Monday, December 14, 2015

Church and apartment

I thought you would be interested to see where Paul goes to church and where he lives.

This is where Paul lives

I've circled his balcony

The Church

Another View of the the Church

A View of the Street

New Companion!

This week was really great!!!! As you already all know, Elder Haws is my new companion! We have been doing great so far, we are hoping to really help the missionary work move forward here in Szolnok!

We weren't able to meet with a ton of people this week, but we have so far set up a lot of meetings for next week, so that's going to be great! We are also really excited for Christmas!!!

Also, one of our investigators has finally started reading out of the Book of Mormon, we are so happy for her!

I hope everyone has a great week!!!!
Sok szeretettel!
Bunker Elder

Thursday, December 10, 2015


Hello everyone! So we got transfer calls today! Elder Chambers is going to Erd, for a week before his departure date with another Elder from his dying Group, and I am getting his greenie, Elder Haws, that he just trained in Miskolc!!! It's going to be awesome! Sister Withers is staying here and getting Sister Smith, from our mutual greenie city, Veszprém, Sister Csolity is going to Szeged, and Sister Whittaker just finished her mission strong and is going home. So, by the time I leave Szolnok I will have been here for at least 7 months! It's so exciting to be able to serve in a place that I love, and with awesome members and progressing investigators. I've seen the work get better and better since I've gotten here, and hopefully it will keep going up.

Last week was really busy! President Szabakai has interviews with all the missionaries once a transfer now, which is a really good idea, I think, which ended up leading to a really busy Saturday! We went to Kecskemét in the morning, for a baptism, and then after that we traveled to Budapest for interviews, and then we got back home to Szolnok at night!

We also had splits in Szeged, which were great! We were able to enjoy some really good fish soup at this one restaurant that the zone leaders took us to, it was really tasty! It was catfish soup, to be specific, and there was live traditional Hungarian music there, too! Apparently there isn't always music there, so we got lucky!

There is this one guy who comes to church who is technically an investigator and we haven't really ever been able to set up with him ever, but we finally got his name and address last Sunday, and he said that he wants to start meeting with us and seemed pretty excited about it!!!!!

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Christmas season!!!!
Sok szeretettel!
Bunker Elder

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Jó napot kívánok

Jó napot kívánok!!!!

This week was great! We made Thanksgiving dinner together as a district. We made chicken (it was easier than a turkey), stuffing, mashed potatoes, salad, and apple pie. I was yummy!

We also had the music night. I helped some of the members prepare piano music, and we visited a lot of members asking them to invite a friend, and the turnout was great! There were ten people who were there that weren't members, and we are planning on meeting with some of them, including someone that knew Sister Csolity, the Hungarian missionary here, from college!

Speaking of programs, this week is planned to be really busy! We are hoping that everything works out -- we are going to Szeged for splits on Tuesday and Wednesday, and on Saturday there will be the baptism in Kecskemét -- since there is an actual big new ward building there with a baptismal font, and since it was available the baptism was moved to there instead -- and also Budapest right after that for transferly interviews!

I hope that everyone has a great week!!!!!
Sok szeretettel!
Bunker Elder

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Cibakháza on Saturday

This week was awesome! We had several programs with different investigators every day! One of our investigators hasn't really started reading out of the Book of Mormon yet so our goal this week was to really get her started on reading it. Our lesson we taught was focused on the Book of Mormon and it's importance of gaining a personal testimony, and then we talked about one of our favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 18, and asked her to just read this chapter and pray about it, and told her that we would make a follow-up call on Sunday, and then bore our testimonies about the Book of Mormon. This time, she didn't give any of her usual excuses (not enough time, too hard to read, etc.), and she is now reading the Book of Mormon! Of course, there are a lot of different investigators that read the Book of Mormon in different amounts, sometimes a lot and sometimes not at all, but this experience was pretty special for us!!!!

This upcoming week is going to be pretty busy! There is going to be zone conference in Szeged on Wednesday, we are going to Cibakháza on Saturday, and Sunday we will be going to Budapest for Stake Conference. There is going to be a couple members of the Area Presidency from the Seventy there, so everyone is excited for that!

Also, 6 investigators came to church yesterday! It was really exciting to see everyone there! 

I hope that everyone has a great week!
Bunker Elder

Jó hálaadást kívánok!

