Monday, June 27, 2016

The City of Dreams!

​ had an amazing week here in Kispest. I absolutely love it here! There were a few experiences I had this week that really showed me that I am suppose to be here at this time, serving with these amazing people. 

Here are just a few highlights from the week though. We visited a member, Kristi, and we really enjoyed talking to her and learning from one another. She even made us cobbler! She was so excited because she said she had found an American recipe. We talked a lot about choices with her and it was really interesting. We all have so many choices that we make each day. I was thinking about choices this whole week and how when we have choices in our life we really should ask ourselves "what do I value?" and then also think about "what does God value?" It is important to keep an eternal perspective always, but especially when we have important choices we need to make. Heavenly Father does have a specific plan for us and as we seek his guidance in our choices, He will help us. Often times, we need to take action, we need to get started on a path and as we go, we should seek guidance from our Father in Heaven because He will correct or assure us in our path. 

On Monday during the zone conference we had, I got a random phone call from a man named Krisztián. I called him back after the conference was over and he said he wanted to set up a time to meet. We had no idea what to expect because we had never talked to him before, but we met with him on Wednesday and had the most amazing lesson ever. He said "I need this gospel in my life, I have missed it." We said we would love to help! He has such an incredibly strong testimony already and the binding on his Book of Mormon is even broken from reading it so much. He has been meeting with the missionaries on and off for a year and a half and has been moving around, but he is here to stay at least for a while. He said he wants to be baptized and we planned it for July 30th! We are so excited! It was such a miracle! He is really smart and we are so excited to teach him and also learn from him! He knows the Book of Mormon really well already and truly loves it.
Another really cool experience that happened this week was tracting. We knocked on one of the doors and after speaking Hungarian to the lady who answered, she told us she only spoke Georgian and English. She was renting the apartment for only a few days having a short visit before she went back to the Republic of Georgia. We were able to have a great lesson with here and taught her about the Restoration. She was really interested and she talked about how good she felt while we were teaching her! We quickly ran to the mission home to pick up an English Book of Mormon for her and we were also able to print out the Articles of Faith for her in Georgian, she loved it! We gave her the information about the church in Georgia and she said she was excited to meet with the missionaries there. It was wonderful! It is so crazy being here and hearing so many different languages each day. It is really interesting though.
We had a really fun bike ride with the Medveczky family. They are so much fun! I just adore the cute 5 year old, Álmos. We had a great times riding bikes in a forest, having a picnic, ​
​and playing soccer in the super hot weather!

​We also had some really great lessons with our other investigators this week. We are teaching a woman named Csilla who has been progressing for a while now. She had a challenge with coming to church but we had an amazing lesson where we talked about the blessings of Sacrament Meeting and the peace we can receive from coming to church --- and--- she came to church yesterday!!!! It was also really neat because it was a Ward Conference and one of the talks was all about the Sabbath day and how we can pray about the things we can do to get more out of our Sundays. She really loved it and I'm so happy she had a good experience. 

We also met with Józsi twice this week. I absolutely love teaching him! I think I like teaching him so much because he reminds me a little bit of how I was a few years ago. He has a lot of similar thoughts, and questions that I have had in my life. Józsi has really started making a lot of progress recently and I feel like I have already seen his faith really grow. We talked with him recently a lot about prayer and how important it is to ask specific questions and talk openly with our Heavenly Father. He was feeling like he couldn't ask for help from Heavenly Father because it shows weakness. But, we talked to him about how in reality, it is the opposite way. As we turn to our Heavenly Father, it shows that we have Him to put our trust in and when we humbly ask Him for help, it really makes us stronger. Asking for help does not show that we are weak in any way but instead helps us find our strengths through faith. He recently read 3 Nephi chapter 13 which is also one of my absolute favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon. If you haven't read that recently I would challenge you to take a few minutes and read it because it is really moving. My favorite verse is 21, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."  

 szeretettel, Schoendorfer 
Great day with the Medveczky Family
We had a really enjoyable bike ride!
Who doesn't love a picnic?
More pictures of us riding our bikes through a beautiful wooded area

