator didn't have any money. Then Gabor asked him to open to 1 Nephi 3:7. As he opened, he found the 5000 forint. As he read the scripture out loud, he broke down in tears. God provides a way. 
This investigator has already seen that. The elders fasted and we prayed for this man to find a job. He just got one. He still has struggles, but his example combined with that object lesson was the most powerful I've seen yet. 
4. On Sunday Zoli got the gift of the Holy Ghost. He received a beautiful blessing too that confirmed to me that the goal we made when I first started training Sister Peterson- to find one man who would be baptized and become a priesthood holder- is being fulfilled  Zoli also was asked to say the closing prayer. He was so excited. It was so beautiful to see him already start to be a solid part of this branch. 

I know that was already long, but if there was more time I would happily write about a million other things from this week. I'm so grateful to have been apart of this weekend. It was literally miraculous. 

Love Always
Sister Curtin

P.S. The little details in pictures:
One of the mission rules is not to eat with a member if only young men are at home. Zoli's mom had to leave so we obediently ate outside. 

Sister Peterson graduated from her 12 weeks of training, so I made her this graduation hat!

Wearing pants! We were able to work in a lady's garden and got to wear pants. I haven't worn pants since the first week in Hungary!

After the baptism the branch put on a "Ki Mit Tud" - talent show. These are some of my favorites!



Science was his talent. He taught about Dinosaurs.







His boy was just learning to read, so he read a few pages to us - a real talent in Hungarian!





The Young Men did synchronized swimming!



The youth doing a skit.




Monday, October 14, 2013

It's harvest time.

hellósztok, 

Good week overall. We went to Györ this last week for Zone training. It was really good. They repeated a lot of the same things that President talked about in his interview with me. In three words the message we are getting is: "It's Harvest Time". 
Speaking of that, Zoli had his baptismal interview and all went well; which means this Saturday will be the baptism. We are so excited for him. This last week we met with him and his sweet wife and we read out of Alma 32. We asked Zoli when he realized that this "seed" was good. A few things he mentioned really stood out to me as big parts of his conversion. 
1. Feeling the spirit at the little girl's baptism he came to.
2. Seeing the "fruits" of good religion, good people, friendly and quick to give service.
3. Having his understanding be opened as he began to meet with Sister Peterson and I for example, the realization that he lived with God before this life.
4. The change in his scripture study as he went from trying to memorize facts to praying each time before he read that he would know WHY he was reading it and even being able to enjoy the "war chapters" because he understood better how to "liken" the scriptures.
5. The happiness and change he has felt as he has done consistently the "Big 3" of going to Church, Praying, and Reading (Both personally AND as a companionship with his wife).
I am so excited for Saturday and even more excited because of how excited he is. He is so happy and so excited for Saturday. 
Harvest time is a happy time. 
Szeretlek mindig,
Curtin Nővér 
P.S. the little details
1. In Györ we went to a genius restaurant. We went in and as we were sitting down, the first course (a Hungarian soup) was brought out. There were only 3 choices for the second course (all the same price), so by the time we were done with the soup, it was easy to decide and the second course and it came quickly. It was really good yet we were able to get in and out without wasting a lot of time. It was perfect for us missionaries. 
2. Light switches are huge. It's weird to think back on the little ones in America that just take one finger. The ones here are a big square.
3. People go grocery shopping almost every day. They usually just use little wicker baskets to carry a few things home. It's always really awkward when we have to shop for a whole weeks' worth of food at once. Speaking of that, it is time to go head to the grocery store with our backpacks and big grocery bags... :)
4. Hungarian P.E. class is so cool. We saw them learning how to roller-blade today. 40 little kids with big clunky roller-blades, holding onto the wall trying to move forward. Could have been a great picture. 

Pictures:
1. Me with the scarf my dear friend Laura sent me
2. Elder Lynch's chubby bunny victory

3. Elder Ralph in a foggy field on the way home from a family night. One of those pictures that was much better in real life. 



