Monday, November 25, 2013

so, I read out of a hymnbook instead of giving a talk...

November 25, 2013

Dear family,

I am super glad everyone had so much fun in New York. I am hoping one day to go visit everyone out there :) I am also sad to inform you mom, that I won't be able to make it to the halloween party! If only I had go the invitation sooner... BIG OL' SHOUT OUT FOR THE REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER CUPS!!!! It's heaven in an orange package. Plus sprees. I had totally forgotten those exist. It was super delicious, and a great pick me up.

What a great week! We really worked hard to invite all of our investigators to church this week because... we spoke! The terror. Church started 10 minutes late, unfortuntately that is a bit of the norm, and then the youngest elder who said he would take like a minute bearing his testimony ended up speaking the longest out of anyone. ha. he did really good. he has been here for like 13 weeks, and i feel like he speaks better than me in my 6th transfer. gift of tongues, some people get a little more of it :) but he did super great, and his companion did a stellar job too. Sister O did a splendid job talking about seeing others as they may become and how important that is, and with less than five minutes left, I brought up a hymn and read the words of brightly beams our father's mercy, and then testified of being grateful, read a scripture, and encouraged everyone to share their light with other people to show their gratitude to God. And, then I sat down. Crazy!!! Sister O and I had taken all of this time to prepare and we had practiced and we were all prepped.... and due to lack of time, niether of us gave the talks we had planned, but it all worked out. We had two investigators there, and there were a couple of less active people there. It was a good time at church.

We met with our investigator Ági. We are planning her baptism for December 21. She is really sweet, and really nice. She has tons of posters up of people i thought were cool in middle school because she has two girls close to my age. The one is in Buda, and so I have never met her, and the other is going to school, so I have also never met her. We have some really good times meeting with ági, and we have had a member coming to our programs, and it really has made a world of difference. Members being involved with missionary work... SO IMPORTANT!

 We are still meeting with Lilla, so everything is good with the girl from the nagy erdo. They are painting in the church this week, so we can't use the buliding at all, so we are going to her house tomorrow and i am really excited!!

Important things. Sister O and I gave a training in Szeged this week. It is a pretty long train ride, over 3 hours long, and in order to get there before the training 10, we had to wake up at 4 and then leave the apartment at 5:10 to take the villamos to get to the train station to take the train at 5:50. And then the alarm didn't go off and so we woke up naturally at 6:30. It was a nice thing, because we realized our bodies are just super accustomed to waking up at 6:30. Bad thing... because we missed our train! So, we just kind of sat in our beds a little and talked about what we should do. We called the Zone Leaders in Szeged and told them we missed our train--there was NO way we were saying we slept in--and they told us to still come down. It was the quickest we had ever gotten ready. Showered and totally ready to go in 40 minutes. We got the train at 7:50, the Hulberts picked us up at the train station in Szeged, and we got to the training only an hour and twenty minutes late--just in time to give our training! We had planned to not eat lunch there and just turn right around and come back, but with all the confusion and everything form earlier we decided to get some lunch and then we headed out. Miracle happens. We got our tickets, jump on the train, and then we start searching all of the cabins to see if by chance some other missionaries are on there that we could talk to. We ended up going all the way to the front of the train and there were no missionaries, so we took a compartment with one lady in it. Now. This is a pretty long train... and so there are lots of options of compartments. the lady we sat with was the same lady we sat with on our way to Szeged in october! WHHHAA?! So cool. We ended up talking to her until we had to transfer trains. She is a textile and carpet designer. So incredible to talk to her. We explained why we are here and we had some really good conversation. Seriuosly. Such a blessing. Oh. And we found at why the alarm didn't go off. It was set for Sometimes that is how the cookie crumbles.

Yeah, but the training was super awesome. I love working with Sister Oberhansley because she is super grounded and analytical, then there is me who is not! And so we really work together really well. I would say we compliment each other very much. Our training was fun, but still direct, and we drew a Christmas tree... overall, super successful :)

Well! Tomorrow we are going to hopefully meet with a fashion designer, and we are going to go off to Szolnok for some awesome splits, so I will be working here with Sister Peterson. Always a treat to work with old companions.

everyday is beautiful
Sok szeretettel,
Kennedy novér

This week I found out Jesus was Hungarian.

