Monday, March 26, 2012

26 March 2012 Letter (Budapest)

Monday, 19 MarchI am tired, sore, and happy.  Currently Elder Reese and I are in the “Celestial Room” at the Mission Home.  Our apartment is being painted for 3-5 days and we can hardly do anything there.  All the rooms, along with the things in them, are taped and wrapped up.  Today was a good P-Day.  Emailing went well, and we played two hours of basketball, but the true highlight and miracle was a cave tour.  We went in a group of six on a cave adventure and three hour tour of climbing, sliding, army crawling, belly crawling, flailing, and shimmying.  Almost the whole tour was incredibly small and narrow, and sometimes impossibly so.  There was one hole named ‘Winnie the Pooh’.  Only Elder Abram and I attempted it, and neither of us succeeded.  Unexaggerating, it was about the size of a piece of paper with about 1 ½ inches added to the width.  I got further, but still got stuck just below the hip bones.  They tried pulling me through, but couldn’t; so a few of them had to get on both sides, and with one pushing, two pulling, and me flailing, I slid back out.  My hips are both bruised and sore.  I very much sympathize with ‘Pooh Bear’ on a much higher level than I ever could have before.  All I have to show for our adventure are a few pictures, some bruises, and a giant blister on each foot that have me a little annoyed.  Still, that was some of the most fun I’ve had in Hungary.  Crazily enough, they have an extreme tour and an expert adventure tour that we didn’t go on.  The cave is 29 kilometers, and also contains an underground lake.  We never saw the lake, and only traveled through a fraction of the tunnels.  I can only imagination what might be in the rest of the cave.  That’s it for today.  A week from today we will have received transfer calls.  Wonder if I’m staying.

Tuesday, 20 March
Today we had two programs.  The first was with A1.  With A2 having been passed off to the Kispest Elders, A1 is by far our most promising investigator.  The second lesson was with a new investigator.  She’s meeting for English lessons.  I’m not sure how far we’ll be able to progress with her.  (As a side note: the painting of our apartment continues; we’re still in the Mission Home for now.)  We spent the rest of the day tracting, but met with no success.  However, I did get a small miracle out of it.  I found a Csengo, and then talked to a man named “Lehmann”.  He wasn’t interested.  So, after two and a half millennia, Laman still isn’t ready to hear and embrace the gospel.  Oh what a fun miracle and coincidence it would have been, to have been able to say that I converted and baptized Lehmann and brought the gospel of Jesus Christ to his descendants at long last.  I guess some people are just never (or almost never) ready.

Wednesday, 21 March
So, yesterday I found “Lehmann,” but today I found: Ismail (the first guy I tracted into), Amon, Mozes, Szent (holy/Saint) Peter, and Poo-Poos.  We also spent a good amount of time streeting, tracting, and flyering ‘Bimbo Street’.  However, we learned that bimbos will be bimbos, and none of them were at all open to the gospel.  Now, as both a Lord of the Rings fan and a Missionary, I can agree that I like ‘Bilbo’s more than ‘Bimbo’s.  Three other things happened today:  Elder Reese and I spent two or so hours this morning helping a member move.  The three of us, with one other additional person, filled a van with several cabinets, couches, desks, chairs, ect.  That, the caves, and basketball have resulted in a decent workout this week.  Our only program was a bit different than usual.  We joined a small group of international students at a café for a Hungarian group discussion.  While we didn’t get to do any kind of formal lesson, we did have the opportunity to answer a slew of questions.  Today’s miracle is learning we will be able to move back into our apartment tomorrow.  The painters are almost done.
P.S.  There is one last thing: in the group discussion, the other three that were there at the start were all from America, studying here for graduate school, and all three of them have been majoring in Mathematics.  Apparently there’s a pretty prestigious program here in Budapest.  I’ll have to look up more later.

Thursday, 22 March
Today was a little different.  We helped a member this morning for nearly three hours as she carried, made, and baked nearly two meals for 30 people (there was an international faculty manager training).  We then had a District Meeting, followed by returning to the kitchen and getting some of the leftovers for a late lunch.  Our apartment is done at last, so we also spent a couple hours moving back; and since the workers were kind enough to not clean anything, we had the privilege of moving the furniture back to their places, cleaning, sweeping, and mopping.  Our only program today dogged.  Last of all, and my miracle, I found my two favorite Hungarian words: ‘ukmukfukk’ (in not time; just like that), and ‘cipofuzopocok’ (shoelace tip).

