Tuesday, June 17, 2014

From June 16, 2014: "I Know That My Redeemer Lives"

Hello family! It's been an incredible week full of miracles. Elder M.'s been having a tough time with something, I'm not sure what it is.

Sydney and Ashley's family had been coming to Church for about a month before I got to the area, then every Sunday they've had family stuff going on since. We keep meeting with them on Thursday nights, and their friend Dakota has been coming to the lessons. Bro Barber invited them to his house this thursday for a lesson and so we're hoping that his two young girls will be able to help Sydney and Ashley.

Dakota has gained a lot of interest in the Church since her father came back from prison. He grew up LDS but fell away when he went into the armed forces. We met him and his parents who had been raising Dakota in his absence. They're a super cool family and we're hoping to introduce the bishop to him, he said that he would come to Church if he didn't like the one his parents go to.

Sharon has been on a lot of pain pills lately with her back. She's hoping to get a shot directly in her spine to get a more long term solution that won't impact her sleep so much. She's been going through a lot. Sister K. is going to invite her over to her home. 

We contacted those Eastern European referrals from the Schulteiss family, it turned out to be a Hungarian family and a Ukrainian family.

The Ukrainian family was outside and the Grandfather started talking with us in Russian (he was visiting for the week). He was starkly not interested and slightly antagonistic about the Church, but started discussing the Church and it's missionary program. He's read the Book of Mormon but didn't take up the challenge to pray to know of it's truth. That's such a huge problem, where people will read the Book of Mormon because it's an interesting read, or to be able to argue with LDS people. There's no way God would give them an answer when they would just turn around and not follow it. As he carried on the conversation we promised him that if he would pray about it he would receive an answer. We went our way on a good note and his daughter said we could come back. 

It was kind of cool to see two native Hungarians for the first time. Grandpa Szendre certainly has some in him!! When we contacted him (we heard he was Romanian) he asked us why we were there, and we explained that we had a message for him and his family. He said he had no interest in religion and that he used to believe in the Bible. He explained to us his beliefs and began to be pretty antagonistic with the Church. I tried to find a subject he would be more interested in talking about, and so we talked about Russian, Russia, Budapest, Hungarian, the origins of it (people aren't really sure), and then about how he thought the universe was created. He said he had an experience where God showed him how the universe was created (it was very interesting), we ran with it and said that it was revelation and that's why we were here, so we invited him to take a pamphlet and he said, "I'm interested in learning everything." It's incredible to see how the Spirit works with people, when they start talking about their thoughts and opinions they see how they could do what we invite them to do and then they accept the invitation. We'll follow up with him on Wednesday.

I'm so thankful for the gospel, and for the chance I have to serve a mission. There is so many good things happening here in this area. I could never have imagined the opportunity to have such great effects on the people here. In my last area Kevin talked on Mother's Day and bore powerful testimony of the restored gospel, which was stunning to everyone there. What an impact it must have had on the youth.

My relationship with the Savior has grown so much. He is my absolute hero, the "messenger of Salvation."

8 Therefore, in the beginning the Word was, for he was the Word, even the messenger of salvation
9 The light and the Redeemer of the world; the Spirit of truth, who came into the world, because the world was made by him, and in him was the life of men and the light of men. 
10 The worlds were made by him; men were made by him; all things were made by him, and through him, and of him. (D&C 93:8-10)

I know the Gospel has been restored. I'm so incredibly thankful for the opportunities I've been given, faithful service in the Lord's Kingdom truly brings great blessings.

"Yes, men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find eternal life."  (President Ezra Taft Benson, https://www.lds.org/ensign/1988/12/jesus-christ-gifts-and-expectations?lang=eng)

The Church has a marvelous future in store, I pray we'll follow carefully Jesus Christ and keep our lives clean and pure. He lives!

Much love!
Elder Szendre
From June 9, 2014 "An Awesome Week"

So this last week we had many opportunities to find less actives, and people to teach of American and Eastern European descent.

Dakota is learning about the Restored Gospel with Ashley and Sydney, two children that we're teaching. We asked her in the lesson if she would support Ashley throughout this process of learning the Gospel (she had just went through it when she moved in with her grandparents who took her to Church). She said she'd be there with Ashely through this whole process. When Dakota at the end prayed we asked her to ask God if the Book of Mormon was true and both her and Ashley said that they felt it was true. Sydney has ADHD bad and was watching the Second Hobbit. A family that has two children near their ages (Sydney 12 and Ashley and Dakota 8) said they would invite them to their home. Hopefully Sydney and everyone there will feel more support and friendship from the ward, because they haven't been coming out to Church.

