Monday, October 24, 2016

A New Transfer!

Well, I said goodbye to Willets nővér in the middle of the week and she went off to the beautiful city of Eger with her new missionary, fresh to the country, Morris nővér. We met up with all the new missionaries last week and took them out to talk to Hungarians for their very first time and I actually went with Morris nővér and she is the coolest! She and Willets will have a blast together. She is one of the bravest girls ever and I am so excited for them.

I took McGregor nővér back with me to our charming Pest area that has only grown more dear to my heart. I adore this city and it will never lose its charm to me. I feel so blessed to be here with McGregor nővér and it has been so much fun to be together again, I haven't really been able to spend too much time with her since our MTC days. It was kind of funny because Dixon elder is in our district right now too, so it is like a little MTC reunion. 

This week, we met with a new guy named Roland. We met Roland on the street a few months ago and I remember it was a really hot day. Roland is about 20 years old and right now goes to a church where it is a bunch of different denominations together and he wants to know about the differences and why there are so many churches. We had not been able to meet with him until finally last week, when we were able to! It was wonderful being able to tell him about Joseph Smith, who had those same questions. It was also really cool because he told us he wasn't really super interested before and just was planning on meeting with us to see what we had to say but half way through the lesson he was talking about how he feels like this is what he needs and that it seems a lot more meaningful than he originally thought it would be. We are going to meet with him again tomorrow so I am excited to see where that goes. We also had another first lesson with a guy named Mert. He is from Turkey and it is kind of funny because his name, in Hungarian, means the word "because." It was really cool to get to know him because before the lesson I hadn't even met him. Willets nővér had talked with him when she was on splits a few weeks ago. I love telling people about this gospel, and the truths that we are blessed to know, who have never heard about it before. It is always such a an incredible experience.

We met with József a few times last week and he is doing so great! We moved his baptism date to November 19th because of some church activities that are going on all day on the 12th and a member of the seventy will be coming. So, everything is going smoothly with József and hopefully everything continues to be that way. He has really come a long way from when I first met him and that is so amazing for me to be able to see and feel a difference about him. He has a really strong faith and since he lives on our same street, we go to church with him almost every week. While on the metro and the villamos on the way there, József and I talked all about music, composers, the organ, and how I would love to be a music conductor. He is really smart and knows so much about music. 

So far, being together only about 5 days, McGregor nővér and I have gotten two let-ins while we have been tracting. The first one was with a really great couple from Lithuania who are diplomats here in Hungary. They have the most beautiful home, I felt like I was in the president's house or something, it was stunning. We had a really great chat with them and told them what we believe. Before we left, they asked us if we could sing for them and so we did. We sang "I am a Child of God" for them and I felt the spirit so strongly and felt such a feeling of peace and comfort. I love the words of simple primary songs. The couple loved it and said we could come see them again after they come home from their trip to Spain next week. Our other let-in was with a cute young couple and their little son, named Gordon. The girl, Tamára, had been to English classes by the missionaries in another city so she knew who we were and before we even brought it up, she asked if we have another book that we believe in. We then were able to talk to them all about the Book of Mormon and eternal families. Teaching families is my favorite part of missionary work. I feel like we often teach single people but it is such a blessing when we are able to find a family and help them to feel not only closer to Christ, but to one another as well.

A few days ago we finally got our heat and warm water fixed. It has been kind of an ongoing process and I have had some cold showers in the past little bit and we have been pretty bundled up. I am so grateful to have some heat again! The ward had a cute little Halloween party here on Saturday which was really fun, the kids loved it! 

This ward has really become my Hungarian family over the past four months and I am so happy to be with them for another two months and after that to have life long friendships here. I feel such a peace with all of them. One of my favorite scriptures from this week has been Helaman 5:47

"Peace, peace be unto you, because of your faith in my Well Beloved, who was from the foundation of the world."

Sometimes in life it can seem hard to find peace and even as a missionary, especially in the nonstop world of Budapest, I have struggled to find peace at times. But I know that because of a loving Heavanly Father and his son, Jesus Christ, we can find peace even during times where we may feel it is hard to find. 

