Monday, August 26, 2013

Week 66 (August 22-26, 2013)

Lassan jön ide a cserének a vége...

Housekeeping: Next week we will be receiving our transfer calls. Therefore, I will be emailing on Tuesday instead of Monday.

August 20th: So the celebrations for the 20th were slammin'! We went with the other Elders to the castle here in Miskolc. We were basically the only ones in the whole place so we took a plethora of pictures and had a fun time running around in an old, broken castle! We then went into the city center and watched the opening ceremony of the celebration. The Hungarian anthem was sung and it was really neat to be a part of it all. Then we watched some traditional Hungarian dancing that a group of youth put on. They were all incredible dancers! They had some really cool things going on. I was extremely impressed. After the dancing they had some live music playing. I'm not sure if there were fireworks or not, I was deep asleep. I'm assuming there weren't any if I never woke up. Who knows.

Adverbs and Adjectives: I'm just now realizing that if you have never met me in real life, my writing probably seems pretty strange. I promise I have more sophisticated vocabulary than always using: very, so, really, pretty, super, absolutely, and extremely as my adverbs. As well as: incredible, neat, cool, amazing, sweet, rad, slammin', swell, and grand for my adjectives. It's just the way I talk. I also think it would take longer and more energy to "evince myself on a higher plane of eloquence by properly applying my self-thesaurus into my literature."

A Lesson On Speech: Speaking of speech, here's something I learned this week that I really value now. I'm sure I'm not the only one who, while learning a new language, has wanted to learn funny words, slang, and such things of that sort. I was asking one of our investigators about different slangs (not bad ones) that I've heard or read and this is what she had to say about the matter: "Elder Alldredge, you dress elegantly every single day... Don't you think you should speak elegantly every single day as well? If you saw a woman dressed up on a stage in a fancy, expensive dress, what would you think if she walked up to the microphone and started speaking like everyone else on the street?" It was definitely eye-opening. I haven't had a problem with saying bad words... I could just do a lot better job using great words. I'm hoping I can apply this principle into my native language speech as well.

Awkward Meal: So yes, Hungarians love to stare at us while they feed us but I've never quite had an experience like this. We were meeting with a small family who often invites extended family over for our visits. After about 20 minutes into our program, they cut us off and said, "we made you guys a surprise meal! Come with us into the other room..." We followed them into the living room to find a little table that had been placed right in the center of the room. It had a little pink table cloth and the whole table was set for Elder Nabrotzky and I to sit across from each other. So there we were, in the middle of the living room eating while all 9 of the other people, parents and children, sat around us on the couches and just watched us eat. It takes a lot for me to feel awkward, but this was one of those things that did the trick.

Where's My Technicolor Dreamcoat!?: Elder Nabrotzky and I had the unique opportunity of interpreting a dream for someone. The strangest part is that our words and thoughts were not our own as our as we tried to help the dreamer make sense of it all. It was all very interestingly symbolic--as most dreams are. My favorite symbolism in the dream was that the person was on the ground and they wanted to go upward. Where the elevator should've been, there was an empty shaft. Where the stairs should've been, there was nothing. The only thing available was a long, steep ladder. I think a lot of us feel this way sometimes--going up and improving isn't always the easiest thing. But hey, we know it's worth it.

Splits with the Assistants: I was able to spend a day in Budapest with one of the Assistants this week. He is also a Spongebob fanatic so we had a good time quoting Spongebob. I'm still blown away by how nice their apartment is every time I stay there. We had a really successful time while tracting there and I've been informed that a few of the people we met that day have wanted to continue to meet with the missionaries and are really interested in the Gospel!

The Return: We've been meeting with an inactive member that we miraculously found while tracting. She was able to come back to church for the first time in eight years. We arranged for one of the recent converts to take her. She was excited beyond belief to come back. She thought that her records had been terminated because she hadn't been to church in so long and she obviously didn't feel missed since no one tried to contact her for eight years. It was really neat to see the overwhelming joy she felt of having the blessings church attendance again in her life.

I could go on for hours about the past couple weeks. The point is, things are wonderful here. I love this amazing country, all of these amazing people, my amazing companion, and this amazing mission experience.