This week was great!

The highlight was stake conference yesterday! The talks were awesome! The stake president, Southwick Elnök, spoke, as well as the stake relief Society president, Vasváry Nővér, from Veszprém(! :) ) spoke as well as the mission president and his wife, and two members of the seventy and their wives, as well as this woman who bore a testimony in German... I couldn't figure out where she was from. Everyone felt the Spirit there, and it was also amazing to talk with people that I got to know in Veszprém and Győr (Debrecen isn't in the stake boundaries, but in the Miskolc district). Before we went home, we also stopped by and visited a less active member that Chambers knew when he served here, on the way to the train station.

I have also started reading the Book of Mormon from start to finish in Hungarian, but this time if there is any sort of word or grammar thing that I'm not 100% familiar with, I look it up, and it has helped so much with the language! I already feel like I can always participate in most conversations, but I've even so I can tell the difference a ton this way!!!

This week there was also a broadcast to the Europe area from Elder Ballard, which was awesome, and we also had a zone training in Szeged, which was great. Along with all of our travels, we went to Cibakháza again on Saturday! It felt like we traveled half of Hungary in a week!!!

Well, I wish you all the best!
Happy thanksgiving!
Jó hálaadást kívánok!
Sok szeretettel!
Bunker Elder 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Minden Szentek Napja

So, we had an amazing week this week! The highlight was probably the Halloween party! We worked in the cellar of the church, and made a graveyard. One of the activities at the party was where everyone split up into groups and each group went down and had to find all the paper maché bones to get out of the cellar. While the groups of people were downstairs, we had lots of Halloweeny games put together that were really fun for everyone! The biggest success was all the people that came -- not only did a lot of branch members come, but a lot of them brought their friends! There were 5 less active members there and 6 investigators there total, which in our eyes was a big success! 

October 31 and November 1 are Minden Szentek Napja in Hungary, or all-saints day. We went to the big cemetery here in Szolnok (it is a HUGE cemetery) three times this week. Once was with an older investigator of ours who wanted help getting to the cemetery, and when we were there we helped clean the grave and put flowers on it. We also went with our branch mission leader and his wife and mother-in-law and went to all the graves of their relatives and put on candles and flowers on all those graves. Finally, we went as a missionary district and put on candles graves we found without any. It was a really cool sight at night, seeing all of the graves going on forever all lit up with candles!
Image from Mindenszentek | varkapu.infovarkapu.info675 × 375Search by imageKék hírek Közbiztonsági javaslatok Halottak Napja és Mindenszentek alkalmával

I hope that everyone has a great week --
Szép November Kívánok!!!
Bunker Elder

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Boldog Halloweent Kívánok!

Hello everyone!
Yesterday at church was really great! There were over 30 people, which is quite a few more than usual, we usually average in the low 20s, and it was amazing to see everyone! Most of the active members are just couples or single here in Szolnok. I've been here in Szolnok for awhile, so I was able to say hi to everyone and talk with them.
We also went to Cibakháza again on Friday to meet with all the members there. This was Chamber Elders first time going. There are just two families there but they both feed us so much, with such delicious food, that I always skip breakfast when we go there so I have enough room for everything! At the first house we had stuffed cabbage, which was delicious, and at the second we had húsleves, a Hungarian soup with vegetables and noodles, and then pörkölt with nokedli, which was also delicious! On the bus ride back we rode with one of them, who was going to visit with some members who actually live right across the street from us!
We also have been helping to plan the Halloween party with some of the members, so we can help with some of our American Halloween expertise!
Along with the music night we are also going to do a clothes drive with the branch -- there are tons of old clothes in the branch house from an old branch drive, and we have a ton of old missionary clothes in our apartment and the sisters' apartment that we can use. We're hoping it will be a great oppurtunity to also invite less-active members and investigators to help us sort through the clothes.
Also, the sisters got a third member for their companionship last week! Csolity Nővér came from Debrecen to start her mission. I knew her when I served in Debrecen, she is a member from there, and she is now going to the Mesa Arizona mission, but she is waiting for her visa to go to the United states, so she joined the sisters as Sister Whittaker's second zöldi (greenie)!
Boldog Halloweent Kívánok!
Bunker Elder

Monday, October 19, 2015

They Recognized My Voice....

