Monday, January 28, 2013

Week 26 in Hungary (Jan. 21-28, 2013)

I learned that word yesterday. It literally means "pick-ax" but you can use it for "what's up?" 

Wow, so things are going so great on my side of the waters. This past week, my companion and I achieved "Super Standard" which was really exciting! We noticed on Friday that we were pretty close to having all of the required numbers. So the past few days we worked on finishing it up! It was grand. Getting our last program with a less active member was a bit of a hassle BUT on the bright side, we found out where a lot of less active members DON'T live and we found the ones that want nothing to do with us as well! I guess that's always good to know. Right?

I guess I haven't told much about my new companion. His name is Elder Smith. He's been in Pécs for a super long time now. So he's showing me all the ropes before he will probably, very sadly, have to leave me next transfer. He's from Colorado and he studied film at BYU before his mission. We're really great friends already and we work really well with each other.

Last P-day we went with the other missionaries on a little hike. We went all around the hills and it was incredible! The view was so pretty even though it's January. I can't image what it looks like in the summer! It was really a blast. We were able to find all sorts of cool little sight seeing things. Lame part: the place we usually go to use computers to write emails was closed for today, and the place I'm in right now doesn't let people plug stuff in. Bummer! I have lots of pictures I wanted to send this week. I guess I'll just have to wait for next week and send double.

On a sour note, my companion and I got the spirit sucked right out of our faces on more than one occasion this week. We met some sort of Satan worshiper while tracting... Scariest moment on my mission. He seemed nice when he opened the door and let us in. Then we sat down in a really nasty, dirty house. He started rolling and smoking some kind of drug in front of us (we still don't quite know exactly what it was...) and then as we started teaching him, he stopped us and said, "wait I have something you want to watch." In a dash, he starts playing a youtube video on his laptop then he sets it in front of us and leaves the room... then closes the door... we just looked at each other as it starts to play and we could just feel ourselves getting absolutely drained. There's not really any other better way of explaining it. We didn't know what to do and so we just tried to ignore it and talk to each other and just as we were about to turn it off ourselves, he came into the room making strange noises and not creating any words. He started trying to give us things and it was just insane... Before we left, he looked and me and said I had a beautiful face. That's nice, I guess. Anywho, that's the tip of the iceberg of that story for y'all. OH and the second time was a guy who brought his pastor to our program and we sat there for an hour while they tried to get us to bible bash with them... We were told we're going to hell and getting punished twice as harsh for teaching false doctrine. It was SO hard for my companion and I to bite our tongues because we both really, really love to argue and debate with people just in general. We promised each other we wouldn't argue once during the whole program. We knew they just wanted us to fight back and they said, "we know you guys are trained to just agree with people the whole time and then once you find common ground you deceive them with your lies." It was a very very very rough program but we were able to exercise some great self-control.

On some better notes, we had some great experiences while tracting! The first door we knocked on during the week was answered by a really nice couple and their two children. (the husband wasn't wearing any pants for some reason..) we talked to them for a little bit and they asked, "do you guys want some hot sandwiches?" We had just had dinner but we were willing to eat a delicious Hungarian sandwich so that we could have the chance to talk to them some more. They were extremely nice and we were able to talk to them for a quite a bit! We ended up spending over 45 minutes with them in their apartment. We went back a couple days later to give them a copy of The Restoration DVD we had mentioned and once again, the husband was pants-less. Great, cute family though!

I got a call from the Elders back in Kecskemét the other day to hear the great news that one of the investigators I taught a lot while I was there called them up during the week and said she wants to be baptized as soon as possible! I'm really pleased with that.

We were fed dinner yesterday by a really really nice family. The main course was a giant bowl of chicken liver, along with this stuff called "hurka" which is a kind of sausage that has all sorts of fun pig parts in it. Such as heart, lungs, etc. This was all accompanied by extremely spicy chicken wings. It was SO GOOD! I love the food here.

Well that's about it for me and my week! I hope everyone is doing swell. Read out of The Book of Mormon, it's a one-way ticket to a better relationship with God and our Savior.

