Saturday, April 14, 2012

Spring Has Come to Kispest

May 21,2012

Hey family!

Wow.. this has been a full week! We have done so much, I know that i won't be able to write it all- but I'll at least be able to fill you in on a little of what's happening here. 
So, first of a little history of Dunaújvaros... back in the day this place was exploding with missionary work. There use to be 2 branches here with over 100 members in each branch! I guess when the missionaries first came in this city, everyone was really interested, and it was almost like a fad to join the church- because it was the "new American religion" that everyone was hearing about. Well now, we only have one branch with about 30 members. I guess because a lot of them didn't really have solid testimonies when they joined. So there are a ton of inactive member here. So, a lot of the work we do here is working on re-activations. Which really is just as important as new baptisms. We spent a lot of this week riding around on our awesome bikes haha looking up inactive members who haven't been heard from in years. Lots of our search was unsuccessful. There were a lot that weren't home, or that had moved, or just didn't want to have anything to do with us or the church. But we did meet some awesome people along the way, and had a couple of them invite us in for a lesson! 
Tuesday we spent part of the day tabling. We have a table with signs about the Book of Mormon, eternal, families, and free English class. We were able to talk to a ton of people. I started off by fliering for English class, and talking with people about the Book of Mormon who seemed willing to stop and listen. I talked to 2 people who seemed really interested and said they would try and make it that night to the English class we were holding. Another man walking by at first seemed really angry with us, he said he didn't want anything we were offering, and started talking about how God doesn't exist because he has a son that is sick and wasn't getting any better. I felt bad for him and asked why he doesn't believe in God. He talked to me more about all the hard things going on in his life, and how he felt that God didn't answer any of his prayers. I talked to him more about what we believe and showed him the Book of Mormon I had in my hands. Sister Roney and I had prepared a lot of the Book of Mormons before tabling- we wrote different questions in them and marked the scriptures that answered them. Like- Does God exist? Why does God allow sin and hard things to happen to us? What is the purpose of life?.. Things like that. I showed him the marked scriptures and told him how the Book of Mormon helps us to find comfort and guidance in our lives. I showed him the testimony I had written in the front. I wasn't sure if he would take it or not, since he seemed so solid in not accepting anything from us in the beginning, but when I offered it to him he seemed so surprised and said he would gladly read it. By the end of our conversation his countenance had completely changed. He was smiling and seemed so much brighter and more happy. That is one of the best things about being a missionary... watching how our message and the spirit can literally brighten people's countenances. :) 
The 2 people from the street ended up coming to English class! We were able to get both of their numbers and we set up to meet with one of them later today actually! :) The other one said he really enjoyed the class and said he had never heard anything about the Mormons. He seemed interested in learning more, so we are going to try and see if he would like to meet with us too! :) 
Wednesday we streeted, and somehow we seemed to be in the right places at the right times. We received 5 finds that we are going to contact this week! They all seem genuinely interested too! We also met this young kid named Beni. He looked kind of big and intimidating, kind of like a gangster. I gave him a flier and invited him to English class. I thought he would be scary or kind of mean, but we started talking with him and asked if he knew any English. He said he knew a little. We all happened to be walking in the same direction, so we continued to talk to him. He turned out not to be scary at all!- but was actually really nice! He asked a lot of questions about why we were serving missions and what we believe. He didn't believe in God, but we told him about our testimonies, and he seemed surprised that neither of us had ever drank or smoked. He said his parents weren't religious either so he had never really grown up praying and things like that. He walked with us probably past where he was going haha but we had a really great conversation. He ended up taking a Book of Mormon, and said he might come to English class. It was cool talking to him, who knows, maybe we started some sort of curiosity in him about a belief in God? If there's one thing I've learned on my mission, its that you can never judge a book by it's cover. 
Well, Friday was one of our best days. We went looking for less actives, and had all sorts of cool experiences. We rang the wrong csángő (its like a outside doorbell to an apartment building) for one of them. We were looking for a lady named Ilona, but the confused man on the speaker ended up coming down to see what we wanted. We talked to him for about 20 min. about who we were, and more about our church. He seemed interested in learning more, he took a Book of Mormon and gave us his phone number so that we could set up a time to meet later. :) (We ended up finding Ilona's csángő a few minutes later)- it was the next door over. haha Oh well, the awesome things that come from wringing the wrong doorbell. :) 
2 of the less actives invited us in to have a lesson. We even reset up with one of them to meet this Saturday. He seems to know a ton of the members, and showed us pictures from when he was an active member. We found one of them who he used to be friends with that is going to come with us to our lesson with him on Saturday. :) The other lady was named Judit. She was really nice, and gave us her number so that we could come back another time. It's a process getting people who have left the church to come back.. but I think it's a good start that they let us in. :) 
We met with some of our investigators too. They all seem to be really slow progressors, so we have our work set out for us. I'm hoping that some of these new finds will be promising. 
I know this church is true! I love missionary work. I know that through the atonement of Christ we can receive strength beyond our own to make it through tough things. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that Moroni's promise is real. If people sincerely pray and ask God if the book is true, he will answer them through the power of the Holy Ghost. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have and the opportunity I have to serve a mission. It is the best thing I've ever done. I love you all tons!! Can't wait to hear from you again next week!! Take care!
Sok Szeretettel,
Johnson Nővér

