Called to serve Feb 2016

Monday, 26 September 2016

Stringham, we need to Go, Now!

Sziasztok kedves barátaim!

So first of all, I don't know how big of news this actually made, but there was an explosion here in Budapest on Saturday night from a person setting off a homemade explosive device. It really wasn't a big deal, there were a couple of police officers injured in the blast but it was late at night so all of us missionaries are fine and it really wasn't that close to us at all. We just have to follow the security guidelines and avoid a few really popular areas, but we'll be fine.

  Monday was fun, first we had a nice little district lunch at a cool milk bar just around the corner from where I live and then we headed over to Hero Square, but it started raining so we kind of all just got wet instead, but it was still super fun.
  Tuesday was absolutely terrifying. So for a couple weeks we've been being told to review the safety guidelines and emergency procedures, which I was doing on Tuesday morning. So at breakfast I was discussing with Elder Stringham why I am not prepared for an emergency, only to then go check the phone and see a message telling us to pack and prepare to evacuate the city. So within 90 minutes we had the entire apartment packed to then receive another message telling us to get to the closest branch house immediately (hence the subject of this email). When we arrived we were then told that it was actually a drill just to see how prepared we would be and what we could change for a real situation. So that was pretty insane and we had a fun time unpacking everything again later on in the day.
  Friday we headed over to our favourite little town of Budaörs, nothing too crazy happened there but we did get to tract a super cool street up to the top of this hill and we got a super cool view of the whole city. We also got to have Ikea for dinner which is always nice haha.
 Saturday we had a teaching with our one and only investigator, János. The only problem was that when we arrived he was acting really strange and we're pretty sure that he was high on some sort of drug, so we got a lot of really strange questions such as "What's in Australia?" or "what kind of fish do you have in Australia?" even "If there was a spider on your tie and it climbed up and bit your nose what would you do?". So, yeah, it was a very strange teaching.
  Sunday, was pretty normal, just church and the whole stuff with the explosion, but it was good still.
  Oh yeah, I also managed to find an "Australian" football in a random store this week. I'm pretty sure it was just a leather rugby ball and Hungarians aren't great at making footballs, so it ended up being basically an Australian football. It was used and kind of dirty, but I still bought it, no regrets, it's the closest thing I've got.

Hope you all are having a great time back home!

Szeretlek bennetek! 

- McKim Elder

                                                                                           Milk Bar

                                                 View from the street while tracting

                       Dog that kind of looked like a small bear, Hungarian breed called Puli (Pool-y).



Before you all get too excited, I didn't actually have a baptism this week, but I did get to go to two of them so that was pretty cool at least. The first was for a woman named Erika who is super super solid, she was taught by the assistants but I did get to go to a teaching with her one time so that was cool to get to see her baptised. She was so ready that when I was able to teach her, we hadn't taught about prophets yet and when we brought it up she said "The current prophet is Thomas S. Monson isn't it? He just turned 89 this week!" I honestly had no idea of that so yeah, she was pretty prepared. The other was for a man named Lászlo who was being rebaptised by the Érd elders, it was super cool to see how happy he was to be able to become a member again and to see how happy all the leadership were to see him return, really cool experience.

Other than that this was a pretty normal week, on monday we went over to the Bazilika and Parliament as a district and took some cool photos. Elder Stringham and I also went to the American store which was super fun.
We went on splits this week with the elders from Érd and Elder Stanley was really craving Sushi while we were together, so naturally we just cooked up some Sushi, it was super good, it turned out much better than we had expected to be honest.
We technically got a new investigator this week, but he's been dropped by missionaries a couple times before, so we'll see what happens with him, but maybe this time around he'll be ready to accept the gospel.

Nothing else exciting happened this week sadly, but I did find a foot massager in our apartment yesterday, so that was a nice way to relax on a sunday night.

Hope everyone has fantastic weeks and does plenty of fun stuff.

Sok szeretettel
McKim Elder

                                                                     The sushi we made on splits

                                                   Me and Elder Stringham at Parliament

Monday, 12 September 2016

Week 30: Little Miracles

Üdvözlöm benneteket!

I can't believe the weeks are flying past so quickly, this past week marked 7 months since I left home and today is 5 months since I entered this wondeful little country, I don't know how I've already used up so much of the short time that I have.

