Tuesday, May 29, 2012

29 May 2012 Letter (Bekescsaba)

Dear Family,

We are back to 2 hours of emailing today.  Yesterday was ridiculously busy, like we thought it would be, so we aren't going to get a P-Day this week.  We're emailing today, will shop tomorrow, and might go see something for an hour or two later in the week.  With more time available today, I'm able to finish last week’s email and hopefully all of this week's.  Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, 17 May
This evening the sun was actually shining down upon Bekescsaba for the first time since Sunday morning.  That alone makes today a fairly good day.  In addition, we went flyering for a couple hours, met with M and discussed the tale of Naaman, and also met with G.  G's program was again half-english, half-gospel, and he is still continuing to read and pray.  We are beginning to give him bigger portions to read.  This week in Angolora I taught Profi.  It is definitely my favorite type of English group to teach.  It was smaller, with only 4 others.  Afterwards, our only program dogged us.  Today's miracle is my gratefulness that God, along with Prophets and Apostles, old and modern, seems to have a sense of humor.  At times, even within the Gospel, that can be needed.

Friday, 18 May
Today was beautiful.  It was sunny all day long, but at the same time, never hot, nor too cold.  We met with E again and shared a past conference talk on 'temperance'.  We went tabling for my first time since coming here, and had some decent success.  Institute was tonight, focusing on Samuel and David.  For a miracle, I have found it great that although knowledge (worldly knowledge) can make one prideful, stubborn, or unwilling to listen to the counsel of the prophets, it is a Christ-like attribute and we are told "to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God."  Many tools are given for our learning and mental growth and development.  We just need to make sure to use them in righteousness.

Saturday, 19 May
We had two programs and one cancellation today.  We met with B, a member, and discussed obedience; then Elder Vandermark extended the calling for her to serve as First Counselor in the Relief Society.  Our second program was with M, which was mostly just visiting, and had a short lesson on Potiphar's wife.  Like last week, we cleaned the Branch House for an hour or two.  We also took advantage of the nice weather and went tabling.  My miracle today is music and its power to uplift.

Sunday, 20 May
Today, our only activity was church; but between meetings, setting aparts, and a few other things, (like a broken window), we were there from 1:30 - 7:00.  I took a bunch of pictures of Bekescsaba afterwards.  There was also a running and biking marathon today.  There were a bunch of small miracles today: the callings and sustaining went well; we had eight males in Sacrament Meeting (three missionaries, the one member here, and four visiting from other cities); E came to church; and we had two investigators come – B and K.  I have yet to be in a program with either, but am glad and grateful they came.

Monday, 21 May
Today was Jonathan's 13th Birthday!  It's strange to think he's a teenager now, and I'm not.  He is my miracle today.  We've had numberless experiences and memories together, surpassed only by the other three members of my family.  During P-Day today, we went to the bank and post office as always, shopping, then biked out to SzabadKigyo ('free snake'), where Elder Vandermark and I accidentally biked too far, taking a twenty minute scenic detour.  Overall, we spent about two hours on our bikes.  We met the Sisters there, saw an old church, and toured the grounds of an old "castle" (more like a mansion).  We took a good number of pictures, and ate lunch afterwards, having a picnic on the grounds.  We biked back for a program with K.  It was a fun program.  She hasn't been able to meet recently because of finals and exams, which are still going on.  Our goal was mostly to help de-stress, relax, and uplift her.  She and M both came to Csaladi Est for 45 minutes.  We had a 25 minute spiritual thought and played a short game of "Timber".  Beautiful weather today: sunny, warm, with a slight breeze.  (We think the Sisters got sunburned.  I'm glad I don't burn easily.)

Tuesday, 22 May
We had three programs today.  First was D.  She leaves for Italy tomorrow.  She prayed most of the time this past week, but said she missed a day or two.  We discussed Alma 7, which she read and challenged her to read and pray every day while in Rome.  After meeting with her, we got Elder Vandermark's bike fixed, which I forgot to write, got a flat at the start of our return journey yesterday.  Next was E, a member.  We discussed and shared an Ensign article about Hope in the Atonement.  Last was M, where we talked about Acts 19, Matt 17, and the priests of Baal and how they relate to authority and faith.  In the evening the Szeged District (Elder Moffett, Elder Nealy, Sister Papritz, and Sister Kramer) arrived for the blitz.  My miracle is being with Elder Moffett, my "Dad" in the mission, now being almost halfway through my mission.

