Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Elk and More

Sziasztok Everyone!

So this transfer got off to a bumpy start, literally. Our train, on the way back from picking up our new companion, hit an Elk. We ended up on the train for an extra hour or so. And our poor new companion was sick too. But we did make a couple new friends on the train and eventually get back to our beautiful city, Pécs.
Even with the rocky start, it's been a great week. We've already seen miracles. On Sunday after Church, we had an FHE with our investigators (who are preparing for marriage and baptism) and their children. I was in charge of the lesson, so I prepared a little lesson-activity based on my weeks study of Christ's last week of his life on earth. I feel like I've learned so much from it, but I wish I had hours on end to study it. I feel like I learned just a little more about His family, friends and personality. As well as a glimpse deeper of his love for us. I've mentioned before that I focus on a new Christ-like attribute every transfer. I'm now onto working on Love and Charity. I'm grateful for that opportunity to learn and grow a little more in that area. I don't have much time to write today because we have a program in a moment where we are going to teach just that- the atonement and love that Christ has for us- to a man who has cancer and just wants to live long enough to raise his child. I'm so grateful for the knowledge I have of the Plan of Salvation. How Great the Fathers Love for Us!

Love Always,
Sister Curtin

P.S. I had a request to add more details to these emails about culture and people. I will try to add a little bit each time, but because of sensitive information and rules and such I have to be careful about how much detail I include in these emails. (Plus we have very limited time and so much happens in a week, I have a hard time knowing where to start) But Ill do my best...
here are a couple fun notes:
1. Yesterday was the "Watering Day". It's an old holiday where men used to dump large buckets of water on girls. Now they just (normally) spray us with perfume and recite a little poem or verse. So yesterday, yes, I did smell pretty good and got a little wet. (We showed up to the church and got cups of water dumped on us by the Elders).
2. Lots of people have asked about our apartment. It is 3 small rooms. A kitchen with a gas stove and a fridge that is about as tall as my hip. The other room has 2 couch beds and desks. The third has a bunch of cupboards and closets, and currently has a blow up bed now that there are 3 of us. We get to it by unlocking a gate and walking down a mini alley. Also, our bathroom does not have a shower curtain, and only has a hand-held shower head.
3. I wish I had time to write more today, but the Easter holidays have thrown our schedule off. Let me know what you want to know more about though. Love you all.

Well hello again everyone!
So after 2 programs, we are back again to finish up our e-mailing. I thought I would add a little to my general e-mail since I have time. Now that you can all e-mail me, feel free to send me questions or requests of what to write about. That actually might help me, because seriously it's so hard to decide what to write about. Before the mission, I could write and re-write and reflect, but here it's so hard. I can't fit all of the culture, the love, the experiences, the miracles, the simple but amazing details into an email. There's no time for rough drafts or contemplation. So let me know what you want to know. Most of the requests I've gotten are about everyday life- people wanting to know what it is like to be a missionary, here in Pécs, through my eyes. (I suddenly have a Phil Collins song stuck in my head... Brother Bear... anyone? Im' pretty sure we woke up to that today) Anyway... so maybe with the time I have left to e-mail today, I will go back through my planner and give you a day-by-day of our last week. (Granted, this was not a typical week, but here it is):

Monday: Up at 6:30am, exercise and then we did studies and had lunch. After that we streeted (In a blizzard I might add). We specifically went back to visit an old couple we met a few weeks prior. They are an elderly couple- very classic Hungarian (I sooo wish I had a picture of them, maybe next time). We chatted at their gate a few weeks ago while they were out people watching. When we went back, we asked if we could help shovel the snow. He said no, but said we should come back when the weather was better. (everyone always worries for our health because of the weather- that's a big Hungarian cultural thing). Then we met an investigator at the church because she wanted to give us some Chocolate just in case we got transferred. (She LOVES the missionaries). Then we met with our 89 year old neighbor and taught her a little more about the Plan of Salvation and got to know more about her life. Awesome lesson. I wish I could tell more details about it, but unfortunately this isn't the place for that. Then we had dinner. After that we had FHE with a member and her daughter. I love that family. We talked about testimonies. This little girls testimony is so amazing to me. Then after we got home, we made a Baptismal Calender to help our investigators prepare for May. Then we did our nightly planning and went to bed at 10:30pm.
Wow that was just one day... okay.... so onto Tuesday...

