Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Week 21: P-Day

August 26, 2013


I don't have too much to tell you all about today, but I'll try to send some pictures for the blog!  Life has been pretty good. The weather was pretty warm a couple days and then pretty cold and rainy the rest, so that's been really nice. We still aren't really teaching anyone, but we got some pretty promising referrals on Sunday, so hopefully that works out! We've been looking up a lot of inactive people, as we tract out buildings. Most of them are pretty rude to us, but hey, that's missionary work for ya, you get crap even from the members sometimes. The rest of the ward is great though! We taught the Sunday School Gospel Principles lesson on Sunday and that went pretty well. It stressed me out every morning last week when I woke up and thought about it, but it's over. I'm safe for a month... or more, if I get transferred. Haha

Speaking of transfers, we get transfer calls on Tuesday. So, you all know the drill, my P-day and emailing will be on Tuesday next week instead of Monday! I have NO idea what's happening, so I can't really tell you any predictions. If it weren't for the fact that I just did 3 one-and-done’s and President feels really bad about it, I'd guess that I'm leaving again. We'll see. There might not even be a change for us; it's very possible that the two of us stay here together for an eternity and a half. haha

Hm... What else. Today is p-day... obviously. We don't have too much planned. We're going to a place where I can print out pictures to put in people's memory books. It's much harder to do when you're not in Buda, so my pile is starting to build. Then, we are meeting with Gizi (the new member that I told you all about a while ago) and we'll do a few hours of tracting 10 stories and then mostly we'll just be in our apartment doing whatever we need to do. Our elders are in Buda for the day, so we don't really have anything planned. We'll probably write letters or maybe I'll catch up on my journal (oops...) and do memory books…and we're cleaning! That's been driving me nuts lately, so every time I'm sitting around the apartment, I have been de-junking. Elders leave really interesting things in apartments... Anyway, it's kind of my little project that I've undertaken that has helped me relax a little bit. Okay, random rant.

I'll send some pictures to you all (and more in another email to Mom for the blog)! I hope you all have a good week!

Love you all,

Sister Butterfield.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Week 20: Reflections on Mission Life

19 August 2013

So, I don't have too much to write you this week... It's been a long one. haha Still no success in finding people to teach or any investigators. We're still getting along though and just helping each other through some things and life questions. haha. It's kind of sad, because it's hard to feel like we're here, not helping anyone because we haven't had the chance to really teach anyone since we've gotten here. I mean, we get some let in’s, but those are always interesting, trying to get your word in over theirs and listening to their life story, only to tell you that they're not actually interested in hearing anything. At least the few let in’s that we've had have been really nice people who wanted to give us a break from the heat and give us water or something. But, it's hard to feel like we're not actually out here helping anyone but each other in small ways and...yeah. We've had like 21 or so finding hours last week, which doesn't sound like a lot maybe, but it really is. Trust me. haha we come home exhausted every day. Our days pretty much consist of:

6:30 - wake up and exercise (unless you’re my comp who wakes up at 6 to work out extra.... HA, anyone who knows me, knows that that is definitely never happening)
7 - prep and breakfast
8 - personal study
9 - companionship study
10 - language study
11 - lunch
12-8 - Finding/traveling out to areas to find
8 - dinner
9- daily planning
10 - SLEEP (even though bed time isn't till 10:30) okay fine, maybe that’s just talking with lights out time...
and repeat. every. single. day.
Haha. Occasionally we have some RCLA programs that break up our day… for like an hour... hahaha

Anyone who knows me really well, would also find it amusing that sometimes I look at my clock at night and think "Yikes! 9:30! It's super late already!" ha. I hope you all know that when I get back, the schedule will probably, most likely, definitely, be the first thing to go. Sorry. Haha. It’s nice when you’re this exhausted physically and mentally, but I don't see any harm in going to bed a few hours later and waking up a few hours later when you’re in the real world. I can tell you already, that's one thought that I kind of hoped would change on my mission but I have already realized that I won't change that dramatically by the time I get home. Haha oh well!

