Monday, November 28, 2016

Thanksgiving in Hungary

Hello! I hope your Thanksgiving was happy! This week wasn't as crazy as the last one but it was still pretty busy. We had splits with Grogan and Manwaring nővérek. They came to us from Sopron. I was able to go on splits with Sister Grogan which was really fun because we were in the MTC together. We had a few people to look up by Parliament and afterwards we went tracting in the area. We tracted in a huge building where the apartments all had an amazing view of Budapest, it was beautiful. We also visited Piroska and her adorable daughter, Hannah. I love visiting them, Hannah is such a fun little girl. We, of course, also visited József this week. He is doing so great. He loves to learn and always asks lots of questions, and recently has been telling us everything he learns from reading and studying the scriptures. He is a great example to me.

This week we had such a great little Thanksgiving dinner. We had a district meeting and we all brought a different part of the dinner. I made a yummy pumpkin pie and we even had turkey. Dixon Elder has a friend from another area he served in that loves to cook and he brought us a Turkey casserole! I think maybe the only things missing were cranberries and stuffing.

We had a few lessons this week. We taught Gábor, who we haven't seen in a while. It was great meeting with him and he had a lot of questions about prayer. We also talked about prophets with him and read Jacob 4:4-11. 

4 For, for this intent have we written these things, tha
​ ​
they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a
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hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming;
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and not only we ourselves had a hope of his glory, but also
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all the holy prophets which were before us.
5 Behold, they believed in Christ and worshiped the Father in his name, and also we worship the Father in his
​ ​
name. And for this intent we keep the law of Moses, it
​ ​
pointing our souls to him; and for this cause it is sanctified
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unto us for righteousness, even as it was accounted unto
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Abraham in the wilderness to be obedient unto the
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commands of God in offering up his son Isaac, which is a
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similitude of God and his Only Begotten Son.
6 Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many
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revelations and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these
​ ​
witnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh
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unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the
​ ​
name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the
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mountains, or the waves of the sea.
7 Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness
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that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great
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condescensions unto the children of men, that we have
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power to do these things.
8 Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord.
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How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him;
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and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways.
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And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto
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him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of
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9 For behold, by the power of his word man came upon
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the face of the earth, which earth was created by the power
​ ​
of his word. Wherefore, if God being able to speak and the
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world was, and to speak and man was created, O then
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why not able to command the earth, or the workmanship
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of his hands upon the face of it, according to his will and
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10 Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but
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to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves
​ ​
know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in
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great mercy, over all his works.
11 Wherefore, beloved brethren, be reconciled unto him
​ ​
through the atonement of Christ, his Only Begotten Son,and ye may obtain a resurrection, according to the power
​ ​
of the resurrection which is in Christ, and be presented as
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the first-fruits of Christ unto God, having faith, and
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obtained a good hope of glory in him before he
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manifesteth himself in the flesh.

I now have a new found understanding of this powerful chapter. Prophets have always talked of Christ even before His coming and through Christ we really can be reconciled to God and have eternal life and happiness. 

Another one of our lessons was in a barber shop that this guy, Chidi, owns. Chidi is from Nigeria and heard about the church on the internet and requested a copy of the Book of Mormon. It was a really great lesson with him. I love to meet people from different backgrounds who also have the same beliefs we do. I love serving in Budapest because we meet people from all over the world.

We traveled to Szombathely to go on splits there with Sisters Vasica and Towne. It was really great to see sweet Vasica nővér, my MTC companion and her new missionary is working hard as well. I got to split with Towne nővér and it is so fun to see new missionaries learning Hungarian (this is a challenging language). 

On Sunday, church was wonderful and afterwards, since we live on the same street as József, we went home with him and he was beaming with happiness. We walked home along a really pretty route and he told us many stories about growing up in this area and about the history of Hungary. He is so intelligent and I always learn so much from him.

I am so thankful to serve as a full time missionary in Hungary and so grateful to have such incredible people in my life, here and back home. I love you!

 szeretettel, Schoendorfer 

Cooking madartej with Szabadkai nover! 

Walking with our dear Jozsef as he tells us the history of his city.

Splits in Szombathely.

Splits with Towne nover.

We saw this beautiful church when we while walking on our way to return the violins.

