Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Another Year Gone

It's been a while since my last letter, we didn't email last week because we just skyped instead (which was awesome), and P day is weird this week because of the New Year.

Christmas here is Hungary was awesome. A lot of the past couple weeks have been full of tracting. Most of our investigators told us to call them after the holidays, so we have been doing a lot of finding. It has gone pretty well though. I'm super excited for this next couple of weeks because the work should really get going here, all of our old investigators and a bunch of people that we tracted into and said they didn't have time but to come back after the holidays.

We had a sweet baptism on Saturday. Ádám and his sister Szandi. We teach Ádám, the other Elders teach Szandi. The service went super well, they were both very ready. I love baptisms.

We did a little bit of caroling over the holidays, but not a lot. Caroling isn't super big here and a lot of the songs in the hymnbook are English songs translated so the Hungarians don't know them very well. We had some street caroling before Christmas that went pretty well though.

Christmas was awesome, skyping home was sweet, technology is so awesome. You all looked great, the time went too fast. I'll see you on Mother's Day!

We had another cool experience with the Book of Mormon and prayer this week. We finally committed an investigator to pray specifically about the Book of Mormon. The next program we asked, "Did you pray?" "Yes." "And?" "I felt the spirit super strong. And lots of peace." Yes! It was sweet, the Book of Mormon is true, prayer is awesome! All those moments of seeing the effect the gospel has on people makes all the work worth it. This is the most rewarding job ever.

Happy Birthday to Harriet and a Happy New Year to all of you! May we all commit this near year to try and be more like Christ, and more fully give ourselves to the gospel.

I love you all!
Parkinson Elder

PS  I'll try to get some pictures out, but figuring it out on these computers in Hungarian is difficult. Just have David photoshop me in front of Hungarian landmarks.  Don't worry Dad I'll figure it out.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Book of Mormons

It was a busy week. We had a lot of good programs, the work here in Miskolc is super good. We also met some new cool people. We had a couple of Néni's who told us to come back and they made us some paprikás csirke, and we then gave them both Books of Mormon.

We had a dinner at the senior couple's here last Monday, us, the other 2 Elders, and some church members. it was a lot of fun, we spent a lot of time translating back and forth between the senior couple and the 2 church members who didn't speak English (the other 2 speak pretty well). Translating is always fun.

We also had a Book of Mormon challenge this week in the mission to give out double digit Book of Mormon's. We got it on Sunday, it was a struggle though. We had one time where we gave one to a man and then while waiting at the next door his wife came out and returned it. It worked in the end though. It was a good reminder of how important the Book of Mormon is in our work, we need to focus more on that.

Some other people we met this week that made me smile - We were tracting and were having trouble even getting into the building, an old man pokes his head out the window and says, "You want to come in, I'll let you in, hit number 5". He didn't answer his door but we were gratefull to get inside. Another old lady said she wasn't interested, but did offer us some water, she said it was spring water. Super nice, we chatted a little and went on our way.

We also tracted into members here, my first time doing that. They let us right in, fed us, and then we gave a spiritual thought. It was awesome,

Merry Christmas! Make someone else smile.
Parkinson Elder

Monday, December 8, 2014

Santa Came!

Christmas is already going strong out here in Hungary. Santa comes on the 6th here bringing candy to all the good children (and sticks to the bad ones), on the 25th Christ comes bringing the real gifts. So if you weren't sure how Santa gets to all the houses in one night it's because he comes to Hungary early.

Because of the Christmas season we have been trying to focus more on Christ in our missionary work. Part of the big He is the Gift innitiative the church is doing. It's hard because a lot of people tell us they already have a Bible and already know Christ, they don't need any more. It's difficult to help them see what they are missing. That's why the Spirit is so important, I'm so greatful for the gift of the Spirit as a missionary.

We pretty much know all of our investigators now, there are some really great people here in the city. I'm excited to see where it goes. If all goes well we should have a baptism on the 20th. We've also been doing a lot more work here with RCLAs then in Tatabánya, a new part of missionary work.

Also, we finally got the Conference Liahona, so I have been able to start reading through all the Conference talks. Super good. It'll take me some time to get through them put I'm loving them all already. A lot of stuff that I didn't get the first time through.

I also got my first chance to translate here. We have a Senior couple in Miskolc, and so I translated for them for Sunday School. It's definetely a mental work out, speaking in English while trying to keep proccessing what is being said. I liked it a lot though.

Also, an investigator told us Plato's allegory of the cave the other day. I was super excited that I got the reference. Less excited that he is a bit too philosiphical, and not very open to what we have to say.

Merry Christmas!
Parkinson Elder

Monday, December 1, 2014

Miskolc!

I'm loving my second city. My companion, Elder Loveland, and I are both new so it was difficult at first but we are getting the hang of things pretty fast. Elder Loveland is awesome, he's from Virginia and been out for a year, works super well.

We have a lot of investigators that the old Elders left us, so the work here is going great. One really cool guy scheduled to be baptized on the 13th. He is incredibly accepting of everything we teach, and always teaches us a lot as weel, super cool. A lot of other people with good potential, but we still don't know that well, and a lot of people we still haven't met with. I'm looking forward to the transfer.

It is also wonderful to have a decent sized branch, about 60 people in church each week. We have some really great young people, the Elder's Quorum President and the Branch Mission Leader are both about 20, both super strong. And in Priesthood we actually had some decent singing going on. The only hard part will be learning everybody's names, I have a decent memory for most things but names and faces are not one of them.

We found some mashed potato mix and frozen veggies in our new appartment so made ourselves a nice little Thanksgiving dinner. That was about it, it's pretty much and American holiday.

Love you all, have a wonderfull week!
Parkinson Elder

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Moving Onward

First off, happy birthday to David and happy homecoming to Hannah! I realized Thursday night that I can no longer tell people there are 3 of us out on missions.

