Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas in Hungary


     So Christmas this year was unlike any other I have ever experienced before, but it was also great. It was my first time not being home, but luckily I was able to Skype with my family and feel like I was there with them, at least for a little bit. 
     I don't have a ton of time today, but I'll give you a quick run down of the week. We went to visit a Néni named Ilona, I think I've maybe talked about her before, she is so cute. Whenever we first arrived to meet her she is always so grumpy and talks about how bad she feels, but then we joke with her and she laughs a little and we manage to get a grin out of her. We have visited her three times and the first time I was wondering "what her deal is?!" But now she is one of my favorite people to visit. Every time we see her she says something along the lines of "I don't know if you know exactly what I'm saying, but you're really pretty!" It's so cute. She also tried to draw a picture of me which was kind of a wreck, but she thought it was hilarious. 
     After we left her house we were walking to the Branch House and I saw the cutest little cat! I'm sure it belonged to someone because it came right over and was super friendly. It kept trying to climb under my dress because it was so cold! But I got a long leaf and was playing with the cat for a few minutes and then it started following us! I was just dangling this long leaf as we walked and it was so fun. 
     On Christmas Eve there was absolutely NOTHING opened. The whole city was basically shut down and we ran around to three different grocery stores hoping to buy food to make on Christmas, but we had no luck, so it made for a rather humble Christmas dinner. We also visited two members on Christmas which was fun. The first member lived kind of far away and my companion said she knew how to get there, but surprise, she totally didn't! We got off at the wrong bus stop and were just walking along this super foggy road for what seemed like days. We even called the member and she said that she didn't even recognize the name of the street we were on! (Not a good sign in case you were wondering, haha). Anyways, we just kept walking and all the sudden we found her street! We had the house number wrong and we were just standing in front of this house with about 15 chickens in the front yard. It was honestly comical, I loved it! Then we called her again and this time were only two houses away. She was super sweet and also fed us fish soup, I won't go into detail about that; Haha, let's just say I'm not a huge fan of fish soup but hey it could've been much worse. She was really fun to talk to and she invited us over again this next week. 
     Later that same evening, we went to another member's house with the Elders which was an enjoyable time and then we sang some Christmas Carols in a park! It was wonderful. It was super foggy and everyone who we saw walking just looked like shadows until they got closer. It was fun though and we passed out three copies of the Book of Mormon! On Christmas we didn't have anywhere to go so we just hung out at the Branch House with the Elders which was relaxing. We were each able to Skype with our families which was the best part of the day! For dinner we shared 2 chicken breasts and one pepper between the 5 of us. 
     A few other things from last week was that we had our Sport Day, which is always fun and I found out that I can actually play basketball, haha. Basketball is probably my least favorite sport but I made a corner shot and the Elders were like "where did that come from!?" It was pretty funny, and rather amazing for me to make the shot. 
     We also went to Valika's house for dinner one night last week. She is the Relief Society President and the absolute sweetest lady. She is training a dog that is 6 months old right now and SO cute. What was great for me though was that I understood everything she said!.....that is, everything she said to the dog. Haha, but really, I do feel like I can understand a little bit more each and every day and I'm just trying to be brave by talking to more and more people. I made my first phone calls in Hungarian today so that was a new experience! I set up a few lessons over the phone, so that was good for me! 
     I hope you all had an amazing Christmas. Oh, I almost forgot, I learned a new word yesterday when someone at church was talking about my freckles! Szeplő means freckle!

​Sok szeretettel, Schoendorfer Nővér

Monday, December 21, 2015

Life in Nyiregyhaza


     It has been another great week here in Hungary. I will start at the beginning of the week and tell you about an experience I had last Monday evening. I was feeling rather concerned about a few things - some in relation to here and some things at home. Sometimes, I find it's rather hard to remember that the Lord has a plan for each of us. It shouldn't be hard, but for some reason, it just is at times. That evening, we were with the Elders in our District for dinner and they could tell that I was a little worried; one of them asked if I thought a Priesthood Blessing would help. I am so glad that I received a blessing, because it did bring enormous comfort and peace to me. I know that Heavenly Father is looking out for us and that as we are faithful, we can receive strength. I really do believe that this is true and I have truly felt the comfort from the Power of the Priesthood. One thing I will share from the blessing is that there are people here that need me, and I know that is true as well. Now is the time for me to share the testimony that I have worked hard to build over time and I know will continue to grow each day as I turn to the Lord. 

