May 27, 2013
Dear Family and Friends,
I'm not going to lie, being sick really is a pain in the neck, or stomach, or back, or wherever the pain is when you're sick. For the first few days of the week Elder Ch. was sick with stomach flu and then a few days later I got it and I'm still trying to get over it. Not very fun I must say, but there were a few things that happened this week that made the week somewhat fun outside of our illnesses.
This week we were able to go up to Budapest because Elder Ch. had to go up for some medical checkups, which going to Budapest is always fun because it's the city where which I was born. We had to spend the night at the secretaries apartment Tuesday night because his appointment was on Wednesday morning and it takes 3 hours for us to reach Budapest from Békéscsaba so we would have had to have taken a train around 4 in the morning if we wanted to leave from Békéscsaba, but we got permission instead to come up the night before so that was a lot nicer. The next day Elder Ch. went to his appointment (which all is good by the way) and then we had lunch at Arribas (the Mexican place here that's similar to Chipotle) then headed back home.
|Budapest Train Station|
This is the cool part of the story. On our train ride home, before the train took off we had already found our seats on the train (the train we took was kind of like the Harry Potter train where it has the cabins that you open the door to) and a young woman and her mom opened the door to our cabin and asked if the extra seats were available. We said yes and they took their seats. As the train started it's heading towards Békéscsaba the younger woman, who is probably around 22 or 23, asked 'You guys are American aren't you'. 'Yup, how could you tell?'
|Riding the Train in Budapest (You've seen this one before.)|
'I've seen you on the streets in Békéscsaba talking to people and giving out your free books at your table that you guys stand at in the square.' We weren't sure how that meant that she could tell that we were American, but we went with it. For most of the train ride we talked to her about the gospel and mostly about the Plan of Salvation because she had questions concerning God and his existence and she even asked 'Well, if you guys believe that he is our Heavenly Father, what is his purpose for us?' 'That's a great question!' with which we recited Moses 1:39 to her explaining that God wants us to return to live with him again and for us to receive eternal life and happiness beyond anything this world has to offer. I felt so filled with the Spirit and I know my companion was also because when I didn't know the answer to one of her questions or I didn't know how to explain it my companion did. How awesome are companions! I love every single one that I have served with. I know that the Lord uses me as one of His tools, but it's also wonderful to see how he uses my companions and their talents and I can be a witness to that.
Anyways, back to the story, the last hour her mom pulled her away to talk to her for a little bit, which ended up being the rest of the train ride. I had planned in my mind that I would give her a Book of Mormon before we went our separate ways. But, on the last stretch of the train ride I fell asleep and my companion had to wake me up by kicking my foot and when I woke they had already left. I felt so bummed because I totally wanted to get their information so that we could meet again and give them a Book of Mormon. Why did I have to fall asleep?!?! I felt like such a doofus. Hopefully our paths cross again. I've been praying that we will and I hope that the Lord will bless us with another opportunity to meet.
Another short experience that happened while we were in Budapest, I have had on my mission people who have told me that we are wrong, or that we are wasting our time here and that we should go home. This week I have a new one to add to the list.
|Budapest Metro Ticket Booth|
While my companion and I was in line for getting tickets to get on the metro in Budapest, a man came up to us, while we were in the middle of the line amongst plenty of people around us, and said 'Cult!' My companion and I kind of chuckled to ourselves because the man came out of his way to tell us this. We thought we may have seen the last of him, but as we were about to get on the metro, we saw the man once again and he came up to us and spat at the ground in front of us. My companion couldn't hold it in and burst out laughing! I don't know why we thought it was so funny, but it definitely was one of the more funny things that happened to us this week.
