Monday, December 27, 2010

Boldog Új Évet!

Boldog Új Évet!

I hope that everyone had a great Christmas! I did! It was really difficult to do missionary work though. Everyone was busy and so no one could meet with us. But on Monday we were able to find a really cool family while tracting and we had a really good program with them. So hopefully we'll be able to meet with them more!

Standing at the edge of frozen Lake Balaton.

On Christmas day, my companion and I drove down to the Balaton! (Lake Balaton is the largest lake in central Europe and a major tourist destination in Hungary.) It was freezing! Literally. The wind was soooo strong and the lake was almost completely frozen over. It was a fun experience.

Happy New Year!

~Anderson elder

Monday, December 20, 2010

Boldog Karácsonyt!

Helló!

I don’t have much time to write today. My new companion is Elder Austin and he is from Mississippi. He’s way cool and we get along really well. Everything is going great here in Hungary! I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! Boldog Karácsonyt!

~Anderson elder

Monday, December 13, 2010

Another Transfer

Sziasztok!

Well, transfer calls came this week! This transfer was a week shorter than usual so that the missionaries who are leaving Hungary wouldn’t have to travel during the crazy Christmas week. It is going to be really weird to see four of the missionaries from my Missionary Training Center (MTC) group go home on Wednesday. The way MTC assignments and transfers in the field work is that missionaries can choose to stay in the country for 15 transfers for a mission total of 101 weeks (three weeks short of a full two years) or 16 transfers in the field for a total of 107 weeks (two years plus three weeks). Four of the missionaries in my MTC group chose to serve for 15 transfers and one other Elder and I chose to serve for 16 transfers. More than half of my group is going to die (missionary slang for completing their service) in two days! That will really be weird.

I’m going to be training again! That’ll be exciting. On Wednesday I'll find out who I will be serving with.

Things are going well, but the work is still difficult. After handing out almost 3.000 – in Hungary, commas and periods are switched – fliers only about six new people came to our English class! We really need to figure out a better way to advertise. And as soon as we do we’ll be able to have a lot more success!

~Anderson elder

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mikulás

Helló!

Last week was awesome! It snowed a few inches and that was great! The snow made driving a little interesting and REALLY slow, but even that was okay.

My companion and I are trying to get more people into our English class program because it is really weak right now. We put an announcement in the newspaper and passed out almost 3,000 fliers, so hopefully more people will start attending soon.

On Saturday we had a “Mikulás” party in the branch house! Mikulás is Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas in Hungarian. Here in Hungary Mikulás comes on the night of December 5th and the kids get candy and stuff on the morning of the 6th. So you can all be jealous because I already got to see Santa!

Sitting on the lap of Mikulás during a party at the branch house.

Our investigators are doing well. Unfortunately, one of them lives in a small village about 25 kilometers away from Pápa. It is extremely difficult for him to get to church because the bus schedules are so incredibly terrible. But we’re just going to give him time while we try to figure out some possible solutions. It is kind of a frustrating situation.

Well, this week is sure to be fun! Pray for us and our investigators! I love you all!

~Anderson elder

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving in Szombathely

Sziasztok!

The past few weeks have been really neat! Two Sundays ago my companion and I drove one of our investigators home from church and his mom surprised us with a HUGE lunch. Her hospitality was awesome, but we already had planned to eat at a member’s house so it was really difficult to eat that second lunch! Hungarians are so nice! Then we drove to Győr because there was a new missionary who had come to Hungary a few weeks late because of a surgery. The mission office sent him on a train to Győr by himself and then we picked him up and drove him to his first area in Sopron! We then stayed in Sopron and went on splits with the missionaries there.

Monday was really cool because I was able to meet with Marika and Bea whom I helped find and teach when I served in Sopron a year ago! They were baptized the week after I left Sopron and they are still doing great! It was so much fun to be able to meet with them again!

Thanksgiving was great! We drove up to Szombathely and the Haslems, a senior missionary couple, cooked a giant American Thanksgiving dinner for us. It was great! We also watched the movie “The Other Side of Heaven” in Hungarian! That was pretty fun!

Tomorrow is Zone Conference and I have to give a training so wish me luck!

~Anderson elder

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hédi's Baptism

Sziasztok!

Last week was really fun! We had a lot of programs and were able to teach a ton, which is the best. But by far the best part of the week was Hédi's baptism!

Left to right: Elder Murray (who replaced me in Érd), me, Attila (the ward mission leader in Érd — he’s a STUD), Hédi, Elder Saunders (the new elder I trained in Érd — he just moved to Békéscsaba), and Elder Allen (who replaced Elder Saunders in Érd).

So, one of the people that I taught in Érd was baptized on Saturday and I was able to drive down and attend her baptism! First of all, driving in Budapest is CRAZY! Well, at least a lot crazier than in Washington. I made two wrong turns and had to suffer through an hour of traffic in Pest before I figured out how to get to the mission home in Buda. So that was interesting.

It was really great to see the members from Érd again and to visit with them. Hédi was really excited about getting baptized, but was a little nervous too! The service went well and the spirit was really strong! It made me want to stay in Hungary forever! Hédi bore her testimony and it was so cool to see how much she had progressed since I first met her. Missionary work truly is amazing and it brings the best joy ever! This experience is worth more than all the money in the world!

Hédi's baptism is pretty much the only thing that comes to mind about last week so I'll see you all next week!

~Anderson elder

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Strong Testimony

Sziasztok!

Well, a new transfer starts today! Time just keeps on flying by.

Everything is going well over here. Fast and testimony meeting was great yesterday! A super cute little kid, who is about eight to ten years old, bore a wonderful testimony! He told about preparing a talk for a special sacrament meeting a few weeks ago when the kids gave talks and sang songs. He had been having a hard time writing his talk when he remembered that he could pray for help. So he prayed to God that he could write a good talk. After that, he said that the words just came really fast. He really got into writing the talk and it ended up being really good! He said that he knows that God helped him and that his testimony was strengthened a ton! How cool is that?! The Spirit was really strong during that meeting – it was really neat to hear such uplifting testimonies.

I had another interesting experience yesterday. My companion and I were going to meet a member of the church who hasn’t been coming to meetings all that regularly. I wasn’t looking forward to talking to another person I was sure was just going to throw out a bunch of excuses for not coming to church. It’s so easy to assume that less-active members are just using lame excuses to justify not coming to church – so I judged this man pretty harshly. I was really surprised when I actually talked to him and was able to hear and see and feel his testimony. I came to understand his work situation better and see that it really is difficult for him and he really does come whenever possible. He told me that one week he gave a talk in sacrament meeting and taught both the Sunday school lesson and priesthood lesson all on the same day because he didn’t want to turn anyone down since he can’t help out as much as he would like. He said that the lessons went well and he loved it. He is coming to church next week and will be teaching the Sunday school lesson and the priesthood lesson again because people had to cover for him yesterday. That’s real effort. The members here in Hungary are amazing!

As I was thinking about this experience, it popped into my head that if I choose medicine as a career I too will probably have to miss church a few times because of circumstances that are out of my hands. So I learned a good lesson about judging people because I completely misjudged this awesome member. Improving and becoming more Christlike is a long and hard but wonderful process! So let’s all do a little self-examination right now and commit ourselves to be more forgiving, loving, kind, humble, and Christlike! Changing bad habits is always worth the effort!

~Anderson elder

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Best Email

Helló!

I just got THE BEST email of my entire life! In Érd I knew a really cool investigator, Nora, who was doing really well but then she moved to France and I haven’t really heard from her since. But I just got an email from her and she said that she was baptized on October 30th in France!!!!! I am SO HAPPY right now!!!!! She’s the girl who a homeless person streeted for Elder Saunders and me. He told her to come and talk to us and she did! And now she has been baptized! I’m so happy for her!!!!!!

Also, another investigator from English class in Érd is getting baptized next Saturday!!! I couldn’t be happier!!!! I’m in Budapest right now and our train leaves really soon so I have to go. But God lives and He is definitely a God of miracles!!!! He loves us! Being a missionary is awesome.

~Anderson elder

Monday, October 25, 2010

More Red Sludge Cleanup

Helló!

Hey everybody! Things are going well here in Hungary. Elder Caviness and I went to Devecser again on Saturday. Everything is still red. I spent the day working with a few firefighters from Zalaegerszeg, a city southwest of the Balaton. There were about seven of us at this one house. We had a front loader with which we worked on the front yard all day long. After one full day of hard work we were able to get most of the sludge out of the front yard and a small part out of the back yard. But the homeowners have a pretty big garden that we didn’t even have time to touch.

