Friday, August 18, 2017

Another good week bites the dust. Tomorrow I hit my 6 month mark! It's been quite an interesting ride so far, but I'm excited to see what opportunities the next year and a half bring.

The weather is cooling down which is an incredible blessing. It's not too fun to go out and tract when it's 100+ degrees outside and very humid, so I'm very excited about the weather cooling down!

We were able to offer a few priesthood blessings this week, which is always incredible. I'm so grateful for the great gift of the priesthood. We visited an old English man named Edward Penn. He's been homebound for years and lives with a Hungarian caretaker. He doesn't speak much, or any, Hungarian so he and his caretaker can hardly communicate. His wife died years ago and he's been in this state for quite some time. I imagine he gets awfully lonely, so it's always great to be able to go and visit him. We went with an American member in the ward and brought a spiritual message and left him with a prayer and a blessing. It was a beautiful experience and I'm grateful to have been able to go.

We also visited Brother Hughes this week. He's full of wisdom and a lot of great insights. He's an inactive member who joined the church a few years ago. He used to be a world class boxing judge but now he teaches English from his apartment here in Pest. He's going in for a surgery and we offered to give him a priesthood blessing for comfort and peace. He happily agreed and told us that he needed all the help he could get. I had the privilege of offering the blessing and it was a great experience.

Never before have I felt or seen any manifestation of power so great as I have through the use of the priesthood in my life. I remember on several occasions, asking my dad to lay his hands on my head to give me blessings of healing and comfort and I'm so grateful for those memories and experiences. I'll never forget when I was given the Melchizedek priesthood. I felt the love of my Heavenly Father pour into my body as those worthy men, each one a good friend of mine, laid their hands on my head and bestowed this great gift to me. I simply cannot deny the power that I felt that day. I'll never forget the first blessings I was able to give. I remember being terrified, walking into the bathroom to offer up a silent prayer for help. I felt peace and comfort as I laid my hands on the heads of my family members and spoke words of comfort to them. In no way am I trying to get praise through sharing these experiences, but rather I want to focus your attention on our loving Heavenly Father. He has given us this great gift, the priesthood, which when used righteously can bless our lives in ways that nothing else can. What a wonderful gift is the priesthood!

In other news, we were able to attend a fireside where some returned missionaries who served here 30 years ago when the country officially opened up for missionaries came and spoke to us. It was really cool to hear of their experiences and stories. Back then, they couldn't wear name tags, there were only 100 members or so, and they met in the apartment of the Elders!

This Sunday was pretty interesting. None of the members of the bishopric were able to attend, so the High Priest group leader conducted and presided. It was pretty interesting and I've never seen it happen before!

We also tracted into a house which said "Bomb Detection KFT" on the bell. When we rang, a few seconds later, the gate unlocked and opened, but nobody was there. A few seconds after that, a small man came out and started spouting Russian at us. Somehow, we gathered that he wasn't too happy to see us, nor was he interested in our message. It was really strange, but we laughed pretty hard about it.

We also accidentally locked our keys in the church building when nobody else was around. We were on our way home from tracting and I really had to use the bathroom (this seems to be a recurring theme of my mission...) and so we stopped in the church building to use it. I was in such a hurry to get to the bathroom that I threw my bag and the keys onto a table in the hallway. On our way out, I grabbed my bag... but it wasn't until we got all the way back to our apartment that I realized that I had left the keys on the table. Luckily, there was a light on in the building when we got back! A member, Tibor, had stopped in to grab some paperwork after we had left for home, and he happily let us in. It was a cool little tender mercy to see!

That's about all that I can think of for this week. It was a good one! I hope you all have a fantastic week as well. Remember to have faith, have hope, live like His Son, and help others on their way!

Sok szeretettel,

Burnett Elder

Hungarian word of the week is "űrhajo" which means "spaceship". "Űr" can mean void and "hajo" can  be ship or boat, so when I first read it I thought that they called them voidboats.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

This week, I am grateful for rain. I feel like I've been thrown into an oven and there is no escape from the heat, besides the rain.  It's been raining since yesterday, keeping the temperature and a really nice 23 degrees!

We had a lot of good teaching opportunities this week and I've been feeling much better about the language. Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts!