Thanks Dad for the vests!

P.S. Dad- Thanks for the mission stories! :) I started reading through some of them, 16 pages is a lot. haha it costs us to print pages so if you could mail them that would be awesome. But if not, I can probably just print them off. 
I sent a picture of our awesome vests. :) and Sister Roney and I went on a bike ride in the morning last Tuesday with one of our investigators to this random castle with all these animal heads haha so i took a picture with one. Anyways, love you all lots! Talk to you soon! :)  

May 14, 2012

Hey Family!! 

It was so great talking to you all yesterday! Scottie and Princess I still love you both!! Sorry I wasn't able to get a chance to talk to you. But things are going well here in my new area! I've been sick for the past week just about, but I finally feel like I am getting better. Transfers was pretty rough with being sick. Probably the worst possible time to come down with a crazy cold or sinus infection or whatever it was. But I'm glad it's finally letting up now though. 
Dunaújvaros is actually really beautiful and green. Our city is right along the Duna! I took a picture at Duna park where we streeted a bit the other day. Its really actually a pretty city. There's a lot of hills here, and we will be riding bikes a lot. :P Should be fun. haha I probably need the exercise though anyway. We have helmets and these awesome yellow construction vests that we wear. haha I'll try and send a picture of us in them next week. 
There are some awesome members here in Duna. The Tomaék let us use their computer yesterday to Skype. They are hilarious. Mom got to hear a few words from Judit on Skype yesterday. She attempted to speak some of her English. haha They made us palacsintas (Hungarian crapes) and showed us some of their family pictures. Judit's son Fanzi is inactive and hasn't been to church in quite a few years. They are such hilarious nice people though, I really enjoy going over to their house. We are going to try and help Judit prepare for the temple and get Fanzi back to church. :) 

Friday we had a ward party. It was mostly for all the kids in our ward here, but I was able to meet most all the members. Everyone is so friendly!! They had a lot of fun stuff for the kids to do- face painting, games, food, a puppet show! haha close to the end i joined some of the kids painting at the table. I drew a portrait of Elder Weston as a joke, but then afterwards everyone wanted me to paint a portrait of them. haha I ended up doing something like 7 people I think. It was really fun actually. :) We met with a few RCLAs and some just a couple of our investigators this week. It was hard since I've been sick. But this week we have a whole bunch of programs set up, so it should be really great. 

