Monday, December 10, 2012

10 December 2012 Letter (Szolnok)

Monday, 3 December
Transfer calls came today.  As always, there were surprises.  Elder Hunnicutt and I are staying together.  We were both glad to be able to stay and this will be the first time I’ve remained with a companion since Elder Reese, almost a year ago.  The Sisters, on the other hand, will both be leaving.  One Missionary returned home from the MTC, and one other changed the date, so we currently have a threesome of Elders and a threesome of Sisters, and were forced to close two companionships, with the Sisters’ here being one of them (and the other in Eger).  In other news, Elder Alldredge is coming to Kecskemet and will be in my District again; Elder Headrick has been called as the new Zone Leader in Miskolc; and Elder Walker is replacing Elder Reese as an Assistant.  So, the major change for us is the Sisters.  We will need to absorb their work, their roles and responsibilities with investigators, English class, teaching at the school, meeting with members (such as the newly baptized A), and other odds and ends (like playing the piano in Church meetings and having a larger role in the Christmas Concert).  Blaugh.  There is no way we will have time for it all.  This could very well be the busiest transfer of my mission!  We still had to go shopping and emailing.  We went through Christmas Village and all the Advent shops with the Sisters.  At Csaladi Est, all the members were depressed due to the Sisters’ departure.  However, my miracle today is that yesterday I wrote that I felt I was still needed here, and the fruits of my efforts were hard to see; well, now I’ve been gifted another six weeks time to finish my work here and accomplish whatever I’m meant to do.

Tuesday, 4 December
One cancellation and two dogs today.  We met with I.  We talked of baptism and he said he would never be baptized.  Upon further questioning, we learned it was because he thought there would be numerous new commandments after baptism, and that it was necessary to have a perfect faith and knowledge before baptism.  So we continued discussing baptism and faith, but we need more time.  Towards the end we got a referral from him: another I, imagine that!  We’re going to try to meet with him this week.  Later, Z dogged us.  That hurt.  We had lunch with the Sisters and used it as an opportunity to hand-off records and information about their work.  In the evening was Angolora.  No one came to Kezdo or Profi today.  We only had four of my Halado students.  For 20 minutes or so we talked about Lehi’s vision and all four students committed to read 2 ½ to 3 pages daily this next week.  We had a couple funny parts.  One older gentleman asked what “Google” was, and the rest of the class tried to explain it to him in Hungarian, but he still couldn’t quite grasp it.  My miracle today is this marvelous missionary work we are involved in.

Wednesday, 5 December
Transfers were today.  Elder Hunnicutt and I went over to the Sisters’ this morning to help them with their luggage.  We were able to help them get everything loaded and take off.  In other news, it snowed today.  Not much of it stuck, but it was nice to have more white.  We taught at the school today.  Two interesting parts were that hardly any of the students had ever heard of Rudolph the red-nosed Reindeer, and that in the classes we divided them into groups and at the end, those groups, (made up of 16-18 year olds), voted on what the single most important part of Christmas is.  Out of 9 groups of 4-7 students each, one said “no school,” two said “food,” two said “presents,” and four said “time with family.”  Despite it being His birthday and Him bringing the gifts in this culture, Christ was completely forgotten among the youth of Hungary.  After school, we met with the two I.  The new one is an English professor.  He had only read negative views of the Church in the past, but we had a fair conversation.  Afterwards we spent awhile just talking to I.  That was followed by Seminary.  In the evening we made several calls.  I called and talked to A.  The Elders in Pest had not yet talked to him, but he told me that he is very busy with his new job, and is too tired the rest of the time.  I told him there are about twenty Missionaries in Budapest and at least one companionship would gladly match his schedule, but he said, “no thanks.”  I asked if he still wanted to be baptized, which received a, “not really, but thank you for your time and concern.”  And that’s about how our conversation ended.  He said he has a life now, and is content with it.  In my mind I can hear Elder Holland’s voice, “Is this all my love meant to you?”  Now, my biggest hope is that in a month or two, the Missionaries will look him up, and he’ll open back up.  We’ve begun contacting all the investigators the Sisters gave us.  So far three of them are unable to meet in the near future (due to the Advent).  Tomorrow Sister Hudspeth from my MTC group returns home.  I’m about to become a Mission Bacsi and start my 12th transfer.  For today, the miracle is the Spirit World.  That is probably my favorite part of the Plan of Salvation.  Most people believe that after death we go directly to Heaven or Hell.  However, we know that there is another world, a world of spirits, where everyone from all ages of the Earth will have a chance to hear, learn, and accept the gospel, and thus qualify to enter the Celestial Kingdom.

Thursday, 6 December (Mikulas Napja – Santa Claus Day)
Today is Santa Claus Day!  We had one cancellation today.  This morning we met with A.  He is a new investigator from an old finding sheet.  Z came to his program, and we learned he knows her parents and uncles well.  A has a personal religion, but we talked about why the Church is important (such as to strengthen our testimonies, serve, preach the Gospel, have leaders who receive modern revelation, and participate or perform in ordinances), as well as Moroni’s promise, and prayer.  I then had a short time to plan District Meeting assignments and the training.  Our second program was with B.  He is from the Sisters’ English class, and they met with him twice, but, he said he has met with the Missionaries several times across the years and has told them (and again re-emphasized to us) that he will never, ever join the Church.  So, we’ve already dropped him.  So, out of the eight investigators from the Sisters, only three are left.  Elder Hunnicutt and I met with J and E afterwards.  We taught J the entire Plan of Salvation.  We also talked to him, like A, about the importance of the Church.  J continues to pray daily and read often.  Our last program was with I.  E was unable to come.  We talked of missionary work, families, and the living prophet.  At the end, strangely, he gave us a commitment to read Matthew 23.  My miracle today is temple work.  We cannot be saved without our ancestors, and they cannot be saved without us.  (Likewise with our posterity).  Temple work and vicarious ordinances are such a necessary part of salvation, and are especially crucial for those beings in the Spirit World.

Friday, 7 December
Two cancellations today.  This morning we went to Kecskemet for our District Meeting.  There we set five goals and I gave training on the triumph of good over evil.  Soon afterwards, we got a call from Sister Smith and learned that we needed to go to Budapest.  While on the train there, I called Z to follow up on his reading and praying.  During the phone call he said that he’s made his decision; he doesn’t want to be baptized or be any kind of religious person.  My miracle today is the resurrection.  One day we will all be united with a perfect body.

Saturday, 8 December
To celebrate someone’s birthday today, we had two cancellations and a dog.  We finally got a full morning of studies today.  This afternoon was our first choir practice for the Branch Christmas Concert.  And, with the Sisters gone, I am the only one that knows how to play any Hymns.  So, once again I am the Branch Pianist.  Today’s miracle is that we shouldn’t judge others.  One day we will all be judged, but it will be by a fair and just judge, our Heavenly Father.

Sunday, 9 December
A wasn’t at church today, so she still hasn’t been confirmed.  However, one member, P, just returned to the Branch from serving a full-time mission in Spain.  After church was choir practice.  I’m starting to get a good grasp on playing most of the songs on the piano.  Afterwards we had weekly planning.

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