Wednesday, August 24, 2011

24 August 2011 Letter (MTC)

Wednesday, 17 August
Wow.  It is a weird feeling to start consecration week, realize there's only one more P-Day at the MTC left, and also know that in a week and a half I'll be in Hungary.  Hű-ha!   Today I had a great temple session (only one more left for the next two years!) and ran into multiple people.  I saw Zack during lunch (his mission call is still in limbo) and at dinner, within 5 minutes of starting Consecration Week, I met Elder BJ Powell (going to the Philippines) and Elder Blake Dastrup (Finland Mission), but had a hard time communicating with either of them, as I can only speak Hungarian.    Luckily, I know they'll both be here for quite a while, as they just arrived today.  Still, it was very fun and made me happy to see them.  Lastly, we taught Gyula today.  He'll be on vacation until next Thursday, so we'll only meet with him once more before his baptism on the 27th, and then we leave on the 29th.  Our work with him is almost done.  The rest relies on him, the ward members, and the Lord, so I know he'll be in good hands.

Thursday, 18 August
First full day of Consecration Week: complete!  Today I found Elder Powell and Elder Dastrup again.  Once consecration week is over I'll be able to actually talk to them.  We taught Lilla today on Temple Marriage and Eternal Families because we were able to have a member, Bogi, come.  Being married, and having had many experiences, Bogi was a great help during the lesson, and was able to relate a lot of good thoughts and stories....Swett Elder and I don't quite have any marriage experiences yet, or tales of being heads of our own families, so we stuck to the doctrine.  During TRC we taught Daybell Testver about the importance of going to church.  Lastly, something I forgot to write yesterday; during consecration week, I have given up English, Milk, and we're all wearing ties from "The Ugly Tie Rack".

Friday, 19 August
I was tired today.  Enough so that I nearly fell asleep in the middle of a lesson.  This morning I had the idea for us to use "District Study" to all write letters to Harvey Elder; which we did.  Hopefully he's doing well and enjoys them.  We taught Lilla about Moroni 6 and the baptismal questions today.

Saturday, 20 August
Halfway done with Consecration Week.  Today we taught 2 lessons: one to Lilla about the importance of church, prayer, and scripture reading, and one to Hajnalka, Zoltan and Aron on our purpose here on Earth.  Both were improvements from yesterday. 

Sunday, 21 August
Finally, a day with plenty of personal study time to read a decent block of the scriptures. =)  Only one Sunday left here.  We had the long-awaited departure lesson today.  The reality of everything is finally starting to sink in.  I had a great time during the temple walk, and finished the day with a Fireside by Stephen B Allen.  Like always, his talk was great.  He choose to change his talk to focusing on Obedience and the Holy Ghost.  (I say "change" because he was very guided by the Spirit.  He was supposed to speak in 2-3 weeks, and had planned on teaching about something else, but a couple days ago, he felt prompted to ask President Brown if he could speak this week, and this afternoon, within hours of the Fireside, he felt prompted to change subjects).  He obeyed both these promptings, and it resulted in a very enjoyable, very relatable, and very powerful talk.  He finished by having all missionaries memorize the end of 2 Nephi 33:15, in which, Nephi writes his very last words on the plates: "I will obey. Amen."  A very good motto for everyone.

Monday, 22 August
We didn't teach any lessons today.  Gyula's still out of town, and Lilla was short on time, so the five of us spent nearly an hour practicing teaching each other.  We woke up at 5:30 today so that we could be sure to sign up for haircuts, and even then, there were only 6 spots left (and we took 4 of them).  The MTC is just way too crowded.  (Although, I guess that's a good thing, as it means there are lots of missionaries).  This morning we did our last service assignment.  Only a day and a half left of Consecration week!  That's all for today =)