Hungarian officials have extended the state of emergency to December 31st, so we have plenty of work to do! But most of the people in the affected areas have already moved away and no one wants to move back, which is pretty understandable. We are all wondering what the long-term consequences are going to be for the ground, rivers, plants, and people who live here and for the people who have helped with the cleanup.

The missionary work in Pápa is going pretty smoothly. The situation in Devecser has really distracted us, though. And since Elder Caviness and I are zone leaders, we have to try to help resolve any conflicts or contention among the missionaries in our zone. That is as hard, if not harder, than shoveling sludge all day long! So our focus on our own area has taken a hit and we need to work on that a bit. All in all things, are going well.

Thanks for all of your support and love!

~Anderson elder

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Toxic Sludge Cleanup

Sziastok!

Last week was really crazy! We went to Devecser to shovel toxic sludge on Monday and on Saturday! It has been a really interesting experience. An especially cool thing is that people in other cities have actually come up to the missionaries on the street and thanked them for our help in Devecser! So hopefully this event will let people see that we are actually normal, kind people.

On Saturday we had a small group of about fifteen people – which was perfect because we could stay in one group – and we were sent to an auto repair shop to work. There were about ten firefighters and ten other people from another group that were there too. We worked for seven hours straight! The shop owner’s house was right next to the shop. The family was pretty wealthy so they had LOTS of stuff. They had a storage garage that was completely full of furniture and clothes and we had to throw EVERYTHING away. Anything that you can imagine that could be in a house was covered in sludge. We just threw everything into piles so that a bulldozer could come and put it into a large container.

Helping with the cleanup is actually really fun work, kind of like playing in mud – but you don’t want the mud to touch you. It’s fun, that is, until you remember that everything you see and touch and throw away used to be a part of someone’s life and now it is ALL gone. It is a really weird, humbling, and sad feeling to go through someone’s belongings and throw everything away.

I have so many pictures and videos – I’ve already filled up a brand new 4 GB SD card! The only problem is that I forgot my camera at home so I can’t post any new pictures today!

I am really grateful that I have had this opportunity to help these people physically and spiritually. Being a missionary is amazing!

~Anderson elder

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Vörösiszap

Helló!

Well, I’m sure that everyone is really curious about the vörösiszap. (Literally: “red sludge,” but I guess everyone in America is calling it the toxic spill). Last week was intense to say the least. Since Elder Caviness and I are the closest missionaries to the towns that were affected, and since we are also Zone Leaders with a car, the responsibility to organize and coordinate a relief effort sort of fell onto our shoulders! So we spent about two days straight calling the Stake Presidency, missionaries, branch presidents, and bishops to figure out how many people could participate and how many supplies we had to buy.

It all started last Monday when we were with an investigator and she told us that something crazy had happened in a nearby town called Kolontár. She said that there was some sort of toxic sludge spill. We drove to the area from the east through a city called Ajka, but the police had closed the road and we couldn’t get in. We drove around for a while and tried to go into Devecser, but the entrance to the city was closed – there were cars lined up along the road and no one was getting let it. The road into the town was completely red.

A few days later we learned that people were being let into Devecser to help, so we talked to our mission president about putting together a relief effort. Friday morning we drove back to Devecser. There were police everywhere with protective masks, and they even had automatic machine guns too! (I assume that the guns were to make sure that no one did anything stupid because of panic.) It was really surreal to walk and drive through the town. I felt like I was in a war zone. Everything was red and destroyed.

We went to city hall and talked to the people in charge of the relief efforts. They said that they would love to have a group of people come and help. We then talked to our mission president who told us that the church would be sending tons of money to help with the cleanup. He also told us that we were in charge for the time being. That’s when things got really hectic.

We had our own relief plan, and then we found out that other branches and the stake all had their own plans too, so we had to coordinate them all and try to group them together. We had a small group planned for Saturday (okt. 9) with people from Veszprém and a few from Győr. Then on Monday (okt. 11) we would have a big official group from Szombathely, Győr, Pápa, Veszprém, Székesfehérvár, and Budapest.

We drove to Tatabánya and met the senior missionary couple who work in the mission office and they gave us almost $2,000 and a small van so we could purchase and transport supplies for the groups. This was the stressful part because we had to buy boots, gloves, masks, and glasses for about 40 people and we only had about 24 hours to do it and there were only a few stores that sold those things with the quality and in the quantity we needed. Also, everyone else wanted to buy those things too. So we drove all over the place trying to get what we needed. In the end we were able to get almost all of the needed supplies.

On Saturday we went to Devecser to work with the members from Veszprém. The security was more relaxed by then; none of the police had machine guns. We spent the day shoveling sludge from people’s yards into giant containers. As soon as we filled one container, someone would take it away and bring in a new one. People were still living in Devecser and it was crazy to hear and see them cleaning their houses and talking about what happened. Pretty much everyone wants to move since their houses and yards and belongings have all been destroyed. The worst part is that all of the land is probably going to die and no one will be able to grow anything – it will be extremely dead and devoid of green vegetation, so even if people could clean their houses the area would be miserable to live in. Kolontár is the little town right next to where the waste was stored and everyone is calling it a dead town. No one will be able to live there for a very, very long time.

Monday was the big day and it was really cool to see about 45 members from all over the northwestern part of Hungary come to help. We were split into two groups and the group that I was in went to the post office in Devescer. We pretty much stayed there the whole day getting furniture out and shoveling sludge. But we were also able to remove a lot of destroyed furniture and stuff from a nearby house. And since we came in such a big group we got to wear the yellow Mormon Segítő Kézek (Mormon Helping Hands) vests! It was actually a lot of fun.

Many are probably curious about how dangerous the sludge is. When it came out of the storage area it had a pH level of 13 out of 14 and so it was burning holes in people’s skin, but now after it rained twice the pH level has dropped down to 11 in many areas. So we can get it on our skin and not have any problems if we scrub it off with soap and water within about 24 hours. And now since the weather is a bit nicer, the problem is that the sludge is drying and the dust will cause cancer if you breath enough of it. But if we wear good quality masks, which we did, then we shouldn’t have any problems.

Another big group is probably going back to help again this Saturday and my companion and I will be helping out every p-day until there is nothing left to do. Also the church is donating A LOT of money to the relief efforts. I don’t want to give an exact number because I’m not completely sure, but it is very generous. And very much appreciated.

Please keep the people affected by this disaster in your prayers. They really need it.

~Anderson elder

Monday, October 4, 2010

Life in Pápa

Sziasztok!

Last week was really good! Pápa is a really cool place! It reminds me of Sopron, just smaller. The branch is really small; there were about 15-20 people in church yesterday but they are all really cool! There was a really cool girl who went to college in Sopron when I was there and she was baptized last December with her mom and they live here in Pápa! So it is really cool to see them here again!

We have a few investigators here, but our English class isn’t doing so well. We’re going to work hard and get it going and then we’ll be able to find more people to teach.

I’m sure that everyone loved General Conference, but we weren’t able to see it live. We’re going to watch it in our branch house this weekend. I’m really excited!

One of the interesting things about Pápa is that the people speak with a slightly heavy accent. This country is smaller than Washington state, but there are at least 4 different accents in the country! They aren’t difficult to understand though, but they are very noticeably different.

I’m still trying to get used to the new area so I don’t have a ton to write. But I love you all and I love Hungary! It is such an incredible privilege to teach the people here about Jesus Christ and His restored gospel!

~Anderson elder

Monday, September 27, 2010

Go West, Elder Anderson

Helló!

I have interesting news! I’m being transferred to Pápa! My new companion will be Elder Caviness who is just one transfer older than me. We spent time together in the MTC! It’ll be a blast, especially since we can both speak Hungarian pretty decently! I’m kind of sad to leave Érd because I have grown to love the people and members here, but I know that they’ll be in good hands. Especially because Elder Murray from Stanwood will be taking my place in Érd! He’ll have a great time.