November 12, 2013

This week we had a birthday!!! Elder Nyman finally turned the big 19. Youngest missionary in the mission here! We made them some nice Hungarian food to celebrate. It is really good to have him around. He is always so enthused about everything, and that is a really nice thing.

Transfer calls came! I am staying with Sister Oberhansley. I can hardly believe it. I thought I was for sure going... Luckily, I hadn't packed this time... just gone through papers and things to throw away... I almost did, but I luckily didn't. Today all I bought at the grocery store was a palacsinta, or crepe pan... so... I might have to go back there now that everyone knows i am staying...

Me and Nagy Misi!!  I was in Kecskemét for splits, and we met with him and
taught him a program.  It was super good, just like the old times :)
Last week we went to Kecskemét. Ah. Kecskemét. The land of my birth. I absolutely loved being there. One reason... I got to meet with Nagy Misi! He is doing super well, and it was really good to talk to him. He was baptized 11 months ago, and it was so incredible to just talk to him about his progress in the church and his relationship with God. He is the Young Men's president, and he told me all about how he just went to America a couple of months ago. It was really cool to be able to understand everything he said... He was always so good to me so I would understand. I also so the Bishop and his family, and they are all doing really well, and everything is good in Kecskemét land! I am so grateful for the sisters that are there now and that they can keep up the work in the place that I love so dearly. 

Because transfers are tomorrow, we had to get a last final picture of our district! I will just shoot through the names really quick. Back row, me, Sister Rupard, Elder Steel, Sister Steel (they are the senior couple here and are from St. George), Sister Weberg (she is from Hawaii, and we actually met in the MTC. I have always been a super big fan of hers), Sister Falslev, and Sister Oberhansley. On the couch we have Elder Squire, Elder Cutler, Elder Nyman, and Elder Gaytán. So, yeah! That has been our little distrct for the past little while. With the transfer, we are losing three missionaries and three more will come in. I am already friends with them, and luckily and Elder is coming who is a transfer older than me, so I don't have to be the néni of the group. We have district meetings on Fridays for the most part, and we normally rotate whether we have them in Debrecen of Nyíregyháza, so I am on a train at least every week. Do they have trains in America? I mean, I know they do... I have seen them. But, do people actually use them? Sounds like a good plan to me. 

Me and Sister Falslev.  We have been in the same district this past
transfer and thought we might never see each other again... just kidding.
 we are still in the same district.

Let's have a success moment. Tóth János gave a talk in church on Sunday!! He was baptized in September, and he gave a talk on the priesthood, and it was sooo good. When he first walked up he didn't have any notes, or scriptures, or anything, and I was kind of nervous. And then, he started talking about how he hadn't prepared a talk and then on Saturday two angels visited him. I got even more nervous!! But, then he talked about how they were angels from Debrecen and they gave him some church manuals and he was able to write his talk. It was a very well done talk, and we were really excited for him. He gets along so well with the branch and he is really making a big impact. He wrote me a really nice letter and when I get home I have been instructed to share it with my parents, so I will be doing that. 

Now let's have a crazy moment... We are tracting. We knock on this door. A big guy opens it. I start off, hello, my name is Sister Kennedy and we are missionaries for our church. He asks, which church? I say, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Then he just starts talking. It was crazy!! He started telling us about how it is foolish that we believe in the last days, and then he said that we aren't christian, because Jesus Christ never talked about there being the last days and that it is all an internal thing anyway. Sister Oberhansley started to lead into the fact that we are Christian and started to say that when he just opposed us. He raised his voice and told us that his church was the only true church. It has been around for 5,000 years. Then, this is what he says, Jesus was not a Jew. Jesus was Hungarian. Oh my... He continued to tell us that we needed to throw away our Book of Mormons and then he closed the door. So crazy. So CRAZY! Tracting is the coolest. That is where the best stories come to life. 

There are a lot of really, really sad people here in Hungary. A lot of broken homes, and a lot of problems. That is why I love the hope the gospel brings. Hope is an interesting word. We can say oh, we hope in things, but it can be hollow and empty. When we say, as members of the church, that we hope for things, we are really saying that we notice the brightness around us and that we are going to work to attain it. We are meeting with this guy, really cool, just called us one day and asked us for english help, and now we are teaching him. He is super quiet and it is kind of awkward everytime, but his eyes kind of light up when we talk about our church. It is cool. He doesn't fully recognize it yet, oooh, but he will! He will!!! 

