Monday, April 30, 2012

Autumn - Hungary - BIG SURPRISE!!!! AHHHH!!!!

Hello everyone across the ocean..... 

Well... so this week I had a fun little surprise, ehh.... well that is a dramatic understatement. More like the biggest surprise of my eternity. Katelyn just... uh.... decided to surprise me yesterday. yup.... just decided to pay me a little visit in HUNGARY... IN PERSON...LIVE. (for those that dont know....Katelyn is my soul sister best friend. we have been in daily contact with each other since we were 15 year old beehives, minus our missions..and she married a missionary that served here... which is PERFECT for me) 

So the story goes like this:

I had heard some slight rumor that they would be coming. But had no clue when, where, how.. or if the rumor was even true. I completely dismissed the rumor because I thought FOR SURE they would let me know. Im a missionary for heaven sakes... you cant just go around surprising missionaries. We have busy schedules. So I basically forgot about it, or figured it was way far in the future because I knew that I would be told about it... or would be able to sense the surprise coming. But no.... didnt sense it at all. I figured because Kyle was a Hungarian tutor for the Senior Couple serving here in Szeged that somehow they wouldbe involved in this. So I figured, well Im sure they would let me know. Well I heard nothing. So I proceeded to just live my litlte missionary life, figuring well someone would clue me in soon. Well nope.... everyone has been keeping this a secret for a long long time apparently. 

So on sunday we took a 2.5 hour bus ride to my old stomping grounds in Duna for a area conference. I got off the bus and proceeded to go mingle with all of the missionaries I had been excited to see, and talk with members... etc. Well then randomly this Elder serving in this other city said " Sister Papritz. The senior couple accidently brought back a package from Budapest that I thought was mine, but it actually had your name on it. Sorry, I kind of accidently opened it before I realized it was yours. So you can come get it off our bus." I thought...."hmm..weird... well if my name was on it, why would you open it. But whatever." so I followed him to the bus. As we approached the bus, the bus then started driving away. I said "oh, Elder. Obviously its leaving to go park... we can just get the package later." He INSISTED we get the package. and I said "uh.... should we be running after this bus then?" "yeah...we should probably run" .... ok... weird. so we start running after this random bus. We flag the driver down... I keep thinking "this kid is really persistent about the package......but whatever" so then the bus driver stops and opens the door. I didnt get on the bus with him, becuase I didnt want to be alone on a bus with an elder.... you know, mission rules. but then he was like "looking all over" for the package. and was like "oh, I cant find it" I looked right above his head and was like "Elder.... the package is right there"..... "oh, yeah weird. didnt see it... uh... ok".. so then I turned back around with the package and got off the bus. The package was completely opened, and labeled with my name....again, weird... why would he open this when obviously it was labeled with my name. It was from Katelyn and I was excited becaue I was expecting a package from her in like a week. Then I open the package and pull out this letter that on the front says "LOOK BEHIND YOU!"... I do...and no one is there (hahaha... because I was supposed to be ON THE BUS)... so I look behind, and thought... ok that is really weird. Then I open the letter and it says "if you havent realized it yet.. I am in Hungary. and if you didnt know and havnet seen me...than I just ruined the surprise"... still at this point I thought. OH NO...she is probably in Budapest and thought I would open the package in Budapest and they would be there. So i was like, weird... this is NOT working out the way they wanted it. So I turned to start walking away from the Bus...then all of the sudden this girl in this blue dress comes running down the stairs of the bus, followed by this tall dark haired guy with a camera. I realize that, uh..... oh my word... THIS IS KATELYN!!! I had like 3 seconds of like, disbelief and like..... silence... cause it hadnt hit. Then...commenced the screaming... the hugging, the yelling. The "OH MY WORD..... OH MY CRAP... WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE....WHHHHHHHHHHHAT AREEEEEEEEE YOU DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOING HEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!"..... yup. and now she is standing right beside me as I am writing this emails. 

So on that note. Im going to go hang out with my best friend on my pday.... yup. My life rocks. 

Also did a lot of missionary work this week. Had 3 new awesome investigators and Sister Kramer and I talked in Hungarian all week, 6 days straight. It was awesome. Life is soooo goood. 

Well on that note...I am off to party. 

sok szeretettel

Papritz nővér

Monday, April 23, 2012

Autumn - Szeged, Hungary - The awesomeness continues

Hello my dearest loved ones,

well well, yet anther week has flown by. Life here is soooo good. I love my city, I loooooove my companion, I love my district. I love the work. I love my life. I have been contemplating a lot about reasons I served a mission. The biggest...God commanded me. The answer to serve was a little too obvious not to follow it. (see D&C 15 for my obvious answer). Since embarking on this, I have then gained other reasons to serve. Reasons I never even realized were waiting for me. I think each week till the end I would like to focus on different reasons why the Lord called me on a mission. Since, I dont know.... if I were all of you, I would be looking at this crazy girl that left her dream job, all of her friends and family, everything and went on a mission, and I would think "does she think it's worth it? Was she happy she served?" Especially those that know me very well, know this was NEVER EVER EVVVVVVVVER in my life plans. My dear friend Bailey wrote me a letter the other day, and she reminded me how ADAMENT I always was against serving a mission. She said "It's so funny cause I still remember that one night at liberty park and you were talking about how a mission would be the LAST thing you would ever do. And now look at you!" bahaha.. yup. That sums it up perfectly. This really was the LAST thing in the world I would have ever done, wanted to do, or would ever plan on....but ironically enough, it is the most important thing I have ever done in my life. But I guess it must have needed to be this way, I must have needed to HATE the idea of a mission so passionately to erase it completely from all life plans, to then realize how much it has changed my life. It is kind of great that before the mission I never imagined a mission because I truly came here with no expectations, no clue what to do, just kind of threw myself into this thinking "whelp, Heavenly Father, here I am. I showed up for this mission thing. Do with me what you will." Looking back I am so glad that was how it happened. Because I never had an opportunity to create this "perfect missionary" image for myself, or a "perfect mission" in mind. I have never been dissapointed in the way my mission has turned out beause I never dreamed of baptising X amount of people, or achieving any kind of status, or having any kind of success, beause I honestly NEVER WANTED THIS. haha. So how could you develop expectations for something you never wanted? But it worked out perfectly, because It allowed me to really come on the mission and just figure out the LORD'S expectations for me. I have been able to just turn my mission over to Him, and let it all be in His hands..because my hands have NO CLUE what to do with this foreign concept of a mission. So luckily, I can say it has all turned out the way He wanted, because this was His call... not mine. But I am so eternally blessed and happy that I responded to the call. I've never regreted it for a single milli-second. 

