Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November in Békéscsaba

Tiffany in Budapest

November 29, 2011

Szia Csaladom!!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! I hope it was great for you all. Yesterday was our SUPER P-day! We went over to a senior companion's house for thanksgiving dinner. There were 12 missionaries there, and we all had a really great time! Elder and Sister Adams made us a beautiful dinner with turkey and potatoes and everything! We played lots of games, watched Ratatouie (okay i have no clue how to spell that) in Hungarian, and went out to the park to practice our whipping skills! I'm getting pretty good at cracking it now... One day maybe I can show you my skills. :) Some of the Elders can do some really cool tricks though! It was a really fun day.
Anyways, this week has been awesome! Sister Johnson and I are having such a great time! Its only been a week but i already feel like we are becoming really great friends. She is so fun! We work hard, but laugh and spread lots of smiles while we're doing it. I love her enthusiasm and love for the work and for the people. I am beginning to realize the importance of exchanging companions. I really feel that i am learning so much from each of the companions I have had. By learning and growing with each companion, i feel that I am becoming a more well rounded person and a greater missionary. Sister Johnson is helping me learn to love streeting. She has so much excitment when we get out on the street to talk to people. I am learning more that streeting is a great oppurtunity to talk to so many people at once. I am a pretty outgoing person, so I have no problem talking or saying hi to people. But streeting sometimes is difficult for me. Because when streeting you have about 5 seconds to get the person's attention and to find what they need to hear to help them feel the spirit and continue to listen to you. We are denied the majority of the time while streeting. But there are those few who stop and listen, take a book of mormon, or agree to meet with us and learn more. It is those people that continue to give us the motivation to keep searching. My companion pushes me a lot to keep trying- and slowly I feel that I am coming to love it more and more. We've met some really great people on buses or on our way to the grocery store. I just know that our message is important for everyone.
This week we were really blessed to find 5 new investigators! We had a really incredible lesson with one of them, János. Here in Békéscsaba it's really difficult to find men to teach. We've been meeting with this lady Klára for a few weeks now. Klára is an older woman, somewhere in her late 50s or early 60s. One of her neighbors János, comes over to help help her with her yard work sometimes. We had met him before, but he had never agreed to come sit in with us and listen to a lesson. Just this past Friday he decided he would come sit down and find out what we were all about. He asked us first a little about what we believe, and asked what our stance is on money and worldly possesions and things. I used one of my favorite scriptures in 3 Nephi 13:19-21 to answer his question. I think it was exactly what he was looking to hear, and it kind of suprised him. My companion went on to talk about the importance of faith, then we brought up the apostacy, the restoration, his questions led us into the 3rd lesson about the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we even talked a little about life after death. We covered so much information is such a short time, but the spirit was so strong throughout the whole lessons. We were being guided and directed to all these scriptures that were exactly what he was looking for. Klára even backed us up with her testimony. It was SUCH an amazing lesson. I don't know that i've ever felt so guided by the spirit before. We gave János some chapters in the book of mormon to read, and talked to him about how he can recieve and answer that what we are teaching him is true. By the end he was interested in learning more, and promised us he would read the chapters we gave him. It was incredible. Here was a man who weeks before wouldn't even sit down with us, and now he is reading from and wanting to learn more about the book of mormon and the church. I know the spirit works in people. I saw it work in János this week! I just know that he felt the spirit! and that he was able to recieve answers to questions he's been searching for for probably a long time.
This, to me, is the best part to me about being a missionary. Watching others as they feel the spirit and come closer to Christ. How amazing it is to me to be able to watch first hand as others make these important changes in their lives- and to be used as an instrument in helping others find the truth.
Mom, i got your package! Thanks so much for the family pictures! I have already shared them with lots of our investigators. And for the new memory card!! That will be so perfect. I'm pretty sure it will last my whole mission too. :) Your cruise sounded like you all had a really fun time! I'm excited to hear your and Dave's ukulele skills when i get home! I hope all is well back home! Thanks for the email.
Dad, I hope you are feeling better. Congratulations at finishing the Book of Mormon. That is really exciting! I hope that all your travels are going well. OH, Diane i wrote you a letter but i realized i don't have your address in my address book! and i don't have any of my letters from the MTC so i need your address so i can send that to you! Granny B thanks for the email. I'm glad the holidays have been fun with the family there. It sounds like the Christmas production was really amazing.
 Well, i think that's about all. I love you all TONS!! Take care. Things are great here. I hope to hear from you all soon!! Can you believe this week will be December!! How crazy. I love missionary work, i love being a missionary, and i LOVE the gospel. További szép napot!!

