Tuesday, June 28, 2016

June 26, 2016

Dear Mom,
     Biesinger Elder and his family lived in Hungary 4 years ago. His parents wanted a cultural adventure and his Dad served in Hungary. He picked up some of the language, so he's a lot better at understanding the spoken language and pronunciation than I am. And he knows how to say random stuff. 

Biesinger Elder

Gajdos Elder's dad is Hungarian, but he stopped speaking Hungarian when he was 8-ish (I think), so Gajdos Elder (pronounced goi-dosh) hasn't had very much experience with the language, but he knows some random words.
Gajdos Elder

No one fast tracks out of Hungarian. It's not allowed. Just kidding, but they're not leaving me. We'll all pretty close in language ability. I'm starting to see why learning German is helping. I know parts of language and grammar better than most people do, so I've been able to understand new concepts. Explaining them is kinda rough though. I've been reading the Hungarian grammar book, and it's crazy. There aren't any prepositions in Hungarian, and words can have crazy suffixes on them. The language has some weird constructions, like saying "I have two brothers" would translate to "My two brothers exist." It's fun. And reading the book is funny because it talks about how some nouns are weird for plural, and you have to memorize them, and there's 100. And then it talks about other nouns that are less weird, but you still have to memorize them. It's funny.  Also, I'm really glad that I find grammar interesting. The grammar book we have is so dense. It's crazy how super precise they have to be in the language. Reading the grammar books is fun because I get to see random stuff like the 30 different case suffixes we have to learn.

The Handsome Elders (Gajdos, Terry, Biesinger)

It's really funny being 19 because I'm one of the oldest Elders in my zone. I think there's only 3 or 4 older than me. It's fun to see people's reactions when they realize I'm older than them.
So the district that I'm in has 6 people, two tripanionships. The sisters are Sister Day, Sister Evans, and Sister Wester. I wanted to say sister in Hungarian, but I don't know the keyboard shortcuts for special letters. There's another Hungarian district that has 6 elders and 2 sisters. Everyone is going to Hungary.
In the other district there's an elder from Canada, Leavitt Elder, and he's pretty cool. He studied neuroscience for a semester or two up in the Frozen Land of the North. Sometime last week, I started telling him that he was beautiful whenever I saw him, and now he's started responding with "You're the devil" (ördög vagy.) It's really funny. (Just to be clear, he's joking, I'm not the devil.)

The Sisters(Evans, Day, Wester)

I don't remember if I told you about the zone I'm in. There's Albanian, Turkish, and Dutch missionaries. The Albanians have been here the longest, and will leave next week. There's 5 of them, 2 Elders and 3 Sisters. I think there's only 3 Turkish missionaries, and they're all elders because sisters can't go. They can't wear their name badges in Turkey, which is scary. Turkey's a scary place right now. The Dutch and the Turks leave the week after the Albanians. Everyone in our zone is here for 9 weeks except the Dutch, who are here for 6. Listening to the Dutch missionaries is fun, because between English and German, I can usually guess what they're saying.

The Handsome Elders 2.0

This week in the MTC was pretty fun. It's been better now that we've gotten more used to the schedule. It's really funny though, because we don't really follow the white handbook schedule. We get up at 6:30, breakfast is at 7. At 7:30 we have class until 10:30, then we have daily planning. After planning we have study some days and exercise on others. Then we have lunch, then more class or exercise. Lots of class time. Study time is weird because the schedule just says study, it doesn't specify whether it's personal, companion, or language study.
Today we're going to clean the temple, which is why I'm emailing earlier. It's gonna be fun.
We've already taught 5 lessons in Hungarian. It's crazy. We have a new investigator that we're starting to teach tomorrow. Teaching in Hungarian so quickly is a little rough, but we're getting better.

More Handsome Elders

Yesterday (or Saturday, the days kinda blur together) I was reading in Alma 32, and Alma compares the word to a seed. When I was reading that, I noticed the section towards the end that reads:
"38 But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and scorcheth it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out.
39 Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof."
That hit me really hard. With everything in life, we have to work to get results. With the gospel, if we don't do the daily things, if we don't nourish the tree, we won't be converted, and we won't enjoy the blessings of the Gospel. In order for us to get better, we have to work. Don't blame the gospel for your lack of effort. I promise that if you put in the work, you will get the reward.

