Monday, April 29, 2013

Week 39 (April 22-29,2013)


Good earth I'm 20 today. That's enough of that.

Thanks to everyone who sent me something for my birthday! It was rad. My dear, sweet companion made me breakfast this morning--so don't worry, I'm taken care of.

Before I forget: Next week is transfer week, therefore I will be emailing on Tuesday rather than Monday. (Pray that I can stay here in Pécs for another transfer--thank you.)

Well, yesterday we went with our branch on a rented bus to Dunaújváros for our area conference. It was about a 2 hour ride but it was extremely fun. The conference went swell. (Here is a picture of all the missionaries serving in the areas of the conference.) The speakers were great and we all had a great time. It was a long day though. We left at 10 am and arrived back at 7 pm. 

LAST P-day, Elder Bennett and I rode a bus allllll the way to the top of the Mecsek "Mountain" (hill) and hiked our way to the TV Tower. It was a beautiful day and the hike was awesome. We arrived at the tower, took some pictures, then found a random elevator at the base of the tower and decided to push the button. I didn't know it was possible to go INTO the tower, and we were the ONLY ones there. After about 2 minutes, the elevator doors opened up and a man said, "your tickets, please?" we just said, "uuuuhhhhhh....." and he said, "oh it's okay, since no one is here, you can buy the tickets from me." Long story short, we were able to go up in the tower and the view was IN.CRE.DI.BLE. Wow it was amazing. It just gave a whole nother twist on this beautiful city. Plus we were the only ones there! The world was our burrito. 

One of the new converts in the branch invited us over for dinner to celebrate my birthday! She gave me some ties and made my absolute favorite Hungarian meal! Paprikás Csirke! My goodness gracious it was so good. Yay for being born!

The youth night activity this week was super fun! It was a scavenger hunt throughout the city and we had a list of things we needed to take pictures of. It was great and all of the youth really enjoyed it. My favorite part of it was when we all had to stop someone, give them a copy of The Book of Mormon, bear testimony, then get a picture with them. (that picture is attached as well)

Things are continuing to progress with our investigators. We actually have a lot of programs set up with new investigators this week whom we tracted into this past week. It's strange how much I love these people here. It's like finding your most absolute favorite ice cream flavor that you never knew existed. (Not the best analogy I've come up with--but hey, I try.)

While tracting, we ran into a group of people hanging out outside their apartment. All different ages, and situations. At first, they were all really really closed off and didn't want much to do with us. After a few minutes they were like our best buds. They LOVED our survey and had the best time answering our questions. It was really interesting to see how fast and how drastic their demeanor changed with us. By the end they had asked us loooadddsss of questions and they all wanted some pictures of Christ and a copy of The Book of Mormon. It was a really neat experience.

Well, things are going swell for me! I hope you all enjoy these pictures that are much overdue. You're in my thoughts and prayers!

Make things JUST as swell for yourself by studying The Book of Mormon. Missing a day is like saying, "eeehhhh... I don't really feel like I want personal and direct revelation from God today.... meh, I'll do it tomorrow."

Alldredge Elder
Parlament Building


Parlament on the other side of the river.

I am in LOVE with these new Milka bars.

Inside the TV Tower!

The view was incredible.

This kind of environment made tracting pretty great.

One of the ladies in the branch made me my favorite: Paprikás Csirke for my birthday! It was SO good.

We had to give someone a copy of The Book of Mormon for the scavenger hunt. This couple was so nice and cool!

All the missionaries at the Area Conference.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Week 38 in Hungary (April 16-22, 2013)


Wow this city is just getting prettier and prettier! The weather has been incredible lately. They also have had another big festival in the main square lately. It's been so much fun to walk around the city with the live Hungarian music blasting through the streets. There's all sorts of trees and flowers being placed and planted throughout the city. It's been great to see the transformation.

I LOVE eating outside! The tables are everywhere. It's my favorite.

The internet is down at the place where I usually upload my pictures...Lame! Sorry. I will send some soon--I promise.

For the youth night activity this week, we all made a video for the Pécs YSA's facebook group. If I recall, it was something called a "harlem shake" ...? I think. Is that something that's really popular right now in America? Or is it a European thing? All the youth knew exactly what it was and they were really excited about it. Us missionaries were completely out of the loop. All I knew is that at first we had to be still and serious and then in the next moment, we just get up and start dancing... What a strange world we live in.

