Called to serve Feb 2016

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Szeged, The city of dreams.

Jó napot kívánok nektek!
Well it's a new week, a new transfer, in a new city with a new companion. It's been a week packed full of craziness, but it's been great.
  Tuesday marked the end of my time in Kaposvár and we sent of that wonderful little city by going out to dinner at a super nice burger place with our favourite senior couple the Petersons, who are going home this week. The burger was huge and super delicious, no regrets at all.
  I didn't realise the struggle that everyone else faces on transfer morning until this week, when I had to haul all of my stuff through the whole of Kaposvár to get it on a train at 6:20 in the morning. We then had a fun final 3 hour train ride together as a district before splitting off as we all headed to our new areas. We then had another fun 3 hour train ride with a completely different district as we headed back to Szeged, where I met my new companion and the funniest man in the world, Elder Hughes.
  It doesn't matter where you are, Thursdays will always be the same here in the Hungary Budapest mission, district meeting and english class, still fun though no matter where you are.
  Friday was another early rising as Elder Hughes and I had to head back up to Budapest for MLC, which is basically just a super long training for all of the zone leaders and sister training leaders that we have once a month. It was a really good training, it just ended up being 5 hours long instead of the planned 3. We also got to come back and experience the end of our branchs retro themed farsang party. All round interesting but fun experience.
  Saturday was pretty normal which was nice, we finally got to meet with some people including an inactive member who is now a JW and basically just tried to convert us for 20 minutes. We also had to start our planning for our zone training that we're giving this week and that pretty much filled the rest of our weekend. That is besides church of course, it was super weird going back to a 3 hour block after being a Kaposvár but it was a good time and the members here are really cool. Szeged houses Hungary's best university (we're actually emailing in it right now) and so a whole bunch of the members are actually young people which is a cool change.
That's my really long not that interesting update for this week.
Hope everyone has a great week!
-McKim Elder

Been too busy to take pictures, sorry...

Can't always stay for two...

Kedves jó napot!

Well although 10 weeks ago it seemed like this transfer would never come to an end, it is actually here and as you might have already guessed, my time here in Kaposvár has already come to an end. It's been an incredible time here, we had a fantastic district and the members here are amazing even if there aren't too many of them, so I'll be sad to leave so soon. On the plus side there's always another city and new opportunities ahead. In this upcoming transfer I'll be headed to the beautiful city of Szeged with Elder Hughes, we will also be the zone leaders for the south east zone. It's going to be a really great time, I've heard lots of great things about Elder Hughes and Szeged is one of the cities that I really wanted to serve in, so it'll be a cool transfer and I'm sure that I'll learn a lot.

Before I tell you all about my week, I want to let you know about one of the things that I will miss the most about this wonderful city of Kaposvár: Hek. Hek is the most wonderful food establishment that I have ever come across, every day they have a new daily meal (or a few set meals that you can choose) which consists of as much soup as you would like and then a delicious main course, all for only 690 Forint ($3 AUD). Needless to say we have been eating lunch there a lot. We were actually introduced to it by a potential investigator of ours and so we even get to eat lunch and talk with him all the time too, so it's even increased our missionary work. It's going to be very missed to me.

Now that I've got that out the way.
  Tuesday was valentines day and as such we felt that it would only be right for us to have our companion exchanges then. So I spent the day with Elder Harris where we came up with the idea of Gofris and Long walks where we basically just found a whole bunch of former investigators to look up and then took our dinner hour to have a companion date eating Gofris (Belgian waffles basically).
  Wednesday was pretty normal, just normal tracting, look ups, etc.
  Thursday we had our final district meeting together in the district. I asked the Petersons (the senior couple here) to share a presentation about their mission and what they had learned because they go home in a week and it was really great. I learnt a lot from them about how every one of the members here has a story and something we can learn from them.
  Friday and saturday were both pretty normal, although on saturday we had a whole bunch of brown sugar left in our apartment (which is nearly impossible to find in Hungary and very expensive), so we decided to make a whole bunch of cookies, which was super fun. They turned out alright, not as good as Sister Peterson's (or Elder Harris') but they were still decent.
  Sunday was our final time at church for the transfer, I was pretty sure I was leaving so it was filled with a whole bunch of sad goodbyes to some good friends here.
  Yestereday was also nothing too crazy, just apartment checks and getting everything ready for transfers.

