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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