Wednesday, 23 May (One Year Left!)
As long as I don't extend, but go home after my 15th Transfer, I have one year (365 days) left from today.  So wierd.  So fast.  The Zone Leaders were here with us today.  I split with Elder Moffett.  We didn't have any programs today, so we had a full day of finding: tabling, streeting, and flyering.  Mildly successful; Utah-like weather, strangely – it went back and forth from overcast, to rainy, to sunny.  In the evening I got to practice piano more.  Elder Moffett and Elder Nelay both said I've greatly improved.  Elder Vandermark and I just had the most unique hour-long conversation about Mythology and Mystical Creatures – Dragons, Pegasuses, Genies, and Calypso.  Also, today I realized that at the end of next transfer, three of my four companions, and many of the people I've served around and communicate with, will be gone.  The mission will drastically change and probably feel empty.  Today's miracle was the conversations I had with Elder Moffett.  It was very good to talk with him.  We've both changed and grown.  I got to get some advice from him, and hear how he and his family are doing.  I've asked a couple missionaries about whether or not they feel they've accomplished everything they were supposed to.  It's been interesting hearing responses that have, for the most part, varied greatly.  Currently, I feel like I have a lot that I am still meant to and still need to not only do, but also learn.

Thursday, 24 May
Today we had three programs which all went through.  The first was with G.  For a lesson we read and shared a message about 2 Nephi 11.  Second was M.  We haven't met with him since my first day here.  When we last met, he had been planning and preparing to move to Austria; however, today we learned things changed and he is now staying.  So, we'll get to meet with him more in the future.  In the evening was Angolora.  This afternoon, Elder Vandermark and I went tabling, during which two unique things happened.  The first was that a man approached us, giving us each an ice cream cone, told us he was an investigator years ago, and that he and his two sons are moving to the States next month.  He let us know he took all the lessons, likes the Church, hopes his sons will join it, but he isn't ready to give up drinking wine yet.  The other was I finally got to meet B.  He's one of our investigators from the United States.  My miracle today is The Armor of God.  It's always been a little cooler to me, I feel, because of my love of fencing.  The miracle, more particularly, is that we can receive and put on the "whole" armor of God.  We don't just receive one or two pieces; we don't get a kinked, worn, hand-me-down vest.  God loves us and is willing to give each one of us our own shining, radiant, full-suit of defense.

Friday, 25 May
Like yesterday, we had three programs.  First was E.  Her son is so cute.  She also had a 110 year-old piano I got to play.  For a lesson, just as with G, we discussed and read 2 Nephi 11, pointing out all the different titles and how many references there are to Christ.  The Book of Mormon is scripture and really does testify of Christ.  We had a program with G and shared a message about prayer, scripture reading, Church attendance, and testimonies, using an object lesson.  Last was Institute which was about friendship, using the story of Jonathan and David as an example.  We also made new Angolora flyers between programs.  The miracle of today is that I just read an Ensign article about Gratitude.  Gratitude is an attribute and habit that I need to develop, and the article helped me try to think of someone I haven't given enough thanks to.  The ones that first came to mind were my fencing coaches: Julie and Bethany.  Fencing has been such a big part of my life and they have been such a big part of fencing.  Thank you Julie, and thank you Bethany, for always supporting and helping me during my 14 ½ years of fencing.

Saturday, 26 May
We spent some time this morning cleaning for inspections, during which I discovered that the ants had reappeared at a different part of the apartment.  I am grateful for vacuums and insecticide.  The actual inspections went well.  Afterwards the Adams took us to Tesco to shop.  It made me grateful for cars.  They also drove us out to Gyula to visit a member with them and help translate.  There are three K's in the Branch.  This one has been a member for almost 17 years and is currently the Primary President.  We shared 2 Nephi 11 once again.  Elder Vandermark and I biked out to a different member's after to deliver the Baughmans' talks for tomorrow, as that member will be helping to translate.  We met with G again and talked about putting off the natural man to become a Saint.  Her program was followed by cleaning the Branch House.  D arrived after and will be staying with us until Tuesday.  He's a member from Veszprem and served a mission here in Hungary (he's Hungarian).  While he was serving, he was the Branch President here with Elder Moffett as his companion.  My miracle today is the fantastic inventions of pen and paper that allow me to so conveniently keep my journal and write in it each night.

