Christ is powerful enough to create an inward change

Hey everyone!

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!!

Sora Marcheschi

In Bucuresti!

Hey, hey, hey!

How are you guys?? This week was fantastic! I am now living in Bucuresti and am loving it. It’s a huge city which feels like home for me. Lots going on, people everywhere, taking the metro, it’s awesome. Feels like Boston again just like times 5. My new companion, Sora Tanner, is AMAZING. We are having so much fun and doing so much work. Buc has so many people and we have met lots of awesome friends already. It’s crazy!!! I love it!!!

Saying goodbye to everyone in Brasov was difficult but as much as we all cried, I was left with a peace in my heart that I would definitely see them all again. I can’t wait for that day. 🙂

Saying goodbye to Teo in Brasov

Saying goodbye to Teo in Brasov

3.9.15 Saying goodbye to Teo 3 3.9.15 Saying goodbye to Teo

Adalin and Cesar in Feldioara

Adalin and Cesar in Feldioara

Mihai at church with Elder Oldham photo bombing

Mihai at church with Elder Oldham photo bombing

Saying goodbye to Elder Bair in Brasov

Saying goodbye to Elder Bair in Brasov

It’s been such a crazy week but I just have a few highlights I want to share.

I turned 22!!! And we had a baptism that day!!! WOOO. Best birthday ever. The night before, we got all the stuff to make pazookies and we made a huge one! The sisters from Sibiu, Sora Johnson and Sora Cox were here with us on some business in Buc, which was so fun! They all sang happy birthday to me and then we had our huge cookie with ice cream.

My birthday eve with Sora Tanner and Sora Johnson (Tanner is on the left)

My birthday eve with Sora Tanner and Sora Johnson (Tanner is on the left)

The next day on my actual birthday we were busy with the baptism of Lorica. Even though I’d just met this woman, I just love her! She is so sweet, funny, and full of faith. Her baptism was wonderful. I sang with Elder Cloward which went well and was fun to do.

Everyone with Lorica (in the middle with the scarf) at her baptism

Everyone with Lorica (in the middle with the scarf) at her baptism

We had lessons after that and then met up with some friends we had met the night before when we were trying to hail a cab. They tried to take us to do hookah, thinking that we’d think it was so cool…we had to dodge out of that one quick. It was pretty funny. But they had lots of questions and we had some great gospel conversations. They ordered me cake in secret and then sang to me. I read all your letters, family, and I cried!! I felt so loved and close to you guys, even though we have the entire Atlantic between us. Plus lots of countries and states. It was really special. Thanks. 🙂

That’s pretty much it for this week. I am loving this new city and am so excited to love all these new people to love and serve. Sora Tanner and I are gonna do amazing things this transfer and I can’t wait!

Best quote from my personal studies this week: “We best serve our Father in Heaven by righteously influencing others and serving them.” – Elder Richard G. Scott

I love you all!!! Have a wonderful week. 🙂 Stay safe, read your scriptures, and don’t ever forget to pray!

Love from Bucuresti,

Sora Marcheschi

Christ’s invitation is open to all


I’m going to Bucuresti!! After a beautiful, life-changing 7 months in Brasov, I’m moving to the capital city of Romania. I can’t wait! It’ll be a lot different but I definitely am excited for the challenges that are going to come.

This week was a great last week in Brasov, although I was sick for a little bit Sunday and Monday.

Tuesday we had a lesson with cute Constantina, although she was still sick. That woman is hilarious. I swear I’m pretty sure we’ve heard more about bodily functions since we’ve started teaching her than ever before from a Romanian. We had a good lesson with her but sadly she’s still having a hard time leaving her traditional orthodox roots. We went to Feldioara afterwards and taught the Plan of Salvation to a sweet 9-year-old named Larisa. Her mom works every Sunday so she comes in to Brasov on the bus by herself to get to church! We are so proud of her and I just love to hear her talk ‘cause she has the sweetest little lisp and just smiles so big and hugs us a ton.

We visited the Pavel family next and wow. We had a powerful lesson with their daughter Simona. She has been struggling to say “yes” to a baptismal date for a long time, since before I even arrived in Brasov, and I think this lesson was a good turning point for her. I loved being able to testify to her of the difference in the way we feel and have the Holy Ghost with us after baptism and the sweet and innumerable blessings that come as we show our Heavenly Father our willingness to follow Him and try to be better. The Spirit was so strong and although still hesitant in her words to say “yes,” I could see in her eyes that she wants to be baptized and wanted to say “yes.” We found out later that someone had told her that she was not worthy to be baptized, which was heartbreaking. Once we talk with her about that, I’m sure that she will be baptized soon!

That night we had another great FHE with the members and some other investigators and English students. We played chubby bunny and me and Ema, a member here, set the record with 7 marshmallows in our mouths. Hold your applause please. 🙂

Wednesday our entire zone went together to the Peles castle in Sinaia. Even though I’d already been, it was fun to all be together. Some of the sisters in Ploiesti came home with us for an exchange the next day.

