Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Staying in Buda

      Today we found out what's happening tomorrow for our transfers! I am going to be staying in Buda for a little bit longer! And Elder Robinson is getting sent out! So I will be getting a new companion tomorrow! His name is Elder Depallens and he sounds like a super cool guy! He used to play basketball at SD State and I've heard he's a lot of fun. Super excited about that! Also excited that I get to stay in Buda a little bit longer. Not sure how much longer it's going to last, but I've really loved being here. There are so many great people, and the city is amazing. 

     Also, Merry Christmas I guess, little late but we had a lot of fun over here. 

Things were a little bit interesting in the beginning of the week, because we are still working, but literally everything had shut down. People don't mess around with their vacation here. But then from Christmas Eve to the day after Christmas we got a little bit of a break (extra P day) so it was a lot of fun. 

    Christmas Eve we went out to a family's house and spent the night with them. They are the coolest family ever and we really like visiting them. The Dad is not a member of the church and only the mom comes to church anymore. We played games with them and ate a ton of food and it was great. Also, interesting culture thing, they all open their presents on Christmas Eve, not on Christmas day. Not a huge fan of that one, because then Christmas is a little more boring, but it was still a lot of fun! 

 On Christmas day, we had a big breakfast with the other missionaries in Buda, 

went to lunch and dinner with some more people, 

and then I got to skype with my family!!! 

It was great talking to them!

     And, as a late Christmas gift, we got snow a few days ago! But along with that, it got FREEZING COLD!!! It was about 5 degrees out yesterday, so talking to people on the street was a bit of a struggle. This is probably what its going to be like for the rest of the time now, so its really exciting :P

But, things are still going super great out here! We have a lot of great people we are working with!!! We had a super great lesson the other day wtih a lady named Sós Éva (not sure if I've talked about her before or not, she's like our Hungarian mom, brings us food all the time and is super nice). We talked about the church for a while, and about baptism, and she agreed to be baptized on Feb 28! The spirit was really strong and she said how she always feels so good in the church and when we meet. We are super excited for her and have already seen how much her life has improved!  Also, this one less active member that we have been working with just told us about how grateful she is for us and that she came back to the church. She said how much better her life is because of it. I know that we find amazing blessings as we find God in our lives. I'm so grateful for all of you and all that you do, and I have already seen peoples lives change. I love this work and I love the Hungarian people. Have a great New Year!

BÚÉK!!! (Boldog Új Évet Kívánok (Happy New Year))

Elder Dalton

Monday, December 15, 2014

Kellemes Karácsonyt!!!

Kellemes Karácsonyt!!! 

So just a little more than a week until Christmas, and I don’t know about you all, but I’m getting pumped. There are tons of decorations everywhere and things are super festive! It really is the most wonderful time of the year! But, we did not have the most wonderful week, that is for sure... We still had a lot of fun and it was a great week, but let’s just say it was interesting.

First off, we had to deal with some health issue stuff. On Wednesday we went to the doctors for Elder Robinson (we have officially ruled out scabies, which I am SO grateful for)  he has been getting blisters on his feet and can barely walk! Which, isn’t really the best for missionary work. Not to mention that, he got pretty sick too (just a cold or something) so things were pretty interesting. We went into the doctors on Wednesday, went back for blood tests on Thursday, and this morning we went back for a final visit. Now for those of you who know me, you should understand that this is WAY too much time spent in a hospital for my enjoyment, but luckily, we got to the bottom of it and it should be all better and cleared up in time for Christmas! 

So along with that, we went out to eat as a district after one of our meetings to this Mexican place (first mistake don’t get Mexican food in Hungary). Well, something was wrong with the food, and almost our ENTIRE district got sick (not the throwing up kind....) 7 out of 10 of us got sick, so we can just say that it was an interesting day all together, and we weren’t able to be the most productive.  

On Saturday, we have our sport nap, where we just go and play soccer in the park. There is one guy, who comes every week, who is always trying to start drama, especially with missionaries. But anyway, during the soccer game, we all look over and he’s just on the ground, curled up in a ball. We help him up and he limps over to the bench (being quite dramatic the whole time...) and sits there for a while. Someone said they saw him just fall onto the ground while nobody was around him. So he is acting like it is a huge deal, and he asks Elder Robinson for a band aid to put on his bruise, which was literally on the other leg.  Elder Robinson asked him about it and he’s like, "Both of my legs hurt!!!" So after we were done, we walked back to the branch house, and he’s walking with us. We're kind of rushing because we were late for our English class, and he is keeping up with us no problem (complaining the whole way...) When we get there, he sits on the bench, right in front of the door so everyone coming to class can see him. Now we ALL know for sure that he is faking, but you won’t believe this. He literally calls an AMBULANCE!!! I am not kidding you. We watch from our English class as paramedics come, and load him onto a STRETCHER!!! This is real people. He walked a good 5 minute walk to the church building, and then could go no further, and actually called an ambulance. We couldn’t believe it, So that was the event for the day, and I will give you an update on his health next week because I'm sure you are all quite worried for him, it might be serious....

But despite some crazy stuff, we are keeping a good atitude! Not our most successful week, because of various things and a lot of people getting busy before Christmas, but we definitely learned a lot from our experiences! The hardest times we go through are often what shape who we are. I love these people and I love this work. This next week should be a lot of fun with Christmas coming up. Great time to realize all the many blessings we have in our lives, especially that God gave his son to us, Jesus Christ.

Hope you have a great week and a great Christmas!

Elder Dalton

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It Really is a Small World

Boldog Mikulást Kívánok!!!

So things are getting pretty festive around here, because Hungary takes their holidays VERY seriously. Basically the entire month of December people are celebrating Christmas. The bad part is, that we already have a few people who, at the beginning of the month, said that we won't be able to meet until after the new year, because they are too busy getting things ready for Christmas.    On Saturday we had Mikulás, which is St. Nicholas Day when Santa comes on the 6th and puts candy in peoples shoes, and then on Christmas, the baby Jesus comes to your house and gives you presents. Kind of weird for us, but I guess it helps focus  people more on Christ for the Christmas season, which really is what it is all about!!! 

