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

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Week 49 - 13th Week in Sopron

To One and All!

Well, this week was something else! We worked so hard this week! The week started off with our first three days doing solid tracting blocks of like 6 hours. I don't even think we had more than 2 programs... Thursday we had a guy show up at the branch house who we had tracted into the day before, so we taught him the Restoration lesson. But looking back we didn't do a very good job, in fact I think we even forgot to introduce ourselves. Not sure he even remembers our names. We were pretty stinking depressed when we realized how bad we blew that one. It kinda weighed pretty heavy combined with our start of a dismal week.

But that was the end of that. After a little bit of soul searching and some ice cream we made a recovery. And not just that, we bounced back! The next few days we got out and went back to it. And miracles started to happen one after another.

Friday we were tracting for a while and started to head back. On the way I saw a house that we had already tracted, but no one answered and for some reason I just decided to punch the doorbell one more time. My companion kinda gave me a look but he stopped and we waited, just expecting to move on after no answer. But a man in his 30's poked his head out. After a short chat he agreed to let us in. We walked into his home and went upstairs to find his wife with their baby boy and their nine year old son playing with a friend.

We were able to talk and get to know them and introduced the Book of Mormon. As we introduced it I asked "what have your heard about the Mormons?" The husband said a lot but obviously from what he had seen and heard none of it was true! It was a super awesome experience.

We had this happen again and again though some details vary. But at the end of this week we counted up and we had 7 new investigators 15 programs and 26 finding hours! We shattered all our expectations for the week!

I have been so grateful for what has started to happen here in Sopron. I think the work is finally turning around. I really feel like blessings have been pouring in and that all that we have had to work through since I have gotten here is paying off. I am so pumped after this week and I am looking forward to the next!

To top it all off, President Smith has given us permission to go paintballing today! We have built up a group of 11 people and we will be heading out to go play today! Everything is set up and ready. Of those playing are the missionaries (us, the sisters and Elder Jensen), the Branch president and his son, and 4 investigators. I am super excited! I'll be using my GoPro to video it!

Love you all at home and Sister Staggie, thank you for the box! I got it last week. I also got one from the stake youth. Tell them all I said thank you and they are awesome!

Love you all at home, I got to go to get ready to paint ball!!! Love you so much I will keep you in my prayers!

Elder Oakes, Hungary Budapest Mission

Monday, April 20, 2015

Week 48 - 12th Week in Sopron

Hello to all,

This week has been considerably more enjoyable than the last. I won't lie sometimes I have a tendency to focus on the negative but it's especially hard when there doesn't seem to be a lot of positive. But anyway, in the way of things eventful one of our investigators went on a date with one of our members. Two dates actually, things seem to be going well (keep our fingers crossed on that one) we don't really have a lot to lose though because she dropped us right before they went out (to tell the truth she is moving but just isn't interested enough to pass on her information). Hopefully, things will go well with them!

In other news we have started to move out of the city center. Its a lot nicer because we don't have people yelling at us all the time. As of yet though, we don't have a whole lot to show for it, but its only been like two solid days so it needs more time.

The second day of moving out of the city center, we got rained on. It was Friday, we had just got back from zone training, spring is here and the weather was good so we changed into short sleeves and everything. We go outside and start to work, then out of nowhere, a good 45 min walk from our apartment, rain clouds roll in and just open up. So we were a little wet but, no biggie.

Church was good, two investigators showed up. So we will see where that adventure takes us.

So for the most part things are going good. We are working on building our investigator pool so that just takes time. But I really like Elder Evans, he and I get along really well. We both have a tendency to try and lead the conversation so we got to work a bit on teaching in harmony but I am excited to be here with him. I think I have been super lucky with my companions so far. They all have wanted to work and are all pretty talented with this language. Two qualities that are not easy to come by.

But I am loving my mission. I am learning so much and I feel like I have grown a ton. But I still can't wait to go home! Love all you guys!

Till next week,

Elder Oakes, Hungary Budapest Mission

Monday, April 13, 2015

Week 47 - 11th Week in Sopron

Hey there!

So this week has been pretty crazy. We worked HARD!!! but despite working hard things just kept seeming to fall through. So instead we ended up doing a lot of finding and let me tell ya it was rough... We have been trying to do lots of honest finding to build the work here in Sopron.

This last week I have been met with more resistance to our tracting efforts than I have ever experienced in my entire mission. Not only has 20+ hours of tracting produced no results, we have repeatedly had to leave areas because of individuals who begin to verbally attack us for being there. It creates such a problem that we have no hope of being able to peaceably contact anyone in that area for some time...

We have, however, found some success in Area Book work, We were able to renew relationships with 2 former investigators and through our current investigators we have received 2 solid referrals. For that reason we were able to have 4 new investigators.

