Monday, September 25, 2017

We had another solid week here in Veszprém! Both of us got pretty sick, so we spent some time resting and recovering, but we still got out and worked hard. It's actually kind of funny because the Hungarians are all convinced that if you don't wear a coat at all times, you're going to catch a cold. Well, guess who else caught colds? All of the Hungarians. They kept on nagging Elder Biesinger to wear a coat, and they were always saying that I was the smart one because I always wore my coat, then, ironically, I caught a cold first and Elder Biesinger was fine. Since we spend 24 hours a day together, it was only a matter of time before my cold spread to him. Poor elder. I feel bad, but I tried so hard not to spread it!

Besides getting sick, we also had zone conference which was great. We are implementing self reliance classes that we will be teaching each week, so that should be fun. We are also focusing a bit more on family history as a way to find people this transfer. I'm personally pretty excited about it! People love to talk about their families, especially the nénis.

We had a soccer match with one of our investigators and some of the Veszprém youth. It was half court and poor Elder Biesinger was all time goalie. He got smacked pretty good a few times and the soccer ball we used was NOT soft!

My first week here in Veszprém, we tracted into a woman who happily let us in. Her name is Udit. She's a teacher and last time we came over we had a great conversation, gave her a Book of Mormon, got stuffed to the brim with fruit, and she sent us off with two jars of jam. Well, we asked her if she wanted to meet again sometime and she said she would call us after talking with her husband. Guess who called this week? UDIT! She invited us over for dinner and that's where we ate last night. We had stuffed peppers and stuffed rolls (Hungarians love to stuff stuff) and it was delicious. After that, János (Udit's husband) showed us his coin/currency collection, which was incredibly impressive. He had one of every bill that Hungary has pretty much ever had, or at least that's what it seemed like to me. He told us the history of the currency of Hungary and all sorts of cool stuff. He had some coins which were used in the year 1000! It was crazy!

Fun fact, Hungary had the worst year of inflation in recorded history, according to János, when they used the "Pengő". In ONE YEAR, they went from using one pengő bills, to ONE-HUNDRED-MILLION-TRILLION pengő notes. I thought it was just a myth until I saw the notes myself. In 1946, one U.S. dollar was worth 460,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 pengő. That's pretty bad. After the forint was introduced, they literally just swept the pengő up in the streets because it was worthless.

We also talked about family history with them and they're really excited about it! We're going to come back to talk about family history and why we focus so much on it in our church. I'm super excited!

I just wanted to say thank you all for your love and support. It means a lot to me! I hope you all have a wonderful week! My unsolicited advice for the week is to look up at the sky more. It's pretty dang pretty sometimes!

Sok szeretettel,

Burnett Elder

Hungarian word of the week: "Meg fogsz fázni!" which means "You're going to freeze/catch a cold!" We hear that about a million times any time we walk outside without a coat on.

Monday, September 18, 2017

We had a pretty good week which included splits with the Székesfehérvár elders, apple pie, and meeting some really amazing people! 

While we were on splits, both companionships were able to get let in and teach a short lesson. Both companionships were also able to collect some contact information and we're going to go back to visit both of the people we found this week! The other elders got let in by an older woman who told them that when we come back, she's going to try to trick people into coming over so that we can teach them. She said she'll invite some youth over for dinner, without telling them that we're going to be there, and then surprise them with a spiritual lesson hahahaha. Her reasoning was that youth these days don't want anything to do with religion and it makes her really sad so she wants us to teach them and be good examples to them. I don't really know what we're supposed to do in this situation, but this should be pretty interesting.

Some pics of what an apartment in Hungary looks like:

The woman who came to our fireside a few weeks ago (or maybe last week, idk time is hard to remember sometimes) has been coming to church and staying the whole time. She said that she just feels like she's home when she's here with us. Can you say golden? She's such a sweetheart and we're going to meet with her on Thursday.

The weather has been pretty rainy and cold, but I'm not complaining. It's better than the blazing heat if you ask me. A few nights ago, there was a huge bolt of lightning which struck closer than I've ever seen before. I've never heard a more intense clap of thunder either! It was so close that our power went out for a split second. I love stormy weather!

I was also reading out of the Liahona and came across one of my favorite talks of all time: Stand Up Inside and Be All In by Elder Gary B Sabin. It's a super good talk full of humor and great teachings. If you have 5 minutes, go read it. You'll surely get something out of it.

I am so excited for the next session of General Conference. We are so blessed to be able to receive modern day revelation through a living prophet! It's a huge testiment to me that this is the Lord's true church on the earth. We can gain so much from studying the words of the Prophet and Apostles. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Sok szeretettel,

Burnett Elder

Hungarian word for this week: Aranyhaj és a Nagy Gubanc. This translates to "Golden-hair and the Big Tangle" which is how they translate the movie title "Tangled".

Friday, September 15, 2017

Well, we had another pretty good week here in Veszprém! I'm really loving it here!

We went to a little village called Berhida about 30 minutes outside of Veszprém to have dinner with a cute little néni named Erzsika. We got STUFFED! Her house was interesting because all of the doorways were about 6 feet tall at their highest points, so I had to duck under every doorway. The house was on a big plot of land, with lots of fields and farmland. Erzsi was telling us that they recently harvested whatever crop was being grown in the fields out back and then it rained really hard. She said that the rain had caused a handgrenade from World War II to surface in her field! She called the local police and they came and roped off the area and then put a big rock on top of the grenade until further notice. I guess that's probably the best solution for now, considering Berhida probably doesn't have a bomb squad. We laughed pretty hard about it. Erzsika also has an ancient dog named Pongo. He's 17 years old and looks like a bad taxidermy!

