From July 2011 to February 2013 Sister Tiffany Johnson is serving as a Full- Time Missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She is pleased to bring you her experiences while she is teaching Gospel of Jesus Christ in The Budapest Hungary Mission.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
January Brings Change
Happy New Year in Hungary 2012
Tiffany has been called to serve in Kispest, Hungary
She will be a great asset with her
positive attitude and her excitement in being about the Lord's Work
Here is a bit of information of Kispest, Hungary
Kispest forms the largest part of district XIX (Hungarian: XIX. kerület) of Budapest, Hungary.
Kispest's inhabited history predates the Hungarian settlers and Sarmata and Avar .
The whole settlement was destroyed during the Mongol invasion.
The next few centuries it was used as a royal hunting ground.
In 1723 Antal Grassalkovich bought the Szentlorinc hamlett, a small chapel and the Gloriett the only survivors from this era.
After the Grassalkovich family died out, the place often changed hands.
In the 1850s a Belgian Bank subdivided the area.
Károly Herich engineer, Ministerial aid, József Egger engineer, and Lajos Rózsa barrister bought the subdivision and they sold it in 1869 as Colonie-Klein-Pest at an enormous profit.
In 1871 the Kispest village was established when it broke away from Vecse.
In 1873 received a 'large village' status.
In 1880 it had a population of 1800 and although Pestszentlorinc left Kispest in 1909, it rapidly grown to 30,000 by 1910.
In 1911 Kispest became district centre of Erzsébetfalva, Csepel, Soroksár, Pestszentlorinc and Dunaharaszti. In 1908 Sándor Wekerle politician and Prime Minister and Minister of Finance at the time begin the development of the Wekerle settlement, which is still an outstanding example of early 20th century mathematically designed development.
Originally the development was intended for working class settlement, but only middle class people could afford it at the time.
Kispest under went rapid industrialisation during the time between the two World Wars.
The Population reached 50,000 by 1920.
In 1921 it became a city.
Due to the large industrialisation in and around Kispest the township suffered heavy damage during WWII due to large scale carpet-bombing by the Allies.
From 1st January 1950 Kispest became the XIX district of Budapest.
Pictures of Kispest and a first letter from our Missionary
January 2, 2012
Szia a csaladom!!
Well, it's a new year! Can you believe it?! It's been an interesting week getting adjusted to all the changes that are happening, but things are going really well.! Transfers were on Thursday. We spend mine and Elder Weston's last night in Békéscsaba with one of my favorite families- Edina and Tibi and their kids. Tibi is investigating the church, but Edina has been a member for a few years now. They are such cute parents, and they have the most adorable kids ever! It was strange taking the train to transfers, I felt sad leaving all the people I have come to know so well and love so much there. I know we will continue to stay in contact, and who knows?- maybe I could serve there again!
Transfers were fun! It's always great seeing all the other missionaries and getting to talk to friends. I was able to see everyone from my MTC group! They all seem to be doing really well. It was sad saying goodbye to sister Johnson and the Elders in our district. We have all grown really close and have become great friends. I have learned so much from serving with them. I know we will stay friends for eternity.
Sister Kramer and I are having a great time though! We are still pretty new at everything, but somehow we are able to manage. It's really fun serving with her since we both were in the same MTC group together, and we already know each other pretty well. My first night in Kispest we had a program set up with some of our investigators at the hospital- which Sister Kramer had never been to, and neither had I... we mostly use the transportation here to get around- vilamoses, buses, the metro. So we were trying our best to find the right bus stop. We got a little lost and took about an extra hour to get there... but eventually we found it! That's what happens i guess when you stick two missionaries in their 3rd transfer together. haha We had a great program with them though. Sister Kramer speaks really well. So together we are able to speak and understand most everything- well all the important things anyway.
Friday we did some tabling! Tabling is always an adventure. Most people are busy with their own daily schedules and don't really like to stop- but the ones that do are usually pleasant and really nice to talk with (most of the time). I was able to talk with quite a few people that day. There was a bum who was talking to one of the Elders. He turned and asked if he could talk to me. I said sure. At first i was a little nervous to talk to him, I didn't know who he was and I wasn't really sure what he wanted to talk to me about. He asked me what it is I am studying in school. I told him. Then he began asking a few other questions. As our conversation went on I began to feel less afraid of him. He seemed to be sober, and we began talking about life and family and the gospel. He told me about his family, and how he ended up on the street. He asked me what we do as missionaries, and why i decided to come on a mission. He asked about my family and if I missed them. It gave me a lot of opportunities to bear my testimony to him. I was able to talk to him about eternal families, about why this life is important, about the Savior's atonement and how we all can progress and be better. I told him about the prophet, and how i was called to Hungary through revelation from God. I told him why I love being a missionary and why the work is so important to me, and how the gospel has blessed my life. I even talked to him about the word of wisdom and how our bodies are a gift from God, and that's why we don't drink or smoke. He seemed surprised when I told him I’ve never done any of those things. I committed him to quit... he told me he smoke 15 cigarettes a day! i suggested he could tapper off. He said he never thought about it before. Everyone smokes here in Hungary, even all the young kids. It’s pretty sad, but who knows? Maybe he'll try and stop.
