Tuesday, August 8, 2017

I don't even know how to start.....

How does one start the last email after the most precious adventure their heart could ever fathom? 

My heart has been so full this week, as I try to take in every little last beautiful moment I have been granted in this country that will be apart of me forever. I made a list of everything that could come to my head: The people who have changed my life, the challenges I have gone through, the triumphs I was able to witness with God's help, the lessons I have learned, the lessons I am still trying to learn, the changes I have made, the things that have changed me, and I simply am in awe of the miracles God is able to do.

 I am going to give just a tiny list of 18 things that I have learned in these 18 months, in no particular order, in no particular importance:
1. Trust in God's timing, and in his plan for you. 
2. Get over yourself
3. God's hand places people into our lives
4. Laugh at your mistakes
5. Everyone is different. Different perspectives aren't wrong. 
6. You bring your own weather to the picnic
7. Humility is a sign of strength
8. Never be anyone, but yourself. 
9. Don't be unrealistically positive- have a good attitude, but sometimes days are hard, and that's okay. 
10. Dont give up on anyone, people can change. I have watched it. 
11. Stick with your decisions
12. Ask people questions, and listen
13. Prayer works. 
14. Nothing in life should be expected. Always show gratitude for our blessings
15. I don't have to be perfect. 
16. Things that are worth it don't come easily.
17. Doing your best means not becoming complacent. 
18. I am beyond blessed. 

én tudom hogy ez az evangélium igaz. én hiszem az egész szívemmel hogy van egy tökéletes terv Istennek, mindenki szamara. Mondhatom hogy nem tudtam szolgálni a missziómat egyedül. Amikor végre engedtem az ő segítsége az életembe, tudtam tenni csodákat vele. Csak úgy. nincs más mód. végtelen hálás vagyok a szilárd bizonyságomért, amit szereztem a misszióm alatt. Tudom hogy jó megváltom él. Tudom hogy Jézus Krisztus ismer engem tökéletesen. Azt tudom, mert tapasztaltam. Szükségem volt a missziómra. tejesen változtatott az életemet. 

I loved my mission. I needed my mission. I needed my Savior. 


sok szeretettel,
Swenson nővér 

  •  OK...What does one do on the last Pday in Hungary? i am visiting a member, and finding a guitar case, and goign to the nagy erdő for the last time!
  • How sad is your companion going to be when you leave? ahhhhhhh we are going to miss each other so much
  • Do  you know what you do the last night you are in Budapest with the Mission President? yes! we have interviews, a really nice dinner that sister szabadkai cooks, and then we go to buda castle!
  • So, do you want to come home and have lunch after your flight, or do you want to go out to lunch with the family? I think i would rather go home, and have lunch at home with the fam! 
  • Have you talked with your future roomates?  Are they a little excited to see you? I AM SO EXCITED TO SEE THEM AND OF COUSE I HAVE TALKED TO THEM
  • Who is the first person you are going to text or  call when you get home and get a phone? brooke and kate in a group message
  • What are 5 things you are going to miss about the Hungarian people? 1. their bad teeth 2. their hard exterior shell, but their soft, soft soft hearts when you get to them 3. nénis ruling the world 4. getting nénid for hours on end 5. their beautiful language i have fallen in love with 
  • Did you have a chance to bear your testimony at this Zone conference? yes i did. it was the most tender thing. 
  • Do you remember how to swim? we hope so hah
  • Do you know how truly loved you are?  And, wow, just how truly beautiful you are...inside and out? do you know how much i truly love you? thank you mom. i cant say thank you enough. 
  • Sunday, August 6, 2017

    If life keeps being this good, I am not going to leave this country.

    Lets get right to it. This week was one of those "if life keeps being this good, I am not going to leave this country, I simply won't"
    It started out with last pday. We ended up tracting, at a super random time in the day, when it was still pday, I don't even really know why, kinda just because we felt like we should? We ended up tracting into this 24 year old Russian girl, who had such a cool perspective on life. One thing she kept bringing up is how people should practice what they preach. That is a huge problem with the world today,  people say one thing, and do another. It was an amazing discussion, and such a miracle find. Gosh it's so cool to be literally lead, in the middle of a pday, to these people that are just so ready to meet with us. 

