Tuesday, May 30, 2017

It's always good to be busy!

Hey everybody!  Like the title of the email says, it was a really busy week for us this past week but it was also an absolutely amazing week for us here in Buda! We were able to find 5 new investigators (one of which was a family from Turkey). We were able to meet with many people and the Lord just keeps placing those people that are ready for the accepting of the gospel in our path on a day to day basis! I am coming to realize more and more that if we open our mouths at all times and in all places then the Lord will continue to work miracles through us. I have found that when I work as hard as I can and then just work a little bit harder (like do something that I normally would not do like talk to someone while waiting for the light to turn green at a cross walk or talk to someone that is about to shut the door going into the apartment building) then that is the moment when the miracles tend to happen. President always says that we need to "go to the edge and fly" (it is based off a poem) and I have seen that so much (not just in my mission but in my life)! When we go to the edge and leave our comfort zones, that is when the Lord can work amazing miracles within us; we will fly!!

We were able to go on exchanges this past week with the secretaries and also the Elders from Dunaújváros. I was able to work with Elder Stephens (who was actually the secretary last week that was replaced with Elder Ballard from my group, like I said it has been a crazy week) and the exchange went really well! While finding, we were able to get many potential investigators and also got 2 let-ins resulting in 4 new investigators. The first let-in was amazing as the woman opened the door with a big smile and told us that she would love to hear our message but that she was going to be leaving soon. We told her that it would be a very quick message and that it would be very worth hearing. She then agreed to let us in after tidying up a bit. We taught a quick Restoration and set up to come back. Then we had a prompting that instead of going back for dinner, we needed to go and tract some more. So we followed the prompting and started tracting the next building over.  After ringing about 3 doors someone opened the front door to the apartment building without a word. We went up to the top floor and knocked the door. A smiling man quickly opened the door and we told him who we were. He told us he was from Turkey and that he was Muslim but that he totally respects Christians. We asked to come inside and he accepted. He was able to listen as well as his daughter and his wife. We testified about what we knew to be true, about a living prophet, God's plan for us, the Restoration of the Gospel and the joy and happiness we feel from day to day. They loved how much we were smiling and could feel the spirit! We agreed to set up again and went back a couple days ago (the 2nd lesson was also amazing)! We were also able to go on exchanges this past week with the Dunaújváros Elders. I was able to work with Elder Aardema and it went great! We were able to get many potential investigators as well as teach a referral we received from church head-quarters. One investigator even came to church the next day and he really loved that as well (we have set up two teachings for this upcoming week)! One of the things that we planned to focus on was following the spirit in all we do and we were able to see the spirit guiding us a lot especially when we were able to find a family in an apartment (right before they left for a bike ride) that is incredibly interested to have us come back and share a message. I am coming to realize more and more on my mission how the spirit works with us.  I used to think that the Spirit was something that was like this big profound thought or idea, and while there are times that it is like that, most of the time I have just seen that the spirit literally just guides us if we are doing what we are supposed to be doing (being good boys and good girls like Elder Bednar always says).  Many times it is just a simple thought to do something good for someone else (or to maybe put dinner a little later so that we could find a family prepared for the accepting of the gospel, I did not think it was a prompting at all at the time but I followed it because it seemed like the logical thing to do).  I have also really loved studying up on the fruits of the spirit (peace, calmness, understanding, simplicity, etc.), these are also how I have come to follow the spirit.  I heard a quote that like the devil is the author of complexity and the Holy Ghost is the author of simplicity (I thought that was interesting).  

We were able to have some really great other teachings this week as well. We were able to meet with one of our investigators and go over the Gospel of Jesus Christ! It went really well and he was able to listen and I think that he really felt the Spirit. He was able to read this past week and he also was able to come to church which he also enjoyed from what it looked like! We met with another investigator with whom we were able to speak about faith and repentance and how when we have faith in Jesus Christ we will want to repent and become clean and when we become clean and better we will come to know that this gospel is true! It went well and I think he is starting to hopefully see more of the big picture. The other Elders (we were on exchanges) met with another of our investigators and I heard that also went well. Unfortunately, they were not able to come to church but they are doing well.

We were able to meet with even another investigator and I thought that the teaching went really well and I thought that she really felt the spirit. We were able to finish it well and were able to schedule for the next day. She ended up having to cancel and then cancelled the teaching for the next day as well. She was also not able to come to church and we have not been able to get a hold of her to find out what happened. She was originally scheduled for baptism on the 10th of June and we will probably have to move it back, but we still feel that she can be ready this transfer. She just needs to make the full decision that she can be a great member and that she is willing to enter into the covenant of baptism and remain a full-active member for the rest of her life. I believe that she can do it and I know that in the long-run it is going to bless her life tremendously. We are going to keep praying and working hard to prepare her.  She is such a wonderful person.