Speaking of that, we have been pushing super hard to spread the spirit of Christmas, and that is just about all we are focusing on for the rest of the month. We are sharing with everyone this really great video the church just put out called He is the Gift. Its super super good, and hopefully my mom will post the video along with this post so you all can watch it. http://www.mormon.org/christmas   And share it with your friends! Remember, the true meaning of Christmas!!! Spend time with your family and focus on the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ!!! It will really bring the true spirit of Christmas. 

Back to  the Mikulás stuff, so on Friday we went with one of our investigators (her name is Kriszti, she's 19 and super cool -trying to help her feel Gods love in her life right now)  to a young single adult activity where we all played games and Mikulás came and gave us all little bags of candy and treats and stuff. It was actually super fun! Along with the Christmas season, on Saturday, the sisters, the other elders, a senior couple, the Broadheads, we all went caroling together at a big metro stop and plaza kind of place. It was super fun, but also super interesting... So we did get to talk to a few people while we were out caroling, but the majority of the time, there were some crazy drunk homeless people who kept coming up to us (yes, I know this probably sounds familiar...) It was actually super hilarious though. This one homeless guy, got SUPER excited about us all singing. He came over and started yelling and cheering and stuff. And then he started conducting us as we were singing, and was getting WAY into it. It was so funny I could not stop laughing. He was just yelling random stuff. One of the sisters took a video, so maybe I will try and get that from her some time. Fun caroling though, and we will probably keep going out a couple times a week, and try to spread more of the Christmas cheer! He really is the gift people!!! 

Chance meeting at the train station
Alright, here's another interesting  event for the week. So today, we went with Balázs to visit his cousin in the hospital again, and to go to a cemetary to try and find his great grandfather, because he is doing a lot of his family history. So first off, we had to wait at the hospital for a couple hours, but we finally got to see her (only for a couple minutes because she had to go with the doctors) but we gave her a little Christmas blanket and some other stuff, so that was super great. After that we went to go to the cemetary, and we were waiting in front of a train station for a little bit, and all of a sudden some guy walks up to us, and is like, Oh hey elders!!! So we start talking to him for a little bit, he's a member of the church, so he obviously recognized us, but he asked us where we were from, and when I said Maine, he said, no way, what part??  I told him Bar Harbor, and he was like, Oh my gosh, I was just there last month!!! So I don't know if the Updikes are reading this now, but I ran into Matt Anderson! He said he was Dustin's mission companion and that he had visited you guys a few times in little old Ellsworth Maine!!!! Super small world!!! We took a picture so he will probably send that to you (and I'm sure my mom wants it too...). Don't think you run into too many connections in little Hungary, but it really is a small world! Anyway,  that was super cool!

So not a whole lot else happened this week, the sisters had a baptism whcih was super exciting. A lady named Aniko who is so sweet and has such a strong faith in God. But our investigator that came with us, loved it so much. Her name is Sós Éva, and she is just about the nicest women ever (in Hungary, don't get too worried mom). She has declared herself our Hungarian mom and that we are her children. She brings us food just about every time we meet with her and she is  having us over for lunch on  Christmas. She is like, our favorite ever, but anyway, she has been to church a few times now, and really is enjoying it. She told us before that she is thinking about joining the church, and after going to the baptism, she said that she would like to get baptized sometime (she said in maybe two years, but we are hoping sooner...). We have some other really great investigators and are having a great time.

I think thats just about it for this week. I have still survived the scabies outbreak so far. My companion still has some rashes and bumps, so were going to the doctors again on Wednesday, but so far  I'm scabies free, so lets hope that continues!!! 
Love you all and hope you have a great week!!! Keep up the good work and remember to spread the love this Christmas season, and especially spread the love of God! Have a great week and we will talk to you next week!!! 


Elder Dalton

Monday, December 1, 2014

No Longer the "Newbie"

Can you believe that it's already December?!? Christmas is just a few weeks away and Budapest is getting super festive (and by that I mean its rained most days and nobody wants to do anything anymore). So we have had quite an interesting past week. First off, its way cold here, but still no snow. The city just doesn't really get snow at all, but we are all praying pretty hard for a white Christmas. Secondly, it's cold and raining, so obviously it is WAY too much work for people to show up for their programs, or even call us to tell us they won't come. We're getting dogged (when people just don't show up) quite a bit which is always pretty frustrating... but anyway, lets start off with something fun.

TURKEY BOWL!!! So yeah, on Thanksgiving morning, all the missionaries in Budapest woke up at 5:30, and had a big turkey bowl in the park!!! It was actually really fun and felt just like back home. We even had an audience there watching us (two homeless men sitting on a bench). But a lot of people did give us quite a few looks seeing all these crazy Americans running around and screaming playing some crazy sport they'd never seen before. But it was really a ton of fun. Also super tiring though. We all agreed that we are in terrible shape now, because the next day, everyone was crazy sore, but definitely worth it. After that though, we didn't have anything else exciting for Thanksgiving, because we had our big dinner last week, so I think part way through the day I actually forgot about it... But it was still fun!

Along with the Turkey bowl, we also had our transfers the day before that. So you all already know that I got to stay in Buda, but everyone else moved, and I also got to see all the new missionaries coming in. Since my companion and I weren't moving, we got to go with them to the metro station and help them street for the first time. Let me say, that it is super great not being the youngest anymore, because I could see how much I had actually improved working with them.  I am actually feeling a lot better with my language now (despite still understanding very little) after spending some time with the newbies. It was a lot of fun though. And I really like my district now too. I miss, the one before, but the new people are cool too. One elder from my group is actually in Buda now, so that is going to be super fun!!! Excited for the rest of the transfer!

With some fun stuff this week, we also had some not fun stuff. So my companion had to make a surprise visit to the hospital, because he got Scabies (not sure on the spelling on that one). But essentially, it is these tiny bugs that you can get under your skin and cause you to get rashes and itch all over the place. So he's had that going on, and it is very likely that I will get this as well. But he actually had to go to the hospital, and really got to see how terrible Hungarian hospitals actually are. The doctor was literally googling stuff the whole time, and literally said, "Well, according to Wikipedia, it looks like this..." Never the most comforting when your doctors primary source is Wikipedia... But he got some treatment and so far its helped a little bit. Were going to have to wash and iron all of our clothes to try and get rid of it all, so we're going to be pretty busy cleaning the next couple days. 

