Monday, November 4, 2013

I'm Coming Home...Next Year!

Fun with Graffiti! 
Elder Magda, Elder Sterri, and the piggie

November 4, 2013
Dear People Out There (yes, that includes you in the back as well),

I have so much to let you in on!  I don't even know how I'm going to tell you all about everything that has happened this past week! Let's start off with some important news first.

I have heard from a little birdy about when my return date is (that birdy being from someone from my group who heard it from the office couple) and that is that I am coming home on March 20th! Yup, that's right, I'm coming home about 2-3 weeks sooner than my 2 year mark. Since transfers have been shifted to 9 weeks now, president has been dealing with missionaries that are going home in the middle of transfers. My group technically would leave 2 weeks right after the start of a new transfer. But, to make things simpler, they are just sending my group home 2 weeks early at the end of the normal transfers. So, get ready for that! Also, I don't know if I've already said this before, but Elder J from my group is actually from Fairfield and we are both going home on the same day and we are both going to be arriving home at the Sacramento airport together. So, be prepared for his family to be at the airport as well. It'll be super fun to go home all the way with him. Ha ha, he is such a kewl guy. And, last thing about transfers, next week is the start of a new transfer and Tuesday is when our p day will be instead of Monday and when we will also get transfer calls. Get ready for next Tuesday! We'll see what happens to me and my companion. 

Alright, now for some things for the week. First off Halloween! The branch had a way awesome branch party and there were quite a few investigators that came as well. None that were ours (sajnos) but there were some teens that came and joined the party. We had loads of fun! We first had a spiritual message about the Plan of Salvation then had those who had dressed up in costumes do a little parade thing for all to see. My companion and I were included since we both dressed up as well. Elder Sh dressed up as a mummy having been wrapped with toilet paper (he looked way funny!) and I was superman since I had a superman shirt that mom sent me, so I just wore that for my costume ha ha. Everybody loved it!
Superman and the Mummy
There were also some games that were going on too. There was one place where kids could go fishing for candy with a little pole that had a paper clip on the end of it and they would throw their fishing line behind this boxed off area where a person was hiding and that person would clip some candy to the end of it for them to pull out.
Elder Shoop "fishing" for candy.
Another corner had people playing Skip-bo and in the center was the ping pong table where we would have tournaments and stuff with each other. And, the best part was carving pumpkins! My companion and I were able to do one and we carved the superman symbol for ours. It looked pretty good from our point of view. We're not professionals, but we can say that we did a pretty darn good job. I have some pictures that we took from the party, so I'll attach some for you all to enjoy. 
Our classy Jack 'o Lanterns!

On the actual day of Halloween we actually went up to Budapest and had a Zone Conference with Elder Teixiera from the Quorum of the 70. My word was it a good conference! He was super enthusiastic and he devoted his time by answering some of our questions involving missionary work, because he once was a mission president and knows quite a bit about these things, which was really helpful. He also gave us some tips on how to get new investigators that the whole mission is going to be working on. So far it's going well after less than a week! Already we got 7 new investigators this week and they are all serious investigators. Elder Teixiera's conference definitely was edifying and it definitely gave us a boost for this last part of my mission.

 The work is flourishing here and it is unbelievable! Though we had an entire day taken out because of Zone Conference, we still have managed to have amazing programs and experiences. Friday was the Day of the Dead here in Hungary, but it wasn't a super p-day like it was last year, so we still had to work. We had no programs or anything planned for that day, so we went finding for 8 hours straight and nothing came out of it. I haven’t had one of those days for so long and it reminded me of all those times when I would have weeks or months with every day being like that. But, the miraculous thing was that the next two days we met with great investigators and had powerful lessons where the room was filled with the Spirit. And, one of the families that we have been working with has been coming to church. Things have been wonderful and my companion and I love every second of it. 

There is one last thing that I would like to touch on. Yesterday was fast Sunday and I was asked to lead Sacrament meeting, because the branch leader is one of the senior missionaries. He always asks the older missionaries to lead the meeting, and I was able to be the first one to bear my testimony for the meeting. Recently I have found an answer to one of my questions from the Book of Mormon, which is, “When, will the Lord deliver us from our trials or our struggles?” In the scriptures you find examples of a people being delivered from trials by the Lord’s hand and it says that they were righteous or something along those lines. But I wanted something more than that. I wanted a straight answer of what we need to do besides just 'being righteous'. I know, it's more of a selfish attitude to have. The kewl thing was that I did find that answer! Mosiah 7:33, saying 'But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage.' I was humbled by it, because there are requirements that He has asked us to do, but even then, we still are required to have that faith knowing that he will deliver us, but know also that it will be in his own due time. It is one thing to teach and another to actually do it or go through it. Because I understand the principle and I teach it knowing it to be true, but when the time comes that I am to go through a difficult trial, I get frustrated with how long it is and how much I have to bear and I forget that I have to accept the Lords time table and that He knows when it is best for me to be delivered. But I am slowly growing and understanding greater the meaning of this principle and I bore testimony of it yesterday, sharing that scripture with the congregation and it felt so right. Though nobody came up to me and told me that 'it was just what they needed', I felt that it was something that needed to be said and that someone needed it. 

Phew! Quite a week, right? And this week is going to be pretty big too, being our last full week of the transfer.   We have a lot of stuff set up. Next week's email will also be fun to read for sure. :)

Alisha got the brown truck?!?! That thing is still running?!?! My gosh that is old! But that is super kewl that she has it. I'm definitely looking forward to coming home and taking it for a spin with her. Gosh blast it, Alyssa is married?!?! Dang! Incredible. She was my first date! That's so weird that she is married now. Tell her congratulations for me, will ya? Elder Sterri went to Kecskemét, which is in the South East I believe. It's actually not far from where granddad was born. Recently Elder Shoop and I have been making dinners together instead of separately. He likes to make a rosemary chicken thing with potatoes and I like to make my tacos and we both love them! We are also making rakott krumpli (potato casserole) this week, which will be super good! And for basic stuff I usually have grilled cheese with soup or pasta with kolbász (sausage). I've been branching out trying to find things to make. :) 
Poor little bird

Lastly, for my testimony for Sister Folkman, this will be brief because of time. But, to those whom it may concern: I cannot tell you how grateful I am for what I am doing right now. I have gone through so much in a matter of a year and a half just about and I have loved every bit of it. Has it been easy? Of course not! Have I gotten frustrated? You bet I have! But, was the decision worth it? More than any other decision I have made. I have seen people change completely because of the gospel and have seen the light from within them grow brighter as they have done those things that bring them closer to their Savior. It is the most remarkable thing to ever see. I have seen it once before my mission with one of my friends and it encouraged me all the more to help others have the same blessing. What you have, which is the Gospel of Christ, is greater than any worldly thing out there. You are so blessed to have it in your lives and don't be afraid to share it. You don't have to wait till your missions to start spreading the Gospel. You can start now! You are more powerful than you can even understand. Rely on the Spirit, study the scriptures, and listen to your seminary teachers! They will help you on that path of being who the Lord is wanting you to become as a prince/princess of his Kingdom. I know these things are true. The Book of Mormon does contain the truth and Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet of God. Stay close to the Lord and stay faithful and He will lead you on the right path. 

I love you all and 'Hold to the Rod, the Iron Rod.' 

Magda Elder

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