Monday, June 18, 2012

18 June 2012 Letter (Bekescsaba)

Monday, 11 June
The storms are continuing and limiting our options for P-Day.  We started with shopping, business, and email.  Afterwards we went to one of the two big cathedrals in the middle of town.  This was followed by roaming around the Csaba Center.  That was actually most of our day, lots of roaming between rain showers.  During Family Night we played the bean game.  My miracle today is that I received an email of thanks from S.  That was very uplifting and encouraging to read.  It's kind of ironic how his letter of gratitude made me grateful.

Tuesday, 12 June
I'm in Szeged right now, on splits with Elder Nealy.  Today we had three programs.  This morning Elder Vandermark and I met with D and had a lesson focused around 1 Nephi 7 & 8.  We went to J's for a feeding program and read Alma 22 together.  Afterwards, we took care of some Branch House maintenance.  When the Zone Leaders arrived we had a short district meeting before Elder Nealy and I rushed back to Szeged for a program.  The program went super well and the investigators there were my miracle.  There was a mother, daughter, son, and her son's girlfriend.  The three in the family have only met with the missionaries five times, but all said they believe the Church is true.  That's just the beginning though.  They had been researching religions, and found information on our Church, ordered some books and the Restoration Film, and then later, looked-up the number for the Elders here in Szeged, and called them up.  So, in addition to looking up and finding the missionaries, they'd all seen the Restoration Film, and had begun reading the Book of Mormon.  The mother already finished completely reading the Booking of Mormon, the Gospel Principles book, and a couple pamphlets!  Whoa!  They came to Sacrament Meeting back on Fast Sunday, and after the Branch President turned the time over to the congregation, the mother was the first one to get up and say she believed and knew most of everything we taught them about Prophets, Apostasy, and Dispensations.  The son bore his testimony and the mom said, "This is the true Church of God.  I have investigated many churches, but this one is the closest to God.  It has the Book of Mormon and I know it is scripture from God."  Yep.  This has been the best miracle in a good while.

Wednesday, 13 June
Back in Bekescsaba.  Two programs today.  First was T, an inactive member's wife.  Unfortunately she's not progressing, and Elder Nealy and Elder Moffet are planning on dropping her in their next program.  We went flyering then met with Z, a really cool young man who has already done some pretty amazing things in life, but isn't quite as amazing when it comes to the gospel.  Szeged is a beautiful city.  It is a college town and has the most beautiful cathedral I've ever seen. 

Thursday, 14 June
This morning and afternoon were entirely free from programs, so we had full studies then went tabling.  The Adams came down from Szeged and took our District out to lunch for Sister Barnhart's last Thursday in the country.  Afterwards, Elder Vandermark and I went flyering for English Class, which is restarting next week.  Our evening concluded the day with a program with G on 1 Nephi 3-6, followed by M talking about Daniel and the Lion's Den, and then a cancellation.  The weather was good throughout the whole day and I spent a while cleaning our apartment again.  Today's miracle is how much cheaper food is here.  At lunch, we went to a nicer sit-down restaurant and were each able to get a soup, small salad, and main dish for the equivalence of about $2.60 a person.

Friday, 15 June (One Year Mark on Mission)
Only one program today, which was with E and her family.  We read together the story of the Title of Liberty.  It is always a good feeling to be in their home.  E, the mother, is a fully active member of the Church, all three of the children are growing up under the gospel and attend primary, and the Sisters are working alongside Edina to help the husband be baptized.  Their family is one of the most complete, ideal-feeling families I've met in Hungary.  That is my miracle today.  We spent the rest of the day tabling and giving out several hundred flyers.  We're hoping that they prove fruitful and flood English class with all sorts of new, promising investigators.  In the evening my MTC District all did a conference call to commemorate our year-mark.  It was nice to talk to them all.

Saturday, 16 June
Spent the day flyering, cleaning the Branch House, and teaching three programs.  The first program was the hardest, with B.  He's very much gone downhill emotionally and mentally and spiritually to the point where all he was willing to talk about was how he hates everything: his job, his family, his life, the country, everyone in it, etc.  We learned he has already fallen back into old habits, and he desperately wants to leave (all of Europe).  He has become very disillusioned on "how perfect his life in the States used to be" and that "life can never be good or amount to anything again."  The whole time his plea to us was to send him back to America.  I realized four main things in this program.  First, how much situations, struggles, and desires vary person-to-person.  B's desire is to go back to America, but is stuck here, the opposite of F’s back in Buda, who was doing everything in his power to try to get through the struggle of staying here and not having to go back to America.  Second, the degree of the results of sin can vary and have very far-reaching effects.  For B, one sin has permanently and drastically changed his life.  Some people in the world might think that since others are able to break greater commandments and commit larger sins such as adultery, and seemingly escape any punishment within this life, that they would be even safer committing more minor sins.  They do not seem to realize that all sins will be suffered for, and not always in the next life.  Nor can we predict entirely what that suffering will include.  Third, as we all know, the Atonement applies to everyone and every circumstance.  Its reach, power, and effects are infinite and eternal.  It can heal both the heart and the soul.  It can raise anyone far beyond their own capacity.  Fourth, it helped solidify and more blatantly show the blessings and the safety of the gospel and all of the commandments in it.  My gratitude deepens every time a realization of those blessings hits me and I further recognize them and the happiness they have brought into my life.  Stay on the path.  The highest way is both the safest and the happiest way.  Elder Vandermark and I both pray daily that we can help B change his life and lift it into a much greater plane in the gospel light.  Program number two was with M on 2 Kings 22 and the importance of both having and living the scriptures and the laws they contain.  Last was G, with whom we read and discussed the first chapter of Mosiah.  Today's miracle is that so many people in the world have made the conscious choice to love life.  I am one of them.

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