Wednesday, September 27, 2017

We had lots of great conferences!

OK, well, a lot happened this past week and one of the main thing was our conferences that took place.  We had our Zone Conferences this past week and from Wednesday until Friday we were in meetings for 6 hours.  They were super good and I will include some of the highlights.  So, as a mission we are going to be starting the churches self reliance program.  We are going to be doing it as companionships and are going to be emphasizing it to our investigators to try it out.  It is really inspired and I am pumped to be able to do it (if you all want to go along with me doing it, then you all can get the stuff on the book is called My Foundations). We were also able to get a training from the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders about how to better learn Hungarian.  It was really good and the point behind it all was that when we don't worry about how we are speaking or the things we are saying and focusing on our investigators and making it understandable for them, then that is the moment when we receive the gift of tongues in its fullest sense.  President gave a training on using technology well and how to wisely use technology as a missionary and then for the rest of our lives.  He shared some really great quotes and one of them was from Elder D. Todd Christofferson, who said, "Moral discipline is the consistent exercise of agency to choose the right because it is right, even when it is hard."  Then there was another one from Boyd K. Packer who said, "No member of this church - and that means each of you - will ever make a serious mistake without first being warned by the promptings of the Holy Ghost." There was a lot of really good stuff learned and I cannot explain it all.  We were able to give a training on priesthood keys and how to effectively use them.  Elder Ure was able to give his departing testimony and he did a really great job, he is a stud!! 

This week we were going to have a baptismal interview for one of our investigators, however, he is struggling with accepting tithing.  The only income he receives is from the renting-out of his house and it is really not a lot and he told us that right now he just can't pay it.  It was really sad and we hope that he can gain enough faith to be able pay it, however, all we can do is pray and teach through the spirit.  We were also able to meet with another of our investigators and we went over the baptismal interview questions and he says that he needs to continue to gain a stronger testimony of the restoration before he gets baptized.  He is almost done with the Book of Mormon and he is really coming to feel it is something special.  I was able to translate for him in church and he said that he really loved it and learned so much!  

We were able to start teaching this absolutely incredible part member family.  The non-member is the 11 year old daughter and they really seem willing and able to come back to the church.  It is a miracle that we found them and we are really excited to see where they will go.  

Love you all so much!  Have a great week! 

Gentry Elder

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Mission Survived!!!

Hello my amazing family, I am so glad you are all doing well!  It was a great week for us!  We were able to go have an exchange in the beautiful city of Győr.  It was fun going back and it was fun being able to go and see Roli, he seems to be doing well.   Elder Robinson and I were able to discuss a way to get more member referrals and we devised a plan that whenever we go to member’s homes from now on, we are going to ask them to start out by writing 5-10 of their closest friends down on a piece of paper.  Then from that 5 we are going to pick one and speak about how we can invite that friend to learn about the gospel.  The biggest thing that I have seen is that when we ask people for referrals they always tend to say that they do not know anyone that would be interested.  Elder Anderson said however that the Lord is preparing every single person we talk to receive the gospel and then it is on their shoulders to accept it or not (it is our job to share it though, many times that comes through simple service and being examples).  This way we can get them to write 10 names down.  That night the Győr elders tried it and they said it was super awesome! We were able to do some cool whiteboard finding there and were able to get like a total of 11 potential investigators.  We were also able to do some good work here in Buda this week. We wrote down the question "do you know the name of your great grandpa?" and then we put pictures of our great grandpas on there (I put grandpa Benson) and then we spoke about family history and the church!  We got like 8 contacts.

We were able to meet with one of our investigator’s a few times this past week and it seems as though he is doing well and is progressing. We were able to have different members at each of his teachings this past week and they are really coming to love him. They are really happy about him being baptized and are anxious to support him. We were able to teach about the Sabbath Day, the Word of Wisdom, and the Law of Chastity and he was able to accept them all. We moved his date back one week in order for him to feel fully prepared for his interview and because conference is going to be on the 30th of September (when his baptism was originally going to be, this would have meant that he would have been confirmed one week later). He is doing well and is going to make a great member to the Buda ward.