Transfer calls this week! Thus the weekly email coming out on Tuesday. I'm leaving Tatabánya, heading off to Miskolc! It's a big city in the northeast, but I don't know much about it. I'm looking forward too it. I've loved my time here in Tatabánya, I loved the people here. It will be hard to say goodbye, but they will be in good hands with the next missionaries.

We had an awesome baptism on Saturday. The other Elders have been telling us how great József was for 3 months, he pretty much found himself, he bap challenged himself, he's incredible. We had a full member program for the baptism, great branch support on that. Baptisms are awesome.

Fun story of the week, I went on splits with Elder Luke from my MTC group again this week. In the morning we did some look-ups and tracting, about 10 minutes after getting out the door we had a lady call the cops on us. Two women (undercover) walked up and pulled out their badges on us. They examined our passports and made sure we knew our birthdays, apparently we scare people because of how well dressed we are. It all turned out fine, we just moved our tracting area a couple blocks down and hopefully we won't have anymore problems.

I can't think of much else, I have loved serving here and I look forward to moving on to Miskolc.

With lots of love,
Parkinson Elder

Monday, November 17, 2014

Idahoans in Hungary

Happy Birthday to David on Saturday! We'll be celebrating on Saturday with a baptism, an awesome investigator the other Elders teach. I'm really hoping we can get a lot of our investigators to show up, it would help them a lot.

Big news this week was Stake Conference yesterday. They rearranged the stake presidency, a pretty big deal because that was the first stake presidency in Hungary. They had been there for 8 years and pretty much oversaw the entire church in Hungary. The new Stake President is from Idaho, he was a missionary here but then came back and married a girl from Hungary and has been a Bishop in Budapest for a while. It sounds like he will do a great job. We also got to hear talks from a few British members (I think area 70's or something), it was cool to be able to hear the English and then the translation.

Some good programs this week. We dropped by Erwin again, the old man we gave a Book of Mormon to a few weeks back who won't pray and loves questioning things. He read though, he is on page 160 ..... of the index. Already finished the entire book. That was sweet. He had a lot of complaints about what he read (apparently the fact that Jews were supposed to marry Jews in the Law of Moses is comparable to the Holocaust), and still wont pray (when we asked if we could say a prayer at the end he said yes and then walked out of the room), but he read. The Book of Mormon is so great, if he keeps reading it he will figure it out. He might need some time though. I think we'll try to bring him some General Conference Ensigns next time.

We also have an investigator who we teach English and gospel too, and I'm starting to really appreciate people that learn English. It is a ridiculous language. We were teaching tenses too him, and I'm pretty sure we have at least 6 past tenses (not even counting conditional or imperative). I was struggling to figure out why we use each one, super hard to explain. He's progressing super well in the gospel though, that's the more important part.

We had a great Zone Training on Friday in Győr. I really liked a thought one of the Zone Leaders shared at the end. Whenever you are tempted to slack off or not do your duty, imagine where you would be if Chirst had not done his. Then get back to work. He did everything for us, now it's time for us to do our part. Very applicable to us as missionaries and throughout our lives.

Love you all, enjoy the miracles in life!
Parkinson Elder

Monday, November 10, 2014

The One

Big news of the week, Monika came back to church! She was the women who got baptized my first week here but she went completely inactive a few weeks later, didn't want to meet with us at all. On Sunday she just decided to come back, she told us her life had been going downhill since she left and so she came! When I saw her 7 year old son running up the stairs and then she followed I was so ridiculously happy I can't even describe it. The parable from the Bible about having more joy from the 1 lost sheep that returns then the 99 who stayed makes a lot more sense now. Anyway, we hope that she will continue to do well, we are going over to her place on Wednesday, and hopefully we can start to teach her boyfriend too, who came to church with her and loved it. Long story short, it was awesome.

We had a really great meeting with a less active member on Saturday. We had met them a few times before this but this time it was us, a member, her, her non member husband, and her non member brother, sister, and mom. Her sister had also been in English class a few weeks before so already new us, and we were able to have a great talk with all of them. They also had a rubix cube there and thought it was super cool that I could do one (apparently it was made by a Hungarian so the rubix cube is one of their claims to fame here). Shout out to those old Minnesotan missionaries for teaching me. Anyway, hopefully we can get that member back to church and get her family interested too.

The birthday went well, mostly pretty normal, one of our investigators bought us McDonalds for dinner. Some nice American food. That was a lot of fun, and we had a good chat with her afterwards about commandments and the Book of Mormon. Hopefully she continues to progress.

We also had our quarterly interviews in Budapest this week so we got to go over to the big city for a bit.

Love you all!
Parkinson Elder

PS  Thanks to interviews this week I was able to get the packages and letters on Tuesday, they were awesome, thanks! I'll enjoy that chocolate and peanut butter (and use the toothbrushes too of course). I enjoyed the letters, and all the Hungarian was correct, good work! Thanks again, I love all of you!

Parkinson Elder

Monday, November 3, 2014

He matures

Happy Birthday to the other Elder Parkinson up in Norway! It's hard to believe that it is already November, time is flying fast. It's also getting a lot colder, time for the inner Minnesotan to come out.

First off, Elder Gonzalez broke his leg this week while tracting. Long story, but pretty much he told me his parents read my blog so I thought it would be fun to add a fake story about him breaking his leg. Don't worry, your son's really doing great.

On to serious stuff, while having lunch the other day one of the other Elders asked the classic what if this was all a dream question to get some conversation going. That made me think a bit. That is pretty similar to our message when you think about it. You had a life before this one that you completely forgot. You don't know who you are or why you are here. We are here to remind you and show you what you need to do to get back. Sounds like the plot line of a great movie, but it's just missionary work. That was interesting, gave me a new perspective on why we are here. I've also been thinking more about submitting our will to God's. He knows everything and loves us so has given us this guide to make us happy, the gospel. Commandments and rules aren't barriers we have to stay in, they are a map to the best life possible. It's our choice to follow the map or not.