We continue to see Sharon, an older woman who is investigating the Church.

Unfortunately Dante was kicked out of the Dutton's home and is moving out of state. 

So we had to eat some hard counsel from President. He doesn't want us teaching people that don't speak English anymore, unless they are progressing and even then we need a translator there. I guess Elder M. was starting to feel boxed in or whatever, since many of our opportunities have been from Russian/Bosnian families and individuals that don't speak very good English.

We had some Bosnian referrals in another ward that we contacted. We asked if we could share a message and she said we could come back the next day at around 6, they were preparing dinner and we heard. We won't pursue it further or the other Bosnian referral (they almost certainly don't speak English). I can teach the Restoration in Serbo-Croatian, and learning it more and more every day. We just have to teach them in English. 

So there you have it, we're using the members to invite friends and neighbors, half of whom are coming from Eastern Europeans, because it's a lot easier when you have a missionary that speaks their language, because then if they don't have a relationship with that friend or neighbor where they'd feel comfortable to invite them to meet with us, they can rather talk about me in conversation and then invite them to dinner to meet and talk with me in their language, but the teaching would be done in English. So far not much has panned out in terms of people that we can teach, but we're finding many members that know these people.

We continue to teach Ludmila, who we're so confident has been prepared. She had a headache and didn't want to talk with us on Saturday (we brought a translator that lives in an adjacent ward), but he has some neighbors that are Russian Orthodox and are very open to discussing religion, and he said he'd invite them to meet me in their home. (They speak English).

We're hoping to teach Zayna sometime, who's been coming to Church despite the language barrier. A friend of his will invite him to come to his home to meet me and to talk about the Gospel. We will need to find a translator.

Those are our only two people we're trying to teach right now that don't speak English.

I've lost count, I try to keep them written down, of all the different opportunities to share the gospel through members with Russians, Ukrainians and Bosnians. As we go about the work here in these two wards, among investigators, less actives and active members these opportunities just open up. People have been prepared. For instance a young man has a friend named Vitaly who's Ukrainian and speaks English. He's said he would invite him to meet with us. His sister has an American friend she said she will invite.

There's a woman in Meridian South Stake, who wants to hear the gospel in Russian. I wish I could teach her, but I'll send the necessary supplies and a list of translators that will help those missionaries over there teach her.

We have a neighborhood in our area that has several families of Eastern European descent. We're going to go tract it tonight and hopefully we'll find some people we can teach in English. Although I would still share a pamphlet and possibly a Book of Mormon with those that don't speak English.

I know the Lord is hastening His work here in Boise. When the Spirit of God rests upon you you know it doesn't matter what you suffer or what you sacrifice, that the Lord is deeply grateful for your service. The difficulties of this life are an essential part of God's plan for our eternal progression and will purify us if we rely on the Lord to overcome them. I know the Savior lives, I love Him with all of my heart and testify that He will help you in your deepest sorrows and pains. I pray the Lord's blessings upon you.

Much Love!!
Elder Szendre
From May 26, 2014: "Russkis!"

Hello fam! This has been an incredible week in what is actually Boise (turns out that the Meridian Amity Stake covers some of Boise).

We've been blessed with 3 investigators and 2 new ones in the last week.

It would have been 3 new ones, except that a woman that we taught a first lesson to actually doesn't live in our area.

I don't have much time, but let me just say that this area has a fair amount of Russians. The first night I got into Boise, we went over to Brother Ludlow the Elders Quorum President, and he told us of a Russian family that had met with the missionaries before, but couldn't understand them. The Spirit overwhelmed me with joy, and I knew they had been prepared for the restored gospel.

The next night we went over to Ludmila's and she let us in, we had a short converstation about the Gospel and we had to go since she was short on time. We hope to back in soon.

3 sets of missionaries in our zone have Russians they're working with right now. We hope to go over with them soon.

We served a man last Saturday that works for Andy Propst, who was one of the missionaries in The Seratov Approach. Not only does this man know a bunch of Russian tile setters, but he talked with Andy and he said that he has some Russians that he thinks could be taught the discussions in Russian.

We just received some referrals to visit some other Russians and some Bosnian people, we hope that goes well.

There's so much work besides Russians in these wards, we met with Sister Smith and it was incredible how many families need some support right now. We're working through those. It's kind of disappointing because most of those Russians live out of our area, and we're working through one to two middle men to set up appointments with them. One of them lives in the Boise Central Stake, which is by the Temple, probably 10 miles away.

Hopefully we'll be able to get in with Ludmila soon and teach her family, as well as the many other opportunities to teach.

I love you all!
Elder Szendre