Friday, June 21, 2013

Szombathely

Sziasztok Everyone,
 
I think this might be the hardest week to put into words. Well here goes...
Big miracle number 1:
So we found this man tabling (Where the set a table in a public place and talk to people walking by about the church.). We set up an appointment with him for after Angolóra (English class). He showed up. We had 15 minutes to teach a quick introduction to the Book of Mormon and invited him to the baptism that Saturday. We were at the baptism that Saturday, he showed up. We had to practice a musical number, so we introduced him to the Senior sisters (who don't speak much Hungarian) and had to awkwardly leave him to practice. While we were practicing the song, one of the senior sisters gave him a Liahona from the most recent conference that the Branch had just barely received. He flipped it open to the picture of the Presidency of the church, pointed to a picture of President Uchtdorf and said he'd met him. Turns out our investigator had been at the same hotel as President Uchtdorf in England and had just talked for a few minutes, but he had had no idea who he was. If that wasn't a miracle enough, when we were singing the primary song "If the Savior stood beside me" at the baptism, he started to sing along. I still haven't figured out how he knew the song, but he said he did. Then after the baptism we met with him again. He took my calendar and chose a date to be baptized. Turns out he had read more then half of the Book of Mormon in just a few days. And if that isn't miracle enough, this man's story is incredible. He had grow up wanting to be a pastor, but after a car accident everything in his life changed and now he wanted to find the truth. He wants to meet everyday, and so that is the plan. He is such a miracle in our lives. and he's not the only one...
 
Big miracle number 2: 
We were across in that part of town that I talked about last time, teaching a family. We had brought the restoration video to watch, but they could only get it to work in English. They wanted to watch it anyway. It was a little chaotic with neighbors walking in and out of the room throughout. But one neighbor who walked in, decided to stay and watch. Two days later he showed up at the branch house and said that being there at his neighbors house had been an awakening to him and he wanted to know more. He wanted to know how to pray and he wanted to know if he could get a copy of the Book of Mormon. He should also be there tonight to play soccer with the branch. He's ready to learn and is so excited for it. 
 
Big miracle number 3:
We met a family on the street and set up to meet with them. We tried to bring a member, but when we got to the house no one answered and the phone wasn't working. So the member left and we were about to leave, but we tried one more time away. We were let in. The family was a tender mercy to me. They have an autistic son, and we were able to serve the family by fixing his toy before he got too impatient with it. The youngest daughter - about 12 years old- also came in and randomly decided to show me her sketches of horses and ask me to draw. I love sketching. So I quickly sketched a horse from her book and suddenly she loved me. I told her maybe next time we came to teach them more that we could draw a little bit again and she looked at me and said "you're going to come back!?" and I said we would if her family wanted to us to and she gave me a huge hug and said she would love that. It might not seem like a big thing, but the timing of it all and the two things I love- art and working with special needs children- came together in one family in that moment. 
 
Big miracle number 4: 
I got a call from an older lady who said she had found our pass-along card on the road and wanted a copy of the Book of Mormon. We just met with her right before this and she said she's been looking to find which church is true. Well she found it. We just need to teach her about it so she can gain a testimony for herself.

Big miracle number 5: 
I was asked to give a talk because someone was unable to go to church. I had only a little bit of time before Church to prepare. I spoke for the whole allotted time. It wasn't grammatically perfect, but everyone said it was completely understandable. I don't think you all realize how big of a miracle that is. I spoke on the relationship between repentance and the atonement and how that all related to joy. "the intensity of our joy is directly related to the intensity of our repentance" because repentance brings us closer to Christ and the stronger the relationship we have with Christ, the greater our joy can be. 

I could go on and on and on with miracles we've seen in this last week and within this transfer. Sister Larsen and I have tried to be completely obedient and work diligently, and I can't even begin to tell you the miracles we've been so grateful to have seen together. I couldn't have asked for a better transfer. 

I say it like that because, yes, I am transferring. I will be going to Szombathely (check that one out in Google translate)- a city that was opened to sisters just this last transfer. I am so excited. It's hard to leave Nyíregyháza especially with so many wonderful and miraculous investigators and so many great relationships with the members, but I'm excited to see what is in store around the corner and I know I'm leaving the city in the capable hands of Sister Larsen because I know her only desire is to do God's will. What a fantastic transfer. It will be one that I will always be grateful for. 

Szeretlek Minding,
Curtin Nővér

P.S. the little details 
1. It is now very hot and humid in Hungary- my hair is fro-ing :)
2. The river in Budapest is still high. We were there last week for Zone conference, and the water was right up against the parliment. www.mormon-sajtoszoba.hu/  I haven't looked at the attached site, but our mission president said there are some articles about our mission on it. 
3. Attached pictures- Csaba, our branch president and the elders at the baptism, our city :), Me with "Sister Hailey" the drawing my niece did of herself, Sister Larsen with the picture. 




Back Up Plans

Sziasztok everyone,

Wow we worked hard this week. We had about 20 programs fall through, but because we had back up plans, we saw miracles. For example, when we had a program not show up on Saturday, we had about 15 minutes before we needed to be back before the next program, so we went streeting. Rejection, rejection (typical response of "don't be offended I'm in a hurry), then on our way back to the church we met a really sweet girl who spoke nearly perfect English. We talked to her about God's plan for us, she set up to meet with us the next day. Then she asked if there was something should could be thinking about to prepare her for the lesson. We asked her to spend some time on the church website. 