Along with that, as I mentioned, people have been being pretty frustrating recently. A lot of our investigators are just skipping out and it really wastes a lot of our time. And one interesting story, this one guy, his name is Daczi Pali, who had already met with missionaries, but just wanted to hang out. He always comes to church though, so we decided we would try and see if he would be willing to get baptized. A while ago, he told us he would, but then the other day, he had a program with us, and he basically told us he doesn't want to get baptized anymore, and will not commit to doing anything, and we tried so hard, to get him to do anything, but he just wouldn't. It's really interesting, because my companions family just had Thanksgiving dinner with Elder Bednar (one of the leaders in our church, super awesome) because I guess they are related some how. Anyway, he was talking to my companions parents, and he asked about how things were going in Hungary, and they told him that a lot of people are looking for better things, but just won't make any change in their lives. He said, (paraphrasing) that communism has had such a lasting effect on all of these people. They have been taught for so long to conform and that they can't make their own decisions, that people are afraid to make individual choices or make a difference in their life. This is so spot on, because so many people just can't imagine making a change in their lives. It was against their entire societal core for so long, it's just rooted in the beliefs of the people. It's so hard to try and get people to change their lives for the better, but it really comes down to them wanting it for themselves. Like I have said again and again, we can all make a change, we just have to be willing to work for it. Its the same thing with Gál Ági that I talked

about earlier, where she wants to change, but just doesnt feel like she is able too. Really sad though and hard to see people like this... But this is why I am here and am so grateful to be here helping people find happiness and joy in their lives. 

Thats all I have for this week. I have a couple pictures from last week, where we went up on Buda hill. Theres Matthias Templom and a foggy view of the city. So beautiful out here and I love it so much. Thank you all for everything you are doing back home. Love you all so much and I'll talk to you next week. 

Elder Dalton

One more thing I forgot to mention, speaking of Turkey bowls and football and what not, we actually went to go visit a part member, less active family last weekend which was really great. The mom goes to church semi frequently her two sons are completely in active, and the dad is not a member. Anyway, we went to their place for dinner and had a really good time, and I'm really hoping that we can start working with them more. But the reason I bring this up, is because I got to talk with the boys about football and basketball and stuff! Yes, there are Europeans out there who watch American football! He knew all the teams and players and stuff and it was really fun talking to them about that stuff (in Hungarian mind you, so it was pretty tough for me, but luckily names are the same). Really fun though and reminded me a lot of home with their little family. Thought you might appreciate that.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I'm Dreaming of a Buda Christmas!

     It's officially transfer day!!! And Yes! I am staying in the city so it is actually super exciting! Elder Robinson and I are actually staying together (which is super rare, there were maybe one or two other companionships that didn't change) so we are super excited about that! Apparently they were almost moving me out of here, but luckily they kept us together. And I'm especially grateful because Thanksgiving is this week, and you know what that means. TURKEY BOWL!!! Some American Football in Europe should definitely catch a few people's attention.

     Speaking of Thanksgiving, due to transfers, we actually had a big Thanksgiving feast LAST Thursday, because so many people would be leaving. The senior missionaries in the area cooked a turkey and mashed potatoes with all the works for us and we had a big lunch with all the missionaries here. It was a lot of fun and SOOO DELICIOUS. I'll admit way better than whatever we are able to make at our apartment... There are some pictures, but none on my camera. They should be posted on the Budapest mission blog though, so my mom will probably get some from there. 

     This was a really great week though, and really glad that we get to keep going with the work here! Just some quick points of interest (because I really don't have much time):

    There is one church member who was baptized a few months ago, and he is in a wheel chair, and let me just say, it is ridiculous how terrible handicapped transportation is in Budapest. We were going with him to a different church building on the Pest side of the river, but only one metro had an elevator. So we took that one a little ways, and then had to take a bus to the church building, but we had to wait for a bus that was wheel chair accessible. So we waited about 40 minutes, and the buses come every 5 minutes by the way, until finally one came.   We were APPALLED at how terrible it was. Not quite sure how the European Union lets that slide, but it is awful. So we finally get on a bus, and then literally, 3 stops later, it breaks down, and they tell us all to get off. We couldn't believe it!!! So at that point it just wasn't going to happen. We were going to the other building for family history stuff by the way, but we just decided to head back, and luckily we didn't get too far, so it wasn't all that bad heading back. But, something good did come out of this. So Balázs (that's his name) has a cousin who has cancer. She's a 12 year old girl and it is really really sad. So since we had extra time, we went with him to go visit her in the hospital and that was actually great. I think the Lord guided us on that one. But we visited her, and it was sad, but she was really really glad to have us visit her, and we made her laugh a few times (mostly with how poorly we speak Hungarian in our terrible American accents) but it was a great experience. We are hoping we can go back and visit her again. It always feels so great to help people who have so much hardship in their lives. I'd suggest it. Find someone to help, and it will be great. Pictures here too, but haven't gotten them from my comp yet, so maybe next week.

     On another (also kind of sad) note, we had one lady who was set to get baptized this week, decided she was not ready and that it all came too fast. She was so prepared, but she needed more time, which is really understandable. We were just a little bummed because she pushed it all the way back to the end of February, and we're worried she might fall back into some old habits again. But we're still hopeful and faithful that everything will work out for the best, and hope that we can help her find happiness in her life and come closer to Christ. 

     Not a whole lot of time left, but things are still going super great out here. The language is still super tough, but I'm really excited about the new transfer.  One of my friends from the MTC is coming to Buda as well, and there are a lot of great people here, so it's going to be a lot of fun. Not to mention the people we are meeting with are super great and I just love doing the Lord's work. I am improving in the language which is really good! But still a long way to go! Love you all and hope that you all have a great week and a great THANKSGIVING!!! Always remember to try be thankful for all the amazing things we have, because we really do take it for granted. I know the Lord has blessed us all with so many amazing things, and this is a great opportunity to take a step back and realize all the good we have. Also, go buy something cool on Friday. 

