Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Week 84 & 85 (Dec. 21-Jan. 31)

Boldog Új Évet Kívánok!!

Christmas Celebrations: Christmas was fantastic here! I really enjoyed it. There wasn't a flake a snow, which didn't bother me one bit! On the 24th we went sightseeing around Buda and had a french toast party with all of the Elders. On the 25th we opened up our packages from home which was swell. We then drove the mission van with all of the missionaries from Buda to go to the stake president's house. We had a massive lunch there and walked through their extremely nice town to sing to five different families! We then came back and played some games with the family. We then went to a recent convert family for a big dinner and to skype! It was a superb day. Then, on the 26th, (still Christmas here) we went to another family and made gingerbread cookies with them and had a grand time. All-in-all it was a great way to celebrate the birth of the Savior!

Baptism in Kispest: I was able to return to Kispest to perform a baptism with one of the investigators I taught with Elder Ábrók. It was a beautiful service and it was fun to meet with everyone I love in Kispest again.

Randomness: My very good friend since childhood, Matthew Johnson, (currently serving in Indonesia) is the companion of Elder Headrick's little brother! Wild.

Surprise Visit to Miskolc: Elder Headrick and I went on splits with the zone leaders in Miskolc this past Friday. We made sure that they didn't tell any of the people there that we would be visiting. I was able to meet with a lot of people that I know and love. Their faces were priceless when they opened their doors. There was a lot of screaming... and tears. The one lady I was able to baptize while serving there told me that having me there was better than any Christmas present that she got. It was super sweet. It was really cool to be there and meet with people that I taught and who got baptized since I've been gone. It was a really neat experience to see everyone again.

Until Next Year: It looks like the next chance we're going to get to email will be on the 11th. So, until then, HAPPY NEW YEAR!! This is the year I'll be coming home... but that's gross--let's not talk about that.

Make a goal to finish The Book of Mormon this year. That is, of course, if you want to improve all aspects of your everyday life. Élj aszerint. 

I love you all!
Sok Szeretettel,
Alldredge Elder

The baptism in Kispest

Adventures in Buda

French Toast Party!

Delicious Christmas Lunch

The family who let us skype at their house.

We had fun :)

(No caption sent for this picture-sorry)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Week 83 (December 14-21, 2013)


Christmas Zone Conference(s): So all five of the Zone Conferences we held and trained at this week went absolutely wonderful! It was a real treat to be able to see everyone and catch up with old friends/companions. Being Santa was quite a unique experience but I actually really enjoyed it! Doing Musical Theater as a child was not in vain.
This is how our everyday went this week for the conference:
--Meet with the Zone Leaders and train them about leadership
--Give a training to the missionaries
--Hear from the Zone Leaders, Senior Couples, then from Sister and President Smith
--Big, delicious lunch (it was still amazing, even on the fifth day.)
--Watch the year's slideshow
--Take a picture with all of the missionaries
--Organize everyone into groups
--Get the games going
--White Elephant gift exchange
--Special guest--SANTA!
--Clean up
SO, as you can see, it was a pretty exciting week! There were some really awesome presents for the white elephant this year. After playing a few times, Elder Headrick and I ended up with some interesting/rad stuff!!

The Training: We really enjoyed giving our training each day. The missionaries have given us some great, positive feedback on it so far. We've been studying the attributes of Christ as a mission lately.  We focused on the the last sentence of the second paragraph on page 115 in Preach My Gospel which reads: "Just as vital as what you do however, is who you are." We focused on what our projections as people are based on. It's based on behavior (which is our actions and words) which comes from habit that originates from experiences and conditioning--all regulated by our thoughts. We talked about how to "reprogram" ourselves as people. We used the example of how after restarting a computer, a lot of programs will open and sign in automatically. We related it specifically to having to write a paper at home and having skype open and sign in automatically as well as the web browser with facebook as the homepage. We said that if we wanted to change such a thing, we need to use the settings. Settings on a computer make it possible to control how the computer operates and projects itself to the user. The "settings" button in our own life is the Atonement. Just like settings, the Atonement is always there and available--but we actually have to use it. We have to first know what we want to change. We then have to know what we want that to become (bad programming has to be replaced with good programming). Then we actually have to go in, give effort, and make the change. Then the most important part is the SAVE BUTTON!! Which is constantly keeping that change and not allowing ourselves to revert to old ways.

