Monday, February 25, 2013

25 February 2013 Letter (Szolnok)

Monday, 18 February
Not much of anything today. No one was able to meet today. We did some streeting. At Csaladi Est we prepared decorations for Farsang (the Hungarian equivalent of Halloween).

Miracle of the day: transfer calls tomorrow. We all think I’ll be the most likely to leave.

Tuesday, 19 February
Today was our P-Day. This morning we received transfer calls: I’m staying. With Elder McCurdy and I staying together, it feels a little more depressing that we cancelled six programs today. Other things about transfers (most actually stayed the same): our whole district stayed except Sister Kennedy; Elder Bracken replaced Elder Snyder as our Zone Leader; and Elder Nabrotzky is training.  I’ve been listening to General Conferences every week, and am back to April 2008. Out on the street today while trying to figure out our Farsang costumes, we ran into A (our former bapt date), as soon as I tried to say Hello, he saw me, turned, and ran off. We had Angolora in the evening. Our class has changed from 6 to 34 attendants within only a month.

My two-part miracles today are that in addition to A, I also found I today. His phone hasn’t been working, but we set-up a program for next week. The second part is that I get another transfer here. Here starts my fourth transfer in Szolnok.

Wednesday, 20 February
Four cancellations today. We went tabling with the Sisters, but due to the cold and wind not many were receptive. Seminary was in the evening. In the evening I called B to make sure she threw Z’s cigarettes away (which she did while we were on the phone). Later I spent nearly an hour talking to E and Elder Heard about how to best help Z.

My miracle today is that Elder McCurdy and I took time this morning to figure out personal and companionship goals, both short term and for the transfer.

Thursday, 21 February
Lots of tracting today. After a couple hours of tracting look-ups, we met with E.  E came to help. We talked about Faith, Repentance, and the Resurrection. E is still a little harder to teach due to all her encounters with J-Dubs. She is planning on coming to all three hours of church on Sunday, if the weather permits it. After E’s program, we went tracting for several more hours, until the end of the day. In the end we found two families, each of four, who are interested in meeting.

My miracle is that life is still finding ways to humble me and show me my weaknesses, as today I had a couple things happen where I didn’t step-up to do something I know I should have.  Maybe one day I’ll get it all right.

Friday, 22 February
Miracle first today: all of my senior companions are home now. Elder Reese finished his mission yesterday.

This morning we met with I. The Herds were there again. We talked about faith and repentance again. He forgot to keep any of his three commitments. We then met with G. It was half-English and we know that’s why he’s meeting. At the end of the lesson, Elder McCurdy took the lead in teaching the Restoration. G, like the rest of his family, immediate and extended, is not religious at all. We went out to the north part of town where we met with A. She opened the door saying that she’s lived a very depressing and unlucky life, not having the most joyous relationship with God. However, she let us in, saying shed be willing to listen. Once inside she opened-up, telling us about her son’s death and other struggles. We taught the entire Plan of Salvation to which she was very responsive. At the end she accepted a Book of Mormon, said she’s read the Bible all the way through and would like to do the same with the Book of Mormon, and asked that we come back sometime. Wouldn't it be nice if we could help her change her attitude towards life around?  Last was Z and B.  Z is still smoking and B is allowing it and even deeming it understandable due to their current financial hardships, waiting for Z’s boss to pay them for the last two months. Z’s baptismal dates been pushed back. I don’t know how we are going to get him to quit.

Saturday, 23 February
One cancellation today. We met with A and E came to the program. With E’s help we taught A the Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, Law of Tithing, and about Fasting, and she committed to live all four. That checks everything on the list for baptism except for the interview. The Zone Leaders will come up next week for it.  After A’s program was the Farsang Buli (Hungarian Halloween). It went really well, being both enjoyable and well attended. Half-way through, G came. He and I ended up entering a nearly two-hour conversation, the vast majority being about the Church and the gospel. He’s already read ten pages or so from the Book of Mormon, and it seems to be intriguing him after all. After the program finished, we had a meeting with Elder Herd and E, discussing a new Stop-Smoking Program that E is going to do with Z.

My miracle today is all that has happened on my mission. I spent some time tonight flipping through both my journals. There’s a lot in them! And I’m glad I kept them.

