Monday, January 28, 2013

28 January 2013 Letter (Szolnok)

Tuesday, 22 January
Two dogs today and one reschedule. We met with I this morning and talked about repentance. Despite it all being in English, Elder McCurdy found that it was still very hard to teach. However, I think I found the chink on which I is getting stuck. He is not sure that honesty, virtue, good desires, and righteous living can actually be learned by anyone. He believes something similar to the idea that some people are inherently evil or dishonest, or more prone to steal. And he’s not sure that can be overcome in this life.  During the conversation, three examples he expressed were how if it really was possible to learn all this and change, then why doesn’t everyone? As well as that there are people who go to jail over, and over, and over again, sometimes for the same crime. Why don’t they change? Thirdly, why do some races and nationalities have such a higher crime rate, even within the same country? (He used America as an example). I’m pretty sure this is what’s blocking him and our next big obstacle. I don’t fully know how to tackle this.  Later during the day I made calls from the Area Book. I offered to let Elder McCurdy try, but got a very quick no way in response. I have a slight hunch it might be because of the language. (I never made calls when I was in my first area either). At Angolora no one came to Profi, and only one old Kezdo student returned. However, in Halado I had seven, one of which was A. It was good to re-establish contact with him.  After Angolora, we met with H. We covered the second half of the Plan of Salvation in a discussion that went really well. E was there again. H never prays, so that is the next big step we are trying to help her take.

My miracle today is a reflection on I’s progress, or rather how he progresses. It is very much as our typical Church line says, small and simply and step by step. It will most likely continue step-by-step for at least a while longer.

Wednesday, 23 January
One cancellation and one dog today. (This was the third time G dogged, so we will not be setting-up with him again). We met with E for the second time. We talked about the Restoration of the Gospel. Our program went very well. Later we went with the Sisters to two newspaper places. It looks like we will be able to put a little ad in each of them for the next four weeks. Hopefully that helps our English Class. In the evening we had Seminary, focusing on Luke 24 and the Resurrection. In the late evening we took a little time to clean our apartment.

Small miracle: Elder McCurdy will have his first real split tomorrow going to Kecskemet with Elder Shuck, who is only in his 3rd transfer.

Thursday, 24 January
Splits were today. This morning we went to Kecskemet, and Elder Loveday and I returned to Szolnok. We had a program with A. She had questions for us which was great. She didn’t know what the footnotes were, so we taught her and showed her how to use them. She also asked where in the Book of Mormon the stories about Adam, Eve, Abraham, Moses, etc were. So, we had the opportunity to talk more about the purpose of the Book of Mormon and its differences from the Bible. After helping to answer her questions, we taught the first half of the Plan of Salvation. We will be meeting with her again on Saturday to finish the second half.

Friday, 25 January
Today was a good day. We had our District Meeting this morning. Sister Behunin chose Reflections for an activity. Although we did the exact same thing two-three weeks ago, five of the eight here are new. It turned out well. The training itself was on Preach My Gospel. To help us become better Preach My Gospel Missionaries we used the time to try to answer every question any of us came up with concerning PMG. We discussed 18 questions and answered all but one, which we can ask President Smith on Sunday when he comes.  After District Meeting we split back. Elder McCurdy and I took some time to plan out what we wanted to teach in a couple programs. In the evening we met with B and Z. We were all together at first, but later the Sisters took B into the kitchen to meet with her while we met with Z. In our program with Z we began by discussing faith and hope; defining them; asking what we have them in. Z failed to ever say anything about hoping he could quit smoking, or faith that he could, or anything relating to smoking for that matter. I pointed this out to him and we used this to transition into the Word of Wisdom. I asked if he had the faith to quick smoking, and he said he wasn’t sure. So we sat in silence for around 7-8 minutes while he figured out if he did or not. He finally said yes.  So, we outlined a plan to stop smoking. Z committed one at a time to each step of the plan. At the end, as the last step of the plan, Elder McCurdy challenged Z to prepare to be baptized by March 2. And Z accepted that too. Maybe this will finally be it. I’m not sure we can lighten up before that date lest he relapse.

The miracle of today is all on Z and this renewed effort, as well as Elder McCurdy’s opportunity to put an investigator on Baptismal Date within his first ten days in the country.