So this week wasn't anything too crazy, but as indicated by the subject of this email, it was filled with a bunch of little miracles which is always great.

We started our wondeful week with a bit of a P-day adventure to one of the biggest malls in Budapest, where we found one of the only Pizza Huts in this entire country. We eat a lot of pizza as missionaries here in Hungary, but that pizza was worth every forint I paid for it. We then took a little expedition out to see the Opera house because my companion hadn't seen it yet and took some cool pictures, all round pretty solid day.
Wednesday we headed out to a small city just outside of Budapest called Budaörs, where we met with a super cool member, did some tracting, then we found out they had an Ikea and so naturally we had to stop in for a nice Swedish meatball dinner.
We had a really cool experience on Friday, where we had just finished making some calls to previous investigators from the Area book and the time had come that we had set for tracting. My companion was feeling a little down due to the lack of success we had from the calls, but I encouraged him that we should still go tract anyway because I have experienced that the greatest blessings I've seen in tracting have come from the days when I went and did it even though I didn't necessarily want to. As soon as we started at the building a nice lady let us into the building and wished us luck, so we headed up to the top. We were able to give out 2 Book of Mormons in that building and bear strong testimonies to at least 4-5 people, probably more than we have had in any other day that we've been together. Super cool little miracle that we saw from just being doing the work.
Saturday we got to do some service for a member in the ward who was moving to another city, which was super fun, then he ordered us 2 of the best pizzas I've ever had in Hungary to our apartment to thank us. They were super good, but it was kind of ruined by the fact that we came back to find that we had no water at all in our apartment, so that kind of sucks when two sweaty guys come home from helping someone move.
Then we just finished the week with a nice fast sunday, we had a super good testimony meeting and my companion and I decided to close our fast with a nice fancy asian noodle meal from some bag. Solid day.

Hope you all have a wondeful week!

- McKim Elder

                                                          Majestically looking into the Duna River

                                            Majestically sitting on the steps of an art museum

               The government has been putting up anti-immigration ads everywhere so someone
                      started putting up these to make fun of them. It says "Life is beautiful".

Temples and Teachings


Well it's been another crazy week full of adventures in the wonderful city of Budapest.

On Monday we spent our P-day in a little Falu a bit outside of Budapest where we went bowling in what the other Elders made sound like a bowling alley, but it just turned out to be this big shed with two bowling lanes in it, still super fun though. Then we begun our exchanges with our zone leaders where despite tracting at 8:30 at night, we found some of the nicest people that I've met in Hungary so far.
Tuesday continued our exchange where we had one of probably the most successful finding days that I've had, we just met so many cool people who were willing to talk to us and Elder Roberts even gave a Book of Mormon to a lady while she was working in a money changing booth, super cool day.
Wednesday gave us our first real lesson of the transfer and it was a little hard for Elder Stringham and I with our limited Hungarian, but we got a lot of help from the member we brought with us so in the end it went pretty well, I think.
Thursdays are pretty hectic because we have to head out to another city called Érd in the morning for district meeting, come back to work and to go to our missionary meeting, then head back out to Érd so that we can teach English class out there, so things are super crazy but also pretty fun.
Friday we had another set of exchanges but this time with the Elders in Érd, which meant that we had to down there once again. But I was able to spend the day working with Elder Robinson who was my MTC companion, so it was kind of crazy actually getting to do real missionary work in the field together, but we worked together really well and we were able to have a really solid finding day.
Saturday we got to watch the kulturális ünnepség (or cultural celebration) for the rededication of the Freiberg temple because we're in that temple district, so that was super cool but it was all in German so not the easiest to understand but they had a few Hungarian things in there which was cool. They even had all the youth from Hungary go to Germany to participate.
Then sunday was the actual rededication of the Freiberg temple. I never really thought that I'd witness a temple dedication on my mission, but it turns out I get to see two. It was really good though, even though it was in Hungarian and so not super easy to understand it was really cool to be a part of and to see how much this temple means not only to the German people but also to the Hungarians for who it's their closest and most accessible temple. It made it even cooler to get to see Elder Uchtdorf and Elder Bednar speaking in German too.

So that was basically my week, full of a bit of everything I guess.

Hope you all have a wonderful week.
Szeretlek benneteket!

-McKim Elder

Sorry, my camera still doesn't work here :(

Splits and service

Üdvözölöm benneteket!

