Thank you all for your birthday wishes from last week! I’m sorry I can’t reply to everyone but time is so short for us on the computer it feels like.
We had a busy and great week as usual. 🙂 Last Monday we went out with Sora Nelson, one of the senior sisters who works in the mission office. We basically had a girls day out, going to lunch, and then shopping. It was a lot of fun and we had fun with her. I love getting to know all the senior couples here – we are so blessed in this mission with awesome senior couples.
We had Zone Training Meeting this week and as the STLs, we and the ZLs were in charge of the day. We had a 2 1/2 hour presentation after lunch that we needed to prepare, so we spent some time on Tuesday working on that and discussing our ideas with President. Later that night we had a lesson with a 10-year-old member here in Panduri, Olivia. We’re going to be working on singing lessons with her. Her brother’s baptism was this Saturday so we prepared a song for her to sing with me at the baptism. It was really cool to talk about our talents and our gifts and how God intended for us to use them to bless the lives of others. She was scared to sing in front of everyone but I think recognizing that she could bring the Spirit when she sang helped.
Wednesday was full of lessons which made me really happy. That’s been a hard thing about Bucuresti – it feels a lot harder to teach as often here as we did in Brasov. There’s a whole lot more travel that takes up a lot of time. So having as many lessons as we did on Wednesday made me super excited. My favorite lessons were the ones with Lorica, who just got baptized last Saturday, and with Tensi. Tensi is 15 years old and just got baptized a few months ago. She’s the coolest!! Lorica just continues to astound and amaze me with her whole-hearted faith and commitment to the Gospel. We watched the Restoration film with Lorica and talked about the ways we feel the Spirit and with Tensi we talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how we “endure to the end.” During both lessons, what I loved the most is that they both were teaching us. I love to see that.
Thursday we helped the elders build a sign for our huge English class sign. They bought wood, and nails and everything and built a frame for it. When I say we helped, I think my best contribution was hammering in a single nail. It took me a little while…but I was super proud that I did it! We practiced some of the songs we were going to perform for contacting on Friday night, then had a meeting as a district with Sora Ivory about English. We are trying to double or triple our English numbers and just get a lot more people coming to English. We talked about how the classes should go and logistical things as well. Hopefully it goes well!! We met with Olivia again for a lesson and to practice, and then went to dinner at the Critchlows’ house. The Critchlows’ are an American family living here who work for the U.S. embassy. So where they live just feels like America. Super weird. But awesome!! We had a really fun dinner with her and her friend Lauren whom she had invited.
Friday was Zone Training. We had an early start and got to the chapel around 8:30 to prepare. The whole thing was SO GOOD. I love zone meetings. I always come away having learned and felt so much. Our presentation was all about just being real with people. Sometimes we as missionaries get into this funk of being “robotic” or something like that. And it turns people off. And when we tell them we’re from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they immediately don’t trust us at all. People don’t trust organizations anymore, but they trust individuals. Our presentation was to help missionaries understand how to tell their own personal stories, to relate the Gospel and how it has changed their lives in a real way with people. It was cool. After Zone Training ended, Lorica showed up at the church unexpectedly. She was shaken and told us that there had been a death in her immediate family. She looked like she wanted to cry but what she did do amazed me. She receives a certain amount of money every month from the government to live on, and it’s hardly anything. She had just received it that day. The first thing she did after telling us about this death, is reach into her purse and pull out a tithing slip. She wanted to pay her tithing. Not only did she pay her tithing but she wanted to donate to the missionary fund! I wanted to cry. The faith that she has!!! She told us that she knew that by doing this she would be blessed. It was a huge example to me and made me want to be so much better in being diligent in all things. That night we went as a zone to contact in a park in a huge piata in Buc. We had our big English sign and we were singing and talking with lots of people. It was freezing because of the wind but it was so much fun!
Saturday we had the baptism of Andre Lachimov, Olivia’s younger brother. It was so fun to see all their family and the members that had come out to support him. Olivia and I sang and she did so well!! She was still super nervous but it was good for her to hear all the praise that came from everyone. We had an awesome lesson with Mariana, another recent convert, after the baptism. She is SO COOL. She is very intellectual and wise – she reminds me a lot of you mom! We had a really good discussion about following the prophet and what that means for us exactly.
Sunday was good! We taught the lesson in Relief Society at the last minute which was kind of scary but it went well. We had a lesson scheduled with a woman named Adriana in the afternoon so after church we went to take a bus to her house. Well, we took the bus the wrong way on accident and did a complete circle back to where we started before then going in the right direction. We had a good laugh about that. When we got to her house she came out to find us and was so happy to see us! She is such a happy person, I love it. She brought us to her house and we were introduced to her husband Gigi. They both just seem like hilarious people. She had a whole big meal prepared for us which we weren’t expecting. There was soup, peas, chicken, and then this awesome dessert that is kind of like Romanian cream of wheat, with walnuts in it. So so good. We were stuffed. What was even more cool though, was that they both are super interested in religion and in the gospel. We were able to talk about so much with them and none of it was taken lightly, or tossed aside. We’re excited to go back and see them again and see how they progress.
This week has been an interesting one for me. I’m definitely being stretched and pulled out of my comfort zone, in many ways. And a lot of them are ways I was not expecting. There were a lot of different things that inspired me and helped me this week, so here are a few.
– See what you’re worth and then own what you’re worth
– Christ is powerful enough to create an inward change; He changes our human nature.
– We are changed as far as we are willing to change.
– When we are converted, we realize who we really are.
– Isaiah 43:1-2,4
But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O (insert name), and he that formed thee, O (insert name), Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.
Fear not: for I am with thee: …
– Psalm 73: 26
My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.
I love you all! I love doing this work – seeing others change their lives brings me such happiness and I love these people so much!!