Monday, November 18, 2013

Week 11

Hey family, How are you all doing on this fine day? I will try to tell you exactly what has been happening since I arrived in Hungary. Where oh where do I start. So firstly, I would like to say how hard it is to use a Hungarian keyboard. It is really tricky because the z and y keys are switched. So if I use them in the wrong places that would be why.

     My new companion!! His name is Elder Christensen and he is a pretty cool guy! Wait wait wait I need to back up and tell you what has happened since the beginning. Holy Cow. The flights to Hungary were way long so it was very hard to sleep. Everyone was watching some kind of movie or film and I had Dutch people around me for the longest portion of the flight. Ya, it was not terrible, but at the same time I did not say a word of English for 7 hours. It was painful and super long, but somehow I made it work. We took off from SLC at 9:45 a.m. and the flight to Minneapolis was only a couple hours. I loved that portion of the flight. Then it continued and we flew to Amsterdam. That flight was the longest thing of my life. 7 hours of torture. When I finally arrived in Budapest it was such a beautiful day which is weird because all of the time I have been here, it has only been sunny two days. Kind of a bummer, but we learn to live with it.

     Me and Cathcart Elder were picked up from the airport by the AP's and the mission president and his wife. They were so kind and really took us in. We went back to the mission home which is so nice! We were able to go with the AP's tracting and to a program that night. While we were tracting, we actually got a “let in” and talked to this super nice (committed to Catholicism) lady. But we talked to her and got her to be interested in the English class which we teach every Thursday and Saturday. She was super nice. Then we went to a program where a lady made little biscuits with nuts on them for us. They were not terrible, but I chose to only eat a few of them hahaha. Then we returned and went back to the mission home and ate with the mission president and his wife and the AP's. That was a really good homemade meal by Sister Smith. It was like rice with whatever you want on top of it. Then we were taken to Gellért Hegy (which is just the top of a hill where Elder Russel M. Nelson dedicated the land, kinda like ensign peak.) Ya, it was super pretty at night time. Then we returned and crashed at like 9 o’clock here. (the time difference is 8 hours ahead of you.)

      Next morning we “streeted” and that was rough. Ha, Cathcart Elder and I had to street alone. But we gave away a Book of Mormon and some pass along cards while we were out. It was not too bad, and we were out there for over an hour. Quickly, I realized I do not understand like any Hungarian. Hahahaha. I then got my new companion which is Elder Christensen. He is a way cool guy, and very humble. He has been here for just over a year, and we are serving in Pest (the East side of the city). We actually have the stake center in our zone which is nice. And apparently there are about 120 members attend each week. It's quite funny for me, because about half of the church yesterday was in English. Half of the people there do not speak Hungarian. So, that was not too bad. I understood them.

     We have been teaching a ton of lessons, and a ton of people. Right now, we have 4 people on baptismal date and hope to commit a couple to baptism this week. The work is moving forward here!! I have walked further than ever here, and we use a lot of public transportation. My feet are becoming like shoes, in the point they are getting pretty hard. And I found out I had to buy a new side bag because backpacks are not allowed. So I will just wear my backpack when I travel. And I just bought a side bag today. It looks way sick. The other elders here in the zone are Elders Day and Judd. They are way cool and the sisters in Pest are Sisters Magda and Larsen. They are way kind too. Ya I love it here. There is also sport day on Thursdays when we play with members and the investigators. And guess what sport.... Soccer. Of course. hahaha. Our apartment has its glitches. Ha, there is duct tape everywhere and of course leaks too. My bed is like a couch and our bathroom door does not lock or shut completely. Ha, but we do have a tie bag (where missionaries buy a bag of ties for like 100 bucks and then it's a whole bag of ties. So I looked through the leftovers here. Not too good... ha.

     I was very sad to hear about the death of Grandma. I cannot believe that. I hope that the family is doing well and I hope the funeral was nice. I miss home, and I miss the family and friends. It is not easy here. Everyone stares at you and they really do not like us. We get rejected a ton... But... When they listen, it is the best feeling. Here in the mission it is super hard to write letters. I receive them ever so often but only when someone in our zone goes to the mission home. So like once every other week. But we do receive them. And yeah, that's about all. There is not a lot of time here to discuss home, so it is pretty easy to stay focused. Ha!


Szia és Szeretlek titaket

Nichols Elder

I don't know what this is called. But it's my first night tour 
Hero Square in Hungary
 Part of Buda from the hill. On the right side of the picture is Pest (where I am serving)
 Another picture from the first night tour
Here is one of the churches we toured today with Elder Christensen and Elder Day. Elder Judd is taking the picture. 
Here is Szent Istvan (the theatre/church to his name). It was huge!! 
Here is the right hand of Szent Istvan. haha

First Companionship in Pest

Dear Brother and Sister Nichols:

I am so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family. I called Elder Nichols. He told me, as you had, that he had the chance to talk with her before he left. He said she was struggling but he was able to talk with her. She said she would be with him on his mission. I know she will, if she can.

