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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