Monday, July 24, 2017

July is flying by (kinda rhymes)

Hey everyone!!  Thank you for your great emails!  I always love reading them so stinking much, they are some of the highlights of my week!  It was as really great week for us and I will include as much as I can!  

We were able to go on exchanges this past week with the Elders in Szeged.  I was able to work with Elder Hughes and the exchange went great!  His parents might be Kyle Taylor's mission presidents, I know there are many missions in the Philippines, but you never know.  We were able to do a lot of finding where we really focused on teaching our message in such a way that those we were talking with understood why were there and how this could truly help them in their lives (through asking a lot of questions).  We worked as hard as we could and got 11 potential investigators! We also had a great teaching with one of their investigators where we were able to teach about the Atonement and the relevance it had for her.  Elder Hughes is a stud and a great missionary!  

We were also able to have a good week here in Buda.  We were able to meet with our investigator from Ukraine 3 times this past week and he was able to come to church.  All of the teachings went really well and he is really progressing.  The part in the gospel that really interests him is about progression and becoming a better person.  We have brought up baptism with him and proposed a baptismal date, however, he said that before he commits to anything he wants to keep learning and be sure of his decision.  He also says that before he gets to that level of baptism, he wants to be fully ready to commit to living a good life and following the path that Christ showed us. We had a really cool experience on Saturday night when he said that when we meet with him, he feels calmness and peace and when we are not around him then he feels different (almost depressed).  We taught about the feelings of the Holy Ghost and how the Holy Ghost speaks to us through calmness and peace and how the reason that members of the church are so happy is because they have the Holy Ghost with them as their constant companion.  He was able to come to church like I mentioned and he said he liked it (however he said he might want to go to the Pest ward because it is in English).  He met a member named Tatyana who is also from Ukraine and speaks Ukrainian.  They got along really well and explained lots of things about the church to him.  He is progressing well and we are going to keep meeting with him.

We also met with another of our investigators a couple of times this past week.  He was also able to come to church, however he only stayed for the 1st hour.  We were able to discuss what true repentance means and also the importance of the Restoration (we showed him the film which he seemed to like).  He is doing well but just seems to be really hard on himself from time to time.  We were able to give him a blessing and Tamás from the ward came with us and was able to give him the blessing.  We were able to discuss with him how with the help of God we can stay on the gospel path and recover even when we fall and need to return back to it.  He is doing well and I hope that he can continue to find the strength to overcome what he is working on.  We were also able to meet with another of our investigator’s this past week a couple times.  He is also doing well but unfortunately was not able to come to church and was not able to read any of the things we gave to him.  We are probably going to start to less-frequenting our visits with him and are going to try to find the roadblock that is keeping him from keeping commitments.  We also met with all our recent converts in Buda this past week and they are all doing well!  We also met with a new investigator who lives in Szent Endre .  He is an older man who has seen a lot of hard trials and agreed to let us talk with him. 

President mentioned something about having investigators learn for themselves how they feel the spirit and how we teach them the doctrine and then they come to feel it is true on their own. Elder Fitzgerald and myself have been discussing a lot lately how when investigators (or anyone for that matter) come to find out something for themselves, they receive internal validation and the concept is more likely to stay in them and have more of a powerful effect on them.  I noticed this a lot with mathematics back home.  When I received guidance from a teacher and then took the time to personally study out a concept that was hard for me to understand, with time I eventually thoroughly understood the concept and did not easily forget it.  I think it is the same with those we teach.  We teach them how to find the answers and then they have to put in the work to find them for themselves (which is why commitments are so important).  I feel like those that do this process are the ones who become truly converted. 

I love this work and I love my Savior Jesus Christ.

Elder Gentry 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Time is Flying!

We had a great week!  We were able to speak to a ton of amazing people and were able to find so many amazing people!  One of which was an amazing man from Ukraine who moved to Hungary in January 2016. His family (wife and two young children) still live in Ukraine which is really hard for him because he loves them and misses them very much. He told us that he has been looking for direction in his life and he thinks that the gospel could be the answer to what he has been looking for. He is a really good Christian man that has really high standards and wants to constantly improve himself. He thought that because of his hard situation, God was turning his back on him, however, we testified that God was not turning his back on him but was giving him this trial in order to make him grow stronger and become better. We testified of the Plan of Salvation and how this is the only way that we can achieve lasting happiness in this life and in the life to come. We have met with him 3 times the last 3 days and are going back tonight in hopes to give him a baptismal date. He is very prepared and wants this for his life. 