This week was pretty good! In church yesterday, a couple came that hasn't come for awhile! They actually recognized my voice from the phone, because I have called so many times seeing if we can meet sometime. The answer was always try later, so I always tried later, and yesterday they finally came. They not only came, but they brought a friend from work, and we were able to set up with that friend and them for a program this week, we are really excited for it! Also, two other of our investigators came to church yesterday!

This week we are planning on having quite a few programs. After transfers, several missionaries that used to serve here called us up to tell us about investigators they met with in the past, and asked us if we could start meeting with them again. We called up quite a few people, and found some other addresses and names from our area book! There is this one family that we are hoping to meet with, that used to live in Nebraska, of all places, for five years, and apparently their best friends were Mormon!

The branch is also going to do a Halloween party in a couple of weeks, and everyone is very excited about it.

Speaking of exciting things, the Budapest stake conference is going to be in a couple of weeks, and everyone is going up onto Budapest for it. It is especially exciting because apparently three members of the seventy are going to be there! The stake is made up of Buda, Pest, Kispest, Győr, Kecskemét, Szolnok, Szeged, Tatabánya, Veszprém, Székesfehérvár, Dunaújváros, Kaposvár, Pécs, and Érd.

I hope that everyone has a great week!
Bunker Pál Elder

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A new week, a new companion!

I hope everyone has had a great week! This week I got Elder Chambers. This week be the second time that I've been companions with a "dying" missionary, since this is his last transfer. There are also two new sisters. Sister Whittaker, (same name as one of the sisters here last transfer) is also "dying," and she is training a greenie, Sister Withers. They are both from Utah, and Chambers Elder is from Arizona.

Sunday was fast and testimony meeting. Our branch is fairly small, but there is always someone at the pulpit on fast Sundays-- it seems like half the branch bears testimony every month! Several less active members were also able to come, it was wonderful seeing them!

We did a ton of phone calls yesterday, to set up with as many people as possible, and it paid off- we are going to have four programs tomorrow! Hopefully the rest of the week will be busy too.

We also had dinner at a members house with the sisters and another member. It was squash soup, and then after that mashed potatoes with Hungarian fried meatballs and mushrooms. They were really tasty!

We are also thinking of having a "missionary concert" sometime where we all do arrangments of hymns and stuff with piano and guitar and singing, and we can invite all of our investigators and the members can invite all of their friends, too! I've heard about it being done recently in Pápa and Miskolc, with success, so we'll cross our fingers!

I hope everyone has a great week!
Sok szeretettel!
Bunker Elder

Monday, October 12, 2015

Hello all megint!

Sooooo, transfers are this week! I'm saying goodbye to Elder Haroldsen :(
But I'm getting a new great elder, Chambers Elder, aaand I'm staying here in Szolnok. :)

General conference was awesome. Unfortunately, there wasn't an English option here in Szolnok, so I took advantage of the great language study! It was unfortunate, because paying attention to Hungarian for long periods of time leaves me really drowzy, so it was a battle against falling asleep the whole time! Speaking of conference, several people asked me what sessions we saw here. Well, the general women's session and the Saturday morning session were available on Saturday, and the priesthood session, Saturday afternoon session, and Sunday morning session were available on Sunday! We didn't have an oppurtunity to see the sunday afternoon session, though :(

Before all of conference, with the extra time we had we walked with the ward mission leader and his wife along the Tisza, because apparently, since the water is so low right now, you can see a couple of boats from the 1800's that were sunk. They were pretty small, and kind of hard to make out through the water, but they were really cool! It took us just enough time to find them and then get to conference on time! 

We also had interviews and cleaning checks this week, both of which went great! I think that our missionary work here in Szolnok is starting to pick up!

Sok szeretettel!
Bunker Elder

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Gofri Est

This week was awesome! 

We went to an older couple's place and helped them clean up their rose garden. We also helped them prop up some of the branches of their fruit trees on poles. Then we all had Hungarian hot dogs, with paprika paste and mayonéz. When we were eating their niece and their son both stopped by. It was cool talking with their son -- he said that he, too, might interested in meeting with us.

