Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pictures from August 20-27

 Sitting in the stands at the basketball game

 In the "Ruin Gardens"  

 In the "Ruin Gardens"  

 One of the many places to visit for the carnival

 Start of the parade! (they build that giant archway in the middle of the street just for the carnival)

 Fire blower!

 All of the masses of people.

 my first whip

  Giant basket stand! 

 The Austria vs. Hungary basketball game
 A little strip of booths

 Random Kung Fu Panda

Hungary Week 4

Szervusztok Mindenki!
Hogy vagytok?
Remélem az iskola király! (Slang for: I hope school is rad!)

SO, this week was the Savaria Carnival! It was flippin' huge! It was 3 days long and Szombathely was seriously turned upside down. There were shops and stands everywhere. There were thousands of people on the streets all day long and live music was playing everywhere you turned. It was awesome! We were able to watch the opening ceremony during our dinner hour on Thursday. They had a big performance with fire dancers and all sorts of cool costumes. They lit the torch to officially start the festivities. That night we were able to watch an awesome firework show from our rooftop. Rad stuff!

I was able to purchase my first whip this week at one of the many booths! (The mission average is to buy 3 whips) It's super dooper cool. It has a wooden handle and the rest of it is just solid braided leather. When you crack it, it sounds like a gun-shot. It's a good time!

On Saturday, for a branch youth activity, we attended the Savaria parade. It was really cool and Elder Shipp was able to get us some great spots for it. There were a bunch of people sword fighting, dressed up in Roman armor, and all sorts of different performances. I liked all of the people on the extremely tall stilts.

I got a kick out of the fact that loads of people were all walking around the streets in costumes, togas, and Roman armor, but WE still got looked at funny being in proselyting attire.

We were also able to attend the Hungary vs. Austria basketball game last P-day. It was huge and a blast! Hungary won and it was a great game! The Hungarian crowd were super into it and It was fun to learn some Hungarian chants!

While at the store last week, I grabbed what looked to me like a container of yogurt. (I had heard that the yogurt was really good here) When I opened it up the other day, it was all white. "What an odd color for yogurt" I thought. After a big spoonful of it, I soon discovered it wasn't yogurt at all--it was sour cream. SO, this week I am going to expand my "food vocabulary" and hopefully not have another experience like that one.

Yesterday was an all day "New Missionary Training" that took place in Budapest. It was awesome to see all of my MTC group buddies again and exchange all of our great stories we have attained so far. It was cool to hear about the variety of the different areas we are all serving in. The training went well and after the long, 3 hour train ride back, we unlocked our bikes and discovered that someone had been so kind as to slash all 8 of our tires for us. Which kind of bites because the other day, my front tire blew. Literally. So I had just barely gotten a whole new tire. BUT, I was able to get some good exercise from the walk back from the train station. 

We had a lot of programs this week which was nice! We met with the lady who I wrote about last week. She fed us so. much. food. And THEN, before we left, she put all of the left overs into some containers and made us take them, along with candy bars, juice, and a bunch of huge pastries. I decided that if we start meeting with her frequently enough, I won't need to go grocery shopping anymore!

I'm glad that things will be normal around here once again. Having the Carnival sort of threw off the work. It's going to be good to get back in the normal flow of things!

Hey, reading the Book of Mormon wouldn't be such a bad idea for today. That's like... the best idea... I've thought of all day.

Alldredge Elder

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

last pictures from Week 3

The area around the first castle. (The sun-ray pictures remind me of how the sacred grove is depicted!)

In the entry way. (kind of dangerous)

Soccer game

 Pictures 1-4. SOCCER GAME!!

 The first castle we biked to.

biking adventures in Győr

 All of these pictures are from my adventures in Győr! P.S. Elder Shipp just told me that we biked around 33 miles yesterday

More pictures from Week 3 (Aug. 13-20)

 Just hanging out on my roof at sunset! As well as my "You better read the Book of Mormon today" face.

 Random rock statue thing we found.

 Zoli (one of my good member friends from the branch) was trying to make me laugh as we took this picture. And my wrapped up arm by my nurse, Kati.

Pictures from August 13-20

 Outside the big Cathedral in Kőszeg.

 All the candles inside!

 Very pretty and fancy.

 At the castle.

 Cathedral in the center of the city.

Week 3 in Hungary

Sziasztok Mindenki!

Yesterday was Hungary's big holiday and it was a pretty cool celebration. Everything everywhere completely shuts down for holidays like this. It was cool to see how many families were just walking around the city together. Elder Shipp and I started off the Holiday with a bike trip to a few Hungarian castles. It was a dang long bike ride through fields and cities but we were able to see some cool things! The castles were awesome and there were quite a few special things going on around them for the holiday. On our bike ride home from the last castle we hit some super terrible head wind that turned our ride back into about a 4 hour long trip. The road was pretty flat but with that wind, it felt like I was biking up a mountain side. I wanted to die by the end BUT it was fun to go see some stuff with my Trainer.

