Monday, June 22, 2015

FROM JUNE 09, 2015: a new missionary is actually really fun! My greenie is Sister J. from Pleasant Grove, Utah and she's awesome!!! Seriously, I love her--such a great missionary. She struggles a bit with the language, but isn't afraid to talk or try to say things, says hi to everyone and always talks to people when we street or go tracting. She is so great that sometimes I have to realize, "Oh, wait, she doesn't know what this means!" haha! So it's been different, but fun having to explain everything to her :) It has also just made me a lot more excited about being a missionary, too. She loves everything. We walk through the city and get ice cream or something and she is so excited by it all. I love it. When we teach programs or talk to people on the street, when we give someone a Book of Mormon or get someone's phone number, she thinks it is the coolest thing ever and just loves it, and It's been super good for me. Not that I was jaded these last two transfers, but maybe a little bit. So to have someone loving everything so much and just wanting to go out and work is amazing! 
Her first night, we got back and taught the Restoration to someone.  Then, the next day was busy, too. We met with G. and talked about his baptism date. He also felt like he needs more time, so we talked about the 3rd of July. Then we taught the Word of Wisdom, and he was a little surprised by it, but said he would pray about it. He's sincere in his want to actually keep the commandments and be a righteous member if he gets baptized. But right now, we just need to help him truly gain a strong testimony of the Restored Gospel, which he has somewhat, but I know he can develop a strong testimony with some time. 

So we went tracting.... something I actually haven't done for a while. We were tracting this building, and we wanted to talk to a guy and he told us, "Hey, so I have no time right now, but I would have talked to you guys!" So he set up with us right then and there, which was cool. In the same building, this old couple let us in....... poor Sister J..... the man is just in his underwear and doesn't bother to put on pants, but the woman was actually interested, asking questions about who wrote it and how and stuff, so we talked about that. They said we could come back, so hopefully we can meet them again. 

J. talked about his prayer AGAIN!!! Oh gosh I love it. I just love how much he loves it that answer to prayer again.  We started teaching him the Restoration, and he seemed pretty interested. Sister J. loved it too, talking about how cool she thought it was, hearing  this for the first time. I realized "Wow, this actually is amazing, isn't it?" And it was good for Sister J.  because we meet with him in English. 

Then, church was SO good! (Other than the fact that I had to teach gospel principles about the Priesthood................ in Hungarian.)  It was fast and testimony meeting and it was SO good. Unfortunately, none of my investigators decided to show up :(  Sister J. and the new elder bore their testimonies, and they were SO good. They obviously don't speak Hungarian very well, but the spirit was SO strong! I was crying through it all. And then K., that girl we always bring to T.’s with us, also bore her testimony about the church and the Book of Mormon and I again just almost lost it. Haha, The Spirit was intense. These last two days it's like I can't stop feeling the Spirit! It's crazy. I think I have been really focusing on being obedient and working hard as I started training, and I can't even explain the difference it has made in how I feel. I read a talk by President Benson Mom sent me on the train home from Budapest and just cried. Again, this whole feeling-the-Spirit-all-the-time thing is really cool.  

We went to Budapest for greenie training and my companion had to do all this boring logistic stuff and I got to hang out in Budapest with the trainers--Woohoo! Budapest is GORGEOUS. It's like Berlin, but also like maybe Greece, too? I don't know because I've never been to Greece--that's just how I feel like it is. We saw Parliament, Hero's Square, this basilica, and a bath house. So that was fun. 

We talked to this couple when we were streeting, and they said they were spiritual but not religious. The guy asked me what or who I think is there, so I just started talking about how God is our Heavenly Father, we're his children, and I felt the Spirit strongly as I talked about that. It was so cool because to me, that's such a simple, almost obvious thing, but as I was saying that, again I just realized how wonderful the simple, basic doctrines of the Gospel are. Like the fact that God loves us, he knows us perfectly, and he is our Father. Halfway through the conversation, they started speaking English about how they connect with God through meditation. They didn't really like how a lot of Christians recite memorized prayer, so we talked to them about how we say prayers from our hearts, and how it's more like a conversation with God. So we got their numbers, which was awesome. 