My mother passed away while my daughter was on her mission. I know how difficult this can be. We will do what we can to help your son. Your son is terrific. I had a nice interview with him yesterday. He went tracting yesterday and attended a program (discussion) where he bore testimony and said a prayer. He was great.

Today, he received his companion (Elder Christensen) and is assigned to the city of Pest. He has a wonderful companion and is in a great city. Here’s a photo of Elder Nichols and Elder Christensen:
Again, I am sorry for your loss. I pray that the Holy Spirit will whisper comfort at this time.
With my deepest sympathies,
President Smith

Safe Arrival - A Message from President Smith

Elder Nichols has arrived safely in the Hungary Budapest Mission!  We are excited to finally have him here! When we returned from the Airport, the missionaries went out tracting – and helped teach two discussions (“programs”).  We then held initial interviews.  Following interviews, we held a nice dinner in the Mission Home. The missionaries then went on a short tour of Budapest - including visiting Gellert Hill (the place where, in 1987, Elder Russell M. Nelson dedicated Hungary to the preaching of the Gospel). Tomorrow will be a busy day.  Following the completion of interviews, the missionaries will have photographs taken for residency permits.  They will also be “contacting” individuals on the street (called “streeting”). When the missionaries return to the Mission Office, they will receive some brief training and will then be assigned their first companionship and their first city.  The missionaries will depart to their new area of service. We have asked the missionaries to e-mail their family on Preparation Day (Monday). 


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Week 9

Hey all!!!

     So where to start oh where to start. Let's start with TRC last Thursday night. So Marcus came again and it was so cool to get to see him again! I feel like our relationship with him just continues to grow and to grow! He continues to keep commitments and continues to share those experiences he has with us! He is a great returned missionary, husband, and father. I have found a love for our investigators this week that is quite indescribable!! I just don't know how to describe it!!! Oh wait I just said that. hahaha, but anyways that leads into the longest week of my life I feel like. 

     So Friday during gym I was just playing some good ol volleyball as usual and it was so fun and so dang good that day! Everybody would try and hit the ball at least 3 times before sending it over the net. It was going good and then out of nowhere my knee started to hurt a little bit. But I continued to play on and it gradually got worse. By the end of gym, I could not straighten my knee and it got a little bit swollen. So I ended up hobbling around on it for like 2 days. Saturday night comes and I was like, ok. I leave to Hungary in a week, I need to make sure that there is nothing wrong with me before I go. So turns out the doctor was closed on Saturday. So the front desk called him for me and he said just to take 600mg of Ibuprofen 3x's a day. Simple enough. So I did like the doc ordered me and Sunday morning my knee felt really quite well. Sunday we were able to walk to the temple being at main campus. It was so pretty and I took a ton of pictures. I was so happy and the day was quite cold, but still beautiful. My knee started hurting during the walk up to the temple, but not too bad still. Ever since then my knee has just been a little in pain.

     Turns out on Monday, the doctor followed up with my phone call and he made an appointment for me. So that made me miss my class in the morning on Monday. That appointment led to us going and getting x-rays and then coming back to just find out nothing was wrong. He told me  not to play or run at gym on it. haha, well I totally did and it was so fun! I didn't really even notice it when I was playing, and Tuesday it just continued to improve. Wednesday the doc randomly called me in again for a check up and asked how it was. I told him it was doing much better and was probably like 85% back to full strength. He didn't like that answer. He set me up for an MRI appointment today. Go figure. Now... let's talk about today!

     Thursday, woke up and went to the temple for the last time for probably 2 years. Super sad and I miss it. But I will be ok:) Took a lot of pictures there too:) haha, then returned and started the never ending journey today. So Cathcart Elder came with me all day, oh how I love him. Vanem Sorensen wanted to stay here and go to class and do P day stuff, I don't blame him. (this is why I am emailing late tonight, this is the first chance I have gotten to email.) We caught a ride from a MTC shuttle driver(van driver) and went to Riverwoods Imaging center. My appt. was for 1:40. Yeah, of course we were there 30 minutes early, and we didn't get in for a hour and a half. So when I finally got in, they had me change out of my clothes and remove all the metal. We walked into this huge room, and left Cathcart Elder in the other room. I laid on the table, they secured my knee. And then, the longest half hour of my life started. The machine was constantly buzzing and was really annoying. I got the biggest headache from it being way loud!!! After that was finally over, couldn't move while I was in it and all that jazz, we returned. We ate dinner, and went to the doctor. He said he would meet up with me tomorrow. So, I am missing part of my infield orientation tomorrow to finally and hopefully get a  result on this beautiful injury:) ah:) ya that's like all. Sunday was way good, testimony meeting was incredible. It has all been for the prepartion of leaving to Hungary. I miss you all, and I pray for you:) Read the Book of Mormon(the good book) and use it! 