1. And it came to pass, Elder Alldredge ended his weekly email by exhorting his nation to the reading of the ancient record; that is, The Book of Mormon, which was passed down for generations until translated by God's power.
2. He gave no heed to the laziness of his people; nor to the exceeding busy-ness of their lives; for he knew it would be for their good.
3. And behold, he ends his email hoping that what was just typed into the plates of cyberspace was not too sacrilegious.

Alldredge Elder

The Diosgyőri Castle!

On the bridge

The King and Queen

This is probably what the Medieval models looked like.

Goofs on a cannon.

The inside of the castle.

They call these, "Snail Stairs".

The opening ceremony for the 20th

They had a traditional Hungarian dance performance that was incredible

Elder Headrick and I in the crowd.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Week 65 (August 12-22, 2013)

Jaj nekem. Végre tudok email-ezni.

Kraziness: Wow, so this week was wild. I was in Budapest all day yesterday for splits with the Assistants and for my interview with President. The day before that was the massive holiday and today we're going to be running to a program in about 15 minutes. Yikers. If I didn't reply to your email this week, don't stress, I will do so next Monday when everything is back to normal. This email will be brief but I hope you all enjoy it.

An Elevator Prayer: So, we get fed a lot by the people here. I love it. One day we were fed an abnormal amount. Every single program we had for the afternoon fed us. Most of them were by surprise. We couldn't eat it all so we would ask if they could wrap it up and we would take it home for later. By the time evening came along, we had quite the feast in the back of our car. Just bags and containers full of food. We were beginning to wonder how on earth we were going to eat all of this food.
Later in the evening, we had an open hour because someone cancelled on us. We had an undeniable feeling that we needed to visit one of the many families we visit with. As we walked into the door of their complex the mother and one of her 9 year old sons walked out of the elevator and we literally ran into each other. We said, "hey! We were just coming by to visit you guys! Where are you headed??" they didn't seem too happy like they usually are and they had a backpack on and said, "oh... right now we're just going on a walk..." We knew something was up so we talked to them for a bit and found out that they were really going to go dumpster diving for cans so that they can buy some bread to eat for the day because their payday wasn't for a couple more days.
So we said, "...follow us." Our car was parked pretty far away from their apartment and so we began to talk and walk. After about five minutes they asked, "where are we going!?" As they asked, we had just arrived to the car. We opened our trunk and loaded all of the food we had received the past few hours into their backpacks and we walked back with them. Words cannot describe the joy and relief they expressed to us. The mother later told us that she said a prayer while riding the elevator down that God would send someone to help them out in their tough situation. Which is so cool because as soon as they exited the elevator is when we literally ran into them.

Boo: So, like I said, not much time. I'll combine the rest of last weeks and this weeks happenings into one super email next week. It's gonna be great. I'll be sure to send lots of pictures next week because as of late I took like, a million.

As you all start to study from the textbooks of the world, don't forget to study the most important textbook to God and life. It's entitled The Book of Mormon. The best part is that it's not hundreds and hundreds of dollars AND it has the most/best information in it!

Sok Szeretettel,
Alldredge Elder

Monday, August 12, 2013

Week 64 (August 5-12, 2013)

Rendben, akkor ez a kis mondat csak a Magyaroknak. Bocsi, az egész angolul lesz. Azért van a Googli Fordítás. De mégis szeretlek titeket. Ti tudjatok.

New Outline: I wanted to try a new outline for how I write these things. I'm going to put a little header at the beginning of each section. I was always bad at those questions on English tests that went along the lines of, "read the following article and select the most appropriate title." SO, this will be a little practice for me. PLUS--let's say you read a story from this blog, and you come back a couple days later because you want to re-read it. You won't have to read through the whole blasted thing, but you will simply have to scroll through the different titles until you find your desired paragraph. So world, you're welcome.

Last P-Day: Oh! I like it already. Okay so last P-Day we took the other Elders to Lillafüred. It was was way fun just to hülyeskedni with another Elder companionship for a change. We walked around the lake and had a great, relaxing time.

