Hey everyone! I hope you're all doing well. My weird sister missionary tan is coming back if that tells you anything about the weather... it's gonna be a hot summer! Good thing the Székes wind is here to stay.
We met a really nice guy from the area book who skipped our first appointment and then, when we called, told us he’d call us, so of course…we thought he’d never call. But the next morning he calls at 7 saying, "I can meet at 9”-- haha, so we met at 9 on a park bench. He was seriously such an introspective, insightful person. He talked about how his divorce was really hard and he struggles feeling his kids aren't being raised the right way. We talked about how the Book of Mormon and prayer can help us. He responded, "Should I pray for God to change the situation? Because maybe I'm supposed to learn from it" --so ya, he's legit. Hopefully, we can keep meeting with him!
D. is doing well; he hadn't read the Book of Mormon, so we read and prayed with him. We’re still meeting with B. and B., the couple. B., the atheist, said church had kind of overwhelmed him, but later, he explained that now he is saying he is considering himself agnostic instead of atheist. He told us of this recent experience in which he was “saying the words in my head (he doesn't call it "praying) and said in my brain 'Heavenly Father, give me strength.' And then I was able to get up and do some things." We all just started freaking out! We were like "B.! That's amazing!!!! You prayed! And you got an ANSWER to your prayer!!" He was smiling, but he was still a bit skeptical of the experience. Whatever. His prayer got answered!
PRAYER. It works, people! I know prayer works. I'm so thankful for it in my life and I rely on it SO heavily every day. Because of my mission, I know that turning to the Lord doesn't always just give us the things we want. But it has strengthened my trust and relationship with my Heavenly Father so much and for that I am so grateful!
FROM MAY 19, 2015:
Jajj. I will my YEAR mark this week. WHAT? That is not even real. Oh it makes me so so so so so sad. Time needs to SLOW down! Honestly, sometimes I'm just like "Wow, I am the most unsuccessful missionary, ever!" Haha. But I know my inner successes and my own personal mission and that it is between me and the Lord--not between me and the other missionaries of this mission or me and whoever else it may concern. I really love being a missionary, and I have put my heart into this work, and into the Hungarian people! Some of them drive me crazy, but I do love them with all my heart, and I know this is where I need to be. And I love it all. Even though it can be frustrating sometimes to feel like the output results of your work doesn't always match the input. But hey, that's a mission right? That's something I have just been thinking a lot about. If God wanted me to have some other mission, He would have called me there.
So this week was good! We taught L. twice, the man who called us and we met on the park bench. When we taught the Plan of Salvation, tears were in his eyes and he told us, "I didn't think we had a purpose to this life. We were just born." So, I think he really felt comforted by the Plan of Salvation. Then, we started teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he had a lot of questions about repentance. He had always felt that the pastors he went to made it seem like such a scary thing, and made him feel bad. We explained that repentance is change, and it is actually an amazing, happy, wonderful thing. God WANTS us to repent, to change. And He will ALWAYS help us do it. He asked about forgiveness, too. He is so smart and talented, a mechanical engineer! But he's going through a hard time right now, jobless, hardly gets to see his kids, and has told us he's just feeling lost and alone in this divorce situation. We have tried to help him understand that turning to God will help him, but I hope that you guys will also pray for him too. I know we called him from the area book not on accident, but because he needs to meet with us right now and he needs our help. So please pray for him.
J., the guy from English class, is also great! He had an English test coming up that he was really nervous for, so we told him to pray before his test. We asked about it, and he said it was the first time he had really prayed. We asked how he felt and he responded, "I felt calm! I wasn't nervous before the test! I was so surprised because every other time I felt so nervous before the test (he has taken 5 times previously)." We talked about how that was the Spirit and we can always pray to feel God's love and presence. He told us, "Ya, as I was walking to the test, I just thought 'God is with me.'" It was super cool. So we talked about how, now that he has already felt the Spirit, he can recognize the Spirit when it testifies of truth, like the truth of the BoM and things like that. PRAYER WORKS!
Also..... drum roll please.... another awesome prayer story... Athiest-turned-agnostic B. SAID THE CLOSING PRAYER FOR OUR LESSON! He had said he would think about it and he did it for us this time! And it was the most sincere prayer. Oh it was so great. He just asked Heavenly Father to bless us and our families, and to give him strength to do the things he needs to. I'm so proud of him and how much he is growing! That was a great experience.
We went to Dunaújváros again for Zone training-- in other words, the '"Communist wonderland.” This time, I learned that it used to be named Sztálinváros ("Stalin city"). It all makes sense now.
That place is literally 10 stories-apartment monstrosities and factories.