Yesterday was a holiday here, it was the 1956 Remembrance Day and Declaration of the Republic (1956-os forradalom napja). 

Have a happy week and enjoy the Fall weather. This is my absolute favorite season! Halloween isn't really a celebrated holiday here but I hope you all have fun with Halloween there and I would love to see pictures of all those fun costumes!

Sok szeretettel, Schoendorfer Nővér

McGregor nover -- my new companion.
Beautiful Parliament
Here is Jozsef.

Look -- we made heart shaped meatloaf.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Farewell Willets Nővér

We got transfer calls this morning and although I will truly miss Willets nővér so so much, I am very excited to be staying in Kispest and getting McGregor nővér as my new companion. We were in the MTC together and I'm excited because I know and love her already! 

I don't have much time today, as we are meeting the new missionaries that just arrived by plane a few hours ago, fresh from the missionary training center. We will be showing them around a bit, and then talking to people on the street with them! It will be so fun! Sister Willets will be training one of them next transfer in Eger. 

My favorite part of this past week was teaching our bácsi friend, József who is getting baptized on November 12th!!! He is so wonderful! He was so concerned about the mini scriptures I have that he got out a huge magnifying glass during our lesson and made me use it to read while I was there, it was hilarious! He is really excited about his baptism and hopefully everything goes as planned, as he has been having some serious health problems right now, but he is determined. He is so smart and since he lives so close to us, we met him on Sunday morning and went to church with him! We are continuing to pray for him and hope that everything will work out. I have already seen a change in him, from the first time we met him. We tracted into his home a few months ago at which time he was overcome with sadness and at first he didn't even want to talk to us. But, I am so glad he decided to meet with us and since then we have frequently been able to meet with him. He seems genuinely happier now and has a light about him. This is my favorite part of missionary work, seeing people make positive changes and come closer to Christ. I have felt similar changes in my life too, and I am so grateful for that.  

This past week we were randomly walking to try to find an old investigator when we walked by Piroska's house and she and her cute daughter, Hanna, were just heading out for a walk. We were able to walk with them for a while and share a short thought. It was amazing because Piroska has been having a hard time recently, but she told us how every time we come around, we always bring something that she needs to hear. It is experiences like that that bring so much joy, as we go out each day to help strengthen others, we ourselves are strengthened. She also led us to the street where we met a rather intoxicated bacsi who sang two fold songs to us, predicted our futures, and then sold to us a wooden deer that he had carved. 

We went to the beautiful city of Pécs this week. It probably has the most hills of any city in Hungary which I absolutely loved! It was such a treat to be there. There were many other little miracles that I would love to tell you about, but until next week.

Sok szeretettel, Schoendorfer Nővér

A wooden deer we bought from a man who predicated our future (I'm apparently on having boys) and he sang a few Hungarian folk songs to us. I am really going to miss Sister Willets.
Krisztian - who was baptized a few months ago, and Eva - a sweet member here.
Pictures from our splits in Pecs!

Lots of people with signs for free hugs really close to where we live, haha. It was so funny to see peoples reactions. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

One Year Old!

Well, I turned one year old as a missionary this past week! It feels like that time has both flown by and also like I have been here forever. I guess both are true. 

This week was really great, we still had some trouble meeting with people but all in all it was a great week. We were able to go to a lesson with cute Lilla this week and she is such a joy to be with! She is one of the most positive people I know and it's impossible for me to not be smiling when I'm with her. She was so happy to meet with us and was such an amazing example to me as she invited everyone she could to church or gave them a pass along card. 

We also went to visit a church member named Piroska and her cute daughter Hanna and a couple from church came with us. They are an older couple and so amazing. They are always so willing to help and we have gotten to know them pretty well. Their names are Feri and Mária and as we were going home, they told us about how they were getting off the tram one stop early so that they would have more time to be out walking together. I loved it!