Saturday, 26 January
One dog. We met with A this morning. It was good to finally begin meeting with him again. We helped him learn about the first half of the Plan of Salvation. A has continued to pray daily and read from the Book of Mormon once or twice a week. We then met with H, along with T and her daughter, T. It was a good chance to meet the second two. It was also Elder McCurdy’s first feeding program.  Back at the Branch House we met with A. I came again to help. We finished talking about the Plan of Salvation and have begun to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. After our program was a Family History Activity led by P. A stayed for it and Z came as well. Following the activity we had Choir Practice. We then met with D. She teaches English and French to the military here in Szolnok. We invited the Sisters to the program and at the end gave her over to the Sisters.  Tomorrow is Branch Conference. We have had nine investigators say they will come. That would be nice.

Lastly, today’s miracle, the Elders in Kecskemet have had an investigator who has been around for over a year and who, during that time, has kept commandments and been coming to church for months, yet has always rejected any invitations to be baptized that the elders have extended. However, tonight she called Elder Loveday and said that she’s thought about it and would like to be baptized within the next couple weeks. We would all like to see her be baptized during this coming month.

Sunday, 27 January
Branch Conference was today. We had a priesthood meeting this morning and the Mission Presidency arrived part-way through it. A, I, and S all came afterwards to Sacrament Meeting. After Sacrament Meeting, I introduced I to President Smith, and I asked if they could discuss a few questions. The two of them talked all through Sunday School. That was very kind of President Smith to spend 45 minutes to help our investigator.  We then had Priesthood Meeting in which President Balatoni gave the lesson. Csaba was then ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood. Our church meetings ended by being interviewed by President Smith. Elder McCurdy and I returned to our apartment to plan and study.  A couple last notes today: I have a lot to email tomorrow (aka today). President Hickley passed away five years ago, as of today.

Lastly, my miracle; this last week I more fully realized the importance of teaching our investigators about the Resurrection as I had the opportunity to teach the concept of receiving a perfect body to someone who has had a physical handicap throughout their life.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

21 January 2013 Letter (Szolnok)

Monday, 14 January
I won’t repeat transfer stuffs from last week.  However, in the evening we went to Csaladi Est where we officially told the members there the news.  After pictures and a couple games of Uno, we left to go to meet with a member family. 

My miracle today is that I will be training another missionary again.  In the next transfer I will be especially responsible for something we are all accountable for: the influence we have on others.

Tuesday, 15 January
This morning we met with I.  We talked about Repentance.  I is struggling with the thought right now that repentance must always be genuinely sincere and that everyone else must know for sure that it is sincere.  We discussed what is required in repentance, how it is possible, and who it is between.  Yet he is still concerned about people trying to “trick” others into believing they have changed.  I asked him to think about who they are really trying to trick.  This subject might need a bit more time to truly click.  After I’s program we went to J’s.  We talked about Church leadership and watched President Monson’s talk from this last General Conference.  We left the DVD with him and challenged him to watch the rest of the Sunday Morning Session.  After, we returned home so Elder Hunnicutt could pack while I cleaned.  In the evening we had Angolora.  No one came to Profi or Kezdo, but I had eleven in Halado.  At the end we watched the Restoration Film and Elder Hunnicutt shared his testimony. 

My miracle today is Elder Hunnicutt.  He’s really shy and quiet, but caring and generous at the same time.  It was great to get to serve these last twelve weeks with him.

Wednesday, 16 January
Today was Transfer Day!  We had the trainer meeting at 11:00, followed by the “Sorting Hat” meeting around 12:30.  I received Elder McCurdy from Lindon, UT as my new companion.  Sister Suranyi received Sister Burdick who will also be coming to Szolnok with us.  There were a lot of missionaries at transfers today.  It’s strange to be one of the oldest among them.  There are only ten missionaries remaining who are older than I.  As it is often one of the happiest parts of transfers, I got to pick-up mail.  Well, once we started heading back to Szolnok I was the only one who didn't have luggage…good thing too.  The four of us had 8 big suitcases to carry.  (Well, six really big, one mid-sized, and one small bag, plus backpacks).  However I was able to lead everyone without any wrong turns or other problems.  We made it back to Szolnok, got the Sisters into their apartment, and later made it to the Branch House and Seminary safely.  The three other missionaries had the opportunity to meet 8 members in the Branch already.  In the evening, Elder McCurdy had time to unpack a little.  I called the sisters to check-up on them and learned that they accidently switched off their heater and will need to wait for the Landlord to come and turn it back on.  Oops! 