We met with another of our investigator’s this past week and he is doing well. We taught about the prophet and his role and being the intermediary for our Father in Heaven in these latter days. We spoke about how the things (or commandments) that prophets tell the world to do, come directly from God and that when we obey them we can be assured that we will be blessed. We spoke about the Word of Wisdom and how breaking this commandment is a sin that we need to repent of. He is struggling with smoking right now, and we challenged him to stop and not to procrastinate the day of his repentance. We told him that we are going to be here to support him, but that the biggest support he is going to get is going to come from our Father in Heaven (because with his help, all things are possible). He was able to come to church and we are going to be meeting with him again this upcoming Friday.

Another person in our teaching pool was able to come back in country this week and we were able to meet with him. We were able to talk about how we do not receive a witness until after our faith is tested. We were able to talk about how all things work together for them that serve God and how we need to have the faith that if we do what God tells us then it will all work out in the end. We spoke about how we need to read from the scriptures daily, we need to pray daily, and we need to go to church to get the spiritual strength that we need to get in order to keep on carrying on. He is doing well, and was able to read from the Book of Mormon while he was away. We are going to be going over the baptismal questions with him next time to see how he feels about those. We were also able to meet with another individual this week and speak about the importance of the Sabbath Day. We talked about how we need to go to church to receive the spiritual strength we need, take the sacrament, and do what God tells us. We were able to have a member there that bore really strong testimony about the Sabbath and how we need the strength that we get from honoring the Sabbath. We spoke about how even though we are a church of imperfect people, the church is perfect. He is doing well and is reading from the Book of Mormon daily, we just need to get him to start coming to church. 

We are going to keep busting it and are going to keep finding the elect!  THEY ARE OUT THERE!!  Love you so much!!!

Gentry Elder

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Fall is coming!!!

Hello my amazing family!  It sounds like you all are doing well!  It was a really great week for us full of lessons, conferences, and everything else.  So on Tuesday we were able to have our new missionary training where we were able to give a presentation to all of the New Missionaries (18 of them) and their trainers about General Rules and Expectations in the Hungary Budapest mission, it was good.  That same day, we were in charge of Elder Dixon who would be going home the next day.  We had dinner with the Szabadkais (Gulyás and Palacsintas, two of my Hungarian favorites).  We then took him up to a place called fisherman's Bastian where we took pictures and ran into a member from Finland.  

Then we also gave a training to the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders in our Mission Leadership Council.  It went really well and we were able to speak about how to better improve our language speaking abilities.  We also were able to speak about hope and also how to safely use technology while doing missionary work (we are going to be using the computers for facebook).  Then the members of the Stake came and we were able to have a really great conversation with them about how to better include the members in missionary work, it went well.  

We were able to meet with a lot of people this past week. With one of our investigators, if every thing goes as planned, then his baptismal interview is going to be this Saturday! He told us that he is feeling the amazing feeling and influence of our church more and more in his life. We were able to have a good lesson about Joseph Smith and the first vision. He was not able to come to church, as he was spending the weekend with a friend, however, he told us that he is going to be in the area this upcoming week and that we are going to be able to meet a lot. We feel like he can be ready to make this step of baptism in a few weeks.

We were also able to meet with another set of investigators, which is an older couple. That teaching also went really well. We were able to talk about the Plan of Salvation and what we need to do in this life in order to obtain salvation. We talked about how we need to be baptized by the proper authority and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost in order to be able to return to make it back to our Father in Heaven. They told us that they have both already been baptized and we explained to them, why we believe it is necessary that it is done by the proper authority. They are starting to see the big picture, however, it may take some more time than we originally planned. They are still amazing people and I do believe with time they can come to find out for themselves that all of this is true and from God.

Another of our investigators is finally going to be getting out of the hospital and is going to be able to get all of his things back in order. He is doing really well and he told us that he really wants to continue to commit himself to this path. He is really starting to understand more and more about why we believe this is the church of Jesus Christ and told us that he is going to read the Book of Mormon. We really see a lot of potential in him. We also met with another of our investigator’s a couple of times this past week. He is doing well, he just has not fully committed himself to believe that this is the path that leads back to God. He thinks that if we can take a little bit from all the religions then that is how we return to live with God. We talked about the importance of coming to know that the Book of Mormon is true and that if this Book is true then that is the proof that the Plan of Salvation is truly God's plan established for his children. He told us he will read at least 5 minutes from it every single morning. We were also able to meet with a new investigator this past week. He was found by the sisters a while ago on a bus. He really wants to turn his life around (he told us that he is spiritually not feeling to good). We told him that the gospel can really be a great way to do it and that that is the reason why we are here as missionaries. We are going back tonight.