Thanks for all your support and have a great week! Love you all and talk to you next Monday!!!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Budapest Week 8

     This is officially my last full week before the transfer!! Get excited because next Tuesday we will find out where I will get to spend all of my holidays! (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years). But this past week was amazing! Elder Robinson and I really worked hard and we  had a lot of success! We have found quite a lot of new investigators, and things are going really well with all the ones we have!   We also had our stake conference on Sunday, which means a bunch of different congregations (branches and wards) from all over the country got together for one big meeting and it was really amazing. We had two people come from Germany (they're actually English, but live in Germany... confusing, I know) and they gave some amazing talks. They were there because our Stake got a new Stake President. The one before, President Klinger, has been serving for 8 years, and was the countries first Stake President. The new Stake President who they called is an American who has lived here for 10  years and is the Bishop of our ward (congregation) so we were all super excited about that and he'll be really great, but we're not sure who is going to be our bishop now... 

     So here's some other cool random stuff that happened this week. Well, sorry thats a  lie, so this didn't happen this week but we met with the guy from this story this week! So a couple of weeks ago, we found this one guy as we were tabling at a metro station close to our apartment  called Móricz Zsigmond Körtér. So we never had gone tabling there before, but we decided to this day to try and mix it up, but we soon found out why people don't normally go tabling there. THE PEOPLE ARE STRAIGHT UP CRAZY!!! There was a crowd of about 15 homeless people or so and they were having some sort of homeless party or something. They each decided to come up to us one by one asking us for money  and then they would go back and plan how they can get money from us again.  They just walk up and say the exact same thing as the first guy. One man actually tried to give us money so that we would leave and tried to steal a Book of Mormon to throw it in the trash... With that, absolutely nobody wanted to stop and talk.  But after about an hour of this we met one guy who was SUPER cool. He speaks English well and we met with him this past week, and he told us that he thought that we were a message from God, and that he needs to hear what we have to say! So we are WAY excited about that and hoping things will go well!

Another quick experience this week...we are teaching one family (actually just two daughters, two other elders from Germany and Austria are teaching the mom German) came to church last Sunday and when we met with one of the daughters this week, she told us that her sister was really sick and has been for a long time, and while she and her mom were in church, they were praying really hard for her. Then a couple days later, she got totally better! We were amazed! I know the God really does love us and that he does bless us so much in our lives!!!

So one more thing about the lady that is getting baptized in a couple weeks. We met with her just this morning and she is totally perfect. She has so much faith and is so ready to be baptized. We taught her about tithing and promised her the blessings that come from it, and she really doesn't have much money at all, but she was so  excited to pay tithing because she knew that the Lord would bless her. I know that when we follow His teachings, that we will be blessed in our lives, because I have been blessed in my life. I am so happy for this gospel and for this opportunity to share it with the people of Hungary. I love them all so much and I love you all as well! I hope you have a great week and I will talk to you  next TUESDAY and we will see where I will spend the rest of 2014!!! Love you all lots and have a great week!

Elder Dalton

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Budapest Week 7

     Sorry, I don't have much time this week to write  but I will try and make it somewhat interesting for you all to read.  We actually had a really great week! We taught a lot of lessons, and had a lot of success.  Ági, our one investigator I think I mentioned before, is progressing amazingly well. She is set to be baptized on November 29th, and she is more than prepared.  I think I mentioned too that she has to go to Pest, so we kind of have an interesting situation right now, but we think it will work out.   We  are teaching her during the week, because she works over here and can stop on the way to work, and then on the weekends, she is going with the sisters to pest for church. We had a meeting all together (Pest sisters, Agi and us) and it went well. She keeps thanking us for helping her in her life and she has found so much happiness and joy from the gospel.  She went to church yesterday and totally loved it and is so excited for her baptism.  The gospel really does help people in their lives, and I have gotten so much happiness and hope from the church in my own life.  I am just so grateful for the amazing opportunity that I have to do this work here and share something that has blessed me so much in my life.

     Last week on P day we went with some other missionaries to Pest to a store called Mr Sale that gets clothes from other places when they are over stocked on something, so they have some ridiculous deals and a lot of pretty high quality stuff. We all got a bunch of ties for 250 forint each (thats about a dollar). Other than that we didn't really do anything that exciting last week and we don't have anything that exciting planned for today. We already had a couple of lessons this morning, and one in the afternoon, so after that we might go do some sight seeing, or might just clean our apartment. Next week is Thanksgiving so hopefully we will do something exciting for that!  Then the week after that we have our transfers, so that will be exciting also, because we will get to see where I will be for Christmas (hopefully still in Budapest...). 

     As always, we had a few lessons with a few super crazy people, but the majority of them were really good! There really are people who are willing to hear our message even in Europe. We did go tracting and find some interesitng people who wanted nothing to do with us at all. A few old people who were very unhappy that we woke them up (at about 4 in the afternoon), so we always have some good laughs while we're tracting.  
     I know that this was probably super boring, but there was really not a whole lot new this past week. Things are still great and I still love it out here. Language is still super tough but it's coming along (slowly...). Budapest is totally amazing and I am having a great experience. Email me if you have any questions and I will talk to you all next week!

Elder Dalton

Monday, November 3, 2014

Another Great Week!

Happy P day everyone!

A really great week out here in Magyarország!  Things are going really well and I love being out here!  The language is still tough, but I am improving, so that’s a start!  This week was pretty normal, nothing too exciting, but here are a few highlights:

So first off I think I mentioned last time that we are losing some of our investigators to Pest, which is kind of a bummer, but this week, we really worked hard and have found 7 new investigators which was totally amazing. One of them we found the other night while we were tracting. So first off, tracting is just going door to door and seeing if anyone is interested in hearing about our church, which can be pretty tough, especially in Hungary.  Most people aren’t home during the day, and when you bother them at night, when the people are there, they get super mad.   Most people are sleeping (at like 6 oclock. it’s super crazy), but I convinced my trainer to go tracting at night despite people getting really mad at us. We went through a couple of buildings and didn’t find anyone who was interested. As we were heading back for the night walking by one building,  I just kind of walked over and tried pushing the door to see if it was open, and it was!  This is a miracle in and of itself because that doesn’t really happen much. My trainer kind of wanted to just go home, but I told him that the door was open, so we need to at least try.  We go in, not really knowing what we’re doing, but then the first (and only) door we knock on in that building, a lady just said, yes, yes, I would love to meet, you should come back tomorrow!  We were both super excited and knew that the Lord had guided us to someone who was prepared.  We taught her the next day and she is seriously, the coolest person ever.  She converted to Judaism, but is kind of both Jewish and Christian, and just really loves hearing about different religions.  She is a single mom and also teaches English, so we don’t have to speak Hungarian which is great for me!  Her name is Hajnalka and she is the coolest and I hope that we can keep working with her!