Speaking of strange happenings! Yesterday, after a long afternoon of tracting, we were walking through the city square. I was looking at all the ice cream places wishing I was able to buy some. (It was very warm yesterday) All of the sudden, we hear, "Elders! ELDERS!" It caught me by surprise because if anyone is actually calling for us they say, "Elderek!" or "Mormonok!" (Which is also a rare occurrence) Anywho, so a lady runs up to us and says, "Elders! Wow! Hello! Where are you guys from?!" We told her we were from Utah and turns out that her and her husband are from Heber, Utah! They sat us down at their table and said, "we know you guys can't buy anything, but can WE buy something for you??" Needless to say, I got the ice cream that I wanted :) We were able to chat with them for a bit. They were here on a Hungarian vacation and stopped in Pécs for the afternoon. It was so great!

After our district meeting this week, all of us Elders went out to eat together. After about 5 minutes, two girls came up to us and asked, "what are a bunch of English speakers doing here together all dressed up??" They were intrigued so we were able to tell them about being missionaries and what we're doing here. It turns out that one of them was from Turkey and the others are from Italy. They are here for an exchange student program. We talked with them for a good 40 minutes. They went around the table and "labeled" each of us according to how we interacted with them for the past little while. We had the "funny one" the "smart one" the "quiet one" the "sporty one" and so on. They labeled me as "the cool one". I got a big kick out of that! I'm not sure what that entails, but all the other Elders thought it was really funny as well.

While streeting a few days ago, we ran into a suuuuupppeerrrr smashed guy. (extremely drunk) He said some of the most hilarious things I have ever heard. He was telling us how he really wants us to come over to teach him about the mormon bible and that we could eat, drink, and have a really great discussion. He said, "you guys can even stay for an entire WEEK if you want!" We told him that we don't drink alcohol and he replied with, "well, just a little bit isn't a sin!!" and we replied with, "de" which literally means "but"... Dang it. This story is so much funnier in Hungarian. Okay. The point is: It was really funny. He actually gave us his phone number. We're going to try calling later this week when he's hopefully sober. The Word of Wisdom might be a challenge but who knows, maybe he'll really investigate!

So our investigator that I talked about last week came to church for the first time yesterday. She LOVED it. She kept leaning over to the member sitting next to her, telling her how great everything was. Something funny that happened in one of her programs this week was while we were reading a verse from The Book of Mormon. She read, "And I, Moroni..." then stopped and said, "Moroni... that's Mormon's son, right??" Wow, it was great. She is rad beyond belief.

Another great thing that happened this week came from one of the recent converts we've been meeting with. He's a really shy 18 year old. We invited him to come tracting with us. We didn't think he would want to but to our surprise, he gladly accepted. We went out for about an hour with him and he didn't say much at the doors but on the way back he said, "wow... that was SO COOL! It was really really hard. I have a lot more respect for you guys now that I know what it's like for you. Thank you so so so much for taking me." A couple days ago we met with him again and he informed us that he decided to serve a mission. He told us that he decided to do so because of his experience tracting with us. It's incredible how things like that work, right?

Anywho, things are great on my side of the waters. Elder Bennet just finished emailing... and this is the end of my main stories.
Why don't you read some even better stories? They're found in The Book of Mormon. Enjoy!

Alldredge Elder

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Week 37 in Hungary (April 9-16, 2013)


Wow, so I'm just going to jump right in here. This past week was definitely one of the best weeks of my mission so far. I don't really know where to start. It will probably be all over the map, but I'm going to do my best. Here it goes.

I was able to spend all day in Budapest yesterday. While Elder Bennett went to various meetings and things, I went out sight-seeing with the other trainers. It was a blast! I doubt we'll have enough time to send pictures this week, but I have some good ones that I'll send next week for sure. I missed having Elder Bennett around to see all the cool things with me, but I'm sure he'll see all of those things when he trains in the near future.

Another rad thing that happened occurred during our morning run this morning. As we were running on the empty street, I looked down and saw a bunch of shinny circles. They were EVERY where. Elder Bennett stopped and looked a little closer and yelled, "Elder wait! These are all coins!!!" We looked around to see if any one had dropped them, it was 6:05 in the morning and not a soul was on the street. Come to find out, every single coin was either a 2 Forint or a 1 Forint coin. They stopped making those a while ago. They aren't worth anything BUT they are super rare. Some missionaries try to get just one of each during their whole mission. Elder Bennett and I picked up over 100 of each. It was crazy!!