I feel like a lot happened this week and I'm forgetting so much of it! But I don't want to overwhelm you all anyway. Okay, have the best week! Love you all!
FROM MAY 26, 2015
ONE YEAR BABY. I'm not excited about this at all, cause actually, I am super mad that I don't get a two year mission :(((((((((((( BUT I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!!!!!!!!!! I DO NOT want to leave Székesfehérvár. That may come as a shock because I didn't love this place at first. It was SUPER hard for me to leave Szeged, but now I feel the same way i felt about Szeged. I don't ever want to leave here! I have just grown so attached to the members and especially my investigators here. I HAVE THE BEST INVESTIGATORS IN THE WORLD. Yes, they frustrate me sometimes, but I LOVE them! And they have been making some great progress lately, and i just love them. So ya, my dream would be to stayhere... but we'll find out next week.
This week was SO good!
- B. has a baptism date and it's coming up soon, but he still hasn't come to church for a few times. Please pray for him!!
- This time agnostic B. offered to say the prayer!! And it was again a really good, super sincere prayer, asking God to help him know the truth and thanking him for the beautiful nature we have to enjoy.
- So D. from Sopron, the one that said he knows the BOM is true--we saw him while we were streeting and went and talked to him. He randomly asked us ALL these questions: Why we take the sacrament and what it means, about the Prophet and the 12 apostles, what baptism means and what we have to do to prepare for it and what do we "promise" God at baptism, what we are supposed to do and not do on Sunday. On and on! So we sat on a park bench and had another park bench meeting. He said that he knows he needs to get baptized, but he needs time right now. So, so cool. Basically, he said that he wants to make sure that, when he gets baptized, he really wants to live according to the teachings and everything. He doesn't just want to get baptized and then be a hypocrite who doesn't live the way the church teaches. I thought that was amazing. Here's this 22 year old Hungarian guy that's way good at soccer, and he comes to all 3 hours of church every Sunday, and he wants to really LIVE the Gospel. How amazing is that? I thought it was so cool that he really understood so well that getting baptized and being a member of this church isn't just a once a year or once a week thing, but it's a way of life. You go Dávid! He's also been reading the BoM more now that we downloaded it on his phone .
-L.! We had a killer program with him, too!! I love this guy. He GETS it. We started talking about the temple for some weird reason, and how we can be sealed with our families forever and how we can perform baptisms for the dead. He asked, "What does baptism mean? I don't understand it." So we talked about how, when we go under the water, it symbolizes our death, and then when we come out of the water (and he cut in right here)...."the resurrection!" He loved that symbolism and compared it to baptisms that just sprinkle water. We also talked about how it's like all our sins being washed away, and we come out of the water totally clean. He said, "Seriously? Totally clean?" Totally. He said, "I need to get baptized! Every week!" We all responded, "Well, that's why we have the sacrament!" And we talked about the "weekly baptism" of taking the sacrament every week. Basically I felt like I was on "the District". Ha, ha.
So YAY for progressing investigators!! Even if they start progressing right before I leave!! I feel so blessed and lucky to be able to witness some of the great experiences and conversions they are having in their own lives. I am not doing ANY of this! It's totally God and He's totally nice to let me be in the same room when these people have a light bulb go off in their heads that help them realize how totally and completely AMAZING and important this Gospel is. And... like I always say......... PRAYER WORKS! If I haven't said it enough........ Thanks for all of YOUR prayers, and please keep praying for my investigators!!!
Also, super embarrassing that this ice cream place totally knows me and knows what I'm gonna order. I'm like their most frequent customer. Awkward.
FROM JUNE 2, 2015:
drum roll please............
I'M STAYING IN SZÉKESFEHÉRVÁR AND I'M training a new missionary fresh out of the good ol MTC! I feel way lucky. I just got the best transfer call! But I'm actually wayyyyy scared. I really don't know if I'll be a good enough trainer............. PRAY FOR ME!
This week was Sister D.'s last week! And Székes had ANOTHER festival (this place, I'm telling you.) This time it was for "Children's Day". WHY do we not have this holiday in America?! Someone please tell me. The city was decked out with all sorts of games for kids to play -- everything from giant wooden castles to country dancing to old pianos to old ink presses. And, of course, tons of yummy, fattening Hungarian food stands! It was super cute-- they gave all the kids these different activities that they had to do and get stamped off by someone who was wearing old time clothes. In the evening they had this really cool ceremony where they gave people a balloon with a little light in it, and counted down from 10 and everyone let go -- a sweet remembrance for the children that are lost. Watching the balloons float up in the dusk was super cool. So YAY to Hungary for having 5 bajillion holidays!