Sok Szeretettel,
Alldredge Elder

Monday, January 21, 2013

Week 25 in Hungary (Jan.14-21, 2013)

Pécs tényleg a legszebb varos amit lattam ebben az életemben!

Wow this place is incredible. The branch is amazing. My companion and I get along famously. Our apartment isn't too much of a downgrade from my last and the work is going to great. We're ready to make it a lot better, too!
Pécs was actually opened to sisters this transfer too! Sister Kimball is training a new missionary and there is already another set of Elders. All 6 of us get along swell and we're already having the greatest time ever!

Pécs is a college town and our apartment is actually surrounded by different sections of the university. We have a music hall right down the street and a medical center right across the street. I now understand why the other missionaries call it the Disneyland of Hungary. There are really some streets that make you feel like you're on a street in Disneyland as you walk down them. It's incredible!

This week I was able to experience the traditional Hungarian "Fish Soup." Missionaries either hate or love it. It's a super super spicy soup with fish parts in it. They seriously just throw the fish in there. So the skin is still there and quite honestly just about everything else. They set a little bowl next to you for all the bones. During the meal, everyone is pulling out what translates to "the splinters" which are the really tiny, sharp bones out of their mouth. BUT It was actually really really good. My companion and I really enjoyed it! (Besides the bones, I could've done without those...)

I actually had to give a full talk yesterday. It was on enduring to the end. I shared my favorite story about endurance which is when Joseph Smith is in Liberty Jail. I've always loved D&C 121:7-8. The branch here is super great. They have a lot of really strong members and I'm so excited to serve here for the next little while.

My companion and I already have a new baptism set! It is really super exciting and we have a lot of other investigators who are really close to such a commitment as well! 

As always, it was hard to have to say goodbye in Kecskemét. I made a lot of close friends there and had some great relationships with the amazing families in the ward. I'm really hoping I'll be able to stay here in Pécs for a while. I'm glad it's up to God to decided where I need to be--I'd say he's been doing a pretty darn perfect job.

Well, everything is swell here with me! A lot of this week was spent packing, moving, and unpacking. I'm sure I'll have lots more to write about next week.

P.S. I squat-ran from a bus stop to a mall bathroom on Saturday because I drank lots of juice before our 1.5 hour bus ride. If that's not funny to imagine, I don't know what is.

Hey, get a good read from The Book of Mormon today. It will answer your question.

Alldredge Elder
 School in the city center

 Sister Kimball and I were both leaving to Pécs!!

 Last Days in Kecskemét!!

The gigantic and beautiful City House

Saying goodbye to some of the ward members

 My new companion and I in the snow.

 I love this group of people!! We all get along super great. It's going to be a great transfer!

 One of the streets in Pécs. I'm going to take LOTS more of this place hopefully this next week!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Week 24 in Hungary (Jan. 7-14, 2013)

Sziasztok Mindenki!
Jó Föld!!

Today was transfer calls! I'm going Senior Companion... Good earth and I'm only in my 5th transfer. This is craziness. AND to top it all off, I'm going to be leaving Kecskemét and I will now be serving in the city of Pécs! (It's pronounced PAY-CH) I'm super stoked because Pécs was actually on my list of the top 3 cities I want to serve in while on my mission. It's called the "Disneyland of Hungary" I guess because it's just super fancy and pretty. How cool! BUT once again I'm going to miss another one of the baptisms I helped set up. He's getting baptized in three weeks... Bummer!! All that matters is that he gets baptized, so it's fine with me.

Speaking of our investigator on baptismal date, I had a funny experience with him just yesterday. We were in his house teaching him and about 45 minutes into the program he looks down at my feet and says, "woah, what's on your shoes!?" I replied, "oh these aren't my shoes, these are just my socks, it's the brand." (taking off my shoes is such a habit, I've been trying to be good and remember that such an act is absolutely not allowed during the winter in Hungary, they think you will get really sick if you take your shoes off.) So he jumped up and yelled, "Oy MAMA!!" and he went into the entry and brought me back my shoes and a shoe-horn. It was possibly the funniest thing I've ever seen an old man do.

Along with winter superstitions, I was told 3 times this week (twice by random strangers on the street) that if I didn't wear a winter hat, I was going to lose all of my hair... So strange. I haven't dared sit on a park bench in the cold, who knows what the old people would do if that happened.