     I think I mentioned Izabella last week, she is a Néni (older woman) who just walked into church a few weeks ago. We have been teaching her and she has been coming to all the activities we've had. She is such a sweet lady and she even brought her granddaughter to one of the lessons. I am looking forward to teaching her more. She has expressed a lot of hard things that have happened in her life, but I know the gospel can really help her, as it can help everyone! 

    Another wonderful experience happened one night while we were walking home; I approached an older man who was just slowly walking by some shops. As soon as I started talking to him, there were suddenly four more people who came over to hear what we were saying. It didn't look like it when I had first approached him, but he was there with all of his family. They all intently listened as we introduced the Book of Mormon, it was a powerful experience for me. I was able to bear a simple testimony about what I know to be true and we gave them two copies of the Book of Mormon. I don't know if we will hear from them again or not, but at least it is a seed planted and that can sometimes be the catalyst that will prompt someone later on in life to learn more about the gospel. 

     This week I taught a lesson! It was a little scary because this language is so so difficult and I don't understand everything that is being said, but my trainer has been really great to get me involved in teaching the lessons. I taught about the message of the Restoration and it was a really neat experience. 

     On Wednesday we had a Zone Conference in Budapest which was wonderful. We had to wake up at 4:15 am and take a 3 hour train ride there, but it was good because we all just slept, haha. We had a game of white elephant and also went to the movies! We saw 'The Little Prince'. It was enjoyable, I actually loved it, even if it was in Hungarian.

     On Saturday, we had a Sport Day which was super fun. We played soccer for a while which I LOVED! It felt good to run around and get to know some of the people here. There were only two Hungarians who came and the 5 missionaries in our District, but we had a blast. Also, I guess I noticed this over the Summer, but people in Europe generally don't run for fun or exercise just around town, at least that's what I've noticed. This morning, my companion and I went for a run and got the funniest looks and also honked at twice. It's cool though, it made for an experience. 

     We had a Branch Christmas Party which was so so fun! Patrik (I mentioned him last week) from English class came! I wasn't sure if he would come or not, but he did, and he had a great time. I don't believe that he really has many friends so it was really good for him. It was enjoyable for me to talk to him and get to know him better, and to practice some of my Hungarian language skills. I also invited him to church and he came to that too! We are going to have the Elders teach him if he is interested. Also the Relief Society Presidents granddaughters, Néomi and Zsobi came to the Christmas Party and they are the cutest! They are around 14  years old and they knew that I played piano and right before we were about the leave, they ran up to me and each took one of my hands and walked me over to the piano to play for them. They asked me to play Für Elise and their reaction was so precious! They came to church the next day too and had me play for them again and even sang along to another song I played. I am excited to teach them more about the Gospel, and they both said they want to be baptized too! Maybe I will be able to teach them a little piano as well, they both really want to learn. 

     I think that sums up this week. I hope you all have a Happy Christmas. I was reading the story of our Savior's birth in Luke this morning and something that I love is how so may people associated with the Savior are reassured to not be afraid, to "be not fearful". Also, in Matthew Chapter 1, verses 20-21, Joseph is reassured to "fear not". The story of our Savior's birth is so dear to me and I am so grateful for His example and His Atonement, that made the resurrection a reality and eternal life a possibility for us all. 