Hm. other than that…Last P-day we didn't actually end up going to do that massage thing, so I think we're going next week. This morning we hiked out to a little village thing in our area and checked it out with our elders and a member here in our branch presidency (he also served his mission here, just with the last mission president, he's Hungarian) and another YSA member girl visiting from Pest. That was fun, I hadn't been out of the main city that we live in yet, but we have a lot of those smaller cities in our area that we should probably get out to at some point. Also, tomorrow is the biggest holiday in Hungary, August 20th, so the city pretty much shuts down and it'll be hard to get much work done. We have an RCLA program to go to and a bunch of inactive members that we're going to go look up and maybe tract some of their buildings, but other than that, it's pretty much like a p-day. That same member wants to take all of us missionaries up to some cool place in Veszprem in the evening, and also show us sisters a good area to tract out with a bunch of younger people and families, so that'll be cool! I really like a lot of the members here! They're so loving and nice! I have no idea what will happen in 2 weeks with transfers though. It's crazy that they're so soon again! I just wish the work would pick up! Also, as much as I love the ward, my companionship has to teach Gospel Principles every 4 weeks in Sunday School and that's definitely one thing that could be gotten rid of. Our first time teaching it will be Sunday and it makes me feel like throwing up every time I think about it, so that should give you a good insight as to how I feel about that one. Hahaha. Funny how as a missionary, we have to teach and find pretty much the whole time and I'm still not a fan of either things. However, Sister Fowers and I were just talking about this realization I had this week: As much as teaching makes me nervous and I always used to worry about it in past transfers, serving in Veszprem has made me REALLY just wish that I were somewhere that I could actually be teaching lessons right now. Crazy how life does that to you, but I'd give anything. I'm getting tired of tracting, which is unfortunate, because I'm pretty sure I have like 12 more weeks straight of mostly just tracting here in Veszprem. Hopefully we start finding people!

This week I also hit my 7th month mark! Speaking of, Happy 28th Anniversary, Mom and Dad! It's the same day as my 7th month anniversary, so I'll be thinking of you! Super weird that it's flying by, but it still feels like there's so much left. It's weird to think that this is the last and only month of August that I'll have in Hungary!

Hm… I can't think of much else to tell you about. I wrote this to Nate, but I feel like it explains this mission as best as I can: "I can’t even explain it! Haha. The mission life is good, but I still am super excited to come back and see all of you and just be able to drive around and go see movies and hang out with the fam and my friends from the mission and BYU and stuff. I've probably made some of the best, closest friends I’ve ever had and in the shortest amount of time ever here on my mission; there’s just something that bonds you all, especially when you’re in such a hard, indescribable mission like this! (not that every other mission isn’t hard, but there’s just something killer that I can’t even describe about this mission and how we all struggle in it together)." Gotta love it! I can definitely tell that I'm making friends with members, investigators and other missionaries that will last for a really long time and you can never be mad about that! All I can do is love people and I can't complain about the people I'm meeting, the friends I'm making and the lessons I'm learning (even if they’re in super weird or hard situations) out here in Hungary. My testimony usually feels like it's the weakest it's ever been in my life and like every aspect of it is being pushed to the edge and questions, which I never anticipated to happen out to this extreme. There have been several times where I've just thought, well I could be back at home right now, just enjoying life and having fun and not having to deal with this being questioned and pushed around like this all day every day, questioning my own strength and testimony. I'd almost rather be back there in that comfort of home. But, I came to the scary realization that there's no way I can go back now, I need to build that testimony back up and get back into it. I can't be one of those missionaries that come back from their missions somewhat changed, but then go inactive or less active or just fall back into their same lives. I'm starting to have insights of how easy that is and understanding why it is maybe that they went inactive, but I can't give in to that right now. I feel like my testimony is being built/worked on more than I'm helping to build anyone else’s recently. I've noticed areas where I have a really strong testimony, such as Christ and the Atonement and the Plan of Salvation. At the other end, I've also spent a long time thinking and reflecting and realizing where the holes in my own testimony are, such as prayer and receiving answers. That's been one of the hardest things, because it's hard enough to be out here. But, there's no one people can be out here in this mission and make it through without having that trust in God and building our own testimonies. I had a couple bad days without any hope in that aspect this week, but I'm just having hope that my testimony will be built up and I will see good times in my mission, I just have to wait on God's timing on things, like receiving answers to prayers and finding people. Missions are the weirdest things ever. I don't think anyone who is/has ever been on one can fully describe what they are. I wouldn't even know how to start. It's just something you have to experience and something that will forever be a part of you. It's a roller coaster of emotions, where one week or one day, everything seems perfect, great, and manageable; another week or day you're struggling in terms of the work, the next is a struggle in terms of a companion, and the next is a struggle in terms of your own happiness or testimony. It's just a cycle that goes over and over and over again. It's rough. There's no way I could even begin to tell you. I wish it were something that you could all experience with me, but at the same time, I don't, because it's so hard out here. I can see how RMs come home and sort of feel like no one understands where they're coming from, because we can write home every week and tell you little bits and pieces and we can bring presents and funny stories home, but there's no way to explain how your life completely flips out of your control (if it ever was in our control is the question) and how many things you go to. You leave a part of yourself in each city, with each companion, each serious investigator. It's something that I think you never get back. When you think back on a day and a mission and a transfer, you just get a jumble of thoughts and emotions and... Missions are just so weird and really impossible to fully explain. I don't know where I'm going with this rant, but that's just an insight to all the reflecting that's been going on this transfer.