Last Saturday we had a branch party in a park north of Budapest and it was really neat. The son of one of the members of the branch presidency has a kung-fu camp there and that is where we went. He came to the activity and brought a few of his students, and they did a really cool presentation for us. He is SUPER talented. He has won three kung-fu world championships and one Thai boxing world championship too. Through a bunch of interesting connections he was able to travel to China and study and practice with kung-fu masters for five years at a place called Shaolin Temple which has been around for 1500 years! So basically I wouldn’t want to get on his bad side. After he and his students did their presentation, he told some really cool stories about when he was training in China and what he had to do. Then we played soccer and had a lot of fun together. One of our investigators came to the activity and she had a really good time hanging out with the members. It was a big success!

Our investigators are doing really well and one was finally able to come to church! She was struggling for a while because she is so busy, but she came this week and she really enjoyed it. When I asked her how it was she said that it was all igaz which means true! I’m super excited for her.

I have a firm and solid belief that Jesus is the Christ, our Redeemer and our Savior, and that He has restored His complete gospel to the earth. I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to share with others the faith that has blessed my family and me so much! Missionary work is awesome!

~Anderson elder

Monday, September 20, 2010

‘Flyering’

Sziasztok!

Last week was pretty good. Fall is definitely here. The weather is getting colder, and that means that ‘streeting’ and ‘tabling’ are getting less effective. Elder Saunders and I printed a ton (1,800) fliers to advertize our English class. So now we go ‘flyering’ when no one is on the street and no one feels like talking to us in their houses.

We made some really nice looking posters for our table and were really excited to go tabling this week. I was especially interested to see how Elder Saunders would like the experience. He said that it was the most awkward thing he’s ever done! Haha. And he’s right: it is pretty awkward. But that’s missionary work! I’ve heard missionaries say that a mission is a two-year awkward moment! Hahaha. That really is true, especially for missionaries who are bold. So tabling went well with Elder Saunders, but we didn’t have much success. The location where we set up our table is really bad, but it’s the only place where we have permission from the city to table.

On Saturday we have a really cool branch activity planned! We’re going to a park where we’ll play soccer and volleyball and have fun. At least one of our investigators is coming with us, otherwise it wouldn’t be worth it to go. Things are going well with investigators, but we definitely need more people to teach! But all in all things are going really well here in Érd!

As usual, I’m in a hurry and have to go now! I love you all!

~Anderson elder

Sweetest picture ever of tracting!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Inspirational Training

Sziasztok!

Last week was really fun! And the three-day training was really, really cool. We didn’t learn anything new; the lessons were just to help us teach to people’s needs instead of just saying the same thing to everyone.

One of the most powerful lessons was about love and missionary work. This lesson taught us that genuine love and concern for other people need to be our main motivation. We need to find investigators because we love and care about people. We need to teach people because we are concerned for them, not just because it what we’re supposed to do. And we need to make sure that people understand and feel that we care about them, that we’re not meeting with them just because it’s our “job.” That was the overall theme of the entire training. It was really inspirational.

It was also fun because after about an hour of training we would role-play and practice what we had just learned for another hour and a half. At the end of each day, my companion and I got to sleep in the mission home, which was a real treat because it is super nice and the beds are very comfy!

Well, as usual I’m in a hurry. Elder Saunders and I are going to visit the Parliament building and we need to leave now. I love you all and will write again next week!

~Anderson elder

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lovin’ Life in Hungary

Sziasztok!

Last week was really fun and we had some good success. Unfortunately, I don’t have any time to tell you about it. I have to go right now because the really cool training I mentioned two weeks ago is going to start in half an hour and I haven’t even read all my email yet. I just want to say that I’m alive, that I’m well, that our investigators are doing fine, and that I’m lovin’ life in Hungary! Love you all!

~Anderson elder

Monday, August 30, 2010

Miracles

Sziasztok!

This last week was really fun! Elder Saunders and I found a new investigator and she is really cool! She has never been taught anything about religion or any sort of spiritual stuff so we get to discuss all the basics with her. It is really interesting trying to help her understand who and what God is. And who Jesus Christ is and what He did for us and what his atonement means for us. Everything is so new and strange to her, but she loves the feeling she has whenever we teach about the Gospel. We have really high hopes for her! She’s awesome!

Also we had a really cool miracle experience with another investigator this week. We have been teaching her about prayer. We have shown her how to pray in her own words, making it a personal experience. Then yesterday she sent us the coolest text message ever! She said that she had just visited one of her colleagues from work because he was sick and pretty old. She bought some groceries and stuff for him, then said a prayer for him before leaving. When she got home he sent her a text message saying that his fever had gone away even though he hadn’t taken any medicine! She said that she was super grateful that God really did hear her prayers and that He answered them! How cool is that?! Now she has a testimony that God really does answer prayers! It is amazing to be able to teach people about the gospel and to see their faith in God grow as He works miracles in their lives! Being a missionary is pretty amazing.

~Anderson elder

Monday, August 23, 2010

Greenie Fire

Sziasztok!

I’ll bet some people were surprised last week to read that I am a father! Haha. Missionary slang is great! So my “son’s” name is Elder Saunders and he’s from a town near Salt Lake City, Utah. He is so cool! He has greenie fire coming out of his ears! That means that he has a really strong desire to work hard. They do a really good job of preparing missionaries in the MTC. And he speaks Hungarian really well for a greenie too! I'm super excited to be able to serve with him. He has a lot of great ideas and is very good at following the Spirit. It is way fun to be a trainer!

Oh there may have been a misunderstanding about my assignment as a trainer. I probably won’t be training for six months. It’s very possible that I will leave Érd and Elder Saunders in six weeks. I am a trainer this transfer, but next transfer I could go back to being just a regular missionary in another area.

Some very interesting things are happening nowadays with regard to missionary work. The Church’s missionary department has come up with some really neat worldwide trainings for missionaries and we get to have them this transfer. So for three days we will be in Budapest being trained for almost the whole day about how to be more effective teachers and how to teach according to people’s individual needs rather than just teaching canned lessons to people. I’m really excited about it!

Unfortunately, most of our investigators are on vacation, but everything seems to be going well with them. But we still need your prayers and love for the people here! I love being here and serving the Hungarians the best that I can!

~Anderson elder

Monday, August 16, 2010

Trainer

Sziasztok!

I’M GONNA BE A DAD!!! Not really, of course. In missionary lingo that means I get to be a trainer for new missionaries! I’m super excited! In a few hours the greenie group is going to wake up at the MTC and get ready to get on the plane to come to Hungary! On Wednesday we’ll get paired up and meet each other. So that is some really cool news.

It has been kind of cloudy lately and now the sun is out and it is HUMID! Even in the shade it is impossible to escape the heat!

I got some really good news this week about one of our investigators! Remember the girl who went to France a few weeks ago? Well, she has been emailing one of the young women in the Érd Branch and says that she has been going to church and ward activities in France! That is soooo cool! She is amazing. Thank you all for your prayers!

I forgot my camera cord, so I can’t send any pictures today. And now we have to hurry so that Elder Taylor can pack his stuff. So I love you all tons! Keep on praying for us! We need it!!

~Anderson elder

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Few Pictures

Sziasztok!

As usual I am in a hurry today. Elder Taylor and I went to see a castle in a city called Visegrád north of Budapest this morning and it took a lot of time to get there and back. So instead of writing a ton, I’m going to take advantage of the “a picture is worth a thousand words” philosophy!

We are losing investigators and having a hard time finding new people, so I’d like to ask you to keep the people of Érd and us in your prayers! We know that your prayers can help us and the work here!

~Anderson elder

Lower part of the Visegrád Castle.


During Zone Conference last week, we went to a really cool outdoor museum called Skanzen.


We hiked all the way up to the castle in our missionary clothes – definitely not a good idea.


At the castle looking out over the Duna – that’s Danube for you English speakers.


Entrance into the main castle ruins.


GO HUNGARY!


Inside the castle ruins.


Sometimes missionary work is really hard!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Teaching “Nice Things”

Sziasztok!

I would have written yesterday but the library in Érd where we access the Internet decided to close for two weeks. Today Elder Taylor and I are in Budapest for Zone Conference and I only have about ten minutes to write!

Last week was really cool! We were able to meet with a few new people from our English class. That is the most effective finding tool that we have because our small city has been tracted out many, many times over.

We have had to drop some investigators, which is really sad. Surprisingly a good amount of people just meet with us because we teach “nice things” but they don’t really have any genuine desire to apply what we teach into their lives. But I know that God will bless us and we’ll find some people who are ready to hear our message.

I know that God lives and loves us and I know that the harder we work to become closer to Him the more He will help us in our lives and the closer He will come to us!