Some other good news, I think I mentioned that the lady that got baptized when I first got here disappeared, but this week we finally made contact with her! Apparently she was sick and because she has so much stuff going on in her life, from the baptism, a divorce with her husband, and looking for a job, she just had to take a break from the world for a little bit, but we were finally able to talk to her on the phone! She was sooooo glad to hear from us and we called her everyday this week. She came to church on Sunday too and still really loves us and loves the gospel. We’re working with her closely and hope that she can pull through!  She felt great at church though and even though she is in a really rough place in her life, she was smiling the whole time. It’s really amazing to see how her life has been changed.

A couple of other things that might be interesting to you (might not, sorry, but it’s your fault for reading this far) we had a Halloween party with the young single adults from all over Hungary which was super fun. As missionaries, we weren’t allowed to dance, so it was pretty difficult for me to just sit on the side and watch, but it was still a lot of fun (and we got to listen to some normal music for a little while). A lot of our investigators came and had a great time!

Also, that one picture with the crazy bird thing is actually at a cemetary. This past Saturday was a holiday for the Hungarians, where they all go to visit the graves of those who have passed away and place flowers and candles and stuff all around. That weird thing is a griff, and apparently symbolizes the resurrection in the Catholic church. Anyway, its just a giant cemetary and there are candles all over the place and it was actually really cool. We wanted to go when it was dark, because then everything is all lit up, but didn’t have time. Look it up online though, because its super cool. Its called All Saints Day, or Day of the Dead. 

So I am now running out of time (and by time I mean money... this internet gets expensive...) but I hope that everything is going well back home and where ever you are! I love it out here in Hungary and have already learned so much! I’m so grateful for everyone who takes the time to stay updated with everything that’s happening with me (especially because I can be pretty random sometimes with these letters.)  I love you all and feel free to email me with any questions you have or if you just want to send some support! It really means so much to me to hear from all of you! Hope you all have a great week and we will talk to you next week!

Szeretlek Benneteket!
Elder Andrew Dalton

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hungarian Holiday Week

        So this week has definitely been an interesting week. First let me start off by telling you about my last P-day, because my mom really was excited to hear about it (and probably a little worried about it too). We went to this place called Locked, and it was actually super fun. We went into this first room, and there was like a murder or something, there is this whole big story line, but basically you just have to solve a bunch of puzzles and find keys and codes and stuff to get to different rooms. It was way fun though. We went with the sisters and some other elders in our district and we all loved it. We all were just, running around crazy trying to find all these keys and looking for numbers and stuff and it was crazy exciting when the key would work for the door and you get to go to the next room or something. I don’t know, it’s kind of hard to explain, but it was super cool, and I recommend you all try one sometime. Apparently they are popular in Hungary because we hear about them all the time, so maybe sometime soon they will make their way to America. 
Holding Hands with Ronald Reagan
Anyway, the rest of the week was kind of interesting. So first off, this past week was a holiday and Hungarian people take their holidays REALLY seriously. It is the anniversary of some revolution (that they lost by the way... Not exactly sure what they’re celebrating) and so you expect that there might just be a parade, and flags or something, but no, people take this super seriously. Everyone has work off so just about everything in the city was shut down. A bunch of trains weren’t going and a bunch of our investigators thought it was ridiculous that we wanted to meet with them anywhere close to the holiday, and a bunch of them were just like, "We should just wait till November..." So the city of Budapest was pretty much not working the past couple of days and everybody left for the weekend.

So besides that, we had some really great things this week, but kind of some rougher things too. We have a lot of people that we are working with, and they really enjoy it, and things were going really well, but it can be kind of tricky serving in Buda sometimes. So the way the church works, there are boundries for the different churches, so if you live in one area, you go to a certain church building, to kind of spread it out so people don’t all just go whereever the heck they want. So this makes it really hard for us because many people come from Pest over to Buda for work or something, and we have to give those people to the missionaries who are serving in Pest so they can work with that Ward. So moral of the story is that we have 5 of our investigators who we have to give over to different areas. This was kind of disappointing for us, because they are all some of our favorites as well. There is one lady named Gál Ági who we were teaching this week, and this was our third lesson and she just got super emotional and told us that she wants to get baptized. So we were super excited and set her to be baptized on November 29th, and then she just mentions as we were leaving that she lives in Pest... So we are a little bummed we have to lose so many great people. It doesnt really matter who teaches as long as they keep progressing and moving forward, so I’m OK with them going over, it’s just kind of tough because every single one of them this week told us that they would not like to change anything. So it might be a tough week coming up trying to figure those things out...

Also, my Dad asked how things are going with the language, and let me just say that things are improving!! But it is still super super hard... I feel like I am really beginning to understand a lot of what people are saying (the gist anyway...) but it’s still hard when people ask direct questions to me, because it’s hard to figure out exactly what they are saying, but I usually just try and fake it and just guess what they said. I’m usually way off, and they can’t even understand what Im saying, but things are improving!! I actually did have a dream where I spoke Hungarian! Not exactly what you might think though... I tried to talk to someone in Hungarian, and they couldn’t understand me, so I just left. Very realistic though! But things are getting better and I’m saying a good amount of stuff in all of our lessons! It’s going to be quite a ways longer before I feel good about it, but you definitely learn a lot being thrown into it!!! Also! I did get my first number from someone on my own! Granted it was in English, because so many people speak super great English here, but I’m still counting it!!!

