Monday, May 30, 2016

Thunderstorms and strawberries!


It's has honestly been a difficult week for us here in Nyíregyháza. We had a hard time meeting with people and did a lot of finding. We also got stuck in TWO huge thunderstorms and got drenched! Some highlights though are that we helped Sárika work in her garden a bit and even got to have some of her fresh strawberries! Probably the best strawberries I have ever had in my life!!! So yummy! Jarrett Nővér and I have also been having lots of watermelon - we love it! 

We also visited with Ica this week. She loves when we come over and we haven't been able to meet for almost a month so she was so happy to see us again. We have been reteaching her the lessons and she later told us how grateful she is to be able to go over them again. She has a hard time remembering things and has some special needs so it is a challenge for her. 

We tried to look up a ton of people this week and went everywhere but unfortunately it didn't really work out. We felt like we were on a wild goose chase as a neighbor told us where one woman had moved to and after going there, a different person gave us a completely different address. We did have fun helping a member paint his house this week. His name is Kornel, he is from Nyíregyháza but likes in the UK now. He is home for a few months here working on his house so it has been great to meet and get to know him. When we were there, he would go around trying to give us jobs and instructions in his chopped up English and he usually wouldn't even finish with the instructions as he got distracted by a different project. We ended up getting kind of covered in paint but it was great to give service and we got more fresh strawberries! 

We met with Péter again this week. His is really really busy with his bee farm but he and his family are doing great. Yesterday in church we had a fast and testimony meeting, because next Sunday, and the Sunday after that will be conferences, so because of that there won't be a regular sacrament meeting. I bore my testimony and it was my last chance to do so as I'll be leaving Nyíregyháza in about two weeks. When I sat back down afterwards, next to Izabella, she leaned over and said "Hova mész? Hova mész!?" (Where are you going?) And then she had tears in her eyes and said she wasn't ready for me to go yet. She is SUCH a sweetheart! I assured her that there was still a little more than two weeks left and she felt a little better. Oh she is adorable! If I could take her with me to every other city I go to, I would! 

This week, as we had some discouraging days, I've been thinking a lot about how we often see blessings and results after our faith is tested. I love Ether 12 where it talks about different examples of people going through trials of faith and later receiving blessings. In vs. 6, it says: we receive no witness until after the trail of our faith. 
I also love verse 4 in that chapter which says:
Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.

​I love that scripture. I know that sometimes hope can be hard for us, I know that at times it is hard for me, but I know that if there is faith, then there will be hope. 
I also read an amazing talk this week that I want to share a small part of, I think it was from Elder Holland. He said: "As we draw near to him, we realize that mortality is meant to be difficult and that "opposition in all things," (2 Nephi 2:11) is not a flaw in the plan of salvation. Opposition, rather, is the indispensable element of mortality and strengthens our will and refines our choices. The vicissitudes of life help us fashion an eternal relationship with God - and engrave His image upon our countenance as we yield our hearts to Him." 
I couldn't have said it better! I know that it is so important to remember Christ in our lives and also to remember that there is so much in this life we have to be hopeful and also grateful for. Elder Holland closed with this quote - "we are infinitely more than our limitations or our afflictions." I love that. Ure Elder has also told me before to "Argue for your limitations and sure enough they are yours." At first I didn't really get that. I thought it sounded silly, to argue for your limitations. But, after thinking about it, I know that with Christ, with faith, with hope, we don't need to have limitations. As we put our trust in Him, everything will work out. 

Love you so much! Until next week.....

szeretettel, Schoendorfer 
We had a great time this week eating fresh picked strawberries!

Succulents - I love succulents!
Frankie and Morgan sent me these succulents in a package :)
Sad face on the csengo basically describes our week, hardest week and just not a lot of people to meet with. 
Stormy skies

We have also had a few HUGE thunderstorms this past week, loudest thunder I have ever heard!
After getting stuck in a thunderstorm while waling home, but were still smiling!

Giving service painting at a members house...
Enjoying so yummy soup

Monday, May 23, 2016

"I'm not very good at it, but I really like winning!"

