This week was really great! Sister Papritz and I worked really really hard and it paid off! We had so many great programs! We also talked in Hungarian all week! It is so fun to speak Hungarian with Sister Papritz because we are both able to speak and understand. I had such a funny moment while we were talking and realized that we were having the exact same conversation we would have had in English, but with totally different words and a different way of saying it. It was pretty cool :)
We had a lot of really cool new investigators. One is named Zsuzsa. I streeted her while she was waiting for a friend and got her phone number. Later, I called and set up. She is a single mom of an 11 year old daughter, she sang for the Opera and now works as a voice therapist, and she is obsessed with keeping the earth green. She rides her bike everywhere (including in the Critical Mass bike ride (apparently that is a worldwide thing) they had here for Earth Day and told us all about the recycling here in Szeged :) Even cooler than all of that, she is really interested in our message. She had read part of the Book of Mormon that I gave her and had lots of questions about it! She also wanted to know why there are so many religions on the earth, so we talked about how Christ's church and power was lost from the world after the death of His apostles. We explained how the Bible is such a wonderful book, but without inspired guidance, it is easy to interpret it differently according to the wisdom of men. That's why we need the Book of Mormon! To help clarify those doctrines! We also talked about how we believe that Christ's church and power are once again on the earth today. She was really intrigued! We set up again after the program to meet again :) We also decided to have a little concert together for our next meeting, with Sister Papritz playing the piano and her singing.
Yesterday, there was a conference in Dunaújváros (interesting fact: used to be called Stalin's City because it was thought the perfect communist city. It is full of factories and 10 story apartments.) for the mission district here in Hungary (there is only one stake in the country... all of the other wards and branches are run under the mission president). Our whole ward (and TWO investigators of ours!) took an almost three hour bus-ride over to Duna for the conference. The conference was so good! The members (including a recent convert and a recently returned sister missionary (who served in England)) talked about the importance of missionary work. One man was so cool and talked about the importance of members in missionary work. He asked the congregation: "What do you think missionaries ask church members to come to programs? Is it because they can't teach or are lazy? No! It is because the investigators can see your example and testimony and draw strength from that!" He also challenged the members to give referrals to the missionaries. I wrote in my notes next to that: "I like this guy!" Haha. But, really, members are so important in our work. I can't even emphasize the difference members can make in the quality of the lessons. Especially here in Hungary, where the members can relate to our investigators so much better (and so much more fluently) than we can! But, it is so good for investigators to see that the live and active testimonies in the lives of members.
While I was in Duna, I said goodbye to De Leon Nővér (my trainer, who now serves in that city). She leaves in 10 days, which is crazy. She had such an influence on my mission (well, obviously, she was my first companion in the country) and set such a good example and standard for me. I hope that I can still become a missionary like she is. She has always loved loved loved the people and worked so hard. I am going to miss her a lot, but I know that it is time for her to get back to normal life :)
Something really cool I read in my personal studies the other day was from Jeffrey R. Holland (one of the 12 apostles): "Please realize that the Church is not a monastery for perfect people, though all of us ought to be striving on the road to godliness. No, at least one aspect of the Church is more like a hospital or an aid station, provided for those who are ill and want to get well, where one can get an infusion of spiritual nutrition and a supply of sustaining water in order to keep on climbing." We have so many people who are worried that they are not good enough. Well, God doesn't ask that we be perfect. There was only ever one perfect person that lived (Jesus Christ). Instead, God asks that we try and promises to help us every time that we fall short. And we should be helping each other like that, too! This life is all about trying every day, no matter how many times we fall. And bit by bit, we get better and better :)
Oh, yeah, I also hit my half-way mark on the mission! I have officially been a missionary for (now, more than) nine months! That is so crazy to me. It made me think a lot about the mission I have served and where I have fallen short and where I can grow. I thought about the time I have left and all I still want to accomplish. I am so grateful that I chose to serve a mission. I feel that I have grown and learned at an accelerated rate during the course of my mission. I think I am learning more than I am teaching! But, that is how the gospel works, I think. We all have a personal relationship with God. I can help people learn of Him and His church, but it is up to them to build and strengthen their relationship with Him. I am grateful for the strengthening of my relationship with God and for the opportunities I have had to help some of His children grow closer to Him. Missions are the best!
I hope you all are enjoying life as much as I am :P Have an amazing week!
Kramer Nővér aka McKenna