Saturday, April 6, 2013

6 April 2013 Letter (Budapest)

Saturday, 30 March
I’ve been in Budapest for a week now.  It’s going by so fast.  Today was our Preparation Day.  We got taken out to lunch by the Carpenter’s for helping the Buda Sisters change apartments.  In the evening we had dinner with the Smith’s and L along with his wife.  Although she’s never met with the Missionaries before, I could see her getting baptized soon.  Tomorrow is daylight savings.  It’s going to be early.  We haven’t had many programs this past week, but we’ve been busy.  Hopefully M and G come to church tomorrow.  That would be nice.  My miracle is that although only L is a member, and only for three months, both he and his wife have being sealed in the Temple as a goal for the future.

Sunday, 31 March: Easter!
We attended Church today.  I still haven’t seen a lot of people there that I would’ve liked to.  While I didn’t see her today, I learned that T (whom Elder Reese and I found and taught last year) was baptized last November.  After church I did more work on the Hivatal packets; not just adding to them, but also finding more mistakes, which I have now found on 7 of the 16 Missionaries’ forms.  My miracle today is Easter and our Lord’s resurrection.  While the Resurrection guarantees resurrections and immortality to all who have dwelt, who dwell, and who will dwell on Earth, it should never be taken for granted.

Monday, 1 April: April Fools’
Everything was still closed today, with the day being a national holiday.  Hungarians celebrate “Easter Monday” every bit as much as they celebrate “Easter Sunday.”  With today being April Fools’, one Missionary surprised us all by pulling a prank on President Smith.  I thought that was a pretty bold move.  Most of my time today went into calls and actually scheduling our trips to the Hivatals.  Only one week until the first group comes in.  My miracle today is that I’ve begun reading “Our Heritage.”  My time to study is finally returning.

Tuesday, 2 April
This morning we got pulled into translating for the Carpenters as they met with one of the local landlords.  Afterwards, I was interviewed by President Smith.  During the interview, he announced that I would not be dying in the office, but returning out to the field for the end of my mission.  I told him I was surprised.  He asked why and I told him how much time I had left.  He expressed that he thought I was younger than my 15th transfer, and thought I had twice as much time left.  Surprise!  It looks like I’m not the only one the end of my mission snuck up on.  Later, Elder Bowen and I went to the Foldhivatal Office to pick up a Tulajdoni Lap (some kind of immigration property form).  We also designed and made new English class flyers and a new tabling display.  In the evening we met with A.  It was a half-half lesson.  During the gospel half we talked about prophets and authority.  At the end, A said the closing prayer and committed to read all the prefaces in the Book of Mormon during the next two days.

Wednesday, 3 April
This morning the tech guru came and worked on my computer for a couple hours.  I can use the internet now!  I finally watched a few of the Bible Videos throughout the day (the first three).  I’d only seen two before.  Elder Bowen and I helped Elder Carpenter shuttle cars back and forth to get summer tires on all of them.  Later we met with G.  We talked about the Plan of Salvation.  He’d read from the Book of Mormon since our last meeting, but forgot to pray.  We’re meeting again on Friday, and are trying to get him to General Conference.  It was good to hear him say that he always has a good feeling when he meets with us.  I worked today on preparing everything for finding out about different options for a newspaper ad.  In the end, we will be using Szuperinfo.  We will also be expanding it from just Buda to all of Budapest.  I made a couple calls to various companionships, and everyone is on board for it.  This should be huge.  There are about 3 million people within the city limits, and as long as everything goes well tomorrow we will get a sizeable ad in the newspaper for two weeks, and with 700,000 copies being published and distributed a week, we should have nearly 1 ½ million newspapers circulating around Budapest with our name on it.  We’re all hoping for quite the turn-out!  Later in the day Elder Bowen and I started pounding the Area Book.  In the evening we got a call from Bishop Southwick saying they had some left-over pizza from a priesthood meeting.  While there, we went over the Ward List and talked about all the inactive and less-active members, organizing them.  The Assistants have a lot of people to go look up, and the Sisters have a couple as well.  I found out tonight why I still haven’t seen S.  He moved onto the other side of the river and now lives in Kispest boundaries.  Hopefully I’ll see him sometime.

Thursday, 4 April
So, first off and most importantly, my miracle today is my Mom, as it is her birthday.  She has truly done so much for me.  I think that I too can quote presidents of both the Church and country by saying “everything I am and hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”  Elder Hunnicutt’s package finally made it out of customs today, only to now have President Smith’s and Elder Ekstrom’s packages replace it.  Great…  We had our District Meeting.  I took the time to share all the information I got from the Bishop last night.  Immediately following District Meeting we left for Ujpest to go place the advertisement in Szuperinfo.  It ended up using only half of the money Missionaries in Budapest are given for finding each transfer.  Not bad.  We met with P today.  It was his third time meeting with the Missionaries, and the first time since I got here.  Like with G, we discussed the Plan of Salvation and invited him to Institute tomorrow.  We had Angolora in the evening.  About 17 came to our class.  I was hoping to talk with and try to set-up with over half of them, but only managed to speak with five.  I had to leave mid-way through the class to get President Klinger to sign some papers for the Hivatal.  I finally found out about the last three members I hadn’t seen, and learned that the former Branch President from Nyiregyhaza has moved to Budapest and is now the Ward Mission Leader in Kispest.  In the evening we spent over half an hour discussing with Sister Felsted things we can do to help get the youth more involved.  It’s finally time for me to write about my current companion, Elder Colby Bowen.  He was born and has lived in American Fork his whole life.  He enjoys sports and is the sixth of eight children.  We are also second cousins.

Friday, 5 April
This morning Elder Bowen and I ran over to one of the government buildings near Parliament so that we could get the last of the forms for the Hivatal.  We met with T, the man in charge, but learned that we won’t be able to pick up the forms until Monday around 8:15.  We have planned to leave the Mission Home with the new missionaries by 7:50.  So we’ll have to break into two groups, and now Monday morning will get to be even crazier.  When we got back, we met with A.  We talked about the First Vision and watched the film.  She’s already begun a habit of regularly reading and praying.  She also committed to come to General Conference.  Following her program, the two of us met with President Smith for an hour to talk about expectations and planning.  He wants us getting out of the office to street and tract for a couple hours each day.  In the evening was our program with G.  We talked about faith and repentance and forgiveness.  He has begun reading straight from the start of the Book of Mormon.  He also stayed for Institute and Youth Night, and now wants to come to Institute every week.  He also committed to attend General Conference.  My miracle today is music.  It has power to encourage, enlighten, and motivate.  Also, two other memories about tonight: the Youth Nights are tiny now.  Last year we were averaging around thirty people at every activity.  Tonight only seven members were there.  I don’t know what happened.  The second thing is that some maple syrup accidentally got burned, setting off the alarm, and we later had a fire truck pull up and a bunch of fire fighters come into the Mission Home.  Someone took pictures.  (I may need to get them from him later).

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