Elder Weston

Sunday was stake conference. Every seat was full all the way to the stage in the back! And even then we had people standing in the back to hear. It's amazing how much the church is growing here. I really hope that someday soon they will have a temple here in Hungary!! That would be so awesome! I got to see a lot of the Kispest members at stake conference, so it was good to get to say goodbye again. Also! I don't know if you remember me talking about Elder Jenei from the MTC- But we met a Hungarian in the MTC going on a mission to England, and our group became really good friends with him there. Funny story though!- I met his mom and brother at stake conference yesterday!! haha they stopped me in the hallway. I was confused at first because i didn't know who they were, but i guess they had recognized me from a picture Elder Jenei sent them in the MTC. lol It was fun to talk to them  and hear how he is doing on his mission in England. I remembered him saying his family was from Győr, but i never thought i would actually run into them. lol Small world. 
It was a little sad leaving Kispest, just like it was hard leaving Békéscsaba- but I think there are a lot of great things that will come from this new city. Sister Roney and I are going to have a lot of fun I think. :) I sent a picture of Adrián from Kispest. He is probably one of the most solid investigators we had when I left there. I'm really sad I won't be there to see him progress, but he's in good hands with the sisters there now i think, and he's really already doing a lot of it on his own. I think he's beginning to recognize the spirit. :) It kind of stinks to leave an area right as things begin to pick up... but I know the work will be able to move along here as well. Anyways, that's about all I've got this week. I love you all tons! Granny B- thanks for the birthday package!! :) Hope to talk to you all soon!

Much love,
Sister Tiffany Johnson 

My New Area of Dunaújvaros, Hungary

May 7, 2012

Hey everyone!

So, transfer calls came again this morning! Turns out I am leaving Kispestand going to serve in Dunaújvaros with Sister Roney! Sister Roney was inthe group below me in the MTC. She is super nice and I'm sure we are goingto have a great time serving together. :)

This has been a good week. One of the longer ones. I think we were really anxious to know what was going to happen at transfers. The weather is beautiful here now. We've had some really hot days even! Only I think it's taking a toll on my allergies. My face feels like it might explode today,and I've been sneezing non-stop. But hopefully it will pass before I leave for my new area.Kispest has been really great. We seem to have a few investigators here now that seem to be really progressing. :) Adrián met with us 3 times just this week! He has a lot of questions and seems really interested. He normallycomes to English class on Thursdays, but texted us before class this past Thursday and said he wouldn't be able to make it to English class, but thathe would still be coming to our lesson with him afterwards. When he showed up, he had read the chapter we assigned him and said that he wasn't able tocome to English class because he needed to read. He didn't want to come to our lesson without being prepared with what we had committed him to do. Howcool is that?! We are hoping to meet with him again tonight. :) We also went on splits this Thursday. Sister Jeppson came and served in Kispest with me for a day. We had a fun time. She was in Sister Roney's group in the MTC. I learn a lot every time I go on splits. Sometimes it's really great to switch up companions and see how other missionaries findand teach. Sister Roney is fearless, and willing to talk to anyone she sees. She also speaks the language really well! One of our MTC teachers Brother Daybell and his wife were here in Hungary for a few days! We got to catch up with them on Friday when they were hereat the mission home for Waffle night with the youth. It was kind of weird seeing them outside the walls of the MTC. But they were both really impressed to see how far we have come, and how great the work is moving along for us. :) We were finally able to meet with Fanni. Fanni was on bap. date a few mothsago in Buda. The Buda sisters passed her over to us since she lives here in Kispest. I think she's having a hard time switching over, so she hasn'tshown up to meet with us much. But we were able to meet with her twice this week. She seems to have a strong testimony of the church, she's just a little hesitant about being baptized for some reason. But we are working on helping with her concerns.Missionary day was this Saturday. We have it usually about once everymonth. It's a day when the ward members come to help the missionaries street and table. This Saturday only one ward member showed up to help - Éva. She is such a solid member though. She was a great help the whole time we were there. She handed out about 11 Liahonas and a couple Book of Mormons. We were able to get some new finds too that we will be able to callnext week. Well, that's about all the update for now. Mother's day is on Sunday!! HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!  