Hey family and friends! I can't believe it's already been another week! So the title of this week's blog/email comes from Izabella! As I've said before, I love the Izabella-isms! She made this comment while we were headed to a big Sport Nap activity in Debrecen. She was talking about how she's not very good at sports but how much she loves winning! So she said "I'm not very good at it, but I really like winning!" with a cute grin on her face! I had also brought some cookies to share with everyone and I had put them in an old yogurt container so while I was sitting there with Izabella she asked​ what was inside. I showed her and she got all excited but then was talking about due to her health problems she can't have sugar. And then out of no where a few minutes later she said "I just have to try one! I just do!" So she had one, laughed, and told the others that they had to try one too! 

Anyways, in other news this week, I taught Dani piano again and this week, instead of him go not listening, he actually played one of his songs without putting up a fight. It was the first time he had done that, and up until this last week I didn't think he actually knew how to play this song!! After he played it for me he said "Okay, now we need to switch places. I'm the teacher and you're the student!" It was so fun to see him so silly without acting rebellious against the piano! We will see if he keeps it up, I sure hope so! 

We had a great zone training this week in Miskolc on the importance of working with members. It really is so important and it is a challenge with the branch being small, but we see great blessings from it as we work to strengthen members and also involve them in missionary efforts. 

We had such a great lesson with Péter and his family this week! Often times we aren't able to get the whole family for the lesson because they are so busy and working at finishing up school, but this time we had the whole family all gathered around on the couches and had a great lesson about temples and family history work. The spirit was so strong as we talked about eternal families and blessings of the temple. They are such an amazing family. Both Péter and his wife were really interested in family history and are excited to look into that! I am so grateful that I have been able to teach their family. We found Péter in February and since then, I really can feel and see a difference in him. It's hard for me to describe but there is a difference - he really seems happier and their family relationship seems to be stronger. I know we all can be happier in our lives as we strive to come unto Christ and follow his example. We have also been sending Péter scriptures in a text message recently and he loves it. This past week I sent him Ether 2:3 which is all about bees when the Jaredites make their journey!! It says: 

And they did also carry with them deseret, which, 
​ ​
interpretation, is a honey bee; and thus they did carry with
​ ​
them swarms of bees, and all manner of that which was
​ ​
upon the face of the land,
​ ​
seeds of every kind.

​He enjoyed it! We love teaching our bee-keeper! 

This week we were also able to visit the Szabolcsi family. The mom, Ilona, is a member in the branch and we were able to get to know the rest of her family a little better this week. Her daughter, Viki, is an artist and painted us while we were there! Kristőf, Ilona's son, also had fun drawing me! He has some special needs and I've talked about his before, he is such a sweetheart, so kind and thoughtful. Kristőf was also able to come to the big Sport Nap in Debrecen and we ran a little 1.5 km race and right in the beginning, Kristőf got out of breath and was really struggling. I walked with him and at times we were able to jog. He ran the last little bit and the whole way he kept telling me how happy he was that I had stayed back and walked with him so he wasn't all by himself. He is such an amazing example to me in selflessness. 

​This week we also went to visit Ilona Néni. I've talked about her before but we haven't been there in a while. She was so so glad that we stopped over to see her and was the happiest I have ever seen her! We met with Noémi again this week, a new girl we recently found. She has a lot of different beliefs and is really curious. We were able to teach her about the Plan of Salvation and it went really well. Before when we met with her she had promised us only one more visit, so we were kind of thinking that this week was going to be the last time meeting with her. But, as we finished teaching the Plan of Salvation, she asked us when we were going to come back! We also read and talked about Alma 34:15-19 with her, which says: 

15 And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall
​ ​
believe on his name; this being the intent of this last
​ ​
sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which
​ ​
overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men
​ ​
that they may have faith unto repentance.
16 And thus mercy can satisfy the demands of justice, and
​ ​
encircles them in the arms of safety,
​ ​
while he that exercise
​s ​
no faith unto repentance is exposed to the whole law of the
​ ​
demands of justice; therefore only unto him that has faith
​ ​
unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal
​ ​
plan of redemption.
17 Therefore may God grant unto you, my brethren, that
​ ​
ye may begin to exercise your faith unto
​ ​
repentance, that
​ ​
ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have
​ ​
mercy upon you;
18 Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save.
9 Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto
​ ​

I love the Book of Mormon and am so grateful for it and for the strength we can receive from it. Recently throughout the mission, we were challenged to read through the Book of Mormon, underlining where Christ's name is, gospel principles, Christ's words, and attributes of Christ. As I have done this I have learned so much more and have been understanding concepts better and finding things that haven't stood out to me as much before when I've just read through it. My testimony has really been strengthened by the Book of Mormon and it's truthfulness, especially recently. 

