Sunday, 17 June
Today included a lot of studies, which was nice.
During the two hours of Church, Sister Barnhart gave her last talk
that she'll give in Hungary; I played piano for what may be the last time
for this Branch; and Elder Vandermark and I taught Sunday School. Transfer
Calls will come tomorrow morning. I have five Missionaries telling me
that I'm leaving, and I think they're right. If so, this will be my first
"one and done" and the only time I will not have been in an area with
the same companion for two transfers. I'll probably go Senior as
well. My miracle today was that although I chose Hymn #152 "God Be
With You Til We Meet Again" as the closing hymn for Sister Barnhart's
last week, while playing I realized this might be the last time I see the
Monday, 18 June
Transfer Calls came today and were full of surprises.
I’m leaving Bekescsaba and am going Senior with Elder Headrick as my
Junior in Szombathely. I won't be Branch President here, but will instead
be serving in yet another corner of the country. The other Elders
from my MTC District all got interesting calls as well. Elder Rosen left
Nyiregyhaza after one transfer and is coming to take my place in
Bekescsaba, and will be the next Branch President. Elder Swett is staying
in Szolnok, but will go from being Junior Companion straight to Trainer.
Elder Snyder's moved from Veszprem next-door to Szekesfehervar with a
second Transfer, and is expected to be training soon. These were
President Baughman's last transfer calls.
For our P-Day, Elder Vandermark and I saw a castle, a fourth of a
castle, and some castle ruins. First, we biked out to Doboz.
There we saw a little, but cool looking, fortified church. We
called the number on the door and the owner's daughter came, unlocked it
for us, and took us on a small tour inside. We were able to explore all
the little nooks and crannies, and go up into the bell tower. Elder Vandermark
and I then doubled back to Gerla where we saw 1/4 of a castle. I say
1/4 because it was a very small mansion (smallest one yet), so it only
counts as half, and we couldn't go past the front gate, which cuts it in half
again. After Gerla, we biked through a forest to get to Postelek, the
castle ruins of the day, and the coolest ruins I've ever seen. They
were so cool, so large, and we had it all to explore for ourselves. It
completely made up for Gerla and was the best castle I've been to (with
the exception of Buda Castle). For
Csaladi Est, we went with M and the Sisters to B's place to help with
gardening, picking raspberries and zucchinis, and shelling two giant buckets of
peas. I was sweating all day long, and Elder Vandermark and I both
got slightly sunburned. Tonight, I actually don't feel too well
emotionally. I'm fairly certain it's from dehydration slightly, and
in large part, from change. Soon I will be changing cities, apartments,
branches, districts, investigators, and companions. Yet, I think the changes which are exhausting
me the most and stretching me the most are the internal and personal
changes I have been trying to make. My miracle today is that we can
change, we need change, and the one thing that will never change is that
life is full of change.
Tuesday, 19 June
This morning, I was all packed by 9:00am (except for
laundry). We met with D, my last program in Bekescsaba with an
investigator; followed by E, my last member program. We then received a
call from B that she would like to meet for 2-3 hours tomorrow night and learn
all of lesson four in one day rather than the planned two or regular four.
She is hoping, and Elder Vandermark and I are hoping, that she will
be baptized within the next three weeks. We also went around the town
looking at places and statues. It was the hottest day yet on my
mission: 111 degrees and super humid. In fact, due to the humidity,
I had to keep the two fans on my laundry from last night as, after twelve
hours, they were still wet. Luckily, a couple hours with the fans did the
trick, and I finished packing. This is
my last entry from Bekescsaba. I'm not sure if this transfer or last
transfer went by the quickest, but this was definitely my fastest
city. Today's miracle was the Lord deciding
that, although I don't know everything, I do know enough to go Senior.
I don't want to let Him down. On to Szombathely!
