I've tried to mix up my cooking a little bit, because dino nuggets, sandwiches, and various forms of noodles can only sustain a growing 19 year old boy for so long. This week I tried cooking chicken hearts, which turned out... okay. I guess there's a reason why regular chicken is more popular hahaha. But I did make up my own fruit soup recipe and it was delicious! It tasted like apple pie and icecream. Call me Elder Ramsey.
We went on splits in Székesfehérvár with the other elders in our district and had a blast. For dinner, we went to KFC and we each got our own bucket of chicken. It was a disgusting amount of chicken, but we all had to manifest our manliness in some way. I also got a pumpkin spice shake because my inner white-girl was calling out for it. 'Tis the season for pumpkin spice everything, and I am NOT complaining.
Székes is a beautiful city with tons of churches. You can see 7 church spires from the window of the elders' kitchen! I was with Elder Phillips, who was my trainer's companion in the MTC. When we were deciding what to do for the day, we felt impressed to visit an active member, a bácsi named Emil, and talk about General Conference. We went over there at about 6:00 and asked him if we could share a quick spiritual message with him and he let us in. After talking for a few minutes, we found out that he was feeling pretty bummed out about life. He said that his time on earth was going quickly and he was afraid of the future. He also expressed concern over his declining health and inability to sleep at night. My heart broke as he explained his feelings of abandonment from God. He was frustrated because despite trying his best, reading scriptures every day, praying constantly, going to church, and keeping the commandments, he still felt lost and hopeless. I asked him if he had ever asked for a priesthood blessing. He said that he hadn't thought about it, but that he would love to have one. We called the branch president, since he speaks Hungarian a bit better than we do (and by a bit I mean we're like 5 year olds and he speaks perfectly). The branch president just so happened to be a 2 minute walk away. Within 5 minutes, his hands were on this faithful member's head and he was using his priesthood to administer a beautiful blessing. After the blessing, Emil explained that he knew that God would help him out. He said that he knew that God had a plan for him. He knew that despite tests of faith, blessings would come and everything would work out. It was beautiful.
I learned a few things from this experience that I hope to always remember. The first thing I learned was that as holders of the priesthood, we must always be ready to respond to the calls we receive. Like the faithful branch preisdent, we must always be willing to drop what we're doing to help another soul along the path. It was a simple act of service, which took no more than 15 minutes, but it made a great difference in the life of Emil.
The second thing I learned is that God will use us in our weakness to help others. I was worried about this teaching because I was feelin inadequately prepared and nervous about the language. As I listened to Emil describing his concerns, I didn't have to worry about what to say. I felt the Holy Ghost speaking through me. Words just came and I found myself shocked at what I was saying. I wasn't just fluently using words I had never used before, but I felt like my mind was quickened and my ability to speak more fluidly and clearly was greatly amplified. It was the gift of tongues being manifest through me, and it was a powerful demonstration of the promise made by President Uchtdorf in General Conference just recently. He said that no matter what our weaknesses are, God will use us if we are willing. I felt a confirmation that God was using me to do His work in that moment.
The last thing I learned was that sometimes our faith really is tested. Like Emil, sometimes we find ourselves in situations that we never thought we would be put in. We may feel lost, abandoned, and hopeless. We may feel like we are trapped in a whirlwind, unable to find relief or a way to escape the seemingly unbearable waves and trials surrounding us. Sometimes, all we can do is put one foot in front of the next and act in faith.
We recently studied faith in Jesus Christ as it applies to self reliance. Elder David A. Bednar said this about faith:
"Taking action is the exercise of faith. The children of Israel are carrying the ark of the covenant. They come to the River Jordan. The promise is they will cross over on dry land. When does the water part? When their feet are wet. They walk into the river—act. Power follows—the water parts. We oftentimes believe, “Okay, I’m going to have this perfect understanding, and then I’m going to transform that into what I do.” I would suggest that we have enough to get started. We have a sense of the right direction. Faith is a principle—the principle—of action and of power. True faith is focused in and on the Lord Jesus Christ and always leads to action."
As we push through the trials that seem at times overwhelming and unbearable, we must always put our faith in Jesus Christ. When does the water part? After OUR feet are wet.
I hope you all have a wonderful week! Don't let Satan discourage you. Press forward with faith in Christ and let nothing waver!
Hungarian word of the week: "Csirkeszív" which means "chicken heart". If that doesn't quite tickle your fancy, you might try "gyümölcs leves" which is "fruit soup".