Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas in Békéscsaba

Sziasztok!

I hope that everybody had a great Christmas! I did! Unfortunately, all the snow melted, but that was OK. Elder Smith’s parents sent gifts for the members here and we had a lot of fun wrapping them and delivering them. His parents made scripture bags and bought copies of the new Gospel Art Book for everyone. We gave the members those gifts along with copies of the Hungarian General Conference Liahona, which finally arrived last week.

On Christmas day an English class couple invited us over to their house for dinner! Hungarians are so nice! They are standoffish at first, but become friends quickly. They made us mutton! It was really tasty! I’ve never eaten sheep before, but it was very delicious.

The day after Christmas, which is still Christmas here, we visited some more members and had a ton of fun. We biked our way to a member’s house who lives about 30 minutes away from our apartment. The trip there was fun because we had to go through a forest that was way muddy and wet from the rain. We got really muddy from riding all over the place! It was great! And then when we got there we just played outside with Laci, who is 10, and his mom using a soccer ball and a frisbee. They live in a farming area where the soil is super good. It’s like pitch black and apparently really fertile, which is probably why the food and juices are so good here! Anyway, we spent a few hours with them just playing around and having fun. Laci really looks up to us and he is such a cute kid. I hope he pays more attention to us and our examples than the kids at school.

Church went really well yesterday. Oh I completely forgot to write about it, but since my companion was so sick last week and since he is the Branch President we had to cancel church! That is unheard of in the mission. And so yesterday we had our Christmas program and it went well. I decided it would be a good idea to read the story of Christ’s birth from the scriptures as a Sacrament Meeting talk; I have now decided that that probably wasn’t a good idea. I’m pretty sure I put a few people to sleep, which is really bad since we only have a few active members here! Haha! But the rest of the program went well. Elder Smith and I sang some Christmas songs and that turned out good since he knows how to sing. I have figured out that I can sing decently only if I am following someone who has a similar voice as mine. I never would have sung with just one other person in Sacrament Meeting at home, but I guess singing in front of 12 people is a little easier than 140 people!

Sister Richards (one of the sister missionaries here in Békéscsaba) and I taught Primary yesterday! And it went well! Yes! Well, it went well for the first 20 to 30 minutes. We talked about Christ’s birth and the shepherds and then we talked about how we celebrate Christmas. We tried to teach them the song “Stars were Gleaming.” The girl, Brigi, was really well behaved, but her younger brother was a little more of a handful! Haha. After a while I just helped him draw dinosaurs from his new dinosaur book! But is was a ton of fun. I hope they will remember what we were able to teach them.

Well I have to go now, I love you all! I hope Christmas was great over there. Happy New Year in a few days! Let’s set some sweet New Year goals and work to be a little kinder, happier and more loving to everyone!

~Anderson elder

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Boldog Karácsonyt

Sziasztok!

Boldog Karácsonyt!! (Merry Christmas!!) This past week was really interesting. It snowed a lot, which was really awesome. My companion and I had a ton of fun riding our bikes in the snow. Unfortunately, on Thursday he got sick with a really high fever. We had to stay in the apartment for like two to three straight days! I don’t even remember how long exactly—it was just long. The crazy thing was that I was stuck in this teeny apartment with a sick companion but I didn’t get sick! I did a lot of studying though, which was nice. But then last night almost all of the snow melted away, which is a bummer! We were so close to having a white Christmas!

Seeing all the snow has made me miss snowboarding, so I figured out how I can snowboard here! Well, kind of. Whenever we ride the bus, I stay standing and don’t hold onto anything and it almost feels like I’m snowboarding on the bus! So that’s pretty fun.

Zone Conference was really neat this transfer. For a Christmas present we got to watch the movie “Up” which was pretty good. And we sang lots of Christmas songs and of course had trainings about how to take advantage of the holiday season to preach the Gospel.

Well my mind is going blank so this week’s blog entry will be a short one, sorry! The Gospel is amazing and I am super glad that I am able to teach others about it and see them become happier people! And speaking of happy people, Marika from Sopron got baptized on December 20th! She is awesome, I’m grateful that I was able to teach her! Remember that Christmas is about Jesus Christ! He is our Savior and I know that if we try to follow His example we will be so blessed!

Boldog Karácsonyt!

~Anderson elder

Monday, December 14, 2009

Paprikás Csirke

Sziasztok!

Last week went by pretty fast. Getting transferred to Békéscsaba was a long move—and I miss Sopron already—but the people here are incredible too!

I have some great news! I successfully made Paprikás Csirke from scratch on Wednesday and it was delicious!! Whoa! That’s the first time I have made something from scratch and made it taste good! It lasted for about four or five meals! So tasty.

And one of the coolest things about Békéscsaba is that we have bikes! Sweet! I love riding bikes! It is so much better than walking everywhere! Mine looks pretty lame and it doesn’t have any suspension, but it moves! So many people in this city ride bikes, bikes pretty much dominate the roads. OK, its not that intense, but I haven’t seen this many people on bikes in any other part of the country. And it snowed on Sunday! The snow didn’t stick, but it was ridiculously fun trying to lick snowflakes from the air while riding a bike!

I have a kind of embarrassing story to share. On Sunday as my companion and I were about to go to church, the handle on our apartment door broke from the outside locking us inside! The door was unlocked, but the inside handle didn’t have the part that turns the lock, so it just spun in circles and did nothing! We called the sisters—our district consists of my companion and me and two sisters, who are wonderful—and they came and rescued us. Haha. We all thought it was pretty funny.

On Sunday I gave a talk in church and it went well. The branch here is way small. Because there is only one active Priesthood holder in the branch—he just got baptized a few months ago and is awesome—my companion is the Branch President and I am the clerk. I’ll likely be assigned as First Counselor as well.

Well, we are in a hurry, so I have to leave now. Thanks for the support and love! Christmas is near! Whoohoo! Remember what Christmas is really about! Christ and how he is our Savior and Redeemer! Have a great week everybody!

~Anderson elder

Monday, December 7, 2009

Going to Békéscsaba

Sziasztok!

Last week was pretty good! I don’t have much time to write about it though; my companion and I have a program to go to soon.

So first of all, Marika is doing even better! She is awesome and will be baptized on the 18th! I’m way excited. One of the best things about her situation is that she has two really good friends in the branch who will be taking good care of her and helping her to stay strong in the church. She loves the gospel and I am so grateful that I have been able to teach her. It is way cool to see someone’s life become better and happier because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Awesome.

Some other big news is that on Wednesday I am being transferred to Békéscsaba, which is in the southeastern side of the country. It’s not too far from Romania. I am excited to go, but I am going to miss the people here in Sopron.

My companion and I got to go to Austria last week! Well, we got to go through it. A member moved to a town about 30 minutes south of Sopron and the fastest way to get there from here is through Austria. I never got to step on Austrian soil, but it was still cool to drive through two small towns and see all the signs in German.

This morning we made Paprikás Csirke—pepper chicken. Made with sweet pepper, not the regular spicy kind, it’s way better than it sounds and is one of the tastiest Hungarian meals! Last Monday we visited a member who is a chef and he showed us how to make it. We haven’t actually eaten it yet, but it sure smells good!

Well, I have to go now. Thank you all for all of your awesomeness! See you next week!

~Anderson elder

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving in Hungary

Hellósztok!

This week turned out pretty awesome, although, it didn’t start out so good. I have a pathetically funny story about that. Recently I have been trying to eat healthier and so early in the week I bought some chicken to cook for dinner. I put it in the fridge to thaw for most of the day, but it was still rock solid when I went to cook it. I put it in some really hot water for a few minutes, but then had to go to a meeting. I totally forgot about the chicken even though the meeting was on the floor below our apartment. The meeting ran late as usual and when I went back upstairs I found the water cold and realized that the chicken had been sitting out for over an hour and a half and was now thawed out and probably full of really bad germs. That was really lame of me. Haha. I didn’t trust the chicken since it had been sitting out so long and ended up wasting about a kilo of good food. I had been so excited to make something healthy and tasty and then I totally blew it! Hahaha. I’m going to try again tonight. Wish me luck! I’ll need it...

Last Monday we met with a really cool guy named László. He used to be Christian, but converted to Buddhism when he saw things in his church that didn’t seem right and that didn’t fit with what he felt was right. He’s a way cool guy who loves to rock climb—in fact, he reminds me of the guy who taught me how to rock climb. We talked to him about the Book of Mormon and about how our church differs from other Christian religions. He agreed to read the Book of Mormon. Nothing special happened during our meeting, it was just a good program. Hopefully we’ll get to meet with him again.

Thanksgiving was great! All thanks to the senior couple here, the Haslems! Whole turkeys are available here in Hungary only during Christmas time so the Haslems went to Vienna to get two big turkeys with which they made a great big Thanksgiving dinner! Missionaries from two other cities, Szombathely and Győr, came to Sopron and we had a big party. The party was a ton of fun and the food was very tasty! I felt pretty blessed to have a Thanksgiving dinner halfway across the world.