Soccer anyone?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Life in Kispest

Hey!!! I am here in my new home of Kispest and absolutely loving it! It is an amazing place. It is fast paced and busy, but so far, life in the big city has been a dream come true. Last Wednesday, we woke up at 3:30 and headed to the train station to make our way to transfers. It was a fun train ride because part way through, Greenwood Nővér got on. It was SO good to see her since I hadn't seen her since the new missionary training in January. Also, at transfers, our whole MTC group was together which was so much fun! My companion is Willets Nővér, who I knew before my mission, and the Elders in our city are Elders Lindow and Knight. They were kind and helped carry luggage. At one point Knight Elder carried my heavy (and broken) suitcase over his head! Hahah it was crazy! The past few days have felt like a dream honestly. I can't believe this is my new home for a little bit, I'm so excited. 

On our first day together, we got two phone numbers, just talking to people on the street. Actually, right after getting off the villamos (streetcar) one day, a bácsi came up to us and (in English) said "Will you convert me!?" We said "of course we can!" He was so cute and was just asking questions. He also said he was retiring in September and wanted us to call him then! Hahah, it was so funny! It is so interesting coming to a new place. There are new sounds, obviously new sights, and, well, new smells too. We ride the metro, and villamos almost everywhere and have been really busy. Also, we found a cute little hedgehog home right by our apartment! Perfect, since I am Süni Nővér! (hedgehog)

So far, I have met József, Csilla, Barbi, and Peti, whom are just a few of our investigators. József is my favorite! We actually call him Józsi - he is a free thinker, has a lot of ideas, and loves the scriptures! We have already met with him twice since I've been here and he has taught me so much. A few months ago, Józsi didn't even believe in God or Jesus Christ, and now, he does and he has been progressing so much. He is a really cool guy. At the end of our last lesson we asked if he wanted to say the pray and he said "Sure, I'll say a baby prayer." I am really looking forward to teaching him more and really going in depth, talking about the gospel, because that is what he loves to do. Csilla is a woman in her thirties and she is adorable! We didn't have a huge lesson with her but I am so excited to meet with her and start teaching her more. We also ran into another investigator randomly when we went to get some dinner the other day and she has the cutest name, Peti Edit. She was so happy to see us and we ate dinner and talked with her. 

I love teaching Angolóra (English classes) here in Kispest. We teach the advanced class and it is really fun. This last week, we just asked a few questions - like how do you build a house, and how do you train a dog, if you could invent something, what would it be -  and they loved it! It was really fun. 

This past week we were also in a trio with Heath Nővér for four days before her family came! It was really fun and then on Saturday we took her to the mission home to see her family that just got here! 

Church was so fun! It was huge!!! It was crazy because for the past 8 months, every week, church has been pretty small for me with not a lot of people. Kispest is so big though. There are so many families and I am so excited that there are also children here! They actually have a primary here! The kids are charming and so sweet. Our bishop is a jolly guy and during a meeting before church, they had to pass my missionary tag down the table because they couldn't figure out how to spell it! Hahah it was so funny. Also, I saw Levente's family which was such a treat. Gizi (mom) was so excited to see us. I told her about how some people call me Süni (hedgehog--- because it's easier to say then Schoendorfer) and then we talked about how Willets' last name in Engligh is a bird, and their family's last name, Medveczky, minus the "czky" means bear. So we laughed about how all of us together make up a little zoo! Church was wonderful and the ward thought it was so funny how many little connections there are with Willets and I and also with the Medveczky family. One of the cute girls, Panni, said that "God sent me here to Kispest," it was so sweet. 

Our area is very large and I'm really excited to explore and really dig into the work here. There are so many people everywhere and I'm just stocked! We see all kinds of crazy things, from turtles on the metro, to hedgehogs in the park! We also get to tract buildings in the Belváros (the main city center) and the buildings from the outside don't always look like anything special, but on the inside, they are beautiful! It is so fun! We will have splits starting this week with the sisters in the mission. They will both be coming here, so hopefully I will be able to find my way around the city by then without Willets Nővér! Hahah it will be an adventure! 