Our investigator came to church for the first time yesterday because he just barely retired from his job that caused him to work on Sundays. After the first hour, we asked him how he liked it and he said, "oh my it was SO beautiful... but I put the water cup in the wrong place... that was embarrassing." On top of that, it was ward conference so the word "stake" came up a lot in the meeting. The Hungarian word means the same kind of thing, but it is also used for "spike" so our investigator was really confused why we had so much to do with spikes in the church.

While streeting, a lady told me that she didn't want to meet with the missionaries because Angels appear to her and teach her about religion.

I went on splits this week. My temporary companion and I had to hurry to catch a train. We all left in a rush. After the hour and a half train ride, we got to the apartment and realized that we were phoneless... He forget to get the phone before we left. He pulled out the keys and said, "Well, at least we have the keys! That would have been REALLY bad..." then as I started to take off my coat I felt something in my pocket... sure enough, it was the keys to the apartment I had just left. We had no way of calling them, they had no way of contacting us. Wow it was a bad situation. In the end, everything worked out! There were spare keys and we were able to communicate with a member's phone. Lesson learned.

So get this! As I was walking through the city, I found a cream colored plastic spoon on the sidewalk. I said, "hey! this looks just like a Wendy's spoon!!" as I bent down to pick it up. Turns out that it totally was a Wendy's spoon!! How random is that? They don't have Wendy's here... I have no idea how it could've gotten here, or why.

Well, I gotta head home so I can start packing. I hope you all have a swell week. Do something for your eternal salvation and read from The Book of Mormon. 

Sok Szeretettel,
Alldredge Elder
 "Fura" is slang for weird.

 The City streets

Monday, January 7, 2013

Week 23 in Hungary (Jan.1-7, 2013)

Szervusztok Mindenki!

Wow, New Year's Eve was insane here. The main square was just filled with people. There were shops, booths, drunkards, concerts, and enough fireworks to make one think there was another World War occurring. The fireworks started at midnight and didn't end until about 2 am. That was fun to try to sleep with. There were even fireworks going on literally right outside of our window--and when I say literally, I mean they were hitting our window. It was quite the fiesta.

We didn't know quite what to do on January 1st because next to no one was out on the streets and people were too hungover to answer their doors. So we decided to clean up the main square for a few hours. We grabbed some brooms and garbage sacks and went to work. We filled about 3 sacks full of empty alcohol containers and used fireworks. Dodging all of the spots of vomit just made it that more exciting. BUT we did have quite a few people stop and commend us for doing it and ask us what we were doing, why, and why we were here. Perfect! It turned out to be a great way of finding, who knew?

I caught word that the baptism in Sopron went great this last weekend! I wish so much I could have been there but I'm just so glad she was baptized.

Speaking of baptism, we set up a new baptismal date this week! It's the 77 year old who is just incredible! We went to his apartment planning on teaching the Word of Wisdom. When we sit down, the first thing he does is offer us some red wine. "Perfect... this is just stinking perfect" we thought as he went to get us the water we requested. He has been progressing really well for weeks and we were planning on asking him to be baptized that day. We weren't sure how he was going to take what we were about to teach him, but we trusted in the Lord and proceeded. We taught the W.O.W. and he asked, "so, even just a little bit of alcohol isn't allowed?" and we answered, "honestly, it's not... it's what God has commanded." and to our pleasant surprise, he replied with, "well.... let's see... I haven't had any alcohol for about 20 to 22 days... I guess I can go forever!" Wow, it was such a powerful experience. We asked him if he would be baptized in February right after that and he immediately answered "yes." Yay for blessings!

We were also in Budapest this weekend because it was our turn for interviews... It's going to be interesting to see what's going to happen these next few transfers. Apparently, I'm going to be "stretched"... whatever that means!

Things are swell with me. Things are moving right along... I don't know what made me so lucky to serve these incredible people. Must've done something right.
Do something right for yourself and, oh yes, read out of The Book of Mormon.

Alldredge Elder
 my new PJ pants from my mom for Christmas!

 Eating at a fancy Hungarian restaurant with the Sister Missionaries.