We then had the missionaries write a D.I.P. (Something I came up with a couple months ago in my pondering on existentialism.) It stands for Dissociative Identity Paper. It's basically a way to make a map or a plan on the person you want to become. That's why agency is important--it's the ability to choose, yes--BUT it's essentially the ability to BECOME. Anywho, so we had them imagine the perfect version of themselves, as well as all the different qualities and traits that go along with it. I told them to imagine the person their husband/wife deserve and the mother/father they need to be for their children. "The returned missionary that all the young women want to date and all the young men want to be like." Then we had them skim through the Attributes of Christ section in PMG, then they wrote their D.I.P. 
How does a D.I.P. work? Great question, here are the 3 rules:
1, You must write in the third person. (ex. he is, she is, he can, she can, etc.)
       --(it's in the third person because when we remove ourselves from ourselves, it's easier to write about ourselves.)
2, Everything must be in the present tense. (if you're always thinking in the future, why would your brain want to start making changes now?)
3, Every statement must be a positive one. (the subconscious mind cannot process negative words.)

My D.I.P. went through a lot of rough drafts. Now I have a final draft that I read everyday after I write in my journal. I like it because it's very personalized to me. I used the attributes that Christ had to help create my own perfect version of myself. Christ was his own person. We are our own people. At the top of my paper I have, "Who is Cameron Todd Alldredge?" then I have paragraphs full of different qualities I am striving to change or develop--all in the third person. I read about myself, then I am able to evaluate and judge myself (compared to MYself) to know where I stand and how I can specifically progress. I hope this is all making some sense. You know, the new year is coming up, the perfect time to give this a try. Trust me, it works.

What Should We Do?: We had this neat experience just this morning before coming here to email. We started tracting this morning to find out that because of the holidays, today is a regular work day! Bleh. We asked ourselves, "should we just go email right now instead of tract? We can just do it later when everyone gets home from work." After some thought, we felt that we should continue our tracting, so we continued. A few minutes later, a lady let us into her apartment and we began to talk to her and get to know her. We asked her the question, "if you could ask God one question, what would it be?" She got real quiet and said, "I would ask him which Church is true."
Well, I'm sure the story is pretty predictable from here. We taught about Joseph Smith as well as the Restoration and she invited us back to meet with her next week after Christmas. After all was said and done, we were so glad that we didn't pack up and come here to email like we had debated.

Tomorrow!: Tomorrow I will be going back to Kispest to baptize a lady whom Elder Ábrók and I taught while serving there. I'm super excited! It's going to be a really special day.

Well, I'll be honest, I have no idea when I will be able to email again. I'm going to be skyping on Christmas day but as far as emailing goes, it's a mystery. We're going to be spending this upcoming week with a lot of incredible families. I'm stoked! Until next time, have a very merry Christmas. I love you all!

Give the best gift to your Heavenly Father and read about His gift He gave to the world two thousand years ago. That same new star was also seen in the Americas--all for the sign of the birth of the Savior of the world. Read about all about it in The Book of Mormon.

Sok Szeretettel,
Alldredge Elder

Getting ready to be Santa

President and Sister Smith with Santa

Santa and I
Elder Headrick's family sent him (and his awesome companion) some Christmas fun!

Video Link

Cameron mentioned this video in which a TV station did a story on Mormon missionaries in Hungary. They show the AP's at the time and their apartment, where Cameron is living now!
The story is all in Hungarian but you can 'see' what is happening with the missionaries there!
here is the link:

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Week 82 (December 10-14,2013)

Ilyen a Budai élet...

Goodbye Kispest: On our last day in Kispest, all of us missionaries went with a big group of members and investigators to go ice-skating. We skated right next to "Hero's Square" in Pest. It was a massive rink and it was incredibly fun. We skated around for a good 3-4 hours and had a blast. I then went back to Kispest on Thursday to go on splits with the zone leaders (so that the transition could go smoothly). So, I was there all day Thursday and I was able to say goodbye to a lot of great people. We then wentback to Kispest yesterday as well for the Christmas Concert. Elder Headrick and I had to sing in the choir so the ward members were pretty confused because everyone thought I stayed in Kispest.

Assistant-ship: My word. This whole AP thing is a completely different world. It. Is. So. Awesome. It was such a rad experience to be able to be with all of the missionaries who were going home. Three of them were my senior companion at one point. We were there with them at their little "goodbye dinner"/testimony meeting and then we drove them around Budapest at night and revisited all the places they saw on their first night in the country. Then 4:00am Thursday morning, we got up and ready and took them all to the airport. We then took Elder Ábrók... who is now just István... to the train station and saw him off.
Next week will be the Christmas Zone Conferences. We will be attending all five of them because we will be giving a training everyday. So, five Christmas parties!! Elder Headrick informed me yesterday that I have to dress up like Santa twice next week. They're going to stuff me with pillows and such. Good earth, I bet you never thought I would make a good Santa Claus someday, did ya?

