Monday, September 12, 2011

12 September 2011 Letter (Nyiregyhaza)

Monday, 5 September
Today was my first P-Day in Hungary.  It was very enjoyable.  This morning, we started by going to TESCO, the Hungarian version of Wal-Mart.  While there, we got light bulbs to try to lighten our apartment, but they were all the wrong size....oops.  We also planned on going to the zoo today with the other Elders in our district, but we received a call from a member that needed help, so an hour and a half was devoted to that instead.  I also went to an Internet Cafe for the first time, but due to the instructions being in Hungarian, the workers only speaking Hungarian, and having my computer freeze twice, it took almost an hour just to get started!  We ended our P-Day with FHE with 8 other members.  I got to try Fruit Soup.  It tastes great!  Also, I learned that "What If" is hard to play and isn't as funny when you can't speak the language well.

Tuesday, 6 September
Today was a busy day.  My companion and I have been really blessed.  We taught 4 lessons today (far more than usual).  The first was to a man.  He's 25 years old and is an incredible person, and a golden investigator.  He does not have a very religious background, but is very mature and has clearly thought about many of life's harder questions.  He believes in God, believes that He loves and wants to help each and every one of us, knows about and cares about everything in life, and that everything happens for a reason, even if we don't always understand it.  The biggest foreseeable trial is that he goes to London every other month for work, helping an incredible man he told me about.  (The man has been paralyzed from the shoulders down since he was a teenager.  Yet he's worked hard, holds a leadership position in a company, and most importantly, chooses to always be happy and out-going, despite his hardships).  We scheduled to meet with him again tomorrow, something I'm really excited about.

Our second lesson was to a man I met just this morning on the street.  He lives a ways away from us, but comes into town fairly regularly.  He speaks English very well (which he learned when he spent 3 years in LA), and was the first to fulfill the many tales I heard at the MTC and out here in the field of older Hungarians loving to complain, debate, and complain some more.  He has a very negative view of life and of others, and thinks everyone's main thoughts and concerns are how they can take advantage of their friends and neighbors.  He said he already has a Book of Mormon, so I challenged him to read Mosiah 2-5 on service and love.  I also got his phone number, so we can check-up and see if he wishes to continue meeting.

Our third lesson was with a girl.  She's 15, and her mom contacted us to help her as she is struggling with her English class at school.  She knows English about as well as I know Hungarian.  At the end, we talked about religion and found that she doesn't believe in God or anything else, but has never thought about it.  We're scheduled to meet again on Thursday.  It will be interesting to see how she progresses.

Our last lesson was with a lady on the Word of Wisdom.  She only had a problem with Coffee, but like the great investigator she is, she committed to follow it.  She also asked the fun question of where Zarahemla was located.  To my great amusement, my companion and the member we were with both pulled out maps and tried to find it. =)  However, they couldn't see it labeled anywhere.
The gospel is true. I feel myself growing. It feels great. =)

Wednesday, 7 September
Today I fasted again. It's always a good experience and worth it at the end.  We taught two lessons today.  Neither one went well lesson-wise, but both were over an hour in length (we're to blame for any problems).  We taught one about the Restoration, but made it a little more confusing than it needed to be.  However, I still feel great about him and he kept his commitment.  The other, we also planned on teaching the Restoration, but instead spent the time listening to some of the many incredibly hard things she has gone through.  It was good to remember today that often it is more important to listen than to talk.  She didn't read the intro to the Book of Mormon, so I recommitted her to read it.  We ended the night and my fast with omelets, which were delicious.

Thursday, 8 September
I am currently on splits.  It is the first time I've been on splits or been to the other companionship's apartment.  We taught 5 lessons today.  The first was to a man.  We had some incredible fruit soup with him and his family, taught him a great lesson, and spent only an hour there this time.  The lesson was great and he had some incredible thoughts and beliefs about how God created everything with a purpose, and also that there needs to be opposition in all things. 

