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