Friday, 23 March
Today we had splits with Elder Lindelof, our Zone Leader.  I got the package sent home.  We received and met with a referral and new investigator today.  He’s an orphan (adult) from Mexico, who came to Hungary one month ago; speaks Spanish, is semi-self-taught in English, and doesn’t know any Hungarian.  He’s asked that we teach him both English and Hungarian so that he can get a job here.  I’m excited to teach him and see how it goes.  We got another 1600 fliers copied while on splits.  In the evening was a baptism.  It is only the third one I’ve seen since coming here.  The three of us made and brought coconut balls.  That’s all I have today.  My miracle is our new investigator.

Saturday, 24 March
Daylight Savings takes effect tonight.  I’m not looking forward to getting up an hour earlier.  I’m half-way through Isaiah in my scripture reading now.  I have found a couple hundred parts to mark and highlight.  Elder Reese and I gave out over 800 fliers and cards today.  Our Correlation Meeting was cancelled again.  Last of all we had some miraculous meetings today.  We had our first actual Angolora.  Only three people showed up; however, because it was such a small group, we got away with having a 45 minute spiritual thought/lesson, rather than the usual 5-10 minute one at the end.  Afterwards we met with F for an hour and a half, gave him a Spanish Book of Mormon, and told him we’d like to bring A4 next time (as A4 knows Spanish, English, and Hungarian).  He should be a great help in our programs.  It’s basically the equivalent of 11:30 now, so I’m off to bed. Good night.

Sunday, 25 March
Today was Fast Sunday, which is always fun, although on my mission I haven’t minded it half as much as before.  We went on short, half-day splits with the AP’s, most of which was taken up by Church.  I’m in Jeremiah now, and only have twenty-five days to go if I wish to read all the standard works in 40 days.  I found a giant, metal apple core today.  It reminded me of the Nyiregyhaza apple.  We met with a new woman.  She was full of questions.  My miracle is that transfer calls are tomorrow.

Monday, 26 March (Part 1:::: Transfer Calls)
Transfer calls came this morning.  Just a quick rundown: I’ll be staying with Elder Reese, which I am excited about; our new Zone Leader will be Elder Carlsen, and the new AP will be Elder Austin.  Those leaving in our districts are Elder Anderson and Sister Mills, and two new greenies will be taking both of their places.  – Buda, you are still my home for the next six weeks.  J

That’s about all the news I have for now.


Shipp Elder

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Monday, March 19, 2012

19 March 2012 Letter (Budapest)

Monday, 12 March
Only a couple scattered thoughts for today.  First off, our apartment has been the worst with bugs on my mission thus far.  I end up squishing one or two almost every day (…and have yet to get a single bug bite).  Elder Masters and S spent the day with us, as S had to come to Budapest to work on Visa preparations so he can go to the United States in 3 weeks.  In the evening we went with the Sisters to get gyroses.  Today was not a P-Day as we have a Super P-Day on the 15th.  Our only program was with a man, T.  He claims to have read the Book of Mormon all the way through, but says he can't agree with our church mostly because we use water instead of wine in the Sacrament.  He then talked about Global Warming and a giant, secret ocean under Hungary and most of central Europe that other governments know about and are going to conquer Hungary to get it.  After the first five minutes, and hearing him say that he'd read the Book of Mormon, I couldn't stop thinking about Elder Christofferson’s talk when he spoke of the Book of Mormon being a filter.  I think it filtered this man right out of consideration to continue.  My one miracle for the program was that after the closing prayer he relaxed and things became a lot more peaceful.  Prayer really is amazing in many instances.

Tuesday, 13 March
One dog and one program again.  We met with A again, at the Mission Home this time, where we learned he is a member of the Baha'i faith (and has been a practicing member for ten years); we also learned that at one point in the past he committed to baptism.  Today's lesson focused on Families, on our roles as Missionaries, and the role of the Church in our lives.  We both felt like it went amazing, and at the end A said he'd come to Sacrament Meeting.  We made many series of calls from the old teaching and finding records again, but had no success.  Also, both of our streeting finds from the other day were false phone numbers.  Phooey.  Well, it's almost 10:30.  Our program was today's miracle.

