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.