It was a great week and I am looking forward to this one! I love you all tons and hope you have a great week!

Gentry Elder

Monday, May 22, 2017

A good normal work week! May 22nd

What is up everybody!  Like the title says, this past week was just like a pretty normal work week which was cool!  Last preparation day, we were able to go and get the car washed and filled up with gas (it took like a full hour though because the people that wash the car were not going the fastest, it was good though, just took out a lot of time from our preparation day).  On Tuesday we were able to go on exchanges with the Elders from Győr (but they were here in Buda, in a few weeks we will go and head over to Győr).  I was able to work with Elder Seamons and it went super great. We were able to meet with our amazing family that we found last week.  The father is the one that we spoke to on the bus and came to church last week and is doing really well and is progressing really quickly.  We were able to meet his girlfriend this last week who is also very nice. She is not as interested in religion as he is but I pray that with time she can see the amazing things that come from living the gospel and can realize how much this message can bless their amazing family.  They are planning to get married soon and he really would love to be baptized in the near future.  They have two really cute kids who are 4 years old and 4 months old.  I would love it if we could baptize them both and we will keep praying that her heart can be open to the things that we have to say and that she can be open to feeling the spirit.

We were able to have another investigator come to church yesterday which was really great to see (she is the one that we have planned to get baptized on the 10th of June).  Many of the members were able to come over and great her and I think that she had an uplifting experience.  The hardest part for her is being able to manage all of the work that she has going on.  She thinks that in the near future she is going to have more time, as the nursery where she works will be closing for a short time.   We think that she can be ready for her baptismal date on the 10th of June and really think that she can make a great member in the future.  We are hoping to be able to meet with her at least a couple of times this week and hope that she can have her baptismal interview on Saturday.  

We were also able to meet with another great investigator this past week.  He is doing well but we just need to make sure that he is actually interested in the gospel and just not in talking to two American missionaries about our church.  I know that he feels something, however, in order for those feelings to keep coming, we need to continue to focus on the doctrine and he needs to start living according to the commitments that we give him so that he can gain a personal witness for himself that these things are true.  We will keep working with him and are going to do our best to get him some really great fellow-shippers in the ward.  

We were able to have an amazing experience last night as we were doing some tracting and had a prompting to go and look up a family that said that we could come back another time.  We were able to act on the prompting and were able to look up the family.  About 3 or 4 weeks ago we were able to talk to the son who is 14 or 15 and he said to come back. 2 weeks-ago we came back and he said to come back again. So yesterday we went over and the son came and quickly opened the gate and the mother was so happy to see us.  They are from China and have been living here for about a year.  They are Buddhist but loved the idea that God calls prophets who we can follow, and if we follow them then we can be really happy and find safety and peace.  It was a really cool experience and the spirit was definitely present.  They are excited to have us come back next Sunday at 5 o'clock.

I love this work so much and the more I just lose myself in the service of others and try to do my best (and just trust in the Lord to help me out) the happier I become!  This is a gospel of simplicity and joy.  The formula is simple, if we do what is right and show the Lord that we are doing our best then he will continuously bless us!  I love being a missionary! 

