Monday, December 31, 2012

week 22 (December 25-31)

How awesome is that? The Hungarians mashed the three words: "Happy New Year" into ONE word! Finally, something that's easy.

So today is "Szilveszter" (New Year's Eve) and it's looking like it's going to be pretty crazy. The direct translation for "Fireworks" in Hungarian is "Fire-games"--Oh boy! Streeting people tomorrow is going to be interesting.

Anywho, Christmas was swell! Starting on the 22nd, I was fed lunch and dinner from different members every single day up until yesterday. Good earth it was so much food. About 70% of the time in Hungary, the people feeding us will just watch us. They won't eat with us. They will seriously just sit there and watch us and immediately restock our plate the second it is close to being cleared. Woof.... I don't know why Hungarians like to do that. But they totally do.

On Christmas day, we opened presents with the Sisters in our hallway. It was loads of fun and then we went caroling with some families to an old Néni's house. When we finished she was just in tears and she just blessed us with all sorts of stuff for about a minute. It was so cute. "Oh may God bless you and all of your families and your children and your grandchildren!! And God bless you with health for your whole life!! etc. etc." Adorable.

The ward put on a Christmas program and it was so sweet! They read a Hungarian children's Christmas story and there were breaks where the choir would sing special musical numbers. I was able to participate in the choir and it was such a neat experience!

On the 24th, we had a half hour bus ride from one of our programs so we starting singing Christmas songs with the ukulele on the bus. Not too long after we started, a bunch of people on the bus joined in and started singing with us! It was so rad!

We were able to attend a civil wedding for a member in the ward here. She was getting married to an American and they both served in the Germany mission. The ceremony was held in the City Hall here. (SUCH a huge and beautiful building.) It was a cool experience to watch a Hungarian wedding ceremony. It was really different but way rad to be a part of.

We have a super golden investigator right now. He is 77 years old and it was time to teach him the Law of Chastity a couple days ago. He was super funny about it. He liked it a lot and every topic we went over he acted appalled by the fact that we even had to teach people that. He ate it up and he's continuing to progress smoothly. Next time will be the Word of Wisdom. He's gonna look great in white.

Speaking of golden investigators, the lady I helped find and teach in Sopron is getting baptized this Saturday! I wish more than anything that I could attend but it's on the other side of the country. Nonetheless, it's going to be beautiful!

I hope all of your New Year celebrations are incredible! Hey, it would be pretty rad if you read The Book of Mormon EVERY day this next year. You can start tomorrow.

 The traditional Hungarian candle calendar thing. It has a really cool meaning behind it. Each candle represents something and they light one every Sunday before Christmas. Every Hungarian dinner table has one on it with real candles.

 A very missionary Christmas.

 The Sisters gave us some "coupons"

And LOADS of ties!

 Dessert time!!

 I love these streets.

 Pretty sunset!

Alldredge Elder

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Week 21 in Hungary (Dec. 17-25)

Merry Christmas!!!
In Hungary there are three days of celebration from December 24-26. So over the past couple of days we have been to several homes for meals. We had a gift exchange with the Sister Missionaries. I got some new ties. My parents gave me money so I bought a new watch.
On Christmas day I got to Skype and talk to my family! I hope everyone had a good time with their families too.
I will write more next week.
 Skyping with my family!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Week 20 (Dec.10-17)

 Proof that I made French Toast

Bumper cars in Christmas town that we did with the Sisters last P-day
 My dear companion baking brownies

 I think only my family and the Kaltner family will really appreciate this picture ;)

 The Kecskemét gang

 Budapest streets (it was super foggy)

 White Elephant! (I bet you can't guess which one was mine)

 I love all of my ornaments!

Kivánok boldog Karácsonyt!! (majdnem)

So yesterday I was in Budapest for our zone's Christmas conference party thing. It was a blast! We had a program at the beginning, then a nice big lunch, then we played some Christmas games. I walked away with a super old, beaten, and basically unusable acoustic guitar from the white elephant! That was fun to take through the metro and on the train. I'm not too sure what to do with it yet. BUT I figure it might have some sort of purpose somehow.

The day in Budapest was great! We took an early train with the Sisters and we were able to see some cool things around the city before the meeting started. I will be sure to send some pictures of our adventures.

My companionship's phone has been one of those super dooper old Nokia phones the size of a brick and didn't even have a color screen. Luckily, the mission got a few new phones and we were the first on the list to get one! We got our new phone yesterday and we are quite happy about it! 