I went with Sora Armstrong and we had a typical missionary day where our lessons fell through, it was pouring rain, and we walked all over the city. I loved it! 🙂 We had a lot of fun, contacting and trying to visit some less active members in Brasov. That night after they left, we went to a sweet man’s named Nicolae. He is the elders’ investigator but he’s in our beginner English class. He had invited us over for sarmale that he made himself! It was the funniest night. He sure can talk a whole lot but his grandson is even funnier. He’s 9 years old and has 17 girlfriends. We sat for about 10 minutes while he tried to remember all of their names. hahaha I was dying laughing. Then for another 10 minutes he tells us this whole story about how his girlfriends almost found out about each other. He ended the story saying that he was so lucky and that he really needed to be more careful. 9 years old! And this kid is not cocky or anything either, he’s super sincere and a really good kid. He always wears this little sweater vest and tie to church and to English and is just classy. Such a crack up. We loved it.

Friday the two best parts of our day were our lesson with Maria, a new investigator, and of course our lesson with Carmen and Teo.

So Maria. Maria is a 50-something-year-old beginner English student. She has wonderful Romanian red hair and a half set of dentures. She’s great. Our 30/30 started off well, but about halfway through teaching English, we spend 20 minutes just listening to her try and make the “th” sound. I’m not even joking it was 20 minutes of us just trying to get her to stop repeating it. Just when she would get the sound right and we would tell her how great it was, she would mess up and start all over. It was hysterical and we both had to try so hard to not laugh.

That night at Carmen’s we shared the talk “Mountains to Climb” by President Henry B. Eyring. Not only is the talk so so beautiful and inspiring, but the Mormon message video that was made after it is amazing. Teo wanted to watch it with us, so we thankfully had one with Romanian subtitles. Before, when we were reading the talk and discussing it, Teo was anxious and bored and wanted to play games with us. But watching the video was different. She got real quiet, and still. That video always makes me cry because I feel the Spirit so strongly, but what I didn’t expect was for Teo to cry as well. We finish the video and she was in tears. She loved how she felt. She loved what the stories were and what she learned. She wanted to just watch it again so she could feel what she felt again. It was so so cool to see this amazing child learn and feel the Spirit and recognize it. I loved it. It made me cry even more. She looked up at me with her big, blue eyes and we both realized that this was one of the last times we would be together in Brasov. We started to cry more and just sit by each other. It was an emotional night for me, realizing that out of everyone in Brasov it was this family, these two wonderful women that are two of my best friends that I would miss the most. They have made their way into my heart in a way that a lot of people don’t and I’m sure that they’re going to stay there. They have blessed my life in multiple ways and I just hope that I have blessed theirs even a fraction as much.

Saturday we had our last English class and it was so fun! We made a mad lib of The Little Mermaid story and our students loved it. After that we had a Primary activity and then a baby shower for a woman in the branch. It was so cute to watch all these young moms together and to see how excited they got over a bottle haha. We loved it. That night our lessons got switched around, but we went to visit Violeta. When I first got to Brasov, no one had visited Violeta in 2 years. She never came to church and she wasn’t very sure if she wanted to come. Now, Violeta is coming weekly with her two sons (and occasionally her husband), and is preparing to go to the temple! I am so so proud of her and love her with all my heart! We had a wonderful lesson with them. When we left she told me she was so sorry that I wasn’t hers. It seemed to me like the sweetest thing anyone has ever told me.

Sunday was fast and testimony meeting. I was grateful to have one last chance to bear my testimony here and to tell everyone how much I love them and how grateful I am for them. I went up to the pulpit with our young investigator Cristina B. She comes every week without her parents. Her father is inactive and her mother is not a member but she comes every week without exception. As we were standing there together (we always go together so we’re not scared 🙂 ), her father AND her mother walk in! I was so shocked I stopped and completely forgot what I was saying. The look on Cristina’s face was pure joy! She bore her testimony after me and it was awesome! Her dad got up after her and then bore his! It was just one surprise after another, as you can all see by how many exclamation points I’m using! Violeta had told me that she wanted to bear her testimony too, but Fratele Jenica got up to bear his and then close the meeting. I knew he would take up the remaining time cause he always talks for about 20 minutes so I quickly stood up behind Violeta (I had no idea what I was doing but I just knew I had to try something!) and said “Wait! Can she bear her testimony too? Please!!?? Just five minutes!” Hahaha I couldn’t believe myself. I’m sure everyone thought I was nuts, but she just HAD to get up there. Fratele Jenica is awesome so of course he let her, and her testimony was just beautiful. Full of faith and gratitude. Her husband lost his job three days ago, but here she was full of gratitude for the Lord and all her blessings, with a huge smile on her face and just a few tears in her eyes. I was so proud of her and so incredibly happy. The rest of the day was a blur as I started packing. We had our last supper with everyone at the Bairs’ and it was sad ‘cause three of us are leaving. I’m going to Bucuresti, Sora Ruiz is going to Pitesti, and Elder Hokkanen is going home to Finland. We had a great time together and then we had two more lessons that night.