Wednesday, 14 March
Not much happened today.  Elders Wiscombe and Snyder are here right now and are going to be sleeping over for the Super P-Day tomorrow.  We finally got a couple thousand Angolora fliers printed out.  My miracle today is that I'm already in the Book of Joshua with my reading.

Thursday, 15 March (Nine Month Mark, Super P-Day, Anneliese's Birthday, and a National Holiday of Hungary)
Yep, today was a lot of things.  Today is one of Hungary's main holidays, celebrating their revolution in 1848 against the Austrian Empire.  Elder Reese and I went with Elder Wiscombe, Elder Snyder, and Ingred to Parliament.  It was my first time in the building, and unfortunately, they had everything roped off with the exception of a single hallway to the Crown Room and back.  Afterwards, we went to a really nice buffet called Trofea's and met up with 14-or-so other Missionaries.  How I wish tomorrow was Fast Sunday.  I haven't felt this stuffed since the time Elder Moffett and I went up against a Neni in Nyiregyhaza.  Once we finished eating, we dragged ourselves and our inflated stomachs over to Buda Castle.  That is still by far my favorite thing I've seen in Hungary.  Between the Castle and Parliament, I took over two hundred pictures.  We ended by going to the Mission Home and watching “Meet the Robinson's” in Hungarian.  It has been a long P-Day and I'm thoroughly exhausted, tired, and ready for bed. Still, I really enjoyed today.

Friday, 16 March (200th Day in Hungary)
Yay!  Today is my 200th day in Magyarorszag.  It sure doesn't feel like that long.  Today we met with an older woman named E.  Unfortunately, despite her claims that The Book of Mormon is true, she says her family has always been Catholic and she can't imagine ever leaving it.  Elder Reese and I went to Institute here for the first time since A came.  Afterwards was Gofri Est.  The Post Office and many other companies are still closed as a result of the holiday.  Anyways, the 200th day was the miracle.

Saturday, 17 March (Saint Patrick's Day)
I wore my greenest tie today.  I didn't really see anyone else, civilians or Missionaries, do anything for it though.  We tried to hold our first Angolora today, but not a single person came.  Our only other program cancelled.  We spent some time flyering and some time cleaning the Mission Home.  There was no correlation meeting tonight.  Last of all, and my miracle today: I'm now at First Kings in the Bible.  While reading near the end of Second Samuel, when it talks of David's return to the throne and Jerusalem, the MP3 player played the last verse of "Redeemer of Israel".  The hymn of inheriting celestial glory and returning to God made the tale of David's final return so much more meaningful and more symbolic.

Sunday, 18 March
Today our only program dogged.  We spent a couple hours cleaning and moving furniture in preparation for painters to come for the next 3-5 days.  I'm into Second Kings.  Today contained an unusual, but good miracle: A came to Sacrament Meeting.  Hopefully it's a sign of good things to come.

Sok Szeretettel,

Shipp Elder

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19 March 2012 Pictures (Budapest)

Backside of the Parliament Building

Soldiers guarding the Holy Crown of Hungary

St Matthias's Cathedral

Buda Castle

St. Istvan's Basilica

The Guys in Our Group (and the Parliament Building behind) along the
Danube River (Donau, Dunaj, Dunărea, Donava, Duna, Dunav, Tuna, Дунав River)

Monday, March 12, 2012

12 March 2012 Letter (Budapest)

This week, since the whole mission had gathered to hear Elder Christofferson, we decided to do Mission Pictures with all the missionaries in Hungary.  This is the first time in at least six years that this has happened, with all the Hungarian Missionaries.  Hope you enjoy the picture.  (I'm in the very, very top right.)  Now on to the blog…

Saturday, March 3
Elder Reese and I started our morning today by meeting with one of his past investigators in Pest.  We then met with A for about fifteen minutes before taking him to attend and watch two baptisms at the Mission Home.  It was good for A to see what baptism is like.  (They were also the first two baptisms I’ve seen while on my mission.)  After the baptisms, we all rushed over to Pest for the Open House.  It was my first time at the Tihany Ter building.  It is big, and pretty nice.  There, we had choir practice for about thirty minutes, then performed for another forty-five minutes.  All together we sang ten songs.  The finale was a trio.  (Earlier I wrote it was a duet; however, I learned that the third singer just wasn’t able to be at the practices.)  Lilla did one verse of the song solo, then I did one solo, then all three of us did the last two in harmony.  It went really, really well.  I’m not a performer in anything other than fencing; however, I thought it was a great ending and really enjoyed it.  It was my miracle today.  Afterwards, I got more compliments for singing than quite probably everything else on my mission combined.  The Open House was a success.  Everyone enjoyed it.  Forty-three investigators showed up along with lots of members.  We finished our evening with Correlation Meeting.