"We gotta go to the store right now.": So we were meeting with an inactive member this week who was telling us about her recent sour situation. I guess her husband just up and left her and took all their things, money, and food--leaving her with nothing. She was pretty hopeless and her faith that God would help her was minimal. Out of nowhere, Elder Nabrotzky tells her that if she prays and has faith, she will miraculously receive food and water later that same day. It was about 4:30 in the afternoon and I was just thinking to myself, "good earth my companion must REALLY be filled with the Spirit right now if he's promising this stuff to her so strongly... I hope she really does get food somehow now!" We ended the program and as we began to walk out of her building Elder Nabrotzky turned to me and said, "we gotta go to the store right now." Yea, he's great. Needless to say, we left some food on her door step and ran away about 15 minutes later.

Referral from the Village: We drove out about 20 minutes from the city to a little falu (village)
to visit a member family. Little did we know that the mother of the family had strategically planned our arrival to be the same time that one of their family friends was leaving from a visit. As we greeted all of the excited children, the family friend was curious as to who on earth we were. The mother was able to explain, "oh! These are just two foreign boys from the religion we are apart of. They come visit us, help our family, teach us all about Jesus and God, and they make us so happy!!" The friend, of course, couldn't NOT invite us over at this point. We'll be meeting with her, and her six children this Thursday.

Uke POWER!: So this actually happened yesterday. We had a program at 4:00 where we had brought the Ukulele to the program and sang some Primary songs with the family we met with. We had a program at 5:00 and I felt like I shouldn't put the Ukulele away in the car before our program. Which was strange because our 5:00 program was with a guy who we just met on the street who gave us his address and told us to come to his house at 5 on Sunday to meet with him. So we get to the apartment and what do ya know, the guy isn't there and his wife informs us that he won't be back until 10 or 11 that night. Lame! We explained, "well we're missionaries and we met your husband a couple of days ago, he wanted us to meet here right now."
"I'm sorry, I'm not really interested in this kind of stuff. You'll have to wait for him to get home and talk to him." replied the lady.
JUST then one of the 3 little kids in the door way noticed the Ukulele in its case and asked, "is that a piano!?"
"No, no" replied my dear companion, "this is a... little guitar."
"A LITTLE GUITAR!? Come right in!!" exclaimed the mother.
She excitedly brought us into her house and sat us down in the living room. Her and all of her kids gathered around us. We sang "A Child's Prayer" in Hungarian for them. After we sang and played it, I looked up to notice the mother in tears. We ended up playing it two more times before we left. In between singing to them, we explained to her who we were, why we are here, and how it's going to bless her and her family. At the end she said, "I just have one request for you... just please please please come back next week again and visit my family. I don't know if it's possible, but just please come back."

How Do You Two Bear This Heat!?: Yea, it's been pretty toasty here as of late. I don't know why but everyone always asks this same question. Seriously in every program. We've been trying to think of some clever ways to answer like, "Patiently" or "Warmly" or "We don't" (You know me, I like to be a pill sometimes) So, the search for a witty answer continues. Stay tuned, the answer might be in next week's post. But don't count on anything--chances are I'm going to forget or never come up with something. 

Did I Hear That Right?: We've been meeting with a girl lately who we ran into while tracting. She researches more about the Church than anyone I have ever met. Sometimes during our programs I have to turn to Elder Nabrotzky and tell him, "I'm sure there are members that don't even know that." The point is, this girl is just really on top of things. She told us that she came dressed modestly to our program because she read that we really value modesty in our church. At the beginning of one of our programs with this week, I asked, "do you have any questions before we jump in?" she then proceeded to pull out a notebook in which she had wrote about 2 pages full of questions. She's really really cool. Anywho, back on topic to my nifty little header that I have written. In our last program we had with her, she told us, "I really really respect the lifestyle that is taught in your church. I find it really special and comforting to know that there really are people that live this way. Because of what I've learned from you two, I also want to live my life this way." I'll be honest, it's not something I've ever heard while serving here. It was really special to hear that from someone. We usually just get the opposite.