Today has been an errand day, running around, getting things done. I love this city and I will miss it so much. Just like the wonderful people, Brasov itself has made its way into my heart. The architecture, the mountains, the air, the beautiful leaves in the fall. Everything is just perfectly the way it should be here and I love that. Brasov will always feel like home to me, no matter where I go.

This week I really studied and fell in love with Alma chapter 5. It’s amazing! I love how Alma says that the Lord changes our hearts (Alma 5:7) and that Christ’s invitation is open to all men, that his arms of mercy are open to us all (Alma 5:33-34). Later in Alma 8 I loved how we can learn that we always have “great cause to rejoice” when we are trying to be faithful in keeping the commandments (Alma 8:15) even if we still have struggles, disappointments, and hard times on the way. I also loved and really needed to be reminded that the Lord is “…quick to hear the cries of his people and to answer their prayers” (Alma 9:26). That is a beautiful fact about the Lord, and it brought me a lot of comfort this week.

I love being a missionary. It is the best thing in the entire world, besides maybe being a mom but I’m biased because I have the best mom in the entire world. I love loving these people and trying my hardest to give them everything I have. It’s a true fact of life that when we are serving others with a willing heart, we are the most happy. I love you all!!! You are a great strength and I love your testimonies. Thank you for them. 🙂

Love, love, love,

Sora Marcheschi

The Lord visits us with assurances

hey everyone!

today I’m writing from a really slow computer with a really sticky keyboard. so it’s lowercase today guys. 🙂

i hope everyone had a great week! i love that we choose our happiness – we choose how we respond to our circumstances and what determines our happiness. so choose to just be happy, no matter what!

this week was busy busy and we’re tired, but so happy.

too many things happened this week to type them all, but i want to share how awesome brasov is. so here are some highlights this week:

– we got tons of referrals! like more than usual. we’ve been wanting to find solid new investigators and it’s slowly happening. right before i (probably) leave! I’ve been in brasov for 5 transfers now so most likely i’ll leave next week so i’m trying to soak it in as much as i can.

– we had the most awesome fhe. we did minute-to-win-it games. after english we invited everyone to stay and some cool new students stayed. they had such a good time too! it was so nice to see members and investigators having fun, just as people. there really was no division at all between them, which of course there shouldn’t be. the whole night was pretty hilarious, so i’ll get on sora bair to put up the pictures.

– constantina, our sweet investigator got really really sick this week. that’s not the highlight obviously, but it’s the coolest story. we didn’t know she had gotten sick, so we went over to her house and she beckoned us inside and dramatically waves her hands around telling us she is sick. but she has us come sit down anyway aha. she tells us that she was sick all night, and then goes and throws up in the bathroom. sora robertson and i just sat there waiting, kinda nervous. but then she comes out, has us come to her bedroom, gets in bed and tells us she wants a lesson. so cute! she read 1 nephi 14 outloud to us and we talked about the priesthood and how the bible was changed. she was teaching us a lot of it which was awesome. she doesn’t think she has great faith but she definitely does.

– zone conference. we had it thursday and president had some friends, the rutleys, here from england. so not only was i enchanted with their lovely accents, but what they shared with us was awesome too. sora ivory gave a great talk too. it was on our journey as a missionary. And that it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) end in a “where,” but in a “who.” i loved that and that’s how i’ve felt my entire mission. i just want to become, not to just go wherever life takes me. it was a good conference and i got some needed direction and revelation so i was happy. 🙂

– we had a ton of investigators come to church! like 7 i think. which was awesome. 4 of them are young and from our english class and we all were so excited. it was even more awesome because elder sanchez and i did “i stand all amazed” in sacrament. he played and i sang and it was so amazing. the spirit was just thick in the room. carmen was crying and it was just beautiful. i love singing! music is so amazingly powerful and i love that it touches people so individually.

i read two amazing verses this week while i was studying hope. they’re in alma 58:10-11.

10 Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, yea, and also give us strength that we might retain our cities, and our lands, and our possessions, for the support of our people.

11 Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.

i love that they say that they were “visited with assurances.” that is how the lord works – he calms our souls and assures us if we listen and look for it. i love the pattern too: prayer with real intent, answer of peace, and then the blessings of great faith and hope. what an amazing pattern we can apply in our lives! i know the lord answers our prayers. he is so acutely and intensely aware of us; our every feeling, every desire, every hope for our lives. and i know he wants to bless us and that he will. don’t give up on him, becuase he certainly hasn’t and will never give up on you.

i love you all!! say your prayers, read your scriptures, help others and you’ll be happy! 🙂

love sora marcheschi

Preparation day with Sora Robertson above Brasov

Preparation day with Sora Robertson above Brasov

Exchange with Sora Cox in Sibiu

Exchange with Sora Cox in Sibiu

With Cesar at the Pavels' home

With Cesar at the Pavels’ home

With some missionaries from my MTC district - in Sibiu

With some missionaries from my MTC district – in Sibiu

Thai food :)

Thai food 🙂

He offered up His life for you. You can offer back your heart.


