Tuesday, March 26, 2013

meg Pécs‏ (and Pécs)

Szervousztok Everyone!

So first things first, we got our call this morning. Sister Kimball and I are staying together in Pécs...and we are getting a new sister to train! It'll be an adventure in our little apartment, but we're excited to keep the work moving forward in this beautiful city.
Another exciting thing- we have two more people preparing for baptism! They are a really cute couple who have been investigating the church for years, but have finally decided to get married and get baptized. I know they will be very blessed as they move forward with so many great changes in their lives.

Now, I've really struggled knowing what to write about this week. There are so many stories I could tell, so many insights I could share... but I just can't get the words I want to express any of it. This week is going be Easter. Do we really realize what this season means? I know I don't fully comprehend it. I've been studying the last week of Christ's life this past week. I started on Palm Sunday and have been reading a few things about those days during my personal study. (Thanks mom for the idea). It has been so good. I feel like just in the past few days, I've come to know so much more about Christ and his personality and characteristics. He is our Savior, he overcame physical and spiritual death for us. Do we really comprehend what that means? I don't think we really do. And if we aren't spending time in the scriptures every day, we never will.
We've had a few opportunities to meet with some people with very unique backgrounds. One of which came from a situation where every single member of her family and friends that she was with at the time-31 people total-were killed. She was the only survivor. We've had some really sweet conversations with her. What a blessing it is to know that we can be with our loved ones again after this life. We can. But only becuase of what Christ did. I suggest everyone read more about the last week of his life on earth. Don't let Easter go by without studying, pondering, and praying about the reason we celebrate Christ's last week.
Love you all! Thank you so much for your support and prayers!
Sister Curtin
P.S. Some scriptures to get you started with your study this week :)
SUNDAY The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
John 12: 12-15, Zechariah 9:9, Zechariah 14:16
MONDAY The Cleansing of the Temple and the Cursing of the Fig Tree
Matthew 21:13, Mark 11:17, Luke 19:46, Psalm 2:7, Mark 11:12-14, 20-21
TUESDAY Teaching in the temple and the Mount of Olives
Matthew 21:33-46, Matthew 24:1-46, Mark 13:1-37, Luke 21:5-36
see Joseph Smith’s translation of Matthew in the Pearl of Great Price.
WEDNESDAY Anointing at Bethany and Betrayal
John 12:1-9, Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9,
THURSDAY The Last Supper and Gethsemane
Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22:7-39, John 13:31-17:26, John 17, Luke 22:44, Mosiah 3:7,
D&C 19:16-19
FRIDAY Betrayal, Judgment, Abuse and Death
Leviticus 1:3-5, Matthew 26:45-27:26, Mark 14:41-15:15, Luke 22:47-23:25, John 18:2-19:16, D&C 88:6
Isaiah 53:5, Alma 7:11-12, Psalm 69:21, Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34, 3 Nephi 27:14-15, Numbers 21:6-9
1 Nephi 17:41, Alma 33:19-22, John 1:26, 36, Exodus 12:3,5,46
SUNDAY The Empty Tomb and the Risen Lord
Luke 24:12, John 20:3-10, Mark 16:9, John 20:11-16, Matthew 28:9-10, Mark 16:12-13, Luke 24:13-32
Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:14-18, Luke 24:33-51, John 20:19-30, Acts 1:2-9

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Nő Nap (Women's Day).

P.S. From Michelle’s mom, I like that the Hungarian words for “Woman’s Day” looks like No Nap – because woman ever get a nap. Ha, ha. I realized that I didn't post this email to the blogg last week. This email should really fit in between Judgement and Var (Castle) - sorry I am a slacker, obviously I was so busy taking a nap. I didn't get it done : ) !
Sziastok Mindenki,
Another standard of excellence week. It was good. Friday here was a holiday- Nő Nap (Women's Day). The priesthood and the elders put on a sweet little program for all of the women. They read some poems and sang a little bit. And they also, got us a really nice cake. It was a thoughtful program. We had a couple of investigators and recent converts there and I think they all really appreciated it. We also had a man from our English class show up briefly to give us flowers that he had grown in his garden. It was very nice of him.
Speaking of Holidays- today is only a "half preparation day" because Friday will be extended. Friday is a big holiday here so everyone has work off and a lot of places will be closed. Our branch is going to have a Ping-Pong tournament and I'm not sure what else were going to do with our day, but it should be fun.
Yesterday was a special day too. We had our branch conference, so our mission president came down with his wife to speak. It went really well. We had 5 investigators at church too, and they all really seemed to enjoy it. I know I did. I really liked president's talk. It involved a lot about the hastening of God's work. He talked about how there are Christ's flock scattered throughout Hungary who are familiar with the "Good Shepherd's" voice. It made me think though, that as a missionary, I am supposed to be that voice. So I need to be speaking up more. We all need to be that voice more, so we can help bring them safely back to the fold.
There really are so many amazing people here. And really from all over the world. We've talked to people on the streets from Ukraine and Norway and Ireland and Germany and Sweden and Ghana and Nigeria and many more places. It’s been amazing to get to know and talk to people with so many different backgrounds. They all have different stories and they are all children of God. We also know a really nice lady who brought us desserts one time. She's in her 80s, but full of love and energy. She told us recently that she survived Auschwitz while her parents did not. She briefly told us how grateful she is for God. We are too. We're also grateful for her example of diligence and fortitude and kindness.
One thing lately that has really been sad to see is how many people don't know how to pray or don't think they can for whatever reason. The more I've realized how true it is that we are all God's children, the more I've come to realize how sad He must be when his children won't or don't know how to talk to him. We've heard many people say that either they didn't know they could pray because they hadn't been baptized, or they've forgotten how, or they don't know nice enough words, or they don't feel worthy enough. It's been miraculous to teach people the simple things: How to pray. Just address Heavenly Father in the beginning, and close in the name of Jesus Christ Amen. In between, you can thank him, you can ask, you can explain, you can question, you can justspeak to Him. And then to hear someone pray for maybe the first time ever, is amazing. One man we know, is sick and just wants to live long enough to raise his child. He didn't know he could pray. He didn't know he could ask God for support and strength and counsel with Him about what to do for his family. I'm very grateful that I know how to pray and that I can. What a blessing that is. If I don't do anything else on my mission, I'd be grateful that I've been able to teach a few people that they can talk to their Father. I hope we all remember to do that always. Always counsel with Him. He knows all and he cares. What a blessing that is.
Did you think to pray?
Love Always,
Curtin Nővér
Friends from Pecs

