Monday, February 22, 2010

The Beaver-Field Shopping Place


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

I have a new email address. It is
(There’s a period where the underscore was in my old address.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Train to Kecskemét


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

Monday, February 8, 2010

Unpaid Clergy


Last week was really good. And we had another funny experience in sacrament meeting! Right before the water was blessed a person who’d never been to church before came into the chapel and sat down. Because the meeting had already started, none of us missionaries had a chance to talk to her and explain the sacrament ordinance. I was passing the water and when the tray got to her I heard a loud clunk-like sound. I thought that her ring had fallen into the tray. Sister Richards (one of the sister missionaries) was trying to fish it out. I looked more closely and saw that it wasn’t a ring but a 100 forint coin!!! She had heard the empty water cups being put back into the tray and had assumed that people were offering money! Hahaha! She and Sister Richards tried for a minute or so to get the coin out, but couldn’t do it. I took the tray back to the table and gave her the coin back after the meeting was over. It was a very funny way to introduce the concept of an unpaid clergy.

Other than that our sacrament meeting went really well. We have a new investigator and she is awesome. Her name is Judit (pronounced yoo-deet) and she came to church and really loved it! Hopefully next week we can help her whole family come too.

I have like no time to write today because earlier in the day we spent a lot of time exploring the ruins of an old mansion—it was way cool. We have a program tonight in about 35 minutes so I have to go now!

~Anderson elder

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Value of Goals


Last week was pretty good. I conducted the meetings at church again and everything went smoothly. I am thinking that nothing can phase me now since last Sunday’s experience with the Sacrament water. Haha. If anything embarrassing happens now at least I won’t freak out. Haha.

These past few weeks Elder Smith and I have been trying hard to achieve Mission Standard for our weekly goals. This standard is a performance goal for activities like having investigators at church, finding new contacts, teaching lessons to investigators, etc. that the whole mission is trying to achieve. We haven’t achieved the standard yet, but we’ve been working harder and we’ve had more success at finding people who are interested. For a long time I haven’t understood why we have goals like these when their realization depends mainly on other people’s agency or freedom to choose. But I think I understand the reason more clearly now. Even though success depends largely on other peoples’ decisions to meet with us, it cannot happen without our effort as well. Taking these goals more seriously has helped us become more motivated to share the gospel with others and to find those who are interested. These goals can help if we let them motivate us. Lately Elder Smith and I have found a lot of really cool people; in fact, these past few weeks have been some of the most successful of my mission, and it’s all because I am taking our goals more seriously and not letting myself get frustrated because I cannot control other peoples’ decisions. So that was a cool insight I learned recently.

Elder Smith and I taught Primary—that’s like Sunday School for children under the age of 12—last week and it was great! We had no idea what we were going to teach when the meeting started, but the lesson came together really well! Usually after a short spiritual message we lose control of the kids and end up just playing games. Haha. Neither of us really knows how to teach Primary and kids that young are way hard to teach! Primary is intense. Yesterday when we went to start the meeting, none of the children wanted to say the opening prayer—so we decided to teach them about prayer! We taught them how to pray and then we had them draw things that they are grateful for and for which they could offer thanks to our Heavenly Father. It was way fun. Tibi (his name is pronounced Teebee), who is like four years old, drew dinosaurs and then said the closing prayer. He was sooo cute! I love it when little kids pray!

Well that was some of the cool things from last week! God lives and so does His son, Jesus Christ. They have restored the fullness of the gospel on the earth and I love it!

~Anderson elder