Monday, February 27, 2012

27 February 2012 Letter (Budapest)

Dear Family,

Right now there’s a big argument going on nearby.  The manager has even had to come out, and it sounds like he’s threatening to fire the front worker; and two people might end up getting thrown out of the place.  The Police just arrived.  Hopefully it doesn’t work its way in this direction.  Blaugh

Monday, 20 February
Today was my first P-Day in Buda.  We spent all day with Elders Mathews and Pendleton, and were joined by Elders Christensen and Anderson and Sisters Skiba and Mills for half of it.  We spent some time at the “West End” mall, and wandered around to other parts of Budapest.  My miracle today was a small, free Zoo we walked through on an island in the middle of the Duna.  In the evening we went emailing, and due to the events of the day and the new schedule, I had left my letters from last week back at the apartment so I couldn’t email as much….oops!

Tuesday, 21 February
Finished the “Teachings of Wilford Woodruff” today, but haven’t been able to find one for Lorenzo Snow; I’m not even sure it exists.  We made calls out of the old Finding Sheets for several hours.  Found one or two that might set up.  We also went tracting for two or three hours, but got nothing.  We tried going to a University to see about helping with English or any other opportunities, but that failed miserably.  My miracle today was finding over sixty Libraries in our II and XII District to try to contact to hold an Angolora class.  I narrowed down the list to the fifteen most promising, which we will contact tomorrow.  Last of all, I heard that Dad’s beard is coming back in full force.  I had not known.

Wednesday, 22 February
Well, the snow is all gone, as is our hope of teaching Angolora at a Library.  We managed to contact them all through calls or visits.  Only one granted us permission; but upon further inquiries and verification, we learned they only had a small room where we could seat up to three other people.  So, we might try holding some private lessons there, but I think we’ll try to organize a new Angolora on a different night at the Mission Home instead.  My miracle today was that Sister Smith invited and treated Elder Reese and me to dinner.  She’s very open, and I really enjoyed talking with her.

I have one last thing I’d like to record.  I’m not sure when the last time I wrote this was, but it’s been too long.  Perhaps I could try to blame it on my already saying it so often everyday to people while streeting or tracting; but in the end, that is no excuse, and is shameful that I haven’t written it “just one more time”.  So, enough with the slothful shame: The Church is true.  Jesus is the Christ.  The Book of Mormon and the Bible are his words.    God loves us.  The Plan of Salvation was made for each and every one of us.  We can all, any and every one, partake of eternal life.  Shall we not go on in so great a cause?  Let us arise, and shine forth; following our Captain, in the footsteps of the ancients.

Thursday, 23 February
Today we met with a man named A who we managed to set-up from the Area Book.  Like the Area Book said, we met with him; and he has a testimony; he’s read the Book of Mormon, as well as prayed about it; however, his wife and family have always been openly and aggressively against it.  To not cause too big of problems with his wife, he had told her this was the only time he would meet with us and mostly to say “Hello”.  So, we’re not quite sure how to get through, but we gave him a lot of reading material that he can learn from without us, hoping his family doesn’t confiscate or burn it.  We had also arranged one other program with another new person, but he dogged us.  We tried streeting for 2-3 hours, but it was a near failure with only a single email we managed to receive.

Today I came up with a short analogy comparing life to the seasons of the year.  When a new year is born, it starts partially through winter.  In this fresh state of our lives, things are white and simple; it is also harder to get places and we aren’t able to do as much as the other seasons and the rest of our lives.  We then advance to the next season: the Springtime of our Youth.  During this time, we begin to bud, grow, and develop.  This is the first time that individual color and variety begin to appear in the world.  Then comes Summer with its full days, often of intense heat.  Whereas in Spring the weather was a rolling, mild calm, and school was in session, people were learning and preparing; in Summer things are in full bloom.  School is over, and the entire day is open to work.  The public is often outside, and the world is often hot.  Then comes Fall, the retirement.  You begin to rest from your labors with age, and watch as a new school-year starts for the next generation.  Finally, last of all, the year ends with the second half of winter.  Like the winter of birth at the start of the year, things become more basic and simple.  You aren’t able to do as much, get around as fast, and the days are continually getting shorter with your going to bed earlier.  Until, at last, Winter, the year, and life ends.

