Monday, April 23, 2012

23 April 2012 Letter (Budapest)

Monday, 16 April
I'm tired and don't have too much to write today.  We went with the Senior Sisters to T's to celebrate my birthday (they brought a cake with a giant sparkler in it.  It was pretty cool).  We also played basketball with eight others, and had dinner with the two Elders Christensen and the Sisters.  My miracle today was I learned that after six years K was released as the Branch President in Nyiregyhaza; S was made President, with V as First Counselor.

Tuesday, 17 April
Today was crazy, and unlike yesterday, I have a lot more I'd like to talk about.  Our first program was with D.  In his program, we learned that five years ago he was diagnosed with cancer and told that he'd have two to three years at best to live (with medication).  Since then, he's made an unexplainable full recovery and it has given him more motivation in why he's living and his priorities.  He's to Jacob in his reading and today we taught him the Plan of Salvation and the third lesson.  We've set up to meet again tomorrow.  Our second program was with I.  We found I from the Area Book and he really is quite one-of-a-kind.  So, I'd say by far the biggest thing others have trouble believing about the Church is anything concerning Joseph Smith, the Golden Plates, and especially the First Vision.  I is the unique opposite.  He fully believes and has a testimony that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, the First Vision really happened, Christ and Heavenly Father are separate personages, that the priesthood has been restored; also that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  So, I'm sure whoever is reading this is probably starting to wonder why he hasn't been baptized or at least been given a baptismal date?  Well, how should I put it?  He believes in Joseph Smith a little too much.  He worships, believes in, and prays to Heavenly Father, but frankly believes that Jesus Christ, the Son, is overrated; that God, of course, is necessary, but Christ, not so much.  In fact, he was very quick to tell us not just once, but two or three times that Joseph Smith did more for mankind than anyone (except God), and gave us more than Christ.  Who would've thought that a missionary would ever encounter this problem?  (…and not even with a member, but with a new investigator?!?)  We still don't know how many of the commandments he keeps, and he says he works on Sunday and doesn't need church (the Sacrament doesn't mean much when you believe in Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon more than Christ and the Atonement).  I'll just end saying it'll be interesting to continue meeting.  Other events include one dog, one cancellation, and one day more with my reading.  Last of all, the miracle today is uplifting music and its power to invite the Spirit and a good mood.

Wednesday, 18 April
It's done.  It's finished at last.  After 40 Days I have finished reading the entire Standard Works.  I also have 21 small pieces of paper filled with verses to mark.  Our first program today was with G, who was one of the new people in our Angolora class.  He received a Book of Mormon over a decade ago from a neighbor, but hasn't read it.  At the same time, his tale is somewhat comparable to Joseph Smith's in that he's investigated and studied all manner of churches looking for the true one, has read multiple religious books, and has about given up trying to find it.  However, he's already committed to start reading the Book of Mormon and continue meeting with us regularly.  Our second program was with D.  A attended the first half of the program to help us today as we discussed obedience and the 10 Commandments with S.  Other than that, we had palacsintas for the first time in forever; one cancellation; I saw a big fencing sticker on the back of a car; only one Hungarian (or one person for the matter) was at Hungarian Hour tonight, so we practiced Hungarian for only 15 minutes, then talked about the gospel for nearly an hour.  Last of all... pajamas, how comfy they are, and (today’s miracle) I finally finished my reading.

Thursday, 19 April
Today was Zone Conference.  It was probably the last Zone Conference that President and Sister Baughman will have (next transfer is their last, and they're currently planning on visiting each District separately instead).  President Baughman gave a really good training focused around "The Fourth Missionary".  Today's miracle is the amazing and very helpful ability to share and receive knowledge with each other.  Life would be so much harder if we couldn't pass to each other the things we know.  (It'd make my job as a missionary near impossible).

Friday, 20 April
We had the warmest weather today since quite some time.  We had two cancellations today; and only one program, which was with K.  The last time I talked about him, I mentioned that he never got baptized "due to working every Sunday".  Unfortunately, that is still the case.  However, today we talked more about Christ and even watched "Finding Faith in Christ".  K also read and prayed since the last time we met, and gained a testimony of prayer.  The second time we met, he briefly mentioned a friend from Austria; this man he had not seen or talked to in over a year, but he kept thinking about him.  So he prayed about it, and told us within three days the friend randomly showed up at his door!  He said he's been able to talk to his friend, help him, and re-establish contact.  It was quite a random, but cool story.  Afterwards we went tabling with the Sisters and the AP's.  Elder Schwieger and I had some not-so-fun people approach us while we were tabling.  On the way back, a cat nearly head butted or pounced on my head.  I guess my miracle today is that despite the stuff that goes on, that I see and that I hear every day, I am not "used to" bad language, filthy language, immodest women, or many other of these things.  There is a danger when one becomes familiar or numb/indifferent to sin, and I'm glad that that has not happened to me, but that I still find it all extremely wrong and flat out in open rebellion against God's Holy Commandments.  Last of all, I've begun going back through the Standard Works, marking all the scriptures I found.

Saturday, 21 April
Today was slower and empty, but wasn't necessarily a terrible day.  We started with Angolora, and actually didn't have a class for the first twenty minutes, then a new guy came (so, we had a class of one).  Towards the end we found out he's religious and at one point thought about being a preacher.  We've already set up to meet with him later.  We then met with K again.  We helped him with some English today, teaching him the Alphabet.  We then reviewed the Restoration, taught him about prophets, straightened out that Christ was not Adam and Eve's son, and taught him what Wi-Fi and Google are.  He is interesting to teach.  He's continuing to read and pray regularly.  We then went tabling with the two Sisters and the two Elders Christensen.  Hardly anyone was out today.  My miracle today is the quality of the scriptures (in its wide variety and level of teachings, its descriptive and unique language, its power, etc).  There have already been all sorts of things for me to highlight.

Sunday, 22 April
So, my thoughts about today are very, very scattered and hard to recall.  We went to church this morning.  An American came and sat by me (he's a member, and here as a tourist for a couple days), and so I got to try translating the whole meeting.  Afterwards we had a small choir practice for something going on this Saturday (to be honest, I actually have absolutely no idea what it is; I just know it's at 3:00, and we're singing).  This evening we had dinner with A.  We spent about three hours talking to him, and I really enjoyed the conversation.  He's given a lot of thought to many of life's questions, found his answers, has a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and will always defend it.  Overall it was quite the uplifting.  My miracle today was adding a couple pages to my small Book of Testimonies.

No Blog Posts next week.

Have a great week.  (May is just around the corner and it's bringing summer along with it!)

Sok Szeretettel,

Shipp Elder

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