Wednesday, 20 June
I'm on the other side of the country now. This
morning we got up early to catch the train. Once we reached Budapest
I met my new companion, Elder Headrick. As always, there were a lot of Missionaries
there. Elder Wright, one of the first missionaries I really got to
know or serve around, is going home. On that note is something even
weirder, and my miracle today. With some counting and basic math, I
was able to find that there are exactly 40 missionaries older in the Mission
and 40 missionaries younger in the Mission today than me and my group (not
counting senior couples). We are exactly at the 50% mark. By the
end of this transfer, fourteen missionaries are going home and thirteen missionaries
are arriving, which will put it at 53/26 (younger/older), putting my group
almost perfectly in the top third. In six weeks I'll be one of the
"old" missionaries. About
Szombathely, I haven't gotten to see much of the town yet. We had
Angolora tonight (ten people came; four were members). We also
ordered pizza with the other Elders: Bullock and Loveday. The apartment
here is on the fourth and top floor. It's bigger and nicer than all
my past apartments, with the exception of Buda. However, it is super
hot with no A/C and only one fan for the whole apartment. The Branch
House here is a full-size, American-style, actual Church building. That's
it for today.
Thursday, 21 June
First full day in Szobathely. This morning I
continued unpacking; I cleaned part of the apartment, and spent an hour defrosting
the fridge. The freezer had layers of ice on both the door and the box,
and Elder Headrick said they haven't fully shut the freezer in at least two
transfers. It can close now. The freezer has a lot more space, but
the fridge changed even more, with me melting and removing three pieces of ice,
each bigger than my head (one significantly more so). We also went shopping so I could have food to
eat. We spent over four hours streeting,
during which we found an Eternal. He's been an investigator since 1991,
almost since the country first opened. His brother's a member; he's met
with missionaries throughout the years, speaks Hungarian, English, and German
fluently, and has been to America twelve times. He's also our neighbor,
living only two buildings away. It was interesting to street him. Last of all, for my miracle, was while
reflecting today, I realized that, while I have seen very little to almost no
success tracting during my mission, it has been during those times when I've
spent the most time and energy tracting, that the most investigators fell into
my lap or appeared out of nowhere. The Lord's ways and views are higher than
Friday, 22 June
We went streeting for several hours again and had five
finds. We met with A (my first program here in Szombathely). She
was baptized last month and we began reviewing Lesson Four with her. We
had a game night for FHE in the evening.
Today, for a miracle, I have chosen a part of our lesson with A.
It is obedience. Thanks for it – for consequences when we do
something wrong and blessings when we do something right. Also, it is a
realization that without obedience, the commandments would be useless.
People joke that "rules are made to be broken." Yet the
truth is the opposite: rules exist to be kept. If no one followed them,
rules (with the commandments included) would be completely worthless.
Saturday, 23 June
Today was filled with tabling. We ran into a
"Bible Hippie" who actually persuaded a couple past investigators to stop
investigating the Church and avoid us. We set up a program with him for
next Wednesday morning. We also talked to a Satanist. He was super
creepy. We had a small meeting in the evening followed by a very
unproductive Fiatal Est. I ended up practicing the piano. In the
evening from our roof, we could hear a concert going on and see fireworks. Today, the miracle is serving as Missionaries
– not being Missionaries, but rather using our time and energy for two years to
serve others and bring temporal and eternal blessings and well-being into their
Sunday, 24 June
Today was the first time going to Church in Szombathely.
It's a large branch and there's a lot more families here than any other of
my areas except Buda. We actually have several priesthood holders.
Also, I ended up playing the piano again, but only for Priesthood.
After church, Elder Headrick and I went with a member to take the
sacrament to an elderly member of the Branch.
We then went with the other Elders and had lunch with the S family. On the bike ride back, Elder Loveday and I
crashed on the highway when he tried swerving. My bike is a bit messed up,
but I'm fine. I'm just super grateful that there wasn't a car within 5
seconds behind us, or that really could've turned out badly. In the
evening, I organized a surprise birthday conference call, got some other Missionaries
on the line, and then called Elder Moffett so we could all sing "Happy Birthday"
to him. For my miracle today, I'm grateful that the bike accident wasn't
worse; and I echo President Hinckley's gratitude for the women in our lives.
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