Back with my dear MTC companion, Vasica nover.

Willets and I --- just lovin being missionaries :)

Monday, November 21, 2016

József's Baptism

This has been one of the most special weeks of my mission. It has been such a blessing to teach József over the past few months and I have learned so much from this sweet man. 

The week started on Monday when we were able to go to Gellért hegy (a 235 m high hill overlooking the Danube River) with our district and it was great. The view was stunning at the top and you are able to see so much from up there. After walking home, we went to visit Zibrányi József. Since he lives on our same street, we saw him every day this week. He is beaming with happiness lately. When I think back to the sad man I met a few months ago to now, it is a testimony to me that Heavenly Father is truly aware of us and that miracles can occur in our lives. József is a miracle in my eyes and he is a blessing to everyone around him with his smile and positive naturre. I am also so grateful for the members here who have welcomed him in with open arms and treat him like family. József really looks up to them. In the evening, our landlord came (after there were more electric/heating issues) and again we got not only our heat/warm water fixed but the electricity was turned back on too after it had gone out once again that morning. 

On Tuesday, the sisters from Győr came for splits here. We also went to their Zone Training after being asked to help out. We conducted a training on the topic of bravery, confidence, and the unknown. We used jelly beans that my mom send where you can't tell what the flavor will be - good or bad. For example, there are two flavors - peach and throw-up, but they look exactly the same. Everyone picked one and it was fun as well as a good way to encourage them. József told us the cutest story when we met with him that day. He said he was at home with Anna's (his daughter) and the dog and he was reading a scripture (Alma 7:27) about the peace of God and said that the dog seems to be more calm when József is reading the scriptures or praying. And it is true! When we were there, the dog was going crazy and jumping all over us and then when someone started saying the prayer, the dog really did lay down and was calm for the rest of the time. I love being there with József and his daughter Anna and sometimes some of his other kids are there as well. In the evening we visited a member, Kriszti who is so kind and a great example to me. She made us palacsintas (crepes) and we had the nicest chat with her.

On Wednesday, we finally met with Krisztián again. He has been having health problems lately and we have really missed him. It was wonderful to see him again and hear his powerful testimony and to observe him being his happy self again. When we met with József today, he retold the story about how Willets and I knocked on his door in August. At first, he didn't really want to talk to us but I remember that Willets and I really felt prompted to go to his building that night. József's mom was a faithful member of the church and passed away in 2009.  József learned a little about the gospel then but after that he stopped.  I know that it was his time to come back and he even told us about how a few days before Willets Nővér and I had come that he was really praying about what he should do and that the thought of getting baptized and learning more about the church came to his mind.  He loves to tell that story to everyone and since then he calls us his angels.  In the evening, we met with cute Piroska and her young daughter, Hanna who loves when we come over.  Piroska told us about how she first learned about the church because of a Mormon family who makes a series of YouTube videos.  It is so interesting to me the different paths that lead people to the church.  

On Thursday, we had our Budapest Zone Conference which was great.  We even got to do the jelly bean training again!  We also got to preview the new Christmas video that was just made!  It had me crying after I watched it.  It hasn’t been put out to the public yet but I think it will be on YouTube this Friday.  It is so beautifully done; I think it is my favorite video so far that the church has ever made.  We met with József shortly afterwards and read some of my favorite scriptures, especially dealing with baptism.  Alma 37:16-17 and 3 Nephi 12:47-48.  Baptism represents the start of a new life and even after baptism we have the opportunity to repent, find new life and be perfected in Christ and our faith in him on our quest to be like Him.  We may not reach perfection here in this life but as we do our personal best, He will help us in that.

In the evening we were able to go to the cutest little violin shop, where a sweet bacsi makes violins, violas, cellos and basses.  He is a real life jolly elf in a little tiny shop.  They were so excited to show us everything and I got to play a lot of different incredible instruments.  McGregor Nővér also plays the violin and so we rented 2 violins for four days. József loves the violin and so we prepared a duet to play at the baptism. 