That was probably one of the really cool things that happened this last week. We were contacting former investigators out of the phone and happened upon some oddly spelled names. We knew they weren't Hungarian, but we called them up anyway. Turned out to be two super cool international students studying here. One by the name of Aijzhan (eye-john) and the other by the name of Yanin [yawn-in(like "ing"but without the g sound)]. Super cool so we set up a program and they said they would come.

On Saturday 2 other people showed up with them. Joe and Margerit. They were all super cool! Aijzhan is from Kyrgyzstan (I think). The other three are from Thailand. They all speak English and we were able to get to know them and share a message with them from the scriptures. Aijzhan we gave a Russian Book of Mormon but we didn't have any in Thai for the other girls but we ordered them! Anyway, super cool girls we set up to meet again next Saturday. The rest of the week was kinda a blur, we did a lot of work but not a lot of stuff we feel is going anywhere.

We are considering moving out from the city center in our finding efforts. I am feeling like it may be good to try tracting in neighborhoods rather than apartment buildings here. We are going to give that a try for this next week and see how it goes. Hopefully we will begin to see a change in how things are going though.

But I am glad things seem to be a lot more lively back home! Amanda is having a little girl!!! OMG congrats!!! I am gonna be an UNCLE!!! YEAH. Lizzy is looking good in her dress for Prom too! Hope you have a great night Liz!!!

I love you guys back at home so much! I miss all of my friends as well, to those of you out on missions I wish you a great week! Love you all!

Elder Oakes, Hungary Budapest Mission http://elderbryceoakes.blogspot.hu/

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Week 46 - 10th Week in Sopron

Well where do I start...

I didn't get to email last week because we got kicked out but last week wasn't super eventful anyway. We made Rako krumpli which is always super delicious and I sent home a video of it! Elder Mortensen and I did missionary work all week. P-day got moved to Tuesday because of transfers so we took advantage of that to go to see some things that are normally closed on Monday. We went to the Esztrer-Hazi place and to Nagycénk. Both were pretty great, we got to see a lot of stuff. I took a lot of pictures that I sent already.

Afterward we came back to the apartment to pack. Elder Mortensen collected his things and got ready for the trip on the morrow... (6 hours round trip, long day...) The next morning The Jensens picked us up at 5:30 and took us to the train station, got our tickets for the 6:07 train and rolled out. We got in at about 9 and hauled the luggage to the meeting point. Transfers are always a lot of fun, we get to see all the missionaries concentrated in one area and all the strangers staring at us. (Think about it 100+ young men and women all super dressed up with name tags and carrying ridiculous amounts of luggage suddenly show up one day in one of Budapest's busiest train stations and gather in a huge group in one of the entry ways, its an odd sight to see...) But its always great!

I got to meet up with Elder Bagley, the guy is probably my best friend in the mission. We were in the same MTC group and hit it off right away. He and I took off together to go have lunch and chat a bit and look around in Pest (Which is the city he had been serving in). It was great to catch up and chat. Real breather, and I needed it. While we were talking we realized both of our parents were planning on coming to pick us up and tour around the country together. We thought it would be great to plan that in tandem with each other so we can hang out during that! We have decided to get our families in contact to try and work that out!

After lunch with him, we headed back to the main group and chatted and visited until our train took us back at 3:10. Elder Evans and I got back at roughly 6:00. Elder Evans is great, I love the guy so much. He got settled into the apartment. We also went out that night to an English Club that is held at a restaurant every Wednesday night. One of our investigators invited us so we went. I had already been there, lots of cool people, but everyone has super strong religious opinions already so fun but not always the most productive. None the less, with an invite we decided to go. We also invited the sisters to come so the four of us went.

I knew there would be some alcohol there from our previous experience, and I mentioned that as well but everyone seemed fine to go. Sister Cox's eyes seemed to almost pop out of her head though when she saw one man get his mug of beer! He was pretty funny but we only stayed for a bit, not the greatest missionary environment.

The next few days we got settled, went shopping and had a few programs. Friday we also had a District meeting that went very well, we all got to know each other and I gave a short training. Saturday we had Sport Day in the morning and got out and did some work before conference (which started at 6:00 here). Conference was kinda a miracle because the internet in the Branch house wasn't working up until that morning. But things worked out (send up a prayer of thanks). We had an investigator who came and it went really good. Sunday we watched three sessions: Priesthood, Saturday afternoon and the Sunday morning. Basically we were in the Branch house the whole day between that and weekly planning. We were able to watch a few talks in English but the majority was Hungarian. I understood a lot but, Conference talks can be really difficult to understand.

Because of Easter though everything was closed so we didn't get to have p-day on Monday but rather again on Tuesday. No problem though Monday was good we just worked. All in all, pretty great week. We had some good programs and some bad but the work is going forward here.

Love you all back at home, Elder Oakes, Hungary Budapest Mission