I met the new senior couple going to Szekes: the Cromars.  Within a few moments of talking to him, I learned he went to Pleasant Grove High School, and told him I did the same.  I asked him if he knew my grandparents.  He said he knew both.  He also said something about Royal West, but I wasn’t familiar with that name.  Still, it was cool to talk to him.

My miracle today was having the opportunity to meet with A, even if his wife didn’t want us to.

Friday, 24 February
Today was Zone Conference and Interviews.  It was the first time that I didn’t have to travel for it.  It also seemed to go by quicker than usual.  President Baughman gave the training, focusing on Chapter Two in “Preach My Gospel”, which I really enjoyed.  I also thoroughly enjoyed Elder Saunder’s short training about our online resources.  I’m glad to see someone much more competent than I really working on it, trying to improve and spread it.  It’s already beginning to work.  Last of all and my miracle today: in the evening, Elder Reese and I were assigned to give the spiritual thought at Gofri Est.  While there weren’t any Gofri’s (waffles), it was really cool to have the chance to go.  There were 20 or so youth there, and I got to talk with a few of them.

Saturday, 25 February
This morning I slept through the alarm…oops!  Many more phone calls today, and we managed to schedule two more programs and possibly a third.  We went tracting for three hours again, but didn’t get a single number or let-in.  This evening was the first night for a “Waters of Mormon” class.  Only one investigator (for our entire district) showed up, but it went well.  My miracle was the last part, as we went around the circle and eight Missionaries (including myself) bore our testimonies.  Hopefully we made up for quantity with quality and really helped that investigator have a spiritually-uplifting experience.  We finished our evening with a meeting.  It’s past 11:00pm.  I’ve now slept in as well as stayed up late, so I’m going to go find sackcloth and ashes so that I can repent and go to bed.  Good Night!

Sunday, 26 February
Today was a crazy day for a Sunday.  I had a member come up to me before Sacrament Meeting and tell me that she brought a non-member friend, and wanted me to give him a Book of Mormon.  Now, having only been in this Ward for one Sunday, and only knowing about a generous 10% of the members, I automatically assumed the person she walked over to right after talking to me was her friend.  So, I did my Missionary duty, marched on over and began talking to him and offered him a Book of Mormon.  Those first five to ten seconds went fine until he said that he already had one, followed by “I’m a member.  I’ve been a member for 8 or 9 years.”  How do you respond to that?  The girl burst out laughing.  I awkwardly apologized; talked to him a little more to get to know him a little better, and then said it was great to meet him.  Then, the girl showed me whom she had brought.  The second try went much, much smoother.  The investigator seemed to really enjoy Church and Sacrament Meeting.  A fun miracle was that a member of the Stake Presidency came and spoke today, and right in the middle of his talk, he told everyone: “The Stake President has asked that we all feed the missionaries more.  Please feed them more often.  Invite them over to your houses; spend some time with them, and get to know them better.  You will feel more comfortable trusting your friends and family to people you know.”  Yes!  That was a very funny and nice thing to hear.  After Church, all the Missionaries, including myself, were asked to help with the Ward Choir.  Our choir will be singing at the end of the Open House for the Pest building next Saturday, and they needed the Missionaries to help and boost the number of men in the choir from 2 to 12 (to try to catch up to the women, and help it be more than just a duet).  So, we practiced singing Hungarian hymns for 2 ½ hours. Finally, I had the question come to me: “Why do Paul and some people say “Christ Jesus”?”.  The thought occurred to me that “Christ” is a title, while “Jesus” was His name; so it would be like Mr. Smith, Mrs. Anderson, Elder Shipp, Lord Cunningham, or Queen Elizabeth.  So, then the question arises, “Why do most of the Christian community say “Jesus Christ”?”  I’m still working on this one.

One week from Wednesday Elder Christofferson (of the Twelve) is coming.  I’ll get to hear him in a fireside as well as a conference he’s holding with our whole mission.  I’m looking forward to that!

Out of time.  Love you all!


Shipp Elder

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