Well, this week was pretty interesting, to say the least.
We had Zone Interviews this past week. It was President and Sister Baughman's last. They gave some really good trainings. I really appreciated Sister Baughman's training about perfection. She talked about how perfectionism can sometimes be a tool of Statan. He knows that most of us won't be willfully disobedient, but he can get the lots of the same results (examples including guilt, unhappiness, selfishness, etc.) from perfectionism, so he'll use that. I found that so interesting-- I had never thought about perfectionism that way before but it really can be a destructive attitude. Not to say that we shouldn't try our best and that we shouldn't always be trying to be better, but it is important that we accept our limitations and work with God towards His goals. This zone meeting was also Sister Papritz's last Zone Conference/Interview thing, so she gave her departing testimony. It was really great :) She talked about how a mission was never originally part of her life plans, but how she is so grateful she has done it. She talked about how the mission has really helped her realize her potential and to better align her with eternal goals. She held up a whole LONG list of blessings and reasons she is on a mission. I can honestly say I already have a long list of reasons for myself and it is constantly growing. I, too, am so grateful I chose to serve a mission!
After zone conference, Sister Papritz and I actually drove back to Budapest with the Baughmans and APs. President Baughman gave us permission to switch our P-Days and go into Budapest for a couple of big events. First, we went and saw an opera (Madame Butterfly) starring one of Sister Papritz's old investigators, who was baptized about a year ago :) The opera was absolutely amazing! (I am developing a slight obsession, I think, haha) Afterwards, we were able to talk to her investigator in front of the historic opera house. He is super sweet (and has the world's most AMAZING voice-- singing and speaking. Imagine a bear.... with a honey-fied voice... or something like that haha.) We slept over at the mission home and the next day we went to the wedding of one of my old Kispest family. Westsik Lila married her sweetheart last Thursday and Friday (first here in Hungary by the state law, and then the next day in the London temple.). I met with the Westsik family about once a week for 6 months-- they were always so supportive of our missionary work, welcoming us and our investigators into their home. Lila and I became really good friends and so it was really special for me to go to her wedding. Like I said, their family is very supportive of missionaries and we were actually able to take a photo of missionaries surrounding the bride and her husband (who is French and actually served a mission here about a year ago). So it was a really neat experience! I am so happy for her and her husband! Other than that, Sister Papritz and I ate at our favorite Budapesti restaurant (Trofea's-- it is a Hungarian buffet) and did some souvenir shopping, as she is going home in A WEEK AND A HALF. Craziness.
This past week was also the end of our 6x6 goal. And, to be honest, it ended a little differently than we anticipated. We had started this week with four new investigators planned, knowing that our week was crazy busy, but thinking we would easily achieve our goals. However, one by one, each new investigator fell through. We had a much shortened work week, but we still went went to work looking for new investigators. We tracted our little hearts (and tired feet) out. But we didn't find the two new investigators we needed to achieve standard! We still found a lot of success-- we ended up with one let in, giving away a lot of "Book of Mormon"s, and meeting a lot of cool people. But no standard. However, sometimes God has bigger plans for us than we have for ourselves. God decided to bless us with a different miracle this week-- a baptismal date instead of a new investigator! And THAT is a pretty big miracle :) After church yesterday, this really cool girl (her name is Nik-- I have been to her ice gala and graduation here) who has been an investigator for over a year and a half came into the room Sister Papritz and I were planning in, shut the door, and stood before us with her hands clasped nervously. She told us that she had something to say... and then announced to Sister Papritz and I that she had decided she wants to be baptized! We honestly were SHOCKED! Lots of missionaries have worked with her- Sister Papritz has been working with her for 6 months, I have for my whole time in Szeged, and we love this girl to death and have been trying and trying to help her take this step. However, after everything we tried to do, finally, the decision came out of the blue from her!! We think it all pretty great :) It IS totally crazy, though, because she decided she wants to be baptized in TWO weeks!! So, needless to say, we have a lot to do to get everything ready :) But I am so grateful! She is an amazing girl and I am so glad she finally feels it is time for her to take this step that will bless her life forever. Little did Sister Papritz and I know when we started this goal that we weren't working to get standard for six weeks; rather, we were working to see the different miracle of someone who wants to get baptized!!!
I just want you all to know that miracles do happen, wherever and whoever you are!!! (I am including another miracle story, which I had a small part in, for your reading pleasure after my email. It is from one of my best friends (Sarah Kemp, also a sister missionary right now, but in Alabama) that I just recieved today that really was just more testament about how much God cares about each and every single one of us.) Look for the miracles in your life! I know they are there, if you just take the time to look :) 2 Nephi 27:23
I love you all!
Kramer Nővér aka McKenna
Hermana Kemp's email:
There are many good things happening in the work. A few months ago while we were tracting in an apartment complex that is completely 99.9% filled with Spanish speaking people, we found the 0.1% that wasn't. He is actually Hungarian. He told us a little about his life and we talked to him about the Plan of Salvation. He had a bit of a hard time understanding us, but he seemed interested in having missionaries come back so we gave the referral to the English elders. They passed by and he wasn't as interested as we had originally thought, so they didn't start teaching him as an investigator, but they shared a message with him.
This last transfer, we gave this area to the other sisters to work in. They decided to retract all of the apartments because you can always find someone new. And so they ran into the same person and shared with him and invited him to church. And he came! While at church he told the sisters that he felt like crying and he didn't know why and they explained to him about the spirit. He was always full of questions and always called up the sisters to ask them what certain words meant in the pamphlets because he only had them in English. He didn't understand everything, but he loved all of it.
Last Tuesday, we happened to be in Birmingham, which never ever happens because we live 2 hours away in Huntsville. We only go down for transfers meetings if we are being transferred. But whenever we go down there, we are always excited to check our mail. So we did and I didn't have any letters :( But as we were leaving the mail just arrived and in it was a package from Kramer Nover (Sister Kramer) filled with Hungarian materials for this investigator! It was so exciting. He already had a Book of Mormon in Hungarian, but Sister Kramer and her companion and other members sent a Book of Mormon with their testimonies in it. He has never heard someone's testimony in his own language so I would imagine that it was pretty powerful. So we got back and we gave it to the elders who are teaching him. They gave it to him and he read all of it and loved it. On Sunday, yesterday, they went back and taught him again and set a baptismal date for the 23rd of this month! It's so exciting to see him happy and coming to church. His family still lives in Hungary and he is going to give them as a referral for the missionaries to go visit.
I'm so grateful that Sister Kramer sent that package and that Heavenly Father put us in Birmingham that day to get it!
This week, I learned something really cool from the Book of Mormon-we study and learn from the scriptures everyday, but this one really stuck with me. In Nephi 18 is the story about Nephi building a boat to go to the promised land. In verse 2, he says that he didn't build the boat according to the knowledge of man, but by the knowledge of God. That reminded me of missionary work. If the world saw the things that missionaries do, the schedule they keep, the miles they ride on bikes, and all the things they do all to invite others to come unto Christ, they would probably think they are crazy. Because what missionaries do is not "after the manner which is learned by man." We do missionary work "after the manner which the Lord [has] shown unto [us]."