Sunday, 24 February
Priesthood Meeting this morning. A and E both came to church. Something very disappointing that I learned later this afternoon is that a member was not very friendly with A, and had an encounter with her that was offensive enough that currently A would like to postpone her baptism two or three weeks. I hope that if we wait a day or two, then A will choose not to be offended. (Elder Bednar has a beautiful talk on that, in 2006 or 2007 I believe).  After church we had our regular calls, studies, and planning. As expected, numbers went down this week. I learned tonight that transfers have finally been stabilized, resuming normally until I go home, then, changing to nine-week transfers shortly afterwards.

My miracle today is that this evening I had a fun time being creative with Candle Pictures.

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19 February 2013 Letter (Szolnok)

Monday, 11 February
It has been snowing almost non-stop for the past three days.  However, it's been very light and if tomorrow's warm, it could all be melted by the afternoon.  We had the regular Preparation Day events today. 

My miracle is that although I have not been feeling very well today, I know there will come a time when I will never have to feel this way again.

Tuesday, 12 February
One cancellation today.  We met with I, and once again we invited the Herd's.  We mostly focused on discussing Baptism and the Sacrament.  We learned that while I knew how the physical acts worked, he misunderstood the purpose, as well as the connection between the two ordinances.  We hope that as he better understands these he will become more ready to accept baptism.  At the end, he committed to three things.  I committed to read Alma 32 again, to pray about when the right time to be baptized would be, and to come to church this week.  After the program we went with the Herd's to help translate some things for them.  In the afternoon we met with J and E.  J is still not feeling well, but he has accepted that these challenges will be here for a while.  In the lesson, it was a surprise to us how seriously he has begun to take his studies.  During the lesson, we invited J to accept the invitation to prepare for baptism.  He answered that he is not opposed to baptism, and would like to prepare, but wants to take it slowly, one step at a time.  During the discussion, he also committed to come to church every week that he has the chance.  Lastly, J has begun to call Elder McCurdy the "Little Pizza Boy" and as we were leaving, J went onto his balcony to shout ten floors down to us, in English, "Good-bye Little Pizza Boy!"  After J we met with E.  E came to help with the program.  We taught about the first part of the Plan of Salvation.  It was very good that E was there.  We're meeting with E again tomorrow, and E is going to come to help.  We then met with T.  Half of it was English.  We focused primarily on the Book of Mormon.  She remembers a fair amount of the Joseph Smith story from things she has heard in the past.  We then had Angolora.  Twelve new people came, although none came to Halado.  H cancelled again.  This is the second week in-a-row. 

My miracle today is that I'm feeling better compared to yesterday and also that J is open to the thought of baptism.  I would love to see him be baptized before I leave.

Wednesday, 13 February
Two cancellations today.  Elder McCurdy and I went to teach at the high school today.  Elder McCurdy entertained them for a while with a book of riddles.  We then went to E's.  E also came to help.  We discussed the second half of the Plan of Salvation.  The lesson went well and E said she'll be coming to church this week.  When we made it back into the main part of Szolnok we went tabling with the Nemeth brothers and the Sisters.  We later had Seminary.  While finding today, I was able to collect a few names and numbers. 

Today's miracle is how many members we've been able to invite and actually have present in our lessons.

Thursday, 14 February
Well, today's Valentine's Day.  Today we began splits with the Kecskemet Elders.  In the morning, Elder McCurdy and I met with A at her apartment.  We talked about the Ten Commandments and bore testimony about keeping the Sabbath Day holy.  A is a little anxious and fearful of her baptism right now due to it being something new, and due to one of her children not quite knowing how they feel about it.  We then took a train to Kecskemet where I remained with Elder Shuck.  He and I met with S, an 87 year-old bacsi who was on baptismal date until he was taken off for wanting to also remain Catholic and always praying to Baby Jesus.  We then met with E and G.  While there I had the opportunity to conduct a baptismal interview with E.  Despite her strange experiences with a fortune-teller, it felt right and she passed.  Her baptism will take place a week from tomorrow.  We finished our evening with the kind of ineffective drawn-out Correlation Meeting that I don't miss.  The splits so far have given me the chance to get to know Elder Shuck better.  Too bad it's at the end of the transfer.

Friday, 15 February
We had our District Meeting this morning.  It was our last District Meeting of this transfer.  During the meeting, Elder Herd gave a good training focusing on goals.  I then led a training focused on sacrifice, which included role-plays and the video "Missionaries and the Atonement."  After the conclusion of the meeting we split back.  Elder Loveday's and Elder McCurdy's end of the split didn't go too great.  Three programs got cancelled.  Dah!  After splitting back, we got the most studies we've gotten in a while.  Later we met with H.  She's thought about it and isn't sure if she wants to believe in God.  She prays regularly, but doesn't keep her reading commitments. 