On Thursday we also had Zone Training in Szeged and the zone leaders gave their training on teaching people not lessons. They focused their training on a small acronym that they came up with called PAUL, which stands for Planning, Adjusting, Unity, and Listening. We discussed about each individual thing and how all 4 are crucial in teaching people. Yes we are teaching the Restoration, the Plan of Salvation and all of these other 'lessons' to our investigators, but our focus is not on recitation or regurgitating a lecture, but rather that we present these things according to their needs and plan according to their concerns and questions. I know that my family probably knows this because it's who I am, but I would say my favorite part of the acronym is listening. I have always been a person who focuses on understanding the person and where they are coming from. In the MTC we discussed about how we are the spiritual physicians in the world and we cannot give a 'diagnosis' if we don't know what the person is going through in their lives. That is where listening comes into play, and not just listening with our physical ears but with our spiritual ones also. The Spirit will tell us all things that we need to do and say and if we are in tune and listening closely it will give us the prompting we need to help that person come closer to Christ. Not only is this a cool concept, but it's a true one too! We even were provided the opportunity to put 'PAUL' into action at Zone Training.
The Zone Leaders had brought two of their investigators and we were to teach them according to their questions and concerns. We were split into two groups and then we were given time to teach them what we felt was right. My companion and I were the first ones up. We were teaching a guy who was 20 or 21 and was getting baptized soon. We asked him if he had any questions about what the Elders had taught him thus far and he said 'Could you talk to me about baptism.' I asked him what he knew and he replied by saying that it was a covenant that we make with God and that we receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost when we are baptized. I felt prompted to ask him what the Gift of the Holy Ghost meant to him and why it was important to him to receive it. He said that he knew that he know that the Elders said that it's something that helps us in our lives. We then shared him a scripture from 2 Nephi that explained that as we enter the way of the Lord that we receive the Holy Ghost that tells us of all things that we need to do. We explained to him that it is only through baptism that we receive this gift from God; this constant companion that will be there forever if we continue to live the commandments. Are time was then up and he thanked us and the next set of missionaries taught him. I, again, felt that what my companion and I taught was what we were meant to teach him. We were also able to listen to the other missionaries and what they taught and I was so impressed by how well the other Elders and Sisters were teaching this investigator and I was filled with the Spirit and I only hoped that everyone else could feel this same feeling, especially the investigator. This was for sure one of my favorite Zone Trainings. I don't know why, but I felt so strengthened from it. Not to say that the previous trainings that I have been to I have not come out strengthened, but this one had a specific impact on me that I can't even explain how or why, it just did. I loved it!
I certainly had a wonderful week even though we've been kind of sick this week. Please pray that we both stay well so that we continue to work. I know that staying in and resting is good so that we can gain our energy and recover, but I always feel bad that we aren't outside working. That would be wonderful. :)
It sounds like you all had an interesting week also. For Stake Conference, when you say missionaries do you just mean the ones in our ward or all of the missionaries that are in the Stake? Hopefully you have a few weeks till Stake Conference and maybe I can give you a music suggestion next week. And don't worry, I'm always singing even if it's not out loud. I'll usually sing while I'm getting ready in the morning and hopefully my companion doesn't mind :P Tell Alisha that though I am far away I love her with all my heart. You may not believe it, but I do think about all of you and pray for all of you individually. I have come to appreciate family relations more and more as the days go by on my mission as we discuss about families and see families grow in the gospel. You guys are more precious than gold and that goes for you Alisha. Just remember all the fun times that we would have when we played Halo and Call of Duty or when we would wrestle or I would take you and me out to get Taco Bell or something. I know they may have been a long time ago, but don't forget about them. Just look forward to that big hug that I will give you when I come home. Though it may be a long time from now, that hug will be so worth it. And if you ever feel down or that the world is against you, just sing to yourself 'You Are Loved' and I can promise you that it will brighten your day. And, don't forget to pray. I love you 'Lish, and I am always proud and honored to be your older brother. And this goes to my whole family. I am so blessed to be a Magda. I thank God that He blessed me with this family and that I could partake of life through it. Life is hard, but a family is their even after death.
I love you all and keep on 'Looking forward and outward' and when times are tough, don't forget to look up and remember that you have someone looking after you.
Sincerely, Your Son and Soldier of God