On Saturday we had a big branch party during which we made Advent wreaths. The making of Advent wreaths is apparently a popular tradition here in Europe. The party was a lot of fun. Almost all of our investigators attended too, which was really neat! This week was full, that’s for sure.

Marika is still doing great and her testimony of the Gospel is growing. She hasn’t been this happy in a long time. She had never been able to quit smoking before we started to meet with her, but she is now relying more on God and is receiving many blessings from Him. She had smoked for 40 years or so but was able to quit pretty quickly. She has a lot of determination which I’m sure has helped as well. It is a privilege to teach her more about God and Christ and what they have given to us through ancient and modern revelation.

Being here on a mission in Hungary is awesome. I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ a ton! It is great to be able to teach others and see how living according to the commandments actually brings more happiness and peace and meaning into their lives. Thanks for all of the support from home and everywhere else!

~Anderson elder

Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas Is Coming!

Sziasztok!

Hey! Last week was pretty good. First of all, CHRISTMAS IS COMING! The city is putting Christmas lights on street lamps and setting up trees and other stuff—it is really cool. Supposedly, in early December the city is going to set up a big Christmas tree in Fő Tér, which is the main square in the city. Christmas is awesome!

We visited an older member named Marika Néni last week who can’t come to church because she has to take care of her older sister who is 90 years old and has Alzheimer’s disease really bad. She is such a sweet lady and the highlight of her week is visiting with us. One time she called us her little angels! It is always fun to visit her.

Elder and Sister Haslem, the senior missionary couple in Sopron, have started a branch program called Gofri Est, or Waffle Night, which we hold every other Friday evening. Last week we watched The Polar Express at Gofri Est—it was pretty cool to see it in Hungarian. I could understand the point of what movie characters were saying, but not every word they said. It was fun though.

This week the Haslems are making a huge Thanksgiving dinner for the missionaries in Sopron and a few missionaries from other areas. Yesterday they went to Vienna, which is only 45 minutes away, to get a big turkey. They also had their kids send them pumpkin pie stuff in the mail!

Marika, our investigator, is doing awesome now! She was really stressed out about some stuff in her life, but she made through it and now is more committed to being baptized than ever. She is progressing well and the cool thing is that people have noticed that she is much happier nowadays! I love teaching about the Gospel of Christ. It is an awesome feeling to really believe and experience that God does love us and help us!

Well I need to go now, but thanks again for all of your love and support!

~Anderson elder

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Car Crash

Sziasztok!

Last week was pretty exciting. I’ll start off with the crazy part! On Thursday Elder Hintze—he’s American even though his name looks foreign—and I were on splits, streeting on opposite sides of the Várkerület. I was about to talk to a couple when I heard a crash behind me. I turned around, hearing tires screeching as a big, white van parked at the side of the street jerked back and forth. Obviously there had been a car crash. I asked the couple who I had just approached if they had a cell phone, but they were Austrian and didn’t understand Hungarian and were of no help. They just pointed to a nearby payphone. I didn’t have any money and didn’t want to deal with a payphone anyway so I gave up the idea of calling for help. Running to where the crash had occurred I saw that a car was wedged between the white van and another parked car. I was the first person to reach the car; everyone else just stood where they were and stared. The driver of the crashed car was an older woman. She was conscious so I gave her a thumbs up sign and asked her if she was okay. She couldn’t hear me but nodded her head that she was all right. In hindsight I should have ran around and opened the door for her and helped her out, but I wasn’t much more helpful than the rest of the onlookers. The driver got out of her car looking really dazed and not at all like she was all there—she was probably in shock or something. I asked her again if she was okay and she just gave me this weird look. Then I looked at her car’s license plate and saw a big “A” which stands for Austria. So she was Austrian too and couldn’t speak Hungarian, and I was totally stumped as to what I should do. By then a big crowd of people had gathered behind me and they were all just staring at the lady. A few minutes later someone who spoke German finally arrived and began talking to her. Elder Hintze and I then left, not knowing how we could be of any help. It was pretty crazy. Apparently this lady was slow to accelerate when the cars ahead of her started to go. A bus behind her probably assumed that she would get going along with the other cars and when she didn’t it slammed into her. It rammed her car from behind and skidded it across the other lane of traffic where it got wedged between two parked cars. The bus driver looked pretty distraught, as he should have, because it was probably his fault. If so, he’ll likely lose his job. So that was a pretty intense experience.

Missionary work has been getting more difficult lately. Most of the people we’re trying to teach don’t seem to want to meet with us anymore. They’re just too nice to say no which, I guess, is kind of nice of them in a way. But it’s not much fun having people continuously put off meeting with us either. So we are spending more time trying to find people to teach—one of the more difficult and less enjoyable aspects of missionary work—although finding makes teaching all the more enjoyable! If everything was fun and enjoyable and perfect, then we wouldn’t even be able to enjoy it. We only truly enjoy good times when we have had to go through hard times. The scripture in 2 Nephi chapter 2 explains that concept well I think.

Christmas season is coming! The stores here in Sopron are starting to show their Christmas wares and the city is putting up little Christmas trees on stoplights and other decorations all over the place. I’m way excited!

Well I better get going now. Thanks for everything! I hope all is going well back in America! Watch out for that nasty flu! It’s not that bad over here. Helló!

~Anderson elder

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Blessings of the Church

Sziasztok!

OK, this blog email will be short, but sweet. Sorry for the disclaimer, but I am running out of time FAST! Whatever emails I write last are always rushed.

This week was really good! Except that my companion and I have been having a hard time getting enough sleep. Because of winter and the reduced amount of daylight it offers, we have changed our schedules. We now wake up at 5:30am and go to bed at 9:30pm. Technically we should be getting the same amount of sleep as before. However, we have a lot of branch activities all of which are later at night and none of which we can reschedule. So we have a lot less time to eat dinner and get ready for bed after these activities and that has meant that we have been staying up later trying to get everything done. We almost got sick from lack of sleep, but now we are finally used to it. We have been able to organize our schedule better to give us enough time to do what we need and still get enough sleep. I never before realized just how important sleep is! It makes a huge impact on how you feel and how motivated you are to work hard. I’m grateful that we have worked things out now.

One cool thing that happened this week was that we found a guy who hasn’t been coming to church in a few years. He was pretty happy to meet with us and we had a great program with him. His life has recently become extremely difficult. His wife left him for a neighbor just two floors below in their apartment building and now she lives down there with this other guy. She totally abandoned her husband and their two super cute daughters, one who is three years old and one who is five. Because of this situation, he has to take care of the girls all by himself and that has made his work even more difficult. He works 11 to 12 hours a day, five to six days a week and usually gets about three to four hours of sleep after coming home from work and trying to be a good father. He has so many good memories of the church when he was active—I could really tell that he misses the church and the stability and blessings it once brought into his life. I am really looking forward to meeting with him again.

I have to go now; my companion and I need to go shopping and then run some more errands. Thanks for everything I love you all!

~Anderson elder

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween in Hungary

Hey Everybody!

I have been informed that I am no longer allowed to say in my blog that not a lot happened during the week—great advice because this week was intense. Elder Carlson finished his mission and I got a new companion named Elder Nichols. He is pretty awesome.

We had a sweet Halloween party last week! Hungarians don’t celebrate Halloween so they really liked our party since it was so different. All four of us missionaries dressed up as penguins! Since you can’t buy costumes here we had to make everything from scratch and cheap clothes. We looked pretty funny. When we walked downstairs into the branch house where everyone was (two of us live above the branch house) everyone burst out laughing because we looked so ridiculous! It was a ton of fun. So many English class students came with their families and friends that there were almost too many people for our small building. There were about 54 people who came and nonmembers outnumbered members of the church almost 3 to 1! So it was a great success. We are going to start meeting with a few of the people who came to the party, which is awesome. At the very least a lot of people have a much better impression of us and know that we are normal people who like to have fun too. It was definitely the highlight of the week.

Also, I turned 20 years old and that was a little weird. I feel like I’m in a time warp thingy and that when I get home I’ll still be 19 years old. During the family night we hold in the branch house one of the families brought me a cake and candy! It was really cool.

I love you all and I am way glad to be here serving the Hungarian people and helping them become happier and more optimistic through the gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe with all of my heart because of what I have felt and studied and experienced that this church is the restored church of Jesus Christ. I love seeing how the church makes people become better and happier people. Again, thanks for everything!

~Anderson elder

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Fast Week

Hello!

This week was kind of boring, but it went by really fast at the same time. It was Elder Carlson’s last full week here in Hungary and so we had a lot of goodbye programs with people. One of the members took us out to eat at a really nice restaurant—and that was great! Hungarian food is really tasty. Friday was a national holiday celebrating the 1956 revolution against the communist government. Hungary was either the first country or one of the first countries to rebel against communism, but the revolution lasted only a few days and ended when Russia brought in a few hundred tanks and lots of soldiers to suppress the freedom fighters. When the communists ruled Hungary, they added a crest onto the Hungarian flag. Today people sometimes cut out that symbol from those communist-era flags so now we occasionally see flags with big holes in the middle. Those are pretty cool.

The missionary work is still going along as usual, we just need to find some more people who we can teach. Unfortunately that’s a pretty difficult task.

