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

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Week 40 - 4th Week in Sopron

Hey there!

So this week has been pretty low key. No big adventures or anything. Monday was Pday. We went to try and find a pedikűr place with the sisters. We were going to get our feet done but Hungarians, for some reason, don't work on Mondays so almost everyplace was closed. Oh well! The sisters didn't think we would go through with that but it didn't end up working out anyway. We went out and whipped a bit. That was the first time that I have used my whip in a while so that was fun.

Tuesday was pretty good! Probably the highlight of the week. We were able to set a baptismal date with Elder Jensen's help. He was honestly the one who set it. I am learning a lot from Elder Jensen here. I have kinda gotten used to just accepting being turned down. When we asked this investigator if she would be baptized initially she said she wasn't ready. I was just like, 'well okay then' and was about to move on when Elder Jensen jumped in and asked me to give her a challenge for a specific date, and reminded me that the date is a goal to work towards and she doesn't need to be ready now, just to prepare for the specified day. When I explained this to the investigator she agreed! She is not ready now but we knows she can be by that time with some real effort.

Wednesday was kinda a bumber. Not a bad working day but we asked another investigator if she would like to be baptized. She has been kinda an eternal and on and off baptism date for the last while. She would like to be but she is afraid her kids will be disappointed in her if she gets baptized. We spent about an hour trying to ensure her that God will bless her if she acts in faith but when it came down to the direct question she just said no.

It's sad but we will still meet with her every now and again. As long as she comes to church we aren't going to give up on her, but it's still sad to see people reject what they know is right out of fear. Thursday was English class. I really enjoy teaching that. I feel like its one of the more effective finding tools we have, though its only once a week.

Friday was a good day but not super eventful. Saturday we cleaned the Branch house. Then we went on splits with members to try to boost our work. I went with Elder Jensen and Elder Mortensen with Zsolt one of the coolest members I have met. The day went pretty good. We have been able to double our finding time and spread out our working area this way. We are planning on making this a regular thing on Saturdays and we are already seeing success from it. Mostly from Mortensen and Zsolt, everyone just looks at Elder Jensen and I funny and says they don't want to buy anything...haha

Sunday was a good day, though, as well. We sat down with the branch President after church and were able to have a really good talk with him about the programs we have been hosting at the branch house. How we can make things more effective. Cancelling programs that have been a waste of time, and starting a few hopefully more productive new ones.

Between that and a few other programs we fit weekly planning into the cracks before going to a dinner program hosted for Anikó (our investigator on baptism date) by the Jensens. It was good and we taught the stop smoking program to her. I think she struggled focusing that long on the program steps but I hope she will take it seriously. I think she will figure it out though. She is super great and we love her!

And so we are now here today emailing. There aren't a whole lot but I did a video tour of our apartment here so I hope you enjoy that! Our apartment is cool because it is on the top floor where the branch house is. There is a ground floor with small stores, the second floor with a law or business firm and then the branch house then us.


Love you family and friends keep in touch!

Elder Oakes, Hungary Budapest Mission

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Week 39 - 3rd Week in Sopron

Hey there

So this last week has been a bit rough. I think there has been multiple reasons but I have been feeling pretty stressed out. The week started pretty good! We went to a chocolate factory that is here in Sopron. They showed us a video presentation of how chocolate is made and all the steps in the process from the coco bean to the treat that we eat.

Pretty cool but I was more interested in the endless assorted chocolate that was included in the tour! Pretty cool place and there are some really good kinds of chocolate I never even thought about (paprika chocolate). Afterward we went to tour an old church, it had just snowed so we had some fun in the snow. I nailed Sister Jeppsen in the back of the head with a giant snow ball! The look on her face...priceless!!! :P We then made a snow man, (afterward we realized we were in the cemetery at the church. In hindsight it might not have been a good place for that but...)

The rest of the week wasn't bad but it wasn't necessarily good either. I was feeling pretty low this week. Our programs are going fine but I feel like most of our "progressing" investigators are slowing in their progression. I have also been frustrated from the lack of fruit of our finding efforts. We had a lot of people who were really rude when we were tracting. We got kicked out of buildings like 4 times and the police threatened on us twice. We tracted a lot this week and repeatedly have not only not found success but have been discouraged by the aggresive behaviors of many of the people we have come into contact with.
Ersike (right) and Aniko (left)

Thursday was a nice break, we got to go into Györ for zone training. It's always nice and serves as a spiritual boost to go to zone trainings. The training was good and it was great to see a lot of missionaries I knew. Afterward we went to a place called the Hajo which literaly means boat. Its a fitting name for the resturaunt because it is literally a boat on the Duna River...super good too! We ordered two Mississippi platters that were huge! I forgot to get pictures before we ate but some missionaries did so we gotta try to go blog hunting for those. It was really good. A nice break from the week, but we went right back to it when we got back.