How are you all? I hope you all had an awesome week.

Well, to start off this email I just have to tell you that we found Thai and Indian food last Monday. So I was incredibly happy. That’s the only food I haven’t had since I came out here so it tasted so so good. We feasted Monday and Tuesday nights on Satay curry and Chicken Tikka Masala. 🙂

Tuesday as a companionship we strove for what we call a “perfect day” meaning that we taught three lessons (one each to an investigator, a less active and a member), did three hours of contacting, and did a POP (2 minute role play in Romanian) three times. We accomplished all of it which felt awesome. We had really good lessons with all three women we visited, and already had two hours of contacting but we weren’t sure how to fit in a third. Well, we ended up getting on the wrong bus which we rode for a while and a woman who had come to English before she sat down across from us. We talked with her for a long time and she told us that she’d love if we could come visit her! So we got in our third hour just like that. God recognizes our good goals and really does help us achieve them. That night we taught English which was a blast as usual and then had a really successful family home evening. We had some English students stay and then quite a few members and us. We played a bunch of games and everyone had a lot of fun. We have minute-to-win-it games planned for tomorrow’s FHE which will be hilarious. 🙂

Wednesday we had three lessons with new investigators! The first was a woman from our English class. The night before at English, we were reviewing the past tense so we asked everyone “What did you do today?” . When it was her turn, she said, “I read, from the Book of Mormon.” Hahaha, we were so happy! It was the cutest thing. We went up to her house which is on this hill overlooking Centru in Brasov, so it was absolutely gorgeous. We had a really wonderful lesson with her – she had read so much in the Book of Mormon already and is so receptive to the Spirit. She called us her angels. That was a really cool lesson. After our other two lessons with new investigators, we had a lesson with Violeta. We had a really cool lesson with her and Mihai on Mosiah 2: 20-21, 22, 24, 34 (the section in the middle about being indebted to Heavenly Father), and verse 41. I love teaching the gospel to kids and seeing how they apply it in their lives.  I just love that about the gospel in general – it applies to every part of our lives because God cares about every part of our lives.

Wednesday night, one companionship of sisters from Ploiesti came up for exchanges. We split for Thursday and I went with Sora Parr. She’s from St. George, Utah and is a lot of fun. We had our district meeting that morning and then had lessons with Corina and Cristina Mesco, the branch president’s wife. During our lesson with Corina we had planned a lesson but then she started showing us all these old pictures of her and her family that were so cool. We switched our plans and had a lesson on family history. She had just received a tablet from her cell phone company for being “a loyal customer,” haha, and so we were able to help her make a Familysearch account and start to enter in information about her family and put pictures on. She was so excited! And I was way excited. I haven’t done family history before but it is so cool! Especially with all this new technology that we have to use. I loved it. Our other lesson with Cristina was so so good. We talked about that chapter from Mosiah and just had a really good discussion. She wants to be better about reading in the scriptures every day. As a mom and a nursing student, she hardly has any time but she has been reading them on her phone and listening to them as she travels. We also talked about good ways to study the scriptures instead of just reading them.  That night, we all met at the other sisters’ apartment and made pancakes for dinner with peanut butter and syrup. It was a super fun night and breakfast for dinner tasted really good.

Friday morning we had a lesson with Teo, Carmen’s daughter. We taught it from the children’s section in the Liahona about the wise man and the foolish man (Matthew 7) and how we can build our lives on the rock that is our Savior. We had written out a bunch of actions, good and bad, and had her separate them into two groups and tell us where each one went. She did so well and Carmen was really proud of her. We gave her this rock that coincidentally was in the shape of a heart that we had written “Jesus” on so she can remember that if she builds her life on Him, she will be happy. After our lesson we ran home to grab our bags and then headed to the gara to catch our maxi taxi to Sibiu. Well, we waited for almost two hours because it was late, and then they took everyone else except us. We were at our limit and didn’t know what to do. Haha, it was not a pretty moment for either of us. Thankfully, the Bairs came to our rescue and drove us the two hours to Sibiu. It was a beautiful drive and the company was certainly much better than it would’ve been on the maxi.

When we got there we tried to go find dinner with the Sibiu sisters (Sora Cox and Sora Johnson – love them both so much!) but we couldn’t find a place we liked. We ended up ordering a HUGE pizza and eating it back at their apartment. The next morning we all ran to the church, worked out together there, and then ran back. We had district meeting together and then all ran to lunch. We had English after that and they had us help teach the beginner class. I got to teach them some words for Valentine’s Day, which we all had a lot of fun with. 🙂  Sora Cox and I had two lessons scheduled. On our way to one, she canceled, so we went to the other woman a little early. We walked to the edge of the town where she lived and when we got there she said come back another day. Despite those things happening, it was so much fun. It was beautiful that day, with lots of sun and it wasn’t too cold. So we did some less active finding. We walked to a couple more places, trying to find people and then headed back to the church for family home evening. Sora Cox and I gave the spiritual thought and then we played games with members, English students, and investigators. We got some lessons scheduled with new people for the sisters which was awesome! We ran to catch our bus (we’re always running to catch our rides, haha) and then it was at a different train station than we thought – one on the opposite side of the city. An awesome cab driver got us there in less than ten minutes (don’t ask me how…) and we got there in time. We made it thankfully and got home safely that night.