Last P-day our district traveled to a city near Szombathely called Kőszeg. It was really really pretty and we were able to see a cool castle and some beautiful cathedrals. We had a fun afternoon there!

We were also able to help a half member family with some yard work for service this past week. It was a lot of fun and their yard looks really pretty now! After, they fed us a huge lunch. In Hungary, if someone feeds you a meal, they feed you a TON of food. It actually offends them if you don't eat a lot. (So we have had to completely discard what the MTC has taught us about not eating a lot when eating at member's houses) Everything that this family fed us was really really good and I liked it a lot. After I finished my plate (barely--because there was so much food) the mother offered me some more. I said, "No thanks I'm as full as the noon-day bus" (which may sound funny but it's what they say here) and the mother just sorta dropped her head and said, ".... you didn't like it..." and I said, "no no! I loved it! It was so good!" she still looked sad so I said, "actually, I would LOVE some more" and they she was happy again and put another huge scoop on my plate. The other Elders experienced the same thing. After we left, the trainers told us that something like that is a very common thing here and they've both heard about or experienced places where they are fed so much that they can't keep it all down by the time they return home. Sounds like a good time!

Along with the Holiday, tomorrow starts the REAL holidays for Szombathely. Although they celebrated yesterday's holiday, the next 3 days are what are really celebrated. The cool thing is that only Szombathely does it! It's called Szavaria Karnival. It's going to be absolutely gigantic. Which means some more fireworks shows from the roof and a lot more craziness in the city! I'm excited to see all that is going to happen here.

Another thing that happened this week is my district and I went to a zone conference in "Győr". The city was absolutely beautiful! It was about an hour and a half train ride from here. We arrived early and explored the city for a little while. It was a lot of fun!

Another really awesome thing that happened this week is my district received permission from the president to attend a real live soccer game with some members! It was such a cool experience! European soccer games are crazy! The crowd that surrounded us were mostly drunk and they yelled and screamed the whole game. It was super funny. Nonetheless the game was awesome and I had a blast!

One of my favorite things that happened this week is the following: So Elder Shipp and I received a call from some other Elders who were in Szombathely a while back and they remembered a house where they placed a Book of Mormon. We tried to find the house to try to meet them but we got a little lost and we weren't sure exactly which house it was. So we went to the one we thought it was (it was an absolutely massive house), rang the cséngő (doorbell callbox thing) and all we got were some dogs barking at us. We waited a minute... no one came so we decided to write a note to leave for them in their mailbox. As we were writing it, an older lady answers the door and invites us right in! She said she hasn't seen the missionaries and has been waiting to visit with us! The only reason she knows about missionaries is because her daughter randomly works and lives in Provo and tells her parents all about how nice these "Mormons" are that surround her. The lady and her husband have visited Utah before and she was telling us that it's her favorite place in the world besides Szombathely. She was really really nice and she gave us some juice and had us eat a whole package of cookies and kept apologizing for not having more food prepared for us. She asked us a lot of questions about ourselves. Then she had us talk to her daughter (who lives in Provo) on the phone and she was really nice and said for us to expect a big meal from her family if we go back. We were just sitting there really confused because we shortly realized that this was NOT the house the other Elders were talking about because they hadn't seen the missionaries yet and they haven't ever received a Book of Mormon. We were there for a little over an hour. The husband came home during that time and he was very nice as well and we just talked to the two of them for a while. Then they had a show they had tickets for that they needed to get to so we had to leave. BUT they said wanted us to come back really bad! The mother has been curious about the church ever since her daughter has told them about the mormons. It was incredible! Oh and she also gave both of us some big "Milka" chocolate bars as we left. 

This week, while playing basketball, I biffed it pretty hard and got my arm a little scratched up. BUT I was well taken care of from my "nurse" Kati Néni. Kati is an older lady that Elder Shipp and I visit each week. The day I got my cut, we saw her on the street and she saw my big bloody bandage on my arm and she got super super worried. She said she would take care of me when we met next. She came to our weekly english class that night with all this first aid stuff and she cleaned it out for me, bandaged it a ton, then she wrapped it up and gave me all of these instructions on how to take care of it. She was really really worried and she has since checked up on me many times to make sure it is getting better. She has done something different to it all 3 times that I've seen her this week. I get a kick of out it because she's really cute and worried about it. but it's really just a little scrape on my arm. I must say though, it has really healed fast! 
I will have to email on Tuesday next week once again because on Monday we are all traveling to Budapest for our "New Missionary Training Meeting". I'm excited for that because I'll be able to see all my friends from my MTC group and share stories with them about what has happened so far!

Remember this: One day, everyone in the world is going to know what YOU know about this true gospel. And they are going to know that you knew it.
Think about that for a while... and adjust your life/behavior/actions/words accordingly. Maybe start by reading the Book of Mormon. Yea--that's a good idea.

Alldredge Elder

Monday, August 13, 2012

 Szombathely Főtér (two minute walk from our apartment)

 The view from the top floor of an apartment building I was tracting in.