My miracle today happened during this block of studying.  Our water heater stopped working, and I spent some time looking at it to try to figure out the problem.  When I hit the spark button, it ignited to full blast, and in the process of doing so, launched a cloud of fire and ash into my face, singeing my eyebrows, eyelashes, and the front of my hair.  I think what followed later was the first time I'd sincerely prayed asking not to go blind.  A fair amount of my hair is white, but all seems to be well otherwise.  That's it for today.

Saturday, 16 February
Two cancellations today.  We met with A and taught him the first half of the third lesson.  Today was finally warm, so we went tabling for the first time in the last two transfers (since last November).  Later, while at the Branch House we met E who said the Sisters had invited him to a program with A, which confused him, as A had been our investigator.  He didn't realize it was Elder McCurdy who had called him.  He was so confused, and I got a good laugh out of it.  In the evening we went to Cibakhaza to meet with the S family.  All six of us went.

My miracle today is all the people who said they'd be coming to church.  A, E, Z, I, J (maybe), and two strangers said they'd all be coming.
Sunday, 17 February
Church today.  Elder McCurdy gave our report during the Ward Council Meeting.  We left during the meeting to go meet E near a bus stop and walk with her to church.  She was the only investigator who came.  However, she enjoyed it, made friends, and would like to come again next week.  Afterwards, we had choir practice again.  Because Z, A, I, and J didn't come today, and P-Day and transfer calls being on Tuesday, if I get called to leave, I won't see any of them again.  I was really hoping to see them and get pictures with them today!  On the note of the changing of P-Day to Tuesday, we've had to cancel six programs, plus possibly more depending on what happens on Wednesday.  This coming week, the numbers for this companionship is going to take a huge dip!  Another negative event is that Z has begun smoking again, both at work and at home. 

Now onto a better note: my miracle of the day, or rather, one of the miracles of the transfer.  This transfer has been a big success.  We had more work this transfer than any other, except for my second transfer in Szekesfehervar, which was seven weeks long, compared to the five weeks of this transfer.  Despite the shorter transfer, we stunningly accomplished my goal of involving Branch and members in the work, having more members join us in programs than any of my other areas combined, even to the point where we had more members help us in the past five weeks than the past five transfers combined!  In addition to the success of our work among investigators and members, this transfer was a success in many other areas.  I helped the Sisters and the Herd's get situated.  I broke two of my worst habits, and am working on two more.  I finished the most beautiful Area Book ever.  Lastly, and probably, very probably, my greatest success was helping to train Elder McCurdy.  I did a much better job magnifying my calling this time around.  I found more ways to involve him in the work, giving him parts in every program, having opportunities to call members and investigators every week, and letting him take the lead in finding.  I did a better job helping him with and encouraging him in the language.  Also, this is the most obedient I've ever been on my mission, and Elder McCurdy has had much better examples to follow this time around.  Also, due to all our efforts, he's already familiar with practically the whole branch and has already begun to learn how to include them in the work; a skill I hope he will continue to use throughout his mission.  Anyhow, I consider my job as a trainer a great success this transfer and despite the pessimistic and negative events that weaved their way into some of my different entries, I would still go so far as to label this the best transfer of my mission.  I'm thankful for everyone and especially to Elder McCurdy who helped to make this happen.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

11 February 2013 Letter (Szolnok)

Sunday, 3 February
We had our regular church meetings today.  Z came to church today.  I'm still translating some of the meetings.  That's one thing I won't miss back home.  After church we had choir practice.  We then returned to our apartment to plan.  I got a hold of A.  She apologized for not coming due to being sick and having some leg problems.  She will be going to see a doctor tomorrow.  Around 4:45p we left to Budapest.  We had the opportunity to help the secretaries a little, and then finished our evening by having dinner with the Smith's.  

My miracle today is getting to stay in the Celestial Room and the great sleep I'm going to get on the softest bed I've had on my mission.

Monday, 4 February
We had breakfast with the other trainers, new missionaries, and the Smith's this morning.  While Elder McCurdy went to get his Residency Card, I went with the rest of the older missionaries to the Stake Center, where fifteen of us played basketball for several hours.  When we returned to split back, we all took off to our own areas.  