I love this Gospel! I love the Book of Mormon, and prayer, and the Spirit. These things are real. I testify that they are. I have experienced them. And you can, too.

FROM JUNE 15, 2015

Good week! It's hot and humid and such. But good. Also, there is turos gomboc ice cream! So I am fine. Ug, there is no such thing as turo in America. What a shame. 

Guys-- I say it all. the. time. PRAYER WORKS. We had the best program with D. The best. Ever. Actually, the best TWO programs. So the first time we had planned to teach the Restoration, but we ended up just totally following the Spirit for a different lesson. We talked about... the Spirit. We were talking about prayer, and D. always gets all of his prayers answered, I swear. I said, "Dávid, sometimes we don't always get the things we pray for. But what is something we can always get when we pray?" He said "peace.” So, we started talking about some things we can always get when we pray.... “Happiness, peace,” he said-- "I don't know, I just always feel like someone is watching over me."  We talked about the Spirit bringing those feelings of peace how they come when we pray and how they can also tell us if the Book of Mormon is from God.
I bore my testimony of the Spirit, and felt it as I did so. He told me about ANOTHER prayer he had gotten answered, and said, "I think the best way we can show that we are grateful is by keeping God's commandments." The next day, we went over the Restoration with him and I asked if he had prayed about it before, and he said he hadn't. When I asked him why, he said he didn't feel like he knew enough about the prophets. I don't know why, but I literally was just like "D., will you say a prayer and ask God if Joseph Smith is a prophet?" He replied, "Right now?!"   So he said the prayer, and said "God, I would like to know if Joseph Smith was really a prophet" and went silent for a little bit. After, we were all a little quiet. Finally I asked how he felt. He was like "...different..." waited for a sec. and then said "... “I feel good. When I asked the question to God, I felt as though I had just done something very good." Wow. I was pretty speechless. I know that those lessons were totally prompted by the Spirit and that we don't always get answers to our questions that quickly, but in that moment, D. did. And I know that the Spirit is working in him to help him know the truth. 

But that's the thing, we have to ask! We can't just accept! K. said she would pray about the Book of Mormon! I was kind of scared she wouldn't want to, but she told me, “ I'm sure it's true!" And J. also said pretty much the same thing. We explained that it's fine to think these things are true, but when we ask God, we can get a spiritual witness that they are true. The only way we can ever truly know that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that Jesus Christ lives, all of these questions............. we have to ASK! I honestly think I used to be afraid to ask because I was afraid I wouldn't get an answer. Sometimes, our answers don't come when we're on our knees. But they COME-- I PROMISE they come. In God's time, they come.  

We also went to a cool museum about the Catholic saints-- just thought I'd throw that out there as we're on the subject of other religions. It was so cool though. I love learning about other religions! 

G. said he feels like he needs more time before getting baptized. We said that that is totally fine, and it is his decision. Right now he's praying about it, so pray for him. Right now we're trying (just like I am really trying with all my investigators) to get him to focus on the Spirit and to build and strengthen his testimony. 

So, R. and his wife S. are the BEST and took us to Burger King for lunch. While we were there, I said, "Wouldn't it be crazy if we saw that guy who said he thought our religion can help him?" well, we didn't see him at Burger King, but that night at sport day, he was THERE playing basketball!!!! WHAT?! So I went and talked to him--he is an engineer or something and we got his number! He told us, "Ya, there are just so many churches in Hungary, and I just don't know which one is the true one."  BURGER KING MIRACLES ARE REAL. That was CRAZY!! Miracles in general are real.

I guess you all won't be surprised when I say that there was a book festival in the city, and there was drag racing going on this week. Székesfehérvár, you are so good to me. 

