FROM JUNE 29
SUPER good week! We taught Z. the Plan of Salvation and…someone CALLED us from a card! That NEVER EVER happens. Never. They seemed interested and even asked when church was and said they were curious! So that was cool... even though they didn’t come. We also met with R. a recent convert who doesn’t come to church, and we talked about her baptism. She said she had the best feeling at her baptism, like she wasn't even on the earth. So, we made plans to pick her up for church, and even though she wasn’t able to come, she promised next week.....
Still, along with the elders, we had 14 investigators in church! The elders had a lot of guys from this American football team come (they themselves are Hungarian-- they just play American football). And then we had quite a few other investigators. L. came (he got back from his trip) and D.'s friend R. came again! D. told us, "Hey, R. read something....", to which R. responded, "Ya, I read from the Book of Mormon". I asked, “Do you have one?" and she said, "No, but it's on the internet!" So I gave her one--super cool! So I want to start meeting with her. Sunday School was really good, because we taught a little Restoration and then watched the film. When Joseph Smith has the first vision, I felt the Spirit SO incredibly strongly. And I have seen that movie 5 bajillion times. I was just praying intensely that everyone else would feel the Spirit too.
We talked about covenants with D. (the one who brought R.) and the Gospel of Jesus Christ again, and we gave him a baptismal date of August 1. I hope we can help him prepare for baptism by that date! He told us about having a specific prayer answered after church last week, and about R.’s dream after she went to church. He didn't exactly know what she dreamed, but it seemed like she was looking down from Heaven, and she saw this person in white clothes and they said something to her about the Church. Interesting.
R. is also SO ready for baptism. I asked if he had gotten any other answers to his prayers that week. He said yes, but he was apprehensive to say. When I asked again, he told us, "I did something really hard that I didn't think I could do. I prayed and I did it.” We asked him what he did and he said, "I broke up with my girlfriend.” This kid literally moved to Székesfehérvár to live with his girlfriend. I asked him why he did it and he said, "I have a goal." I asked what that goal is, and he said, "to get closer to God. and I know I couldn't do that with her. I have never prayed so much in my life." Wow-- WHO DOES THAT? Now the poor guy is trying to look for a room or AND he just got a bunch of money stolen from him!
He also has almost finished the Book of Mormon and in his free time, he sits in the branch house to read it. He feels like he has to know everything and has to be practically perfect before baptism. I asked him what he has a testimony of, or what he knows to be true and he said the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, but doesn’t know if Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet. We told him to pray about it and then, in his English class, this girl sat next to him and mentioned, "Hey, look at this book I just got." You guessed it... the Book of Mormon! R/ asked her from who, and it was from a missionary going on splits that day in Székesfehérvár... not even from anyone serving here! He asked, "Why would some random girl sit next to me and show me a Book of Mormon she got from someone that doesn't even serve in this city?!" It was crazy!
We have talked about everything with him--how we don't have to be perfect, how we shouldn't wait, because it will just get harder, etc. etc. etc. He said more and more he feels like he needs to be baptized, so I don't know what is holding him back. We've talked about the gift of the Holy Ghost and he told us, "I always feel the Spirit! I always just feel like there's someone on my shoulder, telling me what I should do..... Wow, I wonder what it's going to be like after I get baptized!" He wants to get in the habit of reading, praying, going to church, and he thinks after a year, he can do it. So please pray for him. He has read about all the commandments from the Gospel principles book. This kid needs to get baptized.
Finally, B., our agnostic friend, has read scriptures almost every day this week!! So proud of him. And we went to this free organ concert yesterday night-- super great! He played this Bach... oh it was so good. Loved it.
FROM JULY 7
I don't even know if I can email without cryyying because guess what........I am leaving Székesfehérvár, the city that I didn't like, but have grown to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. And now, at this transfer, I'm leaving to be a sister training leader in Budapest.
So on Thursday, we all randomly went up to Dunaujváros (the Communist wonderland) to meet the new Hungarian mission president and his wife . They are amazing, so humble and so full of the Spirit. The whole meeting was in Hungarian too. Then, this morning I just got the call that I am being ripped away from my dear, sweet greenie and I am going to be thrown into the massive craziness that is Budapest. Please pray for me.
On the fourth of July, we went to R. and S.'s and they live right next to this GINORMOUS field of sunflowers. Seriously -- one of THE most amazing things I have ever seen in my whole life. We brought a little ladder, and then you just walk through the sunflower jungle, step up on the ladder, and look out at a yellow sea. It. was. breathtaking. The photos can’t do it justice.
D. fasted this Sunday about getting baptized sooner, and G.is moving to Austria. SO SAD. :(. He says he feels the Book of Mormon's spirit and it is "really, really good" to read the Book of Mormon every night. We are getting those missionaries in Austria to meet with him!!!
B. is getting baptized on the 1st of August and is doing super well -- accepting the word of wisdom and Sabbath Day observance. His friend R. came to church with him again, and we set up with her. He told us, “Ya, we hung out last night and read the Book of Mormon". WHO DOES THAT?! Seriously, people. I am a Utah Mormon. Not once would I ever think about just chillin with my friends... reading the Book of Mormon with them. She has already made it to the Book of Jarom! B. gave me a little stuffed animal teenage mutant ninja turtle last night as a goodbye present and I almost burst out crying. I had to hold it in. I love that kid so much--such a great kid and is trying so hard to be better.