Yesterday we met with her. She had prepared. She spent about an hour learning about the church online. Our lesson with her was probably my favorite first lesson I've had so far on my mission. She has had trails in life, but she is so humble and ready. She has been prepared. She tries to do good with her life working to improve communities. She has also been looking for truth. When we told her about Joseph Smith, she related with him right away. When we bore testimony of the Book of Mormon and gave it to her she said "Wow, I'm excited to read this. This is a big deal. If this contains truth. Wow. Okay." After she said the closing prayer, she also took some time to just think. I feel so sure that she will find what she has been looking for. She is so sweet, she is so prepared. With transfers coming up next week, Sister Larsen and I are really hoping to be able to stay together to continue to teach her. I can hardly wait to teach her again. I feel so uplifted by her humble sincerity. She is going to experience a miracle in her life. I am so grateful to be a part of at least the beginning. 

Another really cool experience we had this week involved making a call that seemed  illogical. We had an appointment set up with a sweet lady we had found tracting. Right before we were about to head out to see her, Sister Larsen and I both felt like we should cancel and instead go finding out on the other side of the railroad tracks.  So we called up the lady to reschedule and off we went to a side of town we had never been before. Under the tracks to a completely different world. It was my favorite day tracting yet. Because of that, we have 4 new investigators and a ton of referrals. Sister Larsen and I both had an at-home kind of feeling in this very humble side of town. We had children calling to us from the fences, to come talk to their families. I loved standing in the mud behind the fences, using my voice as a doorbell- "Hállo?" and being greeted with at least kindness if not an immediate let-in. They have such a great community there. Neighbors knew where their neighbors were- whose father was in the hospital, who would be back when- who would want to talk to us... I loved it. And I can't wait to go back tomorrow. If everything goes well, we will be teaching a couple neighborhood families all together at the same time. These families need the gospel, and I really hope to help them find the joy and strength and support that can be brought because of living the gospel. 

Hope all is going well. Have a blessed week and remember to serve your neighbors and prepare for miracles. 
 
Szeretlek mindig,
Curtin Nővér
 
P.S. The little details:
1. Yes I know the river in Hungary is flooding, but only because I finally figured out the word for it. Otherwise, here in Nyíregyháza I would have no idea. But I do know the missionaries in Buda and Pest have been able to have some neat service opportunities. 
2. Unfortunately, it rained last week so we didn't get to really do much whipping. Elder Moses took his whip out for a little bit- it sounds a lot like a gunshot if cracked right. I got a picture of Elder Larson's intricately carved whip which should be attached. 
3. So instead of whipping, we had a sájt night (cheese night). We fried cheese. The least healthy thing Ive dont on my mission, but it was fun to spend time with our district.
4. CHILDREN'S DAY. It was recently childrens day, so we keep seeing all kinds of fun children's festivals and parties. Why in the world has the United States not adopted this holiday?? :) 
5. Pictures attached: My cute companion waiting for the Internet place to open and me in the reflection :), Pre-fried cheese, Elder Larsen's whip, Sister Perkins (currently serving in our district in Debrecen) preparing to enjoy some fried cheese.


200 Days

Sziaszstok Everyone!

Another fantastic week with lots of work. There is so much to do every day that time is flying by. I've now been out for 200 days. It seems like I just got here yesterday. I remember Elder Walker, who was an assistant to the president at the time, telling us when we got the country that his best advice for our mission would be to take in every moment. Good advice, but 200 days later it feels almost impossible. The moments past by fast. 
 
Speaking of Elder Walker, he finished his mission and him and his family decided to do something really special for the Hungarians. They didn't just go back and visit all of the places Elder Walker served, but they put on a concert for everyone. We had the opportunity to have the Walkers come to Nyíregyháza and preform for our ward and investigators. They were such a great example to this city of the blessing the gospel brings. The gospel is definitely centered on families. We had an investigator there who is investigating for 2 major reasons: because she's amazed that missionaries pay for and then serve missions and because our church is so family focused. I'm grateful that the Walkers shared their family and their talents and helped to remind us what potential the families of Hungary also have. 
 
We have been blessed with a few families to teach. One family I absolutely adore. They have a young son who has special needs. This week he came in while we were teaching his parents and threw a paper down on the table. He was so frustrated that he couldn't draw a perfect triangle. Memories of teaching art lessons and working with special needs children before my mission came flooding back. The parents of this family are getting a wonderful taste of how our Heavenly Father feels about us. In one of our first lessons we asked them about God and the mother explained that she assumes he feels like they do as parents: extremely happy at every little accomplishment their child makes. We are so far from perfect. We can't draw perfect triangles, we get frustrated at our mistakes, we sin everyday... But God rejoices in our progression. So we keep through the trails to learn and grow and progress.
 
Just keep progressing, every day. Keep on the upward. If it takes a million tries, keep on drawing. 
 
Szeretlek mindig,
Curtin Nővér
 
P.S. The little details:
1. The reason this email is a little rushed and short is because in just a little bit we are heading off to a district meeting in Debrecen and then we are going whipping. We live in an area were whips are a big deal, they have some really fancy ones. So as a district, we are going to go learn how to whip. Should be a fun cultural activity :)

Pictures attached: the Walker family, some members and investigators with the walker family at the concert.