Well, my miracle today is that it’s happening.  I’m the last elder standing in Szolnok and need to help guide three missionaries with two more brand-new missionaries on the way.

Thursday, 17 January
This morning we had studies for four hours thanks to the 12 Week Program which we have begun.  We took an hour or two to discuss all of our investigators.  We then met with the Sisters where for two hours straight I poured information onto the three other missionaries: giving the Sisters the records we received back, explaining all their investigators, and all the inactives; listed several ideas for this transfer; showed them various locations on the map; and discussed Angolora, the high school, and goals.  Once we finally finished, we went to Elder McCurdy’s and Sister Burdick’s first Pekseg.  Then went to get Bus ID’s and Passes.  Today when I called Z I learned it is his birthday and set-up a program for tomorrow.  The stop-smoking program still isn’t going well.  In the evening, Elder McCurdy and I went streeting.  He stopped a third of the people we met.  He is a pretty good speaker and is not afraid to put himself out there and try. 

My miracle today is my second mission son, Elder Adam Michael McCurdy.  Elder McCurdy is from neighboring Lindon, and attended PGHS, being two years behind me.  We were on the same bus route, and had a couple of the same teachers and class mates.  After graduating, he attended BYU for one year.  He enjoys basketball and lacrosse, and is considering a major in Business.  He is awesome, funny, and also knows Elder Alldredge and many people from my home ward.  I look forward to continuing to train him.  I want to do this right and be a great trainer.

Friday, 18 January
This morning we went to Kecskemet for District Meeting.  I had the opportunity to meet Sister Behunin and Elder Shuck.  We all brought family pictures to try to get to better know each other.  During the training part I gave a training titled “The Lost,” comparing the three parables in Luke 15 to missionary work.  At the end of the meeting we established two goals to invite at least three different members to programs each week and to all get SYL Super Standard the entire transfer.   Soon after returning to Szolnok, we left to Besenyszog to meet with B and Z.  All four of us went.  It was our first chance to take our new missionaries to a Falu.  Now they know what most of Hungary is like.  B and Z both said they will be at church on Sunday.  When we made it back to Szolnok again, we went to a meeting with the Branch Presidency.  With them we re-affirmed many things I had told the Sisters.  We also discussed the Branch plan and goals and ended by offering our service in whatever way they need most.  Lastly, we made calls tonight.  One of our investigator’s wife answered, and upon learning who we are, and that her husband had been meeting and speaking with us, said she would never allow anything to do with us, and asked us never to call again, then hung up.  Even after last week, our programs are continuing to decrease. 

My miracle today is that I realized that this is the second time that I’ve been the last man standing.  In Szombathely I was also the one that stayed to help Elders Nabrotzky, Jones, and Masters.  I guess either I did a good job the first time, or, I still had things I needed to learn.  I’m not sure which.
Saturday, 19 January
One dog today.  I woke up this morning with a very runny nose.  We had full studies in the morning.  We then gathered up a bunch of addresses from records that didn’t have phone numbers, organized them, and went to begin looking them up.  Today we found three people who said they’re interested in meeting.  Two said they’ll come to church tomorrow, and the third let us in for an hour; said we can come back, and will come to church next week.  In the evening we finished with calls. 

Today’s miracle is that six people are supposed to come to church.
Sunday, 20 January
We had our regular meetings today.  A and Z both came to church.  At church I also had the opportunity to meet the senior couple that will be moving-in in a week and a half, the Herd’s.  After church we had choir.  Sister Herd took over the piano so we could double our number of male singers.  During the meetings today, Elder McCurdy was as confused as I was my first week in the country.  I’m proud to write that he managed to stay awake for all of it.  My nose has only gotten worse and is now a non-stop waterfall.  All of today I have not yet made it over 23 minutes without using a tissue.  Bah!  I can’t imagine it getting any worse tomorrow.  I can’t wait to have a normal nose again and be able to live normally again. 

My miracle is that for the past month (and hopefully in future months), I have been managing to listen to 2-3 sessions of General Conference a week.

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21 January 2013 Pictures (Szolnok)

Monday, January 14, 2013

14 January 2013 Letter (Szolnok)

Monday, 7 January
Despite it being P-Day, we actually had two dogs.  Hopefully that’s all that fall through this week. 