Well, I love you all lots. I'm excited to hear from you! Have a fabulous day!

Johnson Nővér

 Nővér Gallion and I

April 23, 2012

Kedves Családom, 

This Friday will be my halfway point. How crazy is that? It honestly feels like just last week I entered the MTC. Although. Looking back I can see how much I have learned and am continuing to learn since then. I just can't believe how quickly the time is flying. Each transfer seems to pass more and more quickly. Sister Gallion and I have been working really hard. At the beginning of the transfer we dropped a few of our investigators who were only meeting with us mostly to practice English. It's been tough working to find more people to teach and kind of starting over from scratch in a way, but we have been able to use the extra time to find some really cool new people who are genuinely interested in hearing about the gospel. 

Adrian, one of our new investigators seems really awesome. He is keeping all the commitments we have given him, and seems to sincerely want to learn more about our beliefs and find out for himself if they are true. In our lesson with him this week, we watched the Joseph Smith movie and talked about how the Book of Mormon came about. He was completely honest with us after watching the film, and told us that he didn't really like it. lol He said it was too unbelievable. We told him we understood that it was a difficult story to believe, but boar our testimonies of it's truth and told him he could receive an answer that it was true through prayer. After talking a little more about the Book of Mormon, he told us that he felt like Joseph Smith could not have written the whole Book of Mormon himself without some sort of higher power. We committed him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, and told him if he asked with a sincere heart the Lord would answer him. He seemed surprised that we seemed so sure in promising him a positive outcome, but he committed to try this week. :) We are meeting with him again tomorrow, and found a member that is willing to come and teach with us. I think it will be really good for him to hear a recent convert's testimony and conversion experience. :) 

 Edit came with us to a member's home for dinner last Wednesday. It went so well! They made us a delicious dinner, and made her feel really welcome and comfortable in their home. After we ate, Edit had some questions from church last week. They had talked about temples and the priesthood, both topics we hadn't had a chance to teach her about yet. Béla and Boróka helped us to answer all of her questions. Béla actually served a mission in Utah a few years ago. He received the plan of salvation with her and emphasized the spirit world. We talked about why we need temples, what type of work we do there, and what a blessing they are in our lives. By the end Edit was smiling, and you could tell she was beginning to really understand and see the big picture. It was so cool to see her light up as all the questions she asked were being answered. On the way home we asked how she liked it. She told us that she enjoyed it very much. We told her that there were a lot of new things we talked about and that she learned that night. She responded and said that they were all things she knew before, but because of God's plan she had forgotten them, and is learning them again. :) I think everything is really starting to click for her. I am so grateful for Béla and Boróka, and all their help. There really is something so much more powerful about a lesson with a member who can bear strong testimony about the things they have come to know to be true. That is one thing that really amazes me. The church is so new here in Hungary, almost every member here is a recent convert. I always love hearing about how they heard about the gospel and how they received an answer that it was true. It's such a cool experience to get to be a part of that for others. 

Friday we went on splits with the sisters in Buda. I got to serve in Buda for a day with one of the mini missionaries- Sister Török. She is from Budapest and is a recent convert of about a year. She's 20 and speaks only a little English. It was such a blast to get to serve for a day with her! We spoke in Hungarian the entire time. I thought it would be difficult, but I found that we were actually able to communicate really well! I learned so much serving with her!- even though it was only for a day. She helped me so much with the language, and she boar powerful testimony on the streets and in our lessons. We spent a lot of time laughing and having a fun time too. She is an incredible example to me of how true this gospel is, and how it truly can change our lives and hearts. I am amazed with how much of a strong testimony she has. I don't know if I could have the type of faith it takes to be a convert to the church, each one that I meet here is an inspiration and a great example to me. I hope one day that I can serve with a mini Hungarian missionary! That would be such a party! :) 
Well, I love you all. Things are great here. Thanks for all of your emails and for your support and prayers. Take care and I hope to hear from you next week!! 