Sunday, 27 May
The main part of today was Sacrament Meeting.  President and Sister Baughman came and spoke to our Branch.  Sister Baughman spoke first about “Looking to God During Adversity”.  President Baughman then spoke.  He started by giving me a very large and uplifting compliment.  He said that earlier during the meeting he had envisioned himself twenty years in the future walking down the streets of Salt Lake and meeting me, who had graduated from BYU, become a rocket scientist or brain surgeon, was married and had several children; then he said his first thought while walking towards me was remembering back to sitting in the Bekescsaba Chapel, witnessing one of the most courageous things he has ever seen a missionary do: me trying to play the piano.  He thanked me twice, once at the stand and once after, for trying to play the piano and provide music for Sacrament Meeting.  (Now it's my personal opinion that that is a lot easier to do than some of the other things I've heard or seen other missionaries do, but I am very grateful for President Baughman's comment.  It was the most powerful, most sincere, and most uplifting comment I have received concerning my efforts with the piano, as well as one of the compliments I have received on my mission which I consider most precious).  President Baughman continued by sharing how there is no true sacrifice for us in the gospel.  He gave several examples of how the Lord has fulfilled his promises that those who give up friends, family, and home will receive a hundred-fold.  Before his mission, he had a couple children, and a good number of neighbors; however he says he now has a couple hundred Missionary sons and daughters, and several hundred neighbors.  The main talk was on personal revelation.  It is both necessary for each of us and sets us apart from other religions.  That was the main part of today.  We had three investigators at church today: G, B, and B.  After Sacrament Meeting only four members stayed for Sunday School.  After church we had a program with D and M on Patriarchal Blessings.  My miracle today is the variety of birds here in Bekescsaba.  There are more different species here than the rest of my mission combined.  It's a smaller thing to notice, but I think it helps give life to the town.

Monday, 28 May
So, yesterday I left off talking about animals; well, today they were everywhere – and not just birds.  First, I've forgotten to write previously that we see storks almost every day.  Their nests are everywhere: on roof tops, on school chimneys, and most often on telephone poles.  I'd say we see two to three a day on average.  When we went to the mansion, we passed ten to twenty (each way).  They are my favorite birds here, just because they are so huge.  I'm pretty sure I'll see more storks here than I will in the next 80 years of my life.  In addition to the usual storks, cats, and dogs, we also saw two giant stag beetles, a bright lizard that was greener-than-grass, several dozen large snails (bigger than my big toe), and two porcupines.  All of them were on the sidewalks!  (One of the porcupines was on our street too).  We had five programs today.  First was M, who didn't want to talk to the missionaries, so we shared a very brief spiritual thought and left so D could stay and talk to him and get him to open up.  Second was J.  We had Rokott Krumpli for the third time in the past week.  I led a lesson on the Sabbath Day and Sacrament.  Next was K (M's wife).  Like M, we had been unable to meet with her; however with D here, they both managed to find time in their day.  Once again, D took charge; but this time we were able to stay.  Hopefully the two programs help build bridges between them and help heal things.  D is a good teacher, gave powerful messages, and put his heart into it.  Fourth was E.  This was the first time her whole family was there.  It was also the second time I've had two feeding programs in the same day on my mission.  Way better than the first time in Nyiregyhaza.  All three of her children are so happy and fun.  The last program was Family Home Evening.  Normally today would've been a P-Day, but we had absolutely no time at all.  My miracle today is member missionary work.  Having the former Elder D here has allowed us to accomplish so much.  He adds a third testimony, fluent in the language; can speak better and faster, adding more to the lesson; and, because he's here, more people were willing to meet, such as K and M, both of which had stubbornly refused to talk to us during the past couple weeks.  Members are necessary for missionary work.

Random Note:
The bed here is 3 inches too short for me, so I've learned to sleep diagonal each night.  It gives me just enough space.  Elder Vandermark just curls up slightly instead.