My miracle today is that depending on transfers, today may have been one of my last days to walk around Budapest.

Tuesday, 5 February
One dog and two cancellations today.  This morning we met with I.  We invited the Herd's to his lesson and the three of them ended up talking the whole time.  We found that one of I's concerns is he wants to make sure he can keep all the commandments throughout his life before he commits to being baptized.  We then met with A.  Biro Elnok came to the program.  A has been reading and praying since our last lesson.  We finished talking about the Plan of Salvation.  Biro Elnok feels like he has a lot of potential.  We finally made it emailing, then tried to go get new bus passes, however, the lines were too long, so we left.  During the dogs and cancellations we made up studies.  We also went to the Herd's apartment to try to help them a little.  In the evening we had Angolora.  We had fourteen students tonight, and all the new faces went to Kezdo.  

My miracle today is that we re-established contact with J and E.  They are feeling better, are no longer sick, and both setup a time to meet on Thursday.

Wednesday, 6 February
We had a Zone Training down in Szeged today.  I was the oldest one there.  The training itself focused around prayer, and by the conclusion of the training we had each become responsible for 4 goals: praying each day for a new investigator, speaking Hungarian more, kneeling to pray in programs, and streeting, tracting, and tabling at least six hours a week.  On the way back we missed our train by less than twenty seconds.  We got lunch at a really good Indian restaurant.  Their mango curry made me wish that they had more curry out here.  It's very hard to find here in Hungary.  When we finally did get back, we met with A.  Zsuzsa came to the program to help.  A is doing better health-wise.  We finished teaching her the third lesson.  We also checked-up on her commitment from last time.  

My miracle of the day is that A prayed about it multiple times and feels that March 9th would be a great day to be baptized.  We have a second baptismal date!

Thursday, 7 February
One dog today.  We finally met with J and E again.  During the past couple weeks J has learned that he has several serious health problems.  He has several pills he must take daily and strict dieting rules to follow for the next couple months.  Since our last visit he's done his reading, watched the rest of the General Conference session, and prayed.  We talked about what he heard and read, as well as the priesthood, and about faith.  We then met with E and began teaching the Plan of Salvation.  She has several questions.  The Jehovah's Witnesses regularly meet with her (and have for years), but she expressed to us that on Monday (three days ago) she got into a bit of an argument with them about a couple points of doctrine.  I'm happy to write E's stance on them were correct.  Right now the main thing we can do to help E is to start introducing members to her.  A friend in the Church is going to be especially important to her.  In the evening we met with Z.  Bea joined in to help us review the Restoration.  Both know the doctrines and principles of the Restoration very well.  It was especially uplifting to hear that Z has not smoked at home or at work since throwing his cigarettes away last week.  He says he's excited to continue pushing towards his baptismal date for March 2.  The Zone Leaders are here tonight so we may begin splits tomorrow morning.  

My miracle was my dream from last night in which I dreamt about my remaining four months.  It caused me to realize how little time I have left.  My time remaining in Hungary is very limited!

Friday, 8 February
Today I went on splits with Elder Snyder down to Szeged while Elder McCurdy remained here with Elder Greaves.  Elder Snyder and I had two programs cancel.  We spent a couple hours tracting before meeting with M.  With M we discussed the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  During the program, the discussion somehow got pushed to excommunication and re-baptism for a time.  That was a strange part.  It was interesting to learn that the rest of his family are Nazarenes.  In the evening we split back.

My miracle today is the Plan of Salvation.  While on splits, Elder McCurdy received a call from President Smith in which he learned that one of his neighbors and good friends back home has passed away.  He is my third companion to have a dear friend die while I've been serving with them, and this is the third time I have not known how to comfort them.

Saturday, 9 February
We met with A in the morning.  He forgot we were meeting, so it was a bit of a surprise when we showed up.  We spent the whole time teaching the gospel, and none on English.  We mostly focused on teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  A needs to read the Book of Mormon more frequently.  After A's program, we went to help C move.  He had very little stuff.  We expected a lot more.  Later we met with Z.  We talked about Christ-like Attributes, especially love and charity.  Unfortunately there's no way Z can come to church tomorrow.  However, we gave him some parts of General Conference to watch instead.  

Today the miracle is that I am most of the way through "Preach My Gospel" again.

