Monday, July 9, 2012

Open Your Mouth!

July 9, 2012
Hello to you all! 

Well the heat wave here is starting to pass and the weather is becoming more bearable as the days go by. Because for a while, the weather was above the hundreds and with our "Pross" on (Short for Proselyting clothes) it feels like we are baking. But we are seeing that the weather may be cooling down and we actually may get some rain, which will probably be warm rain because it's in the summer. In fact, on Thursday and Friday we had thunder and lightning storms in the night, which were so cool to see!!!! They happen all the time here and I feel like a little kid when it comes to this kind of weather. I cooked my dinner and pulled up a chair in front of our apartment window, opened it, sat down and ate my food while I watched the lightning strikes and listened to the thunder. It's the part of dad in me when it comes to lightning storms I think, because I just love listening to the sound of thunder and watching the lightning forever. It's captivating, and it's even more captivating knowing that this earth is God's creation and that everything we see, hear, smell, feel and taste is all a part of the glorious creation of this earth, and weather is a part of that. While watching this amazing scene of wonder, I pondered to myself, "How could someone have thought of this? How could someone have created such beauty and thought of the figure and look of lighting, of clouds, of light and electricity? How could they have created the sound of thunder? Or even what it would sound like?" It came to me while I was pondering, that only a God could have created this. Only an all knowing and powerful being could have imagined such beauty and wonder. For whoever reads this, I ask that the next time you see something beautiful that is a natural part of the earth, or hear something, just think of how wonderful a creation that is and how blessed we are as children of a loving Heavenly Father to be on this earth and witness such spectacular scenes and sounds. Your perspective on the world, I think, will change when you see the world this way.

Today, my MTC district and I had our "Greenie training" with the Mission President and it was SOO awesome to see all of my MTC friends again!! Especially my companion!! I have no idea why, but I got so excited when I saw Beaucannon Elder again! I wanted to know how he was doing and how the work was in Kaposvar (because that's where he is stationed). He is doing so well and he loves the work as much as I am. I found so much joy from listening to his experiences and growth as much as I have seen with myself. I truly found in that moment that I really had brotherly love for him. Even through the difficult times that we had and disagreements that would come up in our companionship, we had so much fun and so much learning in our 12 weeks at the MTC and I found that he was one of my greatest friends in the MTC, even if I didn't realize it when I was there. I realize it now. We spent 8 hours together today with our old district and it was a great reuniting moment being with all of my old friends. It was almost kind of sad going back to our separate cities after our meeting was finished, but I know that we will all see each other again during our missions.

I have had some really wonderful blessings this week with finding people, at least one day in particular. My companion and I have been trying to find new investigators because some of the investigators that we have are not progressing as fast as we would like and we have felt the call to find more recently. Between programs we have been streeting here and there because we don't have so much open space to just street for 4-5 hours, so we have to just fit it in the middle of our day. I have no clue why, but I have been really afraid with streeting people. Things will just cross my mind like "I don't know if I will be able to speak to them well in Hungarian!" or "I probably will say something wrong and offend them in some way!" and it really annoys me because I know that I shouldn't have those things in my mind. I'm speaking the language really well and it's better to use what I know so that I can learn later. But still, my fears come back up and I give in to my fear when someone walks by me. It's frustrating and I don't want to be like that!

Friday we set up with our district (which consists of us two and another companionship of sisters, Sister Roney and Suranyi) 4-5 hours of tabling, which is where we set up a table with Books of Mormon, pamphlets and magazines and give them to people who are interested and take down their names and numbers so that we can contact them later. I wanted to do well at tabling and I didn't want to choke like I have been in the past. That morning, before my hour of personal study, I asked the Lord for forgiveness for my lack of being a good missionary and asked that he would help prepare me for tabling and for the future streeting. I felt terrible for not working to the best of my abilities and I wanted to use them in my proselyting. After I prayed, I continued in my studies in the New Testament and I was in Chapter 25 in Matthew where he gives several parables, one of them being the parable of the talents. I knew the story and I compared it to myself being the 3rd servant and not using my talent like the Lord wants me to. There wasn't anything in the story that said how I can use my talent better, but I found a footnote by the word "afraid" and it lead me to Section 60 in D&C, where it says that the Lord is disappointed with his servants because they are not "opening their mouths" and "being more faithful" with him and he asks that we be not idle with our talents. I those verses hit me with such force, because it caused me to remember that the Lord has promised me that if I open my mouth that he will fill it. I found my answer to my question, and that was to be more faithful and not to be afraid because the Lord has made a promise with me.