We've been having a hard time setting up with people recently, everyone is super busy. It's strange thinking of people actually doing stuff, our whole life is just missionary work. Some pretty solid programs though. Zsofi, one of our investigators who wouldn't pray prayed in a program this week. That was sweet. We've also stopped tracting houses and moved on to 5 and 10 story apartments. Warmer and closer to us. The Russians built a ton of them during the cold war, all concrete and exactly the same. They cover Hungary.

Other stuff this week was good, we had a branch pumpkin carving activity for Halloween. Halloween isn't really a Hungarian thing, they celebrate it a little but not a lot. They didn't really get why we carve pumpkins. I don't know either, but it was fun. We also have an investigator who is a wrestler so we got permission to go to one of his matches. He won, now we need to get him to come to church.

Also, I found out that my name is a Hungarian word, érik- he matures/ripens. Usually used in connection with fruit. Pronunciation isn't quite the same put pretty close, I thought that was cool.

Love you all, have a wonderful week!
Parkinson Elder

Monday, October 27, 2014

It's starting to feel like Norway!

First off, not much really happened last week for the holiday. It was a working day for us like normal and I hardly noticed anything, we we're mostly in programs too so we didn't find a lot which might have had something to do with it. We saw some soldiers marching by out the window in English Class but that was about it.

The time change this week was big too, luckily a few members called us to remind us or we would have showed up to church an hour early, we knew it was coming up sometime but had no idea when. It's also getting dark by 5 now, which makes missionary work more difficult because a lot of Hungarians rise and fall with the sun. I wonder what it's like for the other Elder Parkinson up north, I just think of that and stop complaining.

Our church meetings here just got cut to 2 hours, no more Sunday School. We have few enough people that they canceled it. We'll have to work to get those numbers back up, but for now church is only from 9-11, not 9-12. That will be strange.

A couple good stories, we returned to the bácsi I talked about 2 weeks back and he is up to Jacob already in the Book of Mormon. That was awesome, but he's on our growing list of investigators that refuse to pray. He also had some problems with Nephi, first he stole Laban's sword, and then cut off his head with it. I've heard a lot of concerns about the cutting of the head part but never really with the stealing. We'll see what we can do, hopefully he keeps reading.

Also, there is this man, Tibor, he is the one that came up to us on the street my first day in the city. We met with him twice but after that he disappeared, he never answers his phone. Anyway, we ran into him at a pizza place on Elder Gonzalaz's first day here and talked, and he recently starting answering his phone again. We have a program set up with him this week, so hopefully that goes though. I think he's also planning on moving to NYC soon so I'm hoping we could set him up with some friends there.

We had splits this week so I spent a day with Elder Luke who I was in the MTC with, that was a lot of fun. It's also starting to get a bit colder, winter is approaching.

Happy Halloween!
Parkinson Elder

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tovább, Mennyünk Tovább

I'm getting to the point where I never really know what to write about. Whenever I sit down in front of a computer the past week just seems like a blur.

Elder Gonzalez got a little sick this week, luckily he's feeling better now. It was nice to get a long personal study in while he was recovering, especially since I taught investigator Sunday School yesterday on the gathering of Israel. I also got to read through some old General Conference talks from April, I'm still looking forward to that new Liahona.

We got a couple of good new investigators from English Class this week, we had 18 people show up to our class, easily the most I've ever had, and 2 of them are meeting with us outside English class now. One of them met the missionaries a few years back when playing the accordion on the street and has already read all of 1st Nephi. We'll see what happens there.

We have two investigators that we meet with that have a lot of potential but just wont pray. They are still pretty new but it's frustrating. One of them told us she is afraid to pray because then she will be responsible for the answer she gets. We still haven't taught the plan of salvation to her yet so we are hoping that if she can see the bigger picture it will help her. The other doesn't want to pray because she needs to figure out if this is true by herself before she prays. There both good friends too so I'm hoping we can get one to start praying and then they can help the other. We'll see.

Fun story, we were walking home from a program Friday night when a Bácsi on a bike just started talking with us (Bácsi's bike slow and missionaries walk fast so we were going about the same speed). We chatted and he then showed us his garage, he had disco lights and started to sing and play on his piano. He was pretty good, especially for being 80. He isn't really interested in the gospel (said he believes in himself), but it was super funny.

We have a big holiday on Thursday, the 23rd is the anniversary of the 1956 revolution. Flags are already being put up around the city.

Lots of Love,
Parkinson Elder

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Book of Mormon

We had another solid week this week, we did a lot of finding again. We have a decent amount of people we can meet with, but we are having trouble meeting with them as often as we would like. Work schedules in Hungary are weird, a lot of places have 3 8 hour shifts (6-14, 14-22, 22-6) (we use 24 hour time here too) that everyone rotates through, so schedules are never the same. We are trying to get people to meet with us twice a week consistently, most people had been doing once a week or sometimes twice, but the more we meet with them the better they progress.

One thing that I've been thinking about a lot this week is the Book of Mormon. It's an incredible book, but no matter how much I try to stress that to our investigators they never seem to get it. There are three ingredients necessary (also, in Hungarian necessary is kell, WAY easier to spell) for investigators, reading, praying, and real intent. All of our investigators problems comes down to lacking one of these three things, not wanting to read, not wanting to pray, or not wanting to change. I read a short article in the Liahona this morning about the last one, not wanting to change. Real intent is important when we pray, because we might not like the answer but need to be willing to act on it anyways. We also had an old bácsi we tracted into recently and taught. He is a very smart man with a ton of deep questions so it is difficult to teach him, he doesn't like talking about the basics. After a long not super productive first lesson I just took a Book of Mormon out of my bag and told him if he reads it and prays about it he'll know what we're saying is true. Hopefully he does.

