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.
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.
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