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

Monday, June 30, 2014

Week 6 in Debrecen-New Companion!

Hey mom,

Love you so much! Last week we didn't have a ton of time to email as we were in a rush to get to an appointment, sorry. I'm glad you got a hold of the other emails that I sent so you could put more stuff on the blog.
Lunch with Bro and Sis Steel and Elder Miller

Bro Steel's eyeball :)
I really like Elder Whiting! He is a super great guy. Totally down to earth and super nice too. Elder Whiting is a big help he not only does studies with me but he pushes me to work harder than I would on my own so that's awesome! The apartment is now in an acceptable living quality. I got rid of a lot of stuff. But now it's clean!! My new companion has helped me to clean it.

Eszter is doing good, she is super nice. The other day in church she told me she was going to give me money so I could buy food, I thanked her kindly but tried to explain to her that I didn't need it. It was an interesting conversation because I barely speak Hungarian, the member helping me translate barely speaks English, and Eszter is so new to the church that even a clear explanation can be confusing when explaining religious things. But she is super nice. Right now though her son has a lot of problems. He is sick and was in the hospital. The other day the government took him into custody from the hospital. We aren't really sure what's going on there. I just hope that it all works out for her.
Eszter's baptism

I got the package you sent and the one Sister Staggie sent. The box she sent was huge and full of goodies! It made my day when i got hers and yours! Thanks a ton! I got the letter from my primary class, they were awesome! The watch you sent I really like and I have been wearing it a lot. I got the photo album too, thank you!

I'll be sure to send some pictures today.

I got the pants I had made. I really love them!
Material for the pants

The zone conference was super good. I'll maybe talk more about that another time. Happy anniversary! Hope you had a great time! Happy Bday, Dad. I will try to send the videos this week!

Love you,

Elder Oakes, Hungary Budapest Mission

At a rest home and dinner with the Barta family

Sights of Debrecen

New friends from Debrecen

Michael is so funny!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Week 5 in Debrecen - BAPTISM!

Hey All!

WE HAD A BAPTISM! It was awesome! She is such a sweet lady. I have only been here 1 month and got to be a part of Lantos Eszter's baptism last Sunday. It was super cool! We tracted into her last week and she basically said she knew we were coming, knew it was all true and insisted on being baptized like the next week. That was awesome!

There are a lot of people here that really like the American lifestyle. The stores are kinda similar but there are some differences. The food here is okay, but I think I like American better. (maybe it will be different at the end of the mission!)

Things are going pretty good here. My companion leaves in 2 days so I will get a new one. It will be Elder Whiting. He is a great guy so I am excited.

I am really short on time this week so I am not writing a lot but I'll be on for a little bit if you want to email back.

Love you!

Elder Oakes,
Hungary Budapest Mission

(From Becca)We had a guy from Preventive Pest Control come spray and he went on his mission to HUNGARY! He taught us how to say Debrecen correctly. He said it was like Debretzen cuz the "c" is pronounced like a "t". I don't remember his name though.

Try to remember his name so maybe I could email him some time. How was trek? How is summer? I am tight on time this week so I'll email you more next week!

Love ya, see ya, bye!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Week 4 in Debrecen

I will do my best to put you in my shoes (THEY MAY BE KINDA STINKY :) We have a lot of great members. We work the closest with the youth group here in Debrecen. I am actually sitting next to Michael right now. He is a Taiwanese convert that goes to college here. Then there is Dori, she and her brother, Vili, were the ones we had dinner with. She is awesome! She is the young women's president and has been a member for 2 years. She is planning on going on a mission. Vili is probably one of the coolest guys I know. He is really humble and is kinda quiet but he is really smart. He just was ordained as the branch mission president too. Then there is Sylvi she is super sweet, she's only been a member a little while but is really involved.

We have an older lady we tracted into who wants to get baptized. We taught her like 4 days in a row and she came to church. The second lesson she said she wanted to get baptized so we had to teach her the commandments. We did the big three and went over the baptism questions in a single lesson and she agreed to all of them no problem. She is awesome!

Spiritual experiences are here for sure, hard to say anything specific. My companion is going home in 10 days though so I will have a new companion. I'm hoping for someone who will really try to help me out with my studies. I think I will stay here in Debrecen at transfers, but I don't know. There is a companionship here of 3 so I will probably be paired with one of them.

The grocery store is called Interspar. It's like a mini Wal-Mart crammed into much smaller space.

