Monday, January 25, 2010

How Not to Prepare the Sacrament


I don’t remember last week very well; it went by really fast. I mostly remember that it was awfully cold. And that my bike broke again. And that later on my backup bike’s shifting cables froze and somehow popped off and I couldn’t get them back on! So now Elder Smith and I have to walk everywhere we go—and that’s really annoying because I’d just gotten used to having a bike. It really has been cold. This morning the temperature was like -10° C (that’s about 15° F) and my nose hairs were totally frozen! Haha. Fortunately it’s warmed up a little now.

A super funny thing happened on Sunday. Everything was going well during church until it came time for the sacrament. I go up to the table to get the water and as the cloth is lifted off the table this thought goes through my head, “I don’t remember putting water in the sacrament cups. Uh oh. But there has to be water. We definitely filled the cups up. I think…” So I just stand there staring as hard as I can at the cups. I don’t have a clear view, but I can’t see any water! Elder Smith says the blessing on the water and then reaches over to pick up the tray. I’m secretly praying, “Please, please, pllllleeaase, let there be water!” Then Elder Smith grabs the tray and we both see that it’s empty. Misi, the Hungarian who blessed the sacrament with Elder Smith, gets this big grin on his face as he tries to hold back from laughing! Elder Smith and I just look at each other for a second, then I whisper, “Ya, there’s no water. Um, I guess you should probably tell everyone.” Hahaha. So I go fill up the sacrament cups while Elder Smith announces our mistake to the congregation. And then of course a few members start laughing! What an embarrassing and funny experience! That’s the first time I have ever seen that happen in church!

We met a really cool family last week and we have high hopes for them. They live in a small town called Doboz (box). Haha. Hopefully we’ll be able to meet with them some more.

On Sunday we had two members from the ward in Buda—there is a ward in Buda and a ward in Pest, so two wards total in Budapest—come down here and teach Relief Society for us. It was awesome! It is so good to have solid members who know how things are supposed to work inspire the members here. We always try to help the members but sometimes it seems like they are too used to the missionaries. They need awesome Hungarians to inspire them. This experience with Relief Society was great!

Well I’m going to go now. Thanks for everything! See ya next week!

~Anderson elder

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Whole Year Now


Last week was really neat. I had another funny biking experience. Elder Smith and I were riding our bikes home on Monday from Tesco (European Walmart) when it happened. Elder Smith was holding a big bag in his left hand which he normally uses to change gears. So he reached over with his right hand to change gears and lost control of the bike and totally crashed! And then I ran over his bike! But somehow I managed to stay on my bike. Elder Smith didn’t get hurt, but the bad thing was that our yogurt exploded all over the place! It was so funny.

Also, I have officially been on my mission for a whole year now! WHOA! Doesn’t seem like it’s been that long at all.

Another cool thing this week was that we restarted our English class and about 70 people came! Our branch house here is super small so there were people who had to stay standing because we didn’t have enough chairs! It was great. Hopefully we’ll be able to find some people to teach through our class.

One more out-of-the-ordinary thing: I got my Christmas presents! Haha! So we had a mini Christmas on Friday. It was great!

Our investigator, Sándor, is awesome and is doing well. We just began teaching him about the Ten Commandments. So now he knows that there is more to the Ten Commandments than just not killing and stealing, which is what a lot of people here think. We are trying to met with his wife too, but she isn’t really interested yet. He is a great guy; I have great hopes for him!

Well I am in a hurry now, so there is a good rundown of last week! It was good. I love this gospel with all my heart and I am so glad that I can be here and teach others about it!

~Anderson elder

Monday, January 11, 2010

An Egyptian Lesson

Cső! (Slang for hey, but it literally means pipe! Haha)

Last week was pretty good. Two weeks ago we asked an English class student if we could meet with her whole family and last week we did! But I guess we didn’t clearly explain to her that we wanted to talk about the gospel with her family because when we showed up we found out that they had planned an outing for us to go visit an old Catholic church. We couldn’t say no—that would have been unbelievably rude and would have ruined any chance of teaching them later on—so we went along. It was a lot of fun. The coolest part, by far, was this ancient pump organ in the chapel. Elder Smith asked if he could play it and they let him. So he played “Choose the Right” on this magnificent old organ in this stately old cathedral! I was hoping that he would play a restoration hymn—that would have given us an easy way to talk about the gospel—but he didn’t think of it. It was a fun experience, but next time we’re going to make sure that our hosts understand why we want to meet with them and that we didn’t come just to hang out.

We had splits with the zone leaders on Wednesday—that was fun too. I spent the day with Elder Liljenquist, who is from Burley, Idaho. He knows Brady Anderson and all my Burley family. The best part of the day was that he forgot to give his house keys to his companion until long after they’d left. They had to drive all the way back and spend the night with us. It’s always nice having another companionship around.