Also, I found this scripture the other day and I just loved it. It is Alma 5:60 and it says: "And now I say unto you that the good shepherd doth call after you, and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep, and he commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed."

All we have to do is hearken to the words of the Lord and we will be numbered as one of His own, and He will protect us!  

Schoendorfer Nővér
Pictures from Transfer - Sister Greenwood and myself
It was great to see friends from our MTC group!

So beautiful - I love my new city!
Parliament Building
Our temporary threesome

Tracting in Budapest 
They have some beautiful architecture here
This is just one of the many beautiful churches here
The Medveczky parents! Photo re-creation from last summer to now

We found a little suni (hedgehog) family close to where we live
My new companion Willets Nover and I enjoying some ice cream 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Saying goodbye to Nyíregyháza and hello to Kispest!


I am feeling bitter sweet today as I write this. I said goodbye to Nyíregyháza this week and will be leaving really early tomorrow morning to go to my new city! We got the phone call this morning and I am going to KISPEST to be a sister training training leader with Willets Nővér!! I actually knew Willets Nővér before the mission, we were in the same apartment complex and the same ward. I am so so excited to serve with her and way excited to be going to Kispest! Also, the Medveczky family is in that ward which is exciting because I know their son, Levente! We were also in the same apartment complex and ward and also were organ majors together at BYU. I am so excited to also be able to actually talk to Levente's family in Hungarian. When I visited this past summer before my mission, it was difficult because we couldn't really talk and had someone translate for us, but now I will be able to communicate with them!! It is going to be a great next transfer and a big change, I can't wait! 

It was sad to say goodbye to life long friends I have made here, I absolutely loved serving in Nyíregyháza (literally "Birch (tree) church") and am excited to start another adventure in Kispest (which  translates to, "Little Pest"). 

So here are some highlights from my last week in Nyíregyháza, and I enjoyed ever minute of it! Last week we were in the belváros, walking home from church, and we saw the cutest thing! There was a little girl who walked up with her family and was SO excited about the fountains. And then, another girl ran up from the opposite side and went over to where this other little girl was. It was clear they didn't know each other but I love what happened next. They started to talk to each other for a second and then one of the girls reached for the other's hand and then they were running under the fountains together! It was adorable! Two girls that didn't know each other a few minutes before suddenly became best friends. 

Also, I hit 8 months on the mission this week!! Where has the time gone!? It is honestly flying by. 

This week, we visited Sárika and actually got to teach her sister! It was a really neat experience. Also, there are cherries growing everywhere! It has made tracting better, we just walk and pick a few cherries and keep going! Haha it's so fun, we have been picking cherries and berries all week long. We also went to visit the Szabolcsi family (Kristőf, his mom Ilona, his dad, and sister, Viki). Viki, who painted us before, drew a picture of me in 15 minutes! She is so talented! I have loved meeting with their cute family!  Also, this week, we got to meet Judit's (a branch members) sister, her name is Béa, and she was her visiting. Her sister, Béa, married an American who served a mission in Hungary years ago and they have raised a cute little family. It was fun to see the kids at church and I even translated for one of the kids so he could talk to one of the branch members here. We also went to visit Jutka Néni. She is seriously the best cook! She made us töltött káposzta and it was so yummy! Right before we left, we asked to take a photo with her and she paused, laughed, and looked at us and said in a whisper "are you in a hurry?" We told her we had a few minutes and with that she ran into the other room to completely change her outfit haha, it was so cute, and she looked beautiful! 

We also had the best lesson with Péter. It was such a blessing to me to see how much his faith has been strengthened and how strong his testimony has grown since we met him in February on that cold day of tracting. He was sad about me leaving but he is doing so great! He made us lángos and we also helped him put the labels on a bunch of jars of honey that he was getting ready to take to the piac (market). We talked about baptism and confirmation and he told us that he truly knows the things we've taught him to be true! We also talked about the priesthood and how it can bless his family. He told us that instead of drinking coffee in the mornings, he has been reading a verse from the Book of Mormon aloud to his family! So awesome! I am so grateful to have gotten to teach that amazing family. I am excited to hear how they are doing and for Péter's, up coming baptism! 

