Mom! Happy Birthday! I spent the whole day saying, Happy Birthday mom, to Sister Kimball. We took a train to a small village just outside of Kecskemét and I thought we might make a sign and take a picture, but then we ended up talking to someone about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ... so... sorry I didn't get that one. Hopefully you did get my birthday gift to you though! The big envelope that had the top ripped was because I forgot to put letters in it... so... I tried again.
I was so happy to get a letter from Mrs. Caitlin Robbins! What a sweetheart. It was really nice. I will be writing you a real letter soon... and I just love you so much! Best of luck with school... I did that once... but now I am graduated. Ha.
Grandma asked about Christmas traditions in Hungary. Santa comes on December 6, and he gives sticks to bad kids, and candy to good kids, but since there are no completely bad kids in Hungary, kids tend to get both. On Christmas, baby Jézus gives the children the gifts. On Christmas eve families get together and set up their Christmas tree and then they leave it up as long as they want, or so I have heard. They have Christmas villages in the town squares, but it is different than you would imagine. You probably are thinking, oh, some little displays of elf shops or something. They have booths where people work and they have vendors. There is even a Rotary Club and a Lions Club International. That is kinda of random. They sell warm alcohol. But I love walking up and down it and seeing all of the people shopping. I conveniently was freezing one night and there was a hat stand, so I bought a hat and things improved.
We had a really great conference. The Mission President talked about the end of the world on Friday. Instead of offering comfort and being like, no big, that won't happen, he was saying that the planets were probably going to allign and there could be something interesting things that happen--and he said some other things that just kind of caught me off guard--but then he said, who knows and that probably nothing will happen! We will see how Friday goes. It just surprised me.
Sister Smith shared with us the story of, I hear the bells on Christmas day. Such a wonderful story. We all sang the song and it was fun. We played some games and then had a white elephant gift exchange. I thought my gift was pure gold--wipe board markers! We use them so much when we teach--and the ones at the church aren't the best quality. But, somehow I ended up with the markers at the end of the game. And then Sister Kimball gave me the sweater she got as a white elephant, and an elder gave me the nailpolish he had gotten. People are so nice. And. A senior couple gave us gloves. So nive! I think they are the prettiest gloves I have ever had, so I will make sure to be super nice to every senior couple :)
I am happy, everything is great!
Look how cool that fog is?! Yesterday we had zone conference in the big city, so we walked around and ended up at the Buda Castle. Pretty!!! This is me and my new hat. I am also wearing my new boots. And new gloves. Turns out when you don't bring winter clothes, you get a lot of new things!
I am so happy. I really, am just on cloud nine. Want to know why? Because the gospel brings us happiness! I read a little bit in Jesus the Christ today, and at the end of the chapter on the sermon on the mount it talked about pleasure vs. happiness. Happiness is real. Pleasure is fake--a gift wrapped up in really pretty packaging, but when you open it up you find it is full of nauseating guilt. Gross! Let's all really be happy shall we and find real happiness and joy this holiday season! Yeah!! Moving on.
This is in Szolnok. We snapped this picture on the way home from the baptism there last week. They really go all out here. Beautiful, am I right?! This is me, and Sister Kimball, and Tamás. It was a great experience from Tamás to see a baptism and understand it better. It mostly just got me pumped for this....
My first baptism in the country! It was such an amazing experience!! I was so happpy to be invovled with his progress. Misi is so solid. He bore his testimony on Sunday, which was so tender and sincere. When he bore his testimony he shared about how he prayed to know the truth, and he said it took time, but he found it. Some people say that finding answers takes time, and then they don't really do anything but wait. What I love about Misi is that he worked for it. He wanted to know it was true, for himself, so he prayed and read the scritpure and came to church, and when he was doing the right things, of course with time it all came! Some people sit and wait because they know things take time, but that is wrong. We need to understand the work that goes behind waiting and taking time.
Oh. Important things, I guess. I am still in Kecskemét! I will be here for Christmas and the New Year. Very exciting. I have talked with my mission president and I have permission to Skype if that is interesting to you! I have around an hour to talk if I want, and I am allowed to split up the call and talk to siblings since people won't be at home. I can call anytime on Dec 24 or Dec 25. Yeah! Christmas! But, my companion's schedule is crazy, so I will let you know what her family thinks abou it all so we don't have to keep interrupting the members with coming and going. I got Grandma's package of decorations, and I got my ipod! Because it was Mikulás on Dec 6 I opened up all of my gifts from him! Thanks for the super cute things. I love the little dangly earrings the most :) We have a Christmas zone conference next week, so I will be emailing on Tuesday.
