Wednesday, February 25, 2015

FROM FEB 9, 2015:
It's been pretty cold here! We've had some warmer days, but it's snowing again today, and it's just been SUPER windy lately, so much so that it's hard to even walk straight, haha. This week's been interesting. Streeting worked pretty well in Szeged, but it hasn't been working as well here in Székes. It might be just because it's cold. But we're working on trying to get more referrals and do more with less active members. But we had some great programs this week.  We streeted this one guy named Z. and he seemed pretty interested, so we set up with him. I was kind of expecting him to dog our program, but we were in the branch house about 10 minutes before his program, and he walked in the branch house! We taught him the Restoration and he was really attentive and interested. So we met him again on Saturday to teach him the Plan of Salvation. He said he had been practicing praying, and he gave us the opening prayer. When we asked if he'd read any of the Book of Mormon, he was like, "Ya, but not a lot. I only read 130 pages". So sister S. and I were like "What?! That's amazing!!" We asked him how he felt about the book of Mormon, and about our message, and he said he felt that it was truthful. He really liked the Plan of Salvation, and he especially liked the opportunity for people to hear the Gospel after this life. He asked a lot of questions about baptism. So we discussed Mormoni 8:10-12 and explained that babies who die are made alive in Christ, and that young children aren't baptized before the age of accountability, 8. He really liked that a lot. He also liked that we baptize by immersion, symbolizing the death of our old life (underwater burial) and our rebirth - our new life devoted to Christ (our coming up out of the water). We asked him if he would be baptized and he said yes! He said he had actually thought about it already, and he wants to! He even told us that he talked to his friends about the Mormon Church (need I remind you that we had only met with Z. once before this?) So we are meeting him again today. Hopefully everything works out! 
I heard Anika is making Hungarian food for you guys this week? Sweet! We ate dinner with a member on Sunday and she made amazing Paprikás csirke! 
The other cool thing that happened--the boys in our family and Dad are going to flip out--Sister S. and I are walking through the belváros, and we see this tall guy who looks at us and says, "Hi!" So we stop and talk to this guy in English for a while and find out that he played for Uconn in that championship game! He now lives here in Székes and plays for the basketball team here, and is really bored here, so he agreed to meet with us sometime. Well. We met and taught him a little bit of Hungarian - things like how to say "pass the ball!" or "I dunk" haha-- it was pretty funny. But we talked a lot about our Church and why we are here as missionaries. It was pretty all over the place, but covered a lot of ground. We talked about what standards we live by, and he admitted that living the way we do would be very hard, especially in college, when people pressure you so much to do things. We talked a lot about God and our relationship with him. He said "Wow, I really commend you guys for being out here and doing this" so that was cool. We gave him a Book of Mormon, and honestly, he was a little weirded out. I don't know if we'll ever meet with him again. But that was one pretty cool experience! We were like "Don't forget about the Mormon girls," haha! He wants to try and do NBA stuff when he goes back to America this summer. So watch the draft! 
FROM MON, FEB 16, 2015:
This week was really interesting and went by super fast! We had zone training in Dunaujváros, basically a Communist paradise of rows of 10 stories as far as the eye can see, haha. So ya, it's a pretty ugly city, but the training was good. I saw Elder Dellenbach (he also went to Olympus), so that was cool! We had a training about repentance and how we can help our investigators go through that process, so it was really good. 

We had a program with Á., this néni who’s super cool and makes us really good Hungarian food, (she made us really good gulyás, probably the best I've had here!) But I also thought she wasn't super interested. But we got talking about the Book of Mormon and how she can pray to know if it's true. She was like "Okay, but what's the Spirit? I really don't understand it." So we were able to help explain to her what the Spirit is, how she can feel it, and recognize that she's already felt it in her life. She talked about how her daughter's death was super hard for her, and that's when she really turned to God and started trying to find comfort through him. So, she can't meet for a little, but teaching the plan of Salvation, I think, is what she needs to hear. 

So. Valentine’s day, we had some heartbreak! It was SO frustrating. We didn't meet with M. last week, and he cancelled our program again this week! Also, Z. didn't show up to our program, even though he's always shown up 10 minutes early! But we did have two really great programs with him, which I will tell you about in a second. We were able to reschedule with both of them, so hopefully we can meet with them this week, but having your two most serious investigators cancel and dog is not the funnest thing ever. I'll tell you about the two programs we did have with Z.:

