Wow, so I'm just going to jump right in here. This past week was definitely one of the best weeks of my mission so far. I don't really know where to start. It will probably be all over the map, but I'm going to do my best. Here it goes.
I was able to spend all day in Budapest yesterday. While Elder Bennett went to various meetings and things, I went out sight-seeing with the other trainers. It was a blast! I doubt we'll have enough time to send pictures this week, but I have some good ones that I'll send next week for sure. I missed having Elder Bennett around to see all the cool things with me, but I'm sure he'll see all of those things when he trains in the near future.
Another rad thing that happened occurred during our morning run this morning. As we were running on the empty street, I looked down and saw a bunch of shinny circles. They were EVERY where. Elder Bennett stopped and looked a little closer and yelled, "Elder wait! These are all coins!!!" We looked around to see if any one had dropped them, it was 6:05 in the morning and not a soul was on the street. Come to find out, every single coin was either a 2 Forint or a 1 Forint coin. They stopped making those a while ago. They aren't worth anything BUT they are super rare. Some missionaries try to get just one of each during their whole mission. Elder Bennett and I picked up over 100 of each. It was crazy!!
Twice during the week, we had someone ask if they could give us some beer. (Either while tracting or on the street.) To which we would obviously replied, "sorry, we don't drink alcohol." To which they replied, "oh alright!! I'll get you a cup of coffee then!" To which we obviously replied, "well, we actually don't drink coffee either." To which they replied, "oh I see... well, how about some tea?" to which we obviously replied, "aaaannnddd.... we don't drink tea either." They finally said, "well, what DO you drink?!" We told them, "we'd gladly take some water and then tell you why we don't drink those things!" Great times.
We also met with a man who is really searching for God in his life. He wants to know if he exists or not. He told us about his super rough childhood and how he's always been told that there is no God, but he wants to know for himself now. The first program we had with him went really really well. We taught him how to pray and asked if he would say the closing prayer. You could tell he was terrified but he did it anyway. It was one of the most sincere prayers I have ever heard and afterward he was really quiet and later said, "wow... this is SO weird. My heart is beating so fast. What IS this feeling??" :) How great is that?
Okay let's get down to business. So here's something WAY cool that happened today just before we came here to email.
Alright, so this is the same lady that my last week's email was about. We went back to meet with her a few times since then. Today we went and right when we got there, she was finishing up with missionaries from a different church! I'll be honest, we felt a little "cheated on". It was kind of hard to teach the lesson we had planned knowing that she doesn't meet with just us. She told us that she has been meeting with missionaries from the other church for over a year. My heart sank but Elder Bennett and I worked hard to bring in the Spirit and teach through him. Although I was a little nervous through the lesson about the fact that she might like the other missionaries more and may be leaning more toward them, I trusted in God and in His truth. After Elder Bennett said the closing prayer (which was incredible by the way) she was really quiet for a while and began to cry. I asked her if she has ever felt this way before or with any other church. She replied with a no. I asked her if she thought it was an answer from God. She cried more and said, "I know this is an answer from God." I said, "will you pray this week about a specific date to be baptized on?" Through her tears she answered, " of course."
The fun doesn't stop there! Here comes incredible story 2.0
So last Wednesday, Elder Bennett had a program with a 62 year old lady I tracted into 2 weeks earlier and we gave a copy of The Book of Mormon after we testified of it. Elder Bennett and I start teaching her the Restoration. It was going pretty well and nothing was super out of the ordinary. She seemed really excited and really attentive. When we began to talk about Joseph Smith she lit up and just seemed abnormally excited. "Hm... Cool!" I thought. (Profound, I know.) I was later giving some background story for the First Vision. We read Jacob 3:5 and I started to explain, "one day, Joseph decided he needed to pray and asked God..." and she blurted, "and THEN he went into the forest!!!!" then quickly covered her mouth like it was bad she said that. That's the moment I knew something was up. I said, "wow, yea! He did go into the forest! How did you know that??" She said, "no no, please, continue!" so Elder Bennett recited the First Vision. She mouthed a few of the sentences along with him... I was extremely confused. I then asked, "do you know what happens next?" She said, "well..... then Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith and told him where the golden plates were--They were on a hill under a rock--Joseph Smith found the place but he was told that it wasn't time yet for them to be taken and translated because the people weren't ready--so Joseph Smith had to keep going back every year until it was time and then he translated them through the power of God!!" (the best part is she said all of that in about one breath!) I was shocked and I said, "how did you already know that!?" and she said, "well, it was all in the front of the book you guys gave me!!" I asked, "how much of it have you read so far?" she replied with, "... just half." "HALF!?!?" I said. "Yea! Half! You guys gave it to me like 2 weeks ago! I'm not very far because I like to read every chapter 2-3 times so that I can fully understand it." she replied. I was shocked and told her how great that was. I later looked at her copy of The Book of Mormon and it was marked up a TON! There were things underlined, circled, notes in the margins and all sorts of stuff! I said, "did YOU do all of this!?" and she said, "well yea... it's MY book isn't it??" I then went on to tell her how great it is that she has been marking the things that she reads. She THEN informed me that she had been using the index a lot so that she "can know specifically every different person in the book."
Funny thing is, right before we went to her program, I had Elder Bennett practice extending a baptismal challenge like a hundred times. I turned to him and gave him a nod. He asked her if she would be baptized right there in our first meeting with her. She replied with, "well... I've already been baptized..." My heart sank. She continued, "but after all of this that you boys have taught me, I know that it wasn't with the proper authority from God... When can I be baptized into the true church?"
So we set a baptismal date for her right there in the first meeting. Wow. If that's not incredible, I don't know what is. At the end of the program she just kept telling us that she knows that we were her answer to her many prayers to God to help her find the truth and the true path. She also told us that she could see a light coming from us and she could feel God's love through our presence.
We met the next day and she had written a little prayer of thanksgiving to God in the back of her copy of The Book of Mormon. It was the most incredible thing I have ever heard. She shared it with us. It was basically all about giving thanks to God for sending us to her and bring the truth. Before we started to teach the Plan of Salvation she turned to me and said, "Alldredge, I don't know if this is weird to say, but I feel like there is a spiritual connection between us... Like as if we were friends thousands of years before we even came to earth.... This might not be possible but I also think you told me that you would help me find the truth on earth before we were even born." I said, "Funny you should say that... that's actually exactly what we're going to be talking about today, it's called the pre-earth life." She was SO excited and she is SO excited about her baptism. I wish I could say more but I wouldn't know how to type it... plus this section is already massive. Nonetheless, God knows us and he answers our prayers.
People are searching for that same book you have on your bookshelf. Read it, then tell others to read it too. It's The Book of Mormon.