Sok szeretettel, Schoendorfer Nővér

Dinner in Nyiregyhaza at one of the Christmas booths
Having a little nap on the train ride to Budapest for a Zone Conference

Large wooden tree in Budapest

Cathedral in Budapest

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Monkey I got during the White Elephant gift exchange

Branch Christmas Party with companion and Dora

Neomi, Hannah and Zsobi

Cute Neomi all dressed up in the donated clothes at the Branch House

Monday, December 14, 2015

I'm finally here in Hungary!


     So so much has happened, I don't even know where to begin. So the process of getting to Hungary had us traveling for about 27 hours, counting when we got up at 2 AM in Utah, made our way to the travel office and then all the way to the Mission Home in Budapest. We first flew to Houston, then to Munich and finally arrived in Budapest. On the flight to Germany I was feeling nostalgic from this past summer in Vienna and when I ordered my soda I was able to talk a little bit in German with the flight attendants. I don't think my German is very good any more, ever sense I started learning Hungarian, but it was fun to converse in German for awhile. I also slept pretty much the WHOLE WAY to Germany. The flight was great because I was in the aisle seat in the middle section of seats, and there was no one in the middle seat next to me, and then it was Ure Edler in the next seat, so we had a nice time chatting, well at least, when I was awake. After I had woken up after sleeping for so long Ure Elder just looked at me and was like "Really? You just had to sleep the whole time!?" He obviously couldn't sleep very well, haha. Anyways, we went through customs in Germany and then we were on our way to Hungary. 
     When we finally landed, and were met by President Szabadkai and his wife who were waiting for us with the APs (Assistant to the President) they helped us get all of our luggage to the van and we then went to the mission home. We then went to exchange currency, got some lunch, and had interviews. President Szabadkai is extremely kind and very energetic. He talked a lot about smiling, which I love to do, and it was really wonderful talking with him. Afterwards, we went to get photos taken for our Residencey Cards and I almost got hit by a police car crossing the street with a few others. Don't worry, hahah, we made it! That evening the Senior Missionaries took us to Buda Castle, which is absolutely beautiful! I went there this summer when it was blazing hot, so it was fun to be there in the cold and see the Castle at night. It gets dark here in Hungary around 4pm in the winter, so it always feels later than it actually is. 
     Later that evening, one of the Senior missionaries read the Mission's Dedicatory Prayer to us, which is beautiful. I wish I remembered more of it right now. I'll have to look at it more later, but it talked about how Hungary has it's scars and has been through hard times but how the missionaries sent here have been foreordained. I loved that it talked about how Hungary has had it's scars, because I feel like as people we all have scars, we all have things we wish we could just get rid of or hard things that we have gone through, but, just because something has scars, doesn't mean it can't change. The spirit was so strong as he read that dedicatory prayer to us and I know that this is where I am suppose to be. 
     We stayed in a hotel the first night and the next day we were assigned to our new companions. It was sad to say bye to all the other Nővérek (Sister Missionaries) but I know I will see them again at some point or possibly serve with them later. The meeting where we got our new companions felt like the sorting hat experience from Harry Potter, haha. All the new missionaries were on one side of the room and the training missionaries on the other side and then Pres. Szabadkai read the name of the area and then the names of the two missionaries. Well, drum roll please........................
     I am serving in Nyíegyháza with Wilson Nővér! This is actually her last transfer and she goes home in February, so I hope we will be able to make her last area a productive one. She has served here once before about 5 months ago, and it has been interesting picking it up from two other sisters who left. Nyíegyháza is the furthest East you can get in the mission. I love it here! The Elders that are here with us are Murdok, Roberts, and Ure Elder. Yup, I'm STILL with Ure Elder! It is really fun to see a familiar face and I am so excited to serve in our first area together. A cool story actually, Ure and Murdok are friends from back home and played football together so it is fun to see them together as well.
     So getting to our new area, we had a 3 and a half hour train ride to our town from Budapest and once we arrived, it was already dark and we had to go up a bunch of stairs with all our luggage and then walk a half hour. It felt like we would never get there! We even walked down this kind of sketchy alley with all our stuff and it was sort of comical because we were each dragging two suitcases behind us. We finally got to the apartment, which is rather nice, although it was left pretty messy, so we cleaned it a lot today, and it is pretty good sized considering where we are. 
     The following day I taught my first real lesson, to Enikő. She has been taking lessons for a while. She is really sweet and we will see her again on Thursday. We attend church in the Branch House, which is actually in an office building. It has been an interesting experience going to an office building, but it's good. I love talking to people in our town. They have a Christmas market set up which is really charming with a very large Christmas tree, that center part of town is my favorite place to talk to people. I gave out my first Book of Mormon there to a woman and her children. It was sweet, she said she doesn't have a lot of time to read, usually because of all her kids but she seemed really interested and was really kind. 
     I was able to play  piano for a choir practice we had. There were only  6 people there, but it was really enjoyable. Kati is the Music Director and she really loves music! She also talks sooooo fast, so I just play the hymns she tells me to, people sing, and I do a lot of smiling! 
     We also taught the beginning English class which was quite an eye opening experience. We didn't know we were teaching the class because the sisters who were in this area before didn't tell us much, which has been honestly a little challenging. I felt really bad for the man who came to the English class. He has special needs and his mom brought him and afterwards he walked out and I saw him wiping tears from his eyes and heard him tell her it was hard for him. I went up and told him about how hard the Hungarian language was for me! I assured him that we would help each other and that it will be easier next time. 
     We had another lesson with a woman named Anna Maria. She has had some really challenging things happen in her life and she is very sad and depressed. When we called she told us she didn't want to meet, but then she realized that it was a different set of sisters and she had remembered Wilson Nővér from 5 months prior and she had us come over. We went and met with her and she wants to continue meeting. I shared my testimony and a scripture to try to help her, she said that I spoke well which was nice to hear. During the lesson though, I couldn't understand a lot of what she was saying but she started to cry and my heart ached for her and I could tell my own eyes were tearing up. It is so sad to see some of the realities of life with people that I didn't even know a week ago, but have such a love for already. I look forward to meeting with her again. 
     I wish I had more time to write, but I have to go, we are teaching a lesson to a woman and her daughter. She is a néni (older woman) who just walked into church! 
     I hope everyone is doing well. I love you all so much! Also if you want to send a letter or package the address is:

