Monday, October 3, 2011

3 October 2011 Letter (Nyiregyhaza)

It's October!  (I think in the future, when I have more stories, or at least can understand more of what's going on around me, I might change the style of my entries to more of a weekly overview with a spiritual though instead of these excerpts of my daily journal entries.  While I could start doing short spiritual thoughts, the experiences are something that is still in the process).  Anyways, I'll figure out if I'm going to change that or not later, in the future.

Monday, 26 September
I went whipping for the first time today.  I can get the whips to crack, but still have a lot to learn.  Next time I plan on taping my wrists, as half of my wrist is now yellow and purple.  I also have two nice lashes on my right shoulder and just above my elbow.  I'm sure I'll get progressively better each time I do it.  Lastly today, my companion and I set a goal to try to increase our obedience by choosing three rules each week to find ways to follow more closely.

Tuesday, 27 September
Today we taught two investigators.  I don't have much to say about either lesson, other than that we failed to extend the planned commitments in either one.  We went tabling today, and at the end two kids came up asking us for money.  After they pretended to cry and act pitiful, we told them we had none, but told them about the Book of Mormon, and gave them one after hearing them say they read the Bible regularly (which they did have some knowledge of the scriptures.  By the way, it was two 12-year-old boys).  At the end, they turned around and found that their Mom and Dad had happened to walk into the park, see them, and had been standing behind them since the second half of their "crying for money" scene.  They were both very surprised and there was a bit of an awkward silence.  It made us all laugh later.  Anyways, we figured we made the best of that situation, and who knows, maybe since their parents were standing there nearly the whole time listening in (we didn't know it was their parents until the kids turned around and they started talking), they heard our message as well, saw us be nice to their sons, and maybe they'll take a slight interest in the church, or read the Book of Mormon we gave their sons.  Truth be told, you never know.  Today a miracle was having a teenager join me, my companion, and a member while playing soccer.  He played with us for almost an hour, and then spent over an hour talking.  He said he'd come the Branch Activity on Saturday, and seemed to enjoy spending the evening with us.  Hopefully we'll see him again.

Wednesday, 28 September
Today was a much better day.  I'm on splits again; this time with one of our Zone Leaders.  It's been interesting and good to work with him for a day.  He's on month 23, and will be going home in a month and a half.  We had three lessons planned today, but no one showed up for the first two.  The third was a great, short, simple, and spiritual message (and we stayed on topic the whole time).  Lastly, we went tabling for 3 hours, and got two finds out of it.  My miracle of the day was communicating with the others more often and better than I usually do.  Hopefully I can continue to push and grow.

Thursday, 29 September
I left the MTC a month ago.  So far, things are going great.  Today we had a full schedule.  My companion and I finished our splits this morning and went to teach an investigator.  It went well, and we learned that he's read a fair amount of the Book of Mormon.  Upon finishing his lesson, we were approached by a girl on the street who said she's from Washington State, and would like to meet and talk some time.  We taught another investigator, and had an unplanned discussion on the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom.  In our third meeting of the day, we taught about tithing and followed up on the commitments for keeping the Sabbath Day holy.  She said she won't have a problem with tithing, but that it is hard for her to attend all three hours of Sacrament Meeting.
Angolora went well and contains my miracle for today.  We had a small group.  The cool part was they stayed for half an hour extra to continue talking.  Out of the hour and a half I told them about many parts of the gospel, and only 5-10 minutes were not focused on the gospel.  That's it for today.  Currently on splits.

Friday, 30 September
Splits are over again.  I'm tired and ready to sleep so I'm going to make today's short.  We taught one lesson and tabled for 3 1/2 hours during which we got four finds.  I memorized 22 verses of scripture today.  Also, tomorrow is the big activity that I'm really hoping is successful.  In the last three days, more lessons have fallen through than succeeded.  Last of all, today I read many conference talks, and nearly all were on the Atonement or on Love, both of which were good for me to hear.  They really are both basic, yet important fundamentals in the gospel.

Saturday, 1 October
I'm still tired...oh well, today was a good day.  This morning we spent two hours harvesting Sunflowers.  It was a unique and memorable experience.  They were all ridiculously tall (8-10 feet) and we were working in a large field full of them.  The beautiful part about them was when the seeds would all be covered with yellow balls of flowers.  There were so many (one per seed) and looked like golden raindrops as we brushed them off.  However, on the older sunflowers, the balls of petals had fallen off and left little spikes.  They actually made my hand bleed in three places.  At first everyone would bend the stocks down to reach the flowers at the top to harvest them, but I took my sickle (yes, I had a sickle) and started felling them in one blow, which allowed me to work 2-3 times as fast as anyone else.  I felt like a pro.  Also, a fair amount of the flowers themselves were nearly a cubit in length (almost 1 1/2 feet).  Afterwards we came back, made brownies, and went to the activity at the Branch House.  There weren't many members there, and only one of our investigators attended.  We watched the Other Side of Heaven, ate desserts, and talked to everyone.  The miracle of the day was the uniqueness and beauty of the Sunflowers.  Also, another fun miracle was that I saw my first Ladybug since starting my mission, sitting on top of a giant sunflower.  It made me sort of wish I had my camera to capture the irony.

Sunday, 2 October
General Conference was this weekend, but I didn't get to see any of it.  We'll watch the first two sessions next week instead.  We had another Fast Sunday today and an hour and a half meeting after church.  It was really hard for me to stay awake today.  During weekly planning, I discovered that my companion and I can get up to eight new investigators this week.  Hopefully it works out.  My miracle today was the great success we had in scheduling appointments for 8 of our 9 finds from last week.  (Also only 3-4 days left until my wrist should be completely recovered from whipping last week).

Lastly, everything else
How was Conference?  Did you all enjoy it?  Did you do the tradition of brie and baguettes?  I haven't gotten to see any of it yet, and although we will watch the first two sessions this coming Sunday, it will all be in Hungarian, so I won't actually understand all the Conference talks until the end of next month when we get a Liohona.

Something I found strange and funny is that the Hungarian Parliament has passed a new law concerning Churches.  Because "Church" organizations have been exempt from certain tax laws, it sounds like groups have been labeling themselves as a "church" to save money.  So, Parliament passed a law where they decide who can hold the title of "church", and have given that 'permission' to the ten oldest churches in Hungary and to the three biggest ones outside of the original ten.  So, currently, our church is not recognized as an official "church".  However, there is a petition to get us "Churchdom" that is currently being processed, and it should go through just fine.  However, if something really crazy should happen and they deny it, we'll have to change all our signs and refer to ourselves as "The Organization (or Community) of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints".

I enjoyed receiving Griffin's letter.  Sounds like he's having great experiences, miracles, and success.  I can't really say that I can match those miracles or success, although maybe there are more miracles than I can realize that I just haven't seen because of the language barrier.

Well, that's it for today.  We're going to take off and meet six other missionaries at the Zoo for the afternoon.  Supposedly, it's a fairly big and nice one.

Talk to you next week.


Shipp Elder

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