Monday, October 28, 2013

Hungary Week 65


To be completely honest, I was so confused about why I left Szeged.  We had all of those baptisms coming up and a bunch of miracles happening one after another, but from the moment I stepped in the car with Elder Jones, I knew why I was meant to come to Dunaújváros.
For my entire mission, I have been on a tour of the most beautiful cities of Hungary.  I have served in almost all of the college towns outside of Budapest.  Dunaújváros is NOT included in that list.  This city was built by the communists in 1957 as a MASSIVE factory.  Dunaújváros is in the heart of Hungary bordering the Duna river, making it a great place for transport. 
After the Iron Curtain fell, the city has gradually slowed down.  The need for the factories lessened, forcing many of the biggest factories to close their doors.  Now, as the newest city of Hungary, it is also one of the smallest in population.  
In regards to missionary work, it has been open for many years!  This weekend marked the 25th anniversary of the church in Hungary, and Dunaújváros was one of the first branches established after the church began to grow outside of the bounds of Budapest.  Much of the Hungarian church leadership today has been taken from this branch.
For the past couple years, Dunaújváros has been known amongst the missionaries as one of the hardest areas, especially for the Elders.  Recently it has really struggled considering the fact that there was a total of about 2-3 investigators in our companionship (as compared to the 12 baptismal dates we had in Szeged) when I arrived on Wednesday.  
As Elder Jones, the biggest teddy bear of a man, and I sat down to talk about our plan for this city, we felt the prompting to start in our own building and work out.  We introduced ourselves to our neighbors and as a gift, we shared with them our testimonies of the Book of Mormon.  One after another, the people kept letting us in.

In our own apartment building of 12 doors, 4 people asked us to come back and give them a Book of Mormon.  In experimentation, we branched out to a building across the street where we found more and more people asking us to come back and share our message.
This week, Elder Jones and I found 12 new investigators asking us to come back and share the message of the restoration with them.
Due to the fact that Elder Jones had already experienced what seemed to be "the hardships of Dunaújváros," he started freaking out with joy.  After having such success on Wednesday afternoon, I proposed the idea of pushing for a baptism before the end of the transfer.  On Thursday we met with the one person that was on baptismal date, an awesome 20 year old girl, and proposed the idea of moving her baptism up 20 days to be baptized on the 9th of November to which she responded, "YES!  I am so excited!"
Freaking out, Elder Jones started screaming with excitement.  Then, if that wasn't enough, on Friday we met with one of the only other regular investigators we have.  She is an amazing 55 year old woman.  We simply taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ and challenged her to baptism on the 7th of December, to which she responded with excitement and acceptance.
After that, we had a prompting to tract right next to our branch house where we found a néni who lived in America for 40 years!  We shared with her the message of the Book of Mormon.  After praying with her and for her, she looked at us with tears in her eyes saying, "The Lord's hand truly brought you here."  

Saturday I spent on splits back in the city of Pécs!  I met with one of my old investigators who was put on baptismal date before I left.  Since then, she has been a little unsure, but hasn't miss church since that first time I invited her while I was in Pécs.  She has a testimony about these things, but is just scared to make the big step.  It was amazing to sit down with her again and set some goals with her to get back on track and be baptized before the end of the year.
Other than that, I met with some other former investigators of mine there and was able to put a member's little brother on a baptismal date!  I was with Elder Raymond, a new missionary and we just made some huge miracles happen in the city of Pécs.
As I was coming home on Saturday night, I caught word that our investigator that was planning on coming to Budapest with us for Stake Conference canceled in the last minute.  I was very disappointed after putting in all of the work we did to get a ride for her up to Budapest.
Elder Jones and I then looked at each other and decided to call any and all possibilities after pouring our hearts out in prayer for some help.  That night, we went to bed believing we wouldn't have anyone at the highly anticipated Stake Conference.
As we pulled up on Sunday morning after the hour drive, I had a blast from the past as I saw the members of Veszprém, Szeged, Pécs and a few from Szombathely.  The Veszprém people were freaking out wondering why I was still in the country considering I was there last year.  They were just in shock with my language abilities and just happy to see me as I was happy to see them.
I saw Attila!  He is the 20 year old kid I found in Veszprém towards the end of my stay there.  He has now been baptized for over a half a year and is receiving the Melchizedek priesthood this week.  I was able to sustain and support him in that!
Jake & Attila
Then, as of miracle, Attila was asked to come to the front and bear his testimony for the Stake.  He told of the moment Elder Forsythe and I stopped him in a park on the cold winter day of December 7th.  He bore his testimony and shared his gratitude for the miracle of the gospel in which we gave him.  That was one of the hardest points of my mission to hold back tears.
At that moment, I knew my Heavenly Father was proud of me.  I was able to look around and not only see Attila, but other converts that I helped into the waters of baptism since stepping into the country of Hungary.  I realized at that moment that I am meant to be in Dunaújváros to find that "Attila" that is waiting here.
After returning home safely with the Sisters, Elder Jones and I tracted and were able to finish the week strong with a total of 20 programs, virtually in the course of 4 days together.  We sat down to count up our numbers for the week, and saw how far we had come in such a little time.  We were happy and accepted the fact that we just missed one miracle we asked for in prayer, one investigator at Stake Conference.
After saying a little prayer of thanks and talking about our wonderful week, Elder Jones started freaking out again.  Something that never registered in his mind was a member family that came to Stake Conference.  One of the non-member girls of the family that was recently met in the past couple weeks was at Stake Conference with her family due to invitation.  
The Lord answered any and all prayers of ours and we were able to make all the miracles we set out to make happen.  With joy and excitement, President Smith asked me to share with one of the area 70 this week at Zone Conference the miracles I have experienced recently here and in Szeged.  This really is the work of God.
We really do sink low so the Lord can bring us higher!  I am so grateful for this work and the opportunity to be here as a missionary.  I am grateful to be in the right place at the right time.  Life is going, it is good and more miracles are coming in the city of Dunaújváros!
Sok szeretettel,

Elder Jake Nelson

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