     Oh, and I leave at 5:05 a.m Monday morning and my flight leaves at like 9:45 a.m. After that, we should land in Amsterdam, Netherlands at around 11:30 p.m. here. 3 hour wait. Then fly a couple to Buda. I will be there around 5 or 6 a.m here:)

Nichols Elder

First Day at main campus in our tiny little room;)

So we are freezing in this picture. So if you look too close at our faces, they just don't seem happy. I blame it on my cheeks being frozen stiff:)

Here is a beautiful little temple flower. Oh, so cute:)

So this is today! Our last day at the temple. Still cold, so I decided not to smile that much:)

 Here is when the Provo temple was dedicated:)
Ya I am on the floor. I just wanted to:) but this is the back side of the Provo temple today. This is me and my comps, and the new finnish! We have gotten to know them and love them.

I was standing a little close to a sister. So I stepped back;)

Week 8 Pictures

Me and Jared Barton, it was nice to see him as well!!! And I just noticed, I usually don't eat with my jacket on, that is why in every pic so far I am not wearing a suit because it is in the cafeteria.

one of my fav's. We were waiting for the new finnish on Sunday to go a our sunday walk. And this is what we ended up doing:)

 This is during our Sunday Walk. It was such a nice day!!!
 I turned on Super vivid mode on my camera to catch all of the colors:) I am wearing my awesome glasses that change to sunglasses. I just like this pic, I don't know why:) I look like I am preaching;)

So this is probably really hard to see. But there's me and my comps climbing the MTC (mountain to climb or missionary training center) Then we cross the river of our countries. And then we climb the mountain of life.... So all of it is English, then some Estonian. The only thing Hungarian is Magyaroszag and Esztorszag

This was today, when we had to wait in the MTC main campus doctor's office for Vanem Sorensen. We found this bottle game. There is two holes in the stick. there are two bolts, two washers, and two nuts in the bottle. You have to get the bolts in the holes and fastened on. Without taking any of it out of the bottle. It took forever, but I got it:) I signed the stick to prove it!!!
Nathan Goins and I!!! He is doing good, actually he is in Washington now. Haha

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Week 8

Sziastok Everyone!!!!

   How is everyone doing? I hope everyone is doing just great, I know I have been. But here is the weird information for this week. So along with moving to main campus on Monday, I have also received a new mail box that I will be using for the next week and a half.

Nichols Elder

Nov 11 Hun-Bud

2023 N. 900 E. Unit 306

Provo, UT 84602

     I would love to receive letters and stuff from you all. All the stuff that was sent to my old address will hopefully be forwarded here. So that is why I have not written everyone a whole lot this week. I will try to use some of my time today to write back to everyone. So... How to put this. Main campus is alright. Yup, that's all I have to say about this campus. That, and the keyboard on this computer is so messed up. The shift key is hard as a rock, so if I have an accidental lowercase somewhere, please forgive me. 

     But, last weeks TRC, well it was just an interesting one to say the least. So Neni and Marcus showed up again(Neni is grandma) and we taught them. We had a super good conversation with them at the beginning, everyone was laughing and participating. Then we said an opening prayer and started going into the revelation through church doctrine. So we asked Marcus how he felt about that on his mission. We heard what we expected but it was neat to hear about his experiences in Hungary. Then we heard from Neni. And she, no joke, spoke for the next 40 minutes in Hungarian about her conversion story. It was so unneeded but it's whatever. It was cool to hear about, minus the part we were supposed to be practicing teaching not listening. But I liked it!!! The weekend went well, Sunday was our last real day at the West Campus. It was sad saying goodbye to Parker Howell, and Jared Barton. But I'll see them in two I guess. Then all of our food that we had. Which was a ton I might add, we gave to Parker and his companions. They basically love us now:)

     So main campus. The rooms are smaller than a whole apartment obviously!!! But, we are making do with what we have.  Now trying to run around and figure stuff out is the fun part. Like today for instance. Today is the start of my consecration week with my companions. And it is killing me already. I think it is quite funny how Vanem Sorensen doesn't understand us though and we're talking up a storm. But I think he will get irritated with us quite soon. He made a rule not to speak any English with each other. NONE. So, it is going ok right now. Cathcart Elder and I are enjoying this though. We just talk all the time. Minus right now, when I promise you this is the quietest time of the whole week. When all you hear are computers and keyboards just trying to fly at the speed of light while the operators(us) try to type as fast as we can. hahahaha, I think it is funny.