Overall the work is going great we are going to keep serving as hard as we can!!  I love you all so much, have a great week!!!  

Gentry Elder

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Another transfer is upon us and the field is whiter than ever!!!

Well, it is the start of another transfer and I am pumped and ready to go!  I am serving with Elder Hughes in the beautiful city of Buda and like the email title says the field is white and is ready for the harvest.  I am so excited for the chance that I have to serve with Elder Hughes this upcoming transfer. He is a really great missionary and already we have seen miracles. The biggest miracle that we saw this week happened with our investigator that we have been meeting with for a few months now.  Ironically enough, Elder Hughes actually found him on an exchange here in Buda!  He has not really been progressing for the last couple of months and we took a break from meeting with him in order to see if he was really interested or not. We met with him once a couple weeks ago and the lesson went pretty well (he was able to come to church the following Sunday). We then set up to meet with him last Saturday. We planned to talk about baptism and confirmation. Let us just say that with God all things are possible and He can truly soften anyone's heart. To start the lesson, we sit down and he pulls out the Book of Mormon from his back pack. He tells us that he now has the desire to want to read it and is going to read the entire book. Before this he had been very against the Book of Mormon and really did not think of it as scripture. When we asked him why he wants to read it now, he told us that we have been telling him to and has not yet done it. He told us that he feels and accepts that Joseph Smith was God's prophet (something he has not really wanted to accept) and that this is truly God's living church upon the earth today (this is how he came to feel the truth). We taught him about baptism and how it is a sacred covenant we enter into to always serve God and take Christ’s name upon us. We felt like we needed to ask him to be baptized and he willingly accepted a date for the 30th of September! He came to church and he was able to stay for Sunday school as well. We are really happy for him and we really think he will be ready for it!!

We were also able to have another of our investigators in church. They were the ones that had the super crazy story of being met with in Germany like 40 years ago.  It was super funny, to start church, we shook their hands and it was kind of an awkward handshake (I shook his and Elder Hughes shook the wife’s and we formed like a cross because we were standing apart from each other).  Basically, the funny part of it was,  in Hungarian we say that after a handshake like that comes a baptism, and we were like you all know it (it is hard to translate what happened but the point is they want to be baptized we think, haha). They are doing really well and we are planning to get them on a baptism date this upcoming week as well. We have spoken about baptism before and we really feel that they could be ready in a very short amount of time. We will keep teaching them simply and through the spirit and will continue to invite them to come unto Christ and partake of the fruits of the gospel.

We were able to meet with quite a few of our other investigators as well this past week. Our investigator from Romania is also doing really well. We have been really focusing on the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him and how it can be used as a road map or a direction map to be able to make it back to our Heavenly Father. He really does a lot of thinking about things and we are really feeling that in some degree the spirit is touching his heart and he is more and more coming to see that this is the true path that God intends for all of his children to follow. He has been reading from the Book of Mormon and we committed him to pray about baptism and to ask God if it is the right path for him.

Another of our investigators is doing quite well.  He is still smoking pretty heavily and does not know when he really wants to quit. He is progressing in other areas I feel like, however, the 2 biggest things that are hard for him are coming to church and smoking. We taught him about fasting and how when we fast we become more in tune to spiritual knowledge. It is like when we close our eyes, we use our ears more and our hearing becomes more enhanced, when we fast we close off he eating channel in order to feed our spiritual sensitivity.  He understood it well.  We invited him to fast for answers to his prayers and for a knowledge if this is truly the path that God wants him to be taking, he is doing well. We were also able to meet with a couple other people that we have not met with in over a transfer. They are both doing well and it looks like one of them is more interested than before to start investigating and learning about these things.

Another of our investigators had to return to Ukraine for work conferences and to be with is family. He told us that he might have a job offering in the United Kingdom and if he got offered the job then he would take his family and he would go and move there. I would be sad if we would no longer be able to meet with him, however, I know the Lord has a plan for him and if he does end up moving, we will make sure he can meet with the missionaries over there in the the United Kingdom.

The work is moving forward and I am excited to see the miracles that are going to be taking place in Buda this transfer!  I love you all so much, have an amazing week!!!

Gentry Elder