We talked for a while. Somehow, I was able to understand and communicate all these things to this man in Hungarian! Some days I am so amazed at how much the Lord is helping me to learn this language. I know that he was really listening too- and thinking about what we were talking about. It helped me to recognize that everyone needs the gospel in their lives, no matter who they are or what situation they may be in. The gospel can help people find purpose and joy. It can bring light where before there were none. I am grateful for the conversation I had with that man on the street. Who knows if he will ever accept the gospel in this lifetime, but I know the spirit was there with me, and testifying to him through me.
The ward here is Kispest is incredible. It is a fully functioning ward!- with a bishopric and counselors, relief society and priesthood organizations! It's quite a big change from Békéscsaba. It's really amazing to see though. Everyone in the ward is so friendly! The bishopric was standing at the door greeting everyone with hugs and wishing them happy New Year. Its like a big family here, I think I am going to really grow to love it.
I do miss everyone in Békéscsaba, but I know there are people I am meant to meet here. I know that Sister Kramer and I will be pushed to do a lot this transfer, but I think it will be good for us and I know we will learn a lot.
I also received the Christmas packages! Thanks so much! Diane thank you for the peanut butter and the vitamins, and for the scarf you made!!- I love it! I've worn it basically everyday since I opened it. It is really beautiful and I like the color.
Mom, thanks for everything! The pens were especially helpful, and I was so grateful for the candies and things and for you taking the time to wrap each one. :)
Dad and Holly, thank you for the pajamas and for the picture frame!! That will definitely be great with all the pictures I am taking. Can you also tell G-ma and G-pa Johnson I am so thankful for the cookies and the books they sent! I actually started reading one of them and I really love it! It’s filled with all these inspirational quotes and there are some really great stories in there. I am going to write them a letter soon to thank them.
Love you all! Talk to you next week!!
Sister Tiffany Johnson
Kispest, Kos Karoly ter (please translate:o)
January 9, 2012
It's been a tough week. But tough, in the way that it was exhausting but i learned a lot. I never realized just how much work my trainers did in our companionship, until all of that responsibility was placed on my own shoulders. Now, it's up to Sister Kramer and I to find people, set up appointments, teach lessons, and work together to do all the things we have learned from our previous senior companions. At first, I was excited and scared to be co-senior with Sister Kramer. We are still both very new in the mission, and while i can speak the language somewhat, there's still a lot that I don't understand. It takes a lot of concentration trying to comprehend what people are saying, and sometimes I am impatient with myself as I am learning Hungarian. I want so badly to discern the needs of our investigators here, but its hard to know their needs when i can't understand all that they are saying. At times I am surprised with how much I do understand though, and it is helping me learn to rely a lot more on the spirit than my own knowledge or abilities- which is a good thing i suppose. The members have been a big help too. When we have a member present with us in lessons, its always helpful to have them share their experiences and testimony, and of course they speak perfect Hungarian, which is nice too.
It is fun being companions with someone who i already knew and was friends with from my MTC group. While this week has been full of new responsibilities for us, Sister Kramer and I always seem to find opportunities to laugh during the day. Which is always a great relief. I am convinced that what my last companion always said is true, "if you're not laughing, you're not doing it right." Missionary work is filled with funny moments, it's good to find a balance in working hard, but still being able to laugh at the mistakes we make. I had a friend who told me in a letter, that it is a great feeling to not know what you are doing, but to know you are doing the right thing. In summary that is exactly how i feel. I am still very new at all these missionary things, I had great trainers who helped me learn to work hard, and now I have to apply all that I have learned. It is a comfort for me to know, that while I do not know everything, I have the companionship of the Holy Ghost to help guide and direct us to where we need to go and what we need to do.
The members here are incredible, and we have great Elders who are the zone leaders, who are always willing to help us. Yesterday in church I was so amazed at how, even though everything is in Hungarian, and the ward here is on the other side of the world, the spirit is still the same. It is such a ward family here, and everyone is very supportive and welcoming of each other. It's amazing to see how much the church really is growing, even in vast parts of the world we aren't always aware of- like Hungary!
We met with some of our investigators this week. They are all really nice people, but none of them seem to be really enthusiastic about our message. We need to find a way to help them become more excited about the message we have to share. We did a lot of finding this week too. I know there are people here in Kispest who are ready for the gospel!- we just need the Lord to help us find them.