I love you all! Hold on to the testimonies and things that you have! Enjoy all of your days and the things that you're doing and the people that you're meeting and all the blessings God is giving you every day. It makes me sad to hear about the hard things that you're all going through and I wish I could be there to help you all through them. There must be a reason that it's all happening. It might take forever to find out what that reason is, or maybe you'll never find out. I don't know. I guess that's something we'll always have to deal with. Read the talk "Lord, I Believe" from this last general conference. It's a good one, no matter who you are or where you are in life, it'll be perfect for you, I promise! Just hold on! Get on your knees and pray! Just remember that I love you and I'd do anything to be able to be there helping you all, but I'll be back in a jiffy! Sorry for the rant and the sappiness; if all else fails, just imagine me running out of that drunk man's apartment building frantically with my companion and laugh at my ridiculous experiences! (:

Tell me about your lives! Have a good week!
Sister Butterfield

Monday, August 12, 2013

Week 19: Things Are Looking Up

12 August 2013
Well... I don't have too much to tell you all about this week! Mostly it's consisted of trying to find new people to teach in a city of tourists and really strong Catholics. I haven't run into this before, because in the big cities you get a combination of all the religions, but EVERYONE here in Catholic, with the exception of the atheists. Also, it was in the 40s all of last week with the worst humidity ever, I think that’s about 105-110 Fahrenheit, so it's been a party over here! A sweat party, that is. There have been several times where we've both just had to stop and find some shade to lean against a wall, because we always feel like we're going to pass out. We have gotten yelled at several times to go inside somewhere because it's unsafe to be out in this heat. Haha, that's always a nice way of seeing the Hungarians show their concern for you. We have gotten a couple let-ins, but we haven't found anyone solid yet. We have a few programs set up for this week; we'll see how they go.

