Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Into The West--My Final Epistle

March 18, 2014
Drága követőimnek, olvasóimnak, barátaimnak, családomnak és szeretteimnek, (Dear followers, readers, friends, family and loved ones),

Elder Magda and Krisztina
(He is wearing his "whip")
How absolutely fabulous these two years have been! I know I sure have had fun during this journey, and I hope that you guys could enjoy it a little bit with me. It really is unbelievable for me to think that the time has come to return home. I don't even know how really to explain to you all the feelings and emotions that have been rushing through my body this last week and, even now, writing this 'Last Epistle'. What do I say?!?!

I guess I will start with yesterday. Two of our investigators were baptized yesterday and it was such an incredible way to end my mission! One of them was actually one of the other companionships investigators that we put on baptism date right when we combined. Super kewl woman and has been looking forward for this for a while. The other woman was one that Elder Shoop and I ran into on the street and grabbed us and said 'I have been looking for you guys for so long!!!' She has been an absolute wonder to teach and meet with, and yesterday she was baptized after a month of being hospitalized for having surgery not too long ago. She has been prepared by the Lord for sure and she has said countless times that she feels like this is the church that she has meant to be a part of for so long. She is going to be an excellent member and I am looking forward to keeping in touch with her throughout my life.
I am privileged to have baptized this fine Sister.
I was privileged to have been asked by her to baptize her and Elder Dellenbach baptized the other lady, and it was such a moving experience.
Baptism Day
Both talked to us after their baptism and gave us their thanks for sharing with them the Gospel and bringing them closer to their Savior. There was actually a verse, the morning of the baptism that I stumbled across in my personal study that fit right in with this. I am grateful for my Heavenly Father to have led me to it in preparation of this baptism. In 3 Nephi 19, Christ had left the people of Nephi for a short while and the disciples continued on with their work, baptizing and giving people the gift of the Holy Ghost. Christ then returns as they, a congregation of people are praying, and goes off and begins to offer an intercessory prayer to the Father. These following verses include part of the prayer that He offers.

20. Father, I thank thee that thou hast given the Holy Ghost unto these whom I have chosen; and it is because of their belief in me that I have chosen them out of the world.
21. Father, I pray thee that thou wilt give the Holy Ghost unto all them that shall believe in their words.
22. Father, thou hast given them the Holy Ghost because they believe in me; and thou seest that they believe in me because thou hearest them, and they pray unto me; and they pray unto me because I am with them.
23. And now Father, I pray unto thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words, that they may believe in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one.
I have seen this very thing with these people and all those whom I have taught and have come closer to their Savior, even if it did not result in immediate baptism or may never will. But this I know from these verses—that  Christ prays for us! He intercedes for us! He is the Mediator and prays on our behalf! And He prays for us and for all those how believe on the words of those whom He has chosen that God the Father may bless us with the Holy Ghost. It is through this also that we can become one with our Father and our Savior. I know this to be true! I have seen it upon the faces of my investigators and members of the church here; I have felt it for myself through following the Savior and keeping His commandments and have witnessed it through the power of the Holy Ghost upon the hearts of those I have taught. Christ loves us. Our Heavenly Father loves us, and the scriptures, like these verses, testify of that love. A song comes to mind when I think of becoming one with God called 'Make Us One' where it says,

 'Make us one, that our burdens may be light, 
 Make us one, as we seek eternal life,
 Unite our hands to serve thy children well,
 Unite us in obedience to thy will,
 Make us one,
 Teach us, Lord, to be of one faith, of one heart, one in thee.' 
As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure my mom sang this as a trio (if I remember correctly) at my farewell and it just hit me that I have been thinking about this song all week. (His mom did sing this with a trio for his farewell.  It’s by Sally Deford) Huh, quite interesting. It is a powerful song that I have come to love and I would encourage all of you to listen to it.

Along with our baptism this week we had the opportunity to go to a Zone Conference with one of the members of the Quorum of the Seventy (a General Authority) being there who we were able to listen to. That man was absolutely incredible! I loved how he addressed us and what he touched on. He talked to us missionaries that are going home this week, including the rest of the missionaries when they would be leaving, but specifically to us he said 'There will be times when you will be amongst your friends, when they will call upon you to be your old self. But it is in that moment when you will have to make the choice, whether to turn back and leave what you have learned behind or choose to keep what you have become and make it grow.' Out of all the things he said, this impacted me the most. It struck me right to the core and I felt like that was something that the Spirit was trying to say to me 'That was for you', along with other little things that were said during the conference. It really was an inspired conference. I enjoyed it immensely.