The next day was a really good day at church. Sacrament meeting was awesome. Carmen spoke about agency and Elder Hokkanen spoke about the Plan of Salvation. The hymns that day were also all some of my favorites; “How Firm A Foundation,” “I Stand All Amazed,” and “Where Can I Turn For Peace?”. It was just a beautiful meeting. We were both exhausted from traveling but the day was great. We had a good district dinner at the Bairs’. Sora Ruiz had made some good Mexican dish, which was super super spicy, ha, but so good. We planned out this week’s activities afterwards and then headed home for weekly planning.

This week seemed more exhausting than most so I was grateful for really good studies.

I focused a lot on Mosiah 2-4. I love those chapters! I especially love in Mosiah 2: 34 where it says “…ye are eternally indebted to you heavenly Father, to render to him all that you have and are….” That’s basically the great trial of this life I think – to give all that we have and are to the Lord. It’s hard! I have to re-do it every day, haha. But I love trying. It gets easier the more I try and I can see so many blessings from doing it. I still fail, much more than I’d like to, but I can see how the Atonement works to help change me and help me be better every day. I can see it working when I make mistakes, as I sincerely try harder to change and to recommit.  If we continue in Mosiah 3: 18-19, 21, we can see how we give him all that we have and are: we are to become as little children.

My favorite verses I read this week are in Mosiah 4: 9-10, 11. I especially love the promises in verse 11, that we “…shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of [our] sins; and [we] shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created [us], or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.” I LOVE that. I can say for sure that I know that is true. When we try our best to do what is right, we are so happy! And we are filled with His love. We can feel His love for us, and we feel it for others around us.  I just know that as we try to give our hearts to Him, through changing ourselves we are so happy. I read a talk this week by Elder Kearon called “Messages of Love” and I love this part of it. He says:

“Let your hearts feel the reality of Lehi’s teaching about your perfectly loving and perfectly forgiving Savior: ‘Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit’ (2 Nephi 2:7). He offered Himself as a sacrifice for you, and His suffering can answer the ends of the law for you. ‘Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more’ (D&C 58:42). Can we ever hear this promise too often? These scriptures, and many others, can bring you the strength and the determination to act, to change, to repent, and to offer up to the Lord your broken heart and contrite spirit. He offered up His life for you. You can offer back your heart.”

If we can do this, no matter how long it takes us, we will be so blessed. 🙂

I love you all!! I love being here, loving all these amazing people. Do something nice for someone this week, without expecting anything in return. We will change the world through our actions of love, no matter how small they may be or seem.

Love you!

Sora Marcheschi


Redirection that comes from daily prayer is always a good thing

Hey guys!

Hopefully you all had great weeks!! Ours was pretty good. We had a busy week but it was full of fun and good work.

Tuesday we exchanged with the sisters here in Brasov and I got to go with Sora Parker. We had a way good day, visiting Carmen, and then having a lesson with Constantina our investigator. Our lesson with her was way good – she’s been progressing but has kind of gotten to a stand-still and I really wanted to figure out what was happening. We talked with her about the Restoration again. I’ve gained such a testimony of teaching the Restoration. If people understand that and gain a testimony of that, then everything makes sense.

Wednesday we had a really full day. We had a lesson early in the day with Sora Miron. The Bairs took us out to her place and we worked on dresses first. Sora Miron is a master seamstress and is making us dresses. We went to a fabric store on Monday to buy fabric and then showed her what we wanted and she will have them done in two weeks. We had a lesson with her about the children of Israel and after we shared some verses she ended up taking the lesson in a different direction but it worked out perfectly because we could see her applying their situation and their story in her own life. I love when that happens! We met Carmen after to go visit a less active sister and it was a good visit but we’re stuck as to how to get her to come to church consistently. She’s been coming on and off ever since before I arrived and nothing has helped. That evening we had a lesson with our investigator Kristina, who we haven’t been able to see in a while so we were happy. We talked a lot about Heavenly Father and our relationship to Him and with Him. She was asking us a lot about trials we’ve had in our lives because we’re members which ironically made me excited because it means she’s thinking about our church and what it would mean if she were baptized! We are going to have her over to Carmen’s this week and invite her to be baptized again so we’ll see what happens. We left around 5 for Buc and stayed the night with Sora Honey and her companion!