Anyway, other than that things are going super well! I still really love it out here, and there was a baptism this week from the other Elders, and that was a really special thing to see. Even though people say that Europeans don’t want to hear about God or they’re too proud, there are still people you can find everywhere who have been prepared to receive the gospel. I have seen changes in peoples lives and I know that you can find happiness in yours if you just search for it. God is always there for you, you just have to put forth the effort and seek for him. Even though we are losing some people this week, we also have just started meeting with some really great people, and I just love having this opportunity to make a difference in their lives. I can’t believe I’ve already been out this long! This past week I hit my 3 month mark on my mission, so that’s pretty weird I guess... Transfers are in another 3 weeks or so, which is going to be super weird! I’m hoping to stay in Buda for another transfer, because it’s super fun here and the people are awesome, but we will see in a few weeks!  Also, I really want to spend Christmas in Budapest because I’ve heard it’s way more fun in the city then in some of the tiny cities around the country. But I dont want to get too ahead of myself. Hope you all have a great week and will talk to you next week! I would love to hear from all of you because it is great to hear about everything that’s happening while I’m gone! 

Love you all and talk to you next week!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Budapest- Week 4

First off, my mom asked some questions that maybe you would all like to know as well: 

So for my typical day: First we wake up (at 6:30... The struggle...) and do some exercise. It is sometimes a little different because some days we meet with one of our investigators at 9:00 because she has work, and other days we get up at 5:30 (dont even know how) to play soccer with all the other missionaries in our district. Sometimes we forgo the morning work out, but we try and do it. I will admit, there are times I fall asleep on the floor doing sit-ups... Not the best exercise somedays. After that, we shower, have breakfast and get ready. And I will have you know that things have not changed... I still eat cereal every day. They have this one called Pillows and it is about the most delicious thing I’ve ever had. Seriously, I’m obsessed. I would try and explain them to you, but they are indescribable, so just know they’re great. Then we do our studies, personal, companion, and usually not time for language study so we try and fit that inbetween programs. After that we have about a 20 to 30 minute ride on the vilamos (kind of like an above ground subway thing) to the church where we teach all of our lessons. We usually have a ton of lessons each day, but when we’re not teaching, we’re either talking to people on the street, or going tracting (knocking on doors). By the way, our tracting area is BEAUTIFUL so I will try and send some pictures next week (sorry, forgot my camera... :P). We just work all day, with breaks for lunch and dinner, head back to the apartment, plan our next day and go to bed. The days have actually been flying by and we’re already half way through the transfer. Can you believe it??

My trainer is great. We get along well and have a lot of fun together. We are most definitely not the only missionaries in our ward. It’s actually super interesting serving in Buda, because the ward is also the mission home, so there are a ton of missionaries in the area. We have myself and my comp, we have another set of elders and sisters, then there are the secretaries who are the office missionaries, and the AP’s, so there are actually ten of us, not counting senior couples, which there are 3 of. So it’s actually super fun because we have sport nap on Saturdays and we do morning sports twice a week, so we get to hang out all together quite a bit!!! The ward is kind of interesting though. It’s actually a really big ward for Hungary, and super strong, but because there are so many missionaries, they don’t really care about us very much, because we are always switching around. It’s really hard to get them to come to lessons but it is a super strong ward! Just kind of tough to work with sometimes... 
Well this was definitely an interesting week! So I promised that this week I would try and have some more success stories for all of you, but let’s just say that this week will be about battling through adversity...

Before that, something fun! Today, for our P day, we're going to this place called Locked, It’s kind of hard to describe, and maybe you have heard of a place like this before, but basically they trap you in this place and you have to solve all these puzzles and stuff to try and find your way out. It sounds super fun (and maybe a little sketchy) and I am super excited about it. I’ll let you know how it goes next week!

So, it was actually a really great week. Just not exactly how we thought things would work out. So first off, the woman that got baptized the first week I was here, her name is Emília and she has kind of disappeared.... We were supposed to have a program with her on Tuesday but she just never showed up (happens a lot with Hungarians...). We tried to call her, but she wouldn’t answer her phone, and basically this entire week we haven’t heard from her once. We think that her husband (in the middle of getting divorced) found out she got baptized and kind of freaked out and won’t let her come anymore. But we are not sure. We tried to find her apartment, but we think we might have talked to her husband, so we’re not totally sure where to find her. She didn’t come to church and we are a little worried about her, but hopefully we can find her and everything will work out! This has kind of been the big problem for this week, but we also lost a few investigators this week too. 

One of our favorites, Nauszika, just told us this week that she got a job and won’t have time to meet with us anymore. She was super cool and we really liked her, and we were super bummed about it. There is also some other issues with this guy named Tamás. He’s not an investigator, but he’s probably just about the craziest person I’ve ever met. He got kicked out of the Pest ward for punching someone in the face at sport nap. He is not allowed to meet with missionaries because he basically just wants attention and is also SUPER creepy with sisters. It’s hard to even describe him, but he is realy really dramatic... He keeps threatening to take himself off the church list, just so that people will pay attention to him. Needless to say, he moved into our ward from Pest, and came to our sport nap, so that was interesting! He hasn’t punched anyone (yet...) but was just crazy the entire time... Not quite sure how this will all play out with him, but will keep you updated!!! But we didn’t let all this stuff affect us! There are a lot of hard times in our lives, and there are definitely hard and discouraging times on the mission, but it is when we push forward and endure our trials, that we can learn the most about who we are, and we can be blessed by the Lord. We tried not to get discouraged with some of our disappointments this week, and we had some really great success as well!  We lost some people we really cared about and wanted to help, but we found some really great people this week as well! We don’t always know why things happen the way they do, and life seems completely unfair sometimes, but all that we can do is just keep moving forward. And if you are having an especially hard time, I suggest to you now to just throw yourself into the service of others. I have found that when I am beaten down and discouraged, the best way to lift my spirits, is to look for opportunities to help others. It can’t take away our problems, but I promise that it can ease the pain. We worked harder to help those around us, and I could feel my joy and love for them grow. I absolutely love this amazing opportunity I have to change the lives of those in this small country here. Everyone has been through a lot, but I know that God knows all of our problems individually and that he loves us. I have seen the blessings that come from following God in my own life, and in the lives of others. If we seek out for him, we will find Him. And this is something I have personally experienced and is part of who I am. I love you all very much and hope you have a great week. Stay strong and carry on!!!