Not a lot of other stuff really happened this week, the weather got super nice for a couple of days, it had been a little cold but is now warming up. Hopefully it starts getting a little colder again soon because starting Wednesday we have to start wearing suits until April.

After hearing other people's comments on General Conference I'm really excited for the Liahona to come out. There was definitely a lot that I missed. Still super grateful for what I did learn.

Also, pictures are working today!

​Making a big pot of Paprikás Csirke! That pot was almost full by the end.
​Elder Gonzalez and I with Tatabánya behind us. Thanks for the jacket Grandpa!


​Foggy morning on the way to church.

Love you all!
Parkinson Elder

Monday, October 6, 2014

Lots of Learning

This week was great, not as much missionary work as normal due to a zone training on Thursday in Budapest and General Conference, but those were both really good. I learned a lot.

In Zone training we talked a lot about how to become better teachers. Making sure our investigators know that we love them and being persistent. We read some scriptures about persistence and I noticed that whenever missionaries in the scriptures were persistent people usually tried to kill them. But there were still a lot of converts. We obviously have to be respectful, but it's all about doing what Christ wants, not the people. I want to work on that more.

General Conference was really good. The only down sides were we watched the whole thing in Hungarian, and due to the time difference never saw Sunday Afternoon. The rest was really good, I really liked President Monson from Sunday morning and President Uchtdorf and Elder Christofferson from Saturday morning (I think, we watched the sessions in a mixed up order so it was confusing, President Uchtdorf was super good in priesthood too). I was praying a lot beforehand that I would be able to understand, and I could understand a decent amount. It was super hard to stay focused the entire time though, and when I would zone out for a couple seconds I would get completely lost. I can't wait for the  Liahona to come out now.

Outside of that we had some decent work this week. A lot of people dogged or canceled on us, at one point this week we had 7 straight. The programs we did have were good though, and it looks like we have a solid week set up for this week.

Also, at Zone Conference we have a 'missionary store' with a bunch of old clothes missionaries left so I got a decent coat and some good gloves for free! It's starting to get colder so that was a good find.

Remember to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving today.

Love you all!
Parkinson Elder

Monday, September 29, 2014

Birds, Cauldrons and Impatient Trains

First of all, Happy Birthday Dad! I hope you enjoy the big day, it sounds like you have good plans.

So my new companion is Elder Gonzalez, he is awesome. Cuban dad, Hungarian mom, lived in Canada, so knows English, Spanish, Hungarian, and French. It's been good to have a fluent speaker out here, the ward loves him. We got off to a good start on our first day, when our train got back to Tatabánya I had trouble opening the doors (I accidentally opened the wrong side at first), and the train was running late so right after when I opened the right door the train started moving. Luckily we were able to jump off quickly while it was still going pretty slow, and avoided a 2 hour trip out to Györ.

This week was hard, I had to call everyone to set up appointments because Elder Gonzalez doesn't know them, which was a little difficult. We didn't end up having a lot of programs, a lot of people canceled or didn't show. We had a couple good ones though, and this next week is looking a lot better.

We did have a really good branch activity on Saturday. We hiked up to the Turul, the big bird statue, and cooked up a big cauldron of paprikas krumpli. It was super good and we had 3 investigators show up and interact a lot with our branch members. Elder Gonzalez also brought a chess set, I never knew how much Hungarians loved chess, that was a lot of fun.

We had a good district meeting yesterday on the importance of commitments, how we should be setting up the commitment before the lesson and planning the lesson to help them keep that commitment. I think that is something we could work on a lot, hopefully it will help our investigators progress better. I have to keep remembering that this is a big change and so I need to be patient with them. I have been getting better at being bold though, straight up telling them the truth, not trying to hide the hard stuff or avoid the difficult questions. It really makes things easier, here's the truth, if you read this book and pray you can know it too. It always comes back to the Book of Mormon and prayer.

Sorry no pictures this week, the computers here are very on and off on whether or not they accept my camera. Maybe next week.

Love you all!
Parkinson Elder

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

First Transfer Down

So I'll be staying it Tatabánya for another 9 weeks! Elder Spedding is leaving for Budapest and I will be getting Elder Gonzalez, I'll meet him tomorrow but he sounds awesome. He grew up in Canada but his mom is Hungarian so he speaks Hungarian and English fluently. That should help with the language a lot. He is also only 2 months older then me in the mission, so we'll have 6 months of experience between us. I'm excited for this next transfer.
We ended this transfer on a good note though, we had 6 investigators at church, 4 of them for the first time. One we had just met the night before, she was friends of another investigator. That went super cool, only problem is we had to do the sacrament so couldn't sit by them for the first part, our members are super good at fellowshipping though, they are all awesome.
The new investigators we have are awesome, 2 from English class, one we met on the street and her friend. They have lots of questions, which I really like. It reminds me of what Tom said about Elder Bednar and how he did a question and answer session to teach. Our lessons go really well, hopefully they all continue to progress.

One fun finding story, we tracted  into 2 men the other day, both young 30's probably. We talked a bit and then one said, "do you smell that, we're having a BBQ", he invited us in and showed us everything (I guess we're BBQ pros because we're American). After we repeatedly turned down his beer he decided to give us some BBQ instead, my meat was completely black, but the roll was good. Both very interesting, one had some pretty interesting beliefs about positive and negative energy, Jesus tattooed on one arm and Satan on the other. Anyway, hard to describe but is was a super interesting experience, they did accept a Book of Mormon though so we'll see if that goes anywhere.

That's about it. Love you all, find some referrals for your local missionaries!

Sok Szeretettel,
Parkinson Elder

​The bat from a few weeks ago up in the top left corner.

​Lecso and bread, my favorite meal. After my first few weeks I learned that white shirts and tomato sauce don't go well together, hence the stylish bib

​A little lake by our apartment.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Lord's Way

Family and Friends!