Thursday we had MLC (mission leadership council) at our new mission office in Bucuresti. It is super super nice and now that the furniture is there and it’s designed, it’s really awesome. We started our meeting with a presentation from the Assistants to the President about the WHY behind everything we’re doing. It was really inspiring and I loved everything they said. Ultimately, it should be because we love the Savior. Sora Ivory gave a really good presentation on redirecting ourselves in our lives when we get stuck. She has a real talent of being relatable with us even when she presents and it shows. Redirection is always a good thing – we should be redirecting and recorrecting ourselves all the time. A huge part of that is daily prayer and making sure we are staying close to our Father in Heaven. It was so nice for me to be with all these other great missionaries. I always feel like I learn so much from them and that it just feels good and strengthening to be with them. After the entire meeting (it went until about 4) those who had trains to wait for got to watch “Meet the Mormons.” I thought it was really good! A little cheesy but I loved it. Our train was super late that night and we got home and just collapsed into our beds.

Friday we had a good district meeting and then we went with Carmen out to Feldioara to visit some members, less actives and investigators out there. She is so wonderful with everyone! She is such a help to us in our lesson and work.

Saturday after English we met up with our investigators and met one of their husbands. It was awesome to get an in with him and we got invited over to their place so we ate with them. Before we started eating, our investigator Roxana (whose husband invited us over) said, “Wait! The girls pray before they eat!” It was awesome! We invited her to prayer and she had forgotten so I taught her really quickly right then and there and then she said the cutest prayer. It was really sincere and I was so happy she remembered we pray. They both invited us back which we’re excited about!

Sunday I gave my FIRST talk in Church since coming to Romania. Almost a year and I hadn’t spoken yet. Haha. I spoke on the Restoration and I was so so nervous. I love speaking in Church but doing it in Romaninan is a completely different story. Thankfully it went really really well and so many members told me they loved it and that they felt the Spirit. That’s all I wanted so I was happy. 🙂

This week I’ve been studying my patriarchal blessing a ton. More than other weeks out here. I love knowing that I have such a good map to help direct me in my life. I feel so blessed to be a missionary here and to be able to love these people and share the gospel with them.

I hope you all stay safe and happy! Love you. 🙂


Sora Marcheschi

Obedience really is happiness

Hi everyone, 🙂

I hope you all had an awesome week! Ours was busy, and hard, and I learned a lot. It was one of those weeks where I really sought for revelation and God gave it to me little by little.

After internet last Monday, we met up with three young investigators we have to eat with them and they brought a friend. We got to just have a natural conversation with all of them about their lives and apply gospel principles to what each was going through. It made me realize how easy it will be to share the gospel when I get home.

Here are the highlights from this week:

– Awesome lesson with Constantina. We gave her a soft baptismal commitment and she accepted, even though she is very hesitant to leave the traditions of her Orthodox faith. She continues to come to church every week! And all the members love her and have just embraced her already as one of their own. I love seeing that. 🙂

– Wednesday we had four lessons which felt so good. They all went really well too. We committed Cristina Borbea to fast with us on Sunday for a baptismal date, and then shared a really cool lesson with two other families about our “daily bread,” aka daily scripture study and prayer. They both loved it, especially Violeta’s family. We got there and there was already such a good spirit in their home. Her son Mihai was so well behaved (he’s normally a little wild but I love the kid) and participated SO much. He wanted to read every scripture we read and then made his mom promise that they would read about Nephi right after we left. I love seeing families come together to live the gospel.

– We had a lesson this week with a member in our branch that’s been there forever and who everyone just loves. She’s a special human being and we loved our lesson with her. We took an experience from the YW personal progress booklet about faith and made it our lesson. We taught about the plan of salvation and read some scriptures with her and then had her teach it back to us, using a diagram she made. Well we had no idea that she’s super good at drawing. She whipped out a picture of the earth in about 6 seconds flat (no kidding) complete with near perfect country shapes and correct placement. Then she colored it in, including brown for where deserts are and the north and south poles were light blue for “ice!” as she said. She gave us the diagram and we hung it up in our apartment. 🙂

– We contacted in the Bairs’ bloc this week. We went back to a bunch of people that we sang Christmas carols to and got some funny responses. This one guy answered the door in his sweats and Nike shirt, holding his iPad with his earbuds in, took one look at us, shook his finger and said, “Ummm, nuuu.” He closed the door and we had to take a 5 minute pause to stop laughing. BUT, then we ran into the lady we were hoping to run into by contacting there. We sang to her at Christmas and the Bairs have talked with her and wanted to go back and she was home! I asked her if we could come in just for a little to talk with her and share a quick message. She was so inviting and let us in without a thought. We had a really cool talk and set up plans to have her down for dinner with the Bairs sometime this week. So that’ll be cool.

– We had the best lesson with a less active family that we have never met before. We went with the Bairs to their house and the Spirit in their home and in their family was STRONG. They have a 12 year old that has been doing personal progress on her own!! I was so proud of her. She’s such a sweetheart. We had a really beautiful lesson on repentance. I love talking about repentance. It is never something that we should fear, but something that we should look forward to. It can bring a negative connotation but it really is something that I love doing. It’s an opportunity for us to change, to become better and be happier! Yes, sometimes it’s hard but I feel closer than ever to my Savior when I am trying to change and improve and that’s an amazing feeling.