While we were there, we ate sandwiches with peppers, cheese, and lunch meats. Then we had a little spiritual thought and after we finished, we went back in for the main course. She started us off with a bowl of home made chicken noodle soup, then stuffed peppers (imagine bell peppers stuffed with a meat loaf type thing, drenched in a tomato based sauce), and then finally lángos (fried bread with sour cream, garlic, and cheese). It was so delicious, but I was painfully full! Erzsi told us that now we would never have to tell anybody that we starved in Hungary (no pun intended, Hungary in Hungarian is Magyarország).

We also went tableing with some members and it was great! We were advertising a fireside that would be happening on Saturday where we would discuss the Plan of Salvation. Elder Biesinger and I had a small part where we explained what happened in the pre-earth life. Only one investigator showed up, but that one investigator loved it! She was an older woman who says she was Roman Catholic. She participated the whole time, answeing questions and even asking some. The next day, she came to church and stayed for all 3 hours and we set up to meet with her this week! It was very cool.

One thing that I learned this week is that pride is a very misunderstood sin. A lot of people think that pride is just thinking that you're better than everyone else, constantly being competitive in everything you do, and finding joy in being above the rest, but there is another part to pride which we often overlook, in my opinion. Pride also includes putting our own will above the will of others, including God's. A prideful person has the attitude of, "My will be done, not Thine." When we are prideful, we sit and wish that God's will would just change to allign with ours. We may justify our wrongful behavior, thinking that our ways are greater than God's ways. We may receive a clear answer to our prayers, yet refuse to accept it because it wasn't what we expected. When we receive an answer and refuse to act on it, we are doubting God in a prideful way. I had never really thought of pride in this way until this week. We need to trust in God and His perfect plan. We need to be willing to act with faith, doubting nothing, even if we may not understand. We need to obey with exactness and never justify our wrong behaviors. If we do this, we will show God that we love Him and we will show meekness and humility. I know that God's plan is perfect. I know that He loves us and knows each of us personally. We will be blessed as we say, "Not my will be done, oh Lord, but Thine."

I hope you all have a great week! Stay strong and always look for a reason to be happy.

Sok szeretettel,

Burnett Elder

I learned a pretty funny saying this week while we were eating at Erzsi néni's house. "Tele vagyok, mint a déli busz." Which means, "I'm as full as the noon bus!"

Monday, September 4, 2017

I'm here in Veszprém now and things are going great! It's super pretty here and I'm really glad to be outside of Budapest for a bit. It's so green here and there are so many beautiful buildings and rolling hills. We have a pretty good sized branch here. There were 37 people at church! Everyone is so nice! We got 3 dinner appointments for this week within 5 minutes of walking in the door. It was fast Sunday so I got up and bore my testimony and introduced myself a little bit. I just know it's going to be a great transfer!

My new companion is Elder Biesinger by the way. He's awesome and we get along super well. He's really funny and he's a great cook! I'm so blessed to be here serving with him! He's also great at asking questions and he's always interested in learning more about what interests me, which I find very nice.

Our apartment is great! Much nicer than the apartment in Pest, in my opinion. I didn't take any pictures this week, since everything was kind of scattered everywhere after the move, but I'll be sure to have some pictures next week. We have a working washing machine so no more hand washing all of our dishes! Also, the shower doesn't have a shower curtain, which is kind of interesting. I was pretty worried about it, but Elder Biesinger very kindly said, "Don't worry about it so much. Water will get out, but that's why the towel is there."

Sometimes I find myself feeling overly critical of myself and feeling frustrated at my imperfections. I get pretty stressed out when things don't go right, and as I was taking a shower, the thought came into my mind, "Don't worry about it so much. Water will get out, but that's why the towel is there. Don't worry about everything so much. You're going to make mistakes, but that's why the Savior is there." I never thought that I would be comparing the Savior to a towel, but there you go. It definitely brought me peace.

So we don't have any investigators right now, but we set a goal in faith to find at least one person to teach this week. When we went out, we just kind of went to a random street and started tracting. A lot of the people here have already been tracted into, but we're going to give them all another opportunity, just in case. The first day, the last door we tracted into was a middle aged woman who was super excited to see us. Her name is Udit and she is a teacher at some sort of school (I didn't really understand all that well, to be honest). She said that she used to have missionaries over, but she hasn't seen them in a long time. She let us in and we talked on her porch, surrounded by a beautiful garden. We talked about her beliefs and we were able to teach her about the Restoration and give her a Book of Mormon. She was just incredibly nice, and brought us a ton of fruit and drinks. Everytime I stopped eating her grapes, even for a minute, she would say, "Go ahead, eat the grapes! Eat them!" it was super funny. She insisted on giving us something in exchange for the book, but we assured her that we had plenty of them and that it was truly free. She wouldn't have it that way though, so she gave us two jars of jam made from home grown fruit. Before we left, she asked us, "So do you usually come back?" We misunderstood and thought she was asking if we usually go back to a city that we have already served in, but she said, "Like, do you come back to people's houses to talk with them?" and we just looked at eachother and had this moment of nonverbal communication where we both telepathically said, "Is this really happening?" Then we told her we would love to come back and she said she would call us after she talks with her husband. It was one of the most pleasant lessons I've ever had and she may become a new investigator!

I'm just loving it here. It's different, for sure, but it's great. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve a mission. It has changed me in ways I didn't think were possible! I'm so grateful for the gospel in my life. I just feel so blessed. Thank you all for your love and support! 

Sok szeretettel,

Burnett Elder

Hungarian word of the week: "vörösáfonya" means "cranberry" but directly translates to "red blueberry"