Tuesday, 23 August
Today's been an interesting day.  We taught Lilla this morning about Charity and Service.  It is strange to teach someone about 2 of the things you feel weakest about yourself, although, at the same time, it makes everything seem to relate to yourself as well, and can provide another source of motivation and desire to teach.  We also had a Devotional tonight by Claudio D Zivic of the Seventy.  He was quite possible the most powerful speaker we have had yet.  He spoke of ways to view life and our missions, and things to do to help or to do when we see either a certain way.  Just a sliver of his talk that I would like to quote (although, now I think of two) is, "It takes 3 things to make a Man:  Know where you are; Know where you want to go; Make every effort to get there".  The 2nd was a quote from Ghandi, "Total Dedicational is Complete Victory".
I hope everyone enjoyed this week's post.  My next one will be from Hungary.
I love you all!


Shipp Elder

Friday, August 19, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

17 August 2011 Letter (MTC)

Wednesday, 10 August
My entry today is going to be brief.  We welcomed a new district of 10 Elders going to Tallahassee, Florida tonight.  They seem like a fun group.  We also taught Gyula today.  He's promised to give up smoking by Friday and to ask his wife to attend our lessons.  Hopefully we can baptize him before we leave.

Thursday, 11 August
Today I taught a 20 minute lesson solo and two 7 minute lessons by myself.  The lesson with Lilla (the 20 minute solo) went well.  I talked about the second half of the 10 Commandments, the Law of Chastity, and following the Law of the Land.  She's continued to read the Book of Mormon everyday and follow the Word of Wisdom.  She's progressing towards her baptismal date nicely.  Also, we had TRC tonight, during which we gave a good lesson on how to better receive revelation through reading the Book of Mormon.  We finished our evening with our last planning orientation and tour as Zone Leaders, along with half of our final set of interviews.  Also, today I memorized the first five paragraphs of my patriarchal blessing.

Friday, 12 August
Today was another "Hungarian Only" day.  We also taught two lessons today, the first to Hinjalka, Zoltan, and Aron, and the other to Gyula.  Both went well.  The lesson with Gyula was interesting because instead of reading Alma 30 & 31, like we asked him to, he read Alma 32, which we had prepared to read during the lesson.  So, I got to improvise.  Also, he's completely given up smoking, so we set a new baptismal date for the 27th, and also asked him to come see Edit's (a different companionship's investigator) baptism on the 20th. 

Saturday, 13 August
We taught Gyula today, reviewing the first part of the Plan of Salvation, and we also taught Hajnalka, Zoltan, and Aron on the atonement and baptism of Christ.  Earlier this morning I noticed that my prayers have partially died out.  I'm working to try to rebuild some of my good habits.  The last two things were the most unique ones for today.  Swett Elder rolled his ankle during gym.  Also, I have the first 10 paragraphs of my patriarchal blessing memorized.  

Sunday, 14 August
As always, I love Sundays.  Today was our last day as Zone Leaders.   I'm going to enjoy the extra time.  Priesthood Meeting was led by Brother Thompson on the Plan of Salvation, and President and Sister Gamette both spoke during Sacrament Meeting on Enduring to the End.  The Fireside was given by Richard I Heaton, who spoke on "Success".  This was the 2nd time I've heard him speak, and I enjoyed it.  Lastly, I'm almost done with my 3rd maze, Elder (Tyler) Stapleton leaves tomorrow for his German-speaking Alpine mission, and consecration week begins on Wednesday.

Monday, 15 August
Yet another "Hungarian Only" day completed.  We taught Lilla about the laws of tithing and fast offerings (to which she was open to the idea of fasting and fast offerings, but said she had a hard time with the idea of tithing, and would need a day to think about it), and we talked to Gyula about the second half of the Plan of Salvation.  The only other things I have for today are that the picture machine is finally fixed (hopefully I get my pictures by Wednesday), my third maze is complete, and I only have two paragraphs left until I'll have my entire patriarchal blessing memorized.  Lastly, something I forgot to include in yesterday's entry was during Sacrament Meeting, Elder Tialino (a Polynesian Elder going to serve in Tallahassee) passed the sacrament.  I loved the way he did it.  He handled the tray differently than I've ever seen in passed before, but it really looked like he "revered" or "respected" the sacrament, more so than any other way I've seen it passed before.  I really enjoyed it.