My Dad asked me about Christmas here in Hungary. It is different than in America. First of all Santa comes on December 6th and brings presents. On December 24th Hungarians set up their Christmas tree so that Baby Jesus can come and bring them more presents. They open the presents from Baby Jesus on the 25th. So a Hungarian Christmas is definitely different than an America Christmas. Personally, I like the way we do it better, but I guess that’s just because I’m biased. Haha.

Well, thank you for everything! I appreciate the emails and support and love! I believe with all my heart that God and Christ live and love us!

~Anderson elder

Monday, October 19, 2009

Eszterházy kastély

Hey Everybody!

Last week was pretty good. We went to see a giant mansion called Eszterházy kastély that was originally built a few hundred years ago. It was really neat. I’ll send some pictures.

Earlier last week it was way cold. The wind was really strong and that made it a lot worse.

Marika is doing really well. She is awesome! We decided to talk to her about smoking and to help her quit, but she told us that she had already quit! We were a little taken back. She said that she had already thrown all of the cigarettes out of her house and that she had told her co-workers not to ask her for cigarettes because she doesn’t have any anymore! She is a very determined person. She is progressing well and it’s awesome!

So about the Lutheran missionary girl we’ve been talking to—we had a good discussion last night. We had planned on talking to her about original sin and about what happens to those who don’t learn of Christ during mortality and to answer her questions about becoming like our Father in Heaven. We had a ton of sweet scriptures from the Bible to prove our points. Well, as is usually the case, our discussion didn’t go as planned. Our scriptures were awesome, but she had a different interpretation for all of them so they had no effect on her at all. Our discussion became a “now you know why we believe what we believe and that we have scriptures to back up our beliefs and our disagreements are a matter of different interpretations of those scriptures” meeting. But it was so sad to hear her talk about how babies and others who don’t hear about Christ in this life will go to hell and suffer eternally. She admitted that it’s a hard thing for her to accept.

Truly, NOTHING can convert people to the gospel except the Spirit of God and only then when those who hear the gospel are open to the Spirit’s guidance and are willing to follow it. Talking to this Lutheran missionary has made me think a lot about psychology and about just how ineffective and destructive it is to try to disprove someone else’s beliefs. In our discussion last night, we just talked about our different beliefs in a courteous manner. We didn’t convince her of anything, so some might say that nothing much was accomplished. On the other hand, when a discussion degenerates into contention only bad stuff can come from it. Talking to her has given me a lot of experience discussing beliefs without being contentious. I really like it when neither party in a discussion like this tries to prove the other wrong, instead focusing on exchanging beliefs and trying to understand one another. So it was cool.

I made an interesting language mistake this week. While talking to one of the members, Ádám, I just couldn’t think of what I wanted to say in correct Hungarian. I told him that what I was about to say wasn’t going to be correct. But when I said that I made a mistake! OK, that was confusing. I meant to say „nem lesz helyes,” which means “it won’t be correct,” but instead I said „nem helyes lesz.” OK, so it wasn’t a funny mistake, but it was kind of ironic.

Well I didn’t get a good night’s sleep last night and my brain just isn’t working so I’ll end now. I am very grateful that I have the opportunity to be here and to help others become happier through the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Thanks for everything, I love you all!

~Anderson elder

Monday, October 12, 2009

Marika

Hey Everybody!

This week went by really fast, but some cool things happened. The lady that we helped move last week, Marika, is meeting with us regularly and now says that she wants to be baptized! So that is way cool. Last Tuesday as we were walking through the city, we went past her new apartment complex. We noticed her putting her name on her new mailbox so we decided to go and talk to her. She invited us up to her apartment. We taught her about the Book of Mormon and gave her a copy of her own. She said that she would read from it. Then the next day we met with her again and talked about what she had read. We asked her if she wanted to know if the Book of Mormon was true or not and she said that after reading and praying about it, she already feels that is is true! I was thinking, “Whoa! This doesn’t happen everyday...or week...or month!” We also taught her some more about the Restoration and that went really well. So then we asked her if she wanted to be baptized and she said yes! And then I thought, “WHOA!” It was way awesome; I felt the Spirit really strong and knew that this was something God wanted. We have been teaching her more and it has been great. I love to see her happy and to hear her tell about how people who know her can see that she is happier, even though they don’t know why. The Gospel of Christ really does have the power to bring so much happiness into our lives. In other words, it’s awesome!

So we watched General Conference at church this week and it was really cool. I understood a lot more than I did six months ago. Of course I didn’t understand anything then, but still.... This time I could understand the basic message that they were talking about, but not exactly what they were saying because they translate it really well in pretty fancy Hungarian that is way over my head. So sometimes I would understand a few sentences and then there would be a few sentences that were just too full of fancy words and grammar principles that I didn’t understand. And then after a while it felt like my brain would just overload and I would fall asleep. Haha. I could only take so much of that fast, complicated Hungarian at once and then when I hit that mark I would just fall asleep like a rock. But when I payed attention it was somewhat understandable.

Well I’m kind of in a hurry, we have a program with Marika soon, so I better get going. Thanks for everything and for the support and love!

~Anderson elder

Monday, October 5, 2009

Coworkers and Friends

Hey everybody!

Apparently some people think that my blog entries are getting too short. Well, I agree; but I can only stand being in front of the computer for so long! And two hours, which is the average time it takes me to read my emails and write in my blog and to my parents, is plenty long for me.

So with that disclaimer, this week was really good. This morning we did some service, which was really enjoyable. Balázs, one of the way cool members here in Sopron, has a coworker who was moving. He invited us to help them and it was a lot of fun. We had to move the coworker’s stuff out of the third floor of her building, a pretty interesting task at times. Then when we got to her new place we discovered that the apartment wasn’t empty yet. So we helped the former tenants move their stuff out and then Balázs’s coworker’s stuff in. It was a really good workout! And it was cool because the coworker said that she would come to church on Sunday, which is when we’re showing General Conference in Hungarian—that’ll be way cool.

Speaking of General Conference, Balázs had us come to his house Saturday night at 6pm to watch the first session live on his computer. It was way neat to watch conference live, but the kids were a little distracting. Haha. They have the cutest little girl named Laura, whose nickname is Lala. I don’t know when we’ll get to watch the whole thing in English.

We recently met an American girl who is on a mission teaching English for the Lutheran church. Unfortunately her church sent her out here without any language training at all, so she can’t speak any Hungarian. We have started to meet with her to teach her a little Hungarian and talk about the Gospel. We are pretty sure that she isn’t interested in joining our church, especially since her father is a Lutheran minister, but at the very least we can clear up all of the lies and misconceptions she has heard about Mormons. Maybe she will even become a friend of the church and defend us and spread the truth when she hears bad stuff about us from others.

Thank you for everything, especially for your love and support! I know that God and Christ live and love us and that they truly care about us. If we try to follow Christ’s example and pray hard, we will receive answers to our prayers and questions. I have experienced that for myself and I’m here to help others experience it for themselves too. I love you all!

~Anderson elder

Monday, September 28, 2009

Zone Conference

Hey Everybody!

This week has been pretty good. We have been meeting with Barbara a lot and she is progressing really well. We are trying to meet with more people, but it’s difficult of course.

Elder Erich W. Kopischke, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and our Area President (I think), came to Zone Conference this week and taught us a lot. It was really neat. He is an amazing teacher. He did a question and answer session for three hours straight, but it felt like just an hour because he taught so well. Especially so since he had to teach us in English and he’s German. It was really fun to learn from him and his experiences.

We are trying to figure out ways to serve the people here in Sopron, but it’s pretty hard. We have been to the city hall three times and the officials have promised to call us back, but they never have. I don’t understand why they aren’t being very cooperative. Four young men who want to help the city in any way for free. How is that not appealing? I don’t know.

I apologize, but my mind is blank. This week went by pretty fast, so fast I can hardly recall what happened.

I am grateful to be here in Hungary and to have the opportunity of teaching people about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to show them how it can help each of us have a happy, fulfilling and enjoyable life.

~Anderson elder

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Successful Kirándulás

Sziasztok!

This week was pretty cool. We had transfers and I got a new companion, Elder Carlson. He is really cool and this is his last transfer, but he still wants to work hard, so that is great.

We had a kirándulás (literally: excursion or hike, but it’s just a party) with the branch this week and it was a big success. We had quite a few angolóra (English class) students come and one of the members brought one of her friends. It was pretty fun! We had shish kababs and cold sandwiches to eat. And we taught a few of our English class students how to throw an American football. There were a lot of other people at the park and a bunch of guys were playing soccer in a small field. They needed more players so they asked Elder Hintze (a new missionary) and I to play with them. It was a ton of fun and I scored the first goal for our team! It was especially fun playing soccer with a bunch of Hungarians. After that Elder Hintze, Ádám (a young member), and I went hiking up a big hill into the forest. It was very pretty. Eventually a bunch of people followed us and we just kind of explored around the forest and talked. Everyone enjoyed themselves and the party was a big success.