We tried to meet with a couple people from the area book that the last elders used to meet with, that was the worst idea ever... haha but it makes for some pretty good stories. The elders actually set up programs with two of them for our first weekend here. One was a lady and the other was a man, they're next door neighbors and the programs were set for two different days. The first was with the lady and we accidentally rang the man's doorbell, but he let us in and showed us her door. He knocked on it and called through her door that the missionaries were here. She proceeded to yell at us through the door and tell us that she said she didn't want to meet with missionaries and she wasn't interested, so get out! We weren't scheduled to meet with the man who let us in until the next day, but after she kicked us out, he tried to invite us into his apartment. But, we could tell that he had been drinking and he was being really pushy and wouldn't take our polite no for an answer when we tried to explain that we couldn't come in alone, etc. He turned around to get something, and we turned and looked at each other and then booked it down the stairs and out of the building while he drunkenly turned around. Haha It's funny now to look back to, but that was our first weekend's programs...Thanks elders! ;)
Last week, we called someone else that they had found and put in the area book, without too much information about him. That was interesting too... It was this old man that insisted that he couldn't hear us because our voices were higher pitched than the elders and told us that instead of teaching him, we should just sit and listen to him talk to us. Also, he kept offering us alcohol and we politely tried to explain to him that we don't drink, etc., but he proceeded to get really upset that we wouldn't accept his generous gift. He told us that he knows that God loves HIM and HE drinks, so he wouldn't punish us for drinking! When we still declined the offer, he tried the tactic of telling us that there actually wasn't even any alcohol anyway, it was just wine, not alcohol. Hahaha. Oh man, we definitely won't be going back there again...
Last week was really bad, until Friday. Since Friday everything has been looking up and my attitude has gotten much better. Sister Fowers and I get along really well and we've had some really good talks and I can see why I need to be here with her right now. It's harder to see why I need to be here exactly, when we aren't having success or finding anything really hopeful, but we have had a really good time the last couple days and I finally let go of the hope of their being some miracle and me getting sent back to Buda any time soon. Also, the weather was so cold and so good on Saturday, and it just rained for a long time. That probably helped too, because finding is much more manageable in that weather. 
Hm... other than that. The elders here have been having a lot of success and let ins, so it's good to see their work progressing! They have a couple people on bap date and they had a baptism on Saturday that we went to. She's like the coolest Hungarian that I've met. She's pretty old and she's SO funny, I don't even know how to explain. She LOVES the missionaries and the fact that there are sisters here now. Our first day here, she made the elders bring us over to her house and gave us ice cream and played music and it’s just so funny to get from an old lady. She also always comes and sits by me in Relief Society and insists that we sit nearby in Sunday School and Sacrament meeting and she's one of those people that has to give an ongoing commentary of every meeting and whisper to you what she thinks about everything. She's so crazy and you can't even keep her tamed, and the blunt things she says are hilarious, so Gizi néni has gotten me through some boring meetings and bad moods. She had us all (the elders, us and the RS Pres/her new BFF) over after her baptism on Saturday too and just soaked in all the attention and fed us so much good food. You just have to love her. Gizi's great! 
Today for P-day, we're not doing tooo much, but we do have something funny planned. Haha There's this tradition for missionaries serving in Veszprém to all go to this place called Ceragem and get memberships. Apparently, the tradition is that you go in and do a weird, funny Asian dance to loosen up and then they have all of these massaging machines that you sit in and lay on for like an hour. Then, you get a free membership, because some people from our branch work there and a young guy in the Branch Presidency who served his mission here in Hungary recently (he's from Veszprém) works there and gets them for us. So, since we're the first Sisters, we still want to keep the tradition up. Elder Judd (the Asian one, I served in Buda with his cousin, also elder Judd, last transfer) and I think it will be hilarious and are super excited. Sister Fowers is a little apprehensive about it, because she hates massages. Hahaha Then we'll just go out and eat somewhere, we're experimenting to find good cheap places, and then get back to work finding people. I definitely am already more familiar with this city and where everything is on a map than any other place I've served in. We've spent a long time studying a map and each night we highlight each street that we tracted out that day. Plus, the city is somewhat small and the buses aren't super frequent, so we end up walking for a really long time to get places and I feel like we've walked everywhere already. Haha I just hope we start finding people to teach sometime soon! I feel like I might be cursing myself, but I think I’ll most likely be here next transfer, since…well... I've moved every other transfer and this is a short transfer anyway. It'll be interesting to see what happens. But I'll just try to enjoy this one while it lasts. 
I read a quote that I really liked this morning in President Spencer W. Kimball's teachings book thing, I thought I'd share it with you: "I started out very miserable and found myself wondering if I could get through the day, but...I seemed to become intoxicated with my work and forgot myself and it was a good day." I feel like this is a good description of the mission life, and probably real life. Just a little advice that helped me this week, maybe it'll help you! 

I love you all! And not that I've been keeping track, but someone asked me the other day, so I had to figure it out: I'll see you all in 346 days! yikes! I can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing. But, I'm sure it'll come quickly!

PS - I'll leave more time next week to send pictures, but I don't have tooo many yet.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Week 18: New Area, New Trials

August 15, 2013


So... I considered not sending an email this week, because... well, that's how hard it's been for me. I'll just send you some of what I sent my President this week, I feel like that's a pretty good description of my week:

