Monday, April 16, 2012

16 April 2012 Letter (Budapest)

Tuesday, 10 April
I'm currently in Kispest on splits with Elder Lindelof.  Today we had one dog, we finally made it emailing, we spent a little time cleaning Elder Christensen's apartment to prepare for his Greenie, and we had two programs.  The first was with one of Elder Christensen's investigators.  The program got started really late, so we didn't have much time, but he seemed like he was a great guy and could make some promising progress.  Our other program was with the C family, (a single mother of a teenage daughter who lives with her boyfriend, and of two young sons).  Because we showed up unannounced (we only had their address), we kept the encounter short.  They are members and rotate through cycles of activity and inactivity.  We are going back on Friday to help establish Family Night as a good and faithful habit.

Wednesday, 11 April
Today on splits we had several hours of finding accompanied by two programs.  The first was with D.  He's a relatively new investigator and had only met with the missionaries twice.  He speaks English, has been exceedingly faithful in reading the Book of Mormon (he is in 2 Nephi), and has a lot of questions.  We taught him part of the Plan of Salvation, and the entire third lesson, accompanied by an explanation of the Godhead.  At the end, we tried to offer him a baptismal date.  He didn't accept the date, but said he has a few questions he needs answered first, and that he'll continue to investigate, and if he finds that he can believe our answers, then he'll get baptized then.  Due to three programs cancelling on us, we had a lot of time to go finding, and finished by meeting with D and her grandmother.  Her grandmother has been a member for years.  D committed to baptism long ago, and knows all the lessons, and keeps the commandments, however her parents are totally against it, so she is waiting until she is 18 to get baptized.  In the meanwhile, missionaries meet with her now and again to check up on her and be a fellowshipping support.  Today we all read the story of Daniel in Babylon and compared it to the Word of Wisdom.  In the evening we split back.  Elder Christensen's Greenie, also named Elder Christensen, came this morning, so we are back to just me and Elder Reese now.  Elder Skiba's Greenie is still in the MTC for at least the next 4 weeks.  My miracle is today I found out that K from Szekes has been put on Baptismal Date.

Thursday, 12 April
So, the last post left off with the miracle of K's baptismal date, and I have today's miracle to add: four different companionships here in Budapest all committed different investigators to Baptismal Dates today.  Our companionship committed D to June 2, and the two Elders Christensen committed Z's wife (we met with her in the threesome on the 3rd) to the same date.  Yep, so, we had two programs, the first one being with D.  He brought a photo album from his youth to share with us; then afterwards, shared that he's near the end of 2 Nephi, and that he also (surprised us by having) watched "The Other Side of Heaven" and really enjoyed it.  We taught half of the Plan of Salvation as well as the third lesson; he agreed to start meeting more often; come to church each week; as well as to baptism as mentioned above.  He also asked if it's possible to move the date closer, and we decided we'll talk about the date more in a week or two.  The program with D was a very fun one to be in.  Our other program was with A.  It was a pass-over program to the Pest Elders out in the Pest building.  During the program A had read the five chapters we'd assigned him in the Book of Mormon, and we tried answering his questions.  We also went off on a huge tangent on the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Apocrypha, Fallen Angels, the Flood, and the Scroll of Enoch, all of which (with partially the exception of the flood), I know next to nothing about.  At the end we were able to get things on track enough to teach him concerning the Word of Wisdom.  He keeps all of it except for coffee on occasion.  He shared that he does try somewhat to avoid coffee, said he's already somewhat noticed that he's happier when he's not drinking it, and at the end he committed to live the Word of Wisdom.

Friday, 13 April (Friday the 13th)
For today being the 13th, it sure wasn't at all unlucky.  Today was Zone Conference for two of the Zones; and being in Buda, we went to the Mission Home and got to see all sorts of familiar faces before and after our programs.  I also got a few new songs on my MP3 Player.  We had two very active programs today.  The first was with K.  A (the first counselor in the bishopric) came.  While K was on a Baptismal Date two years ago, he didn't get baptized due to working on Sundays.  Thanks to A's fluency in Hungarian we taught K about: Adam and Eve, Christ and his birth and life, the Godhead, the Church's name, Apostasy, the Restoration (watched the video), and the history of the Book of Mormon; all of which he knew nothing about save some of the Book of Mormon's history, that Christ is our savior, and that he performed miracles.  He was absorbed in every part we (mostly A) brought up, and said he doesn't know much about all of this, but he always feels good and feels "energy" whenever he does anything that involves the Church.  He'll be interesting to continue teaching, but I'm looking forward to it.  The other program was with the C family again.  We helped the mother host their first real family home evening; took a Children's Book of Mormon to give them; read the first chapter of it together; shared a short spiritual thought; watched a Mormon Message; ate a small meal; then just talked and visited.  Both her sons are extremely energetic.  Surprisingly, both of them, though just young children are incredibly good singers, keeping rhythm, pitch, and memorizing several verses of songs.  It was quite the enjoyable evening (we were there for almost 2 hours).

Saturday, 14 April
Today is my last full day as a teenager.  That just looks weird.  We had Angolora today and broke our trend of a class-size of three, having four come instead.  The fourth member was new and we managed to set up with him.  Afterwards we helped clean the Mission Home, and helped F some more with English.  We went streeting for a while (no success), and had our Correlation Meeting.  My miracle is my journal.  This morning I read from the start until I entered Hungary.  It really is something to be able to reread several weeks of your life as told by yourself in just a matter of minutes.  One part that stood out to me was trying to read what my priorities used to be according to my past entries.  I'd say that in the past 11 months a lot has changed for the better.

Sunday, 15 April (20th Birthday)
Today was my 10th month on my mission, as well as (and more importantly) my 20th birthday.  I opened my package from Home to celebrate.  Alas, I am not a teenager anymore.  There's still way too much for me to learn and do before I could really consider calling myself an adult.  I have two things from yesterday and from today to report.  Yesterday I forgot to write that I saw my third fencer in Hungary.  Next, for today: D came to church.  He only, but amazingly, came to Sacrament Meeting.  The reason it is so cool and significant is that he was working from 7:00PM last night to 8:30AM this morning.  Church started at 10:00AM.  He postponed any sleep so he could come.  (It reminded me of K in Szekes, when she came to 9:00 Sacrament Meeting despite only getting 2~3 hours of sleep).  To those that desire the gospel, their eyes and hearts are opened, and they appear to make larger sacrifices than most members would to do, and try everything in their power to embrace it.  The second thing and my miracle (although the last one deserves to be), is that I have three days left to finish my 40 Day reading goal.

Sok Szeretettel,

Shipp Elder

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