Speaking of Elder Headrick: We have already hit it off famously. He's one of the nicest guys I've ever met. He comes from Ohio and he has a family of 13!! He's number 8 in line. He loves to play and watch basketball. He is an absolute wild man when it comes to the Hungarian language. He was actually an AP already at the beginning of this year but he broke his foot and had to go home for 3 months. When he arrived back in Hungary he was in the companionship that moved into our apartment with us in Miskolc for my last transfer there. So that's how we already knew about each other. He also shares the same love for Apple products--so we may or may not accidentally pass by an Apple store while shopping today... I sadly only get one transfer with him until he goes home. SO, I will be killing him as well. (Good earth, it'll be my third murder.) He only has till mid January to show me all the ropes. I'm sure it'll be great.

You Give Me A Book, I Give You A Book: We met with one of the coolest guys yesterday. He has lived a pretty rough life and he has been in jail for four years. He has totally turned his life around and he's really looking for God now in his life. We gave him a copy of The Book of Mormon yesterday and he insisted that he give us one too in return. He gave us a Scientologist book. So I guess we did two favors for him. Anywho, he was really excited about The Book of Mormon and I'm super excited to talk to him more.

Where am I?: So, I am now living in Buda. Our apartment is in the 3rd District. We're about a 20 minute drive from the mission home (where we attend church on Sundays).  It's so blasted nice. Heated floors and heated towel racks. We have huge closets and nice appliances. It's just all around incredible. The other nice thing is that we get to use the office computers for emailing. I don't have to pay to email anymore! Hotdog!

Until Next Time: Well, I just emailed a couple days ago so I don't have too much to say. I sent a couple pictures and I'm sure there will be lots more to send next week. (These computers rock at uploading stuff.) I am really really loving it here already. Everything is perfect. I hope all is well on your side of the waters!! I know that school will be winding down and finals will be finished. I wish you all the best of luck!

There is a book that you need to read,
It's much more useful than your newsfeed,
The Book of Mormon,
Won't leave you snorin',
It's exactly the thing that you need.

Sok Szeretettel,
Alldredge Elder

Ábrók was a wild man on the ice.

Ice Skating

With my past three senior companions on their last night in the country!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Week 81 (December 3-10, 2013)

Nem hiszem el... Hogy lehet az, hogy minden transfer call ilyen őrült?

L.O.W. Week: So... We died last week. I crawled into my bed at 9:45 Sunday night and I have never slept better. We ended the week with 149 working hours. 78 of those hours were programs and the others were spent tracting. It. Was. Absolutely. Crazy. I must admit, it was a pretty great end to Elder Ábrók's mission.
To give some sort of calibration, the standard amount of working hours in a week is 25. Super Standard is 35. The most working hours I had gotten in one week until this was 70.
We started our week with the goal of tripling Super Standard in all categories. We had to work until the very last hour on Sunday to get it all--but we did indeed achieve our goal of triple Super Standard.

This week was actually really incredible as well. We were able to meet with a lot of new people and there are some who have really been prepared. For example we found a family who lived in Canada and they wanted to be baptized there but they had to suddenly move back to Hungary before it could happen and they haven't been able to find the Church here yet--so God let us to them.

Just a couple days ago we set another baptismal date with someone. They love coming to church and it isn't hard to see that the Lord has prepared them to receive the Gospel.

We also met with a lady just yesterday who was in tears as we started to teach her for the first time. We asked her simple questions to get to know her. One of our questions was, "do you think God answers your prayers?" To which she replied, "well, you two are here right now, aren't you? I know He sent you to me."

Transfer Update: Alright, so this is the crazy part. With Elder Ábrók leaving, I thought I was for sure going to stay here in Kispest. God had other things planned. I received the call this morning to be the new Assistant to the President.
What is an AP, you ask? Well, let me tell you.
There are two APs. They work closely with the mission president and collect all of the numbers from the zone leaders each week. They are the ones who pick up the new missionaries from the airport and take the dying ones to the airport to go home. They give trainings at the mission conferences. They assist the president in deciding transfers (which is super rad because I always stress about transfers but now I'll know everything that's going to happen.) They are also the ones who take all the new missionaries out streeting on their first day and... that's all that is really coming to mind right now.

Why this isn't rad: this means our companionship is being "white-washed". A white-wash is when both missionaries leave an area and two new missionaries come in an have to figure out everything. We are going to have to write EVERYthing down about where we've been, what we've taught, who lives where, what they need to do, etc. The good thing is that we have kept excellent records of everything--so it won't be too difficult.

Why this is rad: this now means that I get a car again!! The APs get to drive the newest car in the mission (it's just like Evalin, just newer) I think the car's name is Melinda if I remember correctly. The APs also live in the nicest apartment. I will have a dryer and a dishwasher!
Another cool thing is that I will be taking 3 of my former senior companions to the airport on Thursday. How wild is that?

My new companion will be Elder Headrick. I'm super stoked to work with him. I already served around him in Miskolc so we're already good friends.

It will be really really hard to leave everything Elder Ábrók and I did here. We had a blast and a half. The good news is that I'll just be on the other side of the Duna.