The rest of the week for the most part was like the first part in regards to the work. We got to meet with a friend of Zsolts though from Buda. He came to visit and is a memeber as well. He is a super cool guy and we hung out quite a bit.

Its been for the most part a humbling experience this week. This trend however was pleasantly broken on Sunday. My companion and I headed out to tract the one ten floor building here in sopron. The first door that opened was a middle aged man in about his 40's. When we said we represented our church he asked us which one.

We responded "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints -or you may know our nickname- the Mormons" When we said mormons his face lit up and he welcomed us in. For the next hour or so we got to know him and found that almost 20 years ago he met with the missionaries in Pest as a young man and they had taught him baseball, which he remembered, as well as other things which he didn't. We were able to give him a Book of Mormon and explained it as well as going through a lot of the restoration.

The experience was refreshing and it really helped me to get out of this "funk" that I felt I had fallen into. I am grateful for the experience. And now I am here today at our new emailing place. (I mention it as the new one because we are no longer going to the old one) Why is that even relevant? Because our old emailing place charged 2000ft for a 5 hour pass. My companion and I decided to do some research and we found a new place. College Library 1000ft for a 6 month unlimited pass. We signed up and are here in the new place now.

So things are looking up at the beginning of this week and my companion and I are still looking forward to what Sopron has in store. The snow here has melted as of now and it is getting warmer.

I love you and miss you. I got to go now I will talk to you next week!

Elder Oakes, Hungary Budapest Mission

Monday, February 9, 2015

Week 38 - 2nd Week in Sopron

Hey there!

So this past week has been pretty good for the most part, not super eventful but good. Our work has been picking up pretty nicely the last few days to the point where we are feeling pretty busy nowadays. When we got here all we had was a small notebook paper with four or five names on it and not a whole lot of direction. But this week we had 8 member present programs, 4 others, 3 recent convert programs and 8 less actives, plus 18 finding hours fit into the cracks.

Monday we spent the rest of the day finishing up cleaning the apartment. I am about satisfied with it now so that's good. Tuesday we kept pretty busy and met up with the Jensen's as well to discuss doing less active member work. Our Wednesday was packed! We had programs almost back to back the entire day and to top it off MEGFÁZOLTAM or in English I caught a cold. My companion and I have started working out in the mornings as well and that morning with being sick and working out my stomach couldn't handle it. Luckily I hadn't had breakfast yet so that was good. And afterward I felt much better as well.

I rode out that day sniffling through all our programs but it went good. Thursday and Friday were a blur except for English class and the two ladies who threatened to call the cops on us, not a whole lot stands out.

But Saturday was a lot of fun. We have two other priesthood holders here aside from the branch president and the missionaries. One goes by Zsolt. He speaks 9 languages (to varying degrees) and almost perfect English, though English is one of the languages he proclaims to be less fluent in. But either way, the guy is super cool.

He went on splits with Elder Mortensen, and I went with the other priesthood holder by the name of Dárko. He just got baptized and ordained to the office of priest within the last month but he is really cool. The others headed off to tract while Dárko and I went to give a priesthood blessing to Elder Jensen because he was feeling pretty sick.

That went super well because we had an opportunity to talk a lot about the priesthood with him. After that he and I headed to Bau Max a hardware store here that unfortunately is closing, but fortunately because it's closing they are liquidating everything at 90% off... so I may have bought a few things... and I may be going back today. But the reason we went in the first place was to buy a replacement tube for one of our bikes, which we did. But only to realize when we got back it's not just the tube that's bad but the whole back wheel needs to be replaced. We are going to try to fix the bikes today but we aren't sure it will work out because we are all going to a chocolate factory here today. I will eat a little extra for you :P But I am not sending pics today, I forgot my camera.

The rest of the weekend went pretty well though. We have several programs set up for the following week and are excited. I am really happy here with my companion he is super motivated to work hard and to do what is right and so it is making things a lot easier on me for my first time as a senior companion. I would even say he is worthy to set Lizzy up with after the mission! He is from Eagle Mountain, Utah.

Anyway, I forgot to mention a while back that I was on splits with Jordan (Elder Flake) In Györ. Beautiful place. Fresh snow was falling and the scenery was awesome as we headed out to a program, but as we were driving and Elder Flake made a turn on the road to go left the car for some reason kept going straight. At that point we simply slid off the road and came to a gentle snow bound stop in an overgrown shrub.