That's all I have for this week.  May is almost over.  On June 3rd, I will be perfectly halfway through with my Mission if I don't extend.  Enjoy summer.  The weather still isn't summer weather here yet.  It rained the other day and was quite cold and windy.  That's it for now.  Email you all next week.

Sok Szeretettel,

Shipp Elder

NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.

29 May 2012 Pictures (Bekescsaba)

A"castle"/mansion and it's front garden

Playing "Bang" with the Szeged District

"Reading" my Arabic Bible

Monday, May 21, 2012

21 May 2012 Letter (Bekescsaba)

Dear Family,

Due to events today and us being good missionaries and doing missionary work in the middle of our P-Day, but due to our investigator being late, I'm limited to the amount of time I can email today.  I hope I can go crazy and get a lot in.

Monday, 14 May
P-Day today.  We had to spend some time going to the bank followed by the post office to get me registered as Branch Clerk, deposit tithing and fast offerings, and pay some bills.  Despite emailing being a little frustrating at first with my computer freezing and having to retype 30-40 minutes worth of stuff (and it no longer being as nice as the Mission Home in Buda, which was always open, and free), emailing was still enjoyable as always, and makes me thankful that technology allows me to both write and receive mail across the world without having to write it all out, and without having to wait 3-7 weeks to receive a letter and another 3 weeks before they receive my response.  Later Elder Vandermark and I relaxed for a couple hours as the rainy weather prevented us from really going anywhere or seeing anything.  We finished our day with Csaladi Est, which consisted of teaching Elder Vandermark, the two Sisters, and M how to play ‘Bang!’.  I’m sure we’ll be playing that again in the future.  My miracle today is how we forget and remember things.  At times, it may seem a great burden that we cannot remember the dozens, or hundreds, of times or experiences when we have felt the Holy Ghost; or remember the burning and conviction of our souls at some of our most powerful moments, but sometimes wander in doubt and seem to only remember our mistakes, sins, and all of our weaknesses.  However, while those feelings may try to suffocate us at times, the tender love of God reaches us at other times and reverses the situation.  My miracle is those times when we are able to remember our covenants, recall our determination to “Hold Fast” and “Stand Firm”, and feel the burning of past encounters with the Spirit.  In addition, those times of repentance and forgiveness, when we see past our mortal frailties to our divine origin and to the times when our sins are cleansed that the Lord remembers them no more.

Tuesday, 15 May
Elder Vandermark and I had one program today.  We met with D.  The program was all in English as she speaks it better than we speak Hungarian.  She won't be able to meet for two weeks or so at the end of May as she is going to Rome, Italy.  Another random note:  I learned that she works out at the gym for four hours every day!  That's way more than I ever could, and more than anyone I know from any of my past fencing teams, and even most other sports teams for that matter.  We spent the lesson talking about prayer.  Although she already prays daily, we challenged her to make sure she prays every day, to remember to thank Heavenly Father, about the blessings of prayer, and about praying about the Church.  My miracle today is that I am able to grow.  I have not always been the best person.  Despite my parents doing such a wonderful, magnificent job trying to raise me and my siblings, I have made many foolish in the past.  I continue to make some of them.  But, that is my miracle; that despite those foolish moments, those offending works or attitudes that may have harmed those around me, I am here.  I have grown enough to be a full-time missionary for the Church and a representative for Jesus Christ.  I still make mistakes, but out here, during these two years, I am in the best environment on the earth to change and improve myself.  As a missionary I am best able to exercise my agency and learn to become and grow closer to Christ.

