Monday, August 21, 2017

One Year in Hungary!!!


Happy Birthday mom!  I love you so much!!   It was a really great week this past week and I was able to hit my 1 year mark in the country (time is going by so fast).  



It was a great week here in Buda as we were able to meet with many of our investigators and were able to do a lot of good finding. We were able to meet with our Ukrainian friend only one time, however, he is doing absolutely amazing. There is a member in Buda that is actually from Ukraine and she is being an amazing fellowshipper to him. They were actually able to go down to the Balaton together this past week and were able to have a good discussion there about the Book of Mormon. He told us that every single day he is reading from the Book of Mormon and feels so amazing as he is reading from it. He told us that he feels the hand of God guiding him on his paths from day to day and that he does not want this feeling to go away. He told us that he knows the Book of Mormon is the word of God because he feels that his connection to God has grown so much stronger as he has been reading it (one day he was up at 4:30 in the morning reading it).  He has a little bit of trouble with fully accepting and understanding the word of wisdom and the reason behind it.  I told him that it was like in the karate kid when he needs to go wax on and wax off.  He did not fully understand but he put his trust in Mr. Miagi (like we put our trust in Christ) and he saw the results.  We receive no witness until after the trial of our faith.  He told us the other day, he had the thought to send the scripture Helaman 5:12 to his friend who is going through a rough time because he knew that it would help him. He was able to come to church this past week (he went to Pest) and he said that it went really well (he just sometimes has a hard time following what is going on in the sunday school class). Overall he is doing really well and I have the faith that eventually he is going to enter the waters of baptism.

We were able to start meeting again with a former investigator. He is 18 years old and is from Romania. He is really looking for direction in his life and really likes peace and love. He does not have a super deep knowledge about Jesus Christ and his life, so we were able to have a teaching about that. We taught him about the Savior's life and that through the Atonement we can reach perfection after all that we can do. He seems very interested to keep on learning about these things and we are going back to his home today. We were also able to get a let-in to a young mother and her baby boy (another little boy came later and we are not sure if that is her little brother or her son). We were able to talk about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, and we were able to set up a return appointment, however, she had to cancel. We are hoping to be able to meet this upcoming week. We were also able to meet with a lot of people that we had not met with yet this transfer. They seem to be doing well, however, some are not committed as we thought that they were. We were also able to meet with another of our investigators this past week and he is doing well. He does not really understand tithing and does not believe that it is a law from God, however, we are going to keep on teaching about modern day revelation and hopefully he can come to find the truth of it for himself. 



This upcoming week we are going to be able to have a meet the Mormons open night and hopefully that goes well.  It will be on Thursday and hopefully a lot of people will be able to make it out to it.  That’s awesome that you mentioned your friend that is 72 that converted.  In the city of Miskolc, they have a 78 year-old investigator that just asked the missionaries to be baptized and in the city of Eger they have 2 ladies that are each 72 who are on date. Oh and this 75 year old lady with a great grandkid just got baptized in Dunaújváros (I gave her the baptism interview).



Sorry that this email is a bit shorter but I will include more next week.  I love you all so much and hope you have a great week!!!  










Monday, August 14, 2017

A Good Hard Week of Work in Buda!


This week we were able to get some good work done in Buda.  We were able to go on an exchange in the city of Miskolc which was good (I was able to work with Elder Robinson).  Other than that, we were able to stay here in Buda and were able to put our shoulder to the wheel and push along as the song says.  We were able to have a lot of teachings this past week and were able to find some good people. We were able to find two new investigators who have an absolutely amazing story. About 40 years ago they were living in Germany and the missionaries taught them. The mom/wife in the family was going to get baptized, however, they moved back to Hungary and the Mission President at the time (in Germany) told the missionaries not to baptize her because the church was not yet established in Hungary. Years passed and the main missionary that taught her stayed in contact with her through letter writing, however, they eventually lost contact. Recently, the daughter in the family was on facebook and miraculously reached out to the old missionary (his name is Rick). Rick planned a trip to come to Hungary, and introduced us to the couple at church a few Sundays ago (Rick was actually Elder Fitzgerald's bishop when he was like 5 years old, crazy right). We met with them twice this past week and discussed the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. They both were able to come to church and it seemed like they really liked it.