On Friday, we went to the hivatal which I was expecting to take hours but it only took about 20 minutes, we were so lucky!  Afterwards, we practiced the violin a bit and got things ready for the baptism.  We had a great meeting with József where we talked about promises and covenants.  He has such a strong testimony and talked about how he wants to promise God to go to church each week and share the gospel with others, which he has already done.  He met with an old friend recently who he gave a copy of the Book of Mormon to who was really grateful for it.  He is a great missionary himself.  Also, his daughter Anna, was there as well. She recently moved in with her dad and she is such a sweetheart. I enjoy seeing Anna and her dad together and how much they love being around each other is such a blessing.  József is a great dad to his four kids.  

In the evening we met with a new guy named Tillman and he is from Austria and he is attending the University here.  He speaks English and German and it's too bad that I don’t remember a lot of German, but at least I able to tell him the name of our church in German.  We had a great lesson with him and he is really accepting and respectful.  It is always so fun to start meeting with new people.  After that, the Eger Sisters, Willets and Morris Nővér were able to come back for the baptism and it was so amazing to see her again, she’s great. 

Now for Saturday, the best day ever!!!

The first part of the day was filled with baking cookies and making sure everything was set for József’s baptism.  The ward was really instrumental in helping out and many members brought food.  Some of the older members remember József’s mom and so it was really special. József's two daughters were there and he was so happy.  The program was beautiful and the spirit really was very strong.  McGregor Nővér and I played our violin duet, “If You Could Hie to Kolob” and it turned out really nice.  Willet’s Nővér also sang and I accompanied her for a song we performed together a few months ago.  Everyone was so happy and I don’t think József stopped smiling the whole evening.  The talks were also so inspired and it was really a wonderful evening.  

After we left the baptism, we went to visit a guy named Chidi who is Nigerian but living here. He found the church online and asked for us, the missionaries to come by with a Book of Mormon.  He is such a nice guy and we taught him in the barber shop where he works. 

Church was great yesterday and József was so happy and excited for his confirmation.  One of the members, Vilmos, who gave the blessing was really sweet and he also knew József from 2009 when he attended church just a few times.  I’m so grateful to have been able to see József through this whole process.  He has changed his life and just being around him I feel happier.  He is so genuine and cares so much about others around him.  After church we had a lesson with a guy named Mert from the country of Turkey.  Speaking of Turkey, Happy Thanksgiving on Thursday!  The lesson was great and he had a lot of questions that are answered through the plan of happiness which we taught him about. 

Have a great Thanksgiving! I am so grateful to be a missionary in Hungary and I am grateful for my Heavenly Father who truly loves and knows me.  One of my favorite quotes is one that Neal A. Maxwell said in a general conference, he said, “I testify that the Lord has known you for a long long time.  He has loved you for a long, long time.  He not only knows the names of all the stars, He knows your names.  And by the way you have never seen an immortal star.  They eventually fade away.  But, next to you are immortal souls.  Imperfect, but nevertheless trying to be like Jesus.”

I am grateful for each of you, and I love you!

Sok Szeretettel, 
Schoendorfer Nővér

Jozsef's Baptism!

Jozsef and his daughter Anna.

Jozsef and his daughter Sara and her family.

Jozsef and his dog.

Wonderful little shop where they make string instruments.

Rented a couple of violins to play a duet for the baptism.

I love the Fall here.

Out of power again. Glad we can work by candle light.

Trip to Gellert hegy. The view was spectacular!

Came across this guy, dressed up as a fortune cookie :)

Splits with the Gyor sisters.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Baby it's cold outside!

I don't know when the official calendar date of winter is, but it sure feels like winter here, it is so cold! We started off the week with a Segway Tour on our Preparation-day which was so so fun! The tour guide was Russian and since we lived so close, we were able to hurry home after the tour and get a Russian Book of Mormon to give to him and talk to him for a bit. We will hopefully be able to talk to him again soon, the guides told us to come ride their segways any time haha. We also had the Pécs sisters, Benson and Day, on splits here in Budapest and it was great to be with them. 

We have been meeting with our dear bácsi, József, who is so exited about his baptism that will be this Saturday. They recently had something called Lomtalanítás, it is meant for people to get rid of lots of things they don't need or want anymore. The streets are filled with random things people want to get rid of. József has been talking about this for weeks! His apartment is looking so much better and he got it all decluttered, it looks awesome and he is way happier about it. Also, the other day when we were walking up the stairs this his apartment he said to us from across the building "Jönnek az angyalok!" (The angels are coming) and it was so tender. I love this sweet bácsi! 

