“Joseph, Son of Joseph,” Liahona, Sept. 1996, 42
Have you ever come across a scripture that leaps right off the page at you? One that gives advice or encouragement for your specific situation? One that seems to have been written especially for you?
The Szamosfalvi family of Miskolc, Hungary, found a verse like that. Joseph Szamosfalvi and his father, also named Joseph, would smile as they read 2 Nephi 3:15 [2 Ne. 3:15], in which Joseph of Egypt prophesies of the restoration of the gospel in the latter days:
“And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.”
Now, the Szamosfalvis know that this scripture refers to Joseph Smith Jr. and his father, and these Hungarians are far too humble to apply it to themselves. Still, the names are the same, and the power of the Lord has been present in helping them bring people to the gospel.
Among those who Joseph, 15, and his 19-year-old sister, Alexandra, helped bring to the gospel are their mother and father.
Or maybe it was the parents who brought the children. They’re the ones who first met the missionaries in the city center and brought them home to lunch. The Szamosfalvis had been raised under a regime where Christianity, or any other religion, was discouraged. The gospel message was quite foreign to them. Still, they were interested.
“The missionaries’ message rang true to me,” says Joseph. “I had a great desire to know about the purpose of life.”
“The missionaries weren’t like the other young people we knew,” says Alexandra. “I was impressed because they had goals in life and they were confident. The scriptures gave them direction. They had someone to turn to. So many other people around try to dull their senses with drink and have no point to their lives.”
Although their parents thought they were too busy to take the discussions at that time, Joseph and Alexandra continued on. By the third discussion and a few visits to church meetings, they knew the Church was true and wanted to be baptized.
“The first time we came to church, there was a wonderful feeling there,” says Alexandra. “It was April, and the sun was shining through the windows. Everyone was friendly and warm. When we went to other churches, there was a cold feeling. We felt the Spirit in this church and knew we must return.”
When Joseph and Alexandra asked for permission to be baptized, their parents were surprised that their children could be so sure of something in such a short time. They understood, however, that the Church taught good principles and high morals, the same things they were trying to teach them at home. They gave their consent, and Joseph and Alexandra became the 13th and 14th members of the branch.
“Our parents came to our baptism,” Joseph said. “It was outside, in a swimming pool. The birds and crickets were singing in the background. The Spirit was so strong, and our parents became more interested. The next day, in sacrament meeting, we were asked to bear our testimonies. Dad had to work, but Mom was there.”
Joseph and Alexandra quickly became active and energetic members. They both play musical instruments, the recorder and the guitar; and they love to sing, both hymns and folk music. In the branch, their love of music is infectious. So is their love of the gospel. They frequently help the missionaries and are great aids in integrating investigators. They were especially attentive to their parents.
“We would share our church activities with our parents at dinner,” says Joseph. “We would invite them to come to church with us, and they often came.”
It was really only a matter of time before the senior Szamosfalvis were baptized—by their son, Joseph, of course. And once they joined, Church membership drastically changed their lives. Not only did Joseph Sr. change jobs so he could attend church on Sundays, but he also sold the family vineyard and the family bar. The Szamosfalvis feel the Lord has opened all sorts of doors for them and look forward to a bright future.
Joseph is planning on studying economics at the university level and would like to serve a mission, then return to Miskolc and help build the Church there. “I’m happy to have found the gospel so young,” he says, “before I had a chance to become more ‘of the world.’” The scripture he likes best right now is, “O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God” (Alma 37:35).
Alexandra is at the local university, studying economics, and she also serves as the Young Women president in the branch. She knows some English and spends quite a bit of time translating Church manuals for other ward members. This requires quite a bit of time with the dictionary, but Alexandra doesn’t mind. She says it’s helping her master the English language.
“Before I found the Church, I felt that all was hopeless, that there was no point in trying to succeed or work for a future,” says Alexandra. “Everywhere there was war, and it seemed that the world would end in catastrophe. Becoming a member of the Church has given me a rest from that sorrow.”
Alexandra has found a scripture that seems to apply directly to her, and it has become her favorite:
“And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall give thee rest, from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve” (2 Ne. 24:3).
By searching the scriptures and exploring the gospel, both Alexandra and Joseph have found direction and answers for their doubts about life. It kind of makes you want to open up the scriptures and see which ones jump out at you, doesn’t it?