We were also able to have multiple investigators at church this past week.   They all seemed to enjoy it and some stayed all 3 hours. We were able to meet with one of our sister investigators this past week and it went really well. We were able to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and really focused on repentance. We talked about how the test in life is in doing those things or those commandments that are the harder ones for us to follow, even when we do not fully know the reason for them. She told us that the hardest thing for her to follow is going to be the commitment of being a full time member (especially attendance at church when she has a lot of things going on). We told her that this is the path that God wants for her and she said that she has a new motivation to be able to want to do these things. It is looking really good with her.

We were able to meet with our Ukrainian investigator a couple of times this past week and he is also doing really well. We taught him about chastity and then dropped in another night and taught about repentance and what it means to truly repent. He had a night last week where he kind of relapsed with the word of wisdom and he felt guilty and weak. We told him that God will forgive us as many times as we truly repent, however, a part of true repentance is developing the resolve within ourselves to not make the same mistake again. We talked about how here at the beginning of his process of repentance and accepting the gospel, God is going to place tests in his path to see how he responds. We discussed how when we past one test, then the other tests get easier, we just need to always keep our guard up.  He is still doing so amazing.  We have brought up baptism a few times with him now and he says that he does not want to be pushed with it but that he wants to keep learning and that it will come.  While that sounds like an excuse to not be baptized, he is truly progressing and is going to be ready to make that commitment.

We also were able to meet with another local investigator this past week. He was really happy to see us and feels the spirit when we are there with him. He is doing well and seems to be progressing. He has been reading from the Book of Mormon and has been praying. He is still struggling quite a bit with smoking and has not gained a super strong testimony about the prophets of the church yet. He feels the spirit though and he seems to be changing for the better, we just have to keep extending commitments and faithfully help him to keep those. We were also able to meet with some other people this past week and they doing well for the most part.

 We are going to keep serving as hard as we can each and every day and will keep striving to find the elect. They are out there! I am doing my best to become the best missionary I can be, I am not perfect, but with diligence and the Lords help, he will make up the difference.  Humility is such a big part in doing this work on a day to day basis. The Lord is there and is totally willing to support us, however, He asks that we have a broken heart and contrite spirit and then He will extend his arm of mercy unto us. It is sometimes a natural man tendency to say to ourselves, "I did this well, or I did that well", however, in this work all glory should go to God and I have seen that when I am humble and give it all to him, He continues to bless and honor us! 

I love you all so much!  Have a great week!!!  

Gentry elder 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Romania looks a lot like Hungary!!!


It was a conference filled week but it was super awesome!  We were able to give a training on the Divine Companionship of the Holy Ghost from Elder Holland (I mentioned it last week).  It went super good and the missionaries said that they learned a lot which was good to hear.  We had a fun little journey this past week!  As missionaries here in Hungary, we do not get visas, however, we get what are called Residency Cards.  On the residency cards, they give us a date for how long we are able to legally stay in the country (mine does not expire until like September of 2018 so I am way good).  Elder Fitzgerald's (and all the elders' in his group), however, expires before his/their release date and so we had a problem.  The lawyer came up with a solution that if they left and went to a county not in the Skanzsen (like the EU but for countries like Hungary) then you get an additional 90 days of residency.  So Elder Fitzgerald and his group planned to go to Romania on Wednesday and then Elder Bagozzi had a genius idea!  I can drive here in Hungary if I have been in the country for under a year, and so Elder Bagozzi had be ask President if I could go to Romania with them in order to get a fresh year on my residency (in order for me to keep driving).  President thought it was a great idea and had me go with them!!  It was really fun, we crossed the border, had to buy a quick little pass thing (I streeted two Romanian people while going to the bathroom) and then we came back!  Now I can legally drive for the rest of my mission, whoop whoop!