This week went well again, but was a little frustrating. Hungarians are super hard to set up with, they aren't good at answering there phones and then people cancel on us too, so we did a lot of finding this week. There were some cool things though.

We had a great Zone Conference this week. President Smith came, he talked about Luke 5:1-10 and compared it to missionary work, we need to be doing it the Lord's way. That's something I want to work on, he's the one that knows what needs to happen. It all comes down to being obedient and being willing to follow the small promptings of the Spirit. Those are things I've been trying to work on. I also finally got my mail, thanks to everyone that sent letters! We then met a couple from Arizona on the train back, Mom got a picture from them. Cool to see some Americans.

We have an awesome new investigator that we met in English class, Detti. She is curious but has super hard questions. Luckily she accepts when I say I don't know. A few example questions she asked - polygamy, why no women witnesses to Book of Mormon or women prophets, weren't there multiple languages before the Tower of Babel, how did the Urim and Thummin work (whose breastplate was it), etc. Also, awkward Hungarian mistranslation, in the Joseph Smith Testimony where Joseph Smith said he could see Moroni's bosom, the word they chose in Hungarian really means breast. Investigator quote - "only women have that". Yeah. She seems genuinely curious though, said she'd keep reading the Book of Mormon.

We did splits again this week, I worked with Elder Ehardt again. It is really cool to see how well we can speak when we don't have older missionaries to lean on. We had a super good day tracting, a lot of people told us to come back. We were working in their area though so I won't see them again, hopefully the other Elder's can find come success with them.

Great finding story - Apparently a long time ago an Elder put an English class flier somewhere in the place where we email. A few weeks ago this old man found it and had a strong spiritual prompting to go to English Class. Yes, he already understands the Spirit better then most of us do, and no, he doesn't really want to learn English. Now the other Elder's are teaching him and say he is incredible. Super smart but super spiritual despite no religious backround. People can come from anywhere.

Also, transfers are next week (the real one, not just a mini), so my next email will be on Tuesday.

Love you all!
Parkinson Elder

Photo sent by a kind woman who was traveling in Hungary.  She texted all 4 moms right after seeing the missionaries.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Testimonies

The best part of this week was easily yesterday in fast and testimony meeting. We don't have a lot of people in church so last month we had a lot of empty time, but this month the Branch President had trouble ending the meeting, and we went almost 10 minutes over. The Spirit was super strong too, and I could understand at least the general ideas of what people were saying which helped. Our 12 year old new convert of just 2 weeks bore a super good testimony, as did her half sister who is now investigating, and another one of our investigators. The other Elders here had a couple of miracles there too, a man that they had just met at English class Thursday came to church and went up to bear his testimony as well. He loved church. Also, there is one lady that they had taught for a few times and loved everything, but then sent then a text one day saying not to look for her anymore a few weeks ago. She came to church again and loved it, stayed the entire time. All in all super good church, hard to put in words but it was awesome.

As far as teaching this last week was pretty rough, we had a lot of people cancel on us, I've gotten pretty lucky with that so far in my mission. We had some good lessons though, one lady we met from English Class has lots of questions about the Plan of Salvation, we gave her a pamphlet and she read the whole thing. She has had a hard life so hopefully we can help her.

Speaking of English class, we had 16 people in our class last time, about 10 more than usual. That was fun, hopefully the members spiritual thoughts and the end will peak some of their interests. Luckily we have awesome members.

Fun story of the week - Sunday at about 5 in the morning I woke up to my companion running out of the room yelling that we had a bat in the room. Not quite sure how it got in, it was just flying around the room in figure eights. It was hard to get a good picture but I got a decent one before opening the window to let it out. Other wildlife note, we ran into a dog tracting the other day that I think was Sirius Black reincarnated. It reminded me of Splash, I love the dogs out here when we go tracting, it cheers me up when people aren't answering the doors.

That's all I can think of. Love you all!
Parkinson Elder

Monday, September 1, 2014

Tatabánya: Hol az álomban jártam..

This week was great, we had some really awesome new people that we met with, which was good because we have had to drop quite a few old investigators. We have a lot of people that love meeting with us, but just aren't very interested in the gospel.

We had one lady that we taught the first time and were planning to do mainly just a get to know her/introduce the Book of Mormon lesson but she was super interested and so we taught her all of the 2nd and 3rd lessons as well. We had one man we met tabling who said he had met with the missionaries before, he has had a lot of drug problems and is really trying to turn his life around.

Fun story from English class this week, my companion and I teach the more advanced class, so our main goal is just to get them talking in English. We start off every class with some questions we discuss in English, one of them this week was if you could be PM for a day what would you do. I thought it would be a fun little question, but it ended up going super political, we had trouble getting them to a different topic. We then tried to teach the how to use like as a filler word, they were all really interested but it is super hard to explain, because we usually don't even know when we do it.

We had a fun experience with the Humanitarian Missionaries on Wednesday. We went with them to translate while they donated some dining carts to an old folks home. Apparently they lives in Grandma and Grandpa Beckhams ward for a while, and moved to Aunt Ann's ward right before coming out here. Small world.

 That's about it, not a ton happened this week. It's been starting to get rainy more, but it has been a very cool August so that makes up for it.

Love
Parkinson Elder

Erik and companion -- Picture taken by Stan and Sharon Miller, humanitarian missionaries

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Baptism in the Rain

We had transfers this week which is why I'm writing today, everyone in Tatabánya is staying, so we'll have at least 4 more weeks together. Transfers are usually every 9 weeks but the group going home had to leave early so they could start school.

The big news of the week is that we had a baptism yesterday, Ingrid, the daughter of Monika who was baptized a few weeks ago. That was really cool. They had a hard week before the baptism but they have a ton of faith, especially Monika, so got through it. They are an incredible family, I'm pretty sure Monika talks to more people about the church then we do, it changed her life a ton, so told us she just tells everyone they need to be baptized. And they have 6 year old boy who in sacrament meeting just walks around giving people hugs. Coolest family ever.