We went to Tatabánya to go on splits with the Sister Training leaders, and honestly I didn't super want to go. But it was actually good. We went to teach this lady, and went to her house but she wasn't there. The sister I was with hadn't met the lady before, so we didn't know what she looked like, and then we just decided, "Okay, we'll just street all the néni-s we see." So literally the first lady we talked to said, "Are you guys looking for me?" Haha, so we met with her and she was cute, asking 5 bajillion questions about the Church, so our lesson basically covered everything from the Restoration to the Word of Wisdom. Then, her friend came over and we taught HIM too, and he had actually read like 1-2 the BoM, so that was super cool.
We had a music concert on Friday, and that was super fun. A bunch of our investigators came, too. I played Clair de Lune 5 million times slower than it is supposed to be played and Sisters D., N., and I all sang a song by Taylor Swift and D. played the guitar and everyone LOVED it, haha. Also, D., our cute investigator, sang a Christian song and I accompanied her on the piano, and everyone also really loved that. Also, one of my English class néni-s thought that I was leaving Székesfehérvár (I thought I was. so kind of said a bunch of goodbyes... awkward! haha) and she literally made me a cake. She was way sad I was leaving and hugging me a ton. Oh, English class.
A bunch of our investigators came to church, and they all stayed for Sunday School, which was cool. We had a lesson about the Atonement too so that was really good.
--Agnostic B. said he wants to "statistically prove"' that prayer works -- and we explained that prayer doesn't work that way. But I'm just glad he prays.
-- B., who has a baptism date, came to church finally! He believes the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I just want to really make sure that he is ready for baptism, and that he isn't wavering on the commandments, or that he's not feeling any pressure to be baptized. So we may need to give him more time. That is a huge realization I had about baptism this week. I feel like my whole mission, I think a tiny part of me saw baptism in a more selfish way. I saw it as some sort of "reward" for what I'm doing. That me being able to see one of my investigators get baptized would be the best experience of MY life. But I realized, just like everything esle about missionary work... baptism is NOT about me! Not AT ALL! It is totally and completely, 100% about the person. And if that person isn't ready, than it is NOT my job to just baptize them. My job is to help them gain their own testimony and really want to gain a relationship with God to the point that, when they're ready, they'll want to make their own covenants with Him. My view has totally CHANGED. I think I have been wanting to give L. a bap. date for a while now, but right now he's going through a really hard time trying to find a job and feels worthless. So, we did what was best for him, and had programs helping him realize that God and Jesus Christ love him so much, and trying to help him build his faith and trust in them-- Not just talk about baptism up the wazoo when he has these other problems that he's dealing with. So now, even if these people never get baptized, I know that I helped them and tried to love them, even though their situations were sometimes out of my control.
--J., the guy who prayed for his test, talked about that experience AGAIN and he was just as happy and excited about it as he was the first time. The way he talked about how spectacular it was, you could just tell that experience meant so much to him. Then, he asked us questions about alcohol and drugs so we taught the Word of Wisdom.
And finally, one more story! It's about baptism again. SO. I will tell the story from the beginning. Back in my Szeged days, one day Sister E. and I get dogged, so we went streeting and went a super weird way that we don't normally go. We talked to this guy from America who was atheist and he was totally rude to us, the rudest person I've met. He told us what we are doing here is wrong, and that we are basically ruining people's lives by trying to talk to them on the street. So after, we just kept streeting, kept talking to people, and one guy we talked to told us he thought what we were doing was really cool and beautiful. I stopped this gypsy woman and started talking to her, and we got her number and set up an appointment.
The day I found out I was leaving Szeged, I was too sad for words. But we met the gypsy woman (her name is S.) and her husband and adorable little kids. And I just loved the family immediately. Her brother R. was in the room as we taught the Restoration, and R. said (as we're talking about prophets) "Ya, it makes sense! God is always the same. He wouldn't just call prophets in the old days and then stop calling them." I thought, “This guy is legit!” And then I left Szeged :( But I called the Szeged Sisters a bunch to ask them about that family, and I prayed for them every night and was sad to hear that they kept setting up and the programs kept falling through. So, about 5 or 6 weeks went by. Then, I talked to the Sisters and they said that S. had called the Elders! She told them she usually reads out of the Book of Mormon and that she wanted to meet with the Sisters. So they met with her and R., and R. asked the sisters to help him stop smoking, because he knew their faith was strong enough. Within weeks, he stopped smoking and drinking coffee. On Saturday, he got baptized. On Sunday he got the Gift of the Holy Ghost. The sisters told me the Spirit was so strong, and he said he feels like a different person, like his life has changed. So I thought that was amazing.
By the way, I won at bowling with our district, haha.