One night, as we were laying in bed trying our best to fall asleep in the heat, the power went out and our fan died, so that was fun! Also here's a quick, moderately funny story:

We go to the international ward, where they speak English and Hungarian, so we get a lot of visitors. Last Sunday, a girl in her 20's bore her testimony in Sacrament meeting. One of the first things she said, referring to the previous woman who had born her testimony, was,"That was my mother in law who just bore her testimony..." My companion was pretty disappointed to find out she was married hahahaha.

I got kicked out of a building for the first time so that was exciting. It amazes me how offended people get that two 19 year old boys would try to share a message about the thing they hold most dear to their hearts. A simple "no" is never enough for some people!

Well, I know that more things happened this week but I legitimately can't think of anything more to write about, so I'll share a Spiritual thought I had this week.
Lots of paper work:

My favorite hymn of all time is "He Sent His Son". My favorite part of the song is the ending line, which says, "What does the Father ask of us? What do the scriptures say? Have faith. Have hope. Live like His Son. Help others on their way." It's hard for me to contain my emotions as I listen to those words. The things we are asked to do are simple. Have faith. Have hope. Live like His Son. Help others on their way. I have kind of made this the theme of my mission. As we constantly strive to live better lives, may we have faith, have hope, live like His Son, and help others on their way! In the words of President Thomas S. Monson, "Unless we lose ourselves in the service of others, there is little purpose to our own lives."

Cool building:
I know that my Savior lives. I know that because He lives and loves me, I can live with my family forever. I am so grateful for the peace and joy that the gospel of Jesus Christ has brought into my life. Life is good!

Sok szeretettel,

Burnett Elder

Hungarian word of the week is "faház". Fa means "tree" and ház means "house" but the compound word "faház" means cabin, which I thought was pretty funny.

Made a new friend:

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

From the rolling hills of Kistarcsa to the winding cobblestone roads of Vác, this week was full of good times and great memories. The weather is getting insanely hot. Tomorrow it will be 43 degrees Celsius (109 fahrenheit!) with the normal Hungarian Humidity. Pray for us.

We were able to meet with a new family (the one we found last week when we rang her csengő and she said she had been wanting to meet with us again) and Irén said that she would be baptized happily if she could just understand the law of tithing. We're very excited about having discussions with her and her little family and hope that the Spirit will be able to teach her the importance and truthfulness of these things.

An appropriate sign:

We did a lot of tracting in little villages outside of Budapest this week and one day, we were having a particularly hard time talking with anybody. Everyone seemed so angry and quick to slam their doors. Anyways, at the end of the day, one of the last people we talked to said that the JWs had just tracted that street THE SAME DAY! It explained everything and we felt pretty bad about the disturbance. Oh well! On our way home that day, we got on the hév (basically a smaller train) and we saw a bunch of people wearing formula 1 gear. I guess there was a huge event that had just gotten out and a bunch of fans and even some crew members were riding on the train with us, so that was pretty cool.

We also had the opportunity to attend a zone conference where we received counsel and training from the zone leaders and our mission president. One thing that we talked about that I really liked was how we need to always behave in a way that the Spirit will be with us at all times. The Spirit is not just an old sweater that we can take off and quickly throw on as we rush out the door to teach a lesson.

I know that we will receive blessings and see miracles in our lives as we press forward with faith in all that we do. We must humbly serve others and act as Jesus Christ would act. This will lead us to have fulfilling and happy lives. I have seen it in my life and in the lives of others!

We went home teaching with one of the most Christlike people I've ever met. His name is Tibor and he looks a lot like Jim Carrey. We were going to home teach a less active member who hasn't come to church in 2 years. Tibor speaks English very well so we were talking about a lot of different things as we rode the train to our home teaching appointment. We talked about books and movies and he was always connecting them to the gospel and to real life. It was amazing because he just radiated faith and you could tell that he was very passionate about what he was talking about and what he believed in. When we got to the teaching appointment, I was shocked by Tibor's patience. He came to home teach this less active man every month, and the less active man basically just had Tibor fill out paperwork for him the whole time. The man seemed demanding and impatient, yet Tibor helped him fill out the paperwork and afterward shared a beautiful spiritual message. Tibor also did what I think was the most Christlike thing and told the man that he would have to start doing some of these things on his own. The Church is a great resource for help, but it is not a means of getting your chores done for free. I was just very impressed by Tibor and his faith and action and for the way that he taught this other man with love and kindness. May we all follow his example, and more importantly the example of our Savior, and reach out to everyone with love and kindness, no matter how hard it may seem. Replace hate with love, anger with kindness, frustration with patience, quick judgement with caring, and we will make a difference in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. I know that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ restored again on the earth and lead by a prophet, called of God. I love the gospel and the peace that it brings into my life. May we always strive to share that with others!