~Anderson elder

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Thirty Minute Talk

Sziasztok!

Last week was really neat. On Tuesday the Zone Leader companionship came and we blitzed Érd. That means that they stayed the night here in Érd and worked with Elder Taylor and me instead of taking one of us back to their area. It was pretty fun. Elder Apgood, the Zone Leader, and I were together and Elder Taylor went with Elder Crandall. (Elder Taylor and Elder Crandall were in the same MTC group, so working together was really good for them because they are both young in the mission. This experience forced them to speak to people instead of relying on us older missionaries to do all the talking.)

On Wednesday we had a really good English class. Then after class we had a little party which a bunch of members also attended. We watched the short film The Great Apostasy and then just talked with the students. It was great experience.

And then on Friday the APs (Assistants to the Mission President) came and spent the day with us. They were a big help. We brainstormed a bunch of cool ideas with them to help the missionary work in Érd grow.

Sunday was pretty interesting. I had to give the last talk in Sacrament Meeting so I was pretty nervous. I was worried that I might have to talk longer than fifteen minutes and I wasn’t prepared for that. But then there was some miscommunication and one of the assigned speakers didn’t even know that he was supposed to speak. So that meant that just the branch president and I were prepared and that made me even more nervous. But somehow I actually spoke for thirty minutes and I almost took up the whole meeting! I wasn’t paying as much attention to the clock as I should have been – it was kind of embarrassing! Haha. But it was all good. So our week was pretty interesting. Missionary work is great!

Oh! The weather finally cooled down and a storm came in so we have some relief from the heat.

Well I better get going now! I love you all! Read your scriptures and pray everyday!

~Anderson elder

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hungary Is Hot!

Helló!

Hungary is really hot right now. Haha. For most of last week it was about 95 degrees in the shade! And we don’t stay in the shade very much. But other than the heat things are going great!

Church was really good this week! One of our investigators said that she felt inspired! So that was neat. I don’t know what it’s going to feel like to be in a big ward when I get back home. I’m so used to going to church in comfy little branches with just 30 people.

This week, a High Counselor came to visit our branch. He’s German and is a member of the international branch. He gave a really good talk which our branch president – he’s awesome – translated. The High Counselor spoke English almost perfectly so I interpreted for him during the meetings. It was really hard! Whenever I would give him an English translation I couldn’t hear what the Hungarians were saying so I would miss a lot of information. Translating and interpreting are really hard!

Well I have to go. If I could give one little piece of advice it would be to read your scriptures a ton and pray a lot! See you later!

~Anderson elder

Monday, July 12, 2010

Finally – Some Service

Sziasztok!

So last week was pretty interesting. It was filled with a bunch of activities, some good and some not so good. The most not-so-good one wasn’t bad, just sad. My companion and I went to the funeral service for the mother of a really cool member. The member’s name is Csaba and he is a super cool guy; he’s 29 and a returned missionary. His mother died of cancer. Her death was pretty sad, but Csaba is taking it well. He’s an awesome guy.

Elder Taylor and I finally got to do some service this week! I love doing service! A member family had a shed with a roof that was falling apart and we got to repair it. It was a lot of fun. The roof was made of traditional European red tiles supported by small wooden beams that were rotting away and needed to be replaced. It was fun helping the family out.

We have been having some success helping members in the branch who have been having a hard time coming to church regularly. The wife of one of the members is in a coma and he takes care of her at home. He lives about 30 minutes away, but he wants to be active in church again because he misses the blessings that come from obedience to God’s commandments. He’s been coming to church regularly for a few weeks now and says that he can really feel the difference in his life! So that is way cool! And another member came to church yesterday and also wants to be more active – so that is also great news too!

The coolest thing that happened this week is that our main investigator hasn’t smoked for two weeks straight. He is really happy that he has been able to quit, especially because he had smoked so much before. The quit-smoking program we use really works! And just as exciting, this investigator was in another city on Sunday (Pécs) and he went to church there all by himself!!

Today Elder Taylor and I had a fun time in Budapest. We went inside the Parliament Building and one of the biggest cathedrals in the city and then walked a ton in the city. It was really cool! But pictures are better than me describing so I’ll attach a few.

I’m super grateful that I have the opportunity to be here and to teach people about how to find lasting happiness through Jesus Christ! It’s awesome to be a missionary!

~Anderson elder

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mosquitoes!

Sziasztok!

Last week went pretty well. One of our investigators started our quit smoking program and he is so far doing awesome! It is really hard for him though because he smokes a ton.

Today we received our transfer calls. Both Elder Taylor and I are staying together and that’s pretty cool. We really want to see the work in Érd progress. It’s a difficult area, but where isn’t?

The weather was ridiculously hot last week. We live in a ten story building and it gets unbearably hot and humid in our apartment. And there are a ton of mosquitoes! One night I was so sick of the mosquitoes that I emptied my laundry basket and stuck it on my head! It is made of mesh so no bugs could get through it, but it also trapped all the heat. I couldn’t bear it for more than five minutes at a time. Haha. Eventually we just bought a small fan and that has saved our lives!

Unfortunately I have to go now. Sorry that this blog entry is so short!

~Elder Anderson

Monday, June 28, 2010

Great Experiences

Sziasztok!

Last week was really good! On Wednesday we had a really interesting program. We had set up a program with a couple that we had met on the street. We went to the address and it turned out to be some sort of home for people just over eighteen years old who don’t have a place to live. Running the house was an older lady who is their “mom”. The couple we had talked to on the street couldn’t find a place to live together so they moved into this house. I forgot the older lady’s name, she was really kind and wanted us to share our message with all of the kids—there were like six or seven of them. Unfortunately, the girl that we had talked to on the street came late in the program, but the older lady really seemed interested. The kids were just kind of curious. Haha.

And then we had an interesting English class. After the first hour, a bunch of members come to the branch house where we teach. We had refreshments and our students just chatted with the members and then went a little tour of our branch house. It was really neat!

On Saturday we had a really cool program with one of our newer investigators. She called us in the morning and said that she had some time to see us right then. We got ready really quickly and went to the branch house where we met her. She told us that she was really, really busy but that she didn’t want to miss meeting with us because she had promised and her conscience would have bothered her if she hadn’t met with us. So that was way awesome to see a newer investigator follow the promptings of the Spirit even when it was hard for her! We are way excited for her to continue to learn about the gospel!

I love being a missionary! It’s awesome! Have a great week!

~Anderson elder

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Miracle Day

Helló!

Last week was pretty cool! On Wednesday we had a Zone Conference in Budapest and President Gérald Caussé, who is in our Area Presidency, came and trained us. He is an awesome man! He taught us a lot and the Spirit was really strong. It was a really good experience.

The day after Zone Conference was a miracle day! My companion and I started streeting in the morning and by the end of the first hour we had found three or four people who were interested in meeting with us! Sometimes that doesn’t even happen after five hours! It was really exciting. So we had a really quick lunch and went back out on the streets. (Well, Érd is pretty small so when I say streets I mean the two or three roads on which we can talk to people on. Haha) After lunch we experienced even more miracles! By the end of the day we had talked to ten people or families who were interested in meeting with us! By comparison, during the previous three weeks we found only twelve people! Crazy. And this time we didn’t really do anything different. It just goes to show that the Lord is in charge of this work and only He can make it work.

Those were the main highlights of last week. A bunch of people called about English class so it seems like our advertising worked. We hope that lots of people come! Well I have to go now. I love serving the Hungarian people! See ya next week!

~Anderson elder

Monday, June 14, 2010

Help from the Homeless

Sziasztok!

Right now the weather is crazy! Last week was pretty cool, but then it was really hot yesterday, and today it is pouring rain! My companion and I went into Budapest early this morning to play soccer with a bunch of other missionaries – and it was a blast – but we were totally unprepared for the rain. It’s pouring rain and I’m in a short sleeve shirt! There is no such thing as a boring day on a mission!

