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

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