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

Monday, March 23, 2015

Week 44 - 8th Week in Sopron

Oh wow!

So, lots of stuff this week, and I forgot my planner! I have about 15 minutes to write so I hope I get everything but it probably won't be in the right order. Elder Mortensen and I hit the streets really hard this week. We passed out 17 books of Mormon over the last 7 days! We also had seventeen finding hours. Pretty good ratio. We set up several programs from that but none of them actually happened.

I feel our work here has been going down hill and it keeps getting worse. We are really hoping that things will start to get better soon and that we will start to have more success. That's why we have taken to streeting with books of Mormon in hand to try and do some honest finding. We had English class this week also. That is a great way to meet people.

The branch here is great, lots of great people! We got to go cook with the Branch president's family and that was a lot of fun. The parents were both chefs I think and know how to cook some mean cuisine!

I hit my year mark on my mission on Thursday! So, we went out for dinner and I treated myself to a really nice beef steak! We also got treated to dinner by a super nice lady in the ward. She paid quite a bit and we tried to slip her some money to help out. She noticed it though and told me I was bűnös (guilty/bad) haha! She forced me to take the money back and wouldn't let me near her purse after that.

On Saturday Sister Jensen organized an anniversary play for relief society and had us participate in that. I got a few pictures but I am sure that they posted much more on their website. We also got to attend a baptism of a former investigator of Elder Mortensens. Super cool guy and has a really great testimony of the gospel. We got to go into Szombathely for that. Cool little city with a nice branch.

Sunday was good, I ended up teaching the Gospel Doctrine class which went well. I also translated a lot because two of the senior couples from Buda came down to visit. It was good language practice.

But that was basically my week, pretty good, still working hard.

Love you all!

Elder Oakes, Hungary Budapest Mission

Friday, March 20, 2015

Week 43 - 7th Week in Sopron 1/2 Way!!!

Hey there!

So this has been a pretty crazy week. We found out on Monday that we would be going into Budapest for Zone Conference on Thursday. The Conference was scheduled for 9:30 to 3:30 and with a three hour train ride that's early out the door and late getting back. Other problem was the fact that we hold English class (one of our more effective finding tools) on Thursday at 6. When we looked at train times we realized that there was no way to get back in time. So I called President and asked if we would be able to come in the day before with the east zones, but after contemplating it he decided not to allow us to do that.

I was a little frustrated about that because our only options were to get someone else to do it for us (which wasn't likely) or to cancel it (which wasn't really an option). So we called around but no one seemed too keen to help us out. So at 10 on Monday night a thought came to mind to ask a less active member.

A little background information, this member, Peter, is a Hungarian. He served as a missionary in Hungary, but he has been inactive for a while. We have spent a lot of time trying to get into contact with him but its difficult to do and inconsistent. BUT, God had his hand in the whole situation.

As soon as I thought to call him I looked at the clock, 10:00, it's late right? Well, what could it hurt? I gave him a call, and on the second ring he answered. I explained the situation and without hesitation he accepted. He then continued to inform us he would clear his calender and replan his other programs. He took it on like a champ!

Honestly, I was a little amazed that it all worked out and I was worried it might not go through but it went off without a hitch! We made it to Buda and back without having to cancel English class. Huge blessing in more ways then one!

The conference was amazing. President Kearon of the Seventy presided in the meeting and taught us in such a way it kept all of us sitting on the edge of our seats. There are not many people that I can actively listen to for more than 3 hours at a time, but he is one of them. I would be one of the first ones in line! He spoke most of the time and President and Sister Smith spoke also. We had a lunch break in the middle.

He taught a lot about refocusing our efforts on why we are here as missionaries (that's what I got out of it). It was a very open communication between everyone and it made it very engaging. I learned a lot that I will be applying from now on.

The next day after we got back was pretty good. We checked in with Peter (who taught the class for us) and it went really well. He actually would really like to continue to teach as well so this may be a great thing to keep going with. We also started going at the work differently. In the last 2 days alone we have handed out 4 books of Mormon. I am starting to feel like things are looking up for Sopron.

Saturday we went and played sport with a bunch of members and investigators. It was a lot of fun. Good way to relax and unwind a bit. Sunday went really well. Sandor came again and brought his two little girls. Unfortunately one was a little upset so he left with them before church started, but he was there!