We had fun chalking again this week and had so many dogs run up to us and they were so friendly! Willets nővér and I accidentally ate bugs this week; I guess that's what happens when missionaries pass down a huge container of taco seasoning. 

Anyways we met a lot of new people this week from all over the place. It is so cool to talk all kinds of different people everyday, I love being here. József decided on a baptismal date this week! It was actually kind of funny because we had a really amazing lesson with him and he said he was still trying to decide between two dates. He wanted to have his baptism on a Monday because that is his favorite day of the week but he called us later and said he had officially decided on November 12th! We are so excited! We went over to visit him with Gizi yesterday and it was so funny because he was writing his baptismal date in his calendar and also writing notes on the Sundays to come to church. I really love teaching him, he has the biggest heart! 

Also, we met with a bácsi this week that had met with the missionaries about a year ago, his name was István. At first it seemed like he didn't want to meet but then he decided that he did and when we went over he was so so excited. He had made for us káposztás tészta (cabbage and noodles) which took him three hours. I don't really know how to describe this bácsi except for maybe the more energetic and happy version of the bácsi from the movie Up, or more accurately the bácsi from the movie The Little Prince for those of you who have seen that. He is a pretty lonely guy but as we talked about the gospel we could tell that it touched his heart. He cried as he told us some of the struggles he has had in his life, most recently was his wife passing away. 

It is such a joy to share the message of the gospel and bring light into people's lives that they didn't know existed. Everyone's life can change and I have seen the light of the gospel change other's, and my own, forever. I know Heavenly Father is aware of us and I am so glad to be a part of a gospel that revolves around progression. It is kind of interesting because we come on missions to find others who haven't heard of this gospel, but in the process I have found myself and found what I hold dear to my heart. The light I have found in Christ has brightened my life forever. I love God and I love my family. I love the incredible people that I have been lucky enough to meet here in Hungary and all over throughout my life. In my year of being a missionary I have learned so much, I still don't know everything - I guess I have to wait until that perfect day still (D&C 50:23-25) - but I think the most important thing I have truly learned is that to stay close to Heavenly Father and ultimately to find peace and happiness in our lives we need to pray. Through prayer we will receive answers, sometimes in ways we aren't expecting, but I know that answers come and as we ponder on how to more fully live, we will find the way and He will guide us. 

"Today you are you, that's truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you!" -Dr. Suess 

Sok szeretettel, Schoendorfer Nővér
We have both been serving for 1 year! I was able to be with Greenwood on splits the day we both celebrated our 1 year mark. 

Explanation on this photo--Puszi is what they call it when Hungarians greet one another with a kiss on each cheek. It is so common and something that was strange to me when I got here, but now I can't imagine what it was like without it!
A big jump for hitting the one year mark!

I love all the friendly dogs here.
It's kind of a missionary thing to burn an article of clothing at the one year mark.
Had a fun surprise, I got to see Reni and her friend and have a quick lunch with them this week. 

This is Lilla, I adore her! 
More chalking. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Kite String

Hello! It has been a great week here. Fall has finally arrived after a rainstorm and it has gotten colder! We haven't been able to meet with as many people as we had hoped, but we busied ourselves with some new finding ideas. We drew with chalk in a few parks close by and people were really interested with what we were drawing! It was really fun. Also, we met with Mr. Deen again last week. He is from Africa and so so enjoyable. He told us all about how he used to have two pet giraffes when he lived in Africa and wanted to know if we would be allowed to have a pet giraffe in our apartment here. Things are going really great with him though, we talked about Joseph Smith and his role was in the restoration of the gospel. 

One day this week we tried to visit a member that someone had asked us to visit. We went to her apartment and she buzzed us right in. When we got there, we were greeted by cute Lilla. Lilla isn't actually who we were originally looking for (we were trying to meet with her mom) but Lilla was there at her mom's house while her mom was at work. Lilla is a member of the Buda Ward so we don't know her very well and we were surprised that she was on the Pest side, so close to us because we thought she lived somewhere in Buda. She told us she was just staying with her mom for a little bit while she gets ready to move into a different apartment with her husband. Lilla is amazing and I am so grateful we got to see her that day because she really lifted our spirits. Lilla had an accident a few years ago which has very much affected her and now she struggles with brain damage. She was overjoyed to see us though and went on and on telling us about how her and her husband are going to be family history missionaries for the church and how excited she was for that. She showed us a few of her favorite scriptures and talked to us for a bit. She is one of the most positive and caring people I've ever met and she has such a great influence on everyone around her. 

