Tuesday, December 18, 2012

18 December 2012 Letter (Szolnok)

Tuesday, 11 December
Two cancellations today.  With I, we again talked about the "gate of baptism," as well as the Higher Law of Christ.  In our program with J we talked about different theories of men and God (such as Nehor, Korihor, and King Benjamin).  We met with Z one last time to have a formal dropping program.  He showed up with a list he'd made saying how he'd only met because we're American; how he will never be a religious man; how God does not help us, but leaves us on our own to help ourselves; and the eighth and final point, that he just "does not care about God."  Bummer!  We did let him know how much his friendship and lessons meant to us, and left on good terms.  In the evening was Angolora.  We sang and translated "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer."  My miracle today is that there are many Kingdoms after the judgement, not just heaven and hell.  I think that it is yet another way God's love is manifest for us in the Plan of Salvation.  He provides the Telestial, Terrestrial, and other degrees in the Celestial Kingdom so that all those who fall short of exaltation may still receive a state of peace, of glory, and of paradise – much preferable over the abyss of Outer Darkness.

Wednesday, 12 December
This morning I planned out District Meeting assignments, the training, and a very unique set of role plays that I'm looking forward to.  We had one investigator dog us today.  We had four hours of finding but without success in the finding part.  We met with Z in the late afternoon and helped her prepare for the Christmas Concert.  In Seminary we studied Mark.  My miracle today is enduring.  A mission is a great time and opportunity to learn how to endure, and to learn how to endure well.

Thursday, 13 December
This morning and afternoon we taught at the school again.  Since today was the last time we'll see these three classes, we talked about Christmas.  We had a very similar lesson as with our two classes last week.  In the groups, once again, from about 90-100 students, Family Time, Food, and Presents came out as the "most important parts of Christmas."  One group today said "The Spirit of Christmas" which made me happy.  Once again, there was very little thought about Christ.  So, what did I do?  I took ten minutes in every class and talked specifically about the "Spirit of Christ."  I also learned from all three classes that there are no traditional Hungarian Christmas stories.  The majority of them had never heard of “A Christmas Carol," Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, "The Gift of the Magi," and a fair amount didn't know anything about the Nativity Story (Christ's birth).  Nor did they have any new stories or traditional folk lore about Christmas.  In the evening we met with I.  Once again E was unable to come.  We had a chance to talk about Jacob 5, the Family Proclamation, and Elder Nelson's dedicatory prayer, all of which he'd read; then we commenced discussing Matthew 24.  The program got really interesting when Z walked right in, saying he'd seen the lights on inside.  So, he invited himself into our program.  I found out that he too, has a very good knowledge of the Bible and religious history.  Our two investigators taught each other for over an hour at a pace and level that, frankly, I struggled to keep up with.  I wish it had been in English.  Crazy and strange things happen on missions and this was one of them.  My miracle today is the Gospel of Jesus Christ; "gospel" meaning "good news," or the joyous message and teachings of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Friday, 14 December
We had our District Meeting this morning.  The Zone Leaders came to it.  Elder Loveday gave an insightful thought on being unified within ourselves.  During the training we focused on using many unique role plays to learn companionship unity.  Our District Goals are going well.  Everyone is doing all of them.  In my opinion, this was our best district meeting yet.  We all felt very good afterwards.  I also went on splits with Elder Clavel after the meeting.  We went down to Szeged and had two programs.  The first one was with E and V.  We talked about Tithing as well as following the prophet.  Our second program was with M.  We talked to her about Humility and Obedience.  Afterwards we went and split back.  Overall, Elder Clavel and I had about five hours in the car to talk.  We had to take a ferry across the Tisza.  That was a fun experience.  Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera.  When we split back, I learned both A and Z had dogged the other elders.  Ouch.  My miracle today is Faith.  Faith is a principle of power, and we receive it through the gifts of God as results of our thoughts, our actions, and the actions of others.  Faith is the foundation of everything we do.  It's something the majority of the world just does not understand.

Saturday, 15 December – 18 Months on My Mission!
One cancellation today.  We did a lot of work on our Area Book today, making over 150 calls and organizing it for nearly six hours.  I'm totally re-vamping our book, and when we're done, she'll be a beauty that radiates and shines.  During that time we found six interested people.  My miracle is that I've begun a study of Christ's parables.  Christ really was the master teacher.

Sunday, 16 December
First off, this morning the shower head fell off.  Rust had completely eaten away the inside of it, and when I turned it on this morning, the top shot off!  Anyhow, we had our usual Ward Council Meeting this morning.  During Church, I blessed and confirmed A a member of the Church.  She came in during the Sacramental Hymn, so after, we confirmed her, then proceeded straight to the Sacrament.  It was the first time I can remember anything being between the Sacrament Hymn and the Ordinance.  Not many members were there today.  Z didn't come.  However, the Adams's were there and they gave departing testimonies.  Choir practice today was a disaster.  Only two people stayed.  In the evening we met with A and discussed the apostasy.  We also began to talk about baptism.  The first thing he said was, "I've already been baptized."  I know like that sounds like a common thing, but I was a bit caught off guard.  The last time anyone said that was back in Szekesfehervar, one year ago.  However, we were able to partially address it and he knows it wasn't valid.  My miracle today was A's confirmation.  I've never had the opportunity on my mission to baptize anyone, but now I have had the chance to confirm someone.

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