Also, we have started to meet with a lady named Barbara (that’s definitely not a Hungarian name, but it’s pronounced Hungarianly—is that even a word?) and she is progressing pretty fast. She has an interesting personality, but that’s OK. She reads the Book of Mormon a lot and really believes that it is also scripture with the Bible. So that is really cool. Hopefully, our efforts last transfer of spending ridiculous amounts of time finding people to teach will pay off.

Today we are going to go on a bobsled izé (thingy) in the city. Apparently, there are things in Utah called Alpine Slides that are the same. I’ve been on one in Whistler, British Columbia before.

Well anyway, being here on a mission is great and I love teaching the gospel! Thanks for everything!

~Anderson elder

Monday, September 14, 2009

Attack of the Giant Book of Momon

Sziasztok!

Well, a few changes are coming this week. My current companion, Elder Golze, is leaving for Győr so I am getting a new companion. That will be interesting.

Not much happened this week. The senior missionary couple here in Sopron made a giant Book of Mormon sign for us to use with street contacting and that made for some really interesting experiences! Basically we are just trying anything to get people to stop and talk to us on the street. Almost no one wants to because they think that they already know who we are and what we do, when in reality almost no one actually knows any truth about us. So one of us carries this ridiculously large Book of Mormon thing and we try to stop people and be a little humorous since we look so funny. We got a few interesting reactions from people, but for the most part just more people than usual stared at us. haha. But we’ll see how it works in the long run.

Also with the senior couple we started a “Gofri Est” (Waffle Night) where the couple makes a ton of waffles and the branch members just hang out and chat and play ping pong. Hopefully, it’ll help the members become closer and friendlier with each other.

Next week we have a branch party and should be a lot of fun. I’ll write about that later. Thanks for everything! I know that the fullness of the Gospel of Christ has been restored on the earth and that God still speaks to us in our day! Thanks again!

~Anderson elder

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sports Proselyting

Sziasztok!

This week was pretty good. Our mission president wants us to keep track of how many hours we are spending trying to find people to teach and so we started to do that this week. My companion and I ended up with 16 ½ hours, which apparently was the highest in the mission. So that was kind of cool, but it was very long.

I don’t remember if I talked about this last week, but we recently started a Sport Nap (Sport Day)—we play soccer in the morning with anyone who wants to play. As long as there is one person who isn’t a member of the church we can do it. It has been a ton of fun! So far two angolóra (English Class) students have come. Last Saturday was pretty fun, except I tripped and totally ate it! I didn’t have enough time to get my hands in front of me and so I landed headfirst. hahaha. Like most of the soccer fields here, the place where we were playing was dirt so I got pretty scratched up! But it’s almost completely healed up already—so don’t worry Mom and Dad. lol. But it has been a lot of fun playing soccer and hopefully more people will come soon. It is a good opportunity for others to see that we are normal people and not crazy religious fanatics.

This week we met with a really cool lady, Erzsi, and her daughter, Tünde, in their beauty salon (after it was closed) and we had a really good lesson with them! They are super nice I really hope that we will be able to continue to meet with them!

We have been teaching an older lady who is a member, who hasn’t been coming to church in a long time. But she came yesterday and that was really cool to see.

Well, this transfer is about over and it will be interesting to see what happens next. I am almost completely sure that I’ll be staying here in Sopron for a while longer.

Thanks for everything! I love you all! I know that this gospel really is the gospel of Christ and I’m glad that I am able to teach others about it!

~Anderson elder

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Little Miracle

Sziasztok!

This week was nice. There was a big science convention in Sopron this week and so there were a lot of people here from all over the world. I talked to a guy from Colorado for a little while—he was really cool. I also talked to people from China, Algeria, Cameroon, and England. That was neat.

Well, we still don’t have anyone to teach, which is really hard, but we have found a few people who at least seem interested in meeting with us. We had a little miracle this week when we went through the teaching records in the area book and called up a few people who had met with missionaries a while ago. Out of the five people I called, two said that they would like to meet again! That doesn’t happen very often.

We had some neat changes in our branch this week. The former branch president was released and Elder Haslem, one of our senior missionaries, was called as the new branch president. Balázs, a recent convert I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, was called as his counselor. Balázs is such a cool guy and he is excited to work hard. He has a super strong testimony of the Gospel. Elder Haslem’s main job is to train Balázs. And the old branch president received a new calling so that is good too.

My Mom asked me a few questions this week that I think I’ll answer here. The Sopron Branch is pretty small: typically about 20-25 people come to sacrament meeting regularly. There is one kid who is about 16 yrs old and he is so cool. He is the only member his age in the city and he is very strong. He loves the Gospel and wants to serve a mission. Unfortunately, his old friends pretty much hate him now since he is a member of our church, which is the stupidest thing ever. There are also two families in the branch and they are great. I have had to speak in Sacrament Meeting once so far, but will probably be speaking more in the future because there are so few people here. For exercise, we usually go running in the morning or we work out in our apartment to try to stay in shape.

I hope that you liked the pictures I sent recently. It is pretty cool being in a foreign country.

Well I love you all and I appreciate the emails and support. I know that this Gospel is true and that it has blessed my life a ton!

~Anderson elder

Monday, August 24, 2009

Finding People

Sziasztok!

Hey, sorry for the super short blog entry last week. This week was OK. Because it’s difficult to get people to talk to us we decided to try something other than just streeting (talking to people on the street) people this week. We set up a table on a street in the belváros (downtown) with church stuff on it and with signs that say, “Ingyenes Angolóra” (Free English Class) and, “Kik a Mormonok?” (Who are the Mormons?). People were curious about the table set-up so it was a little easier to talk to them. That was good. Overall, the missionary work here is going pretty slowly, which is hard, but I’m sure that it’ll pick up sooner or later.

Csütörtök (Thursday) was a big holiday here. It’s similar to our Independence Day as there are festivals and stuff and fireworks at night. It celebrates the time when the first king of Hungary united the Hungarian people into a nation. It was like 1,000 years ago. Haha. It is really weird to think that there are a ton of buildings here that are older than America. lol. So that was a fun day and I have some pictures of it.

I know that this Gospel is true and real and it has brought me a lot of peace and happiness and comfort and direction in my life and in the lives of many other people. It is amazing to hear about how people have changed their lives because of the Gospel of Christ. I love teaching people about this gospel!

Well, I need to go now. Thanks for all of the love and support!

~Anderson elder

Monday, August 17, 2009

No One Wants to Talk to Us

Hey Everybody!

Sorry I have no time today! Everything is going great and hopefully I will get my pictures mailed off soon! The work is really hard here in Sopron—almost no one wants to talk to us about religion and that makes the work especially difficult. The people in Komló, my previous city, were much more open to talking about religion than the people here in Sopron. Hopefully the people here will come to see that we are nice people and will want to talk to us.

Here are some pictures... Okay, well I was going to put some pictures on here, but the CD drive thingy is broken on this computer. I promise that I will include some pictures next week. I’m really sorry, but így van (this is the way it is)! Thank you for all of your support and love!

~Anderson elder

Monday, August 10, 2009

In Need of Investigators

Sziasztok!

I’m in Sopron now. It is a really pretty city. My luggage survived the transfer so that was nice! When we transfer everyone who is moving goes to the Keleti train station in Budapest and we all hangout there in a giant lobby until our trains leave. I got to see a lot of people from my group, the group above me, and the group just younger than me, which was really cool. (Click here for more information on Sopron.)

My new companion is Elder Golze. He’s cool, really quiet, which I’m not used to, but we get along well. Sopron is very nice, except like half of the people on the street are Austrian tourists. That’s kind of annoying. I really hope that Frau Holum (my high school German teacher) doesn’t read this, but I have completely forgotten everything I learned in German class! I recognize words and can understand a few phrases, but I can’t speak at all. Hungarian has totally taken over my German. I remember the first week I was in the MTC I kept thinking, “I can’t wait until I can speak more Hungarian than German!” because Hungarian was so frustrating. And now I can’t even remember more than five or so German words! Crazy.

Well the missionary work is going VERY SLOW right now. We pretty much have no investigators and that is really hard. Believe it or not, but after my first day here in beautiful Sopron, I was homesick for Komló, which is one of the poorest and ugliest areas that missionaries can serve in! The people who live there and who we taught and the members there are so awesome. I’ll never forget them. But I’m sure that I will come to love Sopron too. I didn’t like Komló the first week that I was there. So needless to say, we are doing a lot of finding. I haven’t gotten kicked out of any buildings yet. Haha. Maybe Elder Christensen was exaggerating a little.

Sunday was pretty nice. About 20-25 people came to church this week. They are all awesome too. I look forward to getting to know them.

I have been moved around quite a lot. This is my 4th transfer and 3rd area. My companion, Elder Golze is in his 8th transfer and Sopron is also his 3rd area. He is a lot younger than my other companions, but he speaks Hungarian pretty well so it isn’t a big deal.

OH! Our apartment is SO AWESOME! It has air conditioning! What!? And a deck! WHOA! It is one of the nicest apartments in the mission I think. But it does have one big problem. The roof is messed up and leaks a lot! We finally got some guys to come by and repair (we hope) most of the roof, so it should be better now. But I’m pretty excited about the deck and AC. The weather is a little cooler and less humid here than in Komló, but it’s not a huge difference. The AC is wonderful.