I also taught in Priesthood which I feel went really well. I like teaching but sometimes I feel a little like a comedian when I am trying to get a point across that I don't know how to explain well in the language, but it went well all in all.

That night we had dinner with Zolt and Darkó. Zolt is one of the coolest guys I have met and he just got home from the Freiburg temple. It was the first time he had gone to the temple, so that was a great experience for him. We are glad he went but we are also glad to have him back because he is a huge help to us. He went to the Freiburg temple because the Frankfurt temple was closed.

Its been a great week, I miss you all back home, love you all

Elder Oakes, Hungary Budapest Mission

PS...Mom, I got the "1/2 way box". Thank you! Loved the goodies inside :) sorry no pics this week..

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week 42 - 6th Week in Sopron!

Hey there!

How are things with you all? Life is going pretty good here. This last week hasn't been too eventful, but one super interesting thing we did was on Monday we went with Elder Jensen to the Austrian Border. They have a cool little park there on the Hungarian side and we were able to adventure around and look at a lot of the history they have there. I didn't take any pictures but Elder Mortensen did. I'll try to get a hold of his camera. There was a big deal about it when they brought down the iron curtain. It was pretty cool!

The rest of the week we spent planning for just about everything it seems like... my talk, a recent convert's talk (which we helped her write), the upcoming open house, discussing the missionary work in correlation meeting, planning to teach priesthood, etc, etc, etc... We stayed good and busy. Tuesday we met with Ersike Néni to help her write her talk. That was interesting... she is a sweet old lady but because she has some different views on religion and life, we decided to come back with a member later in the week to get that sorted out. We also visited with the Branch President to finalize the fliers that I made for the open house. We are planning an open house as an easy way for members to bring a friend. But anyone can come. It's going to be on March 27th. We are handing out fliers but we want the members to pass them out also. We don't table as much it's not as effective here.
This is the pass along card for the open house that Elder Oakes made!
Wednesday was good, we got lots of finding time in and a few good programs before branch council. Thursday we had district meeting. That went well I feel like. Giving trainings is kinda fun and this week we focused on doing more effective finding. It went well and I think we all learned a lot. We taught English class as well which went really good. I really enjoy doing that.

Friday was pretty bland, lots of tracting and finding time, but we had a good few programs. It seems to me though like the number of people we meet with in a week is steadily dropping. Its sad but a lot of the previous investigators didn't really seem to meet with the elders for the gospel but just to party. They don't like our idea of a party I guess.

Saturday was almost a mirror image of Friday with the added sport nap and revisiting Ersike Néni, with a member (who was a big help)to help her finish her talk. We also were able to meet with one of the older investigators here and had a good chat.

Sunday morning I finished writing my talk. Then gave it within the hour, I hate public speaking, not my thing. But for the most part it went well. I spoke about Gifts of the Spirit. I was also the last speaker and had to take almost 25 minutes, it ended up being like 18 or something, but the branch president didn't seem to mind, we just ended a bit early. Ersike Néni's talk went well too. It was a good Sunday.

Our number of programs was down this week. We only had 7 this whole week. But we have been doing a lot of recent convert/less active work. We had 9 programs with less active members and 4 with recent converts. One less active, Sandor, even came back to church this week.

We go in for zone conference this week. I'll check for the box then. I am really excited for that book you ordered, Dad! Mortensen and I are doing good. He is a great companion! They ended mini transfers once all the missionaries on that schedule went home. The MTC switched the intervals from every 6 weeks to every 9 weeks. Because of that, the timing for missionaries all changed. So now there are no more missionaries on the old time so no more need for mini transfers. The transfers are just every 9 weeks, so another 3 weeks for sure here in Sopron.

Anyway, things back at home sound good! Lizzy got asked to Prom! Naomi is dancing all over the place (and sick), Becca nannies all the time, and Manda is pregnant and celebrating her 2 year anniversary...WOW! Josh Holyoak leaves Wednesday for his mission to Oregon! Wow! Sounds like you guys are all enjoying life. Wish I could be there, take a few extra pictures for me!

Speaking of pictures I got my hands on Elder Mortensen's camera and I'll be sending you all of his pictures as well. He has a good amount! Can't wait to hear from you guys!

I got to go now. Mom, I love you so much!

Elder Oakes, Hungary Budapest Mission