Last week we had some interesting experiences. On Wednesday we had a program scheduled at 2 PM but the contact dogged us so we decided to go tabling instead. The place where we usually go tabling is a little square located between two small train stations. We try to talk to people who are going back and forth between them. Unfortunately, people are often in a rush trying to get to a train and don’t have any time for us, but it is the only place available. When trains aren’t coming we pretty much just bake in the sun while waiting for people to appear. Haha. I’m getting a really bad farmer’s tan on my arms and a really bad tan line on my neck! But anyway, there is a bar right next to the square where we table which always gives us some interesting people to talk to. For instance, on Wednesday a homeless guy came out of the bar and started talking to us. He wasn’t drunk, just really nice, even a little too nice. He said that he really respects us and that he was going to help us out! I tried to dissuade him. I told him no, that he didn’t have to help us, but he was really determined! So he turns around and starts walking towards the nearest person, who is a girl about 20 or so years old. Of course, I am super embarrassed by this time. Haha. So he stops this girl and tells her that she needs to come over and talk to us. So she actually came over, I think because of the crazy awkwardness of the whole thing. I was super embarrassed, so I started to talk to her about the English classes we teach hoping that she would speak English so the homeless man wouldn’t be able to help us out anymore. Luckily, she did speak English! So I apologized and we talked for a little bit. She said that she was interested in hearing more about the Gospel! So basically, we went tabling for two and a half hours and we found two people who are interested and a homeless man streeted one of them for us! God really does work in mysterious ways!

Then on Thursday we had a sweet program with someone from our English class who is really interested in the Gospel. She told us that a few months ago she wanted to start learning English. She prayed for the opportunity and then a few days later she got one of our fliers about our English classes! Sweet, huh? She really feels that God led her to us! So hopefully we’ll be able to teach her a lot.

Yesterday was a little interesting too. We missed three trains! It was intense. After church one of our investigators walked with us to the train station. We were waiting in line for our tickets but the people in front of us were taking forever and our train came and went without us. So we had to wait for the next one which was only 15 minutes later. We bought our tickets and were talking to our investigator when the train pulled up on the other track. We realized that we were on the wrong side of the stop so we took off running to the other side, but of course we didn’t make it! Eventually we got on a train to Budafok – just 30 minutes from Érd – where we had a good program. On the way back we went to the train station and looked at the schedule to see when the train left only to turn around and watched it go by! It had stopped farther down the track and then left before we even saw it! So that was a bummer, but not entirely. We got to teach a short lesson and give a Book of Mormon to the one other guy who was waiting at the train station with us! So I guess it was actually a blessing in disguise!

I love being a missionary and teaching people about the Gospel of Jesus Christ! It’s super fun and it is great to help spread happiness among the Hungarian people! Have a great week everyone!

~Anderson elder

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Castle District

Sziasztok!

I totally forgot to tell you about my sightseeing trip around Budapest last week, so I’ll give a little summary today. Elder Taylor had to get his permit to live here in Hungary, so a few other missionaries and I followed Elder McRae (who finished his mission just the week before) and his parents to the Castle District in Budapest. On our way there we met Elder Wilson (who finished his mission last December) and his parents and his fiancee. So we saw the Buda Castle, a big church, and this really cool public square with a vantage point that overlooks the Duna River (that’s what Hungarians call the Danube) across from which you can see the Parliament building. The trip was really fun!

Last week was really hard! Elder Taylor and I went finding for 16 hours, which is a lot, but we didn’t see much success from it. We are going to work on using our time more effectively and hopefully in the future we’ll actually be able to find people when we go finding. We did find one really cool family last week. They have so much potential, but right now they are a little more interested in learning English than in studying the gospel. But I have faith that things will go great with them.

Another cool thing was that one of our awesome investigators Gábor came to church and enjoyed it! The experience was a lot different, of course, but he liked it. Right after church we had a really good program with him and our mission leader, Attila. So that was really cool. Gábor is a super smart guy, he’s 27 and finishing his PhD in geothermal engineering! Whoa! So it is a ton of fun meeting with him.

The weather was crazy last week. For the first few days it rained a lot and it was kind of chilly and then on Wednesday or Thursday the sun came out and it was about 85 degrees! Now it is really hot and humid and gross. Haha.

Well that’s what happened last week. I hope that everyone is doing well. Read your scriptures and pray everyday! The basics help out so much! I love you all!

~Anderson elder

Monday, May 31, 2010

What a Day!

Sziasztok!

Sorry for all of the short blog entries recently, but my companion and I have access to just one computer right now and we are short on time.

I had an interesting and funny first full day in Érd. We started the day off by going to a program on the other side of the city. We took a 20 minute bus ride and when we get to the lady’s house, we learn that she had forgotten that we were coming. And just then, her granddaughter pulled up in a car to take her shopping. Since we couldn’t meet with her, we decided to go to another person’s house. The lady and her granddaughter were nice enough to drive us there. Unfortunately, that person wasn’t home, We decided to visit her neighbor who is also an investigator, but she was busy cleaning and doing yard work. Then we decided go tabling—that’s where we set up a table with stuff on it and basically street people around the table. So we went to the branch house, got the table and stuff, and started to walk to where we were going to set it up. After walking through the city with the table for about five minutes Elder Taylor remembered that we need to have our permit with us in order to table in the city. And the permit was back at our apartment. By the time we took the table back to the branch house we were pretty much out of time for tabling or tracting so we decided to street for about an hour. Unfortunately, no one wanted to listen to us. And then after we got home we had to do our weekly planning before finishing the day. It was crazy because almost everything we planned or tried to plan fell through! Our luck was so bad it was actually kind of funny. Some days are just like that.

Well I’ve got to go now, but I will be back next week! Love you all!

~Anderson elder

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

On the Move – Again

Sziasztok!
Last week was really fun and went by really fast! Elder Roundy and I worked extra hard and were able to meet with a lot of people.

The biggest news for this week is that I’m leaving Hódmezővásárhely! The city is getting whitewashed! (That’s what happens when all the missionaries in a city are transferred out at the same time.) President Baughman wants older missionaries as Zone Leaders, but he also wants me to be senior. The only solution is for both Elder Roundy and I to leave at the same time since he is going home. I’m going to a city called Érd. It is right below Budapest, so I’ll be able to visit the big city often! And my new companion is only in his second transfer so he’ll be a lot of fun.

We just had a cool program with one of our investigators and she said her first prayer out loud! It was awesome! I love hearing people pray for the first time! And during the last program with her we taught her kids how to pray. Laci, her five year old son, said his first prayer! He seemed to be talking to us while he prayed, so the next elders will have to help him understand that we pray to God. Still, he’s doing pretty well considering that he hadn’t learned about God at all before we came. In any case, his prayer was really cute!

Well I have to go now because we still need to pack and say goodbye to a ton of people here! Thanks for everything. I love y’all!

~Anderson elder

Monday, May 17, 2010

Little Miracles

Sziasztok!

Last week was pretty neat! Elder Roundy and I went on a lot of splits and it was a ton of fun. Monday night we traveled up to Szolnok and blitzed the area with one of the companionships. Both my companion and I stayed in the area for the whole day, so on Tuesday there were six missionaries in the city and not just four. I went on splits with Elder Peugnet, which was cool because he is just one group above me and so he was in the MTC with me for a while. Unfortunately, he had a ton of chores to do—he is the branch president in Szolnok—so we spent most of the day doing those things.

On Tuesday night we drove down to Kecskemét and I went on splits with Elder Gardenhire. It was really strange because it felt like I hadn’t even left Kecskemét and that all of the stuff that’s happened in Hódmezővásárhely was just a dream. Weird. (Before last transfer, I was companions with Elder Gardenhire and Elder Musters was part of the other companionship in Kecskemét.) I wasn’t in Hód for two whole days last week. It was a fun little excursion!

We had a few neat little miracles on Saturday. It was raining like crazy, so we decided to tract a ten story apartment building which has sixty apartments in it. For some strange reason there were a lot of people that weren’t home and those who were home were not nice at all. It was pretty lame knocking on those doors since no one was interested in talking to us. BUT the last two people we talked to in the building were SUPER nice! They weren’t really interested in our message, but they were just really happy and nice to us and that was wonderful! I think that experience was a little gift from God helping us not to give up. And so we continued tracting in other buildings where we found a lot of people who were home and many were really kind. We had lots of good conversations and even found a few people who are interested in meeting with us again! It was actually fun! We also tracted into a member’s sister-in-law on accident. That was a huge surprise, since it’s not at all common in a city of tens of thousands of people to tract into someone who is related to one of just fifteen members!

So all in all it was a fun week. We were able to get a lot of good work done and it was really neat to see the hand of the Lord helping us during the week. I love you all! See ya next week!

~Anderson elder

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Day In Békéscsaba

Halló sziasztok!