Wednesday, 16 May
So, to start off, something I forgot to record yesterday was that Elder Reese called to tell me that D and T were put on Baptismal Date in July.  Now three of our investigators have committed to baptism!  Our first program this morning was with K.  She was recently baptized three months ago, and we met with her to check-up on her and so that Elder Vandermark could extend the calling to serve as the First Counselor in the Primary to her.  She was very energetic in her response, saying she felt too new to the Church, but in the end showed willingness to accept the task the Lord has chosen for her.  Our second program was with E, an inactive member who has had significant trouble with the commandments, the Word of Wisdom in particular.  She wasn't very receptive to our message on service, and when we later asked if she would, or rather, if she even wanted to live the commandments and the Word of Wisdom again, she avoided giving an answer, until a "no" finally came out.  It's sad but if she has no desire to change, then all the words we can say, the scriptures we can read, and the blessings we can promise will have no influence to change her.  Lesson number three was with E.  Unlike the preceding program, we were able to successfully invite the spirit into the home (I never was able to feel it in E's house).  E was really nice to feed us palacsintas.  She also has a large black cat, along with the nicest, friendliest German Shepherd which I have ever met.  While we were there, her visiting teacher, E came.  That was wonderful to see.  We shared the same message about service as before, and this time around it was much better received.  Our last program (and only investigator today) dogged.  We also had a Neni swing by the Branch House and return a copy of the Book of Mormon and Finding Faith in Christ, which she had received from the Sisters, thanking us, but saying she wasn't interested.  My miracle today was that today was the first time I have seen a calling privately extended to someone (other than myself).  It was a great and memorable experience to be there and witness K's nervous reaction, and the exercising of her faith to accept the calling despite feeling inadequate and unqualified.

As you know I'm short on time.  I only got half the blog posts.  Sorry.

Love you all and talk to you next week!

Sok Szeretettel,

Shipp Elder

NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.

21 May 2012 Pictures (Bekescsaba)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

14 May 2012 Letter (Bekescsaba)

Monday, 7 May
Transfer calls came today.  I have continued my pattern of always staying two transfers.  I will be leaving Buda and Elder Reese to go serve in Bekescsaba with Elder Vandermark.  He is my oldest companion yet, being in his 14th transfer.  He is also the Branch President.  For me, I will remain Junior, yet be District Leader as well as the Branch Clerk.  I've also heard that I am going from one of the biggest wards, apartments, and busiest parts of Hungary to one of the smallest.  My miracle is appreciating what I have more.  I Buda I've had a lot of space, a great shower, air conditioning, near the Mission Home, and in the city.  Elder Reese and I have been blessed to successfully build a companionship out of nothing.  Number-wise, this was my second-to-best transfer.  Going back to the miracle, I think missions can really teach you to appreciate what you have.

Tuesday, 8 May
I was done packing by 9:30 this morning.  It's weird to remember that every couple months I'm able to pack up everything I need for two years of my life into only 2 suitcases in only 2-3 hours.  We went tabling with the two Elders Christensen.  One cancellation today and one program which was with D and T on prayer; and we watched the Restoration Film.  That was officially my last lesson with Elder Reese in this companionship.  The new missionaries came in today and I got to briefly meet them.  We went flyering a little and ended with a meeting.  Tomorrow is transfers!  My miracle today is temples.  I spent some 10-20 minutes today looking at different temples and especially the Celestial Rooms in various temples.  It made me really wish I could be in one of them.  (The Vancouver Temple seemed really big and really beautiful).  I must admit, I am quite sad we don't have a temple here.  Two years is a long time for not going to or even seeing a temple.  It wouldn't at all surprise me if this is the longest I will go without seeing or visiting a temple in the rest of my life.

Wednesday, 9 May
First entry from Bekescsaba.  So, from the start: today was transfers.  I saw everyone else today.  There was quite the crowd at the Mission Home.  My whole MTC district was there, so we took a few group pictures.  I met my new companion, Elder Vandermark, and Elder Reese's greenie, Elder Nebrowsky.  I'll write more about my new companion tomorrow.  In the late afternoon we started the three and a half hour train-ride.  Elder Wright and Elder Swett rode with us during the first half to Szolnok.  After arriving, I managed to unpack about half my stuff.  Our apartment is a small attic.  It's definitely my smallest apartment yet, especially after coming from Buda.  Stromburg and Erikson, the two oldest MTC teachers, stayed in this apartment when they served here.  The kitchen, washer, and shower are all significantly older than either of them.  I will admit, I very, very much miss my previous apartment in Buda.