 Due to conferences, having to go to Romania, and exchanges, we were not able to meet with a lot of people this week, however, the teachings that we did have went very well. We had a really great lesson with our investigator from Ukraine this past week. He was actually going to cancel the teaching due to a bad headache, however, he wanted to give us part of a watermelon he got from his work place (the thing was so big). We went over to go and get the watermelon and he said, "well, you are all here right now, why don't we just have a teaching with each other right now!" We were happy to hear that and started the teaching. It turns out that the reason he had a head ache was because he was drinking alcohol the night before and was hung over. He told us that whenever he goes out to drink (he does not do it very often) he feels really guilty and feels not worthy before God. We were able to testify to him about the word of wisdom and the wonderful affect that it has had in our lives. We were able to discuss the physical and spiritual blessings that we see from living it. To finish the lesson we challenged him to live the word of wisdom until the next time that we met. He agreed to give up all of it (except the tea for this week), and was really excited to do it. In his closing prayer, he was so repentant and it was so amazing to hear (it was one of the most amazing prayers I have ever heard from an investigator). He is so humble and he wants to improve and change his life so badly. A couple days later, we were speaking on the phone and he told me, "I have been living the word of wisdom and I feel amazing, I am going to keep trying, well in fact, I know I will keep living the word of wisdom!" It was so amazing to hear! He was able to attend church in Pest and he really loved it again. He is progressing so well and we are hoping that we can give him a baptismal date for the 26 of August. 


We were also able to meet with a couple of the Recent Converts this last week and they are doing well. We also met with a really great new investigator this past week. One night, we were walking home from a lesson and we were standing at a cross walk waiting for the light to turn red. A teenage girl and her mom walked next to us and I felt like I should talk to them. Right when I started to talk, the light turned green and so I was able to testify to them for about 30 seconds. The girl got our number but did not give us hers. About a week later she called us and told us she wanted to meet. She told us that she knew it was not random that we met on the street and in the teaching when she felt the Book of Mormon, she immediately felt a power coming from it. The lesson went well and we are going to meet with her again tomorrow. This week, President gave a training about finding based on a talk Elder Anderson gave.  Elder Anderson said that people are being prepared everywhere, we just the have the job to open our mouths to be able to find them. This is such an amazing work and it is so amazing to be able to see the miracles that come from serving with all of my heart, might, mind, and strength.  We are really trying to focus on finding youth right now.  They are so open to hear the message and are so humble and willing to change.  One of the things that I have learned so much over the course of my mission is the importance of Humility mixed with hard work.  If we are humble before God and show Him that we are willing to improve and become better (and then work for it) he will work miracles with us and it is so cool to be able to experience!  

Have a fantastic week!  I love you all so much!!  

Gentry Elder





Tuesday, August 1, 2017

CONFERENCES!


Hello my amazing family!   I am so glad to hear that Andrew and Bethy got the casts off and can now tear it up on the court and on the field!  It was a really good, busy week for us and we were able to see lots of miracles and prep for lots of trainings!  



To start off, we were able to have a fantastic exchange with the Elders in Miskolc. I was able to go back with good ol' Elder Ure and the exchange went really well. One of the things that I admire so much about Elder Ure is his ability to listen and to apply what people say to the gospel. I was amazed at how well he can get along with those people that we meet and at how well he is able to testify of the gospel to people. He is very calm and collected when he speaks with people and he really does a great job at teaching “that portion that shall be meted unto every man” (like the scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants says).  As I come to look at my mission more and more, I am so grateful that I was able to have him as a trainer and then later to serve with him as Zone Leader.  I know that the call was inspired of God and am so grateful for the things that he helped me learn.  He is a stud!