-So we had a member present teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but it was a little all over the place, and didn't get explained super well. But, Z. told the member about how he likes change and, when we stopped him on the street, he realized it was an opportunity for him to change his life. He told us about how he used to be an alcoholic, but now he doesn't drink alcohol at all, and that he's a completely different person.
-This isn't a program, but we were actually riding the bus to visit A., who has MS, and Z. was on the bus! So he told us how jealous he was of us visiting the sick, and he always tells us he wants to be as happy and cheerful as we are.
-So our second program with Z. was so good. We went over the Gospel of Jesus Christ again, because we felt like we needed to get that more solidified. I always love talking about the gift of the Holy Ghost, and so do my investigators. We asked him how he feels when he meets with us, and he said "I feel warmth. like this electricity that starts in my head and then goes through my whole body. I feel like I receive energy." We asked him if he had prayed to know if these things are true, and if he believes the church is true and he said yes. We then committed him to be baptized on the 14th of March. I know God prepared him. So again, it was sad when he missed the appointment, but just keep praying for Z. and for M. They are both so prepared. Just pray that we can help them stay on this path. 

So that was our week! And obviously, a lot of miracles happened, as they always do! Back in my beloved
Szeged people: they're doing great! L. will get baptized and S., the 17 year old girl who is trying to get her book published, said "I don't know how, but I know this is true!" so that was super cool! Sis E and I also just talked about how the Spirit helps people understand more. We talked about how, through their conversion processes, A. and L.’s understanding has just increased so much. I know that's such a merciful blessing from God. Oh I miss them SO much! But I pray for them all the time. 

FROM FEB 23, 2015:
So. Saturday, Sister S. and I hit our 9 MONTH MARK as MISSIONARIES. This is literally insane. Out of control. This is going by WAY too fast. I wish time would just stop! I feel like it's just slipping through my fingers --I know that's missionary life. But still. I wish I had more time. I wish I could do more. I wish that I could be a missionary forever.

This week zoomed by like last week. We talked to this guy on the street who seemed interested and he was cool, but he said he didn't remember his phone number. So we walked away a little bit sad, but later he called!! That is THE FIRST time anyone has ever called us from a card like that! So we set up to meet this week--that was cool! Also, as we were streeting, this girl came up to us and saw us passing English class fliers and she wanted to know how she could get a job passing out fliers, haha! She spoke English, so we talked to her about how we're missionaries, and how we meet with people to teach English and about our church. She told us, "I don't want to learn English" so we said, "Well, can we teach you about our church?" and she was like "Yes!" Haha-- so that was also a first. 

We went to a falu (a small village) to visit a less active member named E. She's SO cool! She actually served a mission in Hungary!  She made us American pancakes and was super nice and cool. There were some times that it was hard to get to church, and so she just kind of got used to not going. It got comfortable. Which is sad. It just goes to show that it can be easy to let things like that just slip by in our lives. And we need to be aware, to watch out for that. She was so cool though, and said "I know I need to come to church! I'm just lazy!" 

So, we had to change Z.’s baptism date because he has a lot of medical stuff happening in March. Also, this will give him more time to prepare and get ready. Right now we're helping him to quit smoking and drinking coffee, so if you guys would pray for that, that would be great! We love him and Heavenly Father really loves him.

On Saturday, our exact 9 month mark, M. missed our program again. We called and called but he didn't answer. A few hours later, we got a text from him saying that he wanted to stop meeting with us. I almost started crying when I read it. That was perhaps one of the most disappointing moments of my life. We haven't been able to call him and try to work things out yet. But that was so incredibly disappointing, especially because I KNOW he felt the Spirit during our program. I still don't know what the whole situation is, but my heart just basically shattered into a million pieces. Sister S. and I just both felt sick. I pray that we can figure things out. 

So there's this guy named G. who speaks perfect English and he's invited us to his English class a few times so that his students can speak with native speakers. Anyway, he works right above our branch house, and one day we ran into him and started talking. He told us about how, a long time ago, he met with the missionaries and they had given him an English Book of Mormon. We said, "G., you should meet with us!" So he did! He said that when he was 14, he was kind of "searching" and he researched all this Buddhism and Taoism and stuff, but he never really found what he was looking for. He said that, eventually he found that there is something above all of us, and that we're all trying to get to the same thing... God. We asked if he believes in the Bible. He said he feels like a lot of things were taken out of the Bible and that it's been translated so many times. We talked about how the Book of Mormon and the Bible together are the complete truth, but he didn't
have time for us to teach a full Restoration. So that's next on the list! 

Also, the Elders last minute couldn't meet with their recent convert, so they asked us to do it. We just did a role play where the recent convert and I were the missionaries teaching the Restoration to Sister S., another recent convert, and this guy D., who hangs out with the missionaries and isn't interested, just randomly came to sit in on our program. As I bore my testimony of the Book of Mormon and how I know it's true, and I felt the Spirit so strongly. I know that was truly a blessing from God that we were able to, last minute, teach that program, and that the Spirit was so strong. 

I love you guys. I love being a missionary. I love this work and I love this Gospel so much. I just wish I had more time to share it. 

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