Sunday, March 4
Today was Fast Sunday.  Our one program dogged.  Tomorrow is looking like a tightly packed P-Day.  Elders Payne and Wright are staying with us tonight.

Monday, March 5
Today took up a lot of energy.  This morning we started by shopping.  (Each week, inflation becomes more obvious.  A lot of foods and other items have increased between 20% - 40% since I entered the country.)  We went with a group of Missionaries to the Chinese Piac (Market).  After the market, Elder Reese and I took off to an address I had found to get Ladybaby and Bangs!. While I had my suspicions, I wasn’t sure until we arrived that the place was the actual factory where they make and ship the games to retailers.  They told me that they generally only do mass shipments to retail and department stores, and don’t sell to individuals; but they realized I was American and didn’t want to send me elsewhere, so they ended up selling me the games.  My miracle today was that by going straight to the manufacturing company, I avoided any shipping and handling costs and the retail markup; so I bought the games for less than one third of the usual price.  Because I could get them for the equivalent of $4, I bought two.  In the evening we made a trip up to Janos Hegy, an outlook overlooking Budapest.  It’s the highest point in the Budapest area, and has a fun tower at the top.  While trying to get up there, we went the wrong way and ended up hiking straight up the very steep face of the hill.  Once we actually made it to the top, it was a lot more enjoyable. 

Tuesday, March 6
It was a shorter day today.  We did a little brainstorming to try to get Angolora advertised, saw a strange bird that I’ve never seen before with an even stranger call, and met with A again.  This time, we walked along both sides of the Duna for almost two hours while talking.  While he likes and admires our Church, it is hard to tell how open he actually is to joining it.  Admiration is not enough to qualify for or to obtain baptism.  Our only program, and my miracle today, was with A.  Unlike usual, today he asked that we do half English and half Gospel.  After the lesson we went out to dinner with him at a Turkish restaurant.  The food was amazing and much more authentic than any other Turkish place I’ve been (and there are many, many more Turkish places here than you could ever find in the States).  At the end of dinner, he insisted that he must order some Turkish Tea for us to try.  However, upon inquiring, we learned it was nearest to Black Tea.  We briefly, and very quickly, told him that Joseph Smith received a revelation called the “Word of Wisdom”, from which we learn that we should not drink coffee, black or green or white tea, alcohol, or use tobacco or drugs.  After just that, with no invitation or pressure, A replied, “That sounds really smart.  I don’t think I should do those anymore.  You guys really don’t drink coffee?  Well, I guess I shouldn’t either.”  Just like that, we had a miracle.  Without us doing hardly anything, our investigator committed to live the Word of Wisdom.  What a miracle and a good way to end the day.

Wednesday, March 7
Today Elder Christofferson came and spoke to all of us.  Elder Reese and I got to attend a devotional for all the Missionaries in the afternoon and a fireside for everyone in the evening.  At both, President and Sister Kapishka (the Area President) spoke, followed by Sister and Elder Christofferson.  In the Missionary Session, Elder Christofferson began by asking us to come up one by one, shake his hand, and tell him our names and where we were from.  President Kapishka spoke to us about “Baptizing Our Replacements”.  He read from the ending of Matthew 9, told us we need to visualize our goals each day because “we find what we see”, and we need to see and find a generation of Hungarian Missionaries.  Sister Kapishka spoke very vividly and enthusiastically about the importance of understanding and interpreting the feelings we each receive from the Holy Spirit.  Sister Christofferson shared her thoughts on the love we must have for the Hungarian people.  Elder Christofferson did a Q & A session with all of us, in which he began with a bit of humor, saying: “I don’t know about the Three Nephites.  They never call, they don’t write, so don’t even bother asking about them.”  There were parts that really stuck out to me.  “We do not need perfection, but rather repentance.”  Concerning worthiness for members and non-members to partake of the sacrament: the sacrament is a renewing of baptism, and therefore requires the same things: Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and Repentance.  Last of all, and most interestingly, an understanding of tithing is the best and most efficient way to stop or overcome inactivity.  An understanding of the sacrifice, the blessings and principles behind it, is the way to remain closest in maintaining activity within the Church.  To end his talk, Elder Christofferson shared a story of when his father was unemployed.  They had savings and were doing fine materially; however, he would hear his Mother pray that his Father would get a job; not to buy material things, or even food, but instead so that they could have an income from which they could pay tithing, to show their willingness, dedication, and obedience to the Law of Tithing, and receive the blessings from Heaven. 