     Spiritual Experiences this week. Good question. I think that this week was so good!! I felt the spirit quite a bit, but Tuesday night we had our devotional, sang "Be Still My Soul" in choir and then listened to Carlos A. Godoy. He shared his conversion story with us and it was so funny!! He kept us laughing so much, he just made you want to sit forward in your seat and pay attention. And he kept it at a level that the missionaries could understand. I got a lot out of that talk. We received new missionaries last night. It was definitely interesting, because I was told by one of my comps that I talk too much. Which isn't hard to believe because I like talking to people. So naturally I sat there, and tried not to do too much. But everyone just sat there!! I was like "What the Crap!!!!!" The MTC should be fun, so I made it fun. We got talking, and talking, and laughing. But when the time was running out, I still had time to bear testimony and get serious. I feel like even though I did not stay quiet like I was told to do so, I learned a lesson. Sometimes, I need to be more focused, and now that I am trying to do that, I am grateful that Elder said that. 

     I am grateful for all of you, I pray for you. I miss you. I have one more P-Day in the MTC. So I am naturally excited for that. Miss you all, love you.

 Nichols Elder


Oh, read the Book of Mormon. It is TRUE. I bear simple testimony to you that if you will apply it and really use it. It will guide you.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Week 7

Szia Everyone!!!

     How is everyone doing? P.S., this is where you write me back and say, it's just fantastic Nichols Elder!! So now that I got the point that I love receiving letters from you all and hinted you all to write me more, I will start talking about this week. This week has been mind blowing! I am so grateful for all the blessings and miracles I was able to witness this week!! The gospel is so true and I know it, oh how I know it.

     So to start I want to talk about last thursday, which was the most spiritual day since I have been here. The TRC last week went well. We ended up teaching one returned missionary and his wife who did not understand what we were saying the whole time. And then a neni(grandma) who was Hungarian came in and she was so nice and her accent was incredible, so basically I was trying to say what she said the rest of the night(if you could imagine me trying to make words sound like an old lady...). Then as usual, Marcus, our favorite TRC investigator came. We taught him and followed up and all. He really had to think about the questions we asked, and you could just feel the spirit from him. After every TRC we always get reviews from the people that we taught at TRC telling us what they felt, what they liked and what they think they can do better. Well, for the first time ever. We had our investigator, Marcus, write on the paper, that he could tell we cared for him. And that really made my night. The rest of the night I couldn't stop thinking about that and how when we care for our investigators the lessons and material we want them to learn just goes smoother. They can feel that this is important to us and when they see that, that opens up the opportunity for the spirit to touch their hearts. Now if that wasn't enough! As we were packing up our gear from the classroom, one of my companions wasn't feeling too good. He basically told us wanted a blessing when we got back to the apartment. I told him to think about who he wanted to give it and when we arrived back, he asked me. I was happy to. Now for those who do not know this, this was my first blessing I have ever given. And I was shaking and way nervous. So I reviewed how to give a blessing in the "white bible"(missionary handbook) and then put my hands on his head. As soon as I did that, I received and overwhelming feeling of love and comfort. In my head I remembered, open your mouth and God will put the words there. So that's what I did, and I cannot tell you anything I said. It just happened, but! After it happened, I looked at my companions and you could tell that we all just felt the same thing. The spirit was so strong in our apartment that night and we could feel it. So strong.

     So Sunday I was put in as an official zone leader and got to sit on the stand and stuff with my comps. It was kinda cool:) It was also a really sad day, because all of the "old" finnish that we have been with for the past 6 weeks were leaving early the next morning. It was crazy, and super sad. But all the new missionaries have a glowing light about them and I love to see that. I have gotten to know them better and I look forward to the next 2 and a half weeks with them til we leave. Monday morning, we woke up at 4 and said goodbye to all our old fins, it was so sad and hard. But I know they are doing well now.

     So the rest of the week was pretty basic in the MTC, minus the part that we move to main in 4 days. Tuesday we have to be packed up and moved into our new home. They are making this whole campus Spanish. And I have seen Jared Barton and Parker Howell since being here. It has been super nice.

      And today!!! So we went to the temple with the new fins, and they all loved it. But we waited for them so we could show them where to go on main campus to get travel stuff done. After we showed them where, they all left back to West campus. We stayed because Vanem Sorensen wasn't feeling too good. So we were there an hour, then  they sent us to go get x-rays. Which was down the street at the byu med place. Then walked all the way back to the campus. To find out we needed to go get a prescription, then walked all the way back to the byu med place. And after that we were able to come back home:) It's been a long day already, but I hope yours will be good!!! I miss you all and think about you often! Can you believe it has almost been 2 months!! In a couple weeks!!! Mind blowing!!!

Szia, Nichols Elder