I'm excited for a new transfer in a new city and hopefully it will bring many exciting experiences.

Minden jót!

- McKim Elder


                                               Magdus realised this week that I have a dimple on my left cheek..    


Márti! She's the greatest, she would feed us food every week and we'd always be stuffed but it was always amazing.

Milestones and miles travelled.


Well another crazy week has passed here among the wonderful Hungarian people. One of the craziest of which is the fact that this week marked one whole year since I stepped on a plane and left my home country and everyone in it, as well as one more year that I get to spend in the service of God and these great people.

  Our week started with the first of two adventures. We had to head up to a city called Dunaújváros (New Danube city) for exchanges with our zone leaders. This gave us approximately just over 3 hours to sit around on 3 different trains to make the trip there. Our time in Duna was really fun though and we were able to learn a lot from our time with the zone leaders. Although our exchange ended on wednesday with us running to the train station to make sure we didn't get stuck in Duna for another night, but it was fine because we had another 3 hours of train rides to catch our breath.
  Thursday was the big day of my one year mark on my mission. I had some great plans with a really cool district meeting and meeting with a member who always feeds us delicious food as well as english class, but I ended up getting sick and couldn't really do anything all day. It did give me a lot of time to think about my time on my mission and what I want to achieve in my next year though, so it was still fun. Oh yeah, also burnt a shirt, which was pretty cool.
  On Friday we got to travel down to the promised land of Pécs for our interviews with President Szabadkai. It was super cool because I've wanted to see Pécs my entire mission because it's meant to be one of the prettiest cities and it's also the home of President and Sister Szabadkai. I definitely understood why people say it's one of the prettiest cities, it's seriously incredible, I'd serve there in a heartbeat. In terms of interviews nothing too interesting happened though, just good chats with President Szabadkai.
  Saturday we had a cool Music night in our branch, so there were people singing and reading poems and stuff, everyone loved it. I know what you're all thinking "Did you perform anything?" unfortunately the answer is yes and there is a video, I'm just not sure the world is ready for that right now.
  Sunday I also had to give a surprise baptismal interview for the other elders investigator, Dávid. He passed and so he's all ready to be baptised on the 25th which is super exciting. 

Well this upcoming week is the last one of the transfer, so the next time I email will be Tuesday right after I get my next transfer call. So I guess we'll all just wait and see what happens to me for the next 9 weeks.

Sok szeretettel,
McKim Elder


                                                                  Burning my shirt for my one year mark

                                                        The main square in Pècs

Monday, 6 February 2017

Farsangi napok

Boldog Farsangot!

So I guess I should start this email by explaining a little about this thing we call Farsang. I still barely know what it is and I got to experience a bit of it, basically they're trying to scare away the winter and welcome in the spring, but they do that in some pretty strange but way cool ways as I've found out this week.

Anyway, onto the week!
  Monday night we met with a woman named Zsuzsi, who investigated before with her husband Jenő. She basically knows and has a testimony of everything, she just has a few things that she and her husband have to overcome before they can be baptised. Hopefully we can help them out with that.
  Tuesday and wednesday were nothing too special just regular missionary work, but we did run into a cool family while doing look ups who said that we could come back when they're all home, so that could be cool.
  Thursday was the normal craziness of firstly district meeting, then meeting with a member and english class, so our day was pretty packed but it's always good. The member shared some really cool experiences with us about when she had says she saw heaven, super interesting and cool.
  Friday we had exchanges with the other elders, which was great fun, I got to work with Elder Gonzalez, who speaks hungarian perfectly so it's always a learning experience.
  Saturday was one of the strangest days of my life. We ended up at some sort of parade for Farsang, which was super cool but also incredibly strange. It included many groups of native folk dancers, people dressed in all manner of costumes, knights, whippers, giant puppets and just all manner of craziness. It also included teenagers dressed as the opposite gender being married by a man pretending to be a catholic priest, a performance by some strange witches, a bear (played by a 12 year old in a costume) carstration and finished with a whole bunch of people dancing in a circle around a burning effigy of a child. Strange day but pretty cool. We then got invited to a concert entitled "The legend of wine" by a potential investigator, but "unfortunately" had to turn that one down. Farsang was definitely an experience, and it's not even over yet, it's only just begun.
  Sunday was a little more normal but really cool because we had a whole bunch of people come to church, including Zsuzsi and her husband!

