Monday, September 24, 2012

Patience in Trials and Trying to Remember How Far I've Come

September 24, 2012
Sziasztok mindenki,

Wow, this week has been another tough one for me all around. But before I go into the rough parts of the week, I'll share some of the really cool stuff that has happened. So one of our goals this past transfer was to pick up our English class that we have here in Pest. This is the basics of how English class works: Once a week we have a free English class that we hold, for Pest it's every Thursday, and it's for all people where ever they are in the English class. We hold a beginner, intermediate and proficient or “profi” class and, for the past 2 months or so, I have been teaching the “profi” class on my own, the Sisters teach intermediate and Elder Headrick teaches beginner. We get people to come by flyering and hoping that people come. English class is one of our ways of finding people. After every English class we share a spiritual thought and tell them that we would love to talk with people about our church and beliefs if they would like to talk with us afterwards.

Before Elder Headrick came to Pest, Elder Abram and I were only having a total of 35 people average at English class and half or more of them were what we call 'eternals', meaning that they have been coming to English class for such a long time and they have either taken the discussions with the missionaries and they didn't accept it or they just don't want to talk with the missionaries at all. Basically, we would only get a few new people every Thursday and they would either not come back the next week or become an eternal instantly. So when Elder Headrick arrived this last transfer, we made a district goal with the Sisters that we would pick up English class by the end of the transfer. It was kind of an interesting goal because we all were not sure how to do it except by passing out fliers or “fliering” a lot. Well, that's one of the things we did a lot last transfer. We searched for a good place where there would be a lot of people and where we can be able to describe how to get to the branch house of they had any questions. We also have been streeting with our fliers. We'd talk with people about the gospel and most of them would just pass by, but we always tried to at least give them a flier if they would like to learn English, which most people do. So we have been doing that a lot AND we have been finding some good teaching material to keep all of those who are new interested for at least a few weeks longer than just one week and then they're gone.

With all of our hard work and efforts, we achieved our goal. We averaged around 35 people at the end of my first transfer and, at the end of this last transfer, we average almost around 65. But, that's not just the cool part. Not only have we increased how many people come, but we at least give out 4-7 Book of Mormons each class AND the Sisters and we set up with at least one new person each week. We have told them that we can also meet privately and teach them 30 minutes of English and 30 minutes about our reason for being here in Hungary and most of them agree with it. Awesome, right?! This last week was incredible though. We set up with 4 people! And out of the 4, 1 set up with us again and the other 3 want to talk about it on Thursday because they don't know their schedules. We don't know if those 3 would like to meet again, but we pray they do. English class has been our most successful way of finding now. We have had two new investigators each week for the past 3 weeks and this week we possibly will have 5—all because of English class. Of course we still street and tract, but for us right now, English class has really been strengthening our area in Pest.

I gotta tell you about one of our new investigators that we met with this week. To keep peoples identities secret I am going to give a code name or letter so that you can still keep track of their progression with my emails. I saw this on Matthew’s letters home and I just thought 'Well that's smart, I should probably do the same.' So the name I will give her is D. We found D in my “profi”  English class 2 weeks ago and she came up to me afterwards and asked if we could make an appointment for the next week. We set it up to be half English-half Gospel, but the day we met, she told us that her main reason for coming to English class, but after hearing that we help people strengthen families she only wanted to meet for that. We taught her in English because she could basically speak perfectly, but we wanted to speak in Hungarian. Next time we will. But, back to our program with her. She told us that she was having a little bit of family trouble and bringing it closer together and she wanted our help. She heard that we set up family evenings and she asked if we could do that with their family this Friday. She and her husband have two young boys and she believes that this will really help. Elder Headrick and I were ecstatic! He has wanted to do this for a really long time and I am just so happy that I get to do it so early on in my mission! And, she is an amazing investigator. D explained how she only wants what is best for her family and she isn't sure what she has been doing has been good or not and she wanted to know from us how our families stay so strong and happy. We told her simply that it was because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the knowledge that we have because of it. We told her that we know that our families can be together forever through the Gospel and that families that are going through tough times can be strengthened through the Gospel. Of course, even with the Gospel in our lives, we have gone through tough times. But, because of the Gospel, we know that we can get through them and still have a strong love and bond. I felt prompted to tell her that what she has been doing thus far has not been wrong in any way and that her Heavenly Father is mindful over her and her prayers and that what she is doing now is exactly the answer to her prayers. After saying that it felt like the room was clouded with the Spirit and she began to get teary eyed and she pulled out some tissues and said that our help is exactly what she and her family needs. So this Friday we are going to hold a family home evening at her house and we are going to do our best to make it awesomely amazing!