So tabling came and for the 2/3rds of the tabling the others spoke to people and went out finding people to come to the table. My companion and I went also, but fears still were in me and I wasn't speaking up. I kept telling myself "do not lose faith Blake. Just have faith." Towards the end of our tabling, the others told me "You know, you should go out on your own. We want to see you in action by yourself." Initially, I thought "That's way hard!" but then that feeling was crushed by a wave of immense courage with "I am totally going to do this, whether I find someone or not." I started walking towards a crowd of people, with a small voice telling me "what are you doing?!?! This is crazy?!" But it was drowned with a prayer in my heart, saying "Please bless me with the right words to say." I saw a guy in the crowd and felt that he was the guy I was meant to talk to. I stopped him while he was walking and told him that I was new in the country and I am learning his language to speak with people about a message about Jesus Christ and how it blesses the lives of many and that we know it through the Book of Mormon. I pointed him to the table that we had and told him that I was with friends who are also doing the same thing and we wanted him to know that we care about him and everyone in Hungary. What came next almost brought me to tears. He responded with "I would love to hear about this." My face immediately brightened and I said "Wonderful!" and walked with him to the table. He told me that he was amazed with my Hungarian and that he is glad to hear that people learn his language and for a great reason. I stumbled a little bit, but everything I said was grammatically correct and completely understood. We gave him a Book of Mormon, a pamphlet about the restoration and plan of salvation and got his name and number also. He said he was looking forward to our next visit. After he left, I looked back to my companion and he said "That was absolutely amazing! The first person you find and it's someone who is really interested." My prayer had been answered; my spirit had been strengthened; I had received a testimony, and that is that God listens to prayers and blesses us with strength through the power and promptings of the Holy Ghost. I could not believe what had just happened. It was a miracle in my eyes. I know that that man I spoke with was prepared for me to speak with. For the last 1/3rd of the time I continued to find and found one other person who was interested and we got his information down. In total, we gave out 12 Books of Mormon and almost every magazine and pamphlet that we had. It was an absolute wonderful moment, filled with little blessings and miracles. I cannot thank Heavenly Father enough for the experience that I had. I cannot thank him enough for answering my prayer, my cry for help. I testify to all of you that God does listen to our prayers and God does answer them. Sometimes our prayers are not answered right away; sometimes they take a while to be answered. I know, because I prayed for days for this moment to happen, for my courage and faith to be increased. It is through patience and diligence in following what the Lord asks that He will answer our prayers in his due time. He is all knowing and knows when our prayers are to be answered. Do not stop praying! Even when it seems like your prayers will never be answered. Do not stop! I promise you that He hears your every prayer and he will bless you according to your faith and patience. I know this to be true, I have seen it with my own eyes, and I cannot deny it.

I have had some other revelations besides this experience; most of them were from yesterday while studying from the Liahona for this month after church. I had been told to treat the words of the latter-day prophets and apostles in the church magazines like they were your own personal set of scriptures: to mark them, highlight them, write in them and pray about what you are learning. I felt that prompting when I saw the Liahona on our desk. I was thinking about taking a nap, but I felt this feeling like I should read from the Liahona. I figured "Why not? I've been meaning to put what I've learned about using these to the test. Why not do it now?" I realized, after reading from some of the articles that what I felt was a prompting from the Holy Ghost, because I learned so much from the Liahona! There are such amazing things to be learned from these writings!! There was an article called "The Lesson is Inside the Learner" and it's from the General President of Sunday School. He applied it to how Sunday school teachers should teach their classmates, but I applied it to how missionaries should teach their investigators and I learned SOOO much! I don't have as much time as I would like to explain everything that I learned, but I want to encourage everyone to read this specific article and apply it to missionary work and everyone you speak with. And if not this article, read the Liahona in general, or the Ensign, or the New Era, or The Friend, or any of the church materials! Read them! Study them! Write in them! And, most importantly, write down what you have learned in a study journal so that you do not forget! I have found that it is not only a suggestion from the prophets, but a commandment. There is a scripture somewhere in the last sections of the Doctrine and Covenants that says that after Joseph Smith and one of the 3 witnesses (I can't remember who) had seen one of the angels and were ministered by him they were commanded to write down what they had learned so that they would never forget it. To me, that it is not only to the prophets, but it is also to us. Write down what you learn; write down what revelations you receive from your studies and what you learn through the Holy Ghost. I have come to the realization that it is crucial to write them down so that we can look back and remember what amazing things we have learned and that are in store for us.

I cannot tell you all how much of a blessing this mission is to me. I have only been in the field for 3 weeks, and I have seen so many blessings in this short amount of time. This can only mean that there are more in store in the next 20 1/2 months I have in my mission. This gospel is true! I cannot say it with more conviction. I feel the Spirit every single day and it testifies to me that this work is true, that this gospel is true, that the Book of Mormon is true, that this church is true, and most importantly that Christ lives and that He gave His life for us, that we may have eternal life. Live righteously; live worthily so that the Spirit may dwell with you always. It is the greatest gift that the Lord can give is in this life of mortality, where temptations of the evil one are at every turn. We cannot afford to not have it. It is vital to our enduring to the end. I plead that all may be blessed with the presence of the Holy Ghost and that they may feel his comforting presence and promptings in our lives. We are in the fullness of times, and there has never been a greater time to tell people about the gospel. Do not be afraid to tell people. The Lord has promised, not just missionaries, but everyone that if you will open your mouth that it shall be filled.

Continue to follow Christ and to always stay on the right path. This I testify, in the name of our Savior, even Jesus Christ, amen.

-Magda Elder

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