Elder Dalton

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Another Week in Budapest

Hey friends and family,
Another week in Budapest and things are still going great! I’ll just jump right into it because we don’t have a whole lot of time, but I’ll start with last P-day. My companion and I went over to Pest and saw the parliament building and went to this big cathedral that was super cool!  The weirdest thing was that in the cathedral, they have a little display set up St. István's (Steven’s) hand. And by that, I mean they ACTUALLY HAVE HIS HAND IN A GLASS CASE!!! Apparently they think his hand is like, super sacred or something, and they have it in the church, and even on special holidays they take it out and parade it around the city. Yes, this is true, everybody in Hungary stands around the street and watches a 300 year old hand driven around sitting on a pillow.  It’s honestly kind of hilarious, especially because the hand is completely nasty. It’s all green and gross and I don’t know why they practically worship this decrepet body part. I’m telling you, these people are pretty crazy sometimes... 
Anyway, after that, for the rest of the week, we just worked teaching people and going out trying to find more people to teach.  The work is still going really great over here and we have quite a lot of people that we are working with. Some of them are dang frustrating because they just have no motivation to do anything even though they are completely unhappy in their life. Something I’ve noticed is that quite a few Hungarians love to complain about their lives (especially how the government and economy is the reason for all their problems) but they make no effort to improve anything!!!  Just in case you were unaware, sitting at home, complaining about not having a job gets you no closer to getting a job. Some of these people seem to have trouble understanding this concept. Still love them, just frustrating...I’m not complaining, and I can’t believe how much I”ve grown to love these people in this short time, and I want to help them so much. With that being said, some of them are pretty crazy (in a hilarious way).  I also want to say that we are having a great time, and I love it out here, but all that good stuff is pretty boring, so here’s a little of the challenges and a bit more about the people we work with:
1.  This was the first time I met with this one lady and it was definitely interesting. I think she’s been smoking for about 50 years  (she’s probably 60) and has the biggest smokers voice I’ve ever heard. Despite that, she just loves to talk. We could barely get a word in because she would just keep on going, and ignore anything we said. I was trying not to laugh a few times, but I think the best would have to be when we told her that there was life after death and she looked right at us and said (in Hungarian so I had to have this translated for me later) "Oh, I know there’s life after death, because I’ve been there... In another dimension." So that was fun.
2. Another woman, now one of our most interesting (former) investigators. I think she really just wanted to meet with us to tell us all about how our religion is wrong, so it wasn't the most fun. In our last lesson she told us all about this Chinese religion and how she sat in front of a temple for 3 days without doing anything, and how they put food on an alter in the temple to sacrifice to God or something like that. Remember I can’t understand much that’s going on so this is all a pretty rough translation. She basically tried telling us what our religion was after reading the introduction to the Book of Mormon, and how we actually knew nothing. After getting insulted for 30 or 40 minutes, she just said, “I dont really want to meet with you, so just leave." And then the worst part of it is, that we ran into her, later that day probably 30 minutes out of town... Little awkward...
 Well I don't have a lot more time, but these are just a couple of funny things, everyone else is really amazing and I love being here so much. I can see a real change in a lot of people as they find happiness in their lives. I am so happy to have this opportunity to help those who have only experienced sadness and help people find purpose and meaning. We have had so many great experiences but I don’t have too much time left to write.  I love it out here and I love my district and all the people that we get to work with. Sorry we had some computer problems in this sketchy internet cafe and we have to run to a program pretty soon. Next week I will try to share a more uplifting story (but I just like the funny ones better). I have seen God in my life and I know that he is there for us if we turn to Him. I love this work and I love this gospel. Keep up all the good work. Love you all and have a good week.

Elder Dalton

Zone Conference October 1-3, 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week Two in Hungary

     Week two in Hungary is already done!!! My first two weeks here have been really amazing.  First let me start off with last Monday as we had a relatively interesting experience. So after emails we went to go on this public boat tour that is free with our bus passes. We figured it would be just a quick little 20 minute ride up the river so we could see some cool buildings.  As it turned out it was an hour and it took us all the way up the river, and dropped us off on the other side in Pest. They made us get off the boat (even though they told us they would come back...) and we had to walk across this giant bridge, stumble around for a while until we found a train stop and somehow make our way back to our area. So that was definitely an adventure and actually took up most of our P day, but was still pretty fun! At least it was exciting! 

   Alright, so for the next couple days we really just taught lessons. It's amazing how many people we work with! We have probably 8 people right now who are seriously investigating our church, and probably 5 others that we meet with. It's just this English class we have over here. We literally walk around town, hand out fliers for English class, a bunch of people come, and then we just pass around a paper asking if they want to meet with us. I didn't know that missionary work could be that easy! We have 10 new people from English class that wanted to meet with us this upcoming week so it is going to be busy! 

The Hungarian is definitely tough... I feel like my speaking is improving, but I still can't understand a dang thing! Its pretty ridiculous. I dont know how anybody can understand anything. But there are actually a good amount of people who speak English. For the number that know English, probably only half of them actually speak it to me though... But it's still nice to actually sometimes understand what people are saying. I'm just hoping that by the end of this transfer (transfers are 9 weeks by the way) that I can understand maybe 20%. Thats realistic, right? But speaking has gotten better. Because we are teaching so many lessons we've actually become pretty good at it. We trade off a lot now so its not just all Elder Robinson talking. But then as soon as someone tries to have a conversation other than about our church, it's all gone and I am totally lost! And this is not mean't to sound discouraging, because its not. I actually feel really great about the language and I am confident that with time (probably a lot of it) I will be able to know what's happening. At least most of the Hungarians are impressed that I can talk when I tell them I've only been in the country for 2 weeks! I mean, I do kind of brush over the part where I studied this dang language 24/7 for the past 2 months, but still all of the néni's (old ladys) are very impressed!