In the fireside, there were hundreds (or more) filling the Chapel, overflow, gym, and two other rooms beyond capacity.  Luckily for me, our Ward Choir performed “All Creatures of Our God and King” at the start of the meeting, granting me a reserved seat in the second row.  There were a few outside of our Ward that joined the Choir, and one of the two men was Elder Nealy.  He and I got positioned right in the front and middle of the group, directly in front of both the microphone and Elder Christofferson.  During the fireside, the same speakers went in the same order.  President Kapishka spoke of how, in today’s world, we stone our Prophets by selection, indifference, and rejection.  He quoted the Savior’s “O Jerusalem”, and other scriptures, on how “God will leave your house” when you hearken not to His servants.  He also spoke of how Prophets lead by example, and referenced President Monson’s biography “To the Rescue”.  Sister Kapishka also talked about Prophets, Apostles, and other priesthood leaders, leading by example.  One hilarious part was when she talked about how polite Elder Christofferson is and how he always compliments her, making her feel special; to which Elder Christofferson said, outside of hearing to everyone except the very front rows (Yay Choir!): “You are special”; which made Sister Kapishka go a little red while talking.  Sister Christofferson shared an experience of when she played the piano amateurishly back in Nashville, but a professional accompanied her and made it sound much more beautiful.  She related this experience to how much higher we can reach with the Lord’s accompaniment and help.  Elder Christofferson shared a quick story about his track team in New Jersey, and then he promised the congregation that the First Presidency and Apostles think and pray about us at their temple session each Tuesday.  He asked that we pray for each other and take time each day to try to feel everyone else’s prayers for each of us.  Elder Christofferson then spent the rest of his time speaking of Joseph Smith and the Savior; of their trials, their sufferings, and a few of the many blessings each of us have because of them.  Elder Christofferson discussed the recently published “Scholar’s Bible”; how it doubted, through voting, that Jesus would ever say that he is the Christ and the Son of God.  He warned us that many in the world are sadly beginning to doubt the divinity of the Messiah.  He closed with his testimony (during which some of the congregation, along with the translator, began to cry).  At the end, he said he had ten minutes, and asked that all the children come forward, that he would shake their hands before departing.  I will let you, the reader, decide which part should be the miracle today.  In the evening, we went with Elder Wiscombe and Elder Snyder to get dinner, then we came back and crashed.  Wiscombe and Snyder are staying the night with us, and then heading back to Pecs in the morning.  That’s it for now; time to bring this lengthy entry to a close and go to bed.

Thursday, March 8
Well, today we were hoping for four programs.  Two dogged and the other two rescheduled.  Once again, to show that we never miss an opportunity to get cancelled on, we had been asked by the Zone Leaders and the APs to go on splits with each of them.  Today, both companionships called and canceled both sets of splits, leaving us with six failed activities today, and us having been cancelled on by the ZLs and the APs thrice now.  Man, we are skilled.  In other news, I did actually have three good things and a miracle happen today.  While streeting for nearly four hours, I found a csengo (doorbell) labeled “Avatar Aang”. J  During the communism rule over Eastern Europe, the communists started an international holiday that is still celebrated and was today: “Women’s Day”.  Oddly enough, they never organized a “Men’s Day”, and “Women’s Day” has turned into a second Valentine’s Day.  Last of all, we finally talked to all the other missionaries and leaders so that Elder Reese and I can get an Angolora (English) Class going.  We’ll begin holding Kezdo and Halando (Beginner and Advanced) class every Saturday afternoon starting two weeks from now.  That’s all for today; I’m tired.