So on that note, Here is the first reason I was called to serve a mission: 1. Zsofi Katona. This girl has been one of the biggest reasons, if not THE reason I was called to Hungary. Zsofi was my investigator that was baptized on March 25, so almost a month ago. Well I have been truly blessed to have seen her entire conversion. From day one, first time hearing about "Eternal Families" to the day of her baptism and beyond. I am so grateful that I listened to the prompting and called her Husband (Well fiance at the time) Laci, even though his name was on the less active member "do not contact list". (p.s. NEVER LISTEN TO THOSE LISTS.. CONTACT EVERYONE!) Then going to their house, I was so surprised to realize she was not a member, and then on that first meeting feeling the spirit so strongly asking her "Would you like an eternal family?" and seeing that light in her eyes beam as she said "yes. I really do." Well, there you have it. end of story. The rest is history. From there her conversion was effortless. She accepted everything whole heartedly and entered the waters of baptism with a budding testimony of all of this. Knowing it would change her life. I was able to witness those changes in her life, and that light in her grow and grow. I saw her wedding and witnessed the formation of their little family as they combined all of their children into one happy family. Laci, her husband, has been taking the steps of repentance, meeting with the bishop and getting is own life in order. The whole family is in for the long haul, their goal is the temple. 
Yesterday we went over to visit them and the appointment before we told her to pick a topic from the Gospel Principles book and teach it to us. Well we showed up yesterday and she had picked the "Restoration" (atta girl! my favorite topic) Well she taught us an INCREDIBLE lesson on the restoration. Incredible. She taught the lesson better than most of the members in the ward would have. Then she said two beautiful words that just blew my mind. "Bizonyságomat teszem...." or "I give my testimony...." The thing that immediately came into my mind was "wow. She HAS a testimony." she ACTUALLY has a testimony to share. When we first met she didnt. She knew very little if anything about the church and all of the sudden she has a testimony! Well.. those two words were followed by a series of even more incredibleness "... hogy ez egyház az egyetlen igaz egyház a földön." or " that this church is the only true church on the earth."... yup... that's my girl. I taught her well. haha. Really I felt like a proud mother. I couldnt believe that I was listening to her bare testiony of these things and she truly meant it. She truly said all of that with all of the incredibly sincere conviction in her heart. and I was there to witness her go from NO testimony.... to a real testiony of these things. It has been one of my greatest joys in life to see her conversion and arrival at an understanding and appreciation of the gospel in her life. MISSIONS ARE AWESOME!!!!!!!!!! 

So there you go... Reason number 1 why I am on a mission. More to come... much much more to come. 

This week we went on splits with the sisters in Kecskemet. It was so great to go to that city and split. We have been trying to help out the other sister companionships in our area, so we decided the best way was to do splits and see how the work is going. So I got to be with Sister Suranyi again for a day and night, (mother and daughter reunited!) It was really great because Sister Kramer and I were really able to help them get some new ideas on the work, help them out a bit. I was able to give Sister Suranyi some awesome motherly advice on how to keep rocking the mission. It was such a testament that splits are so worth it, because it was great to be able to go to an area and help it out even for just a day and a night. We are going on splits with the Bekescsaba sisters next week and I will be reunited with my other mission daughter, Sister Mills. We are excited. 

ALSO... this week we went to a little place called Olpusztaszer. It was this awesome Historical Park, that had this "living mural" of the history of the settlement of Hungary. Basically a 20 ft. tall mural that lined the walls of a circular room. So the mural wrapped around the entire room. It was complete with sounds, and all of these like recreated scenes, recreated huts, real dirt on the ground and narration (hard to explain, just imagine awesomness in art form). It was so cool. Then it was topped off with an authentic Hungarian Horse Show! Complete with arrow shooting, sword fighting and some kind of horseback football game. It was AWESOME!!! They were dressed in traditional hungarian HUN clothes. For those of you that dont know, Hungarians are descendents of the HUNS.... as in Atilla the Hun. They trace way  back to Mongolia, and so the Huns came from over there and made it on over to this area. They had conquered much of the area, including parts of Ukraine, Slovakia, Serbia, Austria.... basically if you ask any Hungarian they clame it was half of Europe. Anyway.. it was a really cool cultural experience. We also herded a herd of goats in the Hungarian country side, and took leaping pictures off of ancient Hungarian ruins. It was a DREAMY DAY. Oh man. This place is awesome. 

Well that was my week. No big deal. So good. Life is so good. I love you all. 

p.s. hit my 2 month mark left... I might barf. Its coming too soon. 

szeretlek benneteket

papritz nővér