Grand Finale: So this past Saturday I had the wonderful opportunity of baptizing Miskolc's newest member. We've been meeting with him since May and he is stellar. He was able to give up smoking in less than a week and it's been incredible to see how the Gospel has changed his life for the better. Elder Nabrotzky confirmed him a member in church yesterday and the entire event was just perfect!

Well, that's all I have for my side of the waters. I hope all is well with you. Oh and August 20th is a HUGE holiday. (the 4th of July for Hungary) So, I have no idea when I will be able to email for sure. I'm hoping it will just be on Monday like normal but who knows what crazy things are going to go down.

Read from The Book of Mormon--It's the textbook to life. (The Church should really hire me after my mission.)
Sok Szeretettel,
Alldredge Elder
More Lillafüred Adventures

The Baptism!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Week 63 (July 30-August 5, 2013)

Ide jött az invázió.

Csak vicc... Ez egész nem annyira rossz.

So in my last email I failed to mention that while yes, Elder Nabrotzky and I are staying together, we also received two new Elders. They don't have an apartment yet, SO they are staying with us... Let's just say, it's a bit cozy. We love them and we have enjoyed the opportunity to work so very very literally close to them.

I'm catching the drift that a LOT more people read this blog thing than I expected. I'm sorry world, that I write very slangish and idiomatically. If you are some random person that happened to stumble upon this blog--Hello! I hope my writing isn't too annoying for you. But this is what I like about the blog--I'm so very free to write whatever I want! Why not be inspiring?

I'll tell you what, I LOVE testimony meeting. Especially here. Good earth, it's incredible. It always makes fasting so much more worth it. (Because as you know, it already is very worth it.)

So the Hungarians think that if you drink a beverage that is too cold, you'll catch a cold. I don't know where on earth they came up with such a thing. This wouldn't be a problem if it wasn't also a part of their culture to ALWAYS give bubbly water to a guest. So, in EVERY program we have and EVERYtime someone lets us in, we have to down a full glass or two of not only bubbly water, but warm bubbly water. In general, I'm not the biggest fan of bubbly water. All-in-all, there's nothing like tracting in 100 degree weather and having a big glass of warm carbonated water every now and then. Yummy.

It's sounding like lots of cool things are coming out in the world of technology... Heck, a lot of the things I get told about seems to go right over my head now. It makes me glad that I'm still here in Europe where most of the population still pulls a rope to flush the toilet.
We were able to help out one of the members here this week in picking apples. At one point, they brought out a massive tarp and had a few of us climb the tree and shake all the branches so the apples would just all fall down. It was pretty awesome to see all of these falling apples until I got hit in the head with a couple. (I was standing too close--teehee.) But isn't that why Newton became a genius?

While walking around the city last week, we were streeted by a man asking us when his family could attend our church. We gave him the information and said, "well, you know, we also meet with families personally and teach them about our church and about Christ." He was, of course, ecstatic and we were, of course, ecstatic as well.

So get this. While tracting, we knocked on a door, a lady opened it, and right after I said, "hello!" she responded with, "oh! Come right in!" We were a little confused but we followed her into her apartment. We sat down and she said, "you guys are Mormons, right?" "Yes we are!" we responded. She then proceeded to tell us, "I've been a member for 10 years, I sort of lost contact with the church after the Elders and Sisters stopped visiting me..." She was so happy that we had found her. We met with her once more after our first visit and she's planning on returning to church! What are the chances?

We were pleasantly surprised this week while teaching one of our rad families. This family's "family friend" who is always sure to be at the apartment when we're over there to teach asked us this week, "so, if I want to get baptized into Christ's true church... What exactly do I have to do, and when could it be?" Within 5 minutes we had a date all set and ready to go. She is really really excited. We've been meeting with all of them for about 2 months now. We're hoping it will domino to the rest of that family and that they too will be part of such a great event.

Hey, I love you all--even if you are a random person I've never met before.

For this next week, I want you all to hold The Book of Mormon in your hands, say a prayer, ask your Heavenly Father a question, randomly open to a page and point to a section. DAILY. Yea, yea, it's cliche BUT I wouldn't be suggesting it if it didn't work!

Sok Szeretettel,
Alldredge Elder
Apple Picking!!