I am actually in Nyíregyháza right now while the suit lady is finishing up the suits and pants we ordered. We had to come for a final fitting and we will probably be here a while as she has 3 suits and my pants to finish. I am out of time to email.

I love you!
Elder Oakes,
Hungary Budapest Mission

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Week 3 in Debrecen

Hey mom,

I love you so much, I am sorry I didn't email yesterday. I haven't had a normal p day since I've been here. If my companion can't get a full 2 hours of email time, he waits til he can. Things are going good here. We are making a lot of progress in the work in Debrecen. I really like the people here. The weather is warming up a lot. I am buying some new pants that aren't black.

There is a lady here that makes custom suits. My companion decided he wanted one so we went yesterday with Michael. I just ordered the pants from here but they will be machine washable, custom fitted, in a material I chose that's good for hot weather. So I'm excited about that!

I had liver this last week. Everyone has been warning me about it and telling me to just avoid it, but I thought it tasted really good. It's a lot like meat just with a different texture. It's very normal here in Hungary so I am glad I like it. That's the only real Hungarian dish I've tried here so far.

The two in the picture are Dori and Vili, they are brother and sister and way cool! They had us over for dinner and fed us a ton. I practically rolled out of there! The branch is really small and has a lot of inactive members. We have had three dinner appointments since I've been here. We don't cook lots. I only get like 30 min to eat, if that. So, I just make little stuff for myself. I eat a lot of dairy and eggs. And no, I haven't been to McDonald's yet.

The other picture is of me with Elder Hurfeil. He is German.

We get up everyday at 6:30 am, we visit anyone that wants to talk to us, so we end up doing a lot of tracting and run into random people. We have tabled once since we've been here (set up a table in front of the church and hand out pamphlets). There wasn't very many people though. On Saturday nights they do sports night on the church lawn (usually soccer, it's probably the most popular sport in Hungary). The members here are really nice and I like them a lot. The branch president is way cool. He is the only active member in his family. I get along well with everyone.

The language is coming along good! I can understand more than I thought and things are easier to say, but I still have a long way to go! When I'm typing the letters are all there, but they are in different positions. It just takes longer.

When we need to get around we walk or take the tram. If we have to get someplace that's really far, then the Steel's give us a ride. If it's outside our zone we go by train.

We have our own washer and there is a drying rack, so we do our own laundry here. You asked for pictures of our apartment. It is a disaster. I have done a ton to clean up but it's still a mess. But, yes, I'll send you some pictures.

I'm sorry to hear dad is sick, especially right before trek. Tell him I said good luck!

I love you. I am not sure if you are going to wake up or not so don't feel bad if you don't.
Love your boy :)

Elder Oakes, Hungary Budapest Mission

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Week 2 in Debrecen

Things are going good here. I didn't get to email yesterday because I had training in Budapest. The train ride is like 3 hours one way, so it killed our pday.

Last week when I sent those pics the guys on horses wearing blue and black, were Hungarian cowboys. We went and saw them on our first pday.

My companion and I are doing alright. He goes home in like 3 weeks. He is really pushing the missionary work and wants to go out with a bang. We've skipped study time quite a bit, he says if we want to be good missionaries we need to make sacrifices and so study time is the first thing to go. Being new I really feel I need that time. Other than that, though, he is a pretty cool guy.

I still am spending a lot of time trying to clean the apartment we moved into. I feel strongly that if the living space is messy it affects study time which, effects the work.

Thanks for the pictures from home! I really like those. I love you all!

Elder Oakes, Hungary Budapest Mission

How many missionaries are in Debrecen?

The missionaries are: us, the Steels (an older couple serving in Debrecen) and the sisters. We are very involved in the branch as most people have 3 callings just so everything gets done.
Bro & Sis SteelSisters
Are there any members that you've gotten to know well? Anyone you are teaching? What training did you have in Budapest?
Elder Miller, Michael and me
We know a lot of the members well. I really like Michael though, he is a member from Taiwan. He came to school here and got baptized. He is awesome and super funny. It was "greenie" training in Budapest, just learning the mission rules and such.

What is the one thing you feel like you are struggling with most?
From the Steel's blog about Elder Oakes (they think he is doing well with the language)
Probably the language. Could you send some BOD in the box you're sending out? They don't have any here and everything else is really expensive. Plus maybe a photo album of the family. The people here in Hungary really like looking at those, but I don't have one.

Are you having to cook quite a few of your meals or do the branch members feed you? Do you want a cookbook :)
Potluck dinner and minute to win it games
Yes, and that would be good too! Love you, got to go. Bye