Sok szeretettel,

Burnett Elder

I'll do a sentence this week: Legyen nagyon jó heted! means Have a good week!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Hey everyone! Another crazy week full of surprises, miracles, and more surprises!

First of all, let's talk about some miracles that we saw this week, and one that I forgot to mention last week. This was last weeks miracle that somehow slipped my mind:

We were looking through our area book and found the name of a less active member who hadn't been to church in a really long time. We decided to go to her house and see if we could help her with anything. When we got to her house, someone answered and told us that the woman we were looking for didn't live there anymore. Anyways, a week or so passes by and Margit, a ward missionary here in Pest, calls us and tells us that she set up a lesson for us with a less active member. We were grateful for her setting up this lesson, but didn't think too much of it. During the lesson, this less active woman mentioned that lately she had been feeling like she needed to come back to church. She was really unsure and said that she would come back to church if she got a sign. That same day, her son called her and told her that two young men from the Mormon church came looking for her! Then, she went looking for a phone number that she could call, found Margit's number, and went to call it when suddenly Margit called her! Margit had been feeling like she should call this less active member and ask her how she was doing and all of this led to our little meeting! It was so cool! Such an amazing miracle. This less active member has been coming to church and she also wants us to teach her family! Let me just tell you, I felt like we were living an Ensign story.

A car blew up (admittedly random placement in this blog):

This week we also saw some really cool miracles! Yesterday, we decided to look up a former investigator who we found in the area book. On our way over to their apartment, a woman stopped us in the street and told us that she had met with Mormon missionaries almost 20 years ago! She said that she wanted to come back to church and start meeting with us again and she gave us her phone number. It was really awesome! We didn't even have to do anything but be at the right place at the right time! Then, we continued on to finish our look up. We got to the 10 story where our former investigator lived, and we rang the csengő, but nobody answered. As we were walking away, a woman called out to us from across the street. We walked over to her and she asked, "Were you ringing (her door number)? Cause that's me! I was just thinking about you guys this morning." Then we had a nice conversation and set up a time to come back and teach her and her family. What a miracle!

As far as fun things this week, we got to go to the Fina world championships (for some swimming events) and watch some preliminary matches for free, which was super fun! It was like being at the Olympics! We got to cheer on Katie Ledecky and were the only ones cheering for her, since we were pretty much the only Americans there. Anyways it was a fun and unique experience to be there.

Recently I've been studying from the Teachings of the Prophets: President Gordon B Hinckley manual and it is phenomenal. If you haven't read much from it, I highly encourage doing so. His words are so powerful and applicable to our lives. I really admire his consistent positive outlook on life. He offers great counsel on how to develop a positive lifestyle with a focus on serving others and dedicating our lives to service to the Lord. There is great strength to be found in the scriptures, and the words of modern prophets are indeed modern scriptures! I love the Gospel. It just makes so much sense. I'm so grateful for the guidance and counsel that we can find through the words of prophets of old as well as prophets in our own day! We are a blessed people with a unique privilege to live in a day when the fullness of the Gospel is restored to the Earth.

Until next week!

Burnett Elder

Hungarian word of the week is just a random word: Barack. It means apricot. Hungarians think its really funny because of Barack Obama!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

This was probably one of the craziest weeks of my life. We met with an FBI agent, a world class boxing judge, and a super cool new family!