Some thing else that I think is interesting is the fast food over here. We go to Burger King and McDonalds a lot, and they are like, legitimate sit down restaurants. People go there for dinner on a Friday night. They think it's this, super hip, trendy, American place, and I'm like, NO! It's garbage! But actually it's delicious. It's way better than back home, because apparently we just don't really have standards for the quality of our food. Also it is really confusing to order. Because all of the things still have American names, but they don't say Mc anything, like McNuggets. You have to say "Mek" because thats how you're supposed to pronounce it. Then you have to pronounce a word like nugget or chicken in a way that you think a Hungarian would try and pronounce it, because otherwise they will not understand what you are saying. Its honestly pretty interesting and they all judge me super hard because they can tell I'm struggling with it, but it's their own fault! Them and their crazy fast food!!!

 We had sport nap the other day where all the missionaries and some investigators got together and we all played street soccer in one of those pavement soccer things if you know what I'm talking about.  Just think of an outdoor basketball court and then put two soccer goals instead of hoops. It was actually way fun. The missionaries are super awesome over here, and there's a ton of them in our area, so we get to see eachother and hang out a lot. Other than that it has seriously been teaching lessons all the time! Its really great and especially even better to practice Hungarian. If there are anymore questions, feel free to email me personally, and no guarentees I will be able to answer that week, but I will definitely get back to you as soon as I can. I really love this work and I love my mission so far. I have already seen miracles and how this gospel can change peoples lives. I am so excited to be out here and am looking forward to the next 22 months or however more I have. Love you all lots and look forward to hearing from you next week!


Elder Dalton

Monday, September 29, 2014

I'm in Budapest!!!

Sziasztok Mindenki!!!!

Wow, so in case you were wondering I am currently sitting in some random internet cafe in Budapest Hungary, so I guess that’s pretty cool!!! So first off, let me just say that this keyboard is all flipped around and what not so please be understanding of my typos and everything. The z and y are switched so just keep that in mind as zou read.... Anyway, there is a lot to talk about!!!  I guess I will just start from the beginning and then at the end we can have the more exciting stuff. 

OK! So first, my last week in the MTC was good. Just getting ready and all that, actually prettz relaxing, but then we had to leave the MTC at 6 Monday morning and head up to the Salt Lake City airport for our flight! Our flights were kind of long, but all together they weren’t terrible. We got to talk to some really interesting people (including this awesome guy named Chiggy from London). The London flight was kind of long, so that was a little annoying, and I didnt sleep all that much, but now I’m in Hungary so that is  great!!!  Also, the spacebar is super sticky, so I apologize again... Anzwaz, back to everything!  So we landed in Budapest after some long flights and got picked up by our Mission President and a couple of other missionaries. Thez grabbed all of our stuff and threw it into a big van and we piled into a little shuttle and went down over to the mission home which is right in Buda. We showed up, got some quick snacks because we were all starving, had some quick interviews with the President, and then went and checked into our hotel for the night. By the time we finished all of that, it was about 6 o’clock and President Smith and his wife had all of the new missionaries over for dinner (it was pulled pork. It was amazing...). After that the APs (Assistant to the President) They’re just missionaries who help the pres with stuff so they took us up to this awesome big church and we had this great view of Parliament and it’s all lit up at night. I got a couple good pictures, but most of them didn’t look that great so sorry about that. So then we were all absolutely exhausted, so we went back to the hotel and instantely crashed. In the morning, we got up for a complimentary breakfast in the hotel and it was amazing I couldn’t even believe it. We have been eating MTC food for two months, I am absoluletly loving everything that I am eating out here it’s so great. Maybe it’s just because we haven’t really eaten real food for a while, but it seriously is the best food I’ve had. Anyway, after that we went over to the mission home where all of us went out with the AP’s and a few other missionaries and went

streeting for the first time ever! This basically means that we go out to the street and try and talk to people about our church and hand out english class fliers and stuff. Yeah, we also teach english classes... and it’s all in Hungarian... so it was really quite interesting!!!  I seriously think that it is just a chance for the other missionaries to look and laugh at us, but it actually went pretty well! I actually gave a Book of Mormon to  one guy who was working in the plaza. I think he just wanted to try and sell it at his stand... but I don’t even care! I’m counting it as a success because I couldn’t even understand anything he said. I just told him to take this book. 

After that we went back to the mission home, where we got our trainers!!! So this might be the more exciting part, but my trainer is Elder Robinson and we are serving in Buda right now, so I didn’t have to travel far at all! Everyone else went out to farther parts of the country, but I am super glad that I get to stay in the  city because it is soooo beautiful. Anyway, I don’t have a whole lot of time, but there were lots of very interesting stuff this past week! So the first day, when we were carrying my bags around, my trainer left his key at the church house, so when we got to our apartment, a good 20 minutes away, we had to lug all of our bags back again, get the key, and go back to our apartment. It was kind of awkward carrying all my big bags around the city and the public transport, but pretty typical of your first day am I right? So that was super intersting. Also, in the lessons, I really dont know how to speak much, so I just kind of sit there and say a few things at the end, so it’s totally great! I actually can understand the gist of what people are saying some of the time, but then they look right at me and ask me a question, and that is when I just give them this blank stare because i have no idea what they said or how to respond. So yeah, its been a pretty eventful week!!!!

Also, in case you all were wondering, my apartment is pretty gross and I’m pretty sure someone died there, because it smells like old people all the time... and my bed is a little hard... and by that I mean it is basically the floor... but other than that I am really loving it here!!!  I can’t really understand what’s being said, but everyone is still super nice! Every Hungarian has a dog, every Hungarian smokes cigerettes, and they really really love to talk sometimes. 

We have actually been super busy though! So I was kind of expecting to  be  working on the streets and knocking on doors for most of the time, but surprisingly, this area is doing great! We seriously have programs all the time. That’s just what we call the meetings with people. Like I said we teach English (and by we, I mean my companion talks and I just write down what he says...) and we are meeting with like  6 people every day. Its unbelievable. And we actually already had a baptism too! It was really surprising but the first week we were here! My trainer was doing super great work before I got here though so it has been awesome. I love it all so far. This country is great. The food is great. The language is hard... but someday I will have it! There is probably a lot of other stuff to talk about that I forgot, but I will just try and get some more info next week. Today is our P day and I think we’re going to do a little boat tour down the river. Love you all lots and love to hear about whats going on back home! Hungary has really been amazing and I love my mission! Have a great week!

Love, Elder Dalton