Friday, August 23, 2013

3rd week in Hungary! (August 19th)

How cool is it that you are getting an email from so far away?! And such a great place as Hungary! :)
Well, the work is... work! It isn't progressing quite as fast as I'd like.. (right now we have 1 investigator: Szabolcs. And he seems to be much more interested in the English part of the lessons than the gospel parts..) Which means we do a lot of finding, tracting streeting tabling and the like, and spent lots of time getting rejected.. But it has only made us that much more creative! We are thinking up new ways to talk to people about the gospel everyday! It is never easy, but it is so worth it!
As for the exciting news for this week... Well, I learned something interesting about the Hungarians that I didn't know before the last two weeks.. They HATE air conditioning. And it's a little more humid here than I am used to, and the temperatures in the last few weeks have been pushing 46 C, which is almost 115 F.. Yeah, it has been warm. Which isn't a huge deal, because I've lived through that before. But only through the miracle of A/C. And then to go inside a Hungarian home, or even the church building, and to feel no A/C.... what in the world?! Needless to say, it has been a lot of sweating on my part... 
I also had a close encounter with death this week. Relax relax, I'm kidding. Well, it felt like I was close to death anyway. Basically I have allergies, and pretty generic, so when the pollen is in the air, I sneeze, get runny eyes and nose when there's a lot of dust. And I' allergic to cats. For a big part of my life, I wondered how true that was, that I was allergic to cats. But there is a member here (long story short, she is an older American lady named Donna who is basically disabled) who has a cat. We go there with investigators who want to learn English and gospel, so we have a member present lesson. Which are actually really good with her! Until about 15 minutes in, my nose decided to start to run a marathon in my face, and turns my face into a human faucet-with the water on full pressure. And then I'm sneezing and it is just all around bad. Well, we spent the last few days there, to visit her and bringing investigators. It wouldn't be so bad if we didn't spend 2 and a half hours there with her and investigators! Basically 2 nights ago, I woke up several times in the night and couldn't fall asleep because of the constant flow of mucus. I do apologize for the graphics, but it was a lot more painful than I could paint a picture through words.. 
And now that I am finished complaining! :) Off to a really cool part: one of the lessons we had (thankfully in English! I could actually understand what was going on! haha) we taught about faith. This was a lesson that we didn't know we were teaching until a few hours before, when Donna called and said she wanted us to talk to one of her friends who used to be an investigator and she felt like he might want to hear from the missionaries again. Anyway, that morning, I was studying... you guessed it: faith. It was such a powerful experience, because I was able to utilize so effectively my personal study from that morning. At the end of the lesson I bore simple testimony that I know faith is so important in this life. We can find so much peace and happiness when we have and act upon our faith. And it was so amazing to use what I had learned fom the scriptures to help another of God's children. I know that we actually study, instead of just reading, the scriptures, we will see miracles in our lives. And I encourage you all to have a focus in your next scripture study. 

Well, I do apologize for the ridiculous length today. But if you don't wanna read all that READ THIS!: God lives and loves us. And I am so grateful for that knowledge. 

Sok sok szeretettel,
Flake Elder

2nd week in Hungary.. Jordan's birthday! (August 12th/13th)

Holy cow, this is hard work! 

That is probably not the best introduction I can think of.. But it has been quite the long week! Of course I am so grateful for the awesome chance I have to come out here to Hungary and serve the Lord! And even if every week showed absolutely no fruits, it is enough for me to just know that I am where my Heavenly Father wants me, and that I am serving Him in the best way I can!

So anyway, back to the work. This week showed me that I can do hard things! First off, I play piano in sacrament meeting now! It is probably one of the scarier things I do, especially when I don't exactly play all the notes right... haha but it has been a good growing experience for me! 

One of our investigators, Szabolcs, is an awesome guy! He is in our English class, which is how we found him and why he wanted to learn about the gospel, and he is preparing for an interview with an international company, which will be in English. He has been meeting with us about 2 or 3 times a week, and he is progressing really well! He is very interested in the gospel, and is good at reading the Book of Mormon! Anyway, the other day we were having a lesson with him, and I asked him what his thoughts were on the Book of Mormon. He kinda said it was good, but wasn't sure if it was the word of God, like what we (the elders) were saying. I bore simple testimony that I know it is true. Then I asked him to be baptized! It was... not as intense as I was expecting, actually. I mean, I was ready to have my heart start pounding. But it was really peaceful for me. And he said that he wasn't sure now, but once he felt that this is what God wants for him, then of course he will. And that was so awesome, and such a relief. I am so glad for the Spirit of God to be able to touch those that we teach. 

