Monday, March 27, 2017

az elmult másfél év (the last year and a half)

As my mission here in Hungary soon comes to a close, I've been pondering the last year and a half. Serving in Hungary, as a full time missionary has been the greatest blessing!!! Here are some of my thoughts recently---

I came on a mission to find others, to find people who needed to feel that they are loved by their Heavenly Father and to share the message of the Restored gospel. And that is what I've done. In doing that, however, I have found myself and God has found me. The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the selfless service of others. My mission has changed my life forever and I can't even begin to describe all that I've learned and all that I feel. I now feel and have felt our Heavenly Father's incomprehensible love for each of us. Looking back, I have learned so much and have learned that I will always be learning. Some of the main things I've learned being on my mission, however, are:

-the importance of love and charity for all
-the role of humility in our lives
-how crucial is is to have faith and act on it, always keeping in mind an eternal perspective
-positive change takes effort and is a good thing, and it helps if you have a friend
-happiness can always be found

As I left for my mission, I knew this whole journey would not be easy. I also knew that it would be what I made of it. Starting from day one, when I got my first companion, Vašica nővér, and met my MTC group, I truly strived to love them with all my heart. I know that prayers are answered because as I sincerely prayed to see them through the eyes of the Savior and to love them, it came. My love for the people around me grew immensely, I felt like the Grinch when his heart grew three sizes in one day. Everyone needs to be loved and during my mission I have made a great effort to love even those, who at times would not accept our message. My heart is continually being filled with love and charity. Most importantly, I know that our Heavenly Father and our older brother, Jesus Christ, know us and love us. Love is the key. 

When I arrived in Hungary, I felt that my testimony was beaming and I felt confident in my two months of Hungarian knowledge. I met President and Sister Szabadkai, who are a huge blessing and full of love and support. They love the missionaries and are great examples to me. I served in Nyíregyháza
​, in the north east,
 for my first area
​, where my companion was Wilson nővér and where I later served with sweet Jarrett nővér. It was there in Nyíregyháza where I learned about humility and how to rely on the Lord. With feelings of loneliness and constant discouragement in regards to not being able to understand or speak the language very well, I felt defeated at times. I am eternally grateful though for the patient members who I love beyond my literal ability to describe. I learned there that I needed humility in my life and that I had/have a constant need for the Lord and His diving help. I truly strived to submit to the will of God and to honor Him for what was accomplished. Throughout my mission I often would remind myself that if I rely on the Lord, I can do what He requires and that will be how I can help the people here. I spent six months in Nyíregyháza and it holds a very dear place in my heart. I will never forget the time I had there and the incredible people I met. At the end of my six months there, I felt much more comfortable with the language and was absolutely loving being a missionary. 

​Then, I got transferred to Kispest where I served with Willets nővér (who I knew before the mission) for four months and then with McGregor nővér (from my MTC group) for two months. I look back on my time in Kispest with the biggest smile, my time there was some of the happiest in my life. It was in Kispest where I learned what it is to work hard and the importance of acting on faith. I learned how to always do my part, to not be discouraged and keep trying even when times were challenging. Miracles happen when we hold tight to our faith in the hard times and keep in mind an eternal perspective. As I taught people in Budapest, I was constantly learning so much from those we were teaching. One of the biggest blessings was helping and seeing people make positive, eternal, and lasting changes. Change can be difficult but it is wonderful and the Lord is always by our side. I also learned here the importance of having supportive friends. Everyone needs a friend. Even Christ needed a friend during His hardships and so God sent an angel to the Garden of Gethsemane. The members in Kispest are incredible and I grew so close to them. I believe the people I met during my time in Budapest helped me become a better person and I am forever grateful for the six months I had there, it was hard to leave.

​I have spent the last four months of my mission in the small town of Szolnok. I served with Gordon nővér in her last transfer, and then with Vielstich and Evans nővérek for my last transfer. I met some of the most humble, kind and genuine people here who helped me be happy. I love sweet Szolnok. It was here where I felt like my head and heart might just explode with love. Abraham Lincoln said "most people are about as happy as they make their minds up to be," and on my mission I have felt true happiness and I want to always be happy. 

​I can't fully describe all that this past year and a half means to me. I've come to know my Savior better and He has become a close friend to me. I learned about how His atonement works in our life and I've felt what it is to be truly converted. I've come to know my Heavenly Father and I know that He loves each of us. I have learned to love. I've learned how to trust and to put everything into the hands of our God. I've learned how to change. I changed here in Hungary. I gained a testimony here and drawn closer to my Savoir. I've learned how to be happy. I adore Hungary. To me, it is a hallowed place. I can't imagine not coming here. Hungary is full of love and hope. 

My favorite scripture, in which I find much comfort is in  D&C 50,

23 And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness.
24 That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.

Hungary has brought a new light into my life through rays of the divine light of the gospel and a future full of happiness. I am forever grateful to God to have been a full time missionary here and for the life-changing experiences I've been blessed to have. I never want to forget my time here. It is bittersweet as my time here in Hungary is coming short. This past eighteen months has been blissful. I'll end with my favorite quote from the Little Prince,

"Good-bye," said the fox. "Here is my secret. It's quite simple: one sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes."

Next week I meet up with my sweet parents in Budapest :) 

I love you all dearly and will see you soon!

Sok szeretettel, Schoendorfer Nővér

A few treasures we found at a yard sale.

Elder Hughes and Sister Dyson at training.

We've done lots and lots of walking.

Love seeing the moon here.

So much fun at the fogyatekos otthona (the special needs home).

The yard sale, where we met the sweetest lady and her son - Tamas.

More dogs we met through the fence while tracting. 

Having a little fun on one of our train rides. 

Love serving with these sisters.