Twice during the week, we had someone ask if they could give us some beer. (Either while tracting or on the street.) To which we would obviously replied, "sorry, we don't drink alcohol." To which they replied, "oh alright!! I'll get you a cup of coffee then!" To which we obviously replied, "well, we actually don't drink coffee either." To which they replied, "oh I see... well, how about some tea?" to which we obviously replied, "aaaannnddd.... we don't drink tea either." They finally said, "well, what DO you drink?!" We told them, "we'd gladly take some water and then tell you why we don't drink those things!" Great times.

We also met with a man who is really searching for God in his life. He wants to know if he exists or not. He told us about his super rough childhood and how he's always been told that there is no God, but he wants to know for himself now. The first program we had with him went really really well. We taught him how to pray and asked if he would say the closing prayer. You could tell he was terrified but he did it anyway. It was one of the most sincere prayers I have ever heard and afterward he was really quiet and later said, "wow... this is SO weird. My heart is beating so fast. What IS this feeling??" :) How great is that?

Okay let's get down to business. So here's something WAY cool that happened today just before we came here to email.
Alright, so this is the same lady that my last week's email was about. We went back to meet with her a few times since then. Today we went and right when we got there, she was finishing up with missionaries from a different church! I'll be honest, we felt a little "cheated on". It was kind of hard to teach the lesson we had planned knowing that she doesn't meet with just us. She told us that she has been meeting with missionaries from the other church for over a year. My heart sank but Elder Bennett and I worked hard to bring in the Spirit and teach through him. Although I was a little nervous through the lesson about the fact that she might like the other missionaries more and may be leaning more toward them, I trusted in God and in His truth. After Elder Bennett said the closing prayer (which was incredible by the way) she was really quiet for a while and began to cry. I asked her if she has ever felt this way before or with any other church. She replied with a no. I asked her if she thought it was an answer from God. She cried more and said, "I know this is an answer from God." I said, "will you pray this week about a specific date to be baptized on?" Through her tears she answered, " of course."

The fun doesn't stop there! Here comes incredible story 2.0
So last Wednesday, Elder Bennett had a program with a 62 year old lady I tracted into 2 weeks earlier and we gave a copy of The Book of Mormon after we testified of it. Elder Bennett and I start teaching her the Restoration. It was going pretty well and nothing was super out of the ordinary. She seemed really excited and really attentive. When we began to talk about Joseph Smith she lit up and just seemed abnormally excited. "Hm... Cool!" I thought. (Profound, I know.) I was later giving some background story for the First Vision. We read Jacob 3:5 and I started to explain, "one day, Joseph decided he needed to pray and asked God..." and she blurted, "and THEN he went into the forest!!!!" then quickly covered her mouth like it was bad she said that. That's the moment I knew something was up. I said, "wow, yea! He did go into the forest! How did you know that??" She said, "no no, please, continue!" so Elder Bennett recited the First Vision. She mouthed a few of the sentences along with him... I was extremely confused. I then asked, "do you know what happens next?" She said, "well..... then Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith and told him where the golden plates were--They were on a hill under a rock--Joseph Smith found the place but he was told that it wasn't time yet for them to be taken and translated because the people weren't ready--so Joseph Smith had to keep going back every year until it was time and then he translated them through the power of God!!" (the best part is she said all of that in about one breath!) I was shocked and I said, "how did you already know that!?" and she said, "well, it was all in the front of the book you guys gave me!!" I asked, "how much of it have you read so far?" she replied with, "... just half." "HALF!?!?" I said. "Yea! Half! You guys gave it to me like 2 weeks ago! I'm not very far because I like to read every chapter 2-3 times so that I can fully understand it." she replied. I was shocked and told her how great that was. I later looked at her copy of The Book of Mormon and it was marked up a TON! There were things underlined, circled, notes in the margins and all sorts of stuff! I said, "did YOU do all of this!?" and she said, "well yea... it's MY book isn't it??" I then went on to tell her how great it is that she has been marking the things that she reads. She THEN informed me that she had been using the index a lot so that she "can know specifically every different person in the book."
Funny thing is, right before we went to her program, I had Elder Bennett practice extending a baptismal challenge like a hundred times. I turned to him and gave him a nod. He asked her if she would be baptized right there in our first meeting with her. She replied with, "well... I've already been baptized..." My heart sank. She continued, "but after all of this that you boys have taught me, I know that it wasn't with the proper authority from God... When can I be baptized into the true church?" 
So we set a baptismal date for her right there in the first meeting. Wow. If that's not incredible, I don't know what is. At the end of the program she just kept telling us that she knows that we were her answer to her many prayers to God to help her find the truth and the true path. She also told us that she could see a light coming from us and she could feel God's love through our presence.
We met the next day and she had written a little prayer of thanksgiving to God in the back of her copy of The Book of Mormon. It was the most incredible thing I have ever heard. She shared it with us. It was basically all about giving thanks to God for sending us to her and bring the truth. Before we started to teach the Plan of Salvation she turned to me and said, "Alldredge, I don't know if this is weird to say, but I feel like there is a spiritual connection between us... Like as if we were friends thousands of years before we even came to earth.... This might not be possible but I also think you told me that you would help me find the truth on earth before we were even born." I said, "Funny you should say that... that's actually exactly what we're going to be talking about today, it's called the pre-earth life." She was SO excited and she is SO excited about her baptism. I wish I could say more but I wouldn't know how to type it... plus this section is already massive. Nonetheless, God knows us and he answers our prayers.