So I'll start with the weirdest day ever. Last Tuesday, right after emailing, we were looking for a place to eat. I was having trouble deciding, since I don't understand half of what's written on any menu, when suddenly we heard someone shouting, "Salt Lake City! Utah Jazz! Salt Lake City!" We turned to see one of the most energetic old men I've ever seen in my life. He spoke a million miles an hour. He asked us if we were from Utah, we explained to him that neither of us were, and then he went on his way saying, "Bye bye, good luck! Bye bye good luck!" We returned our focus to finding me something to eat. Within 30 seconds, he was back and he was just spitting Hungarian faster than I've ever heard. Even Elder Harris was having trouble keeping up! We misunderstood him and thought he was asking us for food, so Elder Harris offered him a slice of pizza that he had just gotten for himself, but the random old guy was like, "Nooo, I want to buy YOU lunch! What do you want?" I was stunned and just said, "Nem tudom!" (I don't know) So he took my arm, brought me over to a burger stand, commanded the people to make two burgers with everything on it, quick and clean. It was super nice of him and he kept trying to speak English with us. He was like. "Sprite? Sprite? You can't have burger without Sprite!" While we were eating, he started talking about how he had met the missionaries once. He was Roman Catholic and believed in being nice to everybody. We taught him that when we serve others, we serve God, and that we really appreciated his kindness. He started singing "I am a Child of God" which was super funny! He said that he wanted to meet us at the same time, same place, next week so we'll see him tomorrow again I guess. It was just the weirdest, nicest thing ever! 

Winter Coat

Winter Coat in action

So many other weird things happened this week, so I'll just list a few good ones:
-We were given a JW bible by a man who let us in to talk, but he ended up being super cool and introduced us to his family. His grandkids were 8 and 10 year old boys and they were super talkative and sassy. So cute! We saw the kids again the next day while tracting!
-Elder Harris fell under a bus because he slipped on some gravel. It was a parked bus, so he's fine! I laughed way harder than I probably should have.
-Some of our investigators asked us if we could go to Romania with them. Sorry, not allowed.
-Some guy tried to sell us fidget spinners on a bus. Elder Harris bought them and gave the guy a Book of Mormon. Sell to the salesman!
-I accidentally bought the worlds biggest hot dog thinking that it was ground beef.

Butcher Shop

Celebrating the 4th of July with Ikea Hot Dogs

-We found some JW cd's in our apartment. They're all in Hungarian sign language!
-We also found a cd labeled "classical tidbits" full of intense orchestral music. It goes great with the JW sign language videos!
-We were at the Hivatal (immigration office) and as we were coming home, we got on this super crowded bus. The other Elders told me to hit the stop request button, to let the driver know that we wanted to get off at the next stop. Instead of hitting the normal stop button, I accidentally hit the emergency stop button! The bus came to a screeching halt and the bus driver asked us if everything was okay. We were all fine, I was just really embarrassed!

Modern architecture

One Hundred thousand billion pengo

For some strange reason, people have just been approaching us and talking with us this week. I think on around 6 or 7 different occasions, people just came up to us and started talking about random stuff. We are joking about how it's because Elder Harris got some new hair gel that says "irresistible power" on it. Speaking of funny English translations, I uploaded some pictures of some hilarious bootleg toys we found at a store.

We were able to go home teaching at the Snyder's house in Buda. Brother Snyder is in the FBI and had some CRAZY cool stories. We also met with a less active member named Greg Hughes. He's 80 years old and still in great shape. He was a world class boxing judge, art teacher, English teacher, and karate instructor! He's a super cool guy, but he believes in a weird mix between the Mormon church, Catholicism, and Zen Buddhism. We're going to start bringing him the sacrament each Sunday and I'm really excited!

That's about all I can think of for this week. Before I finish, I just want to encourage you all to look up the talk by President Uchtdorf called "The Best Time to Plant a Tree". It's a great talk about becoming who our Heavenly Father knows we can become.

"The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now."

Sok szeretettel,

Burnett Elder

Hungarian word of the week: fájdalomcsillapitó which means liquid medicine.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sziasztok! Another fantastic week has come and gone in the good 'Ol Magyarország! We had some interesting ups and downs this week. We were dropped by one of our investigators who we thought had a lot of potential, and we were able to meet some cool new potential investigators! One of them was a young guy, probably around 20 to 12, named Oliver. He answered the door wearing nothing but his underwear. At the front gate, he interrupted us and said, "You probably get super hot and thirsty while you're out here tracting. Do you want some water?" Of course we accepted. He ran back inside and returned with some extremely refreshing water, and we continued our conversation. Oliver had just recently had a dental operation, so he wasn't feeling super well, but he invited us back next week! We exchanged phone numbers and set up to meet with him again. I'm super excited!