Thursday, 10 May
Today we had a good number of programs.  Our first was with M, a really nice investigator.  The second program was with M, a member in the Branch here.  We just shared the story of Noah with her.  Third was G, who is a fairly new investigator.  He practiced English for the first half then discussed the story and the importance of The Fall.  Last of all, I taught a Halado English class of 13.  In other news, we went shopping.  Also, I've begun trying to really clean our apartment as, looking around, it has clearly not been cleaned in at least 6 months, and some of the many, many cobwebs say much longer.  My miracle today is that I'm already finding ways to adjust to being here and liking it here.  While I still have a ways to go, I am starting to be comforted and have found that the Belvaros here are pretty beautiful.

Friday, 11 May
Can I start out by saying that I hate bugs?  I would not survive if I were serving in Central America or the Philippines.  I'm so glad I stayed in the Northern Hemisphere.  While I'm learning not to freak out as much with bugs, I'm still determined to clean the apartment and get some ant killer.  I hope one day in the future my wife will appreciate my learning how clean and cook.  On a more positive note, the Branch House isn't too much smaller than Nyiregyhaza or Szekes.  Today, we had three programs, all with members.  E was the first, followed by J, who was my first feeding program in forever (strange note: with her bathroom – it has a wooden toilet, and the door is made of glass and is therefore see-through...); and last was Institute, which consisted of me, Elder Vandermark, and four sisters in the Branch.  Lastly, I got the brakes on my bike fixed this afternoon.  My miracle today is all the past Liahonas I found in a box, hiding in a closet, and have begun to read through.

Saturday, 12 May
So, today we met with two members, M again, and G.  We also spent some time cleaning the Branch House.  This morning, I had the opportunity to conduct and lead my first District Meeting and training.  I shared a summary of my notes from when Elder Bednar came to the MTC and taught about being a "Preach My Gospel Missionary".  Three other notes: K was baptized by Elder Peterson back in Székesfehérvár today.  Yay!  I hope to get pictures from Elder Molnár or Elder Peterson later.  I wish I could write more about it.  I just don't know what, other than that I'm glad that I was a part of that.  Next, I'm not entirely sure why, but I am seeing DC 123:16-17 everywhere I look.  It's not a scripture I've commonly read or heard, but in the past week I've seen it at least 5 times.  So I guess it is trying to tell me something.  I feel like it's occurring enough for me to ever record it in my journal:

16.  You know, brethren, that a very large ship is benefited very much by a very small helm in the time of a storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves.

17.  Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.

I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be hunting for a small helm to lead me through troubles, explore what it means to be 'workways' in life, be cheerful, do everything in my power, or to watch for God's salvation, or all five.  Thirdly, I need to finally write about Elder Vandermark, my new companion.  Out here, he is in his 14th Transfer, and is the Branch President.  I am his 13th companion.  He was also Elder Cox's trainer.  That's about all I have to write about him for now.  (He's awesome).  Last of all is a miracle that came during the District Meeting.  Sister Barnhart was kind to offer a spiritual thought, in which she shared Elder Neil L. Anderson's talk "You Know Enough".  I had always attributed this address to those who lack spiritual knowledge or understanding; and to be honest, I felt it didn't apply to me.  However, at the start I thought two things: "This was taught by an Apostle" and "Sister Barnhart said she felt like she needed to share this with our District", both of which made me feel like it should apply to me.  So, I listened with my heart and tried harder.  I received my answer.  It does relate.  I had a very strong sense that Heavenly Father was trying to tell me that with the language, "I may not know everything, but I know enough."  I still make mistakes in Hungarian.  There are still words I haven't learned.  But I know enough to convert others.  I know how to share scriptures; I know how to share my testimony.  For the most part, I know how to understand and answer questions.  That is enough for conversion.  That is enough for me.  "I might not know everything, but I know enough."  Such a message couldn't seem to apply to me more.  So that is both my miracle and message.  In every gospel message you may hear, there will be something that you can learn and take away from it.  You might need to search a little more, or listen a little harder to find it, but that will not make it any less powerful.