GOOD NEWS!!!!- 4 of our investigators in Békéscsaba are being baptized this Saturday!! Katalin, Julcsi, Zsuzsa, and Marika! The first three were put on bap.date during my time there, but Marika has decided to be baptized too! I am so excited because President has given us permission to go down there and see them for their baptisms this weekend! What a miracle all of them on the same day! I just love these women so much, I'm so happy they've decided to take this step in their lives.
Well, that is the update for this week. While i feel an extra amount of weight has been placed on my shoulders, I am grateful. I have learned so much just in this first week serving here with Sister Kramer. I know we will both grow a lot during this transfer, and it will help us to set the pace for the rest of our missions. I am thankful for the confidence our mission president has put in us. I know that with the Lord's help, we will find success here in Kispest and be able to live up to the responsibilities that we have been trusted with.
P.S. I attached some pictures. The family is Edina's family i was talking about in one of my past emails. I LOVE THEM! Brigi and i look like sisters in one of them. They are such a sweet family. then there's one with Sister Johnson and I, and one with my new companion SISTER KRAMER! :)
Tiffany, Sister Johnson, The Elders and Edina's with her family
Sister's Johnson and Johnson
Sister Johnson and her new Co-Senior Companion, Sister Kramer
January 16, 2012
So, a couple things came up today and I don't have a lot of time to write. This week was really incredible. Yesterday were Katalin, Julcsi, Zsuzsa, and Marika's baptisms in Békéscsaba. It was such a blessing to have the opportunity to go. I was so happy when President gave me permission, because Békéscsaba is pretty far from my new area, but it was such a special day.
Because the branch in Békéscsaba is so small we don't have a baptismal font there. I remember the search for the font when I was there was pretty unsuccessful. Normally people will allow us to rent a pool for the day, but we had been having a hard time finding a place. Luckily we were able to find a place. The funny thing though, was that the only place we could find was a hotel, and so the baptisms were held in a Jacuzzi.
I can't imagine what amazing faith these women must have to be in this tiny branch with only 2 priesthood holders, and to be baptized in a Jacuzzi! But that just gives you an idea of how amazing they are.
It was so great seeing so many of the people I love there so much, and to be there for this amazing step in the lives of these women. The baptismal service was simple and small, but really beautiful. We had a small testimony meeting and a few talks were given. The other sisters and I sang "Come Thou Fount" in Hungarian, and the spirit was really incredible there. Afterwards we were able to stay for church, and for the confirmations. Both the elders that gave the confirmations are in their 6th and 7th transfers here. I can imagine it was intimidating to them to give a blessing in a language that is not their own for the first time. But they both did great. The spirit truly directed their words, and it was a really special experience for me to be there. I have seen these women grow so much.
Looking back I can remember Julcsi praying for the first time, or Katalin asking so many questions about the book of Mormon and just loving to read from it. When they all came to church for the first time, or when they made the decision to be baptized. They have all grown so much. It has been such a privilege for me to be able to be a part of watching them as their testimonies have grown, and witnessing them as they accept the principles of the gospel and work to change their lives. Looking back, I know it wasn't me that changed them at all, but it was the spirit they felt from our message that made them want to change and helped them to gain their testimonies. Someone explained to me once, that we as missionaries are like road signs, we simply guide people to the truth and they have to use their agency to choose which direction they decide to follow. Our message and the Book of Mormon stands on it's own. It is a message of truth, and I know that those who diligently seek are able to find the truth in it.
This mission has blessed my life in ways I cannot completely express in words- and I still have another year to learn so much more and meet so many more amazing people! I was so blessed to be a part of these women’s' lives, and to have them as a part of mine. I have built amazing friendships with them that I know will last through the eternities. And I have learned so much from each of them. I have also had some really amazing companions that I have built great friendships with and who have taught me so much. I know that success comes through hard work, and diligence, and faith in the Lord. I am so grateful for my companions who have been such great examples to me, and have helped me to strive to become better each day. This work is so true, and so much bigger than I am. I love being a missionary and I am learning so much everyday. I am so glad that I have so many of you supporting and praying for me and our investigators out here, it means so much and I know that it is helping to bless our efforts.
I love you all so much!
Talk to you all next week.
January 23, 2012
I don't have a lot of time to write today, but I promise I will write more next week! This week was good though! Sister Kramer and I taught the whole Fire Department full of firemen! haha well, actually 4 of them. But they want to learn more, and we set up to meet with them again this week! Things are going well though. We tried to reach Super Standard this week, and came so close! All we needed was just one more investigator at church, and we would have had it. But we will try again. We did a lot of streeting and tracting this week though, to try and find some new investigators to teach. We ended up getting lots of new numbers, and set up with some new people for next week. We were even let in while tracting a 10 story! The lady was really interested and kept saying it wasn't a coincidence that we came to her door that day. She told us she had been thinking a lot about God, and it was a blessing we showed up at her door. We are planning to meet with her again this week.