Sok Szerettel,
Tiffany Johnson Nővér 

November 21, 2011
Hello Family!
Transfer calls came this morning! I was pretty sure I'd be staying in Békéscaba- but excited and nervous to find out who my new companion will be. They told me that my new companion is going to be SISTER JOHNSON!! (the other one). haha She was serving in Miskolc with my MTC companion Sister Gallion. She was at the "sleepover party" the other week at the mission home I wrote about in one of my previous emails. She is SUPER awesome! Way nice and full of energy and enthusiasm for the work. I can't wait!! I really think we are going to be an awesome companionship. I'm sad to see the other Sister Johnson go. She's been an awesome trainer and I've learned so much from serving with her. But her time has come.. i think she's excited and sad to be going home. It was funny, this is a direct quote from her after calls this morning- "Sister Johnson is coming to be with Sister Johnson to replace Sister Johnson." haha I think the President is having a good laugh putting all the Johnson sisters together. It'll be a really great transfer though- i can't wait! AND we should be having 2 baptisms!!- Julcsi and her mother Zsuzsa! They are amazing sisters and are progressing so much! I am really excited for them.
We had an epic week! We worked SO hard to make sure Sister Johnson left on a high note! and it was great! The Lord helped us so much to achieve our goals- we ended up exceeding almost all the numbers we set for ourselves. It was really amazing, but did take lots of effort on our parts. We were biking like mad women all over the city. Lots of times we had an appointment at one corner of the city and afterwards had 30 min to bike all the way to the other side. We did lots of teaching and knocking on doors (or I guess ringing csangűs (doorbells)). It's also beginning to get REALLY cold here. No snow, but its the bitter type of cold that chills you to the bone. As we rode along on our bikes there were lots of times I wasn't sure I'd survive.. haha but then I just had to keep reminding myself that the pioneers had it a lot worse and if they could do it.. so can I. Plus, the work and serving the people here is the most fulfilling thing I've ever done- so the work is a really great motivation for me, and I am definitely getting lots of extra help from on high.
The language is coming along a lot faster than I was expecting. My vocabulary is still very limited.. and I know I probably am not using the grammar correctly yet- because Hungarian is ridiculous!- but I can see I am progressing and learning a lot each day. And most of the time I am able to get across what I am wanting to say in a way that people understand. A few days ago when we were on the bus I was talking to a 12 year old girl sitting next to me. I asked her about school and where she was from. I saw that she had a flute! So I told her I used to play flute and we were able to actually have a conversation. As we were talking (or I was attempting to speak) the lady behind us tapped me on the shoulder and asked how many years I've been learning Hungarian. She was really surprised when I said four months. She told me I speak very well for only learning for such a short amount of time. That made me feel really good! I know I still have so much I need to learn, and definitely a lot to correct in my speaking- but it makes me feel really good that so many people here are really encouraging and supportive with those who are attempting to learn their language.
Happy Thanksgiving this week! I will be with all of you in spirit. Maybe save me a chair at the table.;) They don't really celebrate thanksgiving here...so Thursday will basically be just like every other day for me. (Although, in my heart I will be thinking about all my blessings and things I am thankful for). Luckily though, we have a really nice senior couple that lives in the city just next to us. They come to our ward every Sunday, and invited us and the Elders over next Monday for Thanksgiving dinner! So don't worry… they are taking good care of us here. We also get to serve with the same Elders from last transfer again. I'm excited about that because we have some really awesome Elders!
Our investigators are doing great! Some are progressing a lot faster than others, but we just have to be patient and help them along the way. Kaitlin, one of our other investigators on bap. date, is so amazing! i just love her. I can see such a difference in her. She has been coming to church every week. She's reading from the scriptures every day, and is really accepting and applying everything she is learning. I can notice such a difference in her prayers. The first time i heard her pray in our lesson, it was somewhat loud and full of lots of emotion- I couldn't understand all she was saying, but she prayed using a prayer book lots of times before so… it was just different. I could tell she was thanking God for her blessing and that she meant what she was saying, but more like she was praying to a great being instead of a loving father in heaven. Since then, we have taught her more about her relationship with her heavenly father, and more how the spirit works. How prayer is a conversation with him, and as we are reverent and listen for the spirit as we pray we can receive answers. In our last appointment she said the opening prayer. It was so genuine and sincere, she thanked Heavenly Father that we were there to teach her and help her learn. She thanked him for her family and asked Him to bless her family, as well as my companion's and my family as well. I was able to feel the spirit so strong as she prayed. It was a witness to me that the spirit really is the teacher. As missionaries we can teach investigators the gospel, but only the spirit can convince them to change. We planned on teaching the word of wisdom, but she heard someone in church talk about tithing and fasting and had some questions about it. So we taught her about why we pay tithing and the blessings of fasting. She not only accepted to live the law of tithing and the fast- but she was really exciting to start! It made me think differently about the commandments we are given. We should be excited to live the commandments- after all, that's how we receive greater blessings in our lives. I am so grateful for the examples our investigators are to me. Not only are they learning, but i feel like i am able to learn from them during lots of our lessons as well. I think i have gained a greater understanding of the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 50:21-22, where it talks about teaching through the spirit and says,"...he that receiveth the word by the spirit of truth recieveth it as it is preached by the spirit of truth... wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together."
Well, all is well here in Békéscaba. I am learning and growing so much every day. Missions really are A LOT of work. But it honestly the greatest thing I’ve ever done. I never expected to serve a mission- as I am sure there are lots of people who never expected me to serve a mission, but I know that the Lord has a plan for each one of us. I am so grateful He prompted me to come on a mission, and I'm so glad I followed that prompting... even though at first I was somewhat hesitant. I know that we truly are happier as we align our will with God's. Thank you for all your prayers and support, it means so much to me and I'm sure is blessing us with the success we are having here.
Alan and Princess!! Thank you for the package of Japanese treats and the picture of your cute little baby!! I am so happy for you both! Have you thought about any names yet!? Diane- Thanks so much for your email. It's so great to hear how everyone is doing. That is amazing Sofie is speaking sign language and blowing kisses already!! i just love her, she's adorable. I did get the pictures! Thank you. I am so glad your photography business is growing and you are able to start living out your dreams. That is really incredible. I will try and send you a letter this week with that list of scriptures in it. Mom, I hope that you and Dave are having an amazing time on your cruise!- as i freeze to death here in Hungary. haha I want to hear all about it when you get back. Dad, you get to go to so many cool places all the time! Paris and Sweden! One day i will get to travel to hopefully some of those places too. I am happy both you and holly will finish the Book of Mormon this week! Congratulations. that's really great. I've started over again in the little Book of Mormon Alan gave me. I thought it would be nice to read it once all the way through without stopping to mark the verses every 3 seconds. So this time i am going to read it like a book- if that makes sense. haha
I have an idea for things i can send to all of you for Christmas.. but if you think of something specific you would like from Hungary let me know!
I think that's about all for now. Sorry this email is super long! But love you all OoDleS and bUnCheS!!
Sok Szerettel,
Johnson Nővér 