Last week was pretty cool! On Monday my companion and I drove to a small town called Szentes to visit a really nice member family: the mom, Edina; her sister, Viki; and Edina’s two small boys, Ábel and Gergő who are like five and eight years old. Edina served a mission in England and the whole family is so cool! Every Sunday they either drive or take a train to church in Szeged which involves an hour of travel time! They’re pretty awesome members. We go over to their house every Monday and teach the kids a little lesson. But it’s not like they really need it—Edina does a super good job of teaching them the gospel at home. After we teach the lesson we go out in their yard and play soccer with them! It’s a lot of fun playing soccer with little kids!

On Tuesday we went on splits with the Békéscsaba elders and I got to stay in Békéscsaba for the day! It was really fun to be back in the city. I got to visit a few members and teach English class too. It was interesting how when I was assigned there the weather was really cold and wet but now it’s all warm and green and pretty! I had a lot of déjà vu during the day I was there, it was really neat.

Throughout the week we were able to meet with a lot of new people, but we really need people who are willing to investigate the gospel seriously. Hopefully we’ll find even more people this week.

We were able to get the mission goals and achieve standard this week. It was really cool to see how things just came together for us. It was obvious that God was helping us to achieve standard. I know that God really does care about us and will help us achieve worthy goals!

Well I’d better get going. I love you all—thanks for everything!

~Anderson elder

Monday, May 3, 2010

What’s the Point?

Helló!

Last week was pretty crazy! It was a lot of fun. On Tuesday we had six programs! It was a ton of work. We met with five investigators and then we met with a cool member family. It is always really fun to have a bunch of programs in one day. The day flies by and teaching people is the best, a lot better than spending a lot of time finding people. Part of me is jealous of the missionaries serving in Utah because some of them don't have to do much finding at all, they just get tons of referrals from members and so they teach all of the time. That would be sweet. But it sure is an adventure talking to strangers on the street all of the time. We have a lot of interesting experiences.

Wednesday was also pretty fun since we had Zone Conference. The funny thing was that we drove down to Szeged to pick up one of the companionships there but we got stuck in some rush hour traffic and construction areas so we ended up being late to our own Zone Conference! It was pretty fun, well interesting at least. We had some really good trainings by the Assistants about planning and goal setting. They were trying to get us to strive to set high goals and push ourselves to get them.

Thursday was also interesting. We had a program with a new lady named Irén (so now we have two Irén investigators) and the program was pretty crazy. Haha. She has a four year old and two year old and they were insane! The four year old was asking us questions nonstop. He took a little pamphlet from my shirt pocket and asked, “What’s the point of you having this?” I told him that we give the pamphlets out to people and that he could have one. He took it and looked at it a little more intently, then looked back at me and asked, “What’s the point of me having this?” Haha. We laughed so hard.

Saturday was pretty intense. It was a national holiday. My companion and I got permission to drive up to Nyíregyháza (literally: “the church of birch”) because Elder Roundy had served there for a long time and he wanted to visit some people before he goes home. It was about a four hour drive though! We spent a lot of time in the car that day. We visited a few members and went to a branch party that was held in a really pretty park. I have now been to every remote city that missionaries can go to in Hungary and I have been to every corner of the country! That isn’t that difficult since the entire country of Hungary is smaller than Washington state! Haha.

I am so grateful to be here! I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in its fullness. I am also grateful for the Book of Mormon and that it has strengthened my testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ! I love you all!

~Anderson elder

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Synagogue in Hódmezovásárhely

Sziasztok!

Life in Hód is pretty swell! In fact, last week was great. On Wednesday Elder Roundy and I went to Budapest for a Zone Leader Council Meeting. (Elder Roundy, my companion, is a Zone Leader.) The meeting was really cool. We discussed mission policies and talked about what to change, what to keep the same, and how things are going in the mission. I found the meeting especially interesting because I got to see how and why mission policies are developed. A lot of times when policies are changed all the regular missionaries are told is that a change is being made, but they don’t get to hear the discussion behind the change. It’s tempting to think of a change as ridiculous or something if you don’t know its context. So it was cool to see how things work and to hear the discussions behind the policies, and to know that our leaders in the mission are really just trying their best like everyone else to be more effective missionaries. I now have more confidence that there are lots of good reasons for the mission’s various policies.

In Hód there isn’t much to see. It is a pretty small city and it’s not that pretty. There is, however, a really beautiful Jewish synagogue here that we visited today. One of the students in our English class is married to a Jewish man. He’s in charge of the synagogue and gave us a tour. It was way cool! I have a ton of respect for the Jews here in Europe. There are so few of them nowadays and that’s really sad. About a half million Hungarian Jews were murdered in World War II and now there are barely any left in the country. It was both wonderful and sad to see the synagogue today, sad because it is a big reminder of what has happened to the Jews in the past. I had planned to post some pictures of the synagogue to my blog but just found out that the computers in this Internet place won’t allow it. Lame.

We had the opportunity of going to Békéscsaba last week! Elder Roundy had to hold baptismal interviews for a couple there. The coolest thing was that this couple is the family that Elder Smith and I found in Doboz! Since I left, the husband started investigating the gospel and the family has been coming to church. Now they are getting baptized! It was so cool to see them again and I am so excited for them! It is way cool to be with the Zone Leader, especially since I have already served in this zone a bit.

Well I am going to go now. I love this gospel and I am so glad that I have the opportunity to teach it to others! So cool! I love you all!

~Anderson elder

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sándor’s Baptism

Helló!

Last week went by pretty fast! Sándor and Ancsa got married on Monday and Sándor was baptized on Saturday! It was way cool.

Transfers were pretty interesting. Maybe you remember the blog entry I wrote when I first got to Kecskemét—I said that I broke my camera and that my suitcase died. Well, I got a new camera, but I didn’t get a new suitcase. Haha. Needless to say, I hope that I don’t get transferred much more. So with only one wheel working, I dragged the suitcase all over Kecskemét and Budapest. It was a really good workout!

Elder Gardenhire and I ordered a tiebag while we were in Budapest! These things are so famous in the mission. There is this guy in Budapest who somehow collects hundreds of ties and sells them in huge bags! It is pretty crazy. When I go on splits in Kecskemét, Elder Gardenhire and I will divide up the ties. I’ll be sure to take some sweet pictures for you.

One of the coolest things about serving in Hód is that we have a car! I don’t have a license so I can’t drive, but that’s fine. I get all the benefits anyway! I might get a license next transfer.

On Friday we had a little branch party in Szeged. (There isn’t a branch house here in Hód so we have to travel to Szeged, which is about a thirty minute drive by car.) It was a lot of fun. We played ping-pong and some of the people played basketball. My companion got pretty into the game and slid on the ground. He was in pros—mission lingo for proselyting clothes, meaning that he was wearing a white shirt, tie, and dress pants. He totally ripped a huge hole in his pants! It was really funny.

Saturday was also a really fun day. In the morning we went to the branch house in Szeged where we helped the members clean the building. Of course, they gave us the hardest job! Haha. We had to clean the walls with sponges. The paint that they use here in Hungary is a lot different than what I’m used to in America. If anything rubs against the paint the color will rub onto the wall. So we had to scrub off all those spots with sponges! It was actually kind of fun! Then we ate some really good Hungarian gulyás (goulash) and it tasted so good!

After cleaning the branch house, we drove to Kecskemét to see Sándor’s baptism. That was really cool. Tons of members were there and it was really good to see them all. Sándor is such a stud! It was so cool to see him baptized! I’m really happy for him. And his wife came to his baptism! I hope she liked it. It was a really cool experience.

Well I need to go now. Thanks for all your support! I love all of you! Keep on strengthening your testimonies of the gospel and reading from the scriptures!

~Anderson elder

Monday, April 12, 2010

Transferred Again!

Sziasztok!

Today we got transfer calls! It was crazy as usual. I’m getting transferred again! I am going to Hódmezővásárhely! I went there on splits while I was serving in Békéscsaba. Looks like I am going to be in this zone for a while! So this is my 6th area! I’m kind of tired of moving! And I have a terrible curse. Whenever I leave an area someone gets baptized soon after I leave! And Sándor will be baptized this Saturday and I’m leaving on Wednesday! But I’m sure that I’ll be able to get back to Kecskemét for it.

Well, that’s pretty much all of the exciting news I have since I just made a blog entry a few days ago.