    We were walking on the street and we saw the cutest little néni. Sister Solomon told the Néni that she loved her dress, and the Néni just broke down into tears, and told us how it was her and her dead husband's anniversary today, and how she was going to visit his grave. She bought the dress 30 years ago and wore it today for that special reason. She had the cutest bright light pink lips too, she got so ready ah. We accompanied her to buy her husband some flowers. Then she asked us to come and go with her to her husbands grave. It was the coolest experience because there is this beautiful Catholic temple in Debrecen, and she took us into the basement, a place you can only go with a key, where her husbands ashes were. We were standing by his grave, and I asked her if she believed she would see him again.
    She told me that she didn't know. It was a blessing for me to look into those sweet little eyes and testify that I know that she will meet him again. I know that God has a plan for her. She asked me why God would leave her alone, and we got to teach her all about God's perfect plan for us in the bottom of a cold, stone, catholic temple. I know that God put that cute little néni in our path, I couldnt help but just feel like she needed someone in that time, and that God knew that, and he directed us over there. he truly truly watches over all of his children. 

    So we found a new investigator this week, and we made a little deal with him. We promised him that we would go to his church on Saturday (seventh day adventist) , if he would come to ours (I am a missionary from the mormon church. ever heard of it?) so saturday morning we met good old Péter by the nagy templom, and walked on over to his church. It was so interesting. Honestly, our churches are not a lot different. There was a lot of truth.  Seriously those were some amazing people there. Their faith in Christ, and the motivation they recieve from it to help other people was inspiring, but the whole time i could not help but just feel like something was missing. I couldn't help but think about the temple. I couldn't help but think about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, Thomas S. Monson, General conference... It made me so grateful for my knowledge of the FULLNESS of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those words have never rang so true to me. 

    Lastly yesterday we had a let in from the kindest couple I have ever met. We talked about the restoration, and they loved it. They had the most firm testimonies in Jesus Christ, and what he had done for us. My new favorite question to ask people while we tract is what advice they would give to the younger generation. Anikő looked straight into my soul and basically told me that what I am doing right now, being a missionary in Hungary, telling the world of the truth, would change my life. That hit me extremely hard. As I start my last full week as a full time missionary from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I can't help but hear the resounding truth from that statement. My mission has changed my life. I have one more week to give EVERYTHING i have to my Savior. To my Heavenly Father, and I can testify that Aniko was right. I will give everything I have to the last second, to the moment I get to be safe in my parents loving arms, because that is the least I can do. 

    Alma 26:36-37
    36 Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land.
    37 Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.

    1.  Pday plans?
    find a hard guitar case, shop around, lunch with the elders. the usual shenanegons (why did i even attempt that word?)

    2.  Did you do your singing finding?  I saw the wonderful video your mission president posted where you guys and the branch president and his wife were signing...and you were playing your guitar.  not going to lie...make me cry big happy tears!!
    we didnt, but we got to do a nice little number during church that turned out really great. 

    3.  What is your favorite color?
    pine tree green, or yellow. not together though haha 

    4.  Are you going to be up to running a 10K with us on September 16?... Say yes!!!
    YES. absolutely

    5.  Any Americans in your branch?
    nope not an american in sight of that thing 

    6.  What do you guys usually do for District meeting?
    hah really nothign too exciting. just have the meeting then eat lunch

    7.  What are you studying currently during your personal study time?
    i am currently studying doctrine and covenants and i love it

    8.  Did you listen to any podcasts before you left?  I am currently obsessed with them....
    serial yes, BUT you have to show me all of the ones you are obsessed with cause i love them too

    9.  If you had to pick one lake to go to for the rest of your life...and you could never go to the other to stay/play....which one would it be????  Lake Powell or Bear Lake?
    lake powell hands down

    10.  Did you know I have a timer set for 12:30 on August 10th?  I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!
    NEXT WEEK MOM. next week

    Monday, July 24, 2017

    If You could Hie to Kolob...