This week I think I had the best studies so far of my entire mission. I really really was seeking for knowledge and inspiration and guidance. As I reflected today on everything I learned this week they all merged together and I realized that I had learned some powerful things.

The first thing is that the Lord tries our faith and our patience.

I can’t explain everything since there isn’t time but I’ll include the scriptures and quotes that I read and studied.

– Hebrews 11:13, 40

– James 1:2-3

– 1 Peter 1: 6-7, 13 (I love these ones!)

– 1 Peter 4: 12-14

– 1 Nephi 7: 12-13, 17-18

“Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your own disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more (Proverbs 3:11-12). He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion [two very important gifts] which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain.”

– Elder Richard G. Scott

The second was obedience. Just the principle itself, but also that obedience really is happiness. It is the law of God. I learned that to take upon ourselves the name of Christ means to live a life of obedience, to follow His example which was one of complete and total humility, obedience, and submission to His Father.

– Philippeans 2:8

– Isaiah 50:5

– 2 Corinthians 10:3-6

– Romans 12: 1-2, 14

– “The Will of the Father in All Things” – Elder Holland (This is a BYU speech and it’s AMAZING. I studied it for three days.)

“Knowledge is gained by obedience.” – Bruce R. McConkie

Sub-topic under obedience, is that we are only saved through grace if we are trying to be obedient, if we are submitting ourselves to the Father.

– 2 Nephi 2:7; 10:24-25; 31:7, 13

– Jacob 4:10-11

– Mosiah 3: 12, 17-19, 21; 4:6-8, 10, 11-12; 5:7-9; 13:28-32

– Alma 7:15

– Alma 29 (blessings of being obedient and of submitting)

– Alma 34: 15-17

– Alma 36

– Alma 42:4 (cross reference Alma 34:32)

– Alma 42: 22-24

A scripture I love that applies to both of these is found in 1 Peter 5:6-10.

Another amazing principle I learned is that one way the Lord tries or proves our faith is through trials of obedience. Will we be obedient to Him no matter what, no matter what others say, no matter how hard it us, no matter if we understand why or not?

– D&C 132: 49-50 (read the section to know the context)

– Luke 14:33

– D&C 5: 22

– Genesis 22:1-12 (I love this story more and more)

– 1 Nephi 3:7, 15; 1 Nephi 4:1, 3, 6-18, 34

And lastly, I’m learning the “why” behind it all. What the Lord is asking us through every trial of faith, patience, and obedience is this: Do you trust me? Do you love me more than all of these?

– “The First Great Commandment” – Elder Holland

Anyways. For those of you who made it through and read ALL the scriptures, BRAVO. Good job. Gold stars for you. I know it’s long, but my studies meant everything to me this week. I loved them so I shared them. 🙂

I love you all!! Stay safe and happy. 🙂

Sora Marcheschi

Questions about my mission

[These are answers Emily wrote in answer to five questions from our ward to the missionaries to share with the youth.]

  1. How and when did you make the decision to serve a mission?

Around September of 2013 I was praying really intently for something that I wanted really badly. Every time I prayed about it, I got this nudge that maybe I should serve a mission. Well, my whole life I had never wanted to serve a mission and so I just ignored it, mostly out of fear that I would actually have to go if I listened to the prompting. The feeling got stronger and stronger. I received my patriarchal blessing and it mentioned a mission but again, I just ignored it because I didn’t want to go. Then I got my blessing in the mail and after reading it, the feeling to go on a mission was so strong that I couldn’t not go. I started papers and the process of going. But then again, I put it off and ignored those promptings to go. I was scared and although I felt the promptings to go, I didn’t have the strong desire within myself to serve that I knew I needed. So I waited and I prayed for that desire. It didn’t come for the longest time. In fact, it didn’t fully come until I was in the MTC. Anyway, on January 1, 2014 as I was praying I received what I like to call a kick in the pants from God. He just told me so strongly that I needed to serve a mission and that I needed to go NOW. And so I finally listened. I realized that even though I didn’t feel completely ready and even though I didn’t have that burning desire or conviction to serve, if I acted in faith and trusted the Lord, everything would work out and be ok. Circumstances were perfect for me to go, I withdrew from school and had my papers in within a week. I got my call exactly two weeks later.

  1. What was something you did prior to your mission that has made an impact in your service?

Something that I had established before my mission was a really good habit of prayer. I had learned to pray through my own experiences with real intent and to pray diligently. It was hard at first for me to pray with real intent, to even recognize what real intent was. But I was able to develop a very close relationship with my Father in Heaven through prayer that has greatly impacted me out here and been a source of great strength through everything.

  1. What was the biggest adjustment to life as a missionary and do you suggest anything for making the transition easier in this area?

For me the biggest transitions weren’t in spiritual matters. They were more in the day-to-day routines. Getting up at 6:30, working out right as you get up, establishing a good diet (when you’re busy it can be hard to eat healthy!), things like that. I would just say start practicing these things before you leave. It will be a lot easier, especially when you have to do it all on your own in more difficult companionships.

