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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