​Hope you all have a good week!    Sending love from Hungary!
Sok ​
szeretettel,   Schoendorfer 

Izabella and I matching for the Sport Nap, she's so cute!

A pretty lake we found tracting. 

We got painted this week by a member's daughter.
Kristof drew me after his sister was done, I love him! He is such a sweetheart.

Loving the beautiful flowers in Hungary

Found a new dog friend this week. 
And here's my suni tag, don't worry, I didn't actually leave the apartment wearing that one.
Love serving with Jarrett Nover!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Attack of the Csigas!


So last week I bought a basil plant and we were so excited about it!!! But, this week, it was attacked by csigas (snails). We went on splits in Budapest and when we came back it was missing from the balcony!! It must have fallen from the balcony while we were gone and all we found was a pile of dirt, and the remains of the plant, covered in snails! So I hope the snails enjoyed a little feast. I told Jarrett Nővér that I think they all climbed up on the balcony and knocked it over haha. So ya, it was a good week, except for that. 

We went to Péter's again and he is doing great. One of the branch members, András, who is still a reletively new member and SOO amazing, was miraculously available and able to come with us to Péter's! András is so smart, he is also kind, eloquent, understanding, friendly and just generally great! He is actually getting married to a member from Debrecen in a little less than a month so we are also really excited for him! Péter is doing well though, we talked about the blessings of enduring to the end and shared 3 Nephi 15:9 with him, I really love that scripture, which talks about the blessings. It says: 
"Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live, for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life." 

Péter also took us to his bee farm!!! It was so so fun to see. He is a really smart guy and knows SO much about bees. He even found and was able to show us the queen bee! It was so interesting to see. I love teaching him and his family. 

We went to Jutka Néni's this week and she was so cute. She is very impressive to me, she is very independent and wants to continue to be independent! We always offer to help her and she always assures us that she is more than capable. So cute! She fed us some yummy fruit soup and said the only way we can help her is to just sing to her, so that's what we did! 

We went on splits with the Sister Training Leaders this week in Budapest. I went with Hawker Nővér and we had a great time together. I would love to serve there during my mission. On our way to Budapest, our 3 hour train ride turned into 5 hours!! It was crazy, the train kept breaking down and we would just sit on the tracks for a long time. Our train ride home was interesting too with a misunderstanding with the ticket checker - never a dull moment. 

We finally got back to Nyíregyháza safely. And again it was raining. It has also been raining SO much this week, and we were soaked one day while out tracting, so I decided to have some fun in the rain by jumping in puddles! While out in the rain, we met with a cute new girl last night named Noémi who is really curious. I am excited to meet with her again this week and hopefully we can continue teaching her. 

Also, we got the conference edition of the Ensign this week, so exciting!! Although it was short, I absolutely loved reading the words of our dear prophet, Thomas S. Monson. I loved how he talked about how crucial the daily decisions we make are in our lives. He talked about how "the door of history turns on small hinges, and so do people's lives." Everyone has the gift of agency and it is up to each of us to decide what to do in our day to day lives. I also loved how he talked about Alice in Wonderland - how she came to a crossroad with two paths leading in opposite directions and she asked which path she should take. The Cheshire Cat, as we all know, responded by saying "that depends on where you want to go." President Monson reminded us how blessed we are to know where we want to go, the fact that with the choices we make, we can work towards receiving celestial glory and be blessed beyond what we can even comprehend. In closing he talked about how important faith is and I will add a quote by him that was so powerful to me. He said "May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong...As we contemplate the decisions we make in our lives each day - whether to make this choice or that choice - if we choose Christ, we will have made the correct choice." 

