Saturday, June 8, 2013

8 June 2013 Letter (Budapest)

Saturday, 1 June
Preparation day today.  Elder Loveday and I went to the tourist traps of Váci útca and Fűvámtér.  After stopping to get lunch at IKEA (probably the only hotdogs I’ve had on my mission, and definitely the best ones if there actually were any others), we went over 45 minutes early for E’s baptism.  While waiting for the program to start we had a fair amount of time to talk with E as well as her three relatives who came to see her baptism.  There were actually two baptisms.  M, an investigator the Pest Elders have been teaching, was baptized as well.  My miracle is that we never did encounter any real problems or set-backs in our experiences with E and preparing her for baptism.  The fact that we never really got much of a phone number or address for her made quite a potential problem, but thankfully nothing ever became of it.

Sunday, 2 June
We attended the Pest Ward today.  It was smaller than I remember it or thought it would be.  There were also more English speakers there than Hungarian speakers.  It made the hymns harder to sing and not as pretty as half were singing in Hungarian and half in English and didn’t mix or match well.  We saw and took part in E’s confirmation.  Elder Loveday, the Bishop, and I all stood in as Elder Bebel confirmed her.  After, we stayed for the rest of church as well.  We made it back to Buda in time for the end of priesthood.  Later we went tabling and had studies.  My miracle is that I got to see and be there for E, start to finish.  We were the ones she found and talked to; we taught her all the lessons, baptized her, and were there for her confirmation.  However, now that she’s a member, I told the Pest Sisters they should try to meet with her once a week.  Our experiences with E have drawn to a close.

Monday, 3 June
I’m happy I have so many mission memories.  I’m thankful that I’ve been able to keep a daily journal throughout my whole mission.  One program dogged us today.  During the morning and afternoon I spent my time completing 100 pages for the next set of Hivatal Packets, however, we still need 70 more pages.  I want to leave enough for the new secretary to practice and learn, but not overload him.  During the early afternoon we also had a Staff Meeting and I had one of my last interviews with President Smith.  In the evening we went streeting.  However, I’ve gotten lazy in my approach and it’s not working too well.  I need to start putting more energy and active, conscious testimony into it.  My miracle today is that while “men are that they might have joy,” “missionaries are that they might share joy.”

Tuesday, 4 June
Well, it looks like we’re still going to fall short this week work-wise.  Over half of our current investigators aren’t able to meet this week because they’re off celebrating the first week of summer.  Summer and its start really are causing our work to drop.  While in the office today I completely re-read and revised the “Secretary Handbook.”  In the evening we met with the M family.  They are a family of a mom, a dad, and their two teenage sons.  They are all strong, practicing Catholics and met with the missionaries in the past.  They are hard to teach since they feel like they are already familiar with everything in Christ’s gospel.  In addition, because they both have jobs (meaning the parents, as well as one son, I guess), because their family is healthy and strong with them all getting along with each other, and with them all already being active, practicing Christians; they don’t feel like we really have much if anything to offer.  They are all really friendly and nice though.  Earlier tonight I received a call from Elder Miller in Szolnok.  A and G are both getting baptized in a week and a half on June 16th, and I’ve been asked to return to perform a baptism or two!  Also, tonight I reviewed some goals I set for myself on my mission, and while there are many of them that I have accomplished, there is one in particular I am not going to make.  Reflection on these goals has helped me become more honest with myself though.  My miracle for today is that my family has written me every week of my mission.  While they may have forgotten once or twice and been a little late, they’ve still managed to continue emailing me every week during these two years.  And I’m grateful for it!

Wednesday, 5 June
So, currently in this section of Europe there’s a lot of flooding.  Some neighboring countries are facing much worse situations, but here in Hungary the Danube (or Duna) River is flooding.  It’s supposed to continue rising until Monday and already the streets closest to the river are completely submerged, with the second road soon to be as well.  It’s also letting off a bit of a stench.  We met with a man named S from the Area Book for the first time today.  He met with the elders a couple times some five years ago until they dropped him.  S wants to prove everything with science until there are no doubts left and claims to find it impossible to believe in anything that he still has questions about.  He’s going to take a miracle to convert; but if it takes a miracle, then why not?  We also made it out to the H family for the second time.  They fed us dinner again.  We met their children and learned that they’ll soon be moving.  We ended our evening sharing a message with them about eternal families.  My miracle today is that more religions are beginning to cooperate to combat secularism and defend many people’s freedom of religion and its role in society.

Thursday, 6 June
Today was a slower day, mostly because I had a hard time and did a terrible job of focusing on the work.  Dah!  This morning we made a Hivatal Run with Elder Bennett and Sister Rupard so they could get their pictures and fingerprints re-taken for their Residency Permits.  We later met with E.  R was there.  We reviewed the first half of the Plan of Salvation, some of which E had forgotten.  After, we met with I and L.  We also talked with them about the Plan of Salvation.  They kept their reading commitment and committed to come to church this weekend.  Lastly was Angolora.  It was my last time teaching it, as Elder Loveday will be teaching it next week.  E came, so I got to see and talk to her.  My miracle is that since E re-appeared and began meeting with us, she has only missed attending church on one Sunday, when she was sick.

Friday, 7 June
More Hivatal work today.  We had a District Meeting today, with a training on questions.  It was the last district meeting of my mission.  I found out today that I will not be able to go to Szolnok for the baptisms, as I need to be here training the new secretary.  We had one program with a referral from a member.  However, we learned two other Elders are teaching him already, and after we got started they walked in (that’s how we learned).  Oops, that was a little awkward.  In the evening Elder Loveday shared a message on hope and faith at the YSA Gofri Est.  The miracle of the day is that I love my mission.

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