I'm glad school and finals is coming to an end for all of you. That always helps lift the spirits.

I'm going to kill the Hungarian word "jövöre" (it means next year) because it's what all of our investigators (except for 1 or 2) have said to us when we try to set up a time to meet. Hungarians get super stressed and crazy this time of year (like people do in America) BUT they do all try to spend a ton of time with their families which is so cool.

We are trying to meet with as many ward members as we can these next couple of weeks. It's been a lot of fun. We went with the Sisters to a little village on Saturday called "Kiskunfélegyháza" which is a crazy long name for such a small place. It was a blast and we sang some Christmas songs to these wonderful people and had quite the adventure in the rain. The last lady we met with was the sweetest Néni and I've never heard so many different terms of endearment within the space of an hour in my whole life! She was so great.

The ward here is amazing. All of us here have a different family feeding us for lunch and dinner on the 24th, 25th, and 26th!

Oh so get this: while walking through the city the other day, we overheard some people speaking English so we went over and talked to them. Turns out it was three girls from Ireland. Two of them were visiting their friend who attends a university here. We spoke with them for a little bit and they were all really really nice. THEN last night on our way back from Budapest, we were all sitting in our train car and we saw them walk past. So we ran out and invited them to sit with us and they were really surprised to see us but gladly sat with us. We were able to talk to them the whole way back and it was super great and random! What are the chances?!

One other random bit that I think is pretty funny: the ward members here have given me a nickname because they think "Alldredge" is too hard to say. So they all call me "Ollie Elder". Kind of random but I get a kick out of it!

I want to thank everyone and anyone who has sent me something for the holidays. It means a lot to me! I have enjoyed it very much.

Well, I'm not quite sure when I will be able to write another general email with the holidays and everything. BUT I hope all of your celebrations are incredible and I hope that Christ is the focus. Not just thinking about him, but trying to acquire his attributes. Learn about him--you cannot love something you do not know. A good place to start would be in The Book of Mormon.

Sok Szeretettel és boldogság,
Alldredge Elder

Monday, December 10, 2012

Week 19 (December 3-9, 2012)

Szervusztok Mindenki!
Milyen volt a hetetek?

After my final goodbye's to Sopron, I hopped on the train and met my new companion, Loveday Elder, in Budapest. After meeting up, we took about an hour and a half train ride to Kecskemét! Immediately after getting off the train, we went to the meeting house to catch the last of the WARD Christmas party. Yes, the WARD party. Not the BRANCH party! Kecskemét is a ward! Wow it was a big change to go from a church meeting with 15-20 people to now have about 50 people in church. The ward is so cool here! The people are all so nice. They are finishing building a really big, nice, and new meeting house in the city! They hope to have it done in early February and I might still be here for that! 

Random tidbit: The good thing about Sopron and Szombathely was that there weren't any strange characters in their names... So I didn't have to switch over the Hungarian keyboard. Now I have to in order to spell "Kecskemét"... Turns out that the word "kecske" means "goat" in Hungarian! Who knew!?

This city is massive. BUT we all have bus passes. And by "we" I mean us Elders and the Sisters that serve here as well. I have never served around Sisters before... There haven't ever been Sisters in my zone before! Now I'm serving with some great ones in my area!

Anywho, turns out that I moved to the nicest apartment in the mission! I thought my last one was the best, but apparently it's like number 4 on the list. Good earth this apartment is rad. Everything in the kitchen is electric. We have a working dishwasher, an ACTUAL shower (I don't have to HOLD the head!), both of our beds are queen sized, we have a big dining table and lots of couches, even shaggy carpet! Not to mention that our towel rack heats the towels while you're in the shower! It's quite the sanctuary.

On the 6th, all of Hungary celebrates when "Mikolas" comes and leaves presents in the children's shoes! He leaves candy and toys for the good children and twigs for the bad ones. Strangely familiar to me... BUT Mikolas even came and visited us, TWICE! (The Sisters delivered treats the first time and our neighbors across the hall did it the second time!) Such a fun holiday. The Christmas they celebrate here lasts 3 days long starting on the 24th and Christ is the one who actually brings the gifts! I thought that was really neat.

The "Christmas Town" they have set up here is absolutely incredible! The lights are amazing and they have little shops and booths set up everywhere. There's even a stage with performers each evening!

The Sisters had a baptism this last Saturday that took place at the public pool. That was really amazing to attend and experience!