Sister Hannah Schoendorfer
Hungary Budapest Mission
Hajnóczy József Utca 14

     I get mail about every month when we go to the mission home for a Conference or they bring it for Zone Conference, so I won't always get it right away, but I will get it!

Sok szeretettel, Schoendorfer Nővér

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Farewell MTC

     Well it's happening, tomorrow morning (Monday-Dec 7th) at 3 am, I am officially leaving the MTC and I am so so excited!!! These past few days have been full of goodbyes to our teachers and so many missionaries that I have met while here at the MTC. It feels rather strange to say goodbye, but I couldn't be more excited to be going to Hungary. ✈
     On Friday night we had a wonderful Christmas program! I think I mentioned it before, it was a program that I was lucky enough to be a part.  We performed it for all of the Branch Presidencies and Elder Nielson (of the Seventy) who was also in attendance. The program was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I was a member of the small choir that sang and we also had a few missionaries in costumes who presented a nativity scene that depicted the story of Christ's birth. There were also two sister missionaries who "taught/led" the program and acted as if they were teaching a lesson to all of the Stake Presidencies and they led a discussion about the birth of Christ and what it means to them. The spirit was so strong during the program and I was just SO happy to be bearing my testimony through music. Music is such a powerful gift that we have in this life and I was so grateful for the experience and opportunity. I wish I had pictures from the event, but sadly, I don't. 
     I want to share, a little about Elder Nielson's comments that he made at the end of the program. He spoke to the branch presidencies about how they can better help missionaries here at the MTC. I found it interesting personally, being a missionary, to see his perspective and hear some of his experiences. He spoke about fear and about how fear is not a Christlike attribute. I love that he spoke about this topic because it is something that I have been pondering quite a lot recently; because, I have to admit that I have some fears as I head to Hungary tomorrow. But, I know that we, ourselves, control our fears and how we allow it affect us and our actions. I know that we don't need to fear because we have Christ on our side and He will always be there for us, as long as we turn to Him in faith. 
     Elder Nielson shared his thoughts about John Chapter 6 and I want to also share some of my thoughts with you. I'm sure many of you are familiar with this story of Christ feeding the 5,000 with only few loaves of bread and fish. But, something that Elder Nielson pointed out that I hadn't noticed before is what is contained in Verses 12-14, Christ asks the disciples to go and collect the leftovers. I thought to myself at first, why would Christ do this? He had already fed 5,000 people, He had already performed a miracle and people saw this take place. But, I think He did this to show that He is powerful enough to have fed 5,000 people and STILL have leftovers! Elder Nielson connected this story to Christ's Atonement and I loved what he said. He explained that we never "use up" the blessings of Christ's Atonement. It is not a "once and done thing." Christ's Atonement is so incredible. We are able to be forgiven through the Atonement, we are able to receive strength through the Atonement, we are able to receive peace, joy, happiness, love, and so much more! It is truly all encompassing, and there are STILL always "leftovers." I also love John 6:20 which says:

