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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