So the other day, we went out to a little village looking for a family that wanted to meet with us. Unfortunately, though, we spent about 2 HOURS walking around in the blazing 110 or so heat for nothing. It was a little discouraging, but looking back, I just have to laugh at the whole situation, haha!

Also this week I finished the Book of Mormon! You might recall that I was trying to do that in the MTC.... but hey I did it! Haha, and it was such an awesome feeling. The Spirit came over me and just told me that its true. And that everything will be alright, don't worry! Something I definitely needed to hear!

So it was also my birthday!! And for a birthday, I got to spend the day in Budapest with some of my old MTC district! It was such an awesome day, and I am so glad I got to hang out with my old companion, Blackman Elder, because it was his birthday too! We have a good time romping around the city together :) haha. 

Well, I do apologize for the lengthy email this week.. But I am so glad that I get to be here in Hungary, serving the children of God! The are awesome people, and I am glad to say that I can help them and they are helping me!

Love you all! And you are in my prayers. :)

Elder Flake
 here is me and my trainer! hes really nice, and is such a trooper! he is also very patient with me haha, which is very good! 
this is one the buildings in my little city of Kecskemét! I dont actually know what its for, but it looks cool!! haha
 another cool looking building in Kecskemét! I think this one is a play building or whatever you call that haha where they have performances like that. anyways it looks cool! :)
 sorry its so crappy, but this was our first night! this is budapest at dusk. gorgeous!! i love the lights in this picture, its just the right time of night! unfortunately i have a 60 dollar camera that sucks... hahaha
 this is the scene from my apt's balcony! isnt it gorgeous?!

1st week in Hungary! (August 5th)

So this week has been pretty crazy, to say the least!! Lets start with the plane ride. So we left for the Salt Lake airport at about 8 in the morning. We left SLC at about 11:15 AM, and flew all day and all night, stopping in Chicago and London. We eventually arrived in Budapest at about 1 o'clock local time--the next day. It was so weird for me to only get about 3 and a half hours total on the plane, then get to the mission home and go and do things! Granted, there was nothing crazy to do, but I was still tired all day! Anyways, lucky me, I lost one of my bags on the plane. Great. They did find it later that day, but I didn't get it back because it was a the airport still, and as a missionary I don't have time to wait around! So I actually still don't have my second bag..... but I have all my clothes, so I guess I'm alright without it.. I did half to buy toiletries when I got to my area though. So anyway, the first night I got to Budapest, we took a tour and looked over the whole city of Budapest. and WOW. It was absolutely gorgeous! I took some photos, but they are all right around twilight, so they aren't the best quailty. We also visited something called hero's square that night, whoch is basically a bunch of statues celebrating some of Hungary's heroes from the past. They were so cool! And the whole place was so powerful! I absolutely love it here. 
The next day we went streeting (going up to random people on the street to talk with them about the Book or Mormon) with our MTC companions. And it was so scary!! Haha I didn't understand much of anything, and I realized how little I know of this language! After about an hour of that, we went to our cities with our new companions! I am now in Kecskemét, a beautiful city a little southwest of Budapest. My trainer, Elder Hunnicutt, is awesome! He is a lot quieter and shorter than my last companion though haha. But he is awesome nonetheless. 
This week we have done a looot of tracting and streeting. Basically a lot of rejection haha. But I don't even mind because I'm learning more and more of the language with every rejection! Haha, and I understand more and more everyday! Granted that is still only 20-25% haha, but it's great! 
Overall, this first week has been HARD. But also exactly what I needed. I love that the Lord is able to challenge us with exactly what we need. I now He is watching over me, and I am so grateful for it. 
We also went to church yesterday, for fast Sunday. And I got up to bear my testimony! I am sure I sounded like an incapable child, but I stumbled through and eventually got through my Hungarian testimony. I am so grateful for the awesome opportunity I have to do this amazing work! Well, you are in my prayers every day! 

Sok szeretettel, 
Flake Elder

PS if this is the first email you are receiving fro me, it is because I just found the list of emails. :) Sorry! But it's okay, that was the MTC. Now is the real stuff. :) 

PPS I don't have any way of sharing pictures right now... but soon I will!