Monday, April 24, 2017

Well, I finally made it to Hungary! The journey here was rough. I went 39 hours without sleep because I couldn't sleep on the plane at all. I don't think I've ever been so tired in my entire life. We don't have a ton of time to email so I might miss some details, but overall this has been amazing. Europe is different. It's interesting to say the least. The food here is amazing and there are bakeries on every corner.

My companion is Jones Elder and we are basically the same person. He's hilarious and we share a lot of interests. He's a lot more sporty than I am, but we get along super well. It's been a blast! My first area is Pest! We are whitewashing it, meaning neither of us has served in the area before, so that's fun. We're slowly finding our way around town. We use buses to get everywhere.

Tracting is really weird because every house here in Budapest has a huge metal fence with a gate around it, so we can't knock on doors. Instead, we ring things that are like doorbells from the gate and people either answer over a speaker or they poke their head out of their door. The people here love that we're trying to learn their language. I think it makes them happy to watch us struggle with the words. Most people very kindly tell us that they are already faithful members of a different religion or they're just not interested. Of course, we also get a lot of really rude people too, but for the most part there are just a bunch of sweet little old ladies that call us adorable and tell us no thank you.

We're out of time, but just know that I'm doing great! I love you all. Thanks for everything!

Sok Szeretettel,

Burnett Elder

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The clock is ticking! We leave for Budapest next Monday and we're all so excited! We check out of the MTC at 9:50 on Monday. We'll leave the Salt Lake airport at 2:31 p.m. and arrive in Amersterdam at 8:40 the next day.Then we have a 3 hour layover in Amsterdam and we arrive in Budapest at 1:15. It's crazy to think that the next time I send out emails, it will be from somewhere in Hungary. I've grown so much in the past 2 months, it's incredible! The MTC is an amazing place and I love it here, but I'm ready for the real adventure to begin. I can't wait to just go and talk with strangers. This may sound strange, but I'm almost looking forward to my first rejection! I know that my work here at the MTC has already changed lives and helped others, but I can't wait to bring the Gospel to real people! 

Other than the excitement of getting ready to leave, there's not a whole lot else to report on. We had our first Skype TRC (TRC is where we teach volunteers who are already members of the church, usually in person, but this time over Skype) with a real Hungarian! His name was Robi and he was super cool. It was hilarious because we sat down and we were all getting ready and we were super pumped and when Robi answered, he spoke into the mic and all we heard was super loud static every time he talked. We just looked like dear in the headlights and were like "uhhhhh egy perc" (one minute) and we tried to get help, but nobody was around. We just decided to make the most of it and deliver our message. We talked about the scriptures and how it's so important to read them every single day and how doing that will help us understand our purpose in life. Even as converted members of the church, we still need to diligently seek for Spiritual nourishment. As we do this, we will receive increased power against the adversary, increased knowledge, and an increased capacity to experience joy in our lives! I know that this is true because I have seen it first hand in my life and in the lives of others! Anyways, the lesson went really well, despite the fact that it was nearly impossible to understand Robi over the piercing sound of static. I don't know how it sounded on his end, but luckily I've become a professional charades player since entering the MTC!

After Skyping with Robi, my companions and I were joking about the static saying, "I wonder what dialect that was" and joking about how we're going to get off the plane in Hungary and everyone will just speak static. I'm going to miss my companions, my district, and my zone, but there are so many more friends to be made all over!

Thank you all so much for your support and love!

Sok Szeretettel, (I know I spelled it right this time!)

Burnett Elder

Hungarian word of the week is pattogatott kukorica (pronounced potto-gottoat kookor-eats-ah) which means popcorn! The Albanian teacher, Motra (sister) Tanner, has gotten really close with the Hungarians since there aren't any Albanian elders currently. She made us all spicy popcorn and we had a little picnic!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Szia emberek!

This week has been pretty fantastic. My companion went home last Wednesday, leaving me in a tri-panionship. It has been strange, but good. I wish my old companion all the best! He's an amazing man who loves God and I know he will continue to help others come unto Christ no matter where he goes! As far as the tri-panionship goes, its been a ton of fun! I love it here. It's crazy to think that in just 2 short weeks, I'll be in Hungary somewhere, surrounded by all new people! I have enjoyed my stay here at the MTC thoroughly, but I am very eager to get out and serve the people of Hungary. I'm not going to lie, I'm also looking forward to Hungarian food!

Watching General Conference at the MTC was a unique experience. All of the missionaries just sit in the gym as if it was a devotional and the broadcast is displayed on several screens. It wasn't much different than watching the priesthood session at the church. We sat with our zone and played Conference Bingo (thanks Corinne) and it was a lot of fun. After each session, we went back to our classrooms to have a review. The sisters watched the general women's session while the elders watched the priesthood session. It was really cool to see Joaquin E. Costa and S. Mark Palmer, because both of them came and spoke to us at the MTC recently! The sessions seemed to go by pretty quickly, but the days felt really long. On Sunday, we had 2 sessions of conference, a devotional, and a film that we had to watch. We were sitting from about 9:30 am to 9 at night! I'm so grateful that I was able to be here for General Conference. I feel as if I was able to appreciate the messages on a much deeper level than I ever could at home.

On Sunday, I got to celebrate my birthday! It was so amazing. I seriously have the best district ever. Also shout out to Corinne for all of the effort she put into getting me a gift this year! It was so sweet of her!

Last night, as I was writing in my journal, Elder Bond, who is going to serve in Korea, came into my room with a little bag. He told me that this bag had been handed down from generation to generation since last November at least. In the bag was a symphony bar of unknown age or origin, and Fred. Fred is a giant, dead tarantula who has been kept for who knows how long! So yeah, I guess that's pretty fun.

It's amazing how much I've grown already. The experiences available through serving a mission will be the best for your life without a doubt. Just for fun and practice, we go street contacting here at the MTC for 15 minutes a day. First of all, it's a great time, second of all, what kind of missionary is going to tell you they don't want to hear a message from you? It's perfect hahaha. I haven't yet shared a message with another missionary without seeing their countenances brightened with a renewed feeling of hope, happiness, or desire to serve! The Spirit can work through us to uplift anybody, and it's really incredible. I encourage everyone to be bold this week. Just try it! Next time you're waiting in line at the store, filling your car up, or find yourself in awkward silence next to a stranger, try to talk with them. It doesn't even have to be about the Gospel. Just see how you can brighten their day! As you make an effort to do so, you'll feel happier, guaranteed. Even if they want nothing to do with you!

I wish you all the best in this coming week! Recognize the hand of the Lord in your life every day, and you will realize how richly blessed we each are, even in times of affliction.

Sok szerettetel,

Burnett Elder

Hungarian word of the week is türelem which means patience. I've been studying patience a lot since being here, and I can't stress enough how important and helpful it is!