Monday, March 27, 2017

az elmult másfél év (the last year and a half)

As my mission here in Hungary soon comes to a close, I've been pondering the last year and a half. Serving in Hungary, as a full time missionary has been the greatest blessing!!! Here are some of my thoughts recently---

I came on a mission to find others, to find people who needed to feel that they are loved by their Heavenly Father and to share the message of the Restored gospel. And that is what I've done. In doing that, however, I have found myself and God has found me. The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the selfless service of others. My mission has changed my life forever and I can't even begin to describe all that I've learned and all that I feel. I now feel and have felt our Heavenly Father's incomprehensible love for each of us. Looking back, I have learned so much and have learned that I will always be learning. Some of the main things I've learned being on my mission, however, are:

-the importance of love and charity for all
-the role of humility in our lives
-how crucial is is to have faith and act on it, always keeping in mind an eternal perspective
-positive change takes effort and is a good thing, and it helps if you have a friend
-happiness can always be found

As I left for my mission, I knew this whole journey would not be easy. I also knew that it would be what I made of it. Starting from day one, when I got my first companion, Vašica nővér, and met my MTC group, I truly strived to love them with all my heart. I know that prayers are answered because as I sincerely prayed to see them through the eyes of the Savior and to love them, it came. My love for the people around me grew immensely, I felt like the Grinch when his heart grew three sizes in one day. Everyone needs to be loved and during my mission I have made a great effort to love even those, who at times would not accept our message. My heart is continually being filled with love and charity. Most importantly, I know that our Heavenly Father and our older brother, Jesus Christ, know us and love us. Love is the key. 

When I arrived in Hungary, I felt that my testimony was beaming and I felt confident in my two months of Hungarian knowledge. I met President and Sister Szabadkai, who are a huge blessing and full of love and support. They love the missionaries and are great examples to me. I served in Nyíregyháza
​, in the north east,
 for my first area
​, where my companion was Wilson nővér and where I later served with sweet Jarrett nővér. It was there in Nyíregyháza where I learned about humility and how to rely on the Lord. With feelings of loneliness and constant discouragement in regards to not being able to understand or speak the language very well, I felt defeated at times. I am eternally grateful though for the patient members who I love beyond my literal ability to describe. I learned there that I needed humility in my life and that I had/have a constant need for the Lord and His diving help. I truly strived to submit to the will of God and to honor Him for what was accomplished. Throughout my mission I often would remind myself that if I rely on the Lord, I can do what He requires and that will be how I can help the people here. I spent six months in Nyíregyháza and it holds a very dear place in my heart. I will never forget the time I had there and the incredible people I met. At the end of my six months there, I felt much more comfortable with the language and was absolutely loving being a missionary. 

​Then, I got transferred to Kispest where I served with Willets nővér (who I knew before the mission) for four months and then with McGregor nővér (from my MTC group) for two months. I look back on my time in Kispest with the biggest smile, my time there was some of the happiest in my life. It was in Kispest where I learned what it is to work hard and the importance of acting on faith. I learned how to always do my part, to not be discouraged and keep trying even when times were challenging. Miracles happen when we hold tight to our faith in the hard times and keep in mind an eternal perspective. As I taught people in Budapest, I was constantly learning so much from those we were teaching. One of the biggest blessings was helping and seeing people make positive, eternal, and lasting changes. Change can be difficult but it is wonderful and the Lord is always by our side. I also learned here the importance of having supportive friends. Everyone needs a friend. Even Christ needed a friend during His hardships and so God sent an angel to the Garden of Gethsemane. The members in Kispest are incredible and I grew so close to them. I believe the people I met during my time in Budapest helped me become a better person and I am forever grateful for the six months I had there, it was hard to leave.

​I have spent the last four months of my mission in the small town of Szolnok. I served with Gordon nővér in her last transfer, and then with Vielstich and Evans nővérek for my last transfer. I met some of the most humble, kind and genuine people here who helped me be happy. I love sweet Szolnok. It was here where I felt like my head and heart might just explode with love. Abraham Lincoln said "most people are about as happy as they make their minds up to be," and on my mission I have felt true happiness and I want to always be happy. 

​I can't fully describe all that this past year and a half means to me. I've come to know my Savior better and He has become a close friend to me. I learned about how His atonement works in our life and I've felt what it is to be truly converted. I've come to know my Heavenly Father and I know that He loves each of us. I have learned to love. I've learned how to trust and to put everything into the hands of our God. I've learned how to change. I changed here in Hungary. I gained a testimony here and drawn closer to my Savoir. I've learned how to be happy. I adore Hungary. To me, it is a hallowed place. I can't imagine not coming here. Hungary is full of love and hope. 

My favorite scripture, in which I find much comfort is in  D&C 50,

23 And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness.
24 That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.