Sunday, 13 May
Today was Mother's Day!  Happy Mother's Day, Mom!  I got to talk to my family for the third time on my mission.  It was great to hear their voices and hear that they're doing well.  In other news: it was also Elder Molnar's birthday (so I called and talked to him a little as well).  I'm sure his main present is getting to talk to his family.  Separately, the armies of ants in our apartment and kitchen are finally vanishing as I've continued to clean and use a very generous amount of ant poison.  Today was my first time attending church here in Békéscsaba.  So a few things about it: for the past nine months or more, no one has been able to play the piano; and they'd been singing along to CD's instead.  So, I'm reunited with my job as Branch pianist again.  Rumors I heard about the members here are true, in that as far as the branch goes, there are about twenty active sisters, but only one active priesthood holder.  He's a little outnumbered.  (And some people asked why the Church practiced polygamy in its early stages).  One of the two speakers today called us this morning an hour before church saying she wasn't coming.  So, Elder Vandermark and I quickly started outlining talks.  Church itself is only two hours here.  In Sacrament Meeting, Elder Vandermark gave his 15-minute talk.  I followed with mine, but half-way through, I strongly felt like I had said what I was supposed to, and that I shouldn't continue.  So, I didn't.  I skipped the second half of what I had prepared, briefly shared a part of my testimony and closed.  I still don't know why.  It would've been easy to just finish since I'd already prepared and outlined it.  But it just didn't feel right.  Some quotes from Brigham Young about that popped into my head.  I guess I did what I was supposed to.  My miracle today is my family.  I love them.  It's Mother's Day; I love my Mom, but I also love the rest of my family.  They are so supportive of my Mission.  They have done a great job raising me.  They have helped me grow, and while I've been out here I have continued to grow, and I've been able to see them grow.  Once again, I love them; they are the greatest blessing my Heavenly Father has put into my life.  (To anyone reading this:  Love your families.  Cherish them.  In the words of our beloved prophet, President Monson – "What is most important almost always involves the people around us. Often we assume that they must know how much we love them. But we should never assume; we should let them know."  Let them know.  They are important.  And they are Eternal.)

That's about all I have for now.  I'm pretty sure I'll have more things to write about next week.  I will talk to you all again then.


Shipp Elder

NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.

Monday, May 14, 2012

14 May 2012 Pictures (Bekescsaba)

MTC District Reunion

Our Apartment (in the attic)

My New District (and a member from the Branch)

Monday, May 7, 2012

7 May 2012 Letter (Budapest)

Dear Family,

Transfer Calls came this morning.  Like both my past calls during my second transfer in past areas this one was totally random and unexpected.  So, in short:  I am leaving.  I will be heading to Békéscsaba to serve with Elder Vandermark.  He is going into his 14th transfer (is my oldest companion yet), and is serving as Branch President there. 

So, yep, I just can’t stay in one area for more than two transfers.  I've always left before my companion (Elder Moffett was in Nyiregyhaza for five transfers, Elder Molnar was in Szekes for three, and Elder Reese has been in Budapest for four (and will probably stay for a fifth)).  Also, because I'm with Elder Vandermark and that situation there, I will either be in Bekescsaba for either one or four to five transfers (as he is going home in two, and they'll need a new Branch President). 

So, it looks like either I'll only be there for one, then go to yet another city where I'll become the senor companion, or I won't become senior until my 9th-10th Transfer.  "Strange thing; strange things are happening to me".  (Oh, I'm also going to be the District Leader in Bekescsaba, despite being Junior.  Also, I'm not sure yet, but from what I just heard, I might be the Branch Clerk once I get there.)

In other news, I have a whole bunch of new pictures that I'm hoping to send you once I switch computers (this one can't connect).  Also, I just send the longest email ever.  I spent a little time two weeks ago typing it, pretty much all of last week, and most of today's emailing time.  It was a lot.  Let me know what you all think of it.

Concerning Mother's Day:  I don't have the phone number or the time yet.  I'll definitely email you either Wednesday or Thursday to let you all know.  Like Christmas, you guys will need to call me.

This transfer's going to be different (each area always is).  I'll be going from one of the biggest wards to one of the smallest branches in the mission.  It will also be President Baughman's last transfer.  Next transfer the new Mission President comes in.  With other things, next week will be back to the normal blog posts.  I look forward to emailing you again (although just briefly) in a couple days, and then calling you this next weekend.

That's about all I have time for this week.  Talk to you all later.

Sok Szeretettel,

Shipp Elder

NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.

7 May 2012 Pictures (Budapest)

Missionary Ties

"For ye shall carry the message of salvation unto all the world..."