We also went to Cibakháza again this week, and had lunch with the members there. This week they made us Hungarian soup, and than stuffed cabbage for everyone. It was probably the best stuffed cabbage I've had here in Hungary, which is saying something, because stuffed cabbage is a favorite when it comes to feeding missionaries.
Image from street view of Google maps

We also had a "Gofri Est," or waffle night, with the branch. One of the members compared "gofri est"s to Halloween parties. 10 years ago, they didn't really exist in Hungary, and 5 years ago they weren't really mainstream, but now, they are very popular and "divatos," or fashionable. I don't really know what is so fashionable about making waffles, but it was really fun! One of our investigators also came. She is friends with a member, who also could show up, and she was able to meet the other branch members that came! My takeaway from the evening was that waffles taste REALLY good with Nutella.
Image from

We also had splits with the Zone leaders again, since they are trying to split with all the companionships in the zone twice this transfer. They came up here this time. This time, I was with Elder Oakes, from Arizona, who has served here before, and we spent the more part of the day finding and talking to people he knew when he served here, and seeing if they wanted to meet again. It was a really good split. When we were in the office supply shop where one of the members here, works, we bumped into a less active member and had a great time talking with him. Hopefully we will be able to meet with him in the future. We also had lunch at this café with good prices and amazing lemonade.

This week we are going to have zone conference in Budapest. It should be awesome! There will be both the East and Southeast zones, which includes all the missionaries from Szolnok, Szeged, Kecskemét, Békéscsaba, Debrecen, Miskolc, Eger, and Nyíregyháza. We aren't supposed to go through the main train station, Keleti, though, because of the crazy refugee stuff going on, though, but It won't be hard to get off at Kelenföld, the last train station before Keleti.
Migrant protesters outside of Keleti station.  Image from
Kelenföld train station.  Image from

Finally, my year mark is going to be this week! My MTC group is going to have a group conference call that night after we are all at home, so I'm really looking forward to that! Also, I've been reading the Book of Mormon out loud in Hungarian for awhile, and I hope to finish it before the 24th-- I just have 30 pages left, which is the last couple chapters of Ether and all of Moroni, so that should be great!!!!

Hungarian Book of Mormon.  Image from pinterest

Have a wonderful week!
Sok szeretettel!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Area Book

This week was great, as usual!

We looked up several people who were investigators in the past, and found this older couple, and had a great discussion about the restoration. We are actually going to go visit them tomorrow to help them in their garden! 

Speaking of finding new investigators, we have spent a lot of time (a have had a lot of success) finding people using the area book. Usually in all my areas we have just had one area book, but here in this apartment we have like 4 old ones just lying around full of old investigators, quite a few of which stopped investigating just because they weren't available for a couple of weeks or went on a long summer vacation or to college somewhere else for a semester, etc. We also do a lot of streeting and tracting, and a bit of tabeling, too, per usual.

I hope everyone has a great week!!!!
Bunker Elder

Monday, September 7, 2015

The best milk in Hungary!

So big news this week -- the weather is finally cooling down! Also, we have one of the best branches ever here in Szolnok. I might have already mentioned this, but every time we bring a new investigator to church, or a less active member comes, everyone wants to talk to that person and get to know them. Also, we have several members that are always asking us if we have any programs coming up that they could help us with. We have brought a couple of members to programs with one of our investigators, and she has been progressing amazingly. She also cooks delicious fried Hungarian foods.

We also started up English class again! I might of forgot to mention this, but everyone in the mission held a "summer break" from English class during the month of August. Me and Haroldsen are doing great. We hit our year mark this month, and by the time transfers come in September, we will have spent 5 months of our missions together, including time at the MTC!

We also found out that due to some random legal rule or something that's been overlooked in the past, we might be spending a longer time in individual cities. "Average" I guess is from 3 to 4 months. So I might be spending a few more months in Szolnok, which is fine with me!

I have also discovered the best milk in Hungary. There is this pékség 2 blocks from our house that sells it's own milk and it is delicious. Just in case you all wanted to know!!!!

Have a great week!!!!
I love you all!
Bunker Paul Elder

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Pizzás csiga


This week was great! One of the things we did was go to a falu south of Szolnok called Cibakháza. There are a two families in the branch that live there, and we visited both of them. They also fed us really good food. We had warm bread with homemade peach preserves, gulyás leves, which is like a farmer's soup, pörkölt over nokedli, scones with jams, and some really yummy homemade madár-tej, or "bird's milk", which is like this caramelly milk that tastes really good.