My week is going to be pretty crazy coming up, so I hope yours is a little more relaxed than mine will be.

Sok szeretettel
McKim Elder

                                                                        Teenagers being married

                                                                                     Giant puppets

                                                               Dancing around the burning effigy of a child

Revolutionary changes


I can't believe the weeks are flying by this quick, there's only a couple weeks left in this transfer now and who knows if I'll be staying in Kaposvár or not. We had a really cool week though and picked up a couple new investigators.

  For P-day the Petersons (The senior couple here) took us all out to dinner at a fancy restaurant. I got a Cigány Pecsenye (or in English Gypsy Roast), it was really good but I honestly have no idea what it was. After dinner we met with a new investigator, Zsuszi, who's husband almost got baptised a while ago. She really loved having the missionaries around and so jumped at the chance to meet with us again when we made contact. It was super cool.
  Tuesday we got to meet with the family that I talked about a couple weeks ago that we had a family home evening with. They actually tried to cancel but the member family suggested that we bring them some food because their son was sick and so they happily accepted us with that when we went to visit.
  Wednesday, Elder Thomsen and I baked some cookies and headed out to visit some less actives, we did have one let us in and she even said that she'd set up a lunch with us and one of the members here. We then had the worldwide missionary broadcast which was really good, but it also brought some pretty big changes. We all thought the big changes would be to the schedule but Key indicators ended up being the big change for our mission. 
  Thursday through Saturday were all pretty normal just had some lessons and stuff as well as district meeting, which happened to be on Australia day so we all sung the anthem together, did an Australia day quiz and Sister Peterson made some "Australian Brownies".
  Sunday we had a member here come home from her mission in London, which is a big deal in Hungary where very few people serve missions, especially from a branch of 25 people. We had more people at church than I've ever seen as well as a bunch of inactive members who haven't been in a long time, it was a super cool day.

Hope all your wildest dreams come true this week.

Sok szeretettel,
McKim Elder

                              Practically my favourite dog in the world, Fülês. He's so fat but he's just the greatest.

Bureaucracy is slow...

Sok szeretettel köszöntelek benneteket!

Another interesting week has gone and past in the beautiful snowy Hungarian countyside town of Kaposvár.

  We had a very interesting zone training up in Budapest on Tuesday which meant another wonderfully early 6:20am train ride to get there 5 minutes before the meeting starts. The meeting was talking a lot about repentance and both how repentance is important for us as missionaries and how we can help our investigators understand the importance to themselves. It also had a Q&A which got pretty intense and took the meeting out to being 3 and a half hours (almost twice as long as normal zone trainings) but it was really fun.
  We actually got a referral from church headquarters this week, which doesn't happen too often, so we got right on that and contacted it on wednesday. Turns out it was a woman that Elder Thomsen and our Zone leader streeted into on exchanges and gave a card to (#FindingMiracles #We'reOutAt830). We couldn't set up with her but she's really interested so hopefully in the future.
  Thursday we had a fun district meeting before having to go get Elder Thomsen registered with the government, which took forever. But we got it all done in the end and despite the slowness of the bureacracy we should be all good now. We also had english class which we were terribly unprepared for, we ended up finishing the class with a game of madlibs from a story that Elder Thomsen made up, the results (below) came out pretty good, I think.
  Fridays we got to have exchanges with the other Elders which are always fun. Got some hilarious responses while tracting and met with some really cool less actives and members, all around good day.
  Then we just had our classic weekend of work and church, nothing too crazy happened.