We were also able to meet with another of our investigator’s this past week and that also went well. We were able to discuss prayer, scripture reading, and Sabbath Day observance and it went well. He thought that he wasn't doing enough in regards to not coming to church or praying twice a day and he thought that we were mad at him, but we told him that we are not mad at him at all but that we encouraging him to do these things because they are going to bless his life more that he can know. We are going to have to change his baptismal date, due to the fact that he was not able to come to church and also because he told us that he really needs more time to quit smoking, however, I have the faith that he can continue to improve and eventually enter the waters of baptism. We were also able to meet with another of our investigator’s twice this past week and both those teachings went well. We are making sure that he can fully understand everything and are making sure to explain things simply and slowly. We are meeting with him again tonight and are excited to keep seeing his progress. One of our investigator’s has been away for a bit and I really hope that when she comes back she will have a clearer mind and that she will want to make the next step of baptism. She texted us that she is really excited to keep meeting when she gets back and I am hoping that she can really start progressing. 

Sorry to make this short, but I do not have a lot of time!  I am going to keep serving as hard as I can and am pumped to continue to see the hand of the Lord in this work!  I love you all so much, have a great week! 

Gentry elder
Office Elders

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Went back to Győr!

It was a good week for us here in Buda. We were able to go on a daily exchange this past week with the Elders in Győr. We were there over the 4th of July and the Győr Elders were nice enough to cook us burgers and corn for some good 4th of July food (American style!). We were able to meet with Roland and he is doing really well (he even came tracting with us which was a blast!). He loves to go with the missionaries during teaching appointments. 

We were able to meet with some of our investigators this past week and they are doing really well. One that I have mentioned before has faith that  is absolutely incredible and he is truly prepared by Heavenly Father. He continuously wants to improve and he wants to be able to change his life for the better through baptism and through daily repentance. Like has been mentioned before, the biggest struggle with him is quitting smoking. From what we could tell, he had a better week last week and then this week he struggled a little bit. We told him that before his baptism, he would have to be completely off of smoking and drinking (does that occasionally with his friends) and he told us that he thinks that he can do it. We made a baptismal calendar for him and we are going to be frequenting our visits with him (at least 2 times per week but maybe 3). The other hard part for him is getting to church, however, he wants to come and his shifts at work from now on should allow him to be free on Sundays. He is such a great guy.

Another great investigator that we met with allowed us to discuss Prophets and the security we can feel on a day to day basis knowing that we have a living prophet here to lead and guide us. We spoke about watchmen on the tower and how the prophets are here to warn us of danger and here to see the things that we cannot see. Even though we may not always see what they see, our testimony comes when we obey them and when we see the positive consequences (they are watchmen on the tower). She absolutely loves meeting with us and she always says that we say the things that are exactly applicable to her and her situation. I know that she knows it is true and I also know that she knows that she needs to be baptized. The thing that is hard for her is the commitment aspect of it. I pray that she will be able to feel the good of living this amazing gospel and the desire that she will have to want this in her life will outweigh the fear of commitment. She is going to accept it, I have the faith. 

We were also able to meet with a couple of new investigators this past week who seem to be pretty interested. One of them believes in a lot of yin yang stuff and we decided that the next lesson with her we are going to do our best to set expectations and to also hear her expectations of why she thinks that we are there. We feel like the best way to go with her is going to be testifying of truth (especially the Plan of Salvation) and letting the spirit take the rest. It is just a bit difficult with her because she believes in a lot of things that it is hard to be able to relate to every point in the gospel. We are going to listen to her sincerely and then respond in a manner best suited to fit her needs. The other we met through streeting and he said that he had met with the missionaries about 9 years ago and would like to meet again. We set up a time to meet and it went amazing. He has done a lot of searching in his life, and has gone to a few different churches. We taught the Restoration and he really liked it and listened sincerely. We felt like we should ask him to be baptized and he accepted the invitation. We are going to give him a baptismal date this upcoming lesson. 

Overall the work continues to move forward! We are doing our best to remain obedient, be diligent, open our mouths at all times and at all places. 
 In Preach My Gospel there is a quote by Elder Oaks that is one of my absolute favorites. It is at the end of Chapter 8 when he talks about how missionary work is like fishing (we are fishers of men after all). He says that when some people go fishing, they spend most of their time just traveling to the fishing spot and sitting on the shore of the lake trying to get their fishing equipment ready to use. He said, however, that there are some fishermen that get to the lake and do so effectively and right when they get there they put their fishing poles in the water and start fishing. He goes on to say that the longer our poles are in the water as missionaries, the more fish (people prepared for the gospel) we will find. He said right when we leave our apartments, our fishing poles should be in the water, I really like that and have a huge testimony of it. Elder Fitzgerald and myself have a goal this week to be able to contact a total of 500 people while finding. We felt like that was a good goal for us to try to achieve this week and we are excited to be able to see the blessings that come from it. I can truly say that I am the absolute happiest when I just go out and just give it my all to go and find the elect that my Heavenly Father is preparing (there is no better feeling than being on the Lord's errand).  This is truly the work of the Lord and I am honored to be a tool in his hands for these two years. I am far from perfect but I am doing my best to improve on a day to day basis. I love this work so much!  I love you all so much and hope you have a fantastic week!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Happy Birthday America!!!