Hopefully we can find some people who are interested soon, or else I’ll go crazy. Haha. A whole day of finding and no teaching is not fun at all.

Oh this is kind of funny. I forgot a lot of my bathroom stuff in Komló will have to wait a few weeks to get it all back. I needed a new razor, but I’m way too cheap to buy another nice one like I have right now. So I went to the store on my first day in Sopron and the only kind I found was the pink kind for girls to shave their legs. So ya, I’m shaving with cheap, pink, girly razors and I laugh at myself every morning. Hahaha. They really are cheap, though—maybe I’ll keep on using them for a while...NOT! They’re no fun at all, they actually kind of hurt! Haha.

Well thanks for all of the support and love and emails. I’m trying to get around to writing people, but it is really hard. I know that this church is true and I am so grateful that I can be in Hungary sharing this awesome message with people! Thanks a ton!

~Anderson elder

Monday, August 3, 2009

I'm Off to Sopron

Hey Everybody!

I heard that Ryan Miller and Kyle Murray are both coming to Magyarország!?! WHAT!? That’s crazy! I just might be able to serve with one of them! Whoa! Gyertek ide! (For those of you who don’t know them, Ryan and Kyle are friends from high school.)

I’m being transferred again! Already! I’m going to Sopron! It borders Austria! So if anyone wants any Austrian goods you know who to contact. Haha. Elder Christensen is going to be training a new missionary so I’m getting kicked out of Komló. I’m going to miss it and really miss the Pécs branch. Apparently, the people in Sopron are pretty sick of the missionaries. Lol. Elder Christensen was there before he came to Komló and he said that it is pretty hard to talk to people. He said that he was escorted out of apartment buildings many times! So this is going to be a challenge.

Tuesday was really cool! Elder Feuz, who is fresh from the MTC in America, came over to Komló with me for the day and Elder Christensen went to Pécs. It was really interesting because he can barely speak at all and I can speak only a little more. We had one program, and it was really good—well, we taught well at least. I understood almost everything that they said and I could speak a lot better than usual! I know that the Lord was helping me out because that was the best I’ve done language-wise and it was just that day that I did really well. Teaching with Elder Feuz helped me see how much I have improved since my first transfer (a transfer is six weeks), because I could speak and understand a lot better than he could and I just haven’t realized that I’ve improved. So that was a confidence booster.

Oh, the sister missionary from Pécs who served in the USA brought salt water taffy home with her!!!! I had forgotten how good it is!!! If anyone will send me salt water taffy I promise to send them delicious German chocolate! Deal? Deal!

Sunday was awesome. It was fast and testimony meeting and almost all of the youth bore their testimonies and I felt the Spirit so strong! The members here are awesome. And Balázs, who was baptized just a few months ago, bore his testimony and said that his kids told him last week that he has changed a lot since he got baptized. They said that he is way nicer, more loving and patient, kinder and happier. And the whole time he was up there bearing his testimony he had this gigantic smile across his face and you could see and feel how much the gospel has blessed his life. I hope that I’m able to f ind and teach someone like Balázs who really takes hold of the Gospel and lives it as best as he can.

So I have to go soon. I need to find some new luggage since I’m going to be moving to Sopron. It is a beautiful city so I’ll send some pictures when I get there.

Thank you for all of the letters and emails and love and support! I really appreciate it! I love this gospel with all my heart and know that it is true and really blesses people’s lives!

~Anderson elder

Monday, July 27, 2009

Fake Numbers

Sziasztok!

This week was pretty uneventful. So far almost everyone who has given me their number to meet again has given me a fake number. That is so disappointing. On the other hand, Zone Conference was pretty cool. President and Sister Baughman, our new mission president and his wife, are great! Sister Baughman gave a talk at Zone Conference about how we are so blessed to understand why there is adversity in life and why we have trials. So many people just curse God because they are having a hard time in life, but we know from the scriptures that we have trials to help our faith in God grow and to help us become better people. That was really simply put, but the point is there.

Zsuzsa and Gabriella are doing well. They came to church again and loved it. OH! And the Hungarian sister missionary came home to Pécs! She remembered me from when I met her during a visit to Temple Square in Salt Lake City with the Floyds last year. She has an American accent when she speaks Hungarian! Haha. Just not as bad as mine of course. It was really cool to see her again.

So the language is coming still slowly, but surely. Yesterday when I was on the bus, someone asked about angolóra (English class) and I could talk to her about it. It’s funny the way I understand people though. I was pretty sure she said something about whether the class was still being offered and so I told her that it was and where and when. And then she asked something about money so I assumed she wanted to know if she had to bring any and I told her the class it was free. I can understand the subject of what people are talking about so I can reply to what I think that they are asking. Haha. It’s interesting how you learn a new language.

I know that this church is true and that it contains the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Isn’t that awesome?! I think so.

Sok szeretettel,
~Anderson elder

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Button of Ice Cream

Sziasztok!

I don’t have a ton of time again today—our bus from Pécs to Komló leaves kind of soon—but I’ll try to write a good amount.

My Mom asked me about what we do for service. Right now we aren’t able to do a lot in Komló. Whenever we ask the people we are teaching if we can help them with yard work or fixing up their house or something like that, they always say there’s nothing to help with—just like everyone in the States says. We teach free English classes two hours every week so that is some service. Komló is a pretty poor city ever since the big coal mine closed down and there are a lot of poor people here, but there isn’t a food bank or anything like that here. We recently found out that a lady in the local Catholic Church is running a little program where she thinks of ways to help people and then does it. We don’t know much about it, but we told her that we would like to serve with her so that might turn out pretty good. So far we’ve barely found any opportunities to physically serve the people here. Hopefully we’ll find some soon. Our main goal is to serve people by teaching them about Jesus Christ and his restored gospel, but of course we try to serve the people in any way that we can.

Okay, let me say something about the language. It’s ridiculous. It’s probably almost as hard as Japanese. The grammar and word order are SO different from English. And you can’t translate Hungarian literally or directly because it makes absolutely no sense at all. Simple sentences are okay, but anything more than like six words is totally different. And apparently, the everyday, frequently used vocabulary in Hungarian is much larger than English. Basically I have to think completely differently in order to speak Hungarian. It’s way hard. It isn’t called one of the hardest languages in the world for English speakers to learn for nothing.

I know that this is going to sound boring, but people in Hungary are pretty much the same as everyone in America. They are a little standoffish when we meet at first, but when we get to know them they make great friends!

Zsuzsa and her daughter Gabriella are still interested in the church and we are still teaching them. They weren’t able to come to church this week, but they loved it last week. Other than them no one that we are teaching is progressing. It is very difficult to change bad habits and behaviors and try to follow Christ’s example. Many people have faith that God and Christ exist, but that is about it. The truth is that if we take that leap of faith and actually change a little bit and actually do what Christ taught us to do we will be blessed and will see the Lord helping us in our everyday lives. It is difficult to take that leap of faith and do something that is hard, but if we do we will experience the blessings that Jesus Christ promises in the scriptures.

Oh, I just remembered a funny language mistake I made. I never really learned the word for “scoop” like a scoop of ice cream, I just knew what it kind of sounded like and so when I bought some ice cream at a little street-side shop I said, “egy gombot kérek,” which actually means “one button please.” Haha. “Gombócot” is what I wanted to say. I’ve made that mistake like three times so far. Haha. This language is awesome. Hopefully, I’ll be able to speak somewhat correctly by next year. That would be sweet!

Being here is awesome. I love it! Thanks for the support! I love you all too! Sok szeretettel.

~Anderson elder

Monday, July 13, 2009

Disappearing Investigators

Sziasztok!

This week was pretty good. We had interviews with our new mission president. He is a pretty cool guy. I’m excited to see what he is going to change and stuff.

So Trevor got his mission call! To Ukraine! And his mission is right next to mine! How crazy is that!? We’re halfway across the world and yet we’ll be pretty close! So that was really cool to hear. (For those of you who don’t know him, Trevor Floyd is one of my best friends.)

Well the tons of investigators that we found a few weeks ago have been slowly dropping themselves. We either can’t get a hold of them, they aren’t interested anymore, or they just don’t want to do anything. It is really weird because with a lot of these people we had really powerful spiritual experiences finding them or teaching them the first lesson. I don’t know what’s going on, but I know that God has a plan for them and I’m glad that we were able to be a part of that plan at least for a little while. So this week was pretty hard, but at the same time it was good because Zsuzsa came to church again and her daughter Gabriella came too! And they loved it! So we are super excited for them.

I know that I’m not writing as much lately, sorry! De így van. (This is the way it is). I know that this gospel is true and I love seeing the blessings come into peoples lives who follow it! I love you all! Thanks!

~Anderson elder

Monday, July 6, 2009

An Investigator at Church!

Hey Everybody!

I’m sorry this entry is going to be short again, but my companion and I have lots to do today.

This week was pretty good. We had an investigator finally come to church with us and it was great! She really enjoyed the meetings and hopefully will come back next week.