We were able to meet with our investigator from Ukraine 3 times this past week. All of the teachings went really well and his faith is growing at a very fast rate. We spoke about the Plan of Salvation a lot and about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is reading so much from the Book of Mormon and one night he planned to read only a few verses but he told us he could not put it down for like an hour and a half or so. He says he will be baptized, he just wants to keep learning more and more and wants to make sure this is the path that God wants him to take. He went to church in Pest this last week (because it is in English) and he absolutely loved it (I got permission to attend with him and it was super weird hearing some church in English). In one of our lessons this past week, I had one of the coolest experiences of my mission when he was talking about the feelings that he has when we meet with him in his home. He told us that when we are speaking with him, we can answer all of his questions in a way that amazes him. He says that when we are in his presence and when we are talking to him, he feels this clean energy coming from us and he told us that he has not seen that in other people in the world. He told us that he wants to be able to have the cleanliness and the spirit that we have and that he can tell that we are truly happy and clean (even in the way we think). He is just so amazed that a 19 and 20 year old boy is able to have the spiritual maturity that we have. The whole time when he was saying this, I knew that the reason he felt this way was not because Elder Fitzgerald and myself were clever or extraordinary or anything like that, but because the spirit was with us and he was feeling that. It is so amazing the way the spirit can truly carry us in a lesson especially when we don't even know what to say or even how to say it. I am just so grateful that I have the constant companionship of a great companion, Elder Fitzgerald, and the constant companionship of another great companion, the Holy Ghost. It truly sets us apart from the ordinary people of the world and the humble seekers of truth can truly be touched by its influence. It is a gift that I want to be with me at all times and at all places because without it I am nothing (like it says in Helaman 4:13 and 24-26) but with it I can do all things the Lord would have me do. It is so vital in the work.

We were also able to meet with another investigator his past week a couple of times and both of those teachings went well. He is also doing well and we were able to have a special fast for him yesterday in order for him to have the strength and the support to be able to quit smoking. His faith is very strong and he wants to change. He was not able to come to church this past week because the transistor on his car stopped working so hopefully he can get that taken care of and can come next week. We also were able to meet with a sister investigator this past week as she was able to return from her vacation from the Balaton (the big lake in Hungary). She feels rested and refreshed and is ready to continue to learn about the gospel. We spoke about the Atonement and the effect that it can have on our lives and it went pretty well. She told us that she would be coming to church, however, was not able to come because she slept in. We also met with our another investigator a couple of times this past week and he is also doing really well. He was able to come to sacrament meeting and from what I heard (I was in Pest) he really liked it. He struggles with keeping commitments to read, however, he committed himself to read a little bit every day and we are anxious to see if he does so.



We were able to have our missionary leadership council this past week where Elder Fitzgerald and myself were able to give a training to the missionary leaders around the country.  We were able to talk about a talk given by Elder Ballard at the mission president's seminar about what it means to be a true leader in the gospel compared to what the world views as a powerful leader.  We were able to discuss how the Lord looks on the inward heart and how we develop that inward integrity by being examples of the believers at all times and at all places (especially when nobody is watching because that is true character right there).  Then today and for the next four days, we have the chance to present a training to the entire mission on a talk given by Elder Holland on the divine companionship of the Holy Ghost and how it is essential to have in the work (without it the Lord forbids us to teach).  He said that the Holy Ghost cannot be like an old sweater that we take out of the closet when we are going to go and teach a lesson and that we take off when it is done, rather it needs to stay with us at all times a in order to build that true character (I compared it to football and how there are some kids that want to only receive the Friday Night Lights glory but they don't want to put in the work during the summer or throughout the week.  When they want to suit up and play on Friday night it just does not work, they will get wrecked and so will we in this work if we do not have the spirit).  It went well I thought!



I love this work and you all so much and hope you all have a wonderful week!



Elder Gentry