Another funny story that happened this week: I gave my first talk in sacrament meeting! It was all in Hungarian, and I think I did a pretty good job of it. I wrote it in English first, and with the help of my companion, translated it into Hungarian. But that's not all... the BYU Cougarettes were also in town and came to our ward! It gets even better, if you can believe it. As I was sitting up on the stand, my stomach started to hurt super badly. I have had a terrible diet consisting mostly of dairy and fruit (I know, I'm a genius) and it struck me at the worst time possible. I patiently waited for the bishop to finish the announcements, and as soon as the opening hymn started, I speed walked out of the chapel in Olympic record time, motioning for my companion to come with me as I walked out. Sound familiar? Almost the exact same thing happened at my farewell talk! Anyways, everything worked out and my bowels dwelt in peace for a season as I delivered my address. It was a pretty eventful sacrament meeting!

I wanted to share a few quick spiritual thoughts with you all. One of my favorite Book of Mormon prophets is Alma the younger. In Alma chapter 36, he offers some great advice to his son, Helaman, which can apply to all of us. I particularly like Alma's display of faith in Jesus Christ. He states with power that he has a testimony of our Savior and his redeeming grace. He talks about how he knows that as we put our trust in the Lord, we will be supported in our trials. I know that I'm only 19 years old, but I've definitely seen the hand of the Lord in my life in this way. I know that as we put our trust in Him, we can receive blessings and comfort no matter what we are going through. I just love the strength that we can receive as we study the words of the prophets of old. On that note, have you read the newest Liahona? I highly recommend checking those out. They are full of great stories, advice, and encouragement.

I love you all and hope that you have a wonderful week!

Sok szeretettel,
Burnett Elder

p.s. The Hungarian word of the week is one I heard at church and it made me laugh out loud. It is pipa, pronounced pee paw and it means check mark!

Monday, July 3, 2017

A week into the second transfer and so far it has been SO good. Elder Harris and I get along super well and we have a lot in common.

*Saying Goodbye to Jones, a great trainer*
The work is going wonderfully as well. We had 3 new investigators and a really cool potential investigator this week. Robi and Győngyi are a Romanian couple (shout out to Corinne! p.s. happy 1 year together, you're the best!) and they are incredible!We met them through our English class and they were really interested in learning more about the Church. We had a great program at their house and they asked some crazy hard, but good, questions. After our lesson, they gave us some weird Romanian snack which was basically like a bag of pre-stale Cheetos that had the texture of a packing peanut. They were surprisingly good! Our 3rd investigator is a nice bácsi (grandpa?) who lives in a nice little city called Vác.

Other notable things that happened this week worth mentioning: We saw a really cool house which ended up being a chocolate museum, we ate some really sketchy but delicious Chinese food at a little hole-in-the-wall buffet where they reheated our food in the microwave, we went to a super cool escape room with Zsolt, Marton, and Marton's girlfriend, and I got to see my MTC district again!

On my mission, I have learned that you don't have to be a missionary to do missionary work. I feel like most members, including myself, want to share the Gospel with others, but they're afraid or uncertain as to how. I wish that somebody would have pushed me to be a better missionary and to learn how to teach and share the Gospel before my mission because I've learned how easy and rewarding it can be. You don't need to go and preach door to door, but you can easily find ways in your every day life to share the Gospel with your friends and associates. You can just share simple truths and your testimony of those things which have blessed your life and which you know are true. Don't be afraid to share what you know to be right. You will never regret sharing your testimony and you will always have Heavenly help. You never know how much one simple message can change someone's life for eternity! Trust me.

Parker says "This guy turned on sprinklers"

Sok szeretettel,

Burnett Elder

P.s. Hungarian word of the week will be megrövidebbítendő which means "to be shortened", ironically.

Throwback photo:  Man, things have changed.  Here's Parker and his brother Davis in their "cool hair" phase.