On Saturday we had a special treat! We were able to travel to Debrecen to go to András (a member from Nyíregyháza who just got baptized about a year ago) and Roberta's wedding!! Roberta is a member in Debrecen who we have met a few times before as well. It was such a beautiful wedding and everything went perfectly! We went home after the ceremony but heard that the dancing and party lasted until 5 am! They were SO happy and Roberta looked absolutely gorgeous. 

On Sunday, we were able, along with all the members to take a bus to Miskolc for a District Conference - it was made up of the Miskolc, Nyíregyháza, and Debrecen branches! It was really great and everyone loved it. Izabella was able to come and she loved it, her granddaughter, Iza, was even able to come! It was Iza's first time coming to church and I'm so glad she had such a good experience, it was a great blessing to be able to see her at church for the first time. We went over yesterday to visit Izabella, Iza, and Viktor. Izabella has such a strong testimony and is SO smart. We had  a great visit with them and it was really hard to say goodbye. Izabella is just adorable and the last thing she did was tell me to open up my bag and the next thing I knew, she was dumping a bowl full of candies into it!! Haha, she is too funny! 

Yesterday, I said bye to a few other members and we got to have dinner at László's home with his wife, Éva, and his son Dani, the one I have been teaching piano lessons to. We had a great dinner and had fun talking. We shared the story of Lehi's dream with them and Éva talked about how grateful she was that I was there to cheer her up in some of the hardest moments in her life. It doesn't feel like we did very much, but just taking time to talk to someone can truly make a difference. If there's anything I have learned in Nyíregyháza over the past six months it is that the little things we do, really matter and make a difference. And the second thing I've learned is how to love. Maybe I stayed in Nyíregyháza for so long as I did because I just really had to learn how to love. And I have. There are so many things I have learned here but I think the last one has been how as we become more like children, we will see things differently and be happier. It may sound silly, but just like the little girls that I talked about, running around the fountain holding hands, we too can find things to be happy about and we can share it with others. Those two little girls didn't know each other, and they weren't worried about appearance or anything else, but they came together and in the simplest way, they shared such a joyful moment. Simplicity is huge, and I think that is one of the reasons children are so happy, because they find joy in the simpleness of life. 

I love these people that I have written about more than words can even describe and I am so so grateful to have had such an amazing past six months in beautiful little Nyíregyháza. 

 szeretettel,  Schoendorfer 
These are the cute girls I talked about that were playing in the fountain.
We have been enjoying all the cherry trees.
Kristof and I at church.
Some tracting photos.

Elder Ure and I took a photo in honor of serving in the same area for more than 8 consecutive months, from the MTC to our greenie cities.
Cute Jutka Neni!
Last visit with Peter and his family! 
Here are two different types of honey he takes to market.
On the train on the way to the wedding, Jelena (the branch president's mom) had me paint her nails, yes, on the train.
The beautiful wedding of Andras and Roberta!

Our bus ride to Miskolc.

Our visit with Izabella, Iza and Viktor
We have become friends with the ice cream girl. Her name is Fanni and she loves when we come. We call her
"Fanni, a fagyi leany" (the ice cream girl).

The is Laszlo, Eva, and Dani, whom I have been giving piano lessons to. 

Monday, June 6, 2016


Hey! We had a much better week here in Nyíregyháza! Also last Monday was my Névnap (Name Day) here in Hungary. On the calendars each day there are a few names and on Monday it was my name! I didn't actually know until we got a call from Péter later in the day wishing me a Boldog Névnapot (Happy Name Day)! 

