Full Time Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Hungary, Budapest Mission

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Week 91 - Transfer to Budapest...Coming home March 17th!

An awesome week!!!

Well this last week we had transfers, Elder Krueger has long since packed his things and moved right on up to Budapest. I was sad to see him go because I really got along with him, but in return I got 2 new companions Elder Heaps and Elder Hughes. I LOVE THESE GUYS! We have hit it off really well. Hughes is a new missionary so I get (got) to help train! Something I always wanted to do though before now never had the chance. We have been working really hard too, a good change of pace seeing as Rigor mortis had set in last transfer :P

We also had a great branch party we got to go to, there was karaoke and food and the members! It was great. I really enjoyed it a lot. As you all will see my companions and I got a little into the karaoke! We had a great time.

So I can't remember if I mentioned it or not last week but my time in Szombathely is numbered. In fact president Szabadkai only left me to help me get the other Elders situated, and two nights ago he called me informing me that I will leave on Tuesday. That's tomorrow now... I have said a few goodbyes already, and I'll have a few more tonight. Tomorrow I will finish out the rest of my mission in Budapast with Elder Craig! He has been secretary for a while and will be coming out with me for my last month. I am super excited.

I love you all back at home!
Elder Heaps and Elder Watson
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Elder Hughes, Elder Heaps, Elder Oakes
Elder Oakes, Elder Heaps, Elder Hughes, Elder Howard, Elder Dixon

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Elder Oakes, Hungary Budapest Mission

Week 90 - Last Full Week in Szombathely...Transfers!

Hey Mom,

Not going to send a super long email this week. We got transfer calls this morning but I will tell you about that in a bit. This last week was a long and interesting one. We had interviews this week as well. The APs called and set up splits with us. We went up early Wednesday morning and worked with the APs all day. I was with Watson, he is an elder that came out with my group, if you remember. We had a few good programs and then he and I talked a long time. We talked about how far we have come and how we are almost done. He goes home earlier than me even, this is his last transfer.

If you don't like mushy stuff and feelings skip the next two paragraphs.

I broke down and got honest with him though, heck I'll be honest with all of you, I am tired. Like really really tired. I have been going strong for a long time, but now I feel like a battery on empty, and people keep mashing the remote buttons trying to squeeze out the last bit of juice. I think it started when I got to Szeged and it has gone down hill from there, the stress from companions, work and expectations has brought me feeling pretty low. I kinda just dumped that all on Watson (and on you guys now too, sorry >_<). But Watson helped a lot. He told me he had the exact same experience just earlier in his mission, he listened and he understood. Then he encouraged me to do the right thing and talk with the President, GASP! That's right, and even crazier I did it.

Why is that so crazy, well... maybe I just have trust issues, lack of faith, a hash of bad experiences... but whatever. For me it was hard. But I did it. Watson told me that regardless of my personal relationship with him he is still my priesthood leader, it doesn't make me right just because I think someone else is wrong. Who God calls he qualifies as they say, but that doesn't mean anyone is perfect. I am so far from perfect, I realize it more and more each day. But now I feel a lot better, I really miss having a good relationship with my mission president. And I hope to be able to turn things around, and I am looking forward to my last transfer.

After interviews we headed back to Szombathely. We made it back in time for English class and had a good time there. We have two investigators who come to the class who I think are doing well but haven't had a chance to meet outside of that this week. We let them know that transfers will be next week so we said our potential goodbyes. Other than that not a whole lot of programs in the week. We did have one program (that was super cool!) We met with a guy named György, he is a long term investigator. His wife swears up and down she will never be Mormon (though shes nice) but likes us, he always just says who knows if he will ever be Mormon or not, but we will see.

We met on Friday morning, it came up in our last program that both he and my companion like sword play, Krueger is a fencer if you didn't know, and whats more he has even bought himself a fencing sword out here to mess around with. So György invited us over to the place he does sword play to let the two of them have a go at it. Turns out though, we completely misunderstood. György isn't a fencer he is a LARPer, (LARP= Live Action Role Play) (>_<)! face palm. How did we misunderstood that... well... we were speaking Hungarian. Anyway, there was no fencing match but there was...THIS!!!

Yup that is exactly what it looked like, complete loss of all dignity, I am sorry. Oh wait, no I'm not I LOVED IT!!! Other than that we had a good conversation with him, he's been an investigator for a long time now but he never heard that we do a stop smoking program with people which has been a big issue for him. We will definitely try and get that rolling for him.

So much for short, but I will wrap it up with the transfer news. We got our calls this morning. I will be staying and Krueger will be heading out to Buda as a secretary. But things are not that simple, I will be getting two new companions. Elder Heaps, and we will be getting a brand spanking new missionary, dual training... kinda.. there is a catch. I am not really going to be part of the companionship for long. I have 10 days here to help the new elders get acclimated and familiar. Then Szabadkai will pull me out and put me somewhere else. Where? Honestly I don't know. But I wasn't told yet because I don't think president knows yet what he will do with me. But he asked me in our interview if I would stay until the end of the transfer, another three weeks from my current return date. I think he wants to give me more time to better work things out with him and as a missionary, you know end strong. I told him I would think about it, but I still don't know...

Stay tuned for next weeks episode, where Elder Oakes decides "I am going to..."!

Love you all.
Elder Oakes, Hungary Budapest Mission
P.s. Thank you President Smith for sending me the email, it meant a lot!

(Pres. Smith's Letter)
Dear Elder Oakes:
I can’t believe the time is coming for you to return home! I bet this time approaches with mixed emotions; happy that you had the opportunity to serve, happy that you came to love the Hungarian people so much, happy with your service, but excited to see your family again.
I just wanted to drop a quick note to thank you for continuing to send me regular e-mails. I hear (periodically) from some of them, but not from many. I do hear from a lot here – and that is fun (we went out on a date with Elder Nelson and Sister Oberhansley!) – but you are the only one in Hungary who has regularly written. So, thanks for that!
It would have been fun to be there and see all that you accomplished. I knew you had the capacity and ability to be a great missionary – and I am sure that you are. (You were great when I was there – but I’m sure you blossomed more and more). I hope you will call when you get home, and give me an up-date on the last seven months.
I can’t believe we have been home seven months. The time continues to race by. I’ve been very busy at work – but I love my work, so that is fun.
Anyway, I hope all is well in Hungary. I have talked with President Szabadkai a couple of times, but not much. He has e-mailed me with certain questions. I recently recorded my testimony for a project he is putting together. He has asked all of the former mission presidents to say a few words. I’ve been in contact with President Wilde (the first MP), President Baughman (just before me) and President Gasser (just before President Baughman) and have made arrangements for them to record their testimonies. It is going to be exciting to see all of the former MP’s united together in this cause.
Thanks for your service. I consider it a highlight to have served with you. I hope you receive all of the Lord’s choicest blessings. Please do call when you get home. I would love to hear from you. If you make it to SLC, it would be fun to get together. We will have another reunion in April (one every April and October). Last reunion we had about 150 people there. It was a fun time.
Sorry to take so much time – but I did want to check in. I want you to know you are loved (by more than your folks!!). I hope you will continue to work hard right up to the end. I know you will. I’m sure President Szabadkai is making a wonderful difference in Hungary as Mission President. I’m sure it’s an honor to serve with him. If you see any of the other missionaries who remember us, please give them our love. Please know that we love you – and pray for your service!
Sok Szeretettel,
P-LVS (that is, “former President” Lowell V. Smith).
PS: Sister Smith sends her love.