I think that is about it for the week. We continue to talk to as many people as we can and are working really hard. I hope you all have had good weeks! I'm sending all my love!

 szeretettel,  Schoendorfer 
Bee Keeping with Peter
Pointing out the queen bee

Fields of flowers for the bees
fruit soup - it's so good 
sad about our basil plant
lots of rain, wet name tag and wet missionaries
trying to always keep smiling and be happy in spite of all the rain

Monday, May 9, 2016

The mission is for experimenting.....right?

Hey! So recently I chopped my hair off! It is a fun change and I have never had hair quite this short, so it is different! It will be really nice when the summer gets hot though. It was an experiment for sure haha.

This is going to be a quick email because today we are going to visit Péter's honey bee farm! I'm excited and I think it will be so fun. But here's a quick update:

Skyping yesterday was SUCH a joy! It was such a treat to talk to my family and see their smiling faces!

We met a cute young girl this week tracting named Esztér who we are excited to start teaching. I also had fun finding a cute old dog while we were tracting that followed be around on the street for a good 10 minutes haha, it was adorable! Another fun surprise tracting was when we got let in by a cute néni in Nyírszőlős who only wanted to feed us süti! It was so funny, she was like no no I just want to give you a snack! We were able to leave her and her cute husband, who was in a wheelchair, with a short message.

Recently we have been meeting with another younger girl named Zsuzsa and we are enjoying teaching her. She asks so many questions, which is a good thing, but we are staying on our toes trying to understand and know how to teach and help her. 

Péter and his family are still doing so great! We absolutely love that family! We watched the film Finding Faith in Christ with him and his wife this week and talked about faith and how important it really is. The film is about Christ's life and depicts the stories so well, it was my first time seeing it and I loved it. We were able to set a baptismal date for Péter of June 18th! The month of May is still really busy with the bee hives but he is excited and feels good about June 18th

After English class this week, Tibor, a member, put his arms behind his back and came up and told me to choose one. He got Jarrett Nővér and I Russian stacking dolls! So awesome! 

A few cute Izabella-isms from this week are "Okosabb leszek!" (I will be smarter!) which she said after accidentally hitting her head on the wall behind her during our gospel principles class yesterday. And the other cute thing she did was when she came up from behind me when she randomly was in the belváros (town square) at the same time as us and came up and scared me from behind. I have never seen her laugh so hard! She is the cutest. Yesterday at church she even kept apologizing for it because she felt bad hahah, I love her. 

I hope all is well with you all! Something that I've been realizing more and more is that the small and seemingly simple things really and truly make all the difference. I guess I used to think some of the simple things, like praying or reading scriptures seemed just too  simple. But more and more as I daily do these things, I am learning how important they are and how much of a difference they make. This gospel is full of simplicities which is why I love it SO much! Hope you have a great week and I love hearing from you! I'll leave you with one of my favorite scriptures in 3 Nephi, chapter 13, verse 21.

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

 szeretettel, Schoendorfer 

Hair cut

Love this little dog
Stacking dolls given to us by Tibor

Monday, May 2, 2016

What I Know For Sure

It's finally starting to get warmer here in Hungary, although this week has still been pretty cold, spring is coming, that's for sure. In the beginning of the week I started re reading the Book of Mormon and when I read one of the verses in 1 Nephi 11 which stood out to me way more than it ever had before. Verse 17 says:

And I said unto him: I know that He loveth his children;
​ ​
nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.

​Wow, that hit me. There are so many things that I don't know, but I do know for sure that I have felt God's love and that He loves each of us so so much. 

​e had a nice week. In the beginning we went to Klára Néni's again, one of my favorites here in Nyír. We don't try to have favorites hahah, but it happens. She fed us a yummy soup and we had a great talk with her, she is so sweet. 

We taught Péter about the word of wisdom this week and it went really well. He was super accepting and so willing to follow it. He rode his bike to church again this past Sunday in his white shirt and tie! He is so awesome!  I am so grateful that we are able to teach him and his family, they are so kind to us and make us feel at home when we go over to see them. 