At church yesterday József came and so did his daughter, Anna. Anna is doing really great and just got a job here in Budapest! We are so grateful to be meeting with her as well, she's a sweetheart. They both came to church a few minutes late on Sunday, so at first I didn't see them and then I went to play the opening hymn on the organ and when it was over I looked out and saw them and was so happy! I went and sat by them both and later Anna told me that József was overjoyed that I could have sat anywhere and with anyone, but chose to sit by him and his daughter. I am so grateful for this family! Also at church yesterday we were really early for a meeting and had lots of time to spare before church started. Adorable little 5 year old Álmos was also there early while his mom was teaching a class and so while we were waiting I played with Álmos and we raced his hot wheels cars. It was so fun! He kept saying "Vigyázz, kész, rajt, tűz!" which I am guessing is the Hungarian version of "ready, set, go!! It was so funny, I love this ward, it is like a big family! 

We also met with Roland this week and he is doing good. I can't remember if I really talked about him last week but he is 20 years old, plays saxophone and is a music director! He is a really cool guy and really open minded so we will see where things go with him. 

We went to Dunaújváros for splits with Gertsch and Hooper nővérek. They are so fun to be with! I went with Gertsch nővér to meet with a cute girl named Léna. She is someone new they just recently started meeting with and it was the most incredible lesson! I feel like she is one of the most prepared people I have ever met with. She is so willing and very humble. During the lesson she told us she wants to be baptized and it was only the third time she had met with the missionaries. 

We had a nice time visiting with a few members here back in Pest and then on Saturday we had an MLC and a fireside with a seventy, Elder Liemer. He has come to the mission before and I love hearing him speak! In the MLC, I really appreciated something that our mission president, Szabadkai elnök taught us. He was talking about how we shouldn't compare ourselves to others but the only thing we should compare ourselves to is who we were yesterdayElder Liemer was really motivating in what he talked about and he talked a little bit about getting to the point where we can't wait to get up in the morning. I loved that! Mornings can be so hard, but what we have an opportunity to do each day is really incredible. He also talked a lot about how Jesus Christ is our advocate with Heavenly Father and how we can approach our Heavenly Father in prayer now. We don't have to wait or just wish for something better, but if we work to build our faith and trust in the Lord, we will be able to feel happiness now. We don't need to delay. One of the scriptures I loved was D&C 45:3 which says "Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him." Christ truly understands us and knows our hearts and he is the one who has earned the right to be our advocate. I know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us more than we can even comprehend and I am so grateful for that. 

Sok szeretettel, Schoendorfer Nővér

We had fun on splits with the Pecs sisters.

We had a great segway tour on our last preparation day, it was fun.

I love serving, and I love this city. It's beautiful at night.

During yoga in our apartment.

I found this cute little cat outside on splits in Dunaujvaros.

We made little hedgehogs (suni) out of a potato and grapes. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

A Short Week

Hello! It's been a short little week since I last emailed so there isn't too much to say. I have felt pretty sick recently, but I am soldiering on and things are still going really well here. Nothing ever slows down in the big city.
We met with Jozsef a few times this week and he is doing just amazing! His daughter, Anna, and her big dog recently moved in with him and she is looking for an apartment and job in Budapest (she just moved from another city). Anna was baptized when she was younger but hasn't been back to church in many years and her life has been pretty tough recently. She said she is so grateful that she was able to move in with her dad because he has been really helpful in the sense of helping her to feel happier and uplifting her spiritually, which she said is what she needed. We have been meeting with Anna too and she really wants to come back to church. She told us that Jozsef refers to us as "his angels" who came and knocked on his door at a time when he was praying and trying to decide what he needed to do in his life. I am so grateful for this family! 

Another day when we met with Jozsef and Anna, a member named Eva came with us and was talking about how through the gospel, Jozsef's family will be brought closer together. Before the lesson was over, another one of Jozsef's children came over, Bence. We were able to chat with him too and it was such a blessing to see how happy they all were together. 