    I dont have too much time, but I do have important information to share.
    So remember how I found out from one of the people we meet with that Kolob is ACTUALLY in Debrecen, Hungary? Well ladies and gentleman. I hiked to Kolob. I need you to all go and read the
    hymn about Kolob and I would just like you to all know that I agree. What most people don't actually know is that Kolob is a 5 story building. It was an incredible experience I will never forget.
    I want you all to go and read this talk this week. it was something that really helped me. I was on splits and sister Hughes gave me this printed out talk and said how much it helped her, and then I looked on the front and realized, "Thats Elder Simmons! the  Man who teaches sunday school in my ward!". He really is such an incredible man.

    1.  What are your pday plans today?
    go out to eat, play games with the elders yay 

    2.  When you knock on someone's door, what is the first thing you say to them?
    hi we are missionaries from the church of jesus christ.... then kinda whatever i feel i need to say! i bring up how we believe we can live in happiness with eternal families, how we know that jesus christs original gospel is on the earth today, and then i usually ask them questions right off the bat, like if they believe in god, what brings them happiness, if they could ask god one question, what would it be?

    3.  What percentage of your clothing that you took with you are you bringing home?
    uhmmmmmmm definitely depends! a good portion, but definitely leaving a bunch

    4.  What did you have for dinner last night?

    5.  Do you know what your branch president does for a living?  Just curious what Hungarians do.  :)
    i actually have no clue :/ i am sorry haha 

    6.  If you were living in Hungary....would you live in the city or out in the country?
    absolutely the country. budapest is really cool, but if you live in the countryside you can just visit budapest, and the countryside is to die foorrr

    7.  Do you speak Hungarian with your companion when you are just talking?
    we try to yes!

    8.  Are you up to a rousing pickleball match with your mamma when you get home?  They actually built some new courts in Kaysville!!!
    if youre ready to lose

    9,. Have you figured out what meal you are going to make us all for your night of cooking when we are down at the beach?
    yes! either paprikás csirke with nöl kedli, or lecso

    10.  Did you know that there is not one way in the entire world that I could be one little itty bitty bit more proud of you and the beautiful woman you have and are becoming?
    i love you so much 

    Wednesday, July 19, 2017

    Sunflower fields

    So listen. sometimes you want to get another set of pictures in a sunflower field, you know, because the last time you went,  the sunflowers were droopy and the sun wasn't in the right direction. And sometimes you decide to wear your jelly shoes sandles that you bought that your companion thinks are for 7 year old girls but you don't care because you think they are hip and you are an athlete. And sometimes you and your jelly shoes underestimate the fact that the path to the sunflower fields consist of stinging nettle, and scary bug noises. And then maybe you and your companion become trapped in the sunflower field with three options.

    Wednesday, July 12, 2017

    For my fourth of July I became a legal citizen of Debrecen in Hungary

    For my fourth of July I became a legal citizen of Debrecen in Hungary. if that isn't patriotic i don't know what is.

    I did ask every hungarian I talked to what the date was, and when they said "the fourth of july" I would say, "wait a minute, isnt tha't AN AMERICAN holiday?" I was just curious you know?
    We went on splits this week, and I finally got to be with Sister Hughes. I have served with half of her companions, and I know everything about her, so it was about time we got to go on a split or something. My goal for the split was to do absolutely every single thing that I didn't want to do. cause sometimes as a missionary you have these thoughts like 'ah I should talk to that person, but like look they are looking at their phone, they are OBVIOUSLY BUSY'
    So, my goal was to every time I had one of those thoughts, I just had to do it. so it started out by me stopping this individual who was flying by on his bike. I thought, "who in their right mind would stop someone going that fast on a bike?" So I just stood right in front and said, heyyyy uh excuse me for a second... (spoiler alert this guy ended up already knowing who we were, scheduling with us for the next day, and he actually showed up and became a new investigator. he is SO COOL.) when that happened, Hughes and I just got SO EXCITED. and ended up having the craziest, boldest little split. Things that were done:
    1. Stopped individual mid bike ride
    2. Streeted terrifyingly handsome youth with headphones in at bus stop
    3. Grumpy néni as she was about to get on the vilamos
    4. A group of 15 people having a BBQ. 

