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

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