My miracle today is a resolution to increase in self-mastery.

Tuesday, 8 January
Another two dogs today, and like yesterday, neither answered their phone when we tried to call.  However, we still had a good number of programs.  First, we met with Szarvak Istvan.  We talked about prayer, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and repentance again.  It was quite interesting to take particular note of our conversation about prayer.  When we challenged Istvan to pray two and a half weeks ago after having learned that he has not ever really prayed despite having met with the missionaries for nearly three years, he was very doubtful and even unwilling almost, only saying he’d think about it and try, but with no promises.  I wrote that he prayed somewhat, but still claimed it was weird and struggled when we followed-up the following week.  Today Istvan expressed his true thoughts.  For his whole life, including the past three years meeting with the missionaries, and despite what we had said in our programs, he had always been under the impression that one must have a certain level of obedience, faith, and righteousness to pray.  He never prayed in the past and was so hesitant to accept our challenge to pray 2 ½ weeks ago because he felt he lacked sufficient faith and would be disrespecting, or making a mockery of God’s laws if he prayed.  But, he tried because we asked him and did not full-heartedly like it at first and stopped for a couple days.  But then it happened.  This last week something finally clicked.  He realized last week that whatever faith he has, however much it may be, will be acceptable to God if he exercises it in prayer.  Since that realization, he has prayed daily, as well as said the prayer in one of our programs for the first time.  Hallelujah!  However, he still feels that one must be near perfect to be baptized (it clicked for prayer, but not baptism).  So, we are working on “clicking” that switch next.  Hopefully with him starting to pray daily, things will continue to accelerate.  Our second program was with Edit.  A member came to the program and was a big help.  Our program today was greatly more gospel-centered than our Christmas encounter.  We focused on the Book of Mormon and Prophets as well as set-up to talk about the Restoration, First Vision, and Joseph Smith story next time.  We had Angolora tonight.  Six were in my class.  We spoke of New Year Resolutions and things which matter most.  Lastly we met with Hajni.  It was half English, half gospel.  Nemeth Elnok was there to help.  We spoke about the Plan of Salvation, as well as families.  She lost her job as a nurse recently, but as a result has had much more time with her family and has begun to better realize how important they are.  She committed to read, pray, and meet again soon.

My miracle and resolution today is to completely read the Book of Mormon straight through this year.

Wednesday, 9 January
It snowed 1 ½-2 inches last night.  That was a fun surprise to wake up to.  We left early this morning down to Szeged for a Zone Training.  We had a short and light training on the Role of the Holy Ghost.  After the training we took a train back.  In Cegled all the trains were 1 ½-2 hours delayed, including ours.  So we were stuck in the station for 2 ½ hours.  During that time, we had to call two of our programs to cancel, not being able to make it back quick enough.  When we did make it back, the other two investigators dogged.  So, we made a couple calls instead.

My miracle and resolution today is to listen to more uplifting music.  Not to listen to music that is more uplifting, but to listen to uplifting music more often.

Thursday, 10 January
One cancellation today.  We went to the school to teach.  In the evening we went to Physical Therapy.  Elder Alldredge and I came back to Szolnok for splits.  We forgot to get the cell phone from Hunnicutt and give them the keys to the Kecskemet Branch House. Oops! 

Miracle and Resolution: to reread “Preach My Gospel” straight through before my mission ends.

Friday, 11 January
Crazy day today!  We had seven programs planned: two cancelled, four dogs, and one with Aniko.  After fifteen minutes neither she, nor the member we had asked to help had come, so we thought they might’ve called the phone, which was with Elder Hunnicutt in Kecskemet, to cancel.  So we started getting ready to leave and after we had our coats on and everything she came in 18 minutes late, and nine minutes later the member came too.  So, barely catching her before we left was the biggest tender mercy and miracle of today.  In the program with her we watched the Restoration Film, then talked about the First Vision and Baptism.  We challenged her to be baptized, but she said she needs some time before answering.  As we continued talking to her we learned that she had heard a couple myths about joining the Church, and seen some false videos on Youtube, and thought she’d have to be “baptized by fire and the Spirit” in a fire ritual.  So we cleared those up and ended by returning to discussing the First Vision.  Aniko said she likes and even believes the Joseph Smith story is true.  She feels good about baptism but would like at least a week before committing.  Overall, our program went very well and is very promising of good things to come.