Friday, March 9
It’s a miracle.  All three of our programs showed up!  The first was D.  He was the first guy who rescheduled yesterday.  We spoke in English the whole time and walked along the Pest side of the Duna.  One of the main topics we discussed was the Word of Wisdom, and he was surprised to learn that neither of us gets offended or annoyed whenever someone else offers us a beer.  Our second meeting was with E.  We met at her apartment, helped her move some things, cleaned some high places she couldn’t reach, and replaced five light bulbs before sitting down and talking with her.  The last meeting was with Z.  We climbed around all the sides of Gellert Hegy, stopping at a surprising amount of lookout points and hidden towers and benches.  At one point, Z and I climbed up a good section of the face of the mountain.  Elder Reese ended up taking the trail around and meeting us at the top.  After a half hour or so, ironic to our conversation with D earlier today, Z pulled out a beer.  We ended up talking to him about the Word of Wisdom as well.  He said he’s never done, nor well ever do, drugs or tobacco.  Even better though was a great discussion we had at the top of the hill on families and the gospel.  We spent a good amount of time conversing about our own personal goals, dreams, strengths, and weaknesses.  I really enjoyed it.  Altogether, I can say it went amazingly well.  We all had fun; the views were fantastic and magnificent; and we all got to know each other better.  Throughout the experience we actually taught the entire first lesson, referenced the third, and taught parts of the fourth lesson, such as the Ten Commandments, following the prophets, obedience, and the Word of Wisdom.  To top off the day, I came up with a spiritual thought about being worthy to be a vessel of “the voice of the Lord”; as well as having the small material miracle of finding three new kinds of Milka, one of which has Pop Rocks in it.  I haven’t had those in forever!

Saturday, March 10
We had two programs today.  The first was with an old Bacsi who we tracted.  We didn’t get invited into his apartment, but we talked on the porch for some forty minutes.  It was pretty cool to learn that he is a World War I veteran.  The second program was with A.  We finally had a pass-over program, giving him to the Kispest Elders.  He promised to attend Church tomorrow, and was as golden and awesome as always.  This morning, we spent two hours cleaning our apartment.  We still need to mop, but we managed to do everything else.  My miracle today was that I’m trying to get through all the Standard Works by the end of my one-year mark.  So, today I read the first forty chapters of Genesis.  I highlighted a lot of cool things and got a fairly good chuckle about an insight into the story of Joseph in Egypt and Potiphar’s wife.  That’s it for today.  Good Night!

Sunday, March 11
I’m already into Leviticus; that’s my miracle.  Attended church today, and received a few more compliments about singing.  The investigator we handed over to the Kispest Elders went to their Branch meetings.  Elder Reese and I made a few more calls out of the Area Book, and got a bunch of emails ready for tomorrow.  Last of all, it rained today for the first time in a couple of weeks.

That’s about it.  I love you all and will talk to you next week.

Sok Szeretettel,
Shipp Elder

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12 March 2012 Pictures (Budapest)

Missionaries of the Hungary Budapest Mission

Monday, March 5, 2012

5 March 2012 Letter (Budapest)

I wanted to try doing a couple extra things on the computer today.  So I may not get time to do all the blog posts. We'll see if I can make it in time.

Monday, February 27
Today started out with shopping, followed by lunch with the B’s at TGI Fridays. We then went laser tagging with the rest of our Zone. (Out of the twelve, I averaged 4th.) On the way there I found my small miracle. While crossing the street I saw a guy in full fencing equipment: wearing knickers, sweats, jacket and carrying an epee and small bag. I’m guessing a fencing center is in that area somewhere. It made me really want to fence. Still, laser tagging was super fun. Emailing was a mess. There was a huge argument and mess caused by a guy there getting viruses on multiple computers while the man at the front desk was on Facebook not paying attention. The manager was not happy. Then the Police showed up to make sure things went smoothly. Afterwards, since they were there, they decided to check everyone’s passport.

Tuesday, February 28
Today started out looking like it would be a very successful day. Then the snow came. Between this morning and this afternoon, it put down about three inches of snow. While I was OK with it, our investigators were not. We had two programs dog us, another two cancel, and we went to meet a fifth investigator only to find their address didn’t exist. Well, our busiest day fell through, but we still have three programs scheduled for tomorrow. My miracle is that the snow stopped, so hopefully tomorrow we can actually meet with people.