Tuesday: ditto to the morning schedule from monday. We also finished the baptismal calender. And we got our Transfer Call from President Smith that we would be staying together and be getting a new missionary. Then we went and took the calender to our investigators who are preparing to get married and baptized. Were so excited for them :) Then since it was our Preparation day for that week, we went and emailed, had lunch and then later that day we taught our other investigator who is preparing for baptism. He is an older man who has had a lot of heartache in life. The program went well. And then we all stuck around for the Family Night (családi est) that the branch holds. Then we went home and prepared for our new companion.

Wednesday: We got up early to catch a train that was leaving at 6:04. We took a 3 hour long train ride to Budapest. In Budapest, Sister Kimball and I went to trainer training to prepare to help our new companion. Then we went to what the missionaries like to call the "sorting hat ceremony" where we found out our new companion would be Sister Rindelsbaker. She is a super nice sister from Salt Lake City. After a quick lunch at our favorite place, we barely made a train back to Pécs. I mentioned the next part in my last email, but yes, we hit an Elk. So the train had to stop for a good amount of time. But hey, we got to know people on our train and our new sick and jet lagged companion got some sleep. And as soon as we got home, we did some planning and went to bed.

Thursday: We woke up and did normal studies, then we went out and got groceries because we didn't yet have anything that our new companion could eat. Then later we had a lesson with János (our older investigator). Sister Rindelsbaker did so well. It was fun to hear her speak Hungarian for the first time. I was very impressed with her testimony. It was also fun to realize that even though I still don't speak that great, Ive come a long way. Then after that we taught English Class. (which, by the way, one of our English Class students later gave us little sheep that his wife had knitted for us on Easter). After English class, we went and taught another lesson, then streeted our way home. Then of course planned for the next day and went to sleep at 10:30

Friday: Same morning schedule, but our new companion was still really sick, so we got permission from President to go on splits with the senior couple. Sister College stayed with our companion and Brother College went with us to a really good program. The program was with a women who is less active, who invited us over because her friend who is not a member, needed to hear the gospel. The friend lives in Holland and doesn't speak English, but still wants to go to Church. She wants to go to church even if she wont understand anything, just to feel the spirit. I thought that was so cool. And a cool testimony. Then later we went to Fiatal Est (Youth Night). Sadly, one of our favorite investigators didn't show up, but sometimes that's the life of a missionary. Then after that we had dinner at our favorite place Dönner and met with the elders in our city to coordinate. Then planning and sleep.

Saturday: We did our weekly planning and studies on this day and taught English class. Other than that, it was a finding day. We streeted and tracted. We found some great people and Sister Rindelsbaker got a great taste of the variety work and the variety of peoples responses. Some unique tracting things about Hungary: you often have to stand outside and ring a doorbell-thing and find someone who will even let you into the building. Then you can try the doors on the inside. Or, if it happens to be a real house- a lot of the time, people don't come to the door, but open the window and yell down to you. (which, by the way, is really hard to do when its pouring rain- talking and looking up into the rain while speaking Hungarian and trying to hear is not particularly easy). Then we went home and planned and slept.

Sunday: We had a correlation meeting in the morning with our ward mission leader who is still doing a wonderful job with his calling. Then we had a lesson with János. Then we had normal church which is always great. (and Sister Kimball and I wore our Easter flowers that we received from a recent convert, but sadly we forgot to take pictures...) Then we had lunch and finished studies. Then we had the FHE with our investigators that I told you about in the last email. Then we went finding. We streeted into a really awesome girl about our age. She accepted a Book of Mormon and the experience and conversation we had was so good, that Sister Rindelsbaker had us say a prayer of gratitude the moment we got home. Then we planned and slept.

Monday (Yesterday): I already mentioned a few things about yesterday- the "Watering day". We did studies, then since everything was closed (yea, everything) we mostly did streeting and tracting because we knew we would need to email and do grocery shopping today. We met some interesting people (don't drink. Even if you aren't religious- it's not a good idea. Just saying.). The weather was good and a lot of people were out for the Holiday. We talked to a really nice Náni (The word translates to Aunt or old lady, but its a normal title in Hungary). Sister Rindelsbaker is getting better and better every time we go out finding. (hopefully I am too, but it's easy to see it in her). And then we came home, made some calls and did planning and went to sleep on time.

ooookay, So yea that was our week. Only half-typical, but hopefully that gives you a little more of a glimpse into my life like requested. Let me know what other details to add next time.

Thanks for the prayers and thoughts everyone! I really do appreciate it. This work is hard, but it is so worth it, especially with so much support from you all.
Love Always,
Curtin Nővér
Funny Photo Night with the Branch Youth

Funny Photo Night with the Branch youth

Michelle, Sister Kimball and their new companion Sister Rindelsbaker with a blind street singer. They have talked to him several times.

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