I am super grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission! It is such an awesome experience! I am learning so much and it is way fun to help people strengthen their testimonies of Christ. The mission is definitely stressful—I’m getting a crazy widow’s peak on my head!—but it is totally worth all of the effort! The Hungarians are wonderful people; going on a mission has easily been the best decision I’ve made in my life thus far!

Sok szeretettel,
Anderson elder

Friday, April 9, 2010

Great News!

Sziasztok!

I have great news: Sándor is getting baptized on the 17th! He has been investigating for a few months and now he has so much faith. He is awesome! I should have written more about him, but the point is that he is so cool and he is finally ready to be baptized! He is 26 years old and is getting married to his girlfriend on Monday. They’ve been together since they were 16! She isn’t interested in the gospel (yet), but she is way cool too. I am so excited! He is a super cool guy and it will be great to have him as a member. He was so prepared because he didn’t really believe in much before he met the missionaries, but now he has a strong faith in God and in the restored gospel of Christ! So cool!

So pretty much nothing else is as cool or important as that, but last week was pretty fun. We went to the Stake Center in Budapest on Saturday and watched conference! It was a great experience! Six of us missionaries slept in the same apartment Saturday night, so it was a little crazy! Elder Murray was there too and it was way cool to see him again! The first session of Conference, the Saturday “Morning” session started at 6 PM for us! But it was fun to be able to watch it live. In the end we were able to watch all of the sessions—some live, some recorded—except the Sunday Afternoon session. I loved all of the talks! They are always so spiritual and motivational!

We did another really cool thing on Monday. A few of us took a short trip north of Budapest to visit a fascinating and historic Catholic cathedral in a city called Esztergom. The Duna (that’s Danube in English) River right next to the city separates Hungary from Slovakia. The excursion was really fun. The cathedral is one of the biggest in Europe, I think, and it is REALLY big and old! I wish we had big old buildings like that in America.

Things are going pretty well here in Kecskemét! The weather is getting a lot nicer so that is really cool! The trees are becoming green and everything is blooming and it is super pretty. I love you all tons! I wish you could be here in Hungary with me! (It’s all right to be jealous!)

~Anderson elder

Monday, March 29, 2010

Canned Food Is Heavy!

Sziasztok!

Last week was a lot of fun. We got to spend a lot of time doing service for a member. His mother passed away a few months ago and so we helped him move her things out of her old apartment and to his home. The not so fun part was that her apartment was on the fourth floor of an apartment building! In Hungary the ground floor doesn’t count as the first floor so there were four flights of stairs. And we had to carry a bunch of cabinets and stuff and it was hard! Haha. But it was a lot of fun too. We made two trips and the other Elders came so that was really good. It was just fun to do service and help someone out. The moving reminded me of when Davie and I worked at the furniture shop together moving furniture all over Stanwood and the Island.

On Wednesday it was our investigator’s (Sándor) birthday and Elder Musters’ birthday too and so we had a little party at a members house and it was really cool. My companion, Elder Gardenhire, made Elder Musters’ “cake” and it was hilarious! He cut a roll in half, covered it in chocolate frosting and put 21 matches in the middle and so it was really cool to light!

Friday was really intense physically. We helped out the same member again and moved a bunch of canned food out of the pantry. Canned food is really heavy! Haha. And then we had to run to the bus so that we wouldn’t miss it. And then later that day we had soccer and we were running late and we didn’t have time to wait for a bus so we just ran to the soccer field which was a 10 minute run! And then we played soccer for an hour and a half! But then we had a program after that and they fed us, but we weren’t expecting that so our program ran kind of long and we had to run to the bus stop! It is almost impossible to be on-time to anything as a missionary! A member in Sopron called it the “missionary sickness.” Haha.

Sándor is doing really well! If everything goes according to plan then he’ll get married on April 12th and his baptism will be on the 17th! So we are all really excited for that! He is a great guy.

Sunday was really good too. The meetings were great and then after church we went with a part-member family back to their home, which is about an hour and a half drive by car! We taught the husband, who is a really awesome guy, but religious things are pretty strange to him. We are hoping that he will continue to progress.

Well I’m going to head out now. I love you all thanks a ton!

~Anderson elder

Monday, March 22, 2010

Friends in High Places

Sziasztok!

Last week was really neat. On Thursday we helped a member move furniture from his mother’s old apartment which was on the 4th floor of her building. We had to carry some big cabinets all the way down the stairs and that was no fun at all! Haha. Well, it was kind of fun, but it was painful too! It is always good to do service. This week on Thursday and Friday we will get to finish helping him!

Last Thursday night we went to the member’s house whose husband is Syrian. We had a really good lesson with her and her daughter. And the way cool part was that their dad was outside cooking dinner and so we finally got to meet him! He is a really cool guy. He made a joke about how he was Osama Bin Laden’s brother and then took it back and spit on the ground, basically saying that Osama is dirt. Haha. He doesn’t speak the best Hungarian, so it was kind of funny listening to him. He was super nice and wouldn’t let us leave until we had eaten a ton of the food he had cooked. And it was really good! So that was a really fun experience. The only bad part was that since he wouldn’t let us go till we had stuffed ourselves with food, we were really late to a meeting with our ward mission leader. That was OK though, because he recently returned from his mission totally understood.

Friday was Zone Conference and it was a blast as usual! The coolest part of the day was when we were leaving and we had to hurry to catch our train. By the time we got to the train station we had only five minutes left until the train departed, and when we got to the ticket counters and there were giant lines of people already waiting! We almost gave up, but one of us in the district saw that some other elders were already in line. So we had them buy our tickets and then we ran as fast as we could to the train. We jumped on the last car and not even 30 seconds later the train started to leave! It was perfect timing! Then we had to walk through the entire train looking for six open seats, but it was full of people and we didn’t find any room until we got the the bicycle car. It was completely empty—since there were no seats—so we just decided to stay in there. It was a blast!

On Saturday one of the other elder’s investigators, Kriszti (Kree-stee), got baptized. It was a really good service. She is awesome and was definitely prepared by the Lord.

I would talk more about our investigators, but it’s probably not a good idea to talk about other people’s lives since this is a blog, open for everyone to read. Haha. But basically they are doing awesome! Our main investigator Sándor is especially awesome.

Thanks for everything! I love you all!

~Anderson elder

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sodbusters

Sziasztok!

First of all, Monday was a national holiday and everything was closed. So now Elder Gardenhire and I have to squeeze emailing and shopping into our normal week—and that is no fun! Haha. I forgot what the holiday is called, but it is in commemoration of a nonviolent revolution that happened in the late 1800s. The Hungarians don’t really do anything to celebrate the day; it’s kind of like President’s Day in the US.

So on Monday we went with a few of the ward members to another member’s house way out in the boonies to help them out on their little farm. It was a cool experience because we live in kind of a big city, but thirty minutes away there is nothing but farmland. We planted some trees and raked up dead leaves, but the hardest part was digging. We dug up tons of dirt to prepare the soil for planting. It’s kind of like we were doing the work of a plow—we just dug up the dirt so that it wasn’t all hard and compacted. It was really hard work! Haha. But it was a lot of fun.

There is a member here in Kecskemét whose husband is from Syria. She and her daughter both speak Arabic really well and they taught us how to say a few things. So that was kind of cool! They are a great family, but unfortunately the dad doesn’t like us for some reason. But I’m sure he’s a great guy.

One of our investigators is doing especially great! He’s having a little bit of a hard time with tithing, because he is in a really difficult economic situation. But he has faith that everything will work out. He is getting married on April 12th and plans to be baptizes sometime after that! So we are now working on turning him from an investigator to a member.

Being senior companion is pretty interesting. For some reason I understand and speak the language so much better than I did last transfer. Maybe it’s because I have to understand it now. I don’t have anyone to rely on to help me; instead, people are now relying on me to understand! Weird.

Well I have to go now. We are going to teach a really cool guy named Béla (bay-law)! Being a missionary is awesome! Time just goes by way too fast! I love this gospel and I love my Savior Jesus Christ!

~Anderson elder

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Sweet Welcome

Helló!

Hey everyone! Last week was pretty fun! So to start off, transfers went really smooth and everything was great. As we got to Kecskemét—it is way pretty and looks way cool—my suitcase felt like it was getting heavier. I look down at it and one of the wheels is like bending into the suitcase and before long it just stopped rolling and started to grind away like my first suitcase!! NOO! So both of my original suitcases that I bought for my mission have died. At least this one lasted a lot longer than the first. I’m not going to buy a new one though since they cost a lot. Instead I’m going to get a little handcart thing that I can strap my suitcase to! A few elders here have already done that.