I hope everyone has a happy week and that the reading in the Book of Mormon is going awesome! I will be honest in admitting I have got to play catch up a little... but I am still doing it! 

Sok szeretettel, 
Kennedy novér

I bought a rabbit...

November 4, 2013

...hat. I bought a rabbit hat! Don't send PETA on me...

We had a super awesome week. We went to Budapest and had Zone Conference. It ended up being a pretty long trip, we had a meeting on Thursday morning at 9:45, and then that afternoon from 11-4, and then that evening from 5:30-7:45. We would have had to wake up at 4 to catch our train, and then the last train that goes to Debrecen had left before our meeting even ended, so we ended up spending the night. I saw Sister Perkins a lot, and we got to talk, and that was really interesting. On Friday morning we talked to President Smith and I ended up asking him for a blessing, just so I can have that extra push, and it was a super, super cool experience. I am very grateful for President Smith and everything he has ever done for me. But... let's get into the good stuff... what happened at Zone Conference?!

Elder Teixeira came. He is the President of the European area, and he is in the quorom of the 70. Super cool. Everything he said was so incredible. He taught us more about repentance, more about personally discovering who we are, more about becoming real missionaries. It was such an incredible day. He taught us different ways to street, how we should really be praying for people, how to really determine success. I don't know. It was just good. But, there were some things that just really stood out to me. I will admit. Sometimes I think, no one in this whole world will ever understand my mission. The Hungary Budapest mission is the hardest one in the whole world. Only people that have served here could possibly understand. It is the hardest. But, during our leadership meeting, he told us about how we don't know what hard is. I was kind of surprised... and then he explained how much harder it is in Brazil. He told us, I know, you think that the white suit always hangs wet behind the door from baptisms, and they just walk out on the street and people come find them, but that is not true. He talked about how they walk everywhere and that we don't understand. They wear through 6-8 pairs of shoes, and then he just kind of started crying saying that we didn't understand what hard meant. It was a very humbling experience. I have been praying for mre humility lately... got it!

His wife also spoke to us. She was really impressive. She told us how her husband never lets her prepare, just tells her to be led by the spirit :) She got up and told us how the white handbook is really good, but a couple of times it specifically says always and a couple of times it says never, and how that is so direct and how it will help us so much. That was cool. She also told us that it took Joseph Smith 60 days to translate the Book of Mormon, and so we should all read the whole book before the end of the year. So, if anyone wants to join me in on that, I might have a bit of a jump start, but if you read like 9 or 10 pages a day you can totally get it. How cool? Yeah. Me and Sister Oberhansley just kind of moved our bookmarks back to the beginning on the train home and started over. She was in Mosiah, whereas, I was only in Jacob. It is really fun to read it together with her because we keep in the same area and we have really good discussions from it.

We met with the cute red head from the forest this week! We told her we wanted to just read from the Book of Mormon with her and work through it, and then we asked her if she would rather us read from where she is, or read our favorite parts. And then she said, why don't we just talk about your church!! Ha. She had a lot of questions and just kind of went through the different things she had heard from friends and the internet and stuff. We covered the law of chastity, the word of wisdom, and polygamy! Scary... but she still planned to meet with us tomorrow. So, that is awesome! :) She absolutely loved church. She told us she wants to come back every week. She rocks. I am so glad I met her! When we talked about the law of chastity she was like, well, i guess this means i probably need to get married before i get baptized. She put those together on her own. She rocks.

Sorry the picture is kind of blurry, but this week was the day of the dead, so we all headed off to the cemetary to take a walk around. It was really great. Most of the people we went with had someone close to them pass away and they thought it was super weird that we wanted to go and walk around the cemetary, but I have always really liked cemetaries. For me there is just something so... peaceful about them, as well as, intriguing. Don't really know how to describe it. I just like them.

sok szeretettel,
kennedy novér

They don't even have a Hungarian word for "nerd."

October 28, 2013

I hope everyone has a happy halloween! We will be having zone conference that day, so we should have a rocking time. Luckily I got all of my "dressing up" all out of me, so I won't be tempted to wear something silly in front of an area seventy. 