Many kind people stopped to help us out of the snow and we got an excuse to roll around a bit in the snow (and by that I mean on my hands and knees pushing the car back onto the road). It was actually kinda fun. I may have forgotten to mention that on purpose. Love you Mom! But Elder Flake is now serving in Debrecen, my first area.

But other than that, not a whole lot to report.

Love ya all!
Elder Oakes, Hungary Budapest Mission

Monday, February 2, 2015

Week 37 - 1st Week in Sopron!

Hey there!

Okay so this week has been a bit crazy! We had transfers last week and that's pretty much guaranteed insanity. Just imagine 100 foreigners randomly deciding all at the same time trying to stuff all of their belongings into suitcases, dragging them onto public transportation, and then all meeting at the same spot, at relatively the same time, running around speaking a language you don't understand. Its got to be an odd spectacle for the Hungarians.

But it's the tradition here in the Hungary Budapest mission, and until they break down and get everyone here a vehicle like the missionaries in America I can't see it changing anytime soon. But hey, you kinda start to enjoy it after a while. It is like a big reunion!
Members in Tatabanya: Edina, Nike and Lala with Elder Oakes
Oakes and Cannon
Elder Gonzalez, Oakes, Paragoy and Anderson

I had to say goodbye to Tatabanya, it was sad but its never a real goodbye because we always see people. Elder Cannon is staying and getting Elder Antablian, super cool guy. I like him a lot.

Anyway, when we got to Budpest I said goodbye to my comp, Elder Cannon. I love the guy but we will see each other around. I met up with my new companion, Elder Mortensen. I LOVE THIS GUY!!!! He is so awesome. He is much better at the language than I was at his point in the mission. Super smart and helps me out a ton! I can't think of a better companion to go full senior with!
Elder Mortensen
Mortensen and Oakes

Oh, I'm not sure I mentioned that I am the full senior companion now. Last time I was talking to the mission president I was telling him all the super cool missionaries I would like to serve with because I wanted companions that would work me hard. He said "Well that's great you would like to work hard Elder but at this point you're done being with missionaries who are your age or older in the mission." So I saw this one coming.

But what I didn't see coming was when we got here and we were talking about the other missionaries in our district I realized something! I turned to my companion and said with a tone of shock in my voice "Wait a minute, this means I am District Leader doesn't it?!?" my companion kinda just nodded his head at me taking it all in pace while my mind is racing at about a hundred miles an hour trying to figure out all the implications of the statement I had just uttered.

So yeah now I am here in Sopron, a random city in Hungary, as the senior companion and District leader and I am supposed to lead 5 other missionaries in the work efforts here. Honestly I would be lying if I said I wasn't excited for the challenge but afraid to mess it up. But I think it will be good. I luckily have a good team here. I already said my companion is awesome, so that's great, and I ended up with a senior couple again! Super awesome! We got the Jensens here with us and I am loving it!

I am loving the Jensens. But aside from them we have a sister companionship here as well. We have Sister Martineau and Sister Jeppson. They are both super cool as well. Sister Jeppson just got into the country but she already speaks well even though she wouldn't admit it and Sister Martineau was from my group and is doing a good job here. At the end of the week everyone reports their progress in the missionary work to me. Then I turn in a report to the zone leaders. Every week I will hold a district training meeting.
Sister Jeppson
Sister Martineau

The branch is great here. Last Sunday was pretty small but that's only because this last week we had snow flakes falling the size of my fist and things get crazy with Hungarians and the weather, they are super superstitious. We have three hour church again, still trying to decide if I like that or not.

Sopron isn't a big city but it's bigger than Tatabanya, I think. The work is good here. They had two baptisms in the last year which is super good. But when we got here, to my horror, the previous Elders did not have an area book work, in fact I don't think any serious area book work has been done since last July. So we have a few names and descriptions of investigators on a small paper but that was it. My companion and I have spent several hours on the phone and in the book trying to reverse engineer everything and get it all in order. We had a program this morning and Elder Jensen came and sat in on it.

We also have been doing a lot of cleaning in the apartment. Which, by the way, is super nice and sits right above the branch house so that is SUPER convenient. It's really big but has had a lot of crud build up over the years. We are almost done cleaning now (my companion has been a big help with that) and it's looking pretty good.
It's just a stuffed mouse, compliments of previous elders :)

Anyway, it's been a good week! Lots happening, lots to get done!

Love ya all!
Elder Oakes, Hungary Budapest Mission