Played basketball a lot today. We went to Tesco and several other stores to try to buy a fan. The majority of stores were sold-out, and the few fans left were too expensive to get reimbursed. We also made a bunch of calls today to both members and investigators, but hardly anyone was able to meet this week. However, I do have a miracle today. I'm pretty good at always emailing some pictures back home each week, but it's really nice to receive them as well. It's nice to see those back home smiling, changing, and growing.
Tuesday, 10 July
Zone Conference was today. I finally got to meet President Smith and his wife. It has been a great thing that my parents and they have been in contact; although I will admit, it made our relationship today slightly strange, as neither of us quite knows what the other one knows about us. However, I did have a great interview with President Smith and look forward to getting to know him and his wife better. During the rest of the Zone Conference, President Smith started with his training on "The Dawning of a New Era". Sister Smith followed by sharing some history and experiences from their lives. The Assistants compared the role and workings of Christ to the five steps of His gospel. The Zone Leaders connected 2 Nephi 33:1 to 1 Nephi 2:16, and led a training and role plays on giving commitments to our investigators. Last of all were departing testimonies. Elder Moffett and Elder Molnar both shared theirs. It will be sad to see them both leave (and Elder Vandermark - I'll miss his departing testimony).
Wednesday, 11 July
Our bathroom is exponentially cleaner now than it ever has been. Today we had one dog, one cancellation, and Angolora which I was in charge of this week. Elder Headrick and I printed and copied several hundred flyers today. Today's miracle is that, like in Szekesfehervar, I had a scare over a physical, material object that helped remind me how much more important spiritual, eternal things are and helped give me the blessing of increasing the fervency of my prayers for those things that matter most. The miracle was that the scare gave me an increased desire to pray.
Thursday, 12 July
Two programs today. First was with Z. He has read to 1 Nephi 19 already, and we watched the Restoration film today. Our second was with J, in which we continued to help him with English. Our would-have-been third program forgot we were meeting with her. Today's miracle is that, although all three times we've met with Z he's been 20-35 minutes late, he still comes. I know too many who would cancel or dog if they were too behind or late; yet because he still comes, we're able to meet and help him progress. Also, something else I noticed today is that we, as members, are aware of many sad events in the history of the Church which resulted in attacks and persecutions from the Devil and his advocates. What I don't think we see as much are the nearly as numerous sad events in world history which were also caused by Satan and his influence; or at least I don't know if it's commonly recognized as being, in large part, caused by his influence. It's not just God's Church that is under attack… but all of mankind.
Friday, 13 July
It's pouring rain outside, and a few minutes ago there was a performer at the cafe nearby playing "All of Me". Today we went streeting, had a short District Meeting to plan the lesson we'll be teaching in Priesthood; and we met with K, sharing a message on Alma 37:6-7. During Csaladi Est we played basketball again. With no exaggeration, by the end of next transfer I will have easily done more basketball here in Szombathely than the last 20 years of my life combined. My miracle today isn't really a miracle, just knowing I have to change. Often, I laugh or mildly cheer or find humor when someone else gets hurt or worried, or distressed. I know this is wrong and generally feel terrible after. Somehow I need to more fully change it.
Saturday, 14 July
Long entry coming today, so get ready. As for actual events today - we did full studies, prepared our parts for the Priesthood lesson, went streeting, found a hidden park and island, got dogged by our only program, and went tracting and flyering. (It was my first time tracting in Szombathely.) Also, in the evening, we got a call and I was asked to go practice a musical number with a member. On a random note, I have found all manner of strange things within the past couple days including a "Bomb Shop", green electric smoke, Easy Women, the Prestige, and my 3rd Giant Metal Apple (with the first being in Nyiregyhaza and the second in Buda). My miracle today is actually something that took a long time to develop, that I realized last week but haven't written about until now. It is hope. I've always considered myself a hopeful person and believed in happy endings, but it was not until my reflections and soul-searching here in Szombathely that I found the switch to make the transition from "believing" in happy endings to "knowing" that each of our stories will have a happy ending. This hope has grown within me over my lifetime thus far, but now it is coming to the surface at a very rapid pace; and I've already found several situations that it has applied to. For example: rather than "believe" with a hope that I would learn something new at Zone Conference, I went with a hope "knowing" that there would be revelation waiting. As I read a story from the war chapters in Alma, to the tale of Joseph Smith, to current people talked about in an Ensign, I know that each story will end in a glorious victory. Such it is with each of our lives. Comparing and implementing it into the Mission Field, although transfers may cause anxiety, although you may feel tired, although programs may dog, though investigators may drop, and it feels like you have made absolutely no progress or difference, lives will be forever, eternally affected. Two of the most tragic parts in world history have been completely illuminated by hope. Concerning the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, which many in the world would consider the end of his tale, we have been reminded that afterwards thousands have died, and millions have lived, claiming that they know the Book of Mormon and the Church, which espouses it, to be true. And the true ending is yet to come, when the Kingdom of God is completed on the earth in all of its glory and the Son of Man comes to rule again. In the dark nights and struggles of our lives, we could all fear that things could be even worse. Scarily, "without the Atonement it not only could be worse, it would be worse." Yet, in the darkest day of all, during the time of Christ's crucifixion, we received the one thing - the Atonement - which guarantees each and every one of us a brighter future than we could ever dream. As long as we keep the commandments we will have a happy ending. Our Savior has already seen to that. I'm thankful for this knowledge, I'm grateful for the blessings, and I'm especially grateful for the hope it brings.
Sunday, 15 JulyChurch today. We taught the lesson in Priesthood on "Sharing the Gospel Effectively". No lunch at the S's today. Instead, we had palacsintas with the other Elders in the evening. My miracle today is that my Mission has been comparably easy so far: all my companions have been cool, as have my areas; and compared to many other Missions, my apartments (even the attic in Bekescsaba) would probably be as desired as a hotel. Nothing has gone terribly wrong at home or with my health. I've never had a gun pointed at me. My Mission hasn't been too hard so far.
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