But that’s not all. I walk into my new apartment and it is super awesome! It is way bigger than the one in Békéscsaba and I’m loving it. Then I pick up my coat to put it away and my camera falls out of my pocket and lands on the wood floor. Lame. So my small camera broke! My other camera is fine, thank goodness. I would die if it broke.

Before I got to Kecskemét the weather was super nice and in the 60s I think. And then yesterday it snowed. Haha. So I got a really sweet welcome to Kecskemét!

The members here are awesome and our strongest investigator, Sándor (Sándors are like Johns in America, there seem to be tons of them) is awesome and way strong. As soon as he is able to get married, he’ll be baptized. Getting married is a lot harder here in Hungary, and it is more expensive, but he is willing to sacrifice. He loves church and carries his Book of Mormon almost everywhere he goes.

My new companion, Elder Gardenhire, is so cool. He is from Utah, but has moved a lot in his life so he doesn’t consider Utah as his home. He is one of the most optimistic people ever and one of the most charitable too. He always focuses on people’s strengths and so I am going to absorb some of his awesomeness into my own character!

It is really fun being a senior companion! But it is strange that now I can’t ask for advice from my companion about the language and that now I have to focus and understand everything that is being said. But I’m not worried at all; I don’t worry as much as I used too and that is super cool.

I’m glad that I am able to serve a mission. I have gained a great love and appreciation for this Gospel. I am incredibly grateful to be able to help others become much happier through the Gospel of Christ. I basically think that everything is awesome! That pretty much sums it up! I believe with all my heart and soul that Jesus Christ’s complete gospel has been restored with His authority and power! And it is great to be able to share this message with others.

~Anderson elder

Monday, March 1, 2010

Kecskemét

Helló!

Last week was pretty cool. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my journal and old planner with me today so I can’t remember a lot of the most cool stuff! The main thing is that this week is transfers and I’m leaving Békéscsaba and going to Kecskemét! I’ll be the senior companion for the first time with a really cool elder who is in his sixth transfer so language won’t be a problem for us. I got off pretty easy. Elder Larson, who is in my MTC group, is becoming the Branch President in Eger, where I started my mission, and going senior at the same time! That’ll be crazy for him! I’m way excited to go to Kecskemét! It’s a ward too! With about 60 active members! It’ll be a lot different from Békéscsaba! So basically, I am super excited.

We had a really cool program with an especially cool family last week. We knew that they had kids so we brought a bunch of plastic cups to build a gospel pyramid. On the bottom layer we put twelve cups representing the twelve apostles; our next layer represented basic gospel doctrines; the third layer had cups for the First Presidency; the next layer stood for revelation and authority; and the single cup at the very top represented Christ. Using this cup pyramid, we taught this family about when Christ was on the earth and about the apostasy and the restoration. We had focused the lesson on teaching the kids, but the coolest part was that even though we were trying to teach using simple concepts so that they would understand, their mom, Emese, explained it even better! We would say something we thought was pretty simple and then she would restate what we had just said in even more simple, perfect, mommy-to-child language! So she helped us teach her kids about the restoration—and it was awesome! I hope that she will progress.

Our family in Doboz is struggling to get to church and that is pretty disappointing because they are so cool. But they’ll get stronger I’m sure.

Our other family is doing great and now that both the mom and dad are investigating they are getting more serious. They come to church now and it is great! They’re awesome.

My companion and I found a playground near our apartment while running last week and it is so cool! Haha. Our favorite part is this small pole with a platform to stand on while it spins really fast. You run up to the pole and jump on the platform in a kind of sitting down position, then you try to stand up while the spinning poles tries to throw you off! It is a really good way to wake up in the morning!

Well I’m going to go now. Everybody read your scriptures and pray to know what your Heavenly Father wants you to do to be happy! Have a great week! I know that I will!

~Anderson elder

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Beaver-Field Shopping Place

Sziasztok!

Last week was pretty good. On Tuesday I went on splits to Hódmezővásárhely which was really fun. The literal translation of the name of that city is pretty awesome. It means “beaver-field-shopping-place.” Hahaha. The really cool part of splits was that I got to spend the day with Elder Kunz who was in my MTC group! We got to reminisce about our days in the MTC and to talk about how crazy it is that we don’t even have a year left here in Hungary! Also his companion is the Zone Leader so we had a car and that was fun! I felt like I was a missionary in the US. They are so spoiled. Haha. The fun part was that when we got home we found out that our radiators didn’t feel like working so the apartment was super cold. We tried to fix the radiators, but couldn’t really do much. I ended up sleeping in my pajamas with my socks, my beanie, and both of my coats! That’s what it took to stay warm.

We are meeting with this really cool guy named Tamas (Tah-mash, the second “a” is pronounced like the “a” in cat). He is only 24 but looks older because of the sweet goatee that he has. Haha. He says that he is praying about the Book of Mormon and that is promising. I hope that he continues to progress.

The family in Doboz is also doing well. The mother, Judit, wants to be baptized and is a way awesome person. The family’s biggest struggle is making it to church since they have to take a bus to get to Békéscsaba.

I have something to confess. We went to Gyula last week and visited a really good hamburger restaurant. This place had a giant TV with the Winter Olympics on and we just couldn’t resist! Haha. We watched the men’s sport where they ski down the mountain really fast making really sharp S-turns around the flags. It was pretty cool. I would so be up there at Whistler if I were back at home. But living in central Europe for two years as a missionary is WAY better! Haha.

Sunday was pretty good. Everything went smooth except not very many of our investigators came to church. That was really disappointing. Especially so because Mecséri Olivér from the Mission Presidency came to our meetings. He is so cool and he gave a sweet talk about faith and how we need to do all that we can do first before God will do His part. He used the story of Jesus raising Lazarus to illustrate his point in a really cool way. He asked why Christ had asked those around him to show him where Lazarus had been laid, why He told them to take away the stone, and why He asked them to unwrap Lazarus? Because these were all things that those people were perfectly capable of doing themselves. The only thing that Christ did was what the others could not do: He raised Lazarus from the dead. And so Olivér said that sometimes we pray really hard for God to do things for us that we can do ourselves, things that God wants us to do for ourselves so that we can learn and grow. If God did everything for us, we wouldn’t be able to learn and progress. When we work hard to do all that we can do and then face something that we cannot do, that is when God will do His part and we’ll see miracles. But God knows what we are capable of a lot better than we think. And usually we are capable of more than we think.

So it was a fun week. I can’t believe that my mission is half-over! I love this Gospel and I am very grateful to be able to teach others about it!

~Anderson elder

***IMPORTANT***
I have a new email address. It is braden.anderson@myldsmail.net.
(There’s a period where the underscore was in my old address.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Train to Kecskemét

Sziasztok!

Last week was good! The people at two homes let us in while we were tracting and that was great! At one home we found a cool middle-aged couple and then at another home in the same area we found a 29 year old guy. The programs were really good, so I am excited for them!

Church wasn’t that exciting last week. Haha! A few members were sick or something else happened and so we missionaries had to do everything. We gave all the talks and blessed the sacrament and taught the Sunday School and Primary too. It was intense, but it went well.

Oh, Happy Valentine’s Day! Hungarians celebrate Valentine’s Day too. But kids here don’t make card holders out of shoeboxes in school and pass out Valentine’s Day cards to each other. I don’t know why not, that’s the best part!

We had Zone Conference last week and that was really neat. I love being able to get together with a bunch of missionaries and learn from each other. The only bad thing was that the train ride is three hours long and since our train was late coming home I was exhausted. Going there was pretty funny. We woke up early in order to catch an early train to Szeged (seh-gehd) from where we had to get on another train to Kecskemét (kech-kehm-eight). So we get off of our train in Szeged and go into the train station to see when the train to Kecskemét leaves only to learn that it was leaving right then. We ran back outside just in time to see the train leave. The Szeged missionaries were on it and they were kind enough to wave goodbye to us! Haha! We had to wait almost an hour for the next one.

We are getting a few more good investigators which is fantastic! The family that lives in Box—I love that town’s name!—are doing great. So far only the mom is interested, but we can tell that she wants everyone else to be interested too. She’s definitely going to lead them along.

I love this country and the people here! I am super grateful to be here and be a missionary!

~Anderson elder