Lots of Love,
Sister Tiffany Johnson 

This is from our song we played at The Wheelchair Event. It's not the best picture ever haha but you can see my awesome guitar!! :) The other one is with Török Nővér who i went on splits with this week.

April 16, 2012

HellOOooOoo family!! 

Mi újság??! Today we spent the day with our district walking around the city and taking all sorts of pictures. We stopped at a park near hero's square and had a picnic! The sights in the city are really beautiful. Sometimes its crazy to think that I'm actually all the way out here in Hungary. As a missionary we kind of get into the everyday routine of missionary work, and I forget that I'm in this amazing country on the other side of the world! That's why I love p-days! We get to take a second to walk around and see all the awesome things this city has to offer. 

There were a some really great things that happened this week. First of all, Edit came to church!! It was her first time coming, and she came to all 3 meetings with us. By the end, she had a lot of new questions, but said that she really enjoyed it. She has begun to make some really great friends here in the ward as well. I am so glad the members here are so kind and welcoming to our investigators. They are a big help in our finding and teaching. 
Mani is doing great, and seems to be adjusting as a new member here so quickly. She has found some ladies in the ward to be her friends, and is going to start attending our ward's institute class with them. She is really excited about sharing the gospel, and wants to come help us on our next ward missionary day.

We met with Adrian on Thursday after English class. He is so awesome! He kept all the commitments that we gave him and had so many great questions for us. We talked to him about the apostasy and restoration, and about why we need prophets. He seems really accepting of everything we are teaching him, and even prayed for the first time in our program! It's always such a special experience to hear someone pray for the first time. Especially when you can tell that they really felt something. 

Well, sorry that this email is kind of short, but I'm glad to hear you all are doing well. Dad, that was a pretty crazy picture you sent from beaver hunting. haha I'm glad you had a good time though. I hope that you and Holly had a fun time in Japan. Holly, you will have to keep me updated on your friend who is taking the missionary lessons and let me know what happens with her. That is really exciting. Mom, I'm glad you and Scott had a good trip to California. That is still so crazy to me that Scott is driving! AHH! I donno, still kind of weird for me to think about. But I'm glad you both had fun and that you made it back alive. ;) You'll have to tell Scott to send me an email or write me a letter sometime soon! I feel like it's been way too long since I've heard from him. 
Anyway, I love you all tons. Take care and talk to you all next week!

Much Love,
Johnson Nővér

April 10, 2012

Dear Family,
I hope you all had a wonderful Easter! It's finally spring! A perfect time to remember the Resurrection of the Savior.The weather here is finally turning warm and everything is green! :) It's so nice to go outside and not have to put on a bazillion layers to stay warm. Even though in the winter everything looks dead and dark, we can always know that spring is always right around the corner. 

Mani's baptism was on Saturday! And her confirmation on Sunday. Everything turned out really well. We had lots of members there to support her, and she was so excited and so happy to be getting baptized! The water was a tad bit nippy. haha Before the baptism while we were trying to fill up the font, only cold water was coming from the faucet. So we attempted to boil water on the stove in large pots and pour it in.. but it didn't make much difference.I think she was a little nervous to get in the cold water, but everything went smoothly, and afterwards she told me that she didn't even notice the cold water but that she felt that the Lord had blessed her so that she wouldn't freeze. lol She has a very solid testimony and wants to share the gospel with others. The Lord definitely had previously prepared her to accept our message, she was ready for everything we taught her- she is truly a miracle. I hope the Lord can help lead us to others like her. :)

This week we were able to meet with lots of new people! We set up and had programs with all the people we met with on the streets a few weeks ago!- Our most promising is Adrian. I sat by Adrian on the Metro a few weeks ago and gave him a Book of Mormon. He had been speaking with a friend about how he was open to learning about religions not 20 minutes before I sat down and talked to him. He is completely open to learning about the church. He had read all of the introduction, and the scriptures I had highlighted in the book before our meeting. He even looked up a Book of Mormon study guide from our church website! He said he wasn't going to just give up on us in 2 weeks, but that he would hear us out. Our first lesson was very good and he had lots of questions. We assigned him to read a chapter from the Book of Mormon and he asked if he would be receiving these kinds of assignments when we met. We said yes and he was totally cool with it, and said he would read what we gave him. We're so excited about him. 