Saturday, 12 January
One dog today.  We went to Cibakhaza and met with the Somogyi family, then afterwards went to Besenyszog to meet with Bea and Zoli.  Zoli got called in to work, so we used the time to talk to Bea.  It sounds like Zoli isn’t really following the Stop-smoking Program, so we talked about all the things she can do to help and support him.  We tried to schedule for next week, but were not able to set-up many programs (only three).  Not quite the same as the twenty-four last week. 

My miracle today is a thought I had on Love and Charity.  Charity, otherwise called the “pure love of Christ,” is something we are told to seek after, pray for, that it endureth forever, and that without it we are nothing.  The thought I had is that all these things are specifically about “Charity” and not “Love.”  “To love” itself is not a commandment.  The commandments are to love ourselves, our neighbors, our family, and most of all, to love God.  Love can be a sin if it is for other things, and when we put those temporary things above our love of God and His children, despite the fact that the path that would make God the most happy is also the way to our own greatest happiness.  The last thought on the subject for now is the definition of Charity: “Pure Love of Christ.”  I think as a Church we typically consider charity as loving as Christ loved, which is accurate, but the wording of “pure love of Christ” also implies “love of/(for) Christ.”  We are commanded to pray and seek ways that we may better love Christ.  We are to more firmly keep the first commandment in the law, and without that, our love of God, we are nothing.

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Monday, January 7, 2013

7 January 2013 Letter (Szolnok)

Wednesday, 2 January
It's still weird to type "2013."  Today we had three programs.  First was with A.  She met with the missionaries 2-3 years ago, said that she's done a lot of thinking since then, and wants to join the Church.  So, we're trying to move things along.  Today we taught her the Restoration, which she actually remembered really well.  Sunday she is coming to church, and we will continue to roll from there.  Our second program was with T.  He is a new investigator.  He believes in God, but is not united with any religion, and is actually strongly against all religions.  He is of the opinion that you can find out everything about every religion on the internet, and that it's possible to find many flaws in all of them.  He was disappointed that we don't have multiple wives, was hard to teach, but after saying he'd never read any of the Book of Mormon, accepted one and said he'd read out of it.  Lastly, we met with B and Z.  We completely focused on the Quit-Smoking Program.  Our Landlady is coming tomorrow.  

My miracle today is a New Year's Resolution to do a better job of letting myself be happy.

Thursday, 3 January
We met with J today.  We talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He's beginning to take the lessons more and more seriously.  After our program, Sister Smith and Sister Carpenter came for Apartment Inspections.  While they were here, our Landlady showed up.  Elder Hunnicutt and I were able to get a new shower head and a microwave.  In the evening we headed to physical therapy in Kecskemet.  

My miracle is another resolution to pay more attention to the miracles of the earth, such as water and many of its miracles.

Friday, 4 January
Today, Elder Hunnicutt and I went up to Budapest for interviews.  It was my second interview with President Smith, the first being when he arrived in the country six months ago.  During the interview he said that the two things each of us can do to hasten the work is first to be more obedient, and second to work harder.  I think I'd agree with that.  After Elder Hunnicutt finished his interview, we returned to Szolnok, made some calls, and I prepared tomorrow's training.  

Today's entry receives yet another resolution.  A resolution to be more obedient than last year.

Saturday, 5 January
This morning we had District Meeting.  We focused on reflections and goals.  Afterwards we had a couple hours to make calls.  We have five investigators who said they'll be at church tomorrow.  We found out that Elder Hunnicutt is indeed very likely to go senior next transfer, and so, to better prepare him, I've made him acting senior for next week too.  

My miracle is more resolutions.  I made a list of all of my worst habits and am going to try to break all of them this year.  A year's a long enough time, right?

Sunday, 6 January
Fast Sunday was today.  Only A came to church.  At the beginning of Sacrament Meeting, E got up to announce, as a goal for this next year, the effort for all possible members to make it to the temple at least once.  After church we did our usual weekly planning.  This week we have a lot set-up.  In addition to Zone Training, Physical Therapy, restarting our teaching Angolora and at the high school, and splits with the Kecskemet Elders, we still have 18 programs set-up, with members coming to 10 of them and another 8 people who said they'd be able to meet this week (but have not yet scheduled an exact day and time).  We'll see how it goes!  

Another resolution for future miracles: to be more prayerful.