Legyen csodás napotok!
Sok sikert mindenhez!

Sok szeretettel,
McKim Elder

                                                            The madlibs that we did for our english class

                                             Elder Harris and I found a place that does e-postcards while on splits

The Spirit guides


We had a really cool week full of little miracles.

  Firstly on Monday we were able to go to a members house for family home evening to help them teach a non-member family that they had invited over. This isn't super common so we were really excited. There were so many kids because the member family has 5 kids and the other family had 3, so they were running around everywhere but we taught the Plan of Salvation and got to draw it all out on a huge piece of paper, it was super fun.
  Tuesday had the fun of trying to get our residency stuff done with the government only to be given a huge list of things to fix and a very generous 3 days to get everything done within. We were also able to meet with a potential who told us the story of when she first met with the missionaries, which was right after her daughter had passed away and the very first thing that the missionaries asked her was "Do you believe that there is life after death?". She knew right from that moment that it wasn't a coincidence that they met. So they sound like they're going to be super legit and we're really excited to start meeting with them.
  Wednesday we had exchanges with our zone leaders and we had a cool experience when Elder Aardema and I tracted into two previous investigators and Elder Thomsen with Elder Fitzgerald (who served here before) looked up a former investigator and when they got there she was super happy and said "I told my daughter two days ago that I would really love the missionaries to come back". The spirit really does guide.
  Thursday was district meeting and we had the zone leaders there, so that was super fun, they gave a training on pride and repentance, I gave a training on using the Book of Mormon, it was a fun day. Later we met with a member who fed us some delicious food and then had English class.
  Friday we hecticly ran around the city the whole morning trying to get all our papers in order to get registered and to make it to the office before it closes at 11:30am, made it there with time to spare and they took all my stuff, so I call that a success.
  Saturday we got to meet with a member and all we had planned was a talk from conference a while back that we were going to read with them and didn't really know what we were going to talk about. We basically ended up talking about repentance the rest of the time and it went really well. The spirit definitely guided that one.
  Sunday we had our normal church (which I had to translate in...) and then afterwards we had a meeting with a member of the stake presidency on how to hold effective branch councils. It was interesting. We also ate a bunch of hot dogs because we got heaps for really cheap but the best before date is today, so we did what had to be done.

I'm really excited for this upcoming week and I hope all of yours are great too!

Sok sikert mindenhez!

                                                                The family that we taught on Monday

                                                     Elder Thomsen and I found this cool globe while tracting

Tracting Training Trains


Well after another fun week here in Hungary it's now been 11 months since I've left home. It seems like every week in my emails I'm freaking out about just how fast time is going, but I really can't believe that in a month from now I'll be passing my half way point. People aren't kidding when they say that your mission flies by like nothing.

  The interesting part of our week started on Wednesday when we got to head down to Budapest for new missionary training. It was a great meeting and we had a lot of conversations about obedience and how that affects not only us but everyone that we come into contact with (companions, other missionaries, members, investigators, strangers, etc.). It also started snowing while we were in Budapest which was cool, especially because we thought we weren't going to have to deal with it back in good old Kaposvár.
  Turns out we were wrong about the snow when on Thursday it actually started snowing here as we headed out to district meeting. It really isn't as fun as it might sound. That night we had english class and one of the people in the class brought her bow and arrows so she could tell us all about her talent of HORSEBACK ARCHERY, which is apparently a pretty common Hungarian sport. I gained a lot of respect for the Hungarians after hearing about that one.
  We also had splits this week and I got to work with Elder Gonzalez, who is actually fluent in Hungarian, so that was a way cool experience. We got to visit a few people which all went really well, it's just hard to get them to come out to church, but hopefully we can get that to happen and then they could be ready for baptism in a while. It was also incredibly cold the whole time we had splits, it was like -8 celcius during the day and with wind chill it was down to like -18, so we were definitely coated up but it was still so cold that we felt like we were dying. But we lived, so all's well that ends well I guess.
  Yesterday we had our normal sunday church and then when we were tracting we found a young kid who we're hoping could become a new investigator. He was pretty legit and told us to come back super soon. So the work is going pretty decent here in Kaposvár, it's exciting.