But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid.

     Here we have Christ telling us that there isn't any reason to be afraid! I know this truth will be especially important to keep in mind as I head to Hungary tomorrow and it is something that I think is important for each of us to keep in mind. Sometimes there are experiences in life that we will be afraid of, but they are often opportunities that we will grow and benefit from the most. 

Ne  f

Sok szeretettel, Schoendorfer Nővér

​Isaiah 9:6  
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and
​ ​
the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name
​ ​
shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Kellemes Karácsonyt
​! ​🎄
Merry Christmas!

Flight Plans with McGregor Nover and myself

We're going to Hungary

Matching Skirts

Pretty Lights!

Classroom with teachers

Hungarian Sister Missionaries and our solo Albanian Sister

Selfie with our Branch Pres. President Garr

Had to turn my desk around to the corner to concentrate, cause it's sometimes hard to focus

Thursday, December 3, 2015

MTC - Week 9

You know you've been in the MTC for a long time when someone you don't even know passes you and says "Wait! You're still here!?" (Haha) yes, that really happened. I think she knew me from my Sister Missionary friend from New Zealand, but it was kind of funny. 
     So as I'm getting ready to leave the MTC, I have realized that I'm just going to have to get used to saying lots of goodbyes while on my mission, and I know that they will probably get harder with the people in Hungary. We had to say goodbye today to our teachers and it was so difficult. I am beyond grateful for each and every one of them and for the enormous amount of time, thought, and effort they have put into preparing us to go to Hungary. They have all been incredible in teaching us the language and in helping us to grow spiritually. They haven't spoken any English to us until the last day, for about an hour, so it has been an amazing experience learning from them. 
     I have recently found a lot of comfort in the scripture D&C 31:11-13, which says:

11  Go your way whithersoever I will, and it shall be given you by the Comforter what you shall do and whither you shall go.

 12  Pray always, lest you enter into temptation and lose your reward.

 13  Be faithful unto the end, and lo, I am with you. These words are not of man nor of men, but of me, even Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, by the will of the Father. Amen.

     I love that it says "withersoever I will," because I know that we will be blessed when we are doing that which is right and when we are trying to take upon ourselves the attributes of Christ. 
      I want to share a story about one of the devotionals we had this past week. My companion and I had been packing for our trip so we were running a few minutes late, but still arrived before the devotional started, although we didn't think there would be any seats towards the front. However, when we walked in there were two seats right close to the front, score! The amazing seats were lucky, but the part that was even better to me was that I could see perfectly the ASL interpreter (she was there to help the sign language missionaries practice). As I watched her, I was filled with an over whelming happy feeling, and I felt the spirit so strongly, I felt Heavenly Father's love that He has for all of us. As I looked around, I saw how many people are here, and how many different languages are being taught here everyday. As I watched the ASL interpreter, I pondered how amazing it is that people all around the world, because of the missionaries in the Language Training Center will be able to learn the gospel in their own language, even if it is sign language. I thought about how much Heavenly Father helps us each and everyday, if we have faith and trust in Him, we can learn what's needed so that we can bring others the message of the restored gospel. I know that He is the one that wants us to learn our new languages even more we do ourselves. I am so so grateful to have had the opportunity to be here for the last 9 weeks, it has truly been an incredible experience and I have learned so much. I am so excited to go to Hungary in just a few days and be a REAL missionary! It is going to be such an adventure and I am thrilled to go! 

