Monday, July 27, 2015

Facts, Miracles, Blessings.

Fun fact: I had a great week this week, and found out that my companions and I were an answer to multiple different prayers this week. Details coming soon...
Fun fact, that's not so fun: I only have one hour to email every detail of my life/feelings so I'm sorry if my emails start to become super lame or short, but I'll try to do my best to encompass all my thoughts and feelings in this little email.
Another fun fact: I come home in two months sooooo.... all the details I miss in these emails, I'll be able to talk about them to you, in person, super soon!
This week was splendid!
What can I say? I love being a missionary. There's hard times, but I can now tell anybody that the hard times outweigh the happy/joyous times. You might have a hard day, a hard couple days, a hard week, or a hard couple of weeks, but let me just tell you, something sweet is waiting for you at the end.
Let me tell you how this was manifested to me....
Missionary work is hard. You get letters from missionaries and as you read them you think that their life is perfect. They have no hard times, they only talk to nice people, everyone accepts everything they say, the investigators they are teaching are golden, the members work with them perfectly. You rarely hear of any complaints in missionaries' letters home, let's be honest.
Well, I'm here to tell you that a missionaries life is not sunshine and butterflys all the time. In fact, you experience a lot more gloomy days, rain storms, and roses with sharp thorns (both literally and figuratively) than people would think. Missionaries are told to write all the happy stuff home, and not be negative in their emails to family and friends back at home. Which is understandable, but I also believe that you need to be real with people. Take me for an example, I try to write positive things in my emails and about how my investigators' progression is going, but I won't lie and I'll say that this life is hard.
This was especially true a few weeks ago, I was having a hard time. I didn't know what I was doing out here and at times I questioned whether or not I should be out here. You get these feelings quite often as missionaries. You might be doing all you can to preach the gospel, but people aren't accepting anything you say, or they seem interested until you go back, ring their doorbell and they end up hiding behind their window curtain so that they're "not home." Things like this happen and sometimes it's hard to stay happy and cheerful about being a missionary.Well, this indeed happened a few weeks ago, and I didn't know why.
I can say that I am grateful for my mission because one of the many things that I've learned from it is "behind every storm comes a rainbow." Weeks can be hard, but I know that if you endure and do what's right, God will give you that beautiful rainbow that you deserve.
After my "storm" a few weeks ago, I saw my rainbow this week. I was waiting for it and wasn't sure if it would come but it came.
Basically what happened is that we met with two of our investigators. I talked about them, well at least one of them in my last email. Husam. The guy from Iraq. Do you remember him. Okay, well listen to this. Wednesday was his birthday and he was supposed to go to Australia to go vacation with his family. Well something came up and his family wasn't able to travel to Australia when they had planned to, so they had to post-pone his celebration, which meant that Husam had stay in Hungary for the time being, meaning that he would be away from his family during his birthday.  We couldn't let this happen so we decided to throw a little Bowling Birthday Bash for him. Before we gathered all of our friends to go bowling we met with him and watched 'The Restoration' film with him. We watched it in his native language (Arabic). Didn't understand any of it, but it sounded pretty....weird. Anyways, after the movie--before we could even say anything, Husam pipes up and says, "I love that story. Everything that was in that movie was true. If you want to know the truth, you need to ask God and he will give it to you. I love Jospeh Smith." Who says that? We didn't even ask him anything but he just said that by himself. Oh, how we love Husam. Then! This is the best part. Here is one half of my rainbow. There was a silence after we were talking about Joseph Smith and Husam all of a sudden says, "Can I tell you guys something really quickly." "Of course Husam, anything." Then he said this: "I have a lot of friends at the university and I really like them, but they're always asking me to go to the bars, clubs, or discos with them and I'm not into that stuff. I don't drink. I really like my friends but I was praying to God to send me friends who wouldn't ask me to do those things but to bring me closer to him (God), because I believe that there are two types of friends. Those who bring me closer to God and those who take me away from God. After I prayed I met you guys on the street and I knew that God sent me you guys to be my friends who would bring me closer to God. That's all I want to say." AHHHHHH'!! I just get goosebumps writing about that. I can't even tell you how happy we were when we heard that. We were practically on cloud nine (Is cloud ten a thing?) I can't even tell you how great the feeling is when you find out you have been an ANSWER to someone's REAL SINCERE prayer to God. God exists and he looks after all of his children.

The other investigator who I don't think I've talked about yet. His name is Ugo, also from Nigeria. Long story short, for Young Single Adults a few weeks ago we went to the big stadium park to play capture the flag with our investigators and the YSA people. It was sooo fun!! We were divided into our teams and sent to opposite sides of the park just to come back and run a lot trying to protect our flag. Anyways, Sister Dohm and I were running towards our opponents side of the field and you have to keep in mind we were playing with like six of our friends from Nigeria. Okay so we saw a black guy walking on the fountain blocks (maybe you remember a picture of me on those?) Basically we thought that it was one of our friends guarding the flag, so we were trying to walk on both sides of him to ambush him, but as I got closer I realized that we did not know this guy, but we just assumed that he was one of our friends because of well... yeah. Anyways so we ended up running past him, yelling to each other in English. We ended up getting our flag in the end and as we were walking back to our side, we saw Sister Sellers talking to this guy that we originally thought was one of our Nigerian friends. Okay, this long story isn't very short, but that guy turns out to be Ugo! AND! That night Ugo had some responsibilities at his church that he attends, faithfully every sunday, but he felt prompted to go to the park that night. In his words, "I had no clue why I was there or what I was doing because I was literally alone with no one, but I just decided to park my bike and walk on the fountain blocks until I knew why I was there. Then the Asian (Hey, that's me!!) and her friend ran past me speaking English, and I just had to know what you guys were doing and what kind of organization you were with." God exists. He had no reason to be in the park at that time, but he was! He met Sister Sellers and set up with us the next day. Our first program with him was right before the bowling party for Husam (which he ended up coming to and meeting Samuel, which is one of our other Nigerian friends--they actually go to the same church, but have never talked until they both met each other at one of our events. Mormons--bringing friends together, but really though!), so we actually had to rush, but we set up with him for the next day. That program was amazing. We introduced the Book of Mormon to him through the pictures in the beginning and he loved it. We invited him to the baptism on Saturday and he was like "Yeah, I'll come. I've always wanted to be baptized, how do I become baptized?" Oh, boy we have a lot to tell you bout baptism. But oh my goodness. We <3 Ugo and all of our other friends!

God sends you miracles.
Speakin of miracles. Hamid got baptized on Saturday. Ahhh! Pictures are up on Facebook if any of you want to see them! That was awesome. Hamid is pretty much the sweetest guy alive. It was such a special day for him and for us. He was already glowing before he entered the water, but after he got out of the water he was shining. It was so great! Baptisms are special events.
This week we also had the opportunity to go up to Miskolc for zone training. Such a hot, long train ride up there, but it was worth it. President Szabadkai was up there with his wife and it was nice to talk with them.
That was the highlights of my week that I can write in an hour. I'm sure there were more, but hey, that's what a journal is for so I can just read them to you in a few months. What the flip? I have to be a regular human being in two months. Not about that!
It will be nice to be with family and friends again, but either way, family will be across the ocean no matter where I am. I love these Hungarian people and will always keep them close to my heart.
God loves you.
Whitaker Nővér

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