Hope you all have fantastic weeks.

May all your wildest dreams come true,
- McKim Elder

                                                     Elder Thomsen got a little tired on the train to Budapest

Boldog új évet! - Happy New Year


Well we're already into another year and I'll get to spend this entire one as a missionary! It's crazy to think that I'm almost at half way now but this has just given me time to think back on the time I've had here so far and what I can do to be even more effective in the year and a bit to come that I have left.

Our week was interesting because all of our investigators basically just said "come back after the holidays" so we had a bunch of time to go finding this week. People were a lot nicer to us than usual and that was evident by the record 4 let-ins that our district had this week. I'll have to be honest the other elders got 3 and we only got 1 but it was still a pretty crazy week in terms of finding success. Our let in was with some former investigators whose door we happened to knock on while tracting in basically the nicest part of Kaposvár and we should be going back there this upcoming week which should be great. I heard that a lot of other missions had early curfews for new years eve, but I was glad that we didn't because we knocked on their door at around 5pm on new years eve, otherwise we may never have met them.
Speaking of which, Hungarian new years eve was an interesting experience. Apparently fireworks are completely legal here, so they were being shot off all day starting from like 4 in the afternoon and we still heard plenty of them well into sunday night. They were also 10 minutes late with the countdown and fireworks display. 
Other than that we just met with some members this week and had some good old Hungarian food. We also got to watch the Christmas devotional in Hungarian with one of the members so that was fun too.

This is going to be a pretty crazy week coming up, so we're pretty excited and hope everything goes well.

Hope you all have a great week and year and may all your resolutions make it past January!

-McKim Elder

A Karácsonyi időszak- A Christmas Season

Kellemes Karácsonyt és boldog új évet kívánok!

Well what a crazy week it's been, full of plenty fun adventures.

  Tuesday we had our Christmas zone conference, which when being out in Kaposvár means a 6am train ride to get to Budapest. But it was so worth it. Our conference started pretty spiritual with some trainings but then the fun started as we went out carolling, had some lunch, had a zone wide talent show, watched "The Little Prince", had a game of White Elephant before finally Santa came to give us all our presents. It was a super fun day, but it ended kind of sad because we ended up missing the last train back to Kaposvár and so we had to spend the night in Buda.
  Wednesday consisted of an early morning train back to Kaposvár and then heading out to work trying to share the Christmas spirit with everyone.
  Thursday we had District meeting, so we talked all about Christmas and why Christ is important to us in our lives. It was really spiritual and we all had time to reflect on how our knowledge of Christ has influenced us and helped us.
  Friday we had exchanges with the other Elders and I got to spend some time with Elder Harris which was great. We were able to visit a few people including an investigator, so we had a really good day together.
  Saturday was Christmas eve and as such we weren't allowed to tract or anything which basically ruined all our plans for the day. We tried going streeting for a bit but there was literally no one out on the streets, it was actually a little creepy. After that we went to a members house who fed us some traditional Hungarian Fish soup (bones and all) as well as 2 other whole meals. We were so full but it was sooooo goooood (well maybe not the fish soup, it wasn't bad, but it was just interesting.)
  Sunday was great, we had breakfast with the other Elders with all of Elder Harris' family traditions and we opened all of our presents. We then had church before getting to skype and then head over to the senior couples apartment for a wonderful Christmas lunch/dinner with all western foods. It was also sooooo gooood.
  Monday was a pretty normal day of proselyting, although it was still a holiday so it was a little strange but it was cool. European Christmas is super long but hey I'm not complaining.

Hope you all had a magical Christmas and have a wonderful new year!

Until 2017
- McKim Elder
                                                                  Me with Santa and his uhhh...elves

                                                        Found a random pile of snow  (it doesn't snow here).

                                   Thought we'd take the opportunity to take a pic when no-one else was around.