FROM JUNE 22, 2015:
This week was AWESOME--seriously, so good. Let’s see if this email can do it justice.  We met with T., whom we didn’t meet with a lot last transfer.  Lately, though, I kept feeling like we needed to meet with him, which we did, and were talking about baptism and the interview questions, when he asked, “So, has anyone you worked with ever gotten baptized?” or something like that, and I told him, “No, not really. But I’m not just here as a missionary so that the people I teach get baptized. I’m here because I love these people and I love Jesus Christ and I know that these things are true, and that they can bring true happiness to people.” And as I said that, out of nowhere, I just BURST out crying. I really felt the Spirit in that program and in what I said.
Then, T. gave us a referral of his friend, and he said his friend’s brother was buried in the U.S. by the Mormons or something. So we met with this friend, Z. Come to find out, his brother moved to Utah for the army in like the 50s, and sometime he became Mormon! The Church had sent Z. a bunch of his brother’s old things, including his brother’s name tag from when he went on a senior couple mission with his wife to Kentucky! They were in Benton Kentucky, and I think he passed away there, and they buried him there. Z. wants to know if the grave is even still there, because he wants to go visit it. I guess he didn’t really know his brother, but they had talked about the Church a little bit. Z. said that he has been looking for happiness, true happiness, and he just hasn’t been able to find it. We bore our testimonies about why we’re here as missionaries – to help others find the happiness that we found, and we found it through this Gospel, and the Book of Mormon. So he was open to meeting with us and learning more! Super cool! Super random, especially that his own brother was a missionary!! But SO cool! So we’re trying to get more information on that.

We had Zone Conference in Budapest and it was super good. Sister J. and I gave out FIFTEEN Book of Mormons this week!! We have this friend who’s an English teacher and he invited us to his English class. We went and talked to them, and one guy asked what the difference was between our church and the others, so we talked about prophets, Thomas S. Monson, and the Book of Mormon. At the end, Sister J. told him, “We would like to give you all a Book of Mormon!” So we gave them out to 6 people, more than half the class, and then one woman saw that everybody was getting one so she also wanted one. So that was cool.

We had to take G. off baptism date for a little bit. His life is kind of hard right now, and he doesn’t know if he will be staying here or moving to Austria. He still wants to be baptized and knows it is a good thing, but right now we will focus on helping him strengthen his testimony and truly want this instead of just doing it because it’s a good idea. At the end of our program, he just broke down talking about how his sister is gone and he really misses her.. We let him know how much we love him and want to help him have the happiest life. Please pray for him.

L.'s program was good, about Church and the Sabbath day, and he finally understood that Church is a really important thing. Too bad he's out of town this week :(   We had a good program with our cute young girl investigators, teaching them the Restoration. L. had read from the Book of Mormon, and really understood it! We taught T., and read 3 Nephi 18 with him, and I felt the Spirit so strongly as we read that. More tears were shed this week as I again bore my testimony of all the things that Jesus Christ did for us and how much he loves us, and how we need to remember that. T. said he doesn’t feel the way I do when he reads; it just makes him think. And we explained that that is still the Spirit. If we “always remember Him” , which includes thinking about Him and His life and what He taught and did for us, we can have the Spirit to be with us.

D. brought his friend to church! See what I mean when I say that my investigators are really good missionaries sometimes? When we met with him, he told of how the Sisters had met him while he was working, and how, before that, he had seen them and gotten an English class flier, and just had a good feeling about it, like he really wanted to know the Sisters. And here he is now. He said that he knew that could not have been an accident, that it had to be from God.

PLEASE pray for my investigators!! They really need help right now, and I need help…. SO much help to help them! Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and confused about what I can do to help them! I’m not used to teaching this many people and I’m especially not used to getting so far with so many of them.

Székes had ANOTHER festival. None of you are surprised, huh? It was super cool-- all the museums were virtually free! So that was cool, lots of people in knight costumes, lots of weapons for sale, blacksmiths, wooden flutes, knives, rugs, old fashioned Hungarian cow bells. Also saw the AMAZING interior of the old Serbian Orthodox Byzantine style church: INCREDIBLE. Also  met a bunch of adorable old ladies from New Zealand.

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