Wednesday, July 20, 2011

20 July 2011 Letter (MTC)

Hello again!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011
Today we taught Gyula and asked him to be baptized.  He's having a hard time understanding that other churches don't have the priesthood.  We'll have to continue trying.  Our temporary companion, Elder Kay, received some really exciting news this morning.  They announced over the intercom that he will be leaving tomorrow morning for Albania!  He'll arrive only two days after the rest of his district.  Tonight (literally two minutes before I started writing this) I heard someone call my name, "RJ?".  I turned around to find Elder (Cyrus) Penrod, who arrived earlier this afternoon.  He is serving in the Los Angeles, Spanish Speaking mission and will be in my hallway for the next nine weeks, so I'll definitely be seeing him around.

Thursday, 14 July 2011
We started off today by playing kickball, Kicsi vs. Osi.  Although this was their last gym time and found hard, we still managed to win =).  We didn't teach any of our usual investigators today, but in the evening, we had TRC (Training Resource Center), where we met James and his wife, Zaphne.  We helped them move a little, and ended by teaching them the first half of the Plan of Salvation.  The rest of the evening was spent as Elder Swett and I helped Elders Knight and Walker give a planning orientation to the new missionaries, along with a tour of the MTC.

Friday, 15 July 2011
Today felt long and empty.  The Osi spent all day in departure lectures, which made gym especially empty.  Elder Swett and I taught Andi today.  It was not our most spiritual lesson, but I managed to lead a discussion of the Plan of Salvation, teaching about everything from the Pre-mortal Existence to the Atonement (the furthest we've gotten in one lesson).  We also taught Gyula about Gospel Dispensations, the Apostasy, and the Priesthood.  We are continuing to work towards baptism, and committed him to come to Sacrament Meeting.  We ended the day interviewing the District Leaders, yet another step towards taking over as Zone Leaders.

Saturday, 16 July 2011
We had the opportunity to teach Lilla, in which the lesson was really short, but went well.  We had a chance to discuss Alma 32, focusing on faith and how, if we pray, attend church, and read the scriptures, our faith can grow like a seed.  Like a seed, faith needs to be nourished and cared for to not only grow, but to survive.

Sunday, 17 July 2011
Today was our last full day with the Osi, but I'll come back to that at the end.  Branch Council this morning went fine.  We'll have two new districts (and 19 new missionaries next week).  In Priesthood, Brother Thompson talked of the Atonement, and the three things that block peace: Our Sins - lifted through repentance; The Sins of Others - lifted through forgiveness and thinking of Christ; and Circumstances Out of Our Control - lifted by being thankful and finding happiness in the many blessings each of us have received.  During Sacrament Meeting, the Osi sang a Hungarian Medley, and President and Sister Gamette spoke on repentance.  During the Fireside, President and Sister Sonne spoke on staying focused and "unweariness".  So, tonight was goodbye and the transfer of power from Osi to Kicsi (we also went and took group pictures at the temple).  We received that Flag and the Ark, learned of Hungarian History, visited one last time, and finished with the "Talpra Magyar".  Overall, a very powerful and draining night.

Monday, 18 July 2011
The Osi are gone.  Our hallway is empty.  However, Elder Rosen and Elder Snyder moved in with us today, and Wednesday we'll be receiving 19 new missionaries (17 Elders, 2 Sisters) into our Zone.  We also had the blessing of teaching Gyula today.  We had a good lesson, and I was able to do plenty of talking again.  We finished the lesson (which was on the Spirit World, Baptism, and the Holy Ghost) by asking him to be baptized, to which he replied that he would think about it and talk to us on Wednesday.  Hopefully the spirit touches his heart and convinces him to be baptized.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011
Today was a full day and tomorrow will be as well (despite it being P-Day).  This morning we gave our first lesson with a member present, as we had Christy attend our lesson with Lilla.  Lilla attended Sacrament Meeting and committed to coming to waffle night later this week.  We talked about the blessings the gospel brings to families, gospel dispensations and apostasies, and Christ's Baptism.  We asked her to be baptized, to which, she replied "probably".  While I know Hungarian well enough to give the lessons, I wish I knew it better so that we could've asked her if it was alright to set a day 3~ish weeks down the road to work towards.  Hopefully it all works out.

During Personal Study Time, I looked up Bednar's talk on "Choosing to Take Offense", Uchtdorf's talk on "Potential", and Wirthlin's talk "Come What May and Love It".  All of which are talks that I have, and will continue to remember.

The Devotional tonight was given by F Melvin Hammond (Emeritus Seventy).  His wife, Bonnie Hammond, spoke of Elder Peterson from BYU's football team, leaving their championship team to serve in Bolivia, and his interviews with Sports Illustrated, telling them why he chose to serve a mission.  She also asked all of us to always "Be Cheerful".  Elder Hammond spoke of how the Book of Mormon is the Keystone to our religion.  He mentioned the 4 promises made in the introduction that come from reading the Book of Mormon:  Knowledge that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World, gain a testimony that the Book of Mormon is true, know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and know that the Church is the Lord's Kingdom on the earth.  He also told of Parley P. Pratt's conversion and finished with a story from Bolivia. These two lines stuck out to me the most: "How do you know the Church is true?" "Because I have the Book of Mormon. Read it. You can know too."

That's everything. 10 seconds left!

Love you all!

- Shipp Elder

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