Only bad thing about the baptism was the beforehand I intelligently decided it probably wouldn't rain so my umbrella was not necessary. It rained. I got pretty wet on the long walk home but luckily my suit survived. And now it's cleaner.

The 20th was apparently a huge holiday but not much really happened. No one was outside. We had a branch activity in the morning where we went to an outdoor museum and then we played basketball a little with the other Elders.

We went on splits twice this week, once with the zone leaders in Győr and once with the other Elders here. That was fun, especially when I went with Ehardt Elder, he's only one group ahead of me. We when tracting for a few hours, it was really good for our confidence because we had to speak which helped us realize that we could. It's still hard but it works.

Other things - what are you supposed to say when the cops knock on your door at night and you don't speak their language? Also, Parkinson is a disease in Hungarian too, but whereas no one makes the connection in America plenty of Hungarians do. That's fun.
Two pictures I forgot last week, on P-day I visited my first castle and got a sweet Hungarian whip.






Life here is great, love you all!
Parkinson Elder

Monday, August 18, 2014

This week

This week we didn't have as many lessons as usual, so we did a lot of finding. It went well, but not super successful. The problem with tracting in Hungary is that we find a lot of nice old people that are willing to let us in and chat but are not interested in changing. That's why we really promote English class here as a finding tool because it helps us find younger people and everyone wants to learn English. I also tracted into my first speedo bácsi the other day (In Hungary all the old ladies are nénnis and the old men are bácsis). Very different from America.
We had our first zone training on Thursday so I got to go out to Györ. We have about 20 missionaries in our zone and I got to meet some of the senior couples as well, they are all great.
We finally got to meet with the man that we met on the street my first day here. He is super interested, doesn't have a religious backround but has seen that religion can bring lots of joy to our lives and wants to know more. The only problem is he moves to Japan in a few months. It was cool to think that I have missionary friends all over the world, including Japan, he can find people to teach him anywhere.
This Wednesday is a huge holiday in Hungary so it will be our P-day, we are just emailing today. It celebrates the foundation of Hungary and the crowning of King Stephen (fun fact for Dad - I'm pretty sure you're descended from him, I saw him on family search once, forget to mention that earlier).
We have another baptism coming up on Saturday, the daughter of the woman baptized my first week here. They are an awesome family.
Our members here are awesome, we have about 15-20 members in the branch and got about 8 referrals last week. So those Boise missionaries should be getting about 100 this week. I never really appreciated referrals until I went finding on my mission. Much more effective.
Also, I gave my first church talk on Sunday, the topic was why I decided to come on a mission and how I prepared. It went well, luckily I was familiar with the vocab related to my topic so it wasn't too bad.
That's about it, good luck with school starting!

Love,
Parkinson Elder

Monday, August 11, 2014

Another Week in the Mine

So the title of this email might look depressing, but it makes sense because Tatabánya literally means the mine of Tata (another city nearby). And that's really a sweet name because mines are full of gold, silver, and platinum investigators. They are just difficult to find at times. Not so sweet because mining jobs don't pay well and people are always complaining about working conditions (although they have a point because minimum wage here is about a dollar an hour).

On to other things, this week went pretty well. We had our training on Monday and President Interviews on Thursday so that cut into our working time a little. We met a really cool man on the train ride back from Budapest though, he was English and Spanish teacher so gave us some tips for our English Class. Also, apparently Pulitzer (as in the Pulitzer prize) was Hungarian. Fun fact.

Our best day was probably Friday. We had lessons set up almost all day, and they all went pretty well. I did my first 1st vision recitation in a lesson, all the reciting in the MTC paid off. Most of our investigators are good, the main problems we have are coming to church due to work, strong Catholic families opposing joining our church, and then just not wanting to read. I guess that's just missionary work though.

We had one cool experience Saturday tabling. A women walked up to us with questions about the Book of Mormon. At first it seemed like she just wanted to be confrontational, she kept asking why we weren't handing out Bible's, but after an hour of talking to her she walked away with a Book of Mormon and a commitment to read 3 Nephi 11. She spoke English which was awesome, so the other Elder that's only been here a transfer more that me and I got to talk to her. It felt really good for both of us to just be able to say what we wanted to say.

Friday morning we went and visited an awesome ward member. She lives in a beautiful little village outside the city, and made us an awesome meal with stuff straight from her garden. It was incredible. We actually get fed a decent amount by members/investigators here which I was not expecting. It's awesome though.

That's about it, I think I just figured out how to send pictures so I'll send a bunch after this.
Love you all
Parkinson Elder

Our last zone picture at the MTC

Our district with the MTC branch presidency

Cousin Picture

​Classic map picture. Red eye included.

​My comp and I at the Turul, a mystical bird that lead the Hungarians during the wanderings (back in the old days before they settled down in Hungary). It overlooks all of Tatabánya.

Looking down on Tatabánya

And that was just he main course.  Best meal ever!  This is the one I talked about in my email, homegrown.

Eva, who made the above meal and her home


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Week 2 in Hungary

Time is starting to go a little faster. This last week is kind of a blur but I'll try and remember.

First off I'm writing today because yesterday we had a new missionary training thing in Budapest so we weren't able to email. That was fun, I got to see all the Elders from the MTC and chat with them a bit.

We've had some more great lessons, I feel like the hardest thing is just staying on topic. Hungarians really like to talk, and so they will just go off on random subjects at times. And once we go off the gospel I have no idea what they are saying. When we are gospel focused it usually goes pretty well though. My companions been trying to let me teach more, which goes fairly well. I can teach the lessons more or less, the biggest problem is just comprehension. It's coming though, the biggest help is just speaking Hungarian as much as possible.