It looks like I'm going to be serving here in Budapest for a long long time. I've already been here since August and APs typically serve as AP until their second to last transfer. They then usually train in their very last transfer before they go home. We'll see what happens! I love serving here in Budapest though. It's gonna be great!!

Yikes: I'm trying to get all my thoughts together. I just keep thinking about all the stuff I have to do before I leave tomorrow... I still have to pack. Bleh. At least we're going to go ice skating with a big group of people today--so that'll be way fun!

One Last Thing: This is super important. The AP's Preparation Day is on Saturdays. So... I guess I will be emailing once again in a couple days!!

Until then, read lots from the The Book of Mormon. This time of year is always great for the Bible. (I would definitely suggest reading about Christ's birth, life, and especially His atonement.) Just don't forget to read The Book of Mormon as well!

Sok Sok Szeretettel,
Alldredge Elder

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Week 80 (Nov.25-Dec.2, 2013)


Bocsi: I appreciate all of your emails this week. This is Elder Ábrók's last full week for his mission and we've planned something insanely crazy for it. We've been planning for it for the last 3 weeks and we're going to work through our P-Day today. Also, in order to achieve this goal we calculated that we can only email for one hour. SO I did read all of your emails, and I will reply personally to them all next week. Which reminds me, next week is transfers. Therefore, I will be emailing on Tuesday instead of Monday. I had some good pictures to send today but we don't have enough time... They'll come soon--I swear.
I'll give more information about this "crazy week" next time I email. Elder Ábrók has called it the "LOW Week" Which stands for "Lord Of the Weeks". Part of our plan is to get over 100 working hours. Yea, it's gonna be nuts.

Hálaadás: Thanksgiving here was actually way rad!! Some of the other missionaries around the area and some Hungarians put on a little Thanksgiving party for everyone. It was a great turn out and we had some great food!! Not quite like home, but I loved it! By far the best Hungarian Thanksgiving I've ever had.

Mikulás: Mikulás is coming this Thursday night!! All of the children's shoes will be left out and Mikulás will be visiting with toys and treats. My English Class is putting on a little party this week for it. It's gonna be great!!

HEY!!: The inside of these apartment buildings that we often tract in are not the prettiest. They all look the exact same. Some people try to spice up their hallway a little bit with some pretty pictures. While tracting, we walked down the stairs and I saw a row of pictures. These pictures caught my attention because they looked like there were of Utah. So I said, "Hey! These look like Utah!" as I followed the pictures to the end of the row. Well, the last picture took Elder Ábrók and I for a spin as I exclaimed, "HEY!! IT'S THE SALT LAKE TEMPLE?!?" Seriously. As luck would have it, there were some pictures of the desert and of the mountains then randomly a picture of the SLC Temple. How random is that? Sadly, the people weren't home but we're really curious to who lives there. As far as we know, there aren't any members that live there. And we don't think it was the guy who lived further down the hall because he called the police on us with us standing there in front of him.

Neat, Unique Experience: The man I baptized while in Miskolc moved up to Budapest a few weeks ago for some new work. Since his baptism he has been ordained a priest. Yesterday, I was able to pass the sacrament and he was one of the ones who blessed it. It was awesome to work together with him--I just baptized him a couple months ago!!

Adorable Testimony: We've been making an extra effort to involve the ward in our work. We are always inviting the members to the programs. (It's awesome.) We had a deacon help us out over the weekend and yesterday during testimony meeting, he got up and shared an adorable testimony about how he loves when the missionaries invite him to programs and how he feels like he learns a lot when he teaches with them. So cute.

Meeting of a Lifetime: Yesterday we met with a blind man who was a referral from a lady we tracted into the other week. I've never really had an experience with a blind person but this was a real eye-opener. (No pun intended.) He was one of the happiest guys I have met in weeks. He was so excited to meet with us that he waited outside of the apartment building for us. I had talked to him a few times on the phone and he knew I was American. So when we met, he shook my hand and said, "Nice to see you!!" and then chuckled to himself. He escorted us up to his apartment (unlocking two doors, going up stairs, then an elevator, etc.) it was incredible to see how easily he was able to get around. When we got in, he forgot to turn on the light and his mother finally told him, "hey!! you need to turn on the light for your guests!!" He replied with "oh! Sorry boys. I always forget... you know, because it doesn't matter to me if the light is on or not." 
Ack. He was so rad. He cracked jokes the whole night and was a great conversationalist. He showed us how he uses a computer and his cellphone. It was mind blowing. He's coming to church with us next week and I we already love meeting with him. We learned a ton in just that one program--way more than we taught him. It was for sure an experience of a life time.

Well, I love you all. Maybe Mikulás will come to you if you leave your shoes out this Thursday night. If not, experience the best gift, that is, being enlightened through reading from The Book of Mormon.

Sok Szeretettel,
Alldredge Elder