I wish I had time to write more and give you a better update, but I will have to do that next week. For now, just know I love you all lots and things are well here in Kispest.
Have a wonderful week!
A Beautiful Day in Budapest visiting the Parliament Building
January 30, 2012
It's been another great week! This past friday (the 27th) was our 6 month mark! I have now been a missionary for over 6 months! Can you believe it?! Time is passing so fast!
This morning we went on a tour inside the Parliament building and walked around parts of Budapest. It is fun being in the city and getting to see all the fun tourist sights. The air is freezing cold!- but still no snow. We've had a little here and there, but the weather has been generally pretty nice for the most part. This week... I'm trying to think of what stories I should share with you. Generally each week is the same. We go out and find, have appointments, help out at church events.. do missionary work. So really, there's not much that's all that new this week. We had some really great programs though. We met with this lady Timi. She seems really interested in the church. She had recieved a Book of Mormon from some other missionaries a while back. She read the introduction and the testimonies in the beginning. We had a senior sister come with us to teach the lesson. It turned out to be really great that she was there. Her testimony added such a great spirit into the lesson. I think Timi really felt it. She told us she was really close to her God-father who passed away a few years ago. Ever since he died, she told us she has had a lot of questions about why he died and what happens after this life. We told her that the answers are in the book she was holding in her hand! We told her next time we could talk about the Plan of Salvation, and what happens after this life. I'm really excited to meet with her again. How cool that our message has the answers to so many of life's "unanswered" questions! She is really interested in learning more! One thing I really loved that she said was, when she reads from the book, it is different from other books she's read. She said that even by reading just a small part, her mind begins to be opened to all these new ideas and she starts thinking about lots more. We told her, that is what makes the Book of Mormon so special. Even though it was written so long ago, it was written for us. And the stories and things we read in it, we can apply to our own lives. And as we read the spirit can help us to learn those things which we need to understand.
We also had Zone Conference this week. I actually love Zone Conferences! We talked a lot about how to be more effective teachers, and talked a lot about the Plan of Salvation. President Baughman checked up on Sister Kramer and I to make sure our young companionship was still doing okay. We told him things were going well. I really do feel like I am learning a lot. I am actually hoping that Sister Kramer and I will get to serve together at least for next transfer too. I feel like we are finally starting to get the hang of things here in Kispest. The language is coming along too. I feel like I have good language days and bad. Its like the language turns on and off in my brain sometimes. Some days I can speak and understand so much, and other days I feel like everyone is speaking some crazy language that is definitely not hungarian. haha But overall I feel like I am improving. Sister Kramer says she has noticed a difference in my speaking even since I got here to Kispest, so that is good i suppose. :)
We went to visit the firemen again yesterday! There were only 2 there this time- János and Tamás. They are awesome though, and really interested in what we are teaching them. They read in Alma 32 like we had asked them. We talked about the importance of faith, and how faith often starts out small but as we continue to search and learn, our faith can grow. They had LOTS of questions for us. I was really glad we had a member (Livi) come with us. She was able to understand more then we could and give them more in depth answers to their questions. They agreed to meet with us again next week! They even showed us around the fire station afterwards! We were able to climb in the trucks and things! :) I asked if we could slide down the fire poles but they said you have to be a registered fireman to do that. haha oh well. I'm excited to meet with them again. They both prayed in the lesson too! Tamás said the opening prayer, and Janós said the closing. I am hoping soon we can get them to come to church with us!
Well, that is pretty much the update for this week. Not too much more to say. We were able to have a conference call with my MTC district for our 6 month anniversary! They all seem to be doing really great. I really love everyone from my MTC group. Luckily, I still get to see most of them a lot.
Scott, I got your letter from the priests! thank you. It was.. well.. interesting. haha but really nice of you all to take the time to wirte me. I will see if i can write a letter back sometime. Dad and Holly, that is so cool you were in Lebanon. Dad, how come you never took me anywhere cool like that?! You both go to so many incredible places. Mom, it sounds like things are going really well with you all. Thanks for sending my package! I'm so happy you found my iPod! It will be so nice to be able to listen to music again.
Oh ya! and guess what!? The office elders here were able to put "Insanity" on a usb drive for me! So my companion and I bailed on P90X and have decided to do Insanity! Our goal is to be ripped by the end of next transfer. We'll see if we can stay motivated enough or not. We tried the "Insane abs" this morning... it was insane. haha
Anyways, I love you all! Thanks for all your support and prayers! További szép napot! vigyázzatok magatokra!
Kramer Nővér and Johnson Nővér
Inside The Parliament Building
She's Still Turning Heads as Well as Melting Hearts of Iron