We've spent a lot more time this week finding. It's difficult. I think that can be one of the times when not knowing the language helps because being rejected is a lot easier if I don't know what they are saying. I just smile and wish them a nice day.

The food here is awesome, and cheap. Pékségek (bakeries) are incredible, a kilo of fresh bread costs about a dollar. And plenty of other delicious things are there too. Like a crescant the size of my head stuffed with Nuttella. And we've had some people cook for us too which was awesome. Lecso, stuffed cabbage, it was awesome.

Hungary has as many pigeons as NYC. It makes me feel right at home.

Also, sorry about the lack of pictures. I'll see if I can try one of the other computers later but we're in a bit of a rush now as it's not actually P-day.  Next week I should be emailing on Monday like normal.

I can't think of much else to write, Hungary is awesome, being a missionary is awesome.

Love you all,
Parkinson Elder

Monday, July 28, 2014

Magyarórszag!

I made it to Hungary! It is awesome. The plane ride was really long, we got delayed in Chicago which made us miss our flight in London, but while we were waiting Craig Elder and I gave a man a Book of Mormon and taught the first lesson. That was cool.

Hungary is awesome, I am serving in Tatabánya, a small city of about 100,000, with Spedding Elder, we have two other Elders in our city as well, Sperri and Ehardt (also from Idaho so everyone calls him Krumpli Elder). They are all great. We only have a small branch here with about 15 members, but missionary work here is awesome. Some examples of how awesome this city is-

Our first day here a man walked up to us on the street and asked us in English if we could meet with him because he might want to join our church. My first time tracting we get let in right away on the fourth door, and taught about the Book of Mormon. She was interested, and set up a return appointment. She also gave us some small pots she makes out of rolled up newspaper, it's hard to explain but it was way cool. You should try it Dad. Only way it could have been better is if she had working glasses so she could read the Book of Mormon. We had a baptism on Saturday, and 3 more investigators have baptismal dates. We also had I think 10 investigators at church Sunday.

I can't take credit for any of that because I just got here, but I'm excited to get to work. We have some awesome investigators and I can actually understand the lessons pretty well, the hardest part is trying to get to know people because I can't understand the non-gospel vocab. I just smile a lot and nod my head, and my companion explains afterwards. He just said he's a drug dealer, she thinks she's already been resurrected, etc.

I have only sworn at one of our investigators so far. No, it was not on purpose.

The weather here actually isn't too bad, it's probably been 80/90's most of the time. The worst part is that there is no AC so that's how it is in our apartment as well.

Food here is great, the bread is incredible. We haven't had a lot of real Hungarian food but it's still awesome. The best is the Pékségek, the local bakeries. Cheap and delicious.

I went through our area book yesterday, I wish missionaries took better records. Some of the records were like this - Met her, taught her, she had vision of Joseph Smith telling her church was true (no joke), set baptism date, the end. Micsoda. Hopefully we can find some of these people.

Sorry I don't have pictures, there's only one place in the city to email and it has really old computers that I don't know how to work. I'll work on it.

Anyway, this is getting pretty long so I'll stop. Life is awesome. Love you all.

Parkinson Elder

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Arrived in Hungary

Erik made it to Hungary!  His plane from Chicago was delayed so they missed their connection to Budapest and arrived there 4 hours late.  They did get dinner and their picture taken, but missed the tour of the city.  He'll get his first assignment tomorrow.  We will hear from him next Monday.


Photo taken at the SLC airport by the kind dad of a former Hungary missionary

Arrival at the mission home




Monday, July 21, 2014

Leaving the MTC

Erik is en route to Budapest Hungary.  He called from the airport and gave us a short lesson in Hungarian -- he speaks as quickly in Hungarian as he does in English, so that's a good sign!  He is excited and ready to go.

Add caption
Here he is with his cousin Christopher who just entered the MTC going to Thailand.


This picture is from a kind man who saw the missionaries at the airport this morning and happened to be the parent of a former Budapest missionary.  He took pictures and sent them on to the families.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Last MTC Letter

The time here in the MTC has really flown by. It's hard to believe there are only 4 days left. The first few nights here I thought it would never end.

Consecration week went well. It really wasn't too bad, I think it was the worst for the Finns and Vanem Caufield, because they had no idea what I was saying most of the time. I told them just to learn Hungarian, but they didn't. They survived. When we came out of the temple this morning it was weird to be speaking English. I don't want to get too much into a habit of English again though.

The temple this morning was great, we did endowments and sealings because it will be our last chance for 22 months. So we were there for almost 4 hours. That was awesome.

We had an awesome TRC lesson last Thursday. We taught about prayer and I had really been praying for the Spirit before the lesson because I feel like prayer is taken for granted and I couldn't get the importance of it across by myself. The lesson was incredible, we really touched the person we were teaching. I'm not completely sure how because I didn't understand a lot of what he said but it was really good. It showed me the language really isn't that important.

Our teachers have told us a little about Hungarian customs which was interesting. Apparently they have lots of supperstitions (no idea how to spell that. That's another thing, whoever came up which English was not thinking straight because spelling is impossible. In Hungarian it's easy, just sound it out.). Being cold is very bad, because that means you will become infertile. So no sitting on the ground ever, or on benches in the winter, and no air-conditioning ever. It also gets really hot, so that will be fun. Apparently they are just not big on wearing clothes in the summer to compensate.

I think we are taking a bunch of pictures on Sunday so I will send those later. I'll send more pictures when i get to Hungary, but here there really isn't a lot to see.

We are also supposed to be 100% packed by tonight, our branch president is coming by to check I think so I should really start on that. We have laundry in right now so I should have a solid 1.5-2 hours. I don't own much so I don't think it should take too long.

I think that's it, I'll write again in Hungary!
Parkinson Elder

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Megszentlelési hét

It's hard to believe we only have 11 days left here. We should get our travel plans later today, from what I know now I think we leave Monday at 11 AM or so. I'll let you know when I have more details.

