Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Whew, transfer 2 is finished and my journey will be continuing in Veszprém! I'm super excited to get out of the big city and see some more of what Hungary has to offer. I'm leaving tomorrow to meet my new companion and my new home. I'm so excited!

This week was just a blast. It was Elder Harris's birthday and we got permission to go to a pinball museum, which was super cool. I even got a picture with my childhood hero, Darth Maul! I don't know why, but for as far back as I can remember, he's always been one of my favorite characters to ever exist in anything... Anyways, we had a great time at the pinball museum!

We also got to witness the baptism of Varga Krisztian! Elder Harris actually performed the baptism and everything went well. Elder Harris said he was kind of nervous and accidentally did it "too hard" and so we were laughing pretty hard about that. Krisztian bore his testimony after and it was just so powerful. The Lord really does prepare the hearts of people, and sometimes they find us!

We also got to go on splits twice, which is always a good time. We got to do some creative finding and actually had a really crazy experience while doing so. Here's a bit of context: I was going on splits with Elder Aardema and we had a lesson planned with Agi (another investigator with a baptismal date for the end of September!) and our member present cancelled on us. We called 5 or 6 people to try to find a replacement, but nobody could come. We called Agi and told her that we would just have to meet in a public place like a park or something, and it was no real problem. Anyways, after all of that happened, we decided to take a giant whiteboard and draw out the Plan of Salvation and the 3 big questions on it. We took the big whiteboard out to a high traffic area and started trying to talk with people. We had a few rough rejections, but for the most part it was pretty good! Then, all of the sudden a 20 year old guy came up to us and told us that he used to meet with the missionaries. After a little conversation, we found out that he was actually baptized back in 2010 and hadn't been to church in a while. He was a little bit awkward, and just kind of stood there while we continued trying to talk with people. After a little bit, we thought... well, this guy is a member and we need a member to go teach Agi with us so.... we asked him to come with us and he agreed! Then we had a great lesson with Agi and the guy actually came tracting with us. It was just a really random and pretty crazy experience.

On a more spiritual note, I've been thinking a lot about my Heavenly Father and His plan for me. I know that there is a plan for all of us, I really do know it. It is perfect. Sometimes it may be hard for us to see why things are happening the way that they are, but we just need to have trust in the Lord and in our Father in Heaven. We can read so many examples of how people pressed forward with faith and received incredible blessings after some really hard trials. Whenever I feel like I'm struggling, I just think, "Well, a big blessing must be coming!" and that tends to be true. For example, we were out tracting the other day and house after house, people were just rejecting us and being pretty brutal for no real reason. We were tired, hot, and quite frankly I was feeling discouraged. But we kept working because when things get hard, it just means that a blessing is coming! Sure enough, the last 2 doors were both really kind old women who accepted return appointments for us to give them copies of the Book of Mormon and talk more. Always trust in Heavenly help. Always push forward! We may not see immediate results, but they will surely come! I love being a missionary and I love the gospel! 

Thank you all for your love and support!

Burnett Elder

Hungarian word of the week is a funny mistake I made: "Egészségedre" means "to your health" (they use it for 'bless you' and things like that) but "EgészSEGedre" (no accent over the second e) means "to your whole butt". Just make sure you pronounce things correctly!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Well, this week just flew by. This next week is my last full week in the transfer, and there's only 4 more months until Christmas! Where is the time going?

We had a pretty productive week! I'll just share a highlight.

The sisters have been teaching a man named Krisztián who is just amazing. He found the Church through family history and requested a Book of Mormon online. The Sisters went out to teach him, since they have a car and he lives about an hour away by car, and he is just so prepared! He accepted a baptismal date on the second lesson, and he has come to church a few times now. He actively participates in meetings and shares good comments and asks questions. It's really exciting! We were able to sit in on a lesson with him, and he was always referring to the Church as "Our church" and things and it was just super awesome. He is being baptized next Saturday! We are so happy to see his progress.

My favorite thing that I have learned from Krisztián is that Gospel just makes sense. He kept saying that everything is logical in the Gospel. I love that he has that attitude because it's so true! The Gospel of Jesus Christ just takes all of the pieces of life and puts the puzzle together for us. It all makes sense. The more I study and learn about the Plan of Salvation, the more I am convinced of the perfection of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and the plan that They have laid out for us. Of course, there are things that we may have questions about, that we may not be able to answer perfectly at this time, but there is a quote that Brother Westfall always told us that I think of often: "We don't know everything, but we know enough to make the right decisions and to make it back to our Father in Heaven." Remember to always doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith! Doubt is a tool that Satan is very aware of. He has gotten pretty good at using it, and he has years of practice. Doubts can destroy testimonies if they are not addressed and taken care of. My advice to you is to always remember those basic things which you know to be true. Is the Book of Mormon true? Was Joseph Smith a true prophet, called of God? Is Thomas S. Monson a true prophet of God in our day?

If you don't know these things, seek to know them. Pray and you will know. If you seek with real intent, you will receive a witness that these things are true! If you DO already know these things, never forget them. Never forget that feeling you had when you came up out of the waters of baptism, when you felt the influence of the Holy Ghost, when you received your testimony of the Book of Mormon, or when you felt the power of the holy priesthood in your life. Never let Satan convince you that these were simply feelings created by an overstimulated imagination. They were feelings from Heaven. You knew that when you felt them, and you should know that now.

I remember when I was about 14 years old, our ward was challenged to read the entire Book of Mormon in the month of August. Of course, being a 14 year old, I felt that I had better things to do with my summer than sit and read. Yet for some reason, I felt compelled to read the book. I am so glad that I did. When I was nearing the end, I came across Moroni's promise in Moroni chapter 10, verses 3 through 5.

"Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and pnder it in your hearts.

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

And by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the truth of all things."

When I read those words, I was compelled to put them to the test. Of course, I knew already that the Book of Mormon was true. I was raised in the Church and had known it my whole life. But still, something drew me toward those words. I remember laying in my bed, holding the Book of Mormon in my hands, and offering a silent and sincer prayer in my heart, asking God if the book was true. I will never forget the feeling that came over me. It brought me to tears. I knew at that time that I held in my hands the words of God, the fullness of the Gospel, and a witness of Christ. I knew that it was true, and I still know that it is true. I know it with all of my heart, more than I know anything else. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He restored the Church in our dispensation. The Book of Mormon is true, and it is the word of God. Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God and he guides us in our day. I know that it is true!

My testimony is not enough. You too must find out for yourself if these things are not true. And remember, if they are true, then you need to act. This is my challenge for the week. Find out if it is true.

I love you all and I love this work. I wish you all the best in this coming week! Endure the heat well!

Sok szeretettel,

Burnett Elder

The Hungarian word of the week is "tűzijáték" which means "fireworks". I think it directly translates to fire games, which I think is very fitting. Yesterday was St. Stephen's day and there were a bunch of fireworks which we could watch from our kitchen window!

Funny sign at the Hungarian Mexican Restaurant:  It says, "Thank God for creating the taco".  Amen amigo.  Amen!

Parker called this one "excellent design":

Cut his tie to celebrate 6 months out.

Rocking the pompadour hair

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!