Recently I've been having a hard time with the language and with having faith in myself and my abilities. I've been getting really frustrated with how little I know and how little I can speak and understand. I have said in my past emails that I have been getting better at understanding what people say, but this week has really humbled me. We have had many programs this week and in each one of them I want to be able to say what I want, but I stumble so much and I have to hold myself back from saying everything that I want because of my lack of speaking. I feel like a broken or bent wheel on a bicycle with Elder Headrick being one of the wheels and I the other and I just keep hitting all of the rocks and hurting the companionship because I don't do as much as I could. I feel inadequate at times. I even get nervous when I try to street someone because of my lack of speaking and understanding skills.

This past Friday I was really thrown outside of my comfort zone. We went on splits with our Zone Leader and the Zone Leader went with my companion and I went with his, who is Elder Foster, who is in his 2nd transfer and I'm in my 3rd. To make it even harder, I had to go to his area, which I am not familiar with, and be the senior in the companionship for the day. I was so nervous!! We had 4 programs set up for the day and I didn't know how we were going to teach them with our Hungarian abilities. 3 of the programs canceled, both unfortunately and fortunately. Fortunately because I wouldn't scare them away with my bad Hungarian and unfortunately because that's an investigator and we don't want them canceling on us. Because 3 of them canceled, we had a lot of streeting, fliering and tracting to do. Streeting didn't really work so we went tracting. Tracting was ok and we gave out a Book of Mormon, but we realized that we weren't doing so well so we went fliering.

 After doing all that stuff for 4 hours or so, we came back for or program that we still had planned. He hadn't come yet and he still hadn't come 15 minutes passed the time we scheduled, so I called his number and his mom answered saying that he was not home but that she would tell him to meet us when he does. We weren't sure if the program would still go through, but I had a feeling that we should say a prayer together. So Elder Foster said a prayer asking Heavenly Father that our program would happen and that if we couldn't say everything that we would like to say that we would say enough. After he said the prayer I still felt kind of nervous, but I felt the Lord would provide a way. Shortly after the prayer, a member came to the church. I started talking to him and he said that he had a meeting that he had to be at an hour later, but he felt as though he should come an hour early. Right then, I heard the door open and close in the church building and I knew that it was our program investigator, and, right then, I also knew that this was the miracle that we had prayed for.  I asked if he would like to teach with us and he said sure. The person that we were teaching was 17 years old and we planned on teaching him the entire first lesson, but after saying the opening prayer, I felt prompted that we should only teach about the Book of Mormon and prayer. So we did and we used the member a lot because he knew how to explain things way better than I or Elder Foster could. I felt bad for doing so, but what he said was exactly what we needed and when we finished we bore our testimonies and explained that when he reads the Book of Mormon he can create a greater relationship with Heavenly Father. We committed him to pray and read from the Book of Mormon and we also set up with him again. After the program I thanked the member and we headed on our way to make the switch back with our companions. But before that, Elder Foster grabbed me and shook me a little bit and said 'Elder Magda, you spoke like a Hungarian!! You spoke like you were fluent in the language. I hope that I can be as good of a speaker as you are in my next transfer.'  I almost wanted to collapse and start weeping. I just couldn't believe it. I felt like I was so inadequate in that program and that it was the member who saved us.  I just lead the lesson and directed it where it needed to go then asked the member a question. But Elder Foster kept telling me that I was a pro and that our prayers were answered. Friday was a miracle and I didn't really recognize it till today that my Heavenly Father has been watching over me and helping me with the language that day. And Elder Foster is such a wonderful missionary. What he told me strengthened my faith and helped me see that I was being an example to him.  And that was because that was what I prayed for that day—to  be an example for him.

Just writing this brings tears to my eyes, because even though I still feel inadequate with the language, I have had people around me, especially my companion, keep telling me that I am a lot farther than what I tell myself I am. As long as I have the desire to speak this language, I will speak it. As long as I try as hard as I can to speak this language, I will speak it. This week has really taught me patience and that my petitions to Heavenly Father, asking for help and strength in the language, are only answered in His time, not my time. It is according to His will, not mine. This language will still be a huge mountain for me to climb, but because of the Savior's Atonement and my diligence to climb over it, I can do it, and so can all of you with your obstacles and trials. Don't think that because of how hard something is right now that you won't be able to get over the mountain. Don't continue to think of how far the end is, but how far you have come. Because you are a child of God, Heavenly Father will provide a way for you to succeed, just like it says in 1 Nephi 3:7. Let us not be discouraged, let us see the strength that we already have and the things at we have already done and can do.

'Forward, pressing forward,
as a triumph song we sing,
God our strength will be,
press forward ever
called to serve our King'

Sok Szeretettel,
Magda Elder

P.S. I did get your package and I am so grateful for it. Thank you SO much! And thank you dad for putting both MP3 and MP4 tracks copies on there, because the MP4 doesn't work through the thing I am using, but the MP3 does. You are a genius! And thank you for the Jelly Bellies and comic strips! My companion and I love them. I am so glad that everyone has had a good week and I hope that you all will have another one this week. Tell Alisha that I do the same thing here in Hungary, 'WWAD' What Would Alisha:Ashleigh Do. :) I love you all and I will write you soon, promise!

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