Sunday, 10 February
A came to church today.  I'm pretty certain everything will go fine for her baptism.  We've planned and arranged a lot of member present lessons this next week.  We did weekly planning and I spent 3 1/2 hours on the phone with other missionaries mostly due to our failure to meet goals.  Due in part to some poor mission traditions, and actions of some missionaries, many missionaries fail to take any goal seriously or go out of their way to accomplish it.  

My miracle of the day is that the mission world is changing, our mission included.  Plans have been laid.  However, each of us is going to have to stretch to follow these plans and make these changes.

There have been a couple new rules released recently.  One of which is that next week's P-Day might be moved to Tuesday.  That is still uncertain, but I might end up having to email then.  In another short note, next week is transfers.  However, transfer calls will not be coming until Tuesday, so if I do email on Monday still, then I probably won't be able to tell you what is happening.  
I hope you are all doing well.  I look forward to reading your emails.  I love you all, and thank so much for writing me each week.  Good luck at school and with work.  Have fun.  Only 4 months until I'm back home with all of you.  My time here is disappearing!   

Email you all again next week! 

Shipp Elder

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11 February 2013 Pictures (Szolnok)

Me and the rest of the Zone Missionaries

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

5 February 2013 Letter (Szolnok)

Monday, 28 January
P-Day today.  I only have twenty of them left on my mission!  Weird.  The main event of today was emailing.  College registration and re-registration ends this week, so I had to finalize everything on my end today before the dead-line.  Luckily, my parents are doing the vast majority of the work.  Without them, I'd be in trouble.  (Then again, that's the way it's always been).  I got the shortest email I've ever received from Dad, "Dear Elder RJ, Thank goodness for women!  Love you lots.  DAD"  In the evening we had Csaladi Est.  Z and E came. 

My miracle today is with Dad.  Thank goodness for women indeed.
Tuesday, 29 January
We met with I today.  We discussed how his talk with President Smith went.  Different parts stood out to him than to me.  We refocused on baptism, listed out every point we could think of that he should know before baptism, and then went through one by one asking him his thoughts.  He said he felt fully prepared on 36 points, but would like to learn more about 8 points before committing to baptism: 1)The Savior's Earthly Ministry, 2)The Great Apostasy, 3)The Atonement, 4)The Spirit World, 5)The Kingdoms of Glory, 6)Repentance, 7)The Gift of the Holy Ghost, and 8)The Word of Wisdom.  I'm afraid I will leave before finishing these things, but at least hope to help him commit to baptism within the next three weeks.  We then met with A.  We talked with him about the first half of the Plan of Salvation.  He committed to read and pray daily, and meet every week, but like J, he has a problem with organized religion.  As he learns, we need to pay attention to helping him understand the importance of the Church.  In the afternoon we were dogged by A, which was a surprise.  However, in the evening she called, apologized, and rescheduled for tomorrow.  In the evening was Angolora.  We had 6 total (5 in Halado).  Hopefully the newspapers will help. 

My miracle today is the progress being made towards I's baptism.

Wednesday, 30 January
We went to the high school today.  It was Elder McCurdy's first chance to teach and lead a lesson or class.  We later met with A.  Z came to the program.  We talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and focused on repentance and baptism.  Today during the lesson was the third time A said she would like to be baptized, but still doesn't want to yet choose an exact date.  However, she accepted the commitment to pray as many times as needed until she finds when a good date to aim towards would be.  In the evening was Seminary.  A was there for it.  After, we met with H.  E came to help.  We only talked about faith, but learned that she doesn't know whether or not she actually believes in God, or if she even wants to.  To think about it and decide was the commitment we extended to her. 

My miracle today is that I'm so close to being done with the Area Book.  Just a little more!

Thursday, 31 January
This morning we took the Sisters to Tiszavarkony with us so I could show them where A lives and so we could pay her a surprise visit.  It worked.  She was there and let us in.  A said that the main reason she hasn't come to church at all is that she is not on good terms with her mother-in-law (who is also a member), and has been trying to avoid her.  However, she appears to have continued to read and pray, and she promised us that she will come to church and seminary again.  Elder McCurdy and I met with E.  She had a lot of questions for us, such as what the Holy Spirit is, and how to sue the footnotes?  We reviewed the Restoration with her trying to make her understanding be more solid.  While we were there, we had a very short chance to meet her son and his wife.  Thirdly, we met with B and Z.  My miracle today is that yesterday Z threw out all the cigarettes he had.  We're making progress.  We talked about the priesthood and eternal marriage, thinking about their marriage last June 30.  Z is continuing in his preparations and pushing forward to his baptismal date.  Lastly, the first English Class advertisement went into the paper today and I've already received several phone calls from people wanting to come.  Hopefully our classes explode!