The rainy month is over and now the nasty, hot and humid weather has begun. I feel like I’m in a never-ending wrestling practice in our heated wrestling room back at Stanwood High School. It’s pretty sick! Haha. Even when the air doesn’t feel that hot your body feels really hot and you still sweat like crazy!

Something unexpected and really cool happened on the 4th of July. We met three Americans from Los Angeles! Crazy—we never see any other Americans in the little city of Komló. One of the guys was originally from Hungary and was visiting his sister who still lives in Komló. Getting to meet them was pretty cool. They waved us over when we were walking along the street because they thought that we would like talking to some Americans on the 4th. Haha. They were really cool. Also that day, we had a little celebration dinner at our apartment and I ate so much that all I could do was rest on the couch for a few minutes. What a way to celebrate the 4th!

Okay, I have lots more stuff to do so this’ll be it for now. Thanks for everything!

~Anderson elder

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Teaching with Members

Jó napot kívánok!

Hey everybody! This week was pretty good. Oh, I need to clarify some stuff I said last week. First, I have been on my mission, not in the country, for nearly six months. And when I said that nothing exciting happened, I totally lied! I forgot that last Tuesday was Zone Conference and we went to the ZOO! It was really fun. We had some cool trainings and talks and then we went to the zoo in Budapest and saw all the animals there. It was a ton of fun. I took a bunch of pictures so maybe later they might end up on the blog.

We had a few good programs with members this week. Teaching with members is the best. The language is coming slowly, but surely. They didn’t say that Hungarian is one of the hardest languages for English speakers to learn for nothing!

Yesterday we hung out with a few of the members a little bit. We went hiking in a pretty place outside of Komló that has a lot of little lakes. It was intense hearing so much Hungarian straight.

Oh! I forgot! Last week we totally got caught in a rainstorm! We didn’t think that it was going to rain so we didn’t take our umbrellas when we left the apartment. We were walking to a program and all of a sudden it just starts pouring like crazy and we got completely soaked. I took some videos. Haha. The thunder here is awesome. Whenever it rains there is a ton of thunder that you can sometimes actually feel.

Well I have to go now. Our bus leaves soon. Thanks for all the love and support!

~Anderson elder

Monday, June 22, 2009

Staying in Komló (Yeah!)

Sziasztok!

Last week I said that my blog entry was going to be short, but it wasn’t. This week it will be for sure. My email mailbox is almost full and I need to spend some time archiving it or I won’t be able to receive any new emails.

Today is the beginning of transfer number three! Crazy! I can’t believe that I’ve been on my mission for almost six months already! Both Christensen elder and I are staying here in Komló. So no packing for at least six more weeks!

Nothing really exciting happened this week. Church was really neat as usual. The members are so awesome here! I love them!

Well I know that this gospel is true and real. And I am glad to be serving the people of Hungary. I love all of you and appreciate your support!

~Anderson elder

Monday, June 15, 2009

SpongyaBob Kockanadrág

Sziasztok!

Sorry, this blog entry is going to be short. We have a ton of things that we want to do today in Pécs and no time to do them. Oh! Guess what I did last week?!?! I bought a SpongyaBob Kockanadrág DVD for 990ft ($5)!!! SpongeBob Squarepants! Haha! I can't watch it for two years, but thats okay. The DVD has English and Hungarian audio so anyone can watch it! I think it was a pretty good waste of five bucks.

I came across a cool scripture yesterday. It is 2 Chronicles 20:1-18. (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/2_chr/20). I was really surprised by these scriptures. They teach some good doctrine pretty clearly—doctrine like praying, fasting, going to the temple, and having faith that the Lord will help you. Pretty cool.

A few days ago we were running in the morning and as we ran past a group of people they called out to us, “Fuss Forrest!” It was completely unexpected. “Fuss” means “run”. So people here in Hungary quote the movie Forrest Gump just like we do when someone is running! So funny.

The Church really makes the world very small. There are three missionaries here in Hungary who know some of my relatives. They are Elders Webb and Lilenquist who know my cousins from Burley, ID. (I am in the same zone as Elder Lilenquist right now.) And Sister Eskelson—I think I spelled her name correctly—knows my cousins from Blackfoot, ID. It's a small, small world.

One day we streeted (met on the street) a lady and she said to come talk to her some other time at her work because she was in a hurry. She said that she worked at the Rose Garden. So the next day we found the place and its full name is the Rose Garden Bar. Haha! We were a little hesitant about going in, but since we’d promised her, we did. We had a nice chat for a little bit. It was a pretty funny and really surprising experience.

OH! I can't forget this. One day we were walking on this road on the way home through tons of apartment houses on both sides of the street when we came upon a bunch of six-to-ten year old kids playing outside. When they saw us, they all raced to us and pretty much attacked us. Haha. One kid bopped us on the head and spanked us a few times with a badminton racket, another kept on jumping on us and a few others were actually kicking us and hitting us. Hahaha. They were really young so it didn't hurt of course, but it was quite annoying and kind of embarrassing too. After like a minute or two we escaped into one of the apartment buildings and closed the door on them. They got bored and left. So that was it. Or so we thought! The next day, yesterday, we went back to check up on a few investigators and we saw them again. And more importantly, they saw us too! They all ran over to us again and swarmed around us while an older teenage girl tried, in vain, to tell them to calm down. Hahaha. But they were nicer this time and just jumped all over us. One little boy kept on jumping on my back and I would reach around and tickle him which made him drop, but he was persistent and kept jumping on my back. Haha. We went into another apartment, and they left, but it was the wrong one, so we had to sneak out the back and sneak away from the kids. Hahaha. Pretty funny. I wish I had a video of them.

Oh and really quick. Apparently, there was a crazy plane crash in the ocean a few weeks ago and no one knows why it crashed. It was coming from Brazil and just exploded or crashed in the ocean. Well here is the really crazy part: one of my English class students told me that one of the victims was a ten year old boy from Komló! I live in Komló right now! He knows the little boy's parents. That is really crazy and sad.

Well I have to go now. Thank you for everything! I love you all and I love the Lord. The Gospel is true, I know it!

~Anderson elder

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Crazy Week

Szervusztok mindenki!

Hey everybody! This week has been pretty cool. The weather is really weird in Hungary. It was hot in May and then since the end of May random rainstorms have come and dumped a ton of rain on us. Some days it’s cool and cloudy and other days it’s really hot. The random storms are supposed to last through June. When a rainstorm comes we can hear lots and lots of loud thunder, which is awesome, but we can’t usually see the lightning. By the way, the bread is really good here!

Friday was intense. We had three programs set up and they all dogged us. That was a real bummer. Instead we had two ridiculous conversations with drunk people. It wasn’t even funny, it was just incredibly annoying. On the other hand, we did manage to find a lot of people who were interested in meeting again, which was nice. One of those people was a lady who spoke English and had an awesome story to tell us. She was a refugee a long time ago and an LDS family took her in—she lived in America with an LDS family! She doesn’t believe in the gospel, but she loves Mormons. Her son is a member and he is coming to visit her soon! We are going to teach her with him. Crazy. But that’s the way the whole day went. We met a ton of awesome, drunk, mean, and nice people that day. We were exhausted mentally.

Another cool experience on Friday was that we taught a 16 year old kid named Sani about the Restoration. Meeting someone who is immediately willing to hear about the restoration rarely happens. He actually seemed interested, which was even more surprising. Then, on Saturday we were in a completely different part of the city when we tracted into Sani’s parents who were visiting his grandpa! His grandpa was about to close the door on us, then Sani’s parents recognized us from Sani’s description and let us in. They said that Sani told them about us and that he is reading from The Book of Mormon! His mom said that it is a miracle because Sani hates reading and studying. So we taught them too and we are going to meet with the whole family this week. Crazy. I don’t know what’s going to happen to them, but I know that the Lord has a plan for them.

Something I read during egyéni tanulás (personal gospel study) one day has really made an impression on me. Jacob 6:7 says, “For behold, after ye have been nourished by the good word of God all the day long, will ye bring forth evil fruit, that ye must be hewn down and cast into the fire?” What I think this means is that after we “have been nourished by the good word of God” from church, or General Conference, or from reading the scriptures, we need to apply what we have learned into our lives. We need to set goals to improve ourselves and then strive to achieve those goals. Of course it is much easier said than done, but I know that if we walk away from a meeting or from church determined to change something, big or small, in our lives that the Lord will bless us and help us to become better and happier people.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is true; I can see that in my life and in the lives of the members here in Komló and Pécs. Investigators, too. We have an awesome investigator who is progressing slowly, but surely, and I can see his life improve because he is trying to follow Jesus Christ too.

Thank you for all of your support and love. I appreciate it very much!

~Anderson elder

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

An Old Man

Szervusztok!

This week went by pretty fast. On Thursday we had a conference and interviews with President Gasser in Budapest. That was kind of sad because it was our last interview with him. President Gasser is really awesome. Next transfer we get a new mission president. I'm sure that he will be great too. President and Sister Gasser both gave really good talks at the conference. Sister Gasser spoke about when we study the scriptures we should take one scripture that sticks out or that we like a lot and simplify or summarize it into one sentence. Then we should try really hard to remember it and apply it throughout the day. That is a pretty cool idea and I'm trying to do it.