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Delay

Hállosztok, 

Sorry about the delayed email. Apparently it was some sort of national library something or other and so our places of email were closed for extra time yesterday and then when they finally opened the internet broke down for a while. Luckily my mission president was really nice and is allowing us to finish up today.
Now what to write about? I have no idea. There is so much that happened. We had interviews in Budapest last week and then right after that we went on splits with the sisters there. Work in the big city goes a lot different than here.  A lot of changes are being made in the mission field these days. It's hard to keep track of everything. One change is that we now are supposed to be out of our apartment by 11, that means the study schedule is a lot more flexible. Since it's so dark lately, we're also being encouraged to return a little bit earlier at least during the winter months. 
Overall though this last week was good. Conference of course was fantastic. We had 10 different investigators come to at least one session. We were also blessed to be able to watch it in English (except the relief society broadcast). It's amazing what a difference your own language can make.
It was fun for Sister Peterson and I to have conference together. We wrote a bunch of questions down before hand and shared them with each other. It was really fun to sit through conference and hear answers to EVERY single one of our questions.
Another miracle to me was that the sessions that certain investigators came to were SO perfect for them. We also got to see a wonderful example of how members and missionaries working together can bring people "back to the fold". There is a less active member in this branch that I've been working with since I came to Szombathely. She has a testimony and loves the missionaries, but refuses to go to church. When Sister Peterson met her, we had a very good, but difficult lesson with her because we realized that no matter how strong the spirit is, people still have their agency to refuse that help. But we tried something new. We asked the branch missionaries to go visit her without us. Just show up and see how it would go. They did. Then later at conference one of the branch missionaries came over to us and said "shes coming. When she comes, will you talk to her and be-friend her". It was almost like our roles changed. The members where asking us to help those that they brought. She came and she was there for the session in conference that reminded those who have gone astray that it is time to come back. I wish you all could be here to see the little details of stories like that and realize just how literally miraculous they are. 

Well anyway, we need to get back to work. Lots to do today. 
Love Always,
Curtin Nővér
P.S. the little details:
1. Picking mushrooms: You can see people pretty regularly scouting out mushrooms in the grass, even in school grounds or bike paths. 
2. Pictures: Sister Peterson found a sock monkey by the church :) and me cold on the train to Budapest for interviews. Cool Harry Potter train though, those are my favorites.

Monday, September 30, 2013

More exciting news...

 
 
Cintia (Tia) is a super cute member here in Szombathely. She's been a huge help. She has come with us to some great and hard programs and occasionally tract or streets with us.  Well she put in her papers to serve a mission. She received her call...TO HUNGARY! She will be in our mission in January (my one year mark in the country). She is going to be such a great missionary. It was also really cool to have her family there. She is the only member in her family. Her grandma especially was not supportive, but as you can see in these pictures- prayers are answered. I'm so excited for Tia to be a part of this mission :)



22

Boldog napot nekem,
 
22 sounds so weird, but hey it's already been fun. Yesterday was Sister Peterson's birthday (the only day we were the "same age"). When our investigator Zoli found out, he grabbed her ear and said "and another 100 years to you!" not sure if that's a cultural thing, but either way it was funny. I surprised her with some candles in a Milka bar in the morning and this morning she "made" a cake out of paper for me. Oh the things we do on a mission. Its hard to surprise someone when you are with them 24/7.
 
Story for this week:
We were rushing (almost late) to a lunch appointment with some of our investigators, and suddenly I made eye contact with a lady walking by. I almost walked past, but felt I needed to stop. Despite how worried we were about being late, we stopped at talked to her. She said she hadn't read very many good things about the church on the internet, but we exchanged numbers and bore testimony.
 
Then a couple days later- SHE called US (that very rarely happens, even with people who are really interested). She set up a time to meet. We met her at the branch house and she ended up bringing her husband and her daughter. At first I thought we were going to have to battle misinformation and distorted views, to a point, there was a little skepticism. But with testimony of the Book of Mormon, they both agreed to read and meet again. They even wanted their own copies of the Book of Mormon so they could read at the same time. It was kind of cool to feel like their hearts began to open in that meeting, to give place to at least a "portion of the word". 

Anyway, this week is going to be super busy. We have interviews in Budapest on Thursday and then we are staying the night to do splits with the sisters there, and then of course we have CONFERENCE on Saturday and Sunday. I'm super excited. We are still not sure if we will get to watch it in English,  but either way it will be great.
 
Love Always,
Curtin Nővér


P.S. The little details:
1. Me blowing out my candles on the "cake" Sister Peterson made.
2. Us together on the day we were both 21.
3. Sister Peterson with the birthday "cake" I secretly bought for her.
4. Us with Tia a super cute member here. More pictures to follow in another post, with some REALLY exciting news :)