So, we had a little halloween party here the other night, and it was pretty great! We dressed up as nerds! But, no one really recognized what we were... they just kept saying, oh what cute school girls you are! Umm... nerd. Turns out, Hungarians have altered the German word stréber to mean nerd, so, that is interesting. Here we are!

They had bobbing for apples! It was the girst time I had ever done it. Roberta volunteered to hold my hair out of the water (see yellow arm) and she kept PUSHING MY HEAD IN! Ha. I was super unimpressed. But, it was a super fun time. I really enjoyed the party. People were saying that it was better than any party... possibly ever. Probably better than american parties! We had two nonmember families who came to the party, a lot of people from english class, and a couple of our investigators. It was so awesome. Everyone really felt good the whole time, and everyone had lots of fun. There were kids running around throwing things and there was some screaming, and it was really loud, and I didn't like it, but then one of the senior sisters said, it sounds like home, and I realized she was right! It sounds like singles wards here... always super quiet... and then you go to a home ward and it is too loud! So, I guess our goal is to bring some kids in here to make the group a little bit... louder!

This cute, super awesome family brought a cake to the party with fingers and eyeballs!  Ha.  The mom is a neuroligist, and she was dressed up as a witch telling us how she worked the night shift last night, and how that is how she got all of the things, and then she cackled.  So, so brilliant.  It really was so much fun.Oh!!  And I almost forgot.  See that jar of worms?!  I won that!  I have never been good at those guessing games, but, for the first time in my life I guessed right!!!

We went on splits this week and I was with Sister Falslev--super fun! It is always weird working with my old companions. First off--probably because they can speak Hungarian now. Second off--we don't have to do any like, chit chat to find out information about each other, instead we just know each other and just talk. So, I really liked the split. We talked about tons of different things, and had some good work. We went tracting and had a miracle. Not a huge miracle, maybe a little smaller than a regular miracle, but it was a good miracle, nevertheless.

We got into a ten story and we were just knocking it out. We had some good conversations at the door, but no one had really let us in or anything, not a big deal. We just kept going. And then we knock on this door, right? He opens the door. I tell him that we are missionaries and that we are doing a survey. He tells us that he isn't a believer, and we tell him that is not a big deal to us (I mean, all the better, right?) and then he is like, oh yeah, come on in! He starts kind of like, shuffling stuff around, tiding up a little, and then lets us in. We just asked him a couple of questions. How many books do you read a year? 5-10. Are you interested in a free english class? No. I am too busy. What is the most important thing in your life? My family. Then he told us about his little five year old girl. Do you believe in life after death? You know, I do. And you might think it is weird because I am not religious, but I really do. If you could ask any question to God, what would you ask? Well, I would have to believe in God to ask Him something. and then I didn't really know what to do... So I asked him what he thought the purpose was to our life. And he said, I don't know. It was just, so awkward. I didn't really know what to do, or what to say, so I just testified of God's plan for us, and then just threw this one out there--we normally meet with people so we can talk more about these things and how we can understand our purpose on life more. Can we come back another time? Here is the miracle-- he says yes! Not like, hmm, maybe, but yes. Can we meet tomorrow? Unfortunately n
o, but we are meeting with him on Tuesday. He told us that he had been thinking how he needs more direction in his life, and more guidance, and then we knocked on his door. I thought it was cool, and then he said, literally. As soon as I thought that, you knocked on my door. What a miracle.

We also had a musical number in church with recorders. And, that made me start thinking... maybe I want a recorder for Christmas!! I mean, I don't know how to play... but I know Matthew was pretty good at it. Didn't he play it at like... the Renaissance festival a couple of times?

Oh. In other news, the weather has been super awesome. I am not even wearing tights anymore. Hmm... people might be upset about that. Last night a lady gave us sweatshirts and socks and she made us wear them home because she was certain we were freezing. We had to take some backstreets home, because we might have looked silly! Ha...

Things are going super great with the girl from the forest. Ha. She and her boyfriend came to church, and they really liked it. He was a big fan of the music, and how simple and gorgeous everything was. They also came over to dinner at the Steel's where we carved pumpkins!! They are so great. She is so important to me, and I feel like we have a really great connection. I am so blessed to be able to teach her. We haven't gotten into the commandments yet, but she was telling us about how she wants to marry her boyfriend, so that is really exciting! I am so excited for her. I just love her!