We went to Sárika's again this week and helped in her garden some more. She appreciates the help so so much! When we got home afterwards, our electricity went out! We tried to fix it but couldn't figure it out! Luckily our patient neighbor helped us to find what needed to be switched outside the apartment. 

We had a palacsinta est this week which was a blast! There weren't a ton of people that came but that ones that came really loved it. Péter came and brought his family! We watched the movie Meet the Mormons and it really went well. Also, Zsuzsa came! She is a girl in her 20s that we have been meeting with. She is so cute! The second time we met with her we were deciding who should say the prayer and she put her hand up and said "Én, én!" (Me, me!) She said a beautiful prayer and the sprit was really strong during the lesson. I am so excited to continue teaching her. She came to church on Sunday and even brought her mom with her! And it was Mother's Day here on Sunday! Boldog Anyák Napot!

We had a zone conference this past week in Miskolc that went really well. We talked about the Book of Mormon and what stood out to me is that it is not proven by man, but proven by God, through the power of the Holy Ghost. The Book of Mormon is unchanging and truly meant for our day, it is proof that God loves us! On our way back from Miskolc we had two people at different times come up to us and say how different it was to see four young adults all sitting together and reading, since none of us have any type of electronics besides the mission phones. They thought it was so neat that we were all reading REAL books or letters hahah it was kind of funny, they were like this is not a normal sight!

We were planning on going to Budapest after the conference but the sisters there were sick so we ended up coming back to Nyír. When we got back we went tracting and I had one of the sweetest, most powerful experiences of my mission when we rang the csengő of a bácsi on the top floor of a ten story apartment building. We rang the csengő and a few moments later György came to the door and almost right away he started sternly asking us all kinds of questions. We would answer and he would just shoot more questions at us as we tried to respond with patience and love. He demanded to know if there really was a God and to know why bad things happen. Then he began to cry, his voice broke and he got out photos to show us of his wife who had died. This man was so broken and so sad, my heart ached for him. He lives alone and told us every night since his wife died, he has cried himself to sleep. We bore our hearts out to this man, who was full of sadness, loniless, and bitterness, about how we know this life is not the end, that he could be reunited with and see his dear wife again. I wanted to help this poor man in any way possible, yet sadly enough, this broken hearted man had allowed bitterness to seep into his soul and destroy his peace. He hopelessly discarded our message and after a long talk on his doorstep, we wished him peace as he shut the door, with his eyes still full of tears. I walked down those stairs to the next floor with tears flowing down my face. Oh how I wanted to just run back and help this man, oh how I ached for him! How I wished I could do something to pull him out of despair if only he were willing. Standing there in that stairwell though, I realized something, I felt something, something strong. I felt Heaven's love, our Father in Heaven's sincere love for us. With the love, sorrow, and hurt I felt for this one man, who was just a stranger to me moments before, I cannot even begin to comprehend the amount of love our Heavenly Father has for each and every one of us. He loves me, He loves all of you, and He loves that man on that top 10th floor so incredibly much. I also felt just a tiny, small part of how our Heavenly Father must grieve and feel sorrow for the heartache of one of his beloved children. My testimony was so strengthed about how all we must do is turn to Him when times are hard, and He will always be there. This life has many trials and tribulations but those things that we all go through are partly to let us choose to turn to Him, to draw closer, and have the opportunity to learn and overcome challenges. I know He is always there - and that is what I know for sure.

Some other of my favorite scriptures this week were Alma 7:11-12 and Doctrine and Covenants 101:32-36. I like the one in Alma because it talks about how the Atonement truly reverses the effects of the Fall, what an incredible blessing. And I like the Doctrine and Covenants passage because one day, Heavenly Father will answer all our questions. I don't know exactly why things happen in this life the way they do, no one knows, but as we stay faithful we will be blessed, and one of those ways we will be blessed is by being able to have our questions answered. I love my Savior and I love being here. Til next week!

Sok ​
szeretettel, Schoendorfer 

We treated ourselves to ice cream!
The belvaros is so beautiful!
Spring is coming!

We went to the zoo, yet again!

We also really enjoy feeding the lemurs and having them crawl all over us!