 I was really full and couldn't eat anything until the lunch the next day!!!! These two families always come to church every week with a forty or so minute bus ride! It's always awesome to see them at church!

Also, one important part of being a missionary in Hungary is knowing about Pékségs, or Hungarian bakeries. My favorite pékség is a Pizzás csiga, or "Pizza-y snail." It's like a roll of bread with pizza toppings on it that make a little pizza. 

Image result for Pizzás csiga

The best part is you can buy it for the equivalent of about 75 U.S. cents. I also like things with túró on them, which is a special kind of Hungarian farmer's cheese. From what I heard, it is like a step past yoghurt when cooking milk with the yoghurt-enzyme-stuff in it, if that makes sense. I mentioned one other time the túró rudi, a candy bar made of this stuff and covered in chocolate. My favorite Hungarian candy bar, though, is the Guru, which is like a Túró Rudi, but with nuts in the chocolate coating and a nut paste in the center.

This week our focus is going to be getting more members with us in programs. We've been having more and more programs lately, so we've been needing to make more and more phone calls to get members there, too! :).

I love you all!
Bunker Elder

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Funny Email

So, here are the excerpts from a couple of emails from Paul and his dad:

OK, so at work, I was talking to someone about you being in Hungary, and that person (can't remember if male or female) had a friend do a missionary trip to Hungary with a Christian missionary group.  Apparently the friend said that if you really wanted to tell someone off you would say, "go to France!"  Is that true where you're at?  Everyone involved with the conversation thought it was really funny!

Haha, yeah, if you're really mad at someone you say "a Francba" which literally means go to France, and the mental image is kind of that of a person getting shoved head first across the French border. There's a lot of ways you can tell people off in Hungarian, actually!  I really like "A macska rúgjon meg!" which means "may the cat kick you" in a really strong way, or like "may the cat REALLY kick you!". 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Short email!

Hello everyone!!!
I had a great week this week!!!
We had zone training in Szeged, and then after that we had splits with the Zone Leaders. They were great! Szeged is a really pretty city -- it would be fun to serve there in the future. The Tisza, which is the river that runs through Szolnok, runs through Szeged also -- it's a little wider there, but you can tell that it is the same river!
There was also August 20th this week! It is like the Hungarian 4th of July. We could hear music from the concerts all through the night!
It also rained a bit this week! So that was nice, now that it isn't really that hot anymore!!
I hope everyone has a great week!
Bunker Elder

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Some pictures of Paul

Here are some pictures of Paul that I've found in random places online from various missionaries blogs and or forwarded by others.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Another Baptism!

First of all, I got my birthday present!!!! Thanks so much to everyone for the letters!!!!!!!! I love reading all of them!!!!

So, great news, I'm staying in Sopron**!!!! So is Elder Haroldsen!! I am really exciting to be serving with him some more. 

Here are some pictures of Paul and Elder Haroldsen at the MTC back in October of last year.

This is a really cool branch, although it is really small, with a lot of people who are excited to help the missionary work. We had a program yesterday with a new investigator that lives on the edge of town, and we brought a couple from the branch, and they really helped contribute to the program. It was really great. We also went out to a falu on Friday to have dinner with another family from the branch. It was a classic Hungarian meal, with a light soup followed with some really yummy pörkölt. 

Image result for pörkölt
Random picture of pörkölt

An investigator here in Szolnok got baptized, too, this weekend! It was really exciting. The baptism was actually performed in a swimming pool in a hotel a several blocks away from the branch house!
We also had interviews in Budapest last week!!! It is always really fun to go up to Budapest. Also, President Szabadkai is really awesome, I really like him!
Szolnok is a really cool city. Apparently, there are quite a few wild hedgehogs around here, and lots of missionaries have seen them, especially in the evenings, so I hope that I run into one sometime!!! 

Image result for wild hungarian hedgehogs
Picture from Wikipedia

This city feels like it once was several falus that kind of came together over time. It's really interesting. We use the buses a lot here, they are the most timely buses that I've seen in Hungary so far!!! So that's good!...

I Hope you all have a great week!!!!
Sok szeretettel!
Bunker Elder

**I think he means he's staying in Szolnok.