In a Christmas letter I received I was asked about Hungarian Christmas traditions.  I don't remember whether or not I shared any last year, but for the sake of efficiency, and to have them in an organized place, I thought I'd write about a few of them. 

In Hungary there are unique Christmas-time Songs, however there are no Hungarian Christmas Stories.  Here they celebrate the Advent, putting up all kinds of wooden or canvas tents around the main walking streets and squares, from which they sell winter clothing, odds and ends, and especially treats and drinks.  The most popular of treats are called Kürtöskalacs's, which is a sweet bread, wrapped around a large wooden stick, then rolled above a fire, and finally covered with something, typically cinnamon, chocolate, sprinkles, crushed nuts, or a vanilla glaze.  Their traditional and most popular winter drink is boiled wine.  

In Hungary Santa Claus does not bring the presents on Christmas, but rather visits on December 6 with his little imp helpers (why are they imps?....I don't know....but Google probably does).  He usually only brings presents to younger children though.  It is also on this day that people typically dress up in the common red Santa Hats, and Santa Suits.  Then, on the 24th, the beginning of their Christmas (as Christmas in Hungary is considered to be from the 24-26), Baby Jesus brings the presents.  The presents are opened on the night of the 24th, and the traditional Christmas Dinner of Fish Soup or Stuffed Cabbages is usually eaten on this night.  (Or one on the 24th, and the other on the 25th).  However, the 26th is also considered "Christmas" just as much as the 24 or the 25 are.

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7 January 2013 Pictures (Szolnok)

Back in Budapest for a couple hours!

Christmas Zone Conference

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2 January 2013 Letter (Szolnok)

Wednesday, 19 December
We went to the school for the last time this year. We focused on New Year Resolutions. Later, we tried to meet with and help Z, but he showed up nearly half an hour late. It was kind of a miracle when he did show up. Elder Hunnicutt has been trying to be more humble, and I've been trying to be more charitable. We both practiced those attributes. While we waited for our train, I asked if he was hungry and offered to buy him pizza. He was humble enough to admit he'd like some, and let me buy it for him. To get the pizza for the train-ride to Kecskemet caused us to backtrack and kept us in the area longer. Z showed up right after we got the pizza. We talked with him as we walked, reached the train, started getting on when he said we were getting on the wrong train. At first neither of us believed him, until we asked and found he was telling the truth. They'd switched the platforms since we had last looked, but he, arriving quite late, saw the new, changed information. He saved us from what probably would've been a 2 hour detour.   When we came back, we met with Z again, but the phone call didn't work. We are going to try again tomorrow. 

Today's miracle is the Atonement. It is the single most important part in history. Through it, we may be cleansed from sin, endowed from on high, and may be saved. While there's so much we don't understand about the Atonement, we can all at least understand how important it is.

Thursday, 20 December (The Day before the World Ends)
Today was a good day. I accomplished and finished a lot. We met with two new investigators:  J and her daughter. They're both atheist. Neither of them have ever tried to pray or actively seek or try to learn if God exists. So we talked about prayer and the Book of Mormon.  We ended our day helping Z again. This time we got the phone call to work. I helped translate as he talked to a dentist in Florida, who helped him out twelve years ago. Tomorrow he leaves for a Christmas vacation. We caught him just in time. 

Well, with how many people are saying the world will end tomorrow I should write about Repentance. Although I know the world won't end tomorrow, we do not know how long we will have on this earth. We don't know when we'll die. A Rabbi once said that we should all repent the day before we die. He then said since we don't know when we'll die, we ought to all be repenting daily. I would agree with that. We should not procrastinate lest we wait too long and be too late.

Friday, 21 December (The End of the World …Supposedly)
Today I went to Kecskemet for splits. Elder Loveday and I had four programs. Although today is through, it appears the world is still here. I'm still here. Oh, the miracle of life.

Saturday, 22 December (Day after the End of the World)
We split back this morning after studies. Elder Hunnicutt and I helped decorate, set-up for, and later performed in the Branch Christmas Concert, followed by the Branch Christmas Party. I got to play the piano through all of it. My fingers have gotten much better since my beginnings in Nyiregyhaza, hitting one note at a time. The program itself was quite the successful activity. Eight different less-actives and investigators showed up. 

My miracle today is this world.  I would never say that the entire world ended; but if you do think about it, there's a world within each day which does change from day to day; so, in some senses, it would be possible to accurately call each day a whole new world.