I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!! Gotta go teach a 13 year old girl that is getting baptized in April :)
Wow. I feel like not all that much has happened since I wrote you last... but obviously things are happening everyday!
We had interviews with the mission president on Wednesday and we were able to talk to his wife while our companion was in their interview with the president. It was really nice, and they brought down mail. Mom. Your card was so funny... I laughed so hard. Sister Kimball also enjoyed it. Who knew they made cards written from cats?! I got two things from Grandma, one was a decoration, and the other was also a really nice card. So, thanks! My interview with President Smith was really great. We get along really well, and so that is a blessing. There are a lot of changes coming up in the next couple of months (9 new sisters in March!!) and so we talked about some of the changes and things that will come with that. He encouraged me to keep being obedient and working my hardest at learning the language. Exciting! And... I asked him a question I have had for months... and he said yes! So, I am going to buy a ukulele today. I am pretty excited for that! Still haven't found a tea set that isn't a brazillion dollars, so hopefully I can find somewhere to look today really quickly.
We went to the City Hall on Monday. Here are some pretty pictures. Cool.
Where is Jordan Tolman going on a mission? I had no idea. Turns out I don't know much about the human world... Oh!! And Camille!! Thanks for your email. Give me your human address!! I love you soooo much. Save me a ski run... and we will go next year :) But you can't make fun of me... I will have missed a whole season... and I am not a pro ski instructor. I love you. Yeah!
Sorry I haven't talked about Misi at all... my bad! He is so great. He is 22 and dating a member in the ward here. He came to church a couple of times, and we met with him the week after I got here and have been meeting with him ever since. He loves the gospel and seriously has a testimony that it is true. His girlfriend had already covered the word of wisdom and law of chastity with him, so it was a really special situation. I want to learn Hungarian just so I can be friends with him and so we can chat all of the time. He is really awesome. He had his baptismal interview on Thursday and everything is going forward for next Saturday!!
We have visited the hospital a couple of times this transfer, and it is really interesting. The hospitals here are a lot different than in America. For instance, they have a lot of people in the same room, and they are really dark, and I don't like them. I just don't like hospitals in general turns out... We've been in three different ones this transfer, and some are definitely better than others... but for some reason I just don't like them. Anyway, it is awesome to see the faith of the members in dealing with health challenges when they are in the hospital. I love this ward.
I am so grateful for December! It is so exciting to have everyone hustling and bustling getting ready for mikulás and karácsony. Mikulás is the holiday where Santa puts candy in boots for good kids, and sticks in the boots of bad kids, and Jesus brings gifts on karácsony, aka Christmas. Mikulás is December 6, so I am excited to put some sticks in my compaions shoes. We have started to decorate our apartment for the holiday, and have drawn a big Christmas tree and hung it up on the wall. We get to put an ornament on it everyday if we are good. Ha. I love it. There is no snow, and yesterday was the first real time I felt like I needed to bundle up and wear some leggings. Everything is so pretty here and they are decorating the town something real nice. Their Christmas village is more like vendors and lights and there is also a bumper car stand set up. Hope that I can get in on that action sometime! I love it.
Working with the ward members here has been really cool. I am glad to hear about the reactivating efforts going on at home. It is so important for us to focus on the less actives in our wards. Be there friends. Reach out to them. As missionaries, we are trying to contact the less actives and inactives in this ward, but it is so hard. There are so many people that are inactive. It is crazy. There are a couple of die hard members in the ward that already have people they are trying to fellowship and help, but how great if there were even more die hard members that were trying to help bring everyone back into Christ's fold?! It would be so great.
I finally got my hands on a english copy of Elder Holland's talk from conference. Wow. That was a good one! No wonder people keep bringing it up. I think we all need to realize our own conversion to Christ and we need to strive on our own to develop that relationship. And then, we need share what we have learned with everyone!! Yeah. Missionary work. That is where it is at. "Every member... a missionary!" That was said by David O. McKay. Hopefully every member is doing their part. Invite an inactive, less active, or nonmember friend to the big Christmas pageant your ward is putting on. Invite their kids to get involved with the Primary. Do it.
I love missionary work and I am so happy to be on a mission. It is the best thing I have done thus far in my life and I encourage anyone with the desire to serve to organize their life and go. No matter how old you are. Do it. Yeah. Missions.
Ó! És csak szeretnék mondani pici magyarul mert, lehet beszelhetem a nyelv most. Hát... ez az. Tényleg, szeretem a magyar nyelv. Tudom, hogy a misszionáriusi munka a legfontosabb dolog csináljam most ebben életemben. Tudom, hogy Jézus Krisztus szenvedett a bűniemert és az engesztelés által kaphatunk sok vigaszt.