So my first full week has passed in the wonderful area of Buda and it was just full of wonderful surprises.

  So last monday we headed over to Érd to meet up with the rest of our district to play some games and get some Lángos (don't even know how to describe this one), which was all well and great at the time. Then the next morning is when the consequences hit, all 4 of us in the district ended up getting food poisoning from the Lángos, which wouldn't have been that bad, if we didn't have zone training that morning. So we had to brave the food poisoning and head out to zone training (which luckily isn't too far because we're already in Buda), which actually ended up being super good and none of us were sick at the training which was a bonus.
  Thursday, firstly we had district meeting up in Érd which was super good, then we went out proselyting and for the first time since we got here to Buda, someone actually wanted to talk to us, so in the best Hungarian that my companion and I could muster together, we tried to teach her about the restoration and answer all her questions, but she didn't even take a Book of Mormon, but we did all we could so that's what's important.
  Friday, we started with doing some service for a family that is moving to Turkey, so we got to move a whole bunch of furniture and boxes from their apartment, so that was cool, they gave us some stuff from the bakery as well, so that's always good. Then after that we got a call from the Assistants saying that we need to do emergency splits because one of them broke their tooth, so I had to head out to some teachings with one of the assistants, but it was super good, everything went super well, I felt pretty confident talking to people and he gave me a lot of advice for how to work in this strange situation that we're in, so all round pretty good day.
  Saturday we once again got the opportunity to do some service, this time we headed out to a little town about 20km outside of Budapest and we got to dig some trenches and shovel some stones for a family out there. They also fed us some paprikás krumpli for lunch which was super delicious.
  Finally Sunday, we had our normal church meetings which was nothing too crazy and then we got to have lunch with the senior couple who serves in the office, so they fed us some nice American food and we got to have some super cool conversations with them. 

This week was honestly nothing too crazy, but it was pretty solid, we'll see if the crazy experiences pick up in the next couple weeks.

Have a wonderful week!

-McKim Elder

Living the Buda life...

Szervusztok kedves barátaim!
  So this week started with a nice rainy transfer wednesday, where I finally got to meet my new companion Elder Stringham, who I had actually heard a lot about already because he served with my last companion 2 transfers ago. We had a nice little adventure trying to find our new apartment even though it was only like 20 minutes from the mission home, but when you both don't really know this area at all and you don't have a map it can be a little hard.
  Thursday had our first district meeting with our new district, but it's strange because even though we're in Buda, we're not in the Buda district and instead we have to take a train out to this other city just outside of Budapest called Érd. But it's super cool because now I get to be in a district with my MTC companion Elder Robinson and his companion who are both super cool, so I'm not complaining. 
  Friday we got to help one of the member families pack up and move all their stuff because they're moving to Turkey in a couple weeks and we also got a new phone.
  Saturday was crazy, firstly there just happened to be a baptism of an American girl who is here for a little while, so we got to go to that, which was pretty fun, we don't get to see baptisms very often here in Hungary. Saturday was August 20th, which is a huge holiday here in Hungary, so that didn't help our proselyting, but we did get permission to go watch the huge fireworks display that they have on the Duna at night. So we were trying to meet up with the secretaries to watch it with them, but when we got on the bus it turned out it was heading in the complete wrong direction and we had almost completely left Budapest by the time we had worked it out. So we got off and waited for the bus that was meant to get us back to Budapest, but it was meant to take 35 minutes and it was already 8:30 meaning we were probably going to miss the fireworks that started at 9, but then some sketchy looking bus that wasn't even meant to stop there comes and picks us up and takes us back to the city in 7 minutes, meaning we ended up making it to the river with 15 minutes to spare. Super crazy, and the fireworks were pretty cool.
  Also had my first Sunday here in Buda and it was pretty different than Pest, it was actually the first time that I had to go to Hungarian sunday school because we always had to go the English one in Pest and no other branches have one, so I guess I'll just have to get used to it. But we all had to introduce ourselves in Sacrament meeting and it was probably the first time I've ever had to speak in Hungarian in front of a whole bunch of people and I wasn't scared, so that was cool.
Not sure how cool this upcoming week is going to be, probably just a bunch of proselyting because this area is brand new, but let's hope it's cool.
- McKim Elder
P.S. sorry no pics again, email places aren't great in Hungary :(