"I've struggled a lot, trying to decide what to write you this week. I'm not one to complain too much and I try not to be too negative or focus on the negative things in life (or at least I try not to). This week has been a huge struggle though. I haven't really feel like my depression has ever hit me before while I've been out here, until last week. Each transfer has always been a little rocky for me, but usually not this bad and usually I manage to pull myself out of it pretty quickly. I think it probably has to do with how much I loved my last transfer and every thing about it. I think I'm reaching that point on my mission where I can speak at a level where I am actually capable of really connecting with my investigators and people. I built so many relationships in Buda and really expected to be there for quite awhile, so it was a really interesting call with Elder Greaves when I realized I wouldn't be staying. I tried to be as positive as possible about it, and I try not to think back to Buda because every time I do, I just feel like my heart is being ripped out over and over again - as dramatic as that sounds. I have never experienced a heartbreak before, but I imagine that to be what it feels like. There have been more tears in the past week than in the rest of my mission all put together. I don't question whether Sister Fowers and I were ready to go cosenior yet, because I know that we both had great senior companions who prepared us for this pretty well. It's been interesting to work together, because our seniors and their work methods have been completely different from each others, so it's a hard adjustment. That being said, I do feel like we're more obedient and hardworking together as I've experienced on my mission, so that's always a plus. The work out here is really, really difficult and I feel physically and emotionally drained. We came here and, unfortunately, found that we have a grand total of 0 investigators to work with. That's a huge change from Buda. We're struggling together here to figure out how to most effectively find people; I know that we need to give it some time, but we just don't feel that we're finding much success. I think this is a time of building my faith again, because I am feeling pretty hopeless right now, especially thinking that the two of us could be struggling together through this for 15 long weeks, and that only makes things harder! I don't think I'll ever get that part of my heart back that's currently there In Buda, but I'm trying really hard to be happy and find another part of my heart to give to Veszprém and Sister Fowers."

There's more to it, but it's irrelevant. But, anyway. That's where I'm at at this point. I'm also at a point where I can't decide which would be harder to do, get transferred again in 4 weeks and potentially experience this all over again or stay here where we're having a really hard time. It's harder finding people here than it was in Kispest my greeny transfer, or maybe then I was just still pretty oblivious. It might have been easier because I was also in a trio, so there was always someone keep us entertained. That just makes me feel worse, because I feel so bad that Sister Fowers has to deal with me. She was so excited to be companions and had apparently been praying that she would get to serve with me this transfer, but I don't think she knew what she was getting herself into. haah. That makes it harder, because I'm trying really hard to be here for her, but I've just been so selfish lately trying to make it through this transfer switch and missing last transfer so much. I have literally never experience this with any move from any country or anything. I have never missed a place or people THIS much from what I can remember. I've thought about it a lot lately and it's probably because I always had time to mentally prepare myself and my mind would automatically think of all the bad things about the place or people I was with, so that I wouldn't miss them as much, as sad as that sounds. But, this transfer and this move was the only one that I've really been surprised with. The last transfers, I've always had a feeling that I was leaving, I was just surprised by where I was going, but I was ready to leave. I was NOT ready to leave Buda this transfer. I have actually started praying that by some chance I'll get sent back to Buda at some point in my mission. The chances are slim, but crazier things have happened... especially to me with 3 one and dones. I just feel liek I'm not done in Buda, but I guess that's mission life.

On a more positive note.... I think we might have like the nicest apartment in the mission, or one of them. It actually has AC in our bedroom! So nice! Unfortunately, the elders who lived here before broke the key to our door so we have to use pliers to get in... I'll have to send you a picture of their contraption at some point... haha I've gotten a couple blood blisters from it already. They also thought it'd be cool to leave us dirty dishes in the sink... good thing I love them or... I dont know what would have happened. haha but its okay, because they also left us a good amount of food in the pantry. The city is really pretty, but pretty small. It's the closest city to the Balaton, which is the Hungarian version of a beach. It's a big lake that everyone goes to all summer. It's miles away from here though. Most people we have run into are tourists though and not interested in talking to us. We have tracted a lot already and most people aren't home for the summer. Those who are, are mostly old people who are really strongly Roman Catholic. That's really interesting to me. Normally, in the bigger cities, I have met a bunch of different people from different religions, but it seems like almost all of Veszprém is Catholic... There's a small university here, so we're waiting for school to start again and hopefully we'll meet more people. We met with one guy who goes there and is still here. He was pretty cool, but he is Muslim and from Pakistan and or program mostly ended up being him trying to convince us to believe in the Koran and telling us that we were wrong. haha at least he bought us ice cream! Other than that, we've just been finding. I have a really, really strong tanline now and my hair has gotten much more blonde in just a week outside. If I were wearing a swimsuit, it would always look like I'm wearing a white shirt under it... so that's nice... haha. Another nice thing is that I don't think I've ever been so sincerely complimented on my language before. That's one plus that I can think of, opening at such a young age, sometimes I feel like I might have become fluent over night. hahah just kidding. I'm still not fluent. Actually, I don't know what the point is when one is considered fluent, but I still have points where I can't think of words that I need, but never learned. And, there's still times when I don't know what someone is saying to me. haha but for the most part, the language isn't really a problem.

Well, hopefully that wasn't too depressing of an email. I hope you all have a much better week than I did. (: Love you!