Tuesday, 16 August
We taught Lilla this afternoon, checking up on how she's doing.  She said that since our last lesson, she has decided to pay tithing after she's been baptized.  A really good Devotional was given by David F Evans of the Seventy, who spoke on the role of Heavenly Father.  It was actually really surprising to realize how much he really does for each of us.

Out of time…

Love you!

-Shipp Elder

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

10 August 2011 Letter (MTC)

Wednesday, 3 August
Today was a very successful day.  I'm feeling like with God's help I'm improving towards my goal to being more Charitable, and something I've started doing to help is smiling more.  We went to the temple and did endowments for what seems like the first time in forever.  It was a very spiritual session today.  Also, at the end I realized that they hung up the pictures of the First Presidency wrong.  The temple has been open for 8 days now, so I'm surprised that no one's noticed.  I told the two workers at the front desk that Eyring was on the right and Uchtdorf on the left.  It will be interesting to see if that is changed next week (of course, there is a chance that it's that way on purpose, but I've just always seen the first counselor on the Prophet's right side, and the second counselor on the Prophet's left).

Swett Elder and I taught a quick lesson to Gyula today, checking up on the Word of Wisdom, (he's decreased from a pack of cigarettes to half a pack a day), but while he's making great progress, we told him that we'll have to push back his baptismal date a little.  We also had time at the end to discuss the first 4 of the 10 Commandments.  Lastly, we welcomed a new district tonight.  5 are going to New Zealand, and 6 to Australia.  It was interesting that 3 were from within 3 blocks of the Orem/Lindon border, one went to PG & Oak Canyon with me, and 2 of the other Elders (both going to Australia, but not companions) were identical twins.  That was the most interesting part.  I wonder what some investigators will think if they are taught by one, then the other.

Thursday, 4 August
It's official; I have a fourth tie.  Daybell Testver heard that I only had 3 and insisted I take one of his.  He was quite stubborn about it, but I really enjoyed it.  We taught Lilla today on the Word of Wisdom.  She doesn't smoke, but she drinks on occasion and doesn't understand why she can't have her daily coffee.  Luckily, I think that's something we can handle.  We also had TRC tonight.  Gabor was here again, but the other companionship taught him.  We gave a lesson for the first time using the new curriculum, giving a lesson on "How to Better Receive Answers to Prayers".  It went pretty well.  We gave a tour to the new district today, along with a planning orientation.  And lastly, tomorrow is our 3rd time going "Hungarian Only" all day long.

Friday, 5 August
Today was our third time speaking only Hungarian for an entire day.  Each time it keeps improving, but, despite the improvements, I still don't feel ready to get to Hungary quite yet. =)  I've felt a lot better about my attitude today (smiling often and feeling like I care more about others).  We also taught Gyula about the second half of the 10 Commandments and also the Law of Chastity.  I'm very happy to write that Gyula doesn't have a problem with Chastity or any of the other commandments we discussed.  He has also further improved concerning the Word of Wisdom, to the point where he said he doesn’t drink alcohol, coffee, tea; and the last remaining concern, smoking, has decreased to 5 cigarettes a day.

Lastly, we have three new investigators: Zoltan, Aaron, and Hinjalka.  We spent some time just getting to know them, and covered the first half of the restoration.  (They are all siblings, 2 brothers and 1 sister, the brothers live together.  The sister is very religious, but the two brothers aren't quite sure what they believe).  I don't know how often we'll meet with them.