Our second lesson was with the girl from Monday.  We had a shorter lesson today, during which we found out that while she doesn’t really believe in God, she somehow prays every day, so we challenged her to think more about the purpose and reason of prayer and to pray for specific answers.
We taught the lady from Monday an interesting lesson about following the prophet, and tried to answer her many questions about the Word of Wisdom. 

I taught the English class again, but this week there was only one person there, a man.  We spent the hour having a good conversation, and after the spiritual thought he asked for a Book of Mormon, said he'd read the introduction, asked when Church usually is, and also said he really loved "Come What May And Love It", which I showed during the spiritual thought, and said he wanted to and will look up more Mormon Messages.  While I wish more people had come, I guess 100% of my class showed good interest, so I'll count it as a success for now.

Friday, 9 September
Today I was on splits again.  We went streeting for 30 minutes, but did not find anyone.  We also taught a lesson to a man on Temples (he is getting baptized in 2 weeks!), and we taught a woman on Trials.

Saturday, 10 September
I did some real exercise in Hungary for the first time today.  We went jogging for 30 minutes, and then met up with the other missionaries to play soccer for another half hour.  Afterwards, we had to quickly jog back and get ready for our lesson with an investigator. We reviewed the Word of Wisdom, as she is still struggling with coffee, and also discussed following the prophet.  I was in charge of our lesson with some members tonight.  The man is middle age and married, and has a daughter about 15 who was baptized only 8 months ago.  He, along with his wife and mother, loves to talk, and talk, and talk.  I still managed to squeeze in a couple minutes before we had to leave.  Afterwards, we went back to the Branch House where my companion and I labeled and stapled over 300 fliers.  Hopefully we'll get to use them soon.  Tomorrow we get up at 5:00 so we can catch the train to Zone Conference.  Lastly, today I thoroughly studied 1 Nephi 11, learning the cycle, process, and progression of following the Spirit and receiving revelation..

Sunday, 11 September
Today was our Zone Conference, so we got up at 5, and took the train, making it onboard literally within 30 seconds of it leaving (because we waited 15 minutes for a member to come).  At the conference, there were many speakers who I couldn't understand.  However, I did understand when President Baughman spoke.  He spoke about a meeting he was at in Copenhagen just recently (within the past couple weeks) with the other 29 European Mission Presidents and Elder Bednar.  He shared how Elder Bednar said that while many speak of the highlight of the Atonement being the power to cleanse sins, the greatest blessing of the Atonement is its power to Elevate; to raise us to far more than we ever could have been before.  Each time we take part in the Atonement, we improve ourselves.  Also, as two side notes, the church here is an actual, large, and nice church building, and the Hungarian countryside is mostly just fields of corn and sometimes sunflowers. 
The last thing for today is that I'd like to try to start recording just one little miracle a day.  I don't plan on writing some incredible story each day, but I do hope to better see and appreciate the Lord's hand, constantly in my life.  For this first night, I noticed and remembered how close the train was, both there and back.  It was a great blessing to not be a minute late and miss it.

Random facts and other things:
·         It feels like it was just 2-3 days ago that I was in here emailing.  The days are already starting to zoom by. 
·         There are four missionaries in our District. 
·         While we only had one progressing investigator when I arrived here, we are now up to five!
·         I sleep like a log every night, and long for when I'll be able to sleep in until 9:00am again.
·         I cooked eggs again.  I'm getting better, but still have room to improve. J
·         I found a street on Saturday called "Ship Street"
·         Missionaries in Hungary do less streeting and tracting than most missions I think.  It just doesn't seem as effective here, but I'm hoping that will change with the hundreds of fliers we put together.  Instead of streeting, we've been focusing our energy into strengthening the Branch.  In addition to trying to get referrals and help from the members here, we're also really trying to just keep them active.  From what I've heard, within the past couple years, the Branch here has shrunk from 80-90 to the 25-30 it is today!

That's it for my email today.  I look forward to reading all of your letters and responding next week.

Love you all,


Shipp Elder

No comments:

Post a Comment