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

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