 The Szmbathely area Elders with the President and his wife after church.

 Me with my new Tisza bag

pictures of the scenery

Week 2 in Hungary (August 6-13)

Szervusztok Mindenki!

Another grand week this week! I've discovered that I don't get nervous teaching lessons, but the bike ride TO the lesson is the scary part! There usually aren't "walking signals" so you just have to cross on a cross-walk and hope for your life that the cars will stop for you. They usually get pretty darn close, too. Nonetheless, I have enjoyed being able to experience biking in Europe.

Speaking about bikes, I haven't been able to get pictures of it yet, (I hope to soon thuogh) but there is a really cool thing in the city. It's a miniature road way for kids to ride bikes and other little things with wheeles. It has stop signs, round-abouts, cross walks, intersections, even real working stop lights!! It's awesome! A great way for kids to practice the ways of the road I pressume.

This week I bought a "Tisza" bag. Most missionaries have them. Tisza is a famous Hungarian company and they make some sweet bags and shoes. I will attach some pictures of it! They have all sorts of styles and colors. I love it so far!

This week I tried "Bird Milk"... it was actually pretty good! I'm not sure if they have it in the US or not but it's really popular here! 

Along with trying new things, last night, at a members house for dinner, I tried chicken liver. It wasn't too bad! I've heard some horror stories about eating any kind of chicken in Hungary but I've already gotten past the liver! So that's good!

I was able to go on splits with one of my zone leaders this week which was awesome! He was really cool and we were able to get a lot of good finds while tracting. There was one particular door we knocked on, and the lady said no. We later saw her at the store and she approached us and started asking my zone leader a bunch of questions. I had no idea what was going on but when she left he told me she thought we were doing something bad and she demanded to see our passports, he said "no, we don't have to show you" and she said "if you don't show me your passports and ID I am going to call the police" and he said "Okay, do it." I thought it was pretty funny and I got a big kick out of that. Nothing came from it, but I find these crazy things amussing that we run into here.

The mission president and his wife came to our branch meeting yesterday! One of the branch members knows English perfectly so she translated in sacrament meeting for everyone. It was a cool experience! I love the branch here. It's one of the bigger branches in the mission. The people are all very nice and close. They love missionaries and so it's been great to get to know them! I had to introduce myself in sacrament yesterday and share my testimony. The other new missionary and I recieved a lot of great compliments on our Hungarian.

I ate dinner at 3 different family's houses this week. I really like trying all of this new food! It's pretty interesting but I love it nonetheless! Oh one of the families calls new missionaries "goldens" not "greenies" I find it interesting but I really like their explaination for it. They say, "new missionaries truly are golden, they have a unique passion and excitement."

I get a kick out of the fact that Hungarians know their language is really really hard and they all tell me that it's the hardest language in the world.  Most new people I talk to have no idea why I would ever want to TRY to learn how to speak Hungarian! It just blows them away but it also gives an advantage because they figure if some 19 year old kid is trying to learn and speak the hardest language in the world, his message must be important.

Next Monday is Hungary's REALLY big Holiday. It's pretty much their independence day. Apparently they celebrate it abnormally big in Szombathely. I'm really excited for that! But it means I won't be able to email on Monday next week. It'll be later in the week. There will be big parades, celebrations, fireworks, and all sorts of neat things! I hope to see some cool firework shows from my roof!

Now for my favorite part of this week! So I was on splits with the other trainer in my district. He was teaching me the ways of getting "let in." The other new missionary and I have been told not to expect one of those lessons (that we hear stories about in the MTC) where you meet somene for the first time, teach them, and they want to get baptized during that first visit. We were told "that just doesn't happen here." I haven't thought much of it and decided that it was possible if we found the right person. Which we DID! So anyway, we were tracting, we did the little survey thing to get them talking, we were invited in and in 2 and half hours we managed to teach this guy the Plan of Salvation, The Gospel of Christ, the Book of Mormon, the Restoration, all about church and the priesthood, and (oddly enough) the Law of Chastity! Toward the middle I felt like I should ask this guy to be baptized. So after he asked all of his questions I just blurted out "mikor kész vagy, meg fogsz keresztelkedni?" which means "when you're ready, will you be baptized?" I looked over to my companion and the look he had on his face was priceless... Words cannot explain it. BUT, the new investigator immediately answered "yes, of course." We then learned that he actually used to be a Catholic Deacon. But he left the Catholic church because he felt like "something was missing and it wasn't correct" Incredible, right?? Before we left he said "thank you so much for this opportunity." Wow. It was amazing!!

Well, things are going great for me here! It's crazy to think that school starts soon for most of you!

Read the Book of Mormon today. I've promised loads of people this week that reading it will make them happy. The same promise goes to you, too.

Alldredge Elder

Monday, August 6, 2012

 Another pretty thing in Budapest 

 Me on our roof at sunset.

 The view from our roof

 The branch house

 Eating my toast out on the roof!