Nov 17, 2011
Hello family!
This is the last week of the transfer! It’s crazy to think I've been here in Hungary for 6 weeks! Time is already passing so fast. The weather is turning a lot colder. It's been pretty nice the last few weeks, but it is now really beginning to really feel like winter time here, especially when most of our time is spent outside tracting or riding our bikes to programs. No snow yet thankfully. I love the snow! But I don't think I'm going to love it as much as a missionary. Well this past Monday we traveled up to Budapest for my greeny-training and visa stuff. It was really fun! The train ride to Budapest takes about 2 1/2 hours each way. We had to be there at 8 in the morning which would mean we would have had to leave at 530am. No trains leave from Békéscsaba that early, so we took a train Sunday night and stayed at the mission home. The sisters from Miskolc came too. Which are the OTHER sister Johnson (there are 3 of us) and my MTC companion!!!-Sister Gallion! It was so fun to see her again and get to know Sister Johnson better. It was kind of like a sleepover at the mission home! The next morning i met up with everyone from my old MTC group, and we traveled to the Hivatal together to become "official" in the system and get our visas. It actually didn't take too much time, and we ended up having time to spare before our new missionary training. So we got to travel up to Buda castle and take some pictures! We also had a high class meal at Burger King. Training was good too. We have an awesome mission president! His wife is really great too. This week has been really good too. We visited an inactive member last week who hasn't been to church in a while, and she actually ended up coming on Sunday! Also, i was let into my first home while tracting! This older lady named Llona and her two grandchildren invited us in after talking at her gate for a while. At first it seemed really strange. I felt like I was going against everything I had been taught as a child about not entering stranger’s homes, but it turned out to be really great. We prayed with them and showed the pictures in The Book of Mormon. We talked to them about Joseph Smith and how The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and works along with the bible. They all seemed really accepting of our message. We gave them a Book of Mormon and they said they would read from it together! They’ve even set up for us to come back and visit again! it is amazing to me to see people who are so trusting and willing to listen to what we have to say. It's also amazing to think that all these truths I've been taught from when I was a child are completely and totally new ideas to these people. That's why it is so important for us to teach with simplicity and through the spirit. Lots of our programs ended up falling through this week. So we spent a lot of time streeting and tracting. My companion reminded me that streeting is always a good thing- even if it's just to help humble you. I think she's right. It’s definitely a humbling experience being denied over and over again one person right after another. It’s difficult knowing our message is so important for everyone, but having no one want to hear what we have to say. I guess it just shows that those who do listen truly have been prepared by the Lord. We've been meeting with a lady named Margit. We've been having a hard time getting her to read from The Book of Mormon. She told us she doesn't have any time to read. I asked her if I could write down a list of some of my favorite scriptures for her that are really short and she could just read one or two when she had some time. She agreed. So i prayerfully and thoughtfully prepared a list of scriptures for her. When we went to see her this week we asked if she had read from any of the scriptures I had given her. She said she had! Most of the time it’s hard to get through a lesson with her, she always has a lot of questions. Good questions- but sometimes hard to answer. We taught her about the plan of salvation. She seemed to be really interested in this lesson. She had lots of questions. When we got to the atonement she asked us what exactly the atonement was. We read to her from Alma 7:11-13. We talked about how the Savior suffered not only for our sins but for our pains, our sorrows, our guilt. We talked about the healing power of the atonement. We said we didn't understand completely how it works, but that we know of its power because we have felt it in our lives. Afterward, she told us she has felt it before too. She said she had never wanted to put a name to it, but what we were describing was familiar to her. I thought that was really amazing. I know the power of the atonement is open to everyone. It is only through baptism, repentance and making covenants with the Lord that we can we fully partake of all that the atonement has to offer, but the power of the atonement is infinite, and can reach out to even those who haven't received the gospel in their lives yet. Well we were out of time and had to head to our next appointment even before getting to talk about the 3 kingdoms of glory. We told her we had to leave soon, but would run through the rest of the lesson really fast. She said for us to stop there and finished teaching her the rest next time. She said she wanted to be able to ask questions and make sure she really understood. I've never left an appointment only explaining half of the plan of salvation, but we agreed. I was excited that our lesson with her went so well, and that she is beginning to become more interested as she is learning and understanding more about what exactly we believe. Well, other than that all is well here in Békéscsaba. This is my companion's last week, so i will have to know my way around this place and be able to keep all of our investigators and appointments in order for when my new companion gets here. Sister Johnson has been great! I'm sure my next companion will be awesome as well, but I'm kind of sad to see her go. It’s an interesting combination, having me as a newbie and her just getting ready to leave. Both of us have very different perspectives- as far as where we are on our missions. But she's helped me learn a lot.