People are searching for that same book you have on your bookshelf. Read it, then tell others to read it too. It's The Book of Mormon.

Alldredge Elder

Monday, April 8, 2013

Week 36 in Hungary April 2-8, 2013

Szia a családom, a barátaim, és random emberek!!

Before I forget, next week I will not be emailing on Monday. Elder Bennett and I will be up in Budapest for new missionary training. I do not, however, know when we will email next week. Looks like it'll be a surprise for you all!

Conference was streamed live to our branch house this week! It was cool to think that I was watching the morning sessions at the same time as all of you! (except we were watching it at 6:00 in the evening)

CEDAR CITY TEMPLE!! I'll be honest, I cheered out loud when that announcement was made. I'm super stoked for that.

It was also super rad that the prophet told that story about the man who lived in Hungary! The Hungarian town he spoke of is the same one that my past Hungarian companion is from! It's on the very far East side of Hungary. So if someone is coming from Germany, it's about as far away as you can get!

There's been a big festival going on in Pécs as of late. Come to find out, it was a festival for beer. They had tons of booths filled with all sorts of stuff. They also had a stage set up at the top of the main square with some live music playing. It was quite the scene!

Elder Bennett and I were able to achieve super standard this week! We were told it would be pretty much impossible to get it with all the extra study time we have to do for the "first 12 weeks program" which only sounded to me like, "hey, you should totally do this."

Elder Bennett is such an awesome Elder! We're having a swell time and if his parents are reading this, you should both be very proud! He brings the spirit in so well in our lessons with his solid testimony. It's been so great to work together!

We had some trouble with our heater this week. It stopped working all of a sudden and we didn't know what was wrong. The instructions told us about a blue knob we had to turn. I thought I turned the right one. Nothing happened so we just had to sleep and try again the next morning. THAT was a cold night. It was 60.2 degrees in our apartment. We called some people to try to get the problem fixed. We looked wayyyyy under the entire machine to see if the pilot light was on. In the act of doing that, we found the real blue knob! We gladly began to twist it, watching the pressure rise once more and sending heat and warm water into our apartment. We were very pleased with ourselves--until the pressure wouldn't stop rising. We came back into the bathroom a half our later to find water flooding our bathroom floor coming from the machine. We found another fancy knob and thought it might solve our problem. As we turned it, water started to POUR out like a water fall all over us (in our suits). You also have to imagine, this heater thing is a huge box hung on the wall about 6 feet off the ground. After turning that same knob back, we were finally able to shut the water off. Long story short, we left the machine, and it leveled the pressure out by itself. We were wet... but warm!

Probably one of the more awkward things of my mission happened this week in English Class. We asked everyone in the class to share what their favorite holiday is. While going around the room, one older lady said, "I have no favorite holiday... I haven't a family and all my friends are died." I was stumped. What do you say in response to that?? I just said, "ohhh... mhmm... Next person?"