This week Jarrett Nővér and I got on a bus to find somewhere to go tracting! We got off at a random spot where there were some of the most beautiful houses I've ever seen! We were welcomed in by a really aged bácsi who was wearing only a short pair of boxers with a light robe, and had what appeared to be the hair of a mad scientist who had maybe just been electrocuted? He was so sweet though and started to cry as he told me I looked like his niece! It was so sad! He said he hadn't seen his niece in quite a while but he was so happy that we came by and shared a message with him. He told us all kinds of stories about his life before we left. Then he kissed our hands, a literal csókolom, ("kezit csókolom" is a greeting they use a lot with older people which literally means "I kiss your hand," usually they just say csókolom and don't actually do it, but he actually kissed our hand, it was so sweet) and then he walked us out. He was so lonely and even though it wasn't a big deal to us necessarily, he really appreciated that we came by and I'm glad we were able to lift his spirits. 

The Sister training leaders came to Nyíregyháza this past week and we had some great success with them and were able to get more done. We gave out 12 Books of Mormon in under an hour, just talking to people on the street. I went with Hawker Nővér and headed to Sóstóhegy to meet with Péter and also Enikő, another woman that lives in Sóstó. We had a nice lesson with Péter and he is doing well. He made us another yummy dinner and we talked a lot about baptism and confirmation, and the importance and the blessings that come from this. 

With Enikő, we had a great lesson! We talked about faith and Enikő had so much to say, she truly has such strong faith! Enikő has been learning about the church for a few years and we haven't actually been able to meet with her in quite some time. But, the other day I felt like I really needed to call her and see how she was doing. I didn't know why I had that impression but I went ahead and called her up. To my surprise, she invited us to come over that night! When we met with her, as we talked about faith, she said that earlier when I called, was truly a miracle for her. She said she had been feeling really sad (her mom passed away in December and she is still having a hard time), and really down during the day. She told us that the moment I called her was the exact moment she looked at the picture of Christ she has hanging up in her room and that my phone call was a sign that Christ had not forgotten about her, that she really felt Heavenly Father's love for her. I'm so grateful we were able to meet with her and I'm so grateful for the spirit and the blessings we receive when we follow the promptings of the spirit, even if they seem small to us, it could really be meaningful for someone else. 

We also had another let-in this week with two cute young girls, Szonja, Eszter, and their cute one-month old dog, Daisy! We had a short lesson with them and introduced them to the Book of Mormon and we are excited to go back there again this week. We went over to Valika's this past week and were able to teach her cute granddaughter, Noémi. I have learned SO much from Valika (she is also the branch Relief Society President), and this week she taught us how to make a scripture case! I had told her a while ago that I liked hers and she remembered that I said that and got stuff ready for us to make our own! She also told us her conversion story that took place 19 years ago! She said she met the missionaries on the street and started meeting with them a few days later. She also said that the moment the missionaries put the Book of Mormon in her hands, she knew it was true! She is such a miracle! 

That is about it for this past week. This coming week will be my last week in Nyíregyháza as we get transfer calls in a week. I have been here for 6 months and have loved every second of it!!! I must admit that I am excited to go somewhere new next week though, and I look forward to meeting and teaching new people. Also this week I have been thinking a lot about the simple things and the simplicity of the gospel. Yes, there are many things we can focus on, and even many things we don't know all the answer to, but the doctrines of the gospel are so simple that a child can understand them and I am so grateful for that. In 2nd Nephi, Nephi says (Nephi 33:6), "I glory in plainness, I glory in truth, I glory in my Jesus..." and I feel the same way. Simple gospel truths can be the most meaningful. I am grateful for the simple things in the gospel, the simple things in life and for the love our Heavenly Father and Christ have for us. 

Sending my love,
 szeretettel, Schoendorfer 
We had splits this week in Nyiregyhaza with the Sister Training Leaders.
They have many beautiful sunsets here.

Look Dan, I found Mountain Dew here!
A beautiful rainbow we had after yet another thunderstorm!

Helping out in the garden

The watermelon here is the best I've ever had!
Valika learning how to take a selfie!

Last, but not least, Valika's cute dog Mimi. Love this dog!