    5. finding out from said group of 15 people having a BBQ that it was a reformed catholic church mid single adult activity :')
    Yesterday all of my dreams came true and we found a real, hungarian SUNFLOWER FIELD.  After tracting all day in the cutest Hungarian village that i wish i was a painter and had the skills necessary to paint you a picture. it was that adorable. i have only been searching for one of these guys since the moment I entered this country.
    life is way too good.
    time going way too fast
    I am way too excited to see you all
    Iam way too sad to leave.

    with a lot of szeretettel
    Swenson nővér

    1.  Pday plays today?
    HORTOBÁGY to get a whip cause i am in the east babyyyyy. so excited

    2.  Where are the Elders in your district from?  How long have they been out?  Have you ever served with either of them?
    gajdos is from utah. its his 5th transfer. Cushing is from Kansas/New york, 4th transfer i think?

    3.  Do you have a 3 hour block at your branch for Sunday?
    yes we do because debrecen is rad

    4.  What is the number one sport in Hungary?
    hmmm probably soccer?

    5.  What did you have for breakfast this morning?
    a yogurt parfair. coconut yogurt, pomogranite granola, apples, and bananas because i am classy

    6.  Is your new companion a runner?
    YES :') i told you i am in love with her

    7.  Do you get any potential investigators from your branch members?
    no because member work in hungary is rough man

    8.  Do Hungarians have good dental work? (I am watching a dental commercial...)
    NO. i am not joking you most of the nightmares i have had on my missoin consist of my teeth falling out because of all of the terrible teeth here. BRUSHING YOUR TEETH IS IMPORTANT PEOPLE

    9.  IF you were a hungarian teenager, what would you do for fun Friday night?
    sit by the nagy templom and smoke haha

    10.  You write the best letters.  You are a gifted writer sweet Lindsi!!!
    haha i feel like i just make 6 sassy comment and then bear my testimony, but thank you haha

    Wednesday, July 5, 2017

    I am on my dying transfer, in my dying city of DEBRECEN.

    If someone was to sit me down right now, and tell me that I actually never had a family, or that I am actually never going home, I am not kidding you I think I would believe them?
    But I couldn't be anything but happy being here. My new comp is Sister Solomon, and she is just a dream. We just clicked instantly the moment she made a sarcastic comment to one of the elders at transfers. Thats when I knew I would fall in love with her :') But really, we just walk around all day on the beautiful streets of Debrecen having way too much fun.
    I need everyone to know that I am just genuinely the happiest I have ever been in my life. and that is 100 percent because I get to be here, as a missionary, doing the Lords work every single day. The time is just flying by, and I really don't want it to go. My poor heart is just in 2 different places right now, and I think it will be that way for the rest of my life. 

    Debrecen is giving me so many memories of last summer in Szolnok, because we get to tract in all of these little villages, which is my favorite thing in the world to do. 

    This week we met with one of the members here, who told us that he is, in fact, God. Which is crazy because I had no clue! He also translated the little picture in Abraham for us, and told us that next week he is going to show us where Kolob is in Debrecen. STAY POSTED.

    Don't forget to be happy this week.
    sok szeretettel,
    Swenson nővér

    1.  So, what are you doing on your first pday in your new area?
    we are going on a debrecen tour, going up the nagy templom to see the streets, gonig to this delicious panini place, just kinda a chill day getting to know the city!

    2.  Do you email your future roommates every week?

    3.  How big is your new ward/branch?
    its a branch and there are maybe like... 30?

    4.  What did you do your last day in Pest?
    visited a lot of investigators and members and said bye, then took one last duna walk

    5.  Do you have another zone conference before you come home?
    yes! one more around like august 4th?

    6.  Do you miss your car?
    haha so far not really, its kinda nice to walk throughout this beautiful city!

    7.  What did you have for dinner last night?'
    i made this zuccini, brown rice and quinoa, ground beef, téfől (kinda like sour cream?) and with this delicious seasoning. i am a chef. 