I'm kind of a pill and I made everyone in my English Class read this sentence, "The thing that I think threatens things ruthlessly is thorns." It turned out to be, "de ting dat I sink freatens sings rutlessly is torns." I got a good kick out of it until they started having me say a bunch of words that are hard for foreigners to say in Hungarian. We all had a good time with it though.

The highlight of my week was probably when Elder Bennett and I went to visit a lady I tracted into a few weeks ago. We taught her the restoration. She loved it. It's one of those things that you really can't try to explain in words. I felt my mouth literally being filled. I haven't had an experience like that quite that strong until that program. She explained to us that she has been looking for the truth for a while and she has been praying for God to show her the way. At the end of the program, we asked her if she would be baptized when she received a confirmation that these things are indeed true and she replied with, "of course." Wow. Incredible.

Well, I hope you all loved conference! Inspiring, right? Continue this streak of inspiration and read from The Book of Mormon.

Sok Szeretettel,
Alldredge Elder
The City Festival!

Our planners for this transfer

All of us missionaries watching Conference in English.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Week 35 in Hungary (March 25-April 1, 2013)


First off, sorry for not emailing yesterday. Apparently EVERYTHING gets shut down for not only Easter but for the day after... odd.

Wow! Well, I am officially a trainer! It's nuts! I picked up my new companion, Elder Bennett in the "sorting hat meeting" in Budapest this past Wednesday. Funny story, the second he walked into the room I turned to the other trainers and said, "THAT Elder right there, that's who I'm training!" I was totally right and I'm so glad that I was! He's such a hard worker. He's from Salem and he shares the same passion for percussion! He was on his high school's drumline. I said, "oh man! I wish we had some sticks and a practice pad! Then we could totally jam!" to which he replied, "I totally brought mine!" SWEET! It's been a good time!

I took him for his first time tracting on Friday. We had practiced all morning and he did soooo good when it was time to do it for real! His first door was an older lady who just kept saying "oh my goodness! You're so adorable! You're so cute! You're so golden! You're so young! Oh bless your heart!" it was hilarious! I came in at the end to try to see if she was interested in meeting and she said, "just a second, wait right there." so we stood there for a second and she came back with a handful of money and tried to give it to Elder Bennett and I said, "woah woah sorry we can't take that! We're volunteers!" but she kept on insisting on giving it to us and I kept telling her that we don't want it. She finally set it on our clipboard and hurried and shut the door. SO FUNNY. We set the money back on her door frame and moved on. Haha how awesome is that for a first tracting experience?

We've actually had some abnormally great success in tracting lately. Which is great! I hope he can set this as a standard for the rest of his mission. Right after this we're actually going to re-visit a lady that we found last week who invited us back!

Another cool thing that happened while tracting is I was explaining to a man that we are just volunteers and we don't receive money. He said, "yea right!! Then how do you get your nice suits!!? And pay for food!?" I told him that we both worked and earned money before we came here. He replied with, "and you use that money to live here...?" After telling him yes, he was really intrigued and set up a time right then and there for us to come back and teach him.

Oh yes, Happy Easter! I hope it was grand for you all. It was great for us here! We went tracting and most people weren't happy that we were knocking on their door during a Holiday BUT, while tracting, the last door we had planned to do for the night totally invited us right in after we said, "hello! Because it's Easter, we brought a special message about Jesus Christ!" The guy ended up being SUPER cool and he was telling us he's been looking for the truth for a while now. He too invited us to come back and teach him more about the restored church of Jesus Christ.

Poor Elder Bennett got his first "Néni Kisses" this week. (when an old lady kisses both your cheeks) I felt bad, but he got it out of the way pretty early into the game!

So, I'm quickly discovering that a lot more people read these messages on my blog than I thought. Yikes! Well, I hope they are good. I also hope I have good gramer and spell things good. (don't correct that sentence mom, I think it's hilarious that way) I hope that my blogs continue to be... good? I don't know. Heck, I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing.

Well, everything is EXCELLENT on my side of the waters! I hope all is well with all of you!

Read from The Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith translated it for you. He was a true prophet of God.

Sok Szeretettel,
Alldredge Elder

My new companion, Elder Bennett!
 His first door to tract in Hungary!!
   The money that the first lady gave him.

 Who wouldn't want a giant broccoli stick to eat?

 Elder Christensen at our favorite restaurant and the meal we had.

 Goodbye's with Elder Christensen

 Some of the youth at our youth night activity