July 20, 2013
Good mornin' to ya !
My good golly gracious is it that time of the week already?!?! P-day is here and I get to email you all! WOOO! Always an exciting thing to do. So, let's get started!
This week has been a week of work, both secretary and missionary. Before I start with anything, as secretaries the standard for working hours (going out and finding, having programs and all that jazz) is different than the normal standard for other missionaries. Since we have other priorities that we have along with our missionary calling we have been given a different standard that is a little bit lower than the average standard for the mission. It helps us by kind of taking of some of the stress off of our shoulders with having paperwork to do and then going out to find. Sometimes it can be a hassle to do. But this week, Elder Loveday and I made it a goal for us this week to get the SAME standard as the entire mission. We looked at our week and we discussed it over weekly planning how we can achieve the mission standard and planned out our week with goals and back up plans to achieve our goal of standard. Both of us knew it would be hard, but it's something that we both wanted to accomplish to stretch us. So we have been at it all week, getting our secretary stuff done early in the morning, then going out and doing missionary work as early as we can. We don't have very many investigators to teach so we have a lot of finding time, like going out streeting, tracting and tabling.
I don't know how it is in other missions, specifically stateside, with finding, but out here it's part of the norm to be out finding. We do search for referrals from members and try to get investigators through the branches, but it can be hard at times so we revert to what missionaries have been doing since the very beginning: find! My companion and I have had some fun this week with finding. For example, we got kicked out of an apartment building by an old lady! We were half way through the building and this old lady comes up to us from behind: 'Who are you looking for?' 'Everybody!' 'What do you want?' 'To talk with people about our message of the Gospel of Christ.' 'Get out.' Well what do you do? Ha ha, we kind of just chuckled to ourselves afterwards. Those kinds of things really spice up the day. Not to say that that's what we’re looking for, having people kick us out or rant at us and tell us to leave, but it gives the day a little extra to it. Unfortunately, though, that's what most of our week has been like in our finding efforts through tracting. It's been hard trying to find people that are interested in our message, even in the big city of Budapest. But we have found some success through our efforts.
Yesterday, as a matter of fact, we were streeting along the Duna River and found an awesome lady who was interested. I started by asking her a question about what she thought was important to her in life and she replied with 'Health'. I then asked her why it was so important with which she replied with, 'Well I've been pretty ill recently and it is health that keeps me alive'. I felt prompted to bear my testimony of the Gospel and how it blesses our lives by giving us hope through the trials of life. We started to talk a little more and she then said 'You know, I would really like to know more about Jesus Christ. Do you guys hold classes or something that teach about Him?' 'As a matter of fact we meet with people and teach them personally.' She was interested and gave us her information! It was an awesome find!
Another weird thing that's coming up pretty soon: transfers! Already?! I feel like I just got here in the office! Time is already just flying by. Next week around Thursday or Friday I'm expecting to get the call of who my next companion is. Elder Loveday has already been here for 3 transfers and we are both pretty sure that he is getting out this next one. He's pretty excited to be a normal missionary again. Being a secretary is fun and all, but sometimes we just look outside the office or talk with the other missionaries in our area and we look forward to the day where we can be like them again. Both of us are excited for transfer calls though. I'm getting some one new and Elder Loveday is going to a new area, and it probably will be his last. He goes home this December and we are both pretty sure that his next area will be his last one before he goes home. He's really hoping to go to Debrecen because that's where he's always wanted to go his entire mission. And that'll be cool because that's where Heather his, which I'm pretty sure she'll be staying there for another transfer at least. Transfers will be exciting, that's for sure. I'll be sure to let you know next week about it.
One more thing that I wanted to include in this week's email was something that I found during my scripture study. I've been reading the Book of Mormon with one of the soft covered copy's and my main focus is finding things that are related to the Atonement ins some way and then I just right notes and stuff on the side. Right now I just finished the Book of Jacob and I have come to love chapter 4 within that book. It has some really awesome doctrines about the Atonement and there is one part in one of the verses that I would like to highlight for you that I found to be quite peculiar. In verse 11 we read about two things. One of them is what most of the verse is about, which is the first resurrection and how we can become the 'first-fruits'. But it is the second thing that is within this verse that I would like to show to you. At the beginning it reads, 'Wherefore, beloved brethren, be reconciled unto him through the atonement of Christ..' This part kind of struck me, specifically the word 'reconciled'. I knew what it meant, but I wanted a clearer definition of the word. Luckily I had a handy dandy English dictionary and found that the word 'reconcile' means 'to call back into union and friendship the affections which have been alienated; to restore to friendship or favor after estrangement.' So, we learn, through this one word, that the atonement restores our relationship with God because of the fall. Also, in this definition, it does not say that reconcile means 'to force back to union' or 'to make in to union'. Instead it says 'to call back'.
The atonement has been made for all of us so that we can return to live with God and become like him. But, the atonement does not mean that it is there to force us or make us come back to union, rather the atonement is there 'calling us back' to union with our Father in Heaven. Kind of like the verse in Alma chapter 46 verse 36 where it is written 'that...the title of liberty (was) to be hoisted upon every tower which was in the land...' The atonement is our banner that is hoisted for all of us to see and is calling us to be in union with God, because it is only through the atonement that this is made possible, but it is up to us to make that decision whether or not we want to accept the atonement in our lives. Incredible, isn't it, what one word can do in a sentence. Spiritual tip of the week!
Well, to end my email I will answer some questions that have been asked. Do you get on well with the APs? Yeah I do! I love them! They are such great elders to be around. We are actually going to hang out with them for most of the day and play games and such. Last week we played a card game called 'Dominion' and it was super intense and we all had a blast. They are also a great example to the mission. They too have other commitments along with being missionaries, but they make it their goal to get out and work once they're done with their AP stuff. One of them, Elder Greaves, is actually going home at the end of this transfer. Something kewl about him, he is actually a Pokémon master. Literally! He was number one on two leaderboards IN THE WORLD for the Pokémon Gameboy games. Total example to me and all the other dorks in the mission. How's the language going? Not too bad actually. I'm doing pretty well with it. Of course there's lots of room for improvement, but I can at least say that I can hold a conversation about most things for a good while in Hungarian. But one thing that has been fun while being in the office is learning business vocab in Hungarian. My first few days when I would get a letter from a business or bank or something and I would first glance at it and I would not know any of the words. It was like a completely different language! But I'm getting better at it! Now I can talk some business maybe in Hungarian. Woo hoo! What is the ward like? Is it bigger than Pest? I love the ward! It's a lot different when you're coming from Békéscsaba and you basically are the branch. But now I don't have to do anything besides bring an investigator and let the Spirit testify to him. In size, I think I would say that Pest is just a tad bigger. If you took out the foreigners though, since Pest is an international branch, then Buda would be bigger. Have you driven a car yet? What side of the road do you drive on? I haven’t yet, but I will start next week. I just got my drivers permit and I am going to take a driving test course with Brother Carpenter, one of the office couples. Unfortunately Hungary isn't that cool since people drive on the same side of the road as us. But the roads here are crazy! My companion drove us somewhere once and the traffic lights and stuff and the way things are placed is weird! Way confusing.
I hope that this email makes up for last weeks! I love you all and I hope you all enjoy your week! Remember, prayer is our key to opening the doors of heaven!