    8.  Do Hungarians even know what American football is?
    haha yes they do

    9.  Do you have a funny companion first week together story??
    haha honestly nothing that would be funny enough to everyone that is not me or sister solomon haha but trust me, we are having fun every second of every day i love this woman

    10.  You just have to know how amazingly beautiful you are????The outside, obviously, and the inside...just wow beautiful.  Love you so much.
    gosh i love you so much mom thank you!

    Monday, June 26, 2017

    Pest. :)

    Welllllllllll my pdays have been crazy for like the past three weeks, but tomorrow Sister Morris and I get to spend the whole day with the new missionary that is coming.  We get to take her streeting, and have dinner with her and the Szabadkais, so our pday got switched again to Monday. President told me that I will be leaving Pest, and the only problem with this is that he didn't tell me where i am going. so I mean, that hasn't even been the only thing on my mind for the past week. 

    We were teaching a lesson this week at our branch house and we walked out of the room to a member of the Seventy, Elder Holmer, and the stake president. We then got permission to stay for a discussion that he was having with the youth ages 18-30. It ended up being about 10 people sitting in a room, receiving direction from one of the Lords called Prophets. I feel so blessed that I was able to be there, and like the whole discussion was everything i needed to hear. I wanted to share a quote that he shared. 

    "Beware of tolerence- it is an unstable virtue. often demanded, seldom returned." 

    I thought this was so powerful. I think that is such a pressing issue on all members of the church today. We really do live in kind of a crazy time. I know I havent been home, or on the internet for more than a year, but when i think about all the just junk out there, it really scares me. A big portion of the discussion was on anti-mormon material on the internet that a lot of people find doubt from being involved in that. This world is so quick to tell us what we should think. who we should be, how we should act, and how terribly wrong we are if we have any other opinion. which i am sure can get extremely confusing for many people. I just think it is so important that we know the pure sources we can turn to when we have these questions, when we have these thoughts. I feel nothing but peace, answers, and saftey when i turn to my scriptures, to conference talks, and to God with my concerns. Elder Homer shared an example of people that hike Mount Everest. If you are a big hiker you would be familiar with the phrase "the death zone". that is when hikers hit a certain point of altitude, where there is not enough oxygen in the air to support human life. He talked about when the hikers step into "the death zone" . Obviously they dont immediately die. It is after a certain amount of time that they cannot survive any longer. Basically the point of this example was that if you spend time in the death zone, you are going to die. And that simple truth is true all across the board. Turn to the scriptures. Turn to your leaders, turn to God. You will find peace, and you will find answers. 

    I cant believe I am starting my last transfer this week. I literally only have 5 weeks in this amazing place, and people, and language that my heart has completely fallen in love with. I cannot wait to just leave it all out here, work hard until the very end, finish with absolutely not one regret. I feel blessed to be here. I feel blessed to be a missionary. Honestly, i am just so happy. 

    sok szeretettel,
    Swenson nővér

    1.  Where is Morris going?
    she will be staying in pest!

    2.  How was your last Pday's boat ride?
    nem sikerült:(
    3.  How often do you talk to your MTC group?
    whenever is see them at zone conferences or something! 

    4.  Do you have a favorite restaurant in Pest?
    Gringos :')
    5.  Where did you go for your split last week?
    We went to Kispest

    6.  How is the souvenir shopping going?
    I think i have almost everything, i am pretty proud to say so myself. nothing too huge but i love everything!!

    7.  Do you know if there are a bunch of sisters coming to Hungary this summer?
    this next transfer there is only one, the one after there is like 5 i think?

    8.  How much time do you guys spend in personal study a day?
    1 hour.i honestly cherish my personal study

    9.  What are you studying now during your personal study?
    i just finished the pearl of great price, and so much doctrine studyit was the most amazing thing ah

    10.  Did you know that you kind of SPARKLE!!!  Love you!!!
    haha i think i should say thank you to this love you mom haha