We had a big celebration here for the 4th of July. We had a really good devotional at night and then watched the movie 17 miracles. It was really good. After that they let us go out and watch the Stadium of Fire Fireworks, and they gave us ice cream. I guess that's not really too big of a party but it was for us.

On Sunday we had the devotional by Josh Wright, a famous piano player. He played for us and talked. We then watched a really good talk by Elder Bednar on doctrine, principles and application. I highly recommend it. Many people focus on teaching applications, but we should be focused on teaching doctrine and principles. That was a good reminder. Tuesday devotional was by Elder Anderson, he gave a really good talk on the Spirit.

Today we got to help clean the temple for 3 hours in the morning. I helped to 'replant' all the fake trees in the temple. And yes, I did get to pet all the oxen in the baptistery. I can check that off my bucket list. When we walked out the doors of the temple we began consecration week, which is speaking just our languages for a week. We will finish when we go into the temple next Thursday. That has been good so far, but it is difficult when Vanem Caufield can only speak Estonian at the same time. We use lots of sign language. I'm pleasantly surprised at how well we can speak though. The really hard part in Hungary I think will be comprehension. And talking about non-gospel stuff.

We had another Skype TRC this Wednesday. That went well again, we understood a decent amount of what was said. The people are really nice and willing to repeat things multiple times which helps a lot.

That's about all I can think of. The indoor gym is closed for renovation until we leave so gym now consists of 40 Elder soccer games. The fire alarm went off Monday.

Parkinson Elder

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Week 6

This week went super fast, I realized when I was getting on the computer that I have no idea what happened this week. Hopefully I can remember some things as I write.

Teaching continued to go well this week. We had a really good lesson with one of our investigators about the Book of Mormon and Plan of Salvation. Teaching about life after death in Hungarian is hard, especially the 3 kingdoms of glory. We weren't really sure what to say when she asked if we believe in a hell. It worked out in the end.

We also had our first Skype TRC this week with members from Hungary. We talked with 2 different people for 20 minutes each. The first had a really bad connection, so we couldn't make out anything he said. He could hear us fine though, so we just taught and hopefully he learned something. The second one went well. He was difficult to understand but I understood a decent amount of it and we taught what I though was a pretty good lesson.

I also bought the Stories from the Book of Mormon picture book from the Bookstore in Hungarian which is great. It is uses simpler language from the scriptures, so I understand it pretty well, and the pictures are in English which helps.

Church this Sunday was great, 2 of the Hungarians gave talks in just Hungarian and did very well. We also had a great priesthood lesson on revelation. When you receive some, ask God if he has anymore he wants to give you, because he wants to help you out and if you are already receiving revelation you are obviously worthy. Good advice.

We had a great devotional on Tuesday (not an apostle this time), and he talked about being converted. He mentioned Peter specifically. It reminded me of the talk Elder Holland gave in General Conference about Peter (I think the same day the mission age changed). We must make a choice once and for all to serve the Lord. Very good talk.

Fun Hungarian fact of the week: In Hungarian you go into places and onto events with one exception. You go onto Hungary because it is so awesome and above every other country. So next time someone asks, I'm not serving in Hungary, I'm serving on Hungary.

I think that's it. Love you all!

Parkinson Elder

Thursday, June 26, 2014

We're the old ones now...

This week went super fast, it feels like I was just writing my last letter. It has been super packed though, so I don't know why it went so quickly.

We had the new mission president's conference this last week, which means the cafeteria was weird. On the bright side, apostles were all over the place, 6 were at the Tuesday Devo by Elder Christofferson.

Speaking of Devo's on Sunday we had the best devotional ever by Sister Janice Kapp Perry. She wrote a bunch of primary songs and some hymns. We sung songs, and heard the best/worst pick up line ever that her husband used on her - Those lips look like their meant for more than just playing the clarinet. He proceeded to walk/old man dance across the stand and kiss her. The MTC went wild.

The language is still going good. One of our investigators got to 1 Nephi 20 in her Book of Mormon reading and wanted an explanation. I'm sure you can all guess which prophet Nephi was quoting. Anyways, first miracle - I had just read that chapter this morning, second miracle - I got off a decent explanation that actually flowed really well into our lesson.

One part I'm struggling a lot with right now is the accusative t, Hungarian has very little sentence structure so we need to add a 't' onto every direct object so people will know what is going on. Super important and super easy to forget. I'm working on it.

We had another teacher leave us this week, Beaumont Testvér. That was sad,  but he's heading off to Canada to get married and will be in Hungary on his honeymoon and will try to see us at the airport when we arrive, which will be awesome.

We also had all the Finns and Albanians leave on Monday and Tuesday. They were all awesome and it's weird having them gone, but we got 9 new Finnish Elders and 1 Finnish Sister yesterday. It's weird being the experience missionaries, we were the new ones just last month. I still don't know them very well but they seem like a great group.

Anyways, I learned some great spiritual things this week.
How to do Hard Things - By Parkinson Elder
1. Figure out if God wants you to do it. D&C 9:8-9 can help with that. If not, don't do it. If so, then
2. Have faith. See Moroni 7:33. Say a prayer asking for help.
3. Do it. Work hard. If you followed the first 2 steps you can't possibly fail. Again, see Moroni 7:33.
4. Be exactly obedient, emphasis on exact, so you don't get in the way of the blessings. See D&C 82:10.
5. Have gratitude. See D&C 59:21.
6. Watch miracles happen.

I think that's about it. We've started playing soccer more this week for gym, we have lost two games in a row to the Latvians and Malagasi's so we'll need to fix that. Hopefully the new Finns are good. It's been nice hearing from you all, it's hard be believe I have a little over three weeks left.

With Love
Parkinson Elder

With Marcus Corbitt, who was a missionary in Boise