Hungary has brought a new light into my life through rays of the divine light of the gospel and a future full of happiness. I am forever grateful to God to have been a full time missionary here and for the life-changing experiences I've been blessed to have. I never want to forget my time here. It is bittersweet as my time here in Hungary is coming short. This past eighteen months has been blissful. I'll end with my favorite quote from the Little Prince,

"Good-bye," said the fox. "Here is my secret. It's quite simple: one sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes."

Next week I meet up with my sweet parents in Budapest :) 

I love you all dearly and will see you soon!

Sok szeretettel, Schoendorfer Nővér

A few treasures we found at a yard sale.

Elder Hughes and Sister Dyson at training.

We've done lots and lots of walking.

Love seeing the moon here.

So much fun at the fogyatekos otthona (the special needs home).

The yard sale, where we met the sweetest lady and her son - Tamas.

More dogs we met through the fence while tracting. 

Having a little fun on one of our train rides. 

Love serving with these sisters. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

And then there were three!

Hello! It has been an exciting week here. One of the sisters missionaries had to go home for health reasons, so now we are a trio here in Szolnok. Evans nővér got here on Friday! We met with Gyöngyi twice last week which was really great, she is so sweet. We talked about and read with her in the Book of Ether 12 which talks all about all miracles and blessings come after the trial of our faith and how weaknesses can be changed into strengths, it is a really powerful chapter. We also went to Cibakháza to visit a family from the branch. Cibakháza is a really small town outside of Szolnok, it is always really fun to go out there. The family was so sweet and made us lunch and madár tej! I just love talking to the members here, they have some of the strongest and most interesting stories about their conversions and how they found the church.
We had splits with the Kecskemét sisters which meant I got to go on splits with Dyson nővér which is always such a treat. We went to the special needs home and it was so enjoyable being there, they get so excited when we come. One of the ladies was showing me the kézi munka (hand work/embroidery) she had made and it was just so precious! She also wouldn't let me leave without taking one that she had made, I learn so much from going there! 

We also went to Budapest this week for my very last Missionary Leadership Council. It was a great, actually my favorite one I've been to. We talked about what it truly means to be a successful missionary, domino effects of missionary work - how maybe one person we talked to on our missions could go on and share the gospel with many more, and how the times when we focus on others instead of ourselves is when our testimonies grow and are strengthen the most. 

On Friday, Evans nővér arrived from Győr. Vielstich nővér served with her last transfer and is really happy to be back with her! Being in a trio is really fun! On Saturday Adri (from Kispest) came to visit me and it was so great to see her! I will miss everyone here so so much, I have been so blessed to meet so many incredible people over the past year and a half. We went to the special needs home again with Adri for a little bit and then we took paper boats we made to the tisza river and floated them, it was so entertaining! 

We are working on a teaching for Zone Training in a few days, it will be my last one, which is hard to believe. It is all so bittersweet but I am enjoying every last bit of being here. I was reading in Mosiah 4 yesterday and two things really stood out to me while I was reading. In verse 9 it says,    "Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend" and verse 12, " ..if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God..."    I think it is so important to remember these truths. I know that often times we don't understand why things happen the way they do, but God has a plan and will not lead us astray as we put our trust in Him. I also know that we will be able to more fully feel His love as we trust in Him and do our part to strengthen our relationship with Him and as we work to serve others as the Savior did. 

I hope you have a fantastic week. Happy Spring!

Sok szeretettel, Schoendorfer Nővér

And then there were three!

Splits with the sisters from Kecskemet.

We floated paper boats we made down the Tisza River.

Got to see Vasica after MLC in Budapest.

We became a trio!

Singin in the rain!

Adri from Kispest came to visit, and she went with us to the special needs home.

A little zipline by our apartment.

Shoes are getting pretty worn.

We found Levente Street. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Boldog Nőnapot! (Women's Day)

Hello! It's been a really good week here. We spent a lot of time outside and it actually has gotten colder, but refreshing. On Tuesday we met with Gyöngyi again. She has been coming to church recently and is doing quite well. When we met this last week she told us all about what she had studied and learned recently and went through the entire Plan of Salvation. She is so sweet and wants to be baptized so hopefully we can set a date for that. 

We went to Szeged for splits on nőnap (Women's day) and I was with Beck nővér. I love the town of Szeged and it was especially fun for Vielstich nővér to go back because she served there. It's such a beautiful city. On Thursday, we went to the special needs home again. As always, I loved going there! I colored and talked with a girl named Erzsi who I hadn't met before, she is really cute. We also met a new guy there named Zoltán who talked to us all about star wars and would draw all the characters from it.

We were also able to meet with Erzsébet before Angolóra again. We had a good lesson with her and talked more with her about the Plan of Salvation, the Atonement, and having hope in the resurrection. She is such a strong lady. During English class we were talking about the days of the week and we went around the room and asked them each what their favorite day of the week is. When it got to cute Erzsébet she said, "My favorite day is today." She is the cutest.

We went to Szandaszőlős a few times this week, it's a pretty rural area about a 20 minute bus ride away. It smelled like farm land and it was actually really refreshing to be there. The people were really kind and we saw sheep, lots of chickens, saw the stars better, and found lots of nice dogs.