I had an interesting experience recently. My companion and I were tracting an apartment building and at one apartment a really, really old man opened the door and instantly told us to come in. We were a little hesitant at first since that never happens, but I shook his hand and he kind of just pulled me into his apartment. Haha. So he started to talk to us a lot and I was barely understanding anything he was saying, but I could understand a little. He was talking about how he loved Americans and British and Germans and Canadians and he kept on saying that he loved us and would give us group hugs. Haha. He was awesome. But we had to go to another program so we kept on telling him that we had to leave, but he just kept on saying that he still had something to tell us. Then he closed the door and almost locked it. Haha. But eventually Christensen elder slowly scooted to the door and opened it and I'm scooting along with him all the while the older man is still talking to us and telling us how he loves American soldiers and stuff. So we finally managed to escape from his apartment, but we felt pretty rude since we pretty much walked out while he was still talking, but it had to be done.

OH! I successfully ordered pizza on the phone! That was pretty awesome. But I can't brag too much because the pizza lady only said two words. Haha. I told her what we wanted on the pizza and she just kept on saying “igen” which means “yes/ok” and then she said “hova” which means “where to”. I gave her our address and that was it. But, the important thing is that I called and the pizza came. Haha.

On Saturday we went to a small village about 15 minutes north of Komló called Kisbatyán to try to set up an appointment with some people we had met earlier. But they weren't home so we just decided to tract the street—there was only one street in the entire village—and the first house was awesome! A really cool lady named Szilvia lives there and she is great. She speaks English very well and doesn't have a Hungarian accent, but a British one. I understood everything and was able to teach her well. Her goal in life right now is to find God and she doesn't trust a lot of the Christian religions so she is trying to search for Him through science. I loved how she said that it is impossible for anyone to understand God intellectually, but we can emotionally. She used to work at the university in Pécs so she is really smart. We taught her about the Restoration and she was fascinated with the Book of Mormon. Hopefully we will be able to meet with her a lot more. I think we will.

Oh and on Sunday a young couple from America showed up at Sacrament Meeting in Pécs. That was really cool. They graduated from BYU a year ago and now they are on a two month long bike trip in Europe. They started in Amsterdam, Holland and are trying to get to Rome, Italy! They are riding about 45-80 miles a day! Crazy.

I know that the true gospel of Jesus Christ is on the earth once more and we can know that for ourselves through the Book of Mormon and personal revelation from God. Thanks for everything! I love you all!

~Anderson elder

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Really Wierd Looks

Sziasztok!

This entry will be a little shorter because I don't have much time today. I couldn't write yesterday, which was p-day, because my companion and I had to go to Budapest. I had to get some stuff done with my passport to prove that I can live in Hungary. But Komló is pretty far away and so I spent about eight hours traveling yesterday. Hooha. (Hungarians say that sometimes instead of wow.)

The past couple of days have been pretty rough in terms of meeting with people. From Friday through Sunday we had 11 programs scheduled and of those 11 we only taught two. The rest forgot or couldn't meet. So that was disappointing. But on Sunday we had three people who were investigating come to church! It was great! And they liked the meetings so that was even better.

We're teaching a really cool kid named József and his girlfriend, Eszter. On Saturday I taught József how to tie a tie for church. It was really cool! Except I didn't know any of the words that I needed so I just showed him how. After a few tries he was getting frustrated, so I just tied it for him and he kept it in the knot. Haha.

On Thursday or Friday we talked to an interesting lady on the street. Well, she talked to us. We introduced ourselves and then she just went off on telling us her life story and she wouldn't stop talking. Haha. And then she sang a religious song to us while waving one of her hands in the air. Usually we get weird looks from people because we're two guys in white shirts and ties when it is really hot outside, but as this lady was singing she was getting all the really weird looks from people. When she finished her song, she started telling us about the big problem in her life. She started crying a lot and I didn't know what to do or say. It was awkward and sad and strange all at the same time. Then she told us that she used to be crazy. So that was interesting to say the least.

Well I better get going. I know that this gospel is true and that anyone can know of its truthfulness by reading from and praying about the Book of Mormon. Thanks for everything!

~Anderson elder

Monday, May 18, 2009

Life in Komló

Sziasztok!

So now I am in a place called Komló. It is an interesting town. It is built on a bunch of big hills so each hill has its own little mini-town on it. We are on the biggest hill and in the largest mini-town, but there is just one main road that goes through the main part of town. Komló isn’t as compact as Eger so there are a lot fewer people on the streets. On Saturday and Sunday the streets are almost empty and the stoplights just flash yellow after about 5pm because there is so little traffic. Komló hasn’t been open for missionary work that long and so there are only about six members here. We don’t have our own branchhouse, but have to take a 30-minute bus ride to Pécs for church.

Pécs’s branch is SO AWESOME! There are like 40 active members and they don’t even need help from the missionaries to function! Church is the regular three hour schedule. After church this week we hold a missionary meeting and there are three or four youth and a few older members who are awesome branch missionaries. One kid, Bencen, is saving money to go on a mission soon and a young woman from Pécs is currently serving a mission in Salt Lake City, UT. I actually met her last November. If I stay here for two transfers I will see her when she comes home. That would be really cool.

My new companion, Christensen elder, is pretty cool. Right now, he and I are the only missionaries in Komló. Hopefully we will be able to help some more people from Komló find the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Oh just so you know one of the sister missionaries who is teaching Éva is Nester Növér not Ester. I got her name wrong when I mentioned her before.

Ok, so a kind of funny thing happened to me this week. On transfer days we are always in a huge rush trying to catch trains and buses with luggage. One of my suitcases is the kind that has four little wheels instead of two larger ones. My companion and I were running to the bus stop in a hurry to catch the bus. I’m pulling the four-wheeled suitcase and it is unusually hard. So I stop and check it out—because the bus left when we we’re like 20 feet from it—and one of the wheels got stuck and was just grinding on the pavement. That was bad news, and I couldn’t do anything to fix it and didn't have any time anyway. Needless to say, after traveling from our apartment to the train station in Eger, from a train station in Budapest to the mission home and back, from the train station in Pécs to the bus station, and then from the bus station in Komló to our apartment the wheel that got stuck didn't really exist anymore. Most of it had been ground dust and the bottom part of my suitcase was ripped up from dragging on the ground. The only good news is that I got a nice, hard workout dragging that heavy suitcase all over Hungary! So after one transfer one of my suitcases is dead. I’ll figure something out for the next time I move.

The important thing is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored onto the earth and that we can know if it is real or not by reading the Book of Mormon, praying about it and following what the Lord has told us through it. I know that our lives can and will improve if we live the principles and commandments of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is difficult to change our bad habits—and sometimes even harder to change our mediocre habits into good habits—but if we consistently follow the teachings of Jesus Christ life will be more fulfilling, enjoyable, and just better. I love this Gospel and I have a testimony that it is true and that the happiness it brings is worth the effort it requires. Like everyone else, there are a lot of things about me that need changing, but still my testimony stands firm.

Thanks for all of your love, support, emails, and letters. Your emails and letters are appreciated VERY MUCH! I hope I will be able to respond to all of them. It was hard in the MTC to write back and now I have even less time. Maybe I’ll just end up helping you work on the virtue of patience! haha. Just kidding. (Well, sort of.)

~Anderson elder

Monday, May 11, 2009

First Transfer

Sziasztok!

Well this week has been pretty good. Some exciting news is that I am being transferred to a small city called Komló. It is in the southwest near a big city called Pécs. Being transferred is kind of bittersweet actually. I love Eger and I have started to build relationships with some of our investigators and members, so for that reason being transferred is kind of a bummer. Ilyen az élet (such is life). But I know that Komló will be just as awesome.

So I remember kind of a funny story from a few weeks ago. We went to the hospital for the first time to do service and got kind of lost. This one guy who is on the grounds keeping crew, whom we now call Spears—you’ll see why in a minute—helped us to find our way to where we were going to work. He had one of those sticks with a metal tip on it to stab garbage and pick it up and he was pretty good at using it. Well the funny part is when we were on this little dirt road within the hospital complex and a car pulls up behind us really fast and stops really quickly, almost hitting Spears. So this is why we call him Spears: He was obviously quite frustrated from almost being hit by a minivan and to make sure that the people in the car were aware of his frustration he whips out his stabbing stick, or spear, and acts like he is about to throw it through the windshield of the minivan!haha. It was like he was a caveman trying to fight off a fierce lion. Then he just continues to guide us to where we are working, mumbling something in Hungarian. So now we call him Spears and he is one of our favorite guys at the hospital.

Oh and it is just super awkward when we’re tracting apartment complexes and we knock on someone’s door just as their friends come up the stairs and knock too. So we’re all waiting and then the people inside are irritated with us and stuff.