Saturday, 6 August
This next week is going to be crazy; we are doing 2 days of Hungarian only and are going to teach at least 12 lessons!  We taught Gyula on tithing and fast offerings.  He was very interested as to if the "blessings that we have not room enough to receive" include more money.  I'm happy to write that as of 12:00, he had not smoked a single cigarette (so next time we may be able to set up a new baptismal date) and he's also begun looking for a new job which will allow him to go to church each Sunday.
Sunday, 7 August
Today was my second Fast Sunday since beginning my mission.  Fasting went great and I'm sure I'll receive help on all I fasted for.  This morning we had Mission Conference, during which both President and Sister, Nally and Brown spoke. I enjoyed President Brown's talk on the Holy Ghost (the Light of Christ, Personage of the Holy Ghost, its Power, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost).  In the evening, Merril J Bateman (Emeritus Seventy) spoke during the Fireside on "Developing Faith in Christ", a talk which, while really good in doctrine, didn't have anything really hit me.  We finished the evening by watching the film, The Testaments, for our second time.

Other than that, two things happened.  The first was that we had Fast and Testimony Meeting, but it was way too packed for me to bear my testimony, so instead I made the resolution to share it through example and actions during the next 7 days instead.  The second thing was Swett Elder and I discovered that we are being released as Zone Leaders next Sunday.  We'll find out who the new ones are on Tuesday.

Monday, 8 August
So, a couple things happened today:  We taught Lilla about Following the Prophet, and checked up on how she's doing concerning the Word of Wisdom.  She's given up everything, including coffee!  Also, she was able to get off work last minute on Sunday and went to Sacrament Meeting.  It made me so happy =)  We also taught Gyula, talking to him about the Word of Wisdom (he's down to 3 cigarettes), how his search for a new job is going, and checked up on his BoM reading.  We used the time we had left to read most of Alma 7 with him, and I committed him to read the part we had left.

Also, two last things.  Today was another Hungarian Only day, and while it was good, I didn't feel it was quite as successful as Friday.  Also, Barker Nover is back from Washington, so we have our all three of our teachers again.

Tuesday, 9 August
Today we taught Lilla.  We were very short on time, but we set a baptismal date for the 27th! Finally!  We also talked about the first half of the 10 Commandments.  Funnily, the only concern she voiced with us was that she said she was worried about there not being many young men to marry at the church.  I think we'll find a way for things to work out.  They called new Zone Leaders today: Pendleton and Cox Elder.  They will be replacing us on Sunday.

Tonight the Devotional was given by Cecil O Samuelson of the Seventy.  He spoke of being "an example of the believers", a topic I'm very familiar with as it was our ward's young men / young women's theme for a year. 

That's the end of the blog post. 7 seconds left. Love you! Bye!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

3 August 2011 Letter (MTC)

Hello again! Guess who this is? =D ME!!!

Wednesday, 27 July
Today was a great P-Day.  The temple was open today and Elder Swett and I had the opportunity to participate in sealings, which I've never done before.  I enjoyed it a lot.  It made me look forward to when I'll be able to be sealed with a family of my own, but for now, that is several years away.  (The next day, we found out that if we had come to the temple 5 minutes later, we would've been in the same sealing session as our teacher, Moody Nover.  That would've been funny to have us be sealed to her as our mother. =D) We also found out tonight that Stromberg Testver is going to be a dad.

We taught Gyula a very brief 15 minute lesson.  We mostly asked questions, working to find out how his testimony is growing.  At the conclusion we got him to repeat his commitment of working towards August 15th as a baptismal date.  Lastly, we received our Kicsi today: 4 Elders and 4 Sisters.  They are all social, with the two most outspoken being Johnson Nover and Forsyth Elder.  I look forward to getting to know them all better.  Lastly, I left my CTR ring in the computer lab, and it was missing soon after.  Hopefully I can find it soon.

