Monday, February 25, 2013

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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