Well. All is well here. The whole, all of my friends having kids is starting to really weird me out, but it is good that I probably find out about them before I go home, so keep that news coming, I guess.

Egyem meg a szívedet,
Kennedy novér

Sometimes missionaries need second chances too.

October 22, 2013

Well, last week started off with interviews in Budapest. It was really great talking to President Smith. Kind of weird... we talked about how I am coming to the end of my mission and we kind of started prepping for that. Talked about getting me a new temple recommend and kind of talked about what the last two months of my mission might bring. As far as the mini transfer going, SIster Oberhansley and I are still together in Debrecen, and we love it. Naturally we are super happy together. Oh. The other day I put on a skirt and she said, I think that skirt has lived it's life... Which is true. It has lived it's life. So, I am throwing it out. And some tights. And shoes. Just a heads up, I might be pulling out some money to go shopping... But, at least I warned you, right?

This was at church on Sunday. This is us and super cute Anna. She is a member here, and I love her. So, there is a picture!

The weather has been super interesting here. Right now I am wearing a shirt and a cardigan. I can't decide if the cardigan is too much. Oh well, it goes well with my outfit, so I will leave it on. We were walking to a program after tracting when we got blessed with this gorgeous sight. Unfortunately, it wasn't a double rainbow, but it was really, really pretty. The opposite sky was orange and reminded me of a creamsicle. Oh, how I love creamsicles.

 We went tracting yesterday, and that was really nice. There were a lot of older people in the building and they were really nice. We normally start our "approach" with a little survey. We ask them about what books they read, if they are interested in english class, and then if they believe in God, life after death, purpose of life, importance of family, most important thing in this life, whatever. We just ask. But yesterday, it was a different experience. We would say, hi, we are missionaries and today we are performing a survey, and then they just started talking to us before we even asked them any questions. So, that was pretty cool. One guy was just like, come in, come in. So... we did! And then this lady inside was telling us how she met with the missionaries a couple of years ago and she always loved it, but now she can't read because her eyes are bad. It was actually a very inspired and good conversation. The guy that had us come in was in the military in the 60s and he is super put together, so we are hoping that some good stuff comes from this.

My eye keeps twitching, and it is really annoying. It has been happening for an entire week now. I heard if I eat bananas it will go away. We will see.

Well, I tried to see if I told you this story, but I guess I didn't. I promise I wrote it somewhere... maybe it was my journal?

Last transfer I was with Sister Magda, and we were out walking around and streeting. We walked by this really cute, normal looking girl, and I got too scared to talk to her (when I told a member here that she rolled her eyes and said, thanks... oops!) and then I was going to go back and talk to her and it was kind of awkward, but I ended up never going back to her. But, her face was just kind of there in my head. I knew that if I ever saw her again I was going to talk to her. I promised that. And, I really hoped that I would be able to find her again. Flash forward a couple weeks. Sister Oberhansley and I are working and it is raining and we had like, a half hour or an hour to go streeting, and she said how we should go because we would be blessed, and so i said, right on, and we went out. I don't even know how it happened, but we saw this same girl and her boyfriend in the great forest (the name of the closest park... there are a lot of trees there) and I was just like, finally! walked right up to her, asked her about happiness, and then asked if we could talk more about what we believe in. Her boyfriend wasn't interested, but she was. and still is! In our first program she told us about how she had thought she should start reading the bible more, and then she met us. And then we talked to her mom and she was like, yeah, i have been looking for more in my life, and i want to get answers to my questions. so she is open to it too! Havent met with the mom yet... but they are coming to church on sunday! cooool. Oh. and the really cool girl wants to be baptized before i go home. and she is a hair cutter/doer so i might color my hair red right before i go home just to remember how everyone here colors their hair funky red. but seriously!!! such an incredible miracle. I mean, not everyone gets a second chance like that. I mean, for me to be able to have found her again is such a miracle and I am so grateful that the Lord gave me that opportunity. Eternally grateful. 

Jelzotuz Atyám kegyelme
sok szeretettel,
Kennedy novér