Friday, 1 February
One dog and one cancellation today.  This morning we went to Kecskemet for District Meeting.  During the meeting, we had a training on the Book of Mormon and two sets of role-plays.  We also discussed briefly our eight investigators who have a baptismal date.  After lunch we came back and immediately took off to the S's.  Between the train rides to and from Kecskemet and the hour bus ride each way to Cibakhaza, we had a lot of traveling today. 

My miracle today is that Kecskemet is doing so well work-wise.  Seven baptismal dates between two companionships is a lot.

Saturday, 2 February
One dog today.  This morning we had with A.  After helping him with English, we began to teach the Plan of Salvation.  Z came in to help.  When we asked him what he remembered from last week, he replied, "nothing."  So we restarted the second lesson.  Hopefully this time things stick better.  We also learned that while A prays daily, his scripture reading has dwindled to almost non-existent.  In the evening we met with the Herd's and the Sisters.  Similar to the start of the transfer, we spent two hours dumping information about the work and the Branch. 

My miracle today is that I finally finished our Area Book.  All 800+ names, numbers, addresses have been called, rewritten, organized and copied.  Overall I made over 3000 calls.  I hope Missionaries in the future use and appreciate this!

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Letter to Friends

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Hungary!  It was great to hear from all of you and now to have the opportunity to write to you a second time.  I hope you are all doing well and continuing to enjoy serving in your respective areas.  (For those of you learning a foreign language, I hope that is continuing to go well).  Here in Magyarország I've had a lot of really memorable, fun, and strengthening experiences and am sure each of you have had many adventures of your own.  I'm glad we have this newsletter and that I'll get to hear about some of them.  It's been a long time since we've seen each other.  For some of you it's almost been 3 years!  It's crazy to think that we're all on the downhill and some will be finishing their missions soon.

At the start of last year, President Monson shared his "ABC's of Abundant Life" with the world.  Missionary work really is our life during these consecrated years, and President Monson's three themes can very literally determine how abundant our efforts and lives become.  Attitude, Belief, and Courage are all necessary and key factors of how effective we are while serving.  During my mission my attitude has been greatly effected as I have had not only the opportunities to serve in declining areas, rising areas, and on one occasion, opening a new area, but as I have seen success and blessings in each.  Missionaries and investigators alike are blessed in this work. I have seen it.

I have found that one of the things I enjoy most about my mission is the joy of bringing people not only to Christ, but to blessings.  Many great and eternal promises were made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Adam, Moses, David, and Joseph.  Nearly all of them can apply to each of us dependent upon our righteousness and obedience.  We bring those blessings to others.  We help them see the difference between "a few short years of earthly pleasure" and "a long eternity of light, truth, blessings, and knowledge which the Lord will bestow upon every man who keeps his law."  At the same time, I've also learned that all of this blesses me.  While none of us are serving a mission for ourselves, I have greatly appreciated the blessings this time has brought me.  As I have helped share the gospel and bless the lives of others, I have begun to more fully appreciate those blessings which I have received.  Though our main purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ, I have been filled with gratitude at the continuous blessings and personal growth I have received.  I'm getting to know the scriptures better, learning to better love living the gospel, and getting to know my heavenly parents better.

Many of the people in this country are "groping in the darkness" and the captivity of sin.  Yet we know obedience leads to true freedom and that the light of Christ pierces all darkness.  As we bring the gospel light to others and help them walk in obedience to its commandments, they become liberated and lifted into fields of light and life.  That is the work of all missionaries.  That is the work and glory of God.  As we assist in this work we become liberators to the sons of men, bringing them to Christ who with an infinite and endless atonement truly maketh all men free.  I have a testimony that this is the work of the Lord, and that this is our sacred duty.  We were meant to be chosen as missionaries and to serve missions.  "The Lord knew whom he wanted to call."  We are among them.  We are meant to be here.  I am thankful for being able to be a part of this sacred work and to see the blessings it brings into my life and the lives of others.  I hope each of you are equally as glad, and look forward to the wonderful day when we, like the sons of Mosiah, will see each other again having all served faithfully.  Until then, let us fight the good fight and enjoy these two years.  Good luck across the world!


Elder Shipp

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