Cool Spiritual promptings of the week. One day we were streeting, and I saw this guy with tattoos and drinking, and I felt like we should talk to him, but he turned the corner. We turned the corner and he had stopped there, so we talked to him and it turns out his mom was Mormon! Isn't that way random? We streeted another guy I felt like we should talk to and he was super interested. We talked about the Book of Mormon and how God commanded the prophet Lehi to leave Jerusalem. He asked why, and we said the people wanted to kill him. He was like "Oh, cause he received Revelation?" And then he told us, "It wasn't an accident that we met, you know." Cool.
Another day, I talked to this guy on a bench and he was also super open and interested, and thought it was really cool that we would come from so far away to do this. We set up with him right there, and then met with him today. He had read about Mormons on the net and he said he didn't believe the bad stuff that people had read. He and his daughter had both read a little bit from the Book of Mormon we gave them, too. He thought it was really cool that we don't drink alcohol and he talked about all the families he has seen that are so much better off without alcohol. He basically taught us the Restoration. He explained, "Ya, after Jesus Christ died and after His apostles died, there was no one on the earth to continue his organization. But then in the 1800s in America, there was religious freedom and people could practice and worship freely. In Europe there wasn't that kind of religious freedom." If that isn't legit..... Wow.
Another lady we had called said she would call us. So…I’m like, "Ya right, she's not going to". SHE CALLED. So…it’s hard to leave.
Also, we brought a new convert, A., to our program with agnostic B. We asked A. how he feels the Spirit, and he said, “Well, I come here and I just feel the love and friendship from everyone." It was helpful because Balázs always just says that he doesn't really feel anything, but it's just good to be around nice, good people and that's why he comes (and stays for a full 3 hours, every week). So we explained something that I've never really thought about before: we feel good around these people, around other members, and other nice people because that really is the Spirit. If we are in good, friendly, positive environments, I truly believe the Spirit is there too. We finished talking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and asked B. if he would be baptized when he feels these things are true. He said yes. He just feels like, because he can't know for sure, that he doesn't want to live his life "waiting" for the blessings of a next life that he doesn't even know exists. But we bore our testimonies of how it's not just about the next life, but how these things have brought more happiness into our present lives than anything else ever possibly could. So now it's just about helping him recognize the Spirit - recognize his answers. This is a man who wouldn't even try praying when I first met him. Now he prays every day and reads the Book of Mormon every day. I think right now he looks at it more of an experiment, more of something that he's willing to try, but not really expecting anything from it. I hope that his desire will grow. But it already has grown tenfold. So I am amazed.
SO. I am in the Buda side of Budapest! Such a beautiful city, if that isn't obvious. But, as with all transfers, the finding methods and people are different. Here it’s obviously very go-go-go, and people are not here to stop and talk to you, sadly :( …especially because my favorite thing is to just stop random people on the street and talk to them about the Gospel. I love it! But ya, Budapestens are not super down for that... Still, as STLs (sister training leaders), we mostly find and teach (basically do normal missionary stuff), but we also go on splits with other sisters once a week and have other meetings, etc. But I don't think it's too different, at least not so far. So ya, same old stuff – however, we live way far away from the branch house, so we are alllllllways taking the bus and metro.
I've met some of our investigators and they're adorable. We have one who is this néni that literally won't speak Hungarian to us... only English….hahahaha.
This ward is great, though I really miss my friends in Szekes. I was happy to see something like 100 people come to church. And this lady in the ward came up and asked me where she could get a Book of Mormon to give to someone. I gave her one, and then she proceeded to give me about 5 other referrals. WHAT? Thanks!
We got to go see the BYU contemporary dance because they performed here in Budapest and I was able to see S. and R. from Székes, and Sister S. got to go, too, so I saw her.... so great! Last night, they did a fireside in Pest that we also got to go to, and I got to see a bunch of the members from Szeged!! It was SO great! I loved it. The fireside was good--they sang I am a Child of God in Hungarian and I cried. It was really cool. After, this guy from the company came up and told me this one lady had come to BYU to help them with folk dance and that she had been asking questions about when church was, etc, so he told me to go talk to her. I did, and I got her number and she said she would be interested in learning more about our church. Too bad the BYU guy left before I could thank him.
So ya! I already really like the members here, too. There's this 16-year-old who is adorable and comes to do missionary work with us once a week. She literally reads Preach my Gospel in her spare time.
Soon, I will have been in Hungary for exactly a year! Crazy. Sometimes I feel like the biggest failure of a missionary-- I just look out at all the people and wonder why I can't seem to get any of them to listen or to understand. I know that it's not me. Sometimes it seems like I've been here for so long and like I’ve made no difference. But I still love my mission so much. I love doing this and I love being a missionary more than anything. I don't know if I’m always doing it right or perfectly or successfully. But I try, and I think that's what God really wants.