     Here is a poem, by Petőfi Sándor, that one of our teachers shared with us that I really like. 

Talpra magyar, hí a haza!
Itt az idő, most vagy soha!
Rabok legyünk, vagy szabadok?
Ez a kérdés, válasszatok!
A magyarok istenére
Hogy rabok tovább

​ ​
nem leszünk!

​Here is the translation, more or less:

Hungarian to his feet, the country calls!
Now is the time, now or never!
Shall we be slaves or free?
A question, Answer!
The God of the Hungarians
We vow,
We vow, that slaves
We will not be!

     The poem is about some of the history of Hungary. There have been numerous trials that Hungary has faced. Our teacher expressed how much the people there want the gospel. It may not be something they necessarily think they need, but it is truly what they need. The gospel is something that can help everyone! Religion has been something that has at times been a source of contention in their history, but the people need something they can grasp onto in life, the truth which will strengthen them and make them happier. Our teacher also shared a verse that she thinks is relevant to the Hungarians; it is Isaiah 9:2: 

The people that walked in darkness have seen a greatlight: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death,upon them hath the light shined.

     I believe that the gospel has the power to change lives and that through the enabling power of Jesus Christ's Atonement, we can receive strength and peace each and every day. I know that miracles happen when we hold tight to our faith when we are faced with hard times. I also came upon this verse in the Book of Mormon that I love. 2 Nephi 26:24 says:  

He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down
​ ​
his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not
​ ​
partake of his salvation.  I love this verse because it says "all." Christ suffered for ALL of us, not just some. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ want us to come unto them.

     Before I go, I just want to share one quote from my companion whom I have grown to love dearly. She said the following while walking back from the temple today, after seeing a woman in very high heeled boots, she stated "Life is hard enough without high heels!" Hahah, she is the best and I love her simple truths! 

Love you all! 

Sok szeretettel, Schoendorfer Nővér

SZEP - Hungarian for Beautiful

We have enjoyed the snow over the past week

Vasica and I at the Provo Temple

Sunday, November 29, 2015

A few pictures and a few thoughts...


     We have had so much fun in the snow over the past few days on our walks to the Provo Temple! Our District is getting ready to leave for Hungary and we are all so excited.  
     I just have a quick thought, and a few scriptures that I have found a lot of comfort in lately, that I wanted to share with you. I was asked today, "what is the most valuable lesson that you have learned during your time at the MTC?" It is very clear to me that the answer to that question is that we need to LOVE everyone around us. We each have experiences that we have gone through and are currently going through, both big and small that we may need others help with. I have also learned over the past few months that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are keenly aware of what we are currently going through as well as our personal feelings and the desires of our hearts. I believe that our relationship with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is evident by the way we treat the people around us, and how we show our love for them. I know Heavenly Father loves us, His children, so incredibly much. 

 In Moroni 10:32, it says:

​32  Y
ea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in no wise deny the power of God.

And in 1 John 4:7-9, 18-21, it says:

7  Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and
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every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

 8  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

 9  In this was manifested the love of God toward us,because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

18  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth ou
​ ​
fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

 19  We love him, because he first loved us.

 20  If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen,how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

 21  And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also

     I hope you all have a great week! I have one last week to receive Dearelder emails if you want to write to me (and I am hoping you do) because I absolutely love hearing about how things are going for each of you.

Sok szeretettel, Schoendorfer Nővér