The other highlight of the week was having Stake Conference. A member of the Seventy came, Elder Saben, and gave a really powerful message. He talked about heavenly peace and how that is different from worldly peace. Sometimes, in life we only know the earthly reasons behind certain things and we will only find out the heavenly ones later, but, we are able to feel heavenly peace in this life through Christ. We also watched a really incredible video during the conference and in it was this quote that i love:  "When we heal the body it is always an inward effort, paying attention to ourself. When we heal the soul, turning inward doesn't work, the triage of the soul is found in turning outward to other people."

I love being here and helping others, it really brings the most joy. It is not always an easy thing and it is sometimes really tiring, especially when there is often so much rejection involved, but the blessings are real and I am so grateful for the experiences I am having. I know that one way to feel true happiness is to willingly serve others with a selfless heart. 

Sok szeretettel, Schoendorfer Nővér
Trying to take pictures with Jozsef, his family and his dog.

This is Lilla, one of my favorite people, she recently became a family history missionary.

This is Elder Saben, the Seventy that came and spoke at Stake Conference.

Splits with Vasica, it was wonderful to see her :)

I love this city and love being a missionary!

Beautiful Budapest at night!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Mindenszentek napja (All Saints' Day)


It has been a great week here. We met with József every single day this past week and he is doing so great!! One day we brought a member with us named Éva and she brought him a suit jacket that she had and didn't need anymore and it fit József perfectly, he loved it! (József has been talking about how he has been wanting a suit recently for church but right now doesn't have the money for it). He was so grateful for it and wore it to his interview with President Szabadkai this week! We went with him to the interview because he didn't know how to get there and while we were waiting for President, we were looking through a book full of religious art and József was telling us about all the stories of the pictures, he is such a smart guy. József is the sweetest bácsi I have ever met and he is so excited for his baptism which is officially on November 19th

We had Zone Training last week and we went to two of them (to help with the training). They were both really great and it is always so fun to see the other missionaries from all over the country. After one of the Zone Trainings we had the Duna girls here on splits and I went with Hooper nővér and she is the best! She is in her second transfer and is so kind. I loved being with her and we also helped someone get packed up to move which was fun. 

On Saturday there was a huge event all over Hungary where in each of the buildings the movie "Meet the Mormons" was shown and a lot of people were invited. The members and others that came really loved it. McGregor nővér and I made sugar cookies for it which was really fun, I can't remember that last time I have made them from scratch. Everyone was coming up to me and asking me for the recipe which was so funny, sugar cookies aren't really a thing here so I will convert the measurements and give it to them. One of the dads in the ward came up while I was frosting them and was just standing there talking to me as he ate cookie after cookie, he was so funny about it. McGregor nővér and I had a really great part in District Meeting where we talked about building companionship unity and being a light to everyone so we brought a squash for each companionship and then carved them! It was really fun. We brought squashes because we couldn't find real orange pumpkins but it worked out great, sqush are so much harder to hollow out though. 

I truly enjoyed church on Sunday and even had the opportunity to translate for a family that was visiting from California. They had the cutest kids and it was really fun for me to translate for them. A few members came up afterwards and were asking me to translate between them so that they could talk to the family. 

We went to Sopron for splits and I went with Manwaring nővér who just got to the country a few weeks ago. It was so fun to be with her and Sopron is so so beautiful. We went tracting in the most charming area where all the houses looked like beach houses and we even got to ride bikes! One of the ladies came out of her house with her hands behind her back and only spoke German. We exchanged a few words, I told her the name of our church in German and wrote down a website and then with a biggest smile on her face, she quick pulled her hands out from behind her back and gave us hand fulls of chocolate and wafers and said "Happy Halloween!" So, we were able to turn tracting into Trick or Treating. Instead of Trick or Treating here though, Hungarians celebrate Mindenszentek napja (All Saints' Day) which is where the people honor those who have passed away by going to the cemeteries and decorating the graves with flowers and candles. I saw one cemetery here which was so so beautiful. I love the Pest area so much! Have a great week!

Sok szeretettel, Schoendorfer Nővér

Carving squash for our District Meeting

Beautiful cemeteries decorated for Mindenszentek Napja - All Saints' Day.

Fall is so beautiful in Hungary!

Great day at Margitsziget - Margaret Island, which is in the middle of the Danube River in central Budapest.

Splits with Hooper Nover - walking home after helping someone pack up.