Turns out László and his wife (who we streeted last Sunday) are actually Jehovah's Witnesses! haha We had an interesting program at their house. They were both very nice though and offered us juice and crackers as we talked to them about the bible. I made sure to come prepared with my English bible and plenty of references that we thought might be good for them. When we walked in their house we saw their walls lined with big brown books that looked like encyclopedias. When I asked László what they were, he replied that they were just another part of his bible study. "What did we get ourselves into?" we thought...There is only one other religious group here in Hungary that would be so dedicated to the Bible... The Jehovah's Witnesses. We later asked what religion they were, they confirmed what we had thought. We talked for a while about the Bible, they asked us plenty of questions and we did our best to respond- some of them replying that we needed more time to research and find an answer. We talked a lot about a living prophet and how we believe that God's words never cease. They seem to feel that there has to be some sort of evidence before they can believe, and that there is no need for a living prophet today. Anyway, we did set up to meet with them again, and are actually going over later today. Our message will be: The Book of Mormon is our evidence and they can know if it is true by reading and praying about it. Wish us luck! They were so friendly though and their dedication to studying the Bible has helped me want to be more studious in the scriptures.

Sister Gallion and I have continued to meet all sorts of awesome people during our travels around the city. We met a really nice man named Ádám who is married with a 3 year old. He took a Book of Mormon, and we gave him a card we have with a Facebook page that has more information about our church. We also met these three brothers that were here on vacation from Mexico. They spoke English and we began to explain to them more about our beliefs and about why we are here as missionaries. They had never heard about any of our beliefs before and asked us a lot of questions. I didn't have any English cards or an English Book of Mormon to give them, but I gave them one of our Hungarian cards, and showed them the small red English Book of Mormon that I carry around with me. When we got to our stop one of the brothers asked for a book in Hungarian, the doors were about to close but I quickly pulled it out of my bag and handed it to him. Who knows?- maybe they will try and find one in their own language when they get home?

Well, Lots of other crazy things happened this week, but I don't have time to write it all. For now, I love being a missionary and I love getting to share and testify about the gospel wherever i go! The church is true, and the work is moving along here in Hungary. I love you all and hope you are doing well! Talk to you soon!

P.S. Thanks for the pictures! Tala is adorable!! I can't wait to meet her when I get back! Also, Michele if you are reading this thanks so much for the Easter candy from your family!! My companion and I were so grateful that you took the time to think of us! :)

Sok Szeretettel,
Sister Tiffany Johnson

This is one of our investigators EDIT. She is awesome!! She is keeping all the commitments we give her, and even came to general conference with us last week! She is so nice, and really wants to find out if what we are teaching her is true.

Gérgő is the red head. Who would have thought Hungarians have red hair?! He's our ward mission leader and he's only 18! But he is a super cool kid and does a great job. 

Transit in Hungary

Every once in awhile, you just have to stop and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you!

Sister Kramer and I on the day of Transfers

Twice a year different districts in Hungary can throw out all their trash and old furniture onto the street and people come around and pick it up. It's pretty strange and kind of discusting... but I guess it's easier than having a yard sale? 

Sister Gallion and I before Mani's Baptism

1 comment:

  1. I was just thinking that I have been home for a year, and then it hit me....Sister Johnson has been out for a year already!! time flies when you're having fun. keep up the good work. the last 6 months is crazy fast. if i can figure out how to write your address down on paper i'll shoot you a letter sometime ha. God speed Sista!