Yesterday I got to talk to my Mom and Dad for an hour or so and that was really cool. It was weird to think that I haven’t talked to them since January. But it was great to talk to them and brag about how awesome Hungary is. My parents are the best in the world. No offense to every other parent, but I’m kind of biased.haha.

On Sunday we went tracting for three straight hours. It was pretty intense, especially since it was super hot. It was kind of weird though because we found two people who are interested in meeting with us and they were almost neighbors. That was really cool and I hope that goes well. I’ve realized that being rejected about a million times everyday really doesn’t bother me. I’m not sure why it doesn’t bother me, but I sure am grateful that it doesn’t.

OH! Ester növér (Sister Ester) in Budapest called me this morning and gave me an update on Éva, the girl that I streeted while chalking and with whom I got to talk in English and teach a little bit too! She is doing really well! She’s met with the missionaries twice and loves everything. She even went to stake conference and loved that too! I’m so excited for her! I’ll continue to share updates about her when I get them.

It is starting to get really, really warm here and I am sweating like crazy and its gross.haha. I wonder what people think about us when we are walking around in the summer in dark pants and a white shirt and tie. Everybody stares at us a lot.lol. It’s a little awkward, but I’m used to it now.

Well I sent my sd cards to my parents so hopefully within a week or two there will be cool pictures of Budapest and Eger on the blog.

I know that Christ lives and that if we follow God’s commandments that our lives will be better, happier and more enjoyable. We have a living prophet on the earth today and he receives revelation from God for the world. I am so grateful that I am a missionary for the Lord and even though it is really hard at times I love it.

Thanks for all of your support and I’ll see ya later! Sok szeretettel.

~Anderson elder

Monday, May 4, 2009

Stolen Flowers

Jó napot kívánok!

This week was pretty good. Especially since I FINALLY got to watch General Conference in English! Well, at least three sessions. We watched the Sunday Morning Session, the Sunday Afternoon Session, and the Priesthood Session. They were really good. I saw one of my old home teachers from BYU-I, Spencer Horner, in the choir for Priesthood session and that was really cool.

So apparently Davie has had some crazy experiences in Mexico. I don’t have anything that can compete with what he has experienced. Everything here is kind of normal. But I remember something kind of funny that happened a few weeks ago. I was on companion exchanges with Daybell elder and we talked to a guy on the street. When we introduced ourselves he said that he had seen “the movie” and that he knew all about the Mormons. (There was a movie here about the Amish that had been translated into Hungarian really badly so a lot of people think that we are Amish. Haha.) He started talking about how we can’t use technology and stuff, so Daybell elder pulled out the cell phone and told him that it was ours. The guy was like, “no you can’t use that, that’s not allowed”. Haha. He refused to believe that we weren’t Amish.

Oh! Something else kind of weird happened recently. There are some planters in front of our branch house that were full of weeds. We bought flowers and planted them before General Conference so the branch house would look nice. But one day someone stole four of our new flowers! I mean come on, they are only 90 forint (like 45 cents) a piece, buy your own! Then a few days ago someone stole another flower and left this weird symbol made of orange electrical tape next to the door. Maybe it was a gang symbol and they were trying to show us how tough they are by slowly stealing our little flowers. Haha. Nevetséges (ridiculous).

Our investigators seem to be örökké való érdeklődők (eternal investigators). They are all awesome, but they don’t have testimonies yet and so they aren’t very committed. Coming to church isn’t as important as other things to them and it is just really hard for them to consistently follow the commandments. Sometimes I just feel like dragging them to church. Haha. Maybe that’s how some parents feel sometimes. Of course we will continue to try to work with them as long as they put forth effort to try to follow the commandments, but I don’t know. So that is difficult.

I just want you all to know that I have a firm testimony that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that He knows everything that we go through and will help us if we ask in faith. God really is our Heavenly Father and He wants the best for us. The fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in our day and we can know that for ourselves if we read from and pray about the Book of Mormon. I know that it is scripture from God and that Joseph Smith really was a prophet of God.

Thanks for everything everybody. Have a great week!

~Anderson elder

Monday, April 27, 2009

Chalking

Sziasztok!

This week was pretty good. I know that you all are waiting for pictures and I'm probably going to send them home today or sometime this week. So just wait a little longer! The pictures of Budapest at night are worth it! Haha.

Yesterday was a really good day for the language. I felt like I was understanding a lot more when people were speaking slowly and simply. It's really weird how understanding a language works. I can barely even notice it when I understand. I just do. Weird. Apparently, there are days when you feel on top of the world and you can understand and speak well and other days when you can't.

One weird thing was when we met with a girl named Monika on Wednesday and we were teaching her about the Restoration in the park and about halfway through our lesson some of her friends come and said that they have a class and so Monika said that she guessed that she had to go and just left. And we had scheduled that time with her. We didn't see that coming. Haha.

Angol Óra (English class) was really good this week, or at least just fun. We practiced reading and stuff as usual and then we took a break and I taught my students some English nyelvtörők (tongue twisters)! They loved them. I taught them "Sally sells seashells", "fuzzy wuzzy was a bear" and the woodchuck one. Some were actually pretty good at it. Then they taught me some Hungarian tongue twisters that were super hard for me. Haha. It was fun.

Szombaton (on Saturday) we went chalking! We went to the park and drew out the Plan of Salvation on one of the big walkways. When people walked by we would try to talk to them about our drawing and teach them about God's plan for us. It was really fun, except my vocabulary is really small and so it was hard to talk to people. The coolest thing was that I met a girl who spoke English! So I taught her about the Plan of Salvation. She was really interested so I taught her a little bit about the Restoration. It was an awesome experience. She was from Budapest and had missed her train home. It was her 26th birthday and so she said that it wasn't a coincidence that we met. I gave her a Book of Mormon and gave her some chapters to read. She said that she would on the train ride home. She was also excited to meet with missionaries in Budapest. She seemed really interested and sincere so it was great. I called a sister missionary in Budapest and told her about this girl, Éva, and gave her Éva's phone number. I hope that works out.

Sunday was pretty good. A lot of people came to church and that was awesome. I think that there were maybe a little more than 15 people there. All four of us missionaries spoke in Istentisztelet (Sacrament Meeting). I only spoke for about 7 minutes, but I think that it went pretty well.

I know that this gospel is true and that Jesus Christ has restored His church on the earth again. And I know that the Book of Mormon is scripture from God and will help us come closer to Christ and become better, happier people if we follow what God has revealed to us in it.

Thanks for everything! You all are awesome! Szervusztok!

~Anderson elder

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Video - The Branch House in Eger

In this video, I give you a quick tour of the branch house (the place where members of the church meet for weekly worship services) in Eger. It's a really nice facility, especially for so few members.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Video - Chalking in Eger

Here's a video of an innovative proselyting technique we call chalking. We drew the Plan of Salvation in colored chalk on a large sidewalk in a park in Eger. As people walked by enjoying the park we talked to them about the gospel. It was great fun!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Általános Konferencia

Szervusztok mindenki!

Sorry that this blog entry is a few days late. On Monday we had greenie training in Budapest and yesterday we had interviews with President and Sister Gasser and some more training in Miskolc. 

We finally watched Általános Konferencia (General Conference) with the members. Unfortunately, not very many members showed up to the sessions, but a few did. And the Assistants just gave us DVDs that had the satellite broadcast recorded on them, so it was only in Magyarul (Hungarian). That was crazy. Even my trainer had a hard time understanding everything they said because they use really fancy language. I was lost for the entire time so I wrote letters and read Jesus the Christ. Those who did come really enjoyed it so I hope that it helped strengthen their testimonies of the Gospel.

The work is going kind of slow and it’s getting hard to meet with our investigators who are interested. People are always so busy! Haha. I had a funny experience on Péntek (Friday). We decided to order pizza and eat it as a district and no one wanted to order it so they gave me the phone to order it. That was kind of scary since I can’t understand what people say. Haha. So Lindsay elder wrote on a white board everything that I needed to say in Hungarian. I call the pizza place and this is what I say, „Jó napot, four pizzát szeretnék rendelni.” I said “four” in English and everyone busted out laughing. I didn’t even realize it so I was confused. Haha. Then the lady replied and said something, but I couldn’t understand it at all. After asking her to repeat what she said a few times I just gave the phone to Lindsay elder. It was pretty funny.

Then yesterday I called Mózes and tried to set up an appointment to meet again, but he wasn’t sure so we are just going to call him back later. But I understood what he was basically saying! It was pretty cool. He speaks really fast though so I just caught a few phrases and words.

After Angol Óra (English Class) the other district shared a message about General Conference and prophets and one man from my class finally came to the message! He was pretty interested, but couldn’t come to General Conference because he was going to Slovakia to work in the markets there. The economy is struggling here so people are having a really hard time finding jobs. Hopefully we can meet with him and he will be interested.

Oh about mailing me stuff; I’ll usually get it sooner than once every 6 weeks. Maybe twice or three times. But mailboxes in apartment complexes are pieces of junk so I’d rather have letters and packages just go to Budapest and play it safe.

Thanks for everything! I love you all and I’m going to be sending pictures home soon so everyone will be able to see the awesomeness of Hungary!

Sok szeretettel,
Anderson elder