Elder Gentry 

 Elder Roberts visiting - He trained Elder Ure and Elder Ure trained Elder Gentry

Elder Kearon is Amazing! May 15th

Ok so I am a little short on time so I am going to quickly go over the highlights of the week, however, there were a lot of them.  It was so amazing seeing everyone on Skype and speaking with you!
To start, Elder Kearon was here from Tuesday night until Friday morning and it was absolutely incredible.  So how it worked was that on Wednesday was the Budapest and Southeast Zones and then on the next day it was all of the other 3 zones. We were able to go to both of them (I was able to conduct the one on Thursday) and they were amazing.  The biggest thing that I took away from it was that in order to touch the hearts of the children of men through the message of the restored gospel, we need to first become he message ourselves and present it in a way that will give people something that they want in their lives. I came to the realization this last week that when I do not worry so much about how I am sounding, what I am going to say, or if I am doing this work 100% correctly, but when I just approach everyone with a huge smile on my face and tell them with a calm assurance the things that the spirit wants me to say, everything goes so much better and I enjoy the work 10 times more (I don't know if that is possibly because I have always loved it more than words can express).  I also really took from it that as missionaries and from day to day we DO NOT HAVE TO WORRY SO MUCH, BUT JUST WORK HARD!  I love that so much and I am really trying to incorporate it into my work on a day to day basis (the Lord will always provide a way if we do our absolute best).  
OK so this story is so crazy awesome.  So in the Thursday zone conference, we had this really cool part when we were talking about how investigators feel when they are meeting with the missionaries and how the missionaries feel when they are in lessons.  Basically, what it came down to is the feelings are indescribable (see I think Philippians 4:7, I could be wrong, it is one of those that talks about that).  Right then Elder Kearon (who has a view of the front door leading into the branch house) exclaims "there is someone at the door, if he needs teaching give him teaching, go to it elders"!  Just then Elder Fitzgerald and myself shot out of our seats (along with 2 other missionaries) to go and see who this person was.  Come to find out it was our super cool investigator that had happened to show up to the branch house 1 1/2 hours before his teaching (there are no coincidences in the gospel, however).  We tell him to come back in just a bit and walk back into the conference.  Just then Elder Kearon goes, "well is he coming in?" and we said he is coming back later, then he said "just go bring him in now".  So we run back outside and tell him to come back in.  Our investigator speaks pretty good English but it is a little bit broken and he kept on saying, “very big privilege this is.” We take him in and he introduces himself to everyone (like 65 missionaries and Elder Kearon) and we sit down.  A few minutes go by and Elder Kearon asks him how he feels when he meets with us.  Our investigator literally said word for word what we had been describing that this feeling is indescribable and that it cannot be found in the catholic church!  It was so cool.  We met with him after and he is doing well, he just needs to fully accept the Book of Mormon and a living prophet and he will be all good! After that I was able to have an amazing interview with Elder Kearon and that is something I will not soon forget! Then on Friday we were able to have our missionary leadership council with Elder Kearon and that was also spectacular! 
One of the biggest miracles for us actually occurred yesterday during church. A few days ago we were traveling out to this teaching and were doing our best to speak to as many people as we possibly could on public transport. We were able to get on this bus and right when we got on, Elder Fitzgerald said that we needed to move to the back of the bus, and right when we did so, I had a prompting that I needed to speak to this man in his 30s standing right by us. It was a very quick conversation, but we told him who we were and that we had a message about the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was very enthusiastic to meet and told us that he and his family would also maybe like to hear it. We also told him about church and he told us that he would want to come this week. On Sunday morning, I sent him a text message and asked him if he still would want to come to church. He told me that he was going to come but that he would be a little bit late. He eventually showed up at the end of the 2nd hour and he brought his mom and his 4 month old baby. He told us that over the previous week he had been doing quite a bit of research about us and that he absolutely loves what he has seen. He told us that the night before he watched the entire film "Meet the Mormons" and that he absolutely loved it. He told us that he has been looking for an environment where he could raise his child on great principles and he felt like this is the place he was looking for. We were able to teach him about the Restoration and he absolutely loved it. He told us that he felt like we needed to talk to him on the bus and that it was absolutely no coincidence that we met and that this is where he should be. We asked him if he would be baptized if he found these things to be true and he told us that he has already made up his mind that he would like to be very shortly (in 3-4 weeks). We set up to go to his home this Tuesday and we are excited to teach him more!
Our baptismal commit came to church which was great to see. She told us that her work place is going to be closing and that because of that she should also have more time to come to church. We have the confidence that she can be ready for baptism by the 10th of June and that the Lord is going to keep making it possible for her. We are going to try to start meeting with her on a more consistent basis and are going to do our best to help her gain a very strong witness that these things are very true.

It was a really great week and the work here is definitely moving forward. This is the Lord's work and I am so honored to be his servant here in this country!  I know I am on the Lord's errand and there is no better feeling!  
Love you all so much and it was amazing to see you all on skype!  Happy Mother's Day mom!! 
 Gentry Elder 

Monday, May 8, 2017

No Better Feeling than the Lord's Errand

Hello my amazing family!  It sounds like it was a great week!  It was also a really good week for us full of splits, teachings, stake conference and everything else.

I think I forgot to mention this last week, but in our zone conferences the week before, President Szabadkai was in Germany for a Mission President Training and he gave Elder Fitzgerald the presiding authority during the meetings because he was going to be away.  He said that Elder Fitzgerald could also give it to me if he got tired.  So one zone conference on last Thursday, I was able to preside which was pretty cool and an experience I will never forget.

This past week we were able to go on exchanges with the elder in a city called Szeged in the eastern part of the country.  It is really pretty and it was really cool to see the eastern part of Hungary because I have only ever been in the west and center.  It was really very beautiful and I was able to work with Elder McKim who is actually from Australia!  We were able to see many miracles one of which was a man who at first said that he did not have time to hear our message while tracting, however, a few doors later he poked his head out the door and told us that if it would be quick then we could come in and share a message with him!  We were able to swap phone numbers and he wants to meet in the future.  Elder Mckim is a stud and it was cool learning about Australia (the one place that I would have been scared to death to go and serve in, haha, and I told him that).  He confirmed my fears by telling me about all of the deadly spiders and that they have 9 out of the top 10 world’s deadliest snakes, #gottaloveaustralia.  It sounds like a cool place though! 