Wednesday, February 29
We met with a middle-age man named P from the Area Book. He is a Policeman, married, and has a young son. He was very polite and said he does believe us and in The Book of Mormon, and that it’s a great message. However, he said he doesn’t feel like he needs to come to church or needs the blessings of tithing, the word of wisdom, or anything. He said he’s happy, in good health, financially stable, and pretty content with his life. While that is great for him at the moment, he doesn’t seem to realize that if we always wait until we need the blessings, many times it may be too late. (Quick note: today was sunny, bright, and fairly warm – high 40’s to low 50’s, which was very convenient for the next thing.) Our second program was with another man named A. He’s originally from the States. While he obtained a degree in Mathematics and Psychology, he actually has been here the past twenty years working as a journalist and language professor. He’s a member of many volunteer moral and ethnic groups, and supports the purpose and message of the missionaries and the Church. Rather than a formal program, we walked around Buda Castle with him, talking for two hours. The weather was beautiful, and the architecture even more so, and the views were stunning.  I am definitely going back there sometime and going very, very picture crazy.  That’s by far my favorite place in Hungary.  I really wished my family and friends could’ve been there.  Maybe someday I’ll get the chance to bring some of them here.  The experience was easily my miracle (although this morning’s events were a miracle as well).  Our third and fourth programs, both with new people, dogged.  So we ended with 50% meeting us.  This evening we spent in choir practice, and for about half of it, Elder Reese and I were the only Missionaries.  I’ve received a lot of compliments on my voice, especially when singing bass.  I have never really received may compliments on my voice before coming out here.  They liked it enough that I’ll be performing a duet of “I Know that My Redeemer Lives” with Lilla, a young woman in the Ward with a truly beautiful and soft voice.  I’ve never been a very good performer in anything other than fencing.  I always get too stressed and it weakens or interferes with my performance.  Yet, I feel somewhat honored and thankful for this chance to sing hymns to our Lord with her.  (Although, I’m sure if I was in the audience, I would have enjoyed it too.)  I will be the first to admit that I was glad Lilla was there.  It’s a lot easier and “funner” for me to perform together than alone.  Finally, we saw the setting-apart of a young man as a Missionary to go serve in Germany.  It was great to see the next Hungarian Missionary.

Thursday, March 1
Hey! We’re into March now! So, today was extremely unusual, but I enjoyed it. To start, generally it’s our investigators that dog and cancel on us, but this time we called and cancelled our programs with three of them. The only program we met with was with A in the evening. It was awesome. He brought all sorts of questions, along with Turkish Delight. I’m sure anyone reading this is probably wondering why we would cancel our programs. It is because we, along with eight other Elders, spent over seven hours, from 11:00am to almost 7:00pm, helping unload, sort, stack, and package 495 wheelchairs, over 700 crutches, along with several dozen boxes of arm braces, canes, and walkers. It was much more physical than most missionary work. Last of all, I called Elders Peterson and Remy to wish them good luck on The Book of Mormon Art Show. Unfortunately, two of the largest parts have already fallen through. My miracle today was learning that within the past two or three days the Church was added to the list of fourteen officially recognized religions in Hungary.

Friday, March 2
Well, we are back to our regular schedule. All four of our lessons dogged today. One of them was even the same guy twice, who we called half an hour before. He said he was definitely coming, then fifteen minutes after the scheduled time had passed, he still wasn’t there, so we called again. He repeatedly apologized and said he would come an hour later. An hour and one half came and went. When we tried calling, we learned he had blocked our phone. How politely civilized of him. L In the afternoon we journeyed to the library that had granted us permission to teach private English lessons, but when we got there we heard the verbal fine print and discovered that would never work. Just to show how efficiently thorough we are, we were supposed to go on splits with the Zone Leaders tonight, and even that fell through and was cancelled! The one activity and effort that went through today was Choir Practice. We perform tomorrow at the Open House. Separately, I learned that the first night of the Book of Mormon Art Show failed in Szekesfehervar. That was really sad to hear.

That’s all of the time I have. I’ll email you again next week. Hope you are all well.


Shipp Elder

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