There is also one last thing that I would like to let you in on that happened to me. I first want to warn my family to not be worried in advance, because I know how they can be. This last week, Wednesday, I woke up around 3:30 in the morning with this unbelievably incredible pain in my right side. It was so painful to the point where we had to call the senior couple and have them drive me to the hospital where I remained there for a few hours. I then had a few x-rays and an ultrasound examination where they finally diagnosed me with having a kidney stone. A KIDNEY STONE!!! And the funny thing is that they couldn't even find it with the x-ray or ultrasound. They said that it is probably the size of a grain of sand and is towards the end of its passing. So, since Wednesday, I have been dealing with some incredible pains, along with having to go to a Zone Conference the next day, programs all throughout each day, church on Sunday and a baptism on Monday. This week has been one extremely interesting final last week of my mission. Fortunately, Sunday was the last day I felt extreme pains in my side and I'm pretty sure it will come out any moment.

I have been talking to president about how this all plays out with me going home and everything. Now, this is more towards my family, he said that if I haven’t passed it or if the serious pains have not passed by the time I go home then the result will be me ending up here until that ceases. But, I want you guys to know, first of all, please don’t worry; I'm doing fine and have gotten through the toughest part. I have been drinking a butt ton (is that even a real expression?) of water and have been taking some cramping pills to get it through. I have been praying for it every night for it to pass. And, the main serious pains have passed and I am feeling LOADS better. Tomorrow I will be going up to Budapest and having my last interview with president and the next day I will be heading home. IF things do change (IF is the word), then president will let you know if I have to stay a little bit longer or not. BUT, so far it looks like a clean shot home. 

To tell you the truth, this experience has actually had some interesting things that followed with it. Friday morning I was in terrible pain and we had to cancel one of our programs because of it. There was one other program right after it, but we decided to wait to see if I would feel better before we called to cancel. Not too long after, the pain just dissipated. It was gone. I thought to myself 'Well that was interesting' and I felt like I was well enough to go. We then went and when our investigator opened the door we could tell that something was wrong. We had planned to talk about church attendance but we both felt like that wasn't going to be the right thing. We started to talk with her and felt prompted to start talking about the trial of our faith. After a few minutes of sharing scriptures with her she then began to open up and share with us about some of the trials that she was currently going through and how she has been having stress attacks lately. The program continued to go on and verse after verse came to each of our minds to share with her that were perfect for what she needed.

She began to cheer up and really liked the verses that we had shared with her and she said that they had really helped her tremendously. It was then that I had a feeling that this was the reason why my pain had gone away. She had even said 'I feel like when I am out to help others, there is never anyone there for me and I am left alone by everyone.' It was then that I shared with her about that morning experience that I had and how God had intended for us to be there for her and to encourage her to keep going and to not give up. Her spirit was lifted as we testified to her that she was loved and that her Father in Heaven was watching over her through us. This was such a powerful experience for me this week. Even in the midst of pain we can be a part of miracles. On Sunday one of the speakers talked about trials specifically and said 'When storms come and the rain falls and everything seems dark and gloomy, that is when we choose to dance in the rain.' So true! And I felt like that truly hit it home for me. 
Baptism Day in Eger

This week has been FULL of experiences that I would love to go on and on and on with you about, but I have decided to just tell them to you all when I see you in person this week. It is time for me to return home. I have come to love these people so much, more than they, I think, will ever understand. I love Hungary with all of my being. This has become my home for 2 years and it is a place I can call home. I am so grateful, so ever grateful, for this opportunity. There is a song that has been running in my mind for so long that explains my feelings perfectly that I would like to share with you. If any of you are familiar with Lord of the Rings, you will recognize which song this is, as it is the title of this last epistle: 

Lay down
Your sweet and weary head
Night is falling
You’ve come to journey's end
Sleep now
And dream of the ones who came before
They are calling
From across the distant shore

Why do you weep?
What are these tears upon your face?
Soon you will see
All of your fears will pass away
Safe in my arms
You're only sleeping

What can you see
On the horizon?
Why do the white gulls call?
Across the sea
A pale moon rises
The ships have come to carry you home

And all will turn
To silver glass
A light on the water
All souls pass

Hope fades
Into the world of night
Through shadows falling
Out of memory and time
Don't say: «We have come now to the end»
White shores are calling
You and I will meet again

And you'll be here in my arms
Just sleeping

What can you see
On the horizon?
Why do the white gulls call?
Across the sea
A pale moon rises
The ships have come to carry you home

And all will turn
To silver glass
A light on the water
Grey ships pass
Into the West

Az utolsó bizonyságomat teszem nektek, hogy ezek a dolgok, amiket prédikálok két éve, igazak. Tudom, hogy a jó Megváltónk él és, hogy szeret bennünket az egész szívével. Én is tudom, hogy Joseph Smith valóban Isten prófétája volt és Isten irányítása alatt lefordította a Mormon Könvét. Bizonyságom is van arról, hogy amennyiben bízunk az Úrban és követjük fiának a példáját, amit megmutatott nekünk, Mennyei Atyánk meg fog áldani minket azzal, amire van szükségünk. Az Úristen megáldjon benneteket! 

Nagyon szeretlek benneteket! Legyetek erősek és bátrak mindig!  (I love you! Be strong and of good courage always!)

Sok sok szeretettel, (With all of my love)
Magda Elder

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