Oh! We also met an Egyptian this week! He married a Hungarian and they are visiting Hungary for a little while. He was really cool. He’s a Muslim and was pretty curious about our religion and so we had a pleasant conversation with him. He was way nice, definitely a lot nicer than the vast majority of Christians that I’ve met here, which is really interesting. He told us a lot about Islam. (FYI: Islam is the religion and Muslim is the person who believes in Islam, like Christianity and Christian.) It was a lot different learning about Islam from a Muslim than learning about Islam in an American high school where there is some prejudice against Muslims and Islam. This man basically explained that most Muslims are good people and that their religion inspires them to become better, kinder people just as Christianity does. He admitted that there are Muslim extremists who disregard the original teachings of Islam and substitute their own ideas in order to justify their hatred of others. But extremists are not unique to Islam, of course. There are quite a few Christian extremists who disregard Christ’s teachings of love and instead adopt their own made-up religion that allows them to be hateful and prejudiced. Racism and hate and prejudice are denounced by both religions, but that doesn’t stop people who say they belong to the religion from refusing to follow the very teachings they profess to believe in. Interesting. This Muslim man, Ahmed, tried so hard to explain his beliefs clearly and to help us understand that the majority of Muslims are good people. I was glad to be able to let him know that we understood his point because Christ has taught us to love others and that we follow that teaching.

This experience reminded me of how Latter-day Saints are wrongly perceived by so many people, at least in America, because of polygamist groups who claim to be but are not in fact affiliated with us. Those who don’t like us make us lies and rumors that others are willing to believe. Other people hear about polygamists in the news and assume that we are the same without bothering to find out the truth. They are satisfied with denying Christ’s commandments of love and understanding to maintain their prejudice. In his conversation with us, Ahmed was trying hard to lessen the prejudice against his people.

Whoa! That was a big tangent! Haha. Basically, I learned again the fact that there is a big difference between saying that you believe something and behaving according to your beliefs. In the book of John, chapter 14, Christ said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” That is one of the greatest challenges in life, but just because it is difficult doesn’t mean that we can’t strive hard to do it. Let us live by what we believe and know and enjoy the blessings that Christ promised! Breaking the commandments—there are many more than ten since we believe in what Christ taught in the New Testament—leads to a much more difficult and unhappy life!

I love the gospel of Jesus Christ! I know that it is not easy to follow Jesus, but life is so much more rewarding and we are so much happier than when we don’t follow Him!

Well that tangent wore me out! Haha. So I’m going to go now. I love you all!

~Anderson elder

Monday, January 4, 2010

Starting the New Year


HAPPY NEW YEAR! Last week was really cool. At least one crazy thing happened that I can remember. The handlebars on my bike came loose and started to jiggle a little bit, but I didn't pay much attention to it. (You can probably guess the rest of the story already!) Well, last Wednesday Elder Smith and I were riding home to get some stuff before going to a member's house and as we were turning a corner my steering failed. I turned my handlebars, but nothing happened. I looked down and saw that my front wheel hadn’t turned; then I looked up and watched helplessly as I ran into Elder Smith’s bike. We collided, but somehow managed to stay on our feet! I got my pants all muddy from the street and I broke one of the spokes off of the front tire, but fortunately nothing worse happened. At this point, I thought the worst of my bike saga was over, but my day just got better! We walked our bikes home and picked up the stuff we needed before going to the member’s house. My bike was not ridable, but fortunately, we had an extra! Unfortunately, one of its pedals was broken off. I put the pedal back in place as best I could and rode off to the member’s house. That trip was a lot of fun! Every five to ten rotations the pedal would come loose again and I’d have to tap it back in with my foot—a really tricky maneuver! The pedal fell off a few times so I had to coast back to where it dropped, pick it up, and stick it back on. That was quite the bike ride! Later on Elder Smith and I went to Tesco (Europe’s version of Walmart) and bought some tools to fix the first bike. And now everything is great!

New Year’s Day was pretty cool. For language study I watched a part of The Prince of Egypt in Hungarian and wrote down the words I couldn’t understand. Singing is almost impossible to understand! And really fast talking too. But watching movies in Hungarian is a ton of fun. I don’t understand every word, but enough to get the main points and to enjoy the movie. On New Year’s eve there were tons of fireworks. I don’t know if they are legal here or not, but everyone loves them and sets them off. It felt like the 4th of July at home!

Our investigator, Sándor, is doing well. We are going to start meeting with his wife and daughter now! Awesome! We recently watched the Restoration video with them—the audio is finally in Hungarian! It was great.

Well I need to go now, I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday and will enjoy going back to work and school! Whoooo!

~Anderson elder