Well, the transfer is under way and I am so excited to see what this transfer is going to bring for us and for the mission as a whole.  The mission is in a really good place right now and I truly believe that miracles are going to happen this upcoming transfer.  Elder Fitzgerald and myself are very excited to be staying together and will keep serving to the best of our abilities. 

We were able to meet with a few investigators this past week and they went really well.  We have had some trouble trying to set up with one particular individual the past few weeks, however, she had some time to meet and the lesson went really well.  Right now in her life she says that she is looking for calmness and peace.  She is planning to go on vacation soon in hopes that that it will relieve her stress and anxiety.  We were able to teach, however, about how to experience the peace and the joy that the gospel brings into our lives on a daily basis and how even when we have a lot to deal with we can always make time for God.  We testified that even though taking the path of the gospel is not easy it is worth it and will bring her the lasting peace that she so desperately desires in her life.  At the end of the lesson she said that she felt so calm and that she did not know how we did it.  We told her that we are inexperienced but that we just testify of the things that we know to be true because we know how much they can help her and bless her in her life.  We are hoping to be able to continue to meet with her on a more consistent basis.

We were also able to have a fantastic teaching with another of our investigator’s this past week.  We were able to teach him about the Atonement and about the 2nd half of the Plan of Salvation.   We were able to testify of the cleansing power of the Atonement and how we need to put off the natural man from day to day.  We were able to teach of the chance that we have to be able to return to live with our Father in Heaven by following the principles and ordinances of the gospel.  It went really well and we were able to extend a baptismal invitation of August 5th which he readily accepted.  At the conclusion of the lesson, he told us that when we started teaching about the Plan of Salvation, there was something in him that just told him it was true (he said like when you learn how a heart or lungs work you just automatically believe it because you know that it is true).  He said that he believed it right away and that it just made sense.  Then he said, “I bet that that was the Spirit right?”  We told him that it was (so cool).  He is progressing really well and he is doing better with living the word of wisdom.  He is a good person and I have the faith that he can enter into the waters of baptism.  

We have many potential families that we have been finding as well (many of which are actual investigators that have been hard to meet with).  We are going to make a big effort this week to contact as many potential investigators as we can and we are trying to continue to meet with many of our former investigators.

The weather is hot as ever and we are pumped to work this transfer.  I love you all so much and wish you a great 4th of July.

Gentry Elder

June 27 Post - We are staying!!!

Hey amazing family!  Sounds like it was a really amazing week for you all and I am super glad to be able to here that!

So this week, Elder Fitzgerald and myself were able to take part in all of the Zone Conferences.  We were able to present a training in every conference on how to set meaningful goals and how to attack our mornings!  It went really well and I think that the missionaries liked it!  The main theme in the Zone Conferences was how to become better teachers.  One of the main things that was discussed was the importance of listening.  That is one thing that I have really tried to improve over the course of my mission.  Listening is hard and takes work.  It is so true though that if we do listen then we can relate whatever people say to the gospel and we will help them resolve their concerns through the amazing message of the restoration of the gospel.  They were super good! 

Because of Zone Conferences, it was a bit harder to meet with people this past week but we were still able to meet a few good people and do some good finding!   One of our investigators has actually been keeping in contact with the Sisters that serve in Salt Lake City (he chats with them on Apparently, they have been teaching him a lot of really great things (like baptism) and he says he really loves speaking with them (they also call him). He is really progressing well and he loves the things that we are teaching him. He has been smoking less frequently and his goal right now is to get down to just 5 cigarettes per day. He believes everything and when talking about baptism, he said that he does not feel that he is fully clean right now (which is good that he realizes that). We have been teaching a lot about repentance and how to become clean and he really loves it. He is really doing well. 

We have also started teaching a really great family.  We tracted into them a few weeks ago on splits.  Well actually they were standing in the hall way of an apartment building and were preparing to go on a bike ride and I decided to talk to them.  The little son begged his parents to come to church and 2 weeks ago they were able to come. They were not able to come to church this past week, but we were able to meet with them this past Tuesday and it went really well. The son who is 8 years old is the one that is extremely interested. The mother is a non-practicing Reformist and the father believes in a higher power but is not sure what it is. We were able to teach about how God works with His children and the blessings that we have seen from this church in our lives. It went really well and I see great things happening with them in the future.

Transfers are happening this week and Elder Fitzgerald and I will be staying together and we are super excited!  Elder Fitzgerald is a great missionary and I have learned so much from him and will continue to learn a lot from him!  I am so grateful that I get to continue serving in this amazing city with the amazing people that we work with on a daily basis.  I am grateful that I get to keep being an assistant to President Szabadkai and will do my best to keep serving him!  Love you all so much and hope you have a great week! 

Gentry Elder