We took the long three hour train to Szombathely this past week to go on splits with the sisters there, Vasica and Mcgregor (both from my MTC group). It was so fun to see both of them. I went on splits with Sister McGregor and had a blast riding bikes with her. I have only gotten to ride bikes a few times on my mission and it is always on splits, I love bikes! We talked to some of the nicest people in Szombathely. We were even walking in a park and said hi to a couple and after a few seconds they asked us to sit down and tell them about our church. It was amazing! They were really kind and I hope the sisters in Szombathely will be able to meet with them again in the future. 

We had a great zone training this past week which was super fun because they brought in a police officer to talk about bike safety. He has only been learning English since April and said the funniest things while talking about bikes. Also, the reason I called this week "the kite string" is because I have been thinking a lot about kites and how they connect to commandments. I heard a story a bit ago and it has stuck with me since then. It's about a little boy who went to the park with his dad and wanted to get the kite going as high as he could - here it is:

"The boy was very young. It was his first experience with kite flying. His father helped him, and after several attempts the kite was in the air. The boy ran and let out more string, and soon the kite was flying high. The little boy was so excited; the kite was beautiful. Eventually there was no more string left to allow the kite to go higher. The boy said to his father, “Daddy, let’s cut the string and let the kite go; I want to see it go higher and higher.”

His father said, “Son, the kite won’t go higher if we cut the string.”

“Yes, it will,” responded the little boy. “The string is holding the kite down; I can feel it.” The father handed a pocket knife to his son. The boy cut the st
ring. In a matter of seconds the kite was out of control. It darted here and there and finally landed in a broken heap. That was difficult for the boy to understand. He felt certain the string was holding the kite down."

The commandments and laws of God are like the kite string. They lead us and guide us upward. Obedience to them gives us peace, hope, and direction in our lives. I have a strong testimony that Heavenly Father loves us more than we can imagine and gives us guidance for our happiness and success and that true freedom comes from using our agency for good. 

We also had great splits with the Sopron sisters (Grogan and Smith). It was so fun to see Grogan since she was also in my MTC group. I went on splits with Sister Smith. The last time I went on splits with her was during her first week in the country and she has improved so much in the language and is doing so well. We went to visit a woman named Piroska and her cute daughter named Hanna. I love visiting families here, it is one of the biggest blessings. We were able to visit Annie again and her cute little son and we took them a treat. Hopefully we will be able to meet with Annie this week, last week she was really busy with family in town.

We met with József bácsi again this week, the gentleman who came to church last week and left before the meeting even started. He felt really bad and had wished he hadn't left. While it is different than when he was there in 2009, József was more upset about the fact that he didn't have a suit or nice clothes. We told him it's okay to be in jeans and talked about going to church for God. He is also going through a really hard time right now and they have discovered cancer so we are praying he will be okay. He wants to get baptized and this past week we talked about him getting baptized around November 7. He said Mondays are his favorite day and he wants to get baptized then hahah, he is so funny. There is a chance he will choose the following Saturday though so that more people can come. József is another person that I am especially grateful to be teaching right now. He has such a positive outlook on life and isn't afraid to stretch himself. I learn so much from others each day and I love being here. 

Also, our dear friend Kriszti made us dinner last week and I ate duck for the first time ever! It was delicious! 

Love you!

Sok szeretettel, Schoendorfer Nővér

We had splits with McGregor this week in Szombathely, and got to ride bikes!
We love the primary kids.
Splits with Vasica.
We tried "chalking" this week.

We love Gizi. This was a picture of her trying sour patch kids.