We were also able to do some good work in our own area this past week! The highlight lesson of the week was our lesson with one of the sister’s old investigators that was given to us.  She has had a bit of a problem with coming to church over the past few years because her work schedule is very difficult to manage. One of the things she does is take care of this old lady on Sunday mornings, which has been one of, if not the, main obstacle in getting her to come to church on Sundays (and ultimately be baptized). She really would love to be baptized and believes that these things are true and can bless her life, however, the thing that is just hard is coming to church. We were able to talk about repentance with her and she even told us that she feels like she needs to repent for not being able to come to church. She then went on to say that it is just a very hard situation because she does not know what she would need to do to avoid going into work and taking care of the néni (old lady in Hungarian) on Sundays. We bore testimony that if we do the things that the Lord commands (like going to church) then he will always provide a way that will allow us to accomplish the things that Heavenly Father needs and wants us to accomplish. Just then, the member that we brought told her that she should tell the néni that she needs to go to church and the reason behind it. He told her that it would all work out and that the néni would totally support the idea. We both felt the prompting that we needed to ask her to be baptized and we were able to give her a date for the 10th of June that she willingly accepted. 10 minutes after the lesson she called us and told us that the néni willingly told her that she could go to church and that she did not need to come in on that time on Sunday Morning. She told us that it went just as the member said it would and it sounded like it was a testimony builder for her (I know it was for me). We just need to keep on making sure she can meet with us on a regular basis and make sure that she can make it to church.

We were also able to meet with another investigator this past week. It also went well and we were able to respond to many of his questions and concerns. He really loves what he is hearing and I know that he is definitely feeling the spirit in our lessons and when we are at church. He has come to church every week for the past 4 weeks and when we are in our teachings with him, he accepts what we teach him and is enthusiastic about learning more. We are really making an effort to make sure that he can have friends in the ward. Another member is really being a great help at making him feel welcome and they seem to get along well which is really cool to see. We are planning on giving him a baptismal date this next week.

We have been talking a lot about having the spirit to be with us at all times in the mission right now and I came across something cool this week. I was reading in 2 Nephi 31 this week and in verse 18 I came to the realization that the Holy Ghost is not just a good feeling that we feel from time to time, however, it is a constant witness that we are on the right path and doing the right things that will bring us success in this life and success in the life to come (eternal life). That is why when we are not doing the things that we should be doing, or when we are not where the Lord wants us to be, we feel un-easy or anxious, because the Holy Ghost is not with us and we lost that constant assurance that we are on the Lord's errand. Elder Fitzgerald and myself always talk about how there is not a better feeling in the world than that of when we know that we are on the Lord's errand. I have come to appreciate the companionship of the Holy Ghost so much on my mission and I am so grateful for the chance that I have to serve. I sure do love this work!! 

I love you all so much and wish an especially Boldog Anyák Napot to my amazing mother!!!  

Gentry Elder

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Week 2 in Buda

I do not have a ton of time so I am going to say as much as I can and go over all of the highlights.

We had zone trainings this past week and we were able to attend all of them.  We were able to discuss relying on the spirit and how we need the spirit in every aspect of our work as missionaries.  They went so stinking well and I was able to learn so much that I want to apply.  There is a quote in PMG that says that as missionaries we have to rely on the spirit because it is vain for anyone to minister in the ordinances of salvation without it, how true that is!  Elder Fitzgerald and I were able to give a training in every one of the conferences and it was about how our mission culture needs to be teach repentance and baptize converts.  We were able to discuss always having the faith to find even when it is super hard and I was able to share that story that Mom would always tell me about the man that would build houses and how one day another man had asked him to build a house and how the builder did not give it his full effort and then the man said that he was actually going to give the house to the builder as a gift and the builder was in shock and was devastated because he did not give it his full effort, and how as missionaries we need to always give it our all because out of nowhere the Lord will put those people that are ready in our path and we cannot miss them.

I was able to go on exchanges with Elder Ure this week in Buda and I had one of the coolest experience on my mission.  We met with a lady to give her service in her garden.  She said that we would be loading fire wood at this place and that we needed to go in her car.  She did not have a man to come along with us in the car so we remained obedient and ran 3 kilometers to the designated place, loaded the wood, grabbed a bus for the way back and got another lady’s number on the bus then arrived back at her home.  We unloaded the wood and then we were able to ask to share a message.  During the message, she just started to cry and said that she was praying for someone to come and help her and then 2 minutes later the missionaries knocked on her door.  She wants to meet with us more and when we finished saying the closing prayer she was just bawling and saying that she is so grateful for the service and the things we said.  She has 2 small kids and I think is divorced, I was so glad to help.  It is so cool because we were 1-obedient, 2-giving service, and 3-testified.  It was amazing.

Sorry this is a bit shorter but I know that this church is so true and I love being a missionary here in Buda!!!