ALAN AND PRINCESS!!.. I'm so excited for both of you!! A GIRL! How exciting! I'm kind of scared for her future dating life... Alan is going to be cleaning his gun when boys come to pick her up for a date. haha. That is so great though. Congratulations!  Holly and Dad- Great job on the member missionary work! That is so important. I feel bad for not becoming more involved before my mission with trying to teach and invite more people to hear about the gospel. All i know is there are a lot of things i will do differently after my mission. But I am so happy you are both sharing the gospel with people so frequently. I had no idea how important the members are in missionary work till i became a missionary. They truly make all the difference in helping invite and retain new investigators and members. Mom and Dave, i hope you have a great time on your cruise! I probably won't get your package until we go up for transfers to Budapest next Wednesday. Diane and Mike, I hope all is well with you also. Tell Scott I say hello' i hope blessing the sacrament for the first time went well for him. Love you all tons!! Talk to you next week!
Sok Szerettel,
Johnson Tiffany Nővér

November 8, 2011

Hi family! 

I don't have much time to write today. Yesterday was visa stuff and greeny-training in Budapest, so i didn't get a chance to email. I thought since i can't write much, i would send some pictures! Things are really great! We are working really hard. Its crazy to think there's only 2 weeks left in the transfer!-time has really flown by. I will be sad to see my companion leave. I have learned a lot from her. I think they will keep me in the same area next transfer though since she will be going home. I really have come to love it here in Békéscsaba. When we stepped off the train from Budapest last night, it really felt like i was back home. I have grown to really love the people here. The work is hard. The days are long, but the weeks go by so fast! Super P-day was great! The cemetery was beautiful. They decorated all the graves with flowers and candles! I've never seen such a beautiful cemetery. It is such a blessing to have the knowledge that there is life after this, and we can live as families forever! I love you all! Thanks for all your letters and prayers of support. Talk to you next week!

Sok Szerettel,
Tiffany Johnson Nővér  

Sisters Johnson and Johnson...again
Sister Johnson as WATER for Halloween

Branch Halloween Party in Békéscsaba 

RUN from Babylon!!!

Visit to Budapest for Super P-Day

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