Cupcakes and hot chocolate with our friend.

Vár (Castle)

Sziastok Everyone!

An adventure of a week. Monday was spring and Thursday was dead of winter. The storm was pretty ravenous. When we went out to go to Angolóra (English class - to teach the one brave soul who came); we had to jump a huge snow drift outside our door. But even with a terrible storm, our district still made it down by the next morning for district meeting.  I'm so glad they did. We had a really great district meeting focused on the Book of Mormon. We all shared how we came to know the Book of Mormon is true. Every one's story was different, but ultimately the same- everyone had to put Moroni's promise to the test and have a little patience. "Ask of God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if these things are true, and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost". Then with a little better weather and permission from President Smith, we went castle and palace hunting with the senior couple. (Friday was an extended preparation day because it is a holiday in Hungary). The castle we went to is called Zrínyi Vár. It was Zrínyi Miklós's castle which is cool because our church is on a street named after him. We found the castle and stepped through a big wooden gate inside of the castle walls. It was completely deserted inside the walls. We walked around a bit until we got to a big building. It was locked, but as we were about to leave we noticed someone inside. The man came out to see what we needed and ended up giving us a very personal tour. He gave us a quick history of the castle and the battles that took place there against the Turkish. Then he brought us to a room of artifacts and opened up the case and let us hold and see them. There were extremely old knifes, cannon balls and pottery. My favorite though was one that he said was 4,000 years old. He said the symbols represented Eden (Ezk 28:13, Alma 42:2), the 3 heavens (2 Cor 12:2, DC 76) and the tree of life (Gen 2, 1 Nephi 8). He could very clearly see that we were missionaries, so he pointed out how everything in that museum and castle pointed to Christ. The next place especially did. He took us back to an old church which he said was older then the Tower of Babel (Ether 1, Gen 11). He showed us the original doors and the symbolism of the metal designs that represented the 4 rivers of Eden (Gen 2, Moses 3:11). Between his broken English and my poor Hungarian, I couldn't understand everything, but he shared some really cool spiritual experiences he felt he had had there (Moroni 7:29-30). It was a very cool, almost sacred feeling building. He was a very nice man. We left a card with him. Unfortunately he lives in an area where missionaries aren't yet, but hopefully some day. I was grateful for his testimony of Christ and the power of prayer. On the way back we decided to stop by some Palaces. We got a little lost in a college on the way, so we stopped to ask a Náni for directions. She was a very nice, older lady. As we were getting directions, I felt like I should give her a Book of Mormon. So I went back and got one out of the car. She was very surprised and grateful for it. She too is too far away for missionaries currently, but if she reads the Book of Mormon with real intent, she will be ready to except the whole gospel whenever she does get the chance to hear it. (Alma 26:37, DC 137:7). We did eventually make it to the Palaces too by the way. That was our Holiday.
I'm grateful for all that we learned and felt and did on the Holiday. This gospel is so important, so I'm grateful we had ways to bring others to Christ and be uplifted by others on our supposed day off.
This gospel is so important to us that when our older investigator wasn't going to come to church because he was afraid of falling and getting hurt (the sidewalks are really bad and icy right now). We ran up the "mountain" to his house to walk with him to church. We made it just in time. (Mosiah 4:10) "If you believe these things, See that you do them". We have to act. I hope this week you take special care to act on your beliefs. Live and act on your religion. Overall even with the storm, this week was still pretty good. A lot of good experiences. I hope you all have a great week full of great experiences too!
Szeretlek Mindig,
Curtin Nővér
P.S. Exciting side note! As we were e-mailing, our President called. We had heard rumors, but they are officially confirmed. We can now e-mail all friends and family :) SOO feel free to email me. (Granted I do still love actual letters too). We still won't have an extremely long time to email, but you can now email me and I can reply :) So hope to hear from some of you by next week!
Other side note- next week is transfers so our pday will be on Tuesday not Monday.
You can email Sister Curtin at Michelle.Curtin@myldsmail.net. Below are some scans of photos that she sent home. I didn't get them cropped. The first is a picture of Pecs, Hungary. Isn't it a beautiful place? The next is Michelle with "Flat Hailey". Her neice Hailey drew a picture of herself, so Michelle could take her on her mission. She often sends home pictures of herself and "Flat Hailey" for Hailey. If you have read the book, "Flat Stanley" you will understand. The last one is Michelle, Sister Kimball and two friends from their ward at Farsang.

Curtin Nővér