Sunday, 23 December
At church today, three different members approached us to arrange feeding programs during the next three days.

My miracle today is that the holidays start tomorrow.

Monday, 24 December (Christmas Eve)
After a morning of relaxation and games, we went over to eat lunch with Z and A. Later we walked around Szolnok for a while.

My miracle today is the Spirit of the Holiday, or in other words, the Spirit of Christ: feelings of love, generosity, gratitude, kindness, unity, selflessness, faithfulness, hopefulness, patience, and pretty much all Christ-like Attributes. I'm excited to get to talk to my family tomorrow.

Tuesday, 25 December (Christmas!)
Today, we took a bus to the Nemeth family. We had Christmas lunch with their family, then took a bus back from Cibakhaza and made it home half an hour before phone calls began. At 5:00, my family called. That was the best part of Christmas! Although the phone call could only last an hour, we were able to talk about a lot of different things. It was great to talk to all of them.  As soon as my phone call finished, Elder Hunnicutt and I took off to go to G's. While we were there, Elder Hunnicutt received a call from his family. We had snow yesterday, but it melted during the night and was quite warm today. We barely missed a white Christmas.

My miracle today is of course the birth of Christ, our Savior. The baby Jesus was the first gift of Christmas. Out of divine love Heavenly Father sent His Son, and through Him, we received the Atonement, which makes available Eternal Life, the greatest of all the gifts of God.

Wednesday, 26 December
Well, by Hungarian tradition, today is still Christmas; however, for us it was a work-day. We went over to Erika's to have lunch with her and her family. In the evening we had the opportunity to meet with a new family. We had our first program with E, her daughter, and her grandson. All three are Catholic, nice, and don't really like America. However, our program went well. We took them a Book of Mormon and a Christmas gift. We hope to meet with them again soon. 

Today's miracle is Baptism. A simple, yet important ordinance. Although yesterday we celebrated Christ's birth, He did not waste any time in His life, and at the start of His ministry, He gave us the example of baptism.

Thursday, 27 December
Today we went on splits with the Zone Leaders. Elder Snyder and I went down to Szeged.

Today's miracle is the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the most vital aspect of missionary work. It is only through the Holy Ghost that we can understand God. It is only through the Holy Ghost we can learn the Gospel. The Holy Ghost is what causes lasting change. The Holy Ghost is necessary for conversion and success.

Friday, 28 December
This morning we had our District Meeting in Keckemet. This week the training was on the Holy Ghost and Chapter 4 of “Preach My Gospel.” After, back in Szolnok, we had a meeting with the Branch Leaders to determine goals for next year. One of the goals we set was to improve from the three baptisms of this year, and aim for seven in the coming year.  In the evening I made calls for two hours. I was able to find seven people who said they'd be interested in meeting.

My miracle today is the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Every member receives this “baptism of fire and the Spirit.” It is through this baptism, the Holy Ghost, that our wrongs are made right, and through which we may be cleansed, receiving a remission of our sins.

Saturday, 29 December
We met with I. We discussed prayer and followed up on our commitment from last time. While he did not pray daily, he did pray a couple times. He said it was new and weird to pray so direct and vocally. Yet, we committed him to continue to pray. 

Miracle of the Day: five investigators have said that they will be coming to church tomorrow.

Sunday, 20 December
Church was today. (Surprise!) Anyhow, no one came of those we invited. However, I did arrange for members to come to six of our programs this next week.

The miracle for today is that a new Church book: “The Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow,” came out in both English and Hungarian.

Monday, 31 December (New Year's Eve)
Today is the last day of 2012. There seems to be a lot of endings and last things recently. In the evening we met with A in the Branch House and afterwards stayed for the first hour of the Branch New Year’s Party, getting home by 9:30.  Miracle of the Day: This entire year I spent on my mission. I've been in Hungary for over 18 months. So much has changed during this time. Today I realized that I'm not too great with goals. I can't remember a single resolution I made from last New Year's. Oops.

Tuesday, 1 January (New Year's Day!)
Happy New Year! Welcome to 2013! To celebrate, we had quite the empty day. Our only program canceled. So, today was a day of calling and organizing. By the end, we found nine new people who said they were interested. 

Today's miracle is a short resolution: to strive to see those things which matter most in life and in the eternities.

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