Thursday, 28 July
Today was the second day with our Kicsi.  They are all great and we're all getting to know each other really fast.  Tonight we gave them the planning orientation and tour of the MTC.  This morning we had an amazing and spiritual lesson with Lilla, just discussing and talking about the basics and finding out how her beliefs and testimony have grown.  She still doesn't have a baptismal date, but each lesson we're obviously getting closer.  We also had TRC where we went shopping for clothes and met the clerk, Tibor.  We talked to him about the Savior, Restoration, and Book of Mormon, taught him to pray, and gave him a Book of Mormon and he committed to read and pray about it.  Tomorrow is "Hungarian Only".  Hopefully it proves helpful and works out.  It will be fun to see how much we can communicate to the Kicsi with body language.  I also found out that I have a new cousin.  Corinne had a new baby girl; her name is "Ivy".  Sadly, I won't see her until she is almost 2.  That just adds another thing to look forward to. =D

Friday, 29 July
I'm not sure how to begin today's entry.  Things are moving along.  Today we tried our second time to go a full day only speaking Hungarian.  This time we were much more successful, and only stopped for a couple minutes to speak English when we had to read something and in a short interview with Barker Nover in the evening.  The Kicsi learned how to pray today, and are slowly understanding bits and pieces of our conversations.  Also, today Swett Elder and I found the first thing about which we don't get along: 4-Square.  We're both competitive in sports and see each other as threats, so we're constantly killing each other in the games.

Saturday, 30 July
We taught Lilla today, beginning with Swett Elder and I singing "There is a Green Hill Far Away" in harmony, followed by a lesson on the atonement, emphasizing the Savior's sacrifice so that we can repent and be saved.  We asked her to think if there's anything in her life she feels guilty or bad about and testified that no matter what it may be, she can repent, and receive forgiveness.  I'm feeling progress in the language again.  I also filled my day to the brim with what I tried to make earnest, sincere prayers, during every open moment.  I'm striving to be more specific in what I ask for, always be full of thanksgiving, and always remember the Savior.  I'm also trying to give time to hear and feel the Spirit and make prayers a 2-way conversation, not a monotone order for blessing, paying with a couple lines of thanks.

Sunday, 31 July
Tonight at the Fireside, the hymns and topic focused on "Love", and the speaker, Robert P Swensen, spoke of Love and Charity being infinite in potential, and that we should not "attempt" to hold any back to try to "save" it for something else.  That is not how love works.  We need to exercise and express our love so it will grow.  Also, we should remember that the greatest commandment is to "Love the Lord, thy God" with all thy heart, might, mind, and strength."  And the second is to "Love thy neighbor as thyself."  With being surrounded by children of our Heavenly Father, there are endless opportunities to love. 

Finally, we got pictures with our Kicsi at the temple today.  I also got pictures with Elders Ethan Shipp, and Wilson Ormsby, as they both are departing early tomorrow morning.

Monday, 1 August
It's August! I leave later this month to Hungary!  During lunch we had an unexpected guest come sit with us.  President Brown joined and talked with us for nearly 20 minutes.  It was very interesting and enjoyable to get to talk with him in a setting like that.  He has an amazing memory.  Upon sitting down, he was able to remember where all 8 of our Kicsi were from.  He also knew all of our Branch Presidency and talked to us about them.  We had to leave him at the end, excusing ourselves, as we were already 5 minutes late to class.

Lastly, we taught Gynla.  It was our first time teaching the Word of Wisdom, yet the language and the lesson just flowed.  He has a problem with every part of it, but was very humble and committed to try to change all of it.  The only thing I see him having a really hard time with is smoking, but the Lord can do many wonderful things.  I’ll just do my best to do my part, and let the Lord do the rest.

Tuesday, 2 August
We taught Lilla on the final part of the Plan of Salvation (which we’ve never taught before), and finally are close to pinning a specific date on her.  The Devotional was given by Gerald N. Lund, Emeritus Seventy and the author of “The Work and the Glory”.  He gave a great talk on Faith, teaching how to exercise and learn from it.

I'm out of time.  Bye! =D

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

2 August 2011 Pictures (MTC)

Hungarian Book of Mormon & Name Tag

My District in the classroom

Missionaries going to the Provo Temple

My District

Cousins (RJ) Shipp Elder & Elder Shipp (Ethan)

July 4th at the MTC
(Glowsticks compliments of Mom!)