We also went to Cegléd to look for a family. They weren't home when we went, so we left a note and decided to head back to the train station. While walking back I felt like we should tract this one yellow apartment building we were walking past. We started to csengő and then someone let us in, which doesn't usually happen unless they are expecting someone to come. We went up to the last floor and knocked on the door and started to talk with the woman, Tünde, who answered. We asked about what the most important thing was to her in her life to which she answered, "boldogság" (happiness). She invited us in as we asked if we could share a message about happiness and we were able to talk with her and her boyfriend, Gábor for a while. They both said they didn't really believe in God but they intently listened as we talked with them about God, and how He wants for us to be happy most of all. It was really great to talk with them and although they don't want to keep meeting right now they said maybe later and told us how grateful they were that we came.
Church was good yesterday, Gyöngyi came again and loved it. The men in the branch gave each of us (the women) a tulip for nőnap and they are so pretty! 

I know that just as we shared with Tünde and Gábor, the message of the gospel truly is one of happiness and I am so grateful for that. This week, I found a lot of comfort in D & C 68:6 which says: Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come." I know that He really does stand by our side and loves us. 

Have a great week! 

Sok szeretettel, Schoendorfer Nővér

Lots of great dogs here.

Tracting out in Szandaszolos.

They love their hedgehogs.

The sign says "Good luck".

We have so many wonderful sunsets here.

We came upon this darling little cat that followed us for awhile.

Lots of friendly dogs.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Hungarian Family History and Indexing

The week started out a little slow with a few cancelled lessons, a few people not wanting to meet anymore; so we ventured out and started talking to as many people as possible. We had some really great experiences while we were out talking to people on the street. I remember one in particular, it was a girl probably just a little older than myself who was standing outside an apartment building looking so sad. We went up and talked with her and asked what the most important thing was to her and she answered "my family." We talked about families for a few minutes and I was able to tell her that my family is also the most important thing to me and that is why I came to Hungary and haven't seen them for a year and a half. We were able to share a little bit with her about how families can be together forever and that is why we left our families for a short time so we could come teach other individuals about 'forever families'. I wish I could describe the situation better, but at the end she was beaming with happiness and we could feel her genuine interest. She wants to meet and learn more so we swapped numbers and hopefully we can meet again really soon!
On Wednesday, we went to Budapest for Zone Conference, which went really well. Sister Vielstich and I gave a training on prayer and accountability and on building a stronger relationship with our Heavenly Father. 

We were able to meet with one person this week, her name is Erzsébet and she used to meet with the missionaries a few years ago. She was so happy we called and we were able to meet with her before Angolóra. We found out her mom recently passed away and she was having a hard time. We talked with her about the Plan of Happiness and I shared with her Moroni 7:41, which is all about finding hope in the resurrection. 

"And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise."

This promises us that we can live with our families forever and that this life in not the end. I find such comfort in that! She is such a sweet lady and she even stayed for English class where we taught comparatives - good, better, best. When we had everyone practice at the end, she said "I am happier today than yesterday." and smiled at us. It was so cute! 

We also went to Békéscsaba this week for exchanges which meant I got to be with Benson nővér! It was so great to be with her, she is a sweet friend. We had an enjoyable split and the next day was her birthday so in the morning, sister Vielstich and I decorated their apartment and put candles in a cake! It was really fun. I also got to see Rózsa for the last time, she is a member there that I had gotten to know pretty well over several times going on splits to Békéscsaba. Vielstich nővér and I ended up having to run to the train station and catch the train to get back to help with a Relief Society activity. The ticket lady laughed and told us we wouldn't make it to the train that was leaving in a minute but we sprinted down the stairs and back up another to the platform where they had their sign up to have the train leave but we were able to get on at the last second and basically as soon as I got up the train stairs, it started to move. It made for an adventure. We went to the Relief Society activity which was so great, I just adore the members here, they are so loving and are such wonderful examples to me. I learned how to use the Family Search website and I also learned how to read old Hungarian handwriting and how to index! It was so fun. I loved doing it and it was good to be with the members and helping them. Church was also great yesterday, I love this tiny branch, they are so amazing. 

I also finished reading the Book of Mormon in Hungarian yesterday! I used to think I would never be able to learn another language and be able to communicate with it and read books in it. I am forever grateful for having this opportunity to do so. Learning Hungarian has been an experience and I really am still learning, but reading the Book of Mormon in another language other than my own has been a huge blessing. Different things stood out to me and as I finished it yesterday I felt such a peace and I know that through this book, we truly can draw closer to our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ. 

I hope you have a great week!
Sok szeretettel, Schoendorfer Nővér

This is sweet Erika!

Tracting a 22 story building.

We bought fox tails for 2 dollars each.

Sister Benson's birthday.

The exciting Indexing Activity.

A kis herceg (little prince) statue. 

And some pictures of my Book of Mormon; the earlier chapters have almost every other word written in.....but towards the end of the book there are only a few words written in.