I left Sopron having around 21 lessons taught per week. We had a total of 6 this week. There is a lot of work to do! But I'm excited to get to work and help build this place up.

Next week, I'll be in Budapest on Monday for the Zone Christmas Conference! I'm super stoked for it! My emailing will be moved to Tuesday.

This week, the Hungarian Language and I became friends. It was a strange and almost sudden thing. Yet, much appreciated.

I hope all is well with everyone else. Don't expect the Lord to be too aware of you if you're never aware of The Book of Mormon. Read it :)

Sok Szeretettel,
Alldredge Elder
 With Elder Hansen and our old district leader Elder Masters


 View out of my window. (There is a MALL here! Craziness!)

 Christmas Town!!

 Thanks for sending ornaments for my tree!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Week 18 (November 26-December 3, 2012)

 Christmas yay 
 Our decorations

 Tree in the city center! (Without decorations yet)

 The "tree" and "gifts" from my family

 Morning view out of my window

 Setting up Christmas in the Szombathely Elder's apartment!

Watch this video of Cameron learning to use a whip!

Elmennem kell Sopron!! (this probably won't work in a translator)
A.K.A. I have to leave Sopron! Dang it! We just finished up setting our 3rd baptism! This is a bummer... BUT I guess it's all just part of the missionary experience, right? I am going to be serving now in Kecskemét. It's a super big city and it's in central Hungary near Budapest. I'm sad to be leaving the West.
On the bright side, I will be leaving this place on a super great week. It was just incredible.
So in my second transfer, I tracted into a lady. Elder Hansen and I have taught her this entire transfer and this week we set up her baptism for January. She even paid tithing and fast offerings this Sunday. She is absolutely incredible. We did have a funny experience with her this week though. We taught her the word of wisdom and she was super excited about it and had no problems with it. Then she pointed out a bunch of bottles of really old alcohol on a shelf and made SURE we knew that they were JUST decoration. Good earth it was so funny. Also, while teaching her, we read little sections here and there from some lesson pamphlets. As she read, she would finish a sentence, look up, and say, "this is SO true!!" after everything. Wow she is just a miracle. The story about how she was found is a pretty incredible too. It's one of those "last door we knocked on" stories. She was truly prepared, and our job was easy, all we had to do was show her the gospel and she ate it up!
On top of that, we asked another investigator to be baptized and he said that he absolutely would. (This is the guy who had been coming to English class for forever and I was super persistent to get him to meet with us until he finally did. Since then, he asks such great questions and says, "teach this to me the next time we meet, and this other thing to me the next NEXT time we meet!") He is incredible and he was truly prepared as well!
Last Monday Elder Hansen and I were able to go whipping! It was great and Elder Hansen is a pro! He was a happy camper.
I was also able to go on splits this week back to Szombathely. I always love returning to where I started my mission. The people there are amazing!
One more incredible thing that happened this week (among the many others) happened while we were tracting. We weren't sure where to go so we just started in a direction and kept walking. Then we felt like we needed to go down a certain street. We met a woman moving wood and asked if we could help but she refused and said we couldn't because she didn't want us to get our suits dirty. She was super nice though and we were able to talk for a minute with her. We continued walking down the street, then I said, we need to take the next right turn and go down whatever street that is. On our way there, Elder Hansen stopped us and said that we needed to visit a member right then. That member just so happened to live FAR the heck away and I wasn't so sure about it... Then he said, "no we REALLY have to visit her." as we arrived at the street I thought we needed to turn on. So we stood on the corner for a second, decided to pray, and the first thing I said after the prayer was, "time to hike to Csilla's house." On the way there, Elder Hansen felt like we needed to give her a wrapped Book of Mormon. I thought it was kind of silly we were going all the way there for that reason when we could just give it to her tomorrow when we had originally planned to meet. When we got there we said, "we don't know why we're here, but here is a wrapped Book of Mormon." The next words out of her mouth was, "Oh my goodness! I had a friend ask me for one of these today but I didn't have an extra one to give her! I will give this to her right now!!" THEN on the way back, we turned back down that same street I felt like we needed to go on and it just so happened that a random lady passed us and stopped US and started asking questions about our church and things about us. Miracles all around!!
Tonight we're planning on going to the city center that is all decked out for Christmas. They have a HUGE tree and all sorts of cool little stands and things. I'm excited!
Hey, read the Book of Mormon today. You know you want to.
Sok SOK Szeretettel,
Alldredge Elder