We're Still Handsome

I also studied gifts of the spirit, and in D&C 46:11-12 it reads:
"11 For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.
12 To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby."
We all have our own gifts of the spirit, our own talents. That's why it's important not to compare ourselves to others. We all have different gifts, and when we work together, we all benefit.
I love you all and I hope you have a fantastic week.
Szeretettel,
Terry Elder


P.S. Mom, you should give everyone my Dear Elder information (Log into DearElder.com.  Use his Provo MTC address--his unit is 187, his mission code is HUN-BUD and his departure date is AUG16--make sure you follow the directions to send it to the Provo MTC!!)and tell them to write me. Getting letters is awesome. The family could write me every day if you want to. Also, Szeretettel means "with love" I think. I'm pretty sure Szeretett is love, and to say with, you add the suffix -val/-vel. Have I talked about vowel harmony yet? because that's crazy too.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Monday, June 20, 2016

June 19, 2016 (the first week)

Dear Mom,
You can email me if you want to. The limit is 60 minutes, not thirty. And the leaders in our zone told us that we could email for hours as long as we weren't preventing other missionaries from working.
I am in a trio companionship, or tripanionship. It's pretty crazy sometimes, but it's mostly fun. My companions are Gajdos Elder and Biesinger Elder. Gajdos Elder's dad is Hungarian, which is way cool. Biesinger Elder and his family lived in Hungary for a year.
Our first meal was a little confusing, and we ended up eating leftovers. They were tasty leftovers though.
Our zone leader is from New Zealand, and sometimes his accent is a little hard to understand. One time, Biesinger Elder thought he said "the empty seat" when he said "the MTC."
We've already taught our first lesson, and we're teaching another today. Hungarian is super weird. Conjugating verbs is all in the suffixes, they don't use pronouns a lot. And you change nouns with suffixes to show possession or plural. Teaching Edit (our investigator) whose name is pronounced "eh-deet" is interesting. We taught her about God and how to pray and it went pretty well until she started asking questions. Fortunately Biesinger Elder has enough experience with Hungarian to understand people. Also, the spirit speaks Hungarian, so we had a good lesson even though she probably couldn't understand us very well. Hungarian has different intonation that changes the meaning of what you say, so you can say the same words in the same order with different intonations and say different things. The difference between a question and a statement is intonation, not word order. It makes understanding and communicating a bit harder, but with the Lord's help, we can do anything. 
I didn't bring my camera to email, so I don't have any pictures, but I'll try to get some next week.
Thanks for your letters and your weird quotes, although sometimes I don't check my clothes before putting them on, and then I end up walking to the temple with a piece of paper in my sock. Today I found the one from President Monson that says, "Each missionary who goes forth in response to a sacred call becomes a servant of the Lord whose work this truly is. Do not fear, young men, for He will be with you. He never fails." I was really glad I found that one because yesterday it hit me that I'm trying to teach people the gospel in a language I can barely speak or understand. It's important to realize that the Lord is the one doing His work.
This week has been crazy. Adjusting to the MTC has been a little weird, but we've been doing good. It's been a little stressful, but I've been having fun. 
We watched the Character of Christ video yesterday, which is an MTC devotional that Elder Bednar gave on Christmas some time. It was really good. 

Love, 
Terry Elder

P.S. I mailed your letter on Friday. I forgot to mail it on Thursday. I've told you a lot of what it said anyways. I couldn't even use your form letter because I'm in a tripanionship.
P.P.S. I don't really know what y'all want to hear about, so if you want better letters, you should probably ask some questions. Otherwise I'll just email Elder Keeley the whole time.

P.P.P.S. In Hungarian, Elder and President come after the name, which is why it's Terry Elder, Biesinger Elder, and Gajdos Elder. And our mission president is Szabadkai elnök.