Probably the biggest transition though was communicating with others – with your companion, with leaders, with other missionaries. I had to learn what and how to communicate more effectively and openly. Sometimes it was hard to be open, especially when you don’t want to offend. Haha I’m not sure what to suggest for this one – I feel like it comes with the experience. Out here, I write a lot more about how and what I’m feeling and that helps. I have also learned to always always be open with my mission president. He will always help us as missionaries and do all he can.

  1. What is a difficult experience you have had and how do you work to overcome it?

Working with people in general. This sounds silly and basic, but it affects every aspect of your mission. Working with your companion, working with your district, working with senior couples, working with leaders, working with investigators and members, and so on. You meet every type of person out there and you’re not always going to get along with them all. But you still have to work with them. I have learned that the only people I need to worry about pleasing are the Lord and my mission president. If I can do that, everything else settles around me. I’m also constantly working to see others how God sees them and to pray for charity and to serve others. It’s nice as a missionary because we have an infinite amount of opportunities to serve others around us! When I am doing this, it’s easier to love those I work with and to have a spirit of unity and peace.

  1. What is a favorite experience and/or conversion story from your mission?

For me the coolest experience every day is just being an instrument in the Lord’s hands. Sometimes we don’t realize that we are and so it’s wonderful when we get to see the impact we make. A few weeks ago we taught a woman here in the branch. She is one of my best friends and we have a really strong, good relationship. A week before our lesson I had an amazing personal study as I read from the January Liahona, especially as I read the article about President Benson and his wife Flora. I had no idea why it was powerful to me at the time but I was grateful for what I felt and received as I read and studied and prayed.

*Note: Here in Romania, people dream. Not just fun, weird, silly dreams that you laugh about the next morning. People here dream vision-like dreams. They receive answers to their prayers in beautiful, vivid, powerful dreams. It was something I had never really thought happened as much anymore, but I have such a testimony now that God communicates with His children in this way still.

That night after my study, I had the thought to ask this woman if she had had any dreams about me. She often has dreams about people or things that end up happening, so I was curious. She was shocked and almost started crying as she told me that yes, she had had a dream about me and that she would explain it to me when we taught her next. She had no idea how I knew to ask her about her dream. I sat there after learning this, feeling like God was somehow working with me to help her.

Later in the week we went over to her house for a lesson. I brought that January Liahona with me, thinking I might want it. Before our lesson she told me about her dream. In her dream she was praying and asking God all these questions and wanting to know the answers. Suddenly a man walked up behind her and called her by her name and asked her why she was asking so many questions. She said she wanted to know the answers and he told her that she didn’t have to ask. She started asking the man if she should ask different people, and named them to him. Every time he said no. Then he told her that she should talk to me, Sora Marcheschi, because “she is a messenger of God.” She said that then he said “Hurry, because you don’t have much time.”

In her dream we talked and I gave her some advice but she hasn’t told me what it was yet. But the man in her dream told her something about President Benson and his wife Flora. She told me she really didn’t know who they were other than that he was the President of the Church at one point. So then I pulled out the magazine and showed her the article about them. She started crying and said that this is what the man in her dream talked to her about. She told me that having these dreams was a new thing for her and that it was scary at first but that she loved that God had given her this gift. I felt so honored and I still get chills every time I think about it. I know that the Lord works through us to help His children, to serve them, to love them. We are His hands here on the earth and I don’t ever want to be anything else!

The trying of your faith worketh patience

So this week was transfers and it was my first transfers in a long time where I got to stay in my city! Every other transfer besides my first, I’ve had to go to Buc. It was really nice to have another whole week to just work.

Tuesday we met with a recent convert and had a good lesson with her. She is so awesome! She quit her old job because it required her to work on Sundays and she didn’t want that. Quitting your job and finding another can be really hard in Romania, but she found one less than a week later. Miracle right there. We were so proud of her and she was praying so hard that she would be able to come to church with this new job. So far it looks like she will be able to so we’re grateful! That night we had our last FHE/English activity of the transfer and watched “Finding Nemo” with people in our branch and our English students and some investigators. The Bairs made caramel popcorn and everyone had a really good time. It was great language study too with the subtitles. We learned how to say a lot of words, including “dude.” I haven’t said it yet in Romanian and I probably will have no reason to, but I loved learning more of the language! This will come as no surprise to anyone because I say this every week but I cried! I don’t think I’ve ever cried before when I watched that movie but it got to me this time. It’s when Nemo is hearing from the pelican that his dad has been scouring the ocean looking for him and he just can’t believe it. He looks so amazed and it just made me think of my dad here on earth and how much I love him and how I know we would do anything for each other. And it made me think of my Heavenly Father and how he does anything for me as well. I just felt really grateful that I have them in my life. 🙂

Wednesday the city felt so empty without two companionships! But we had a busy busy day. We met with our investigator Constantina. It was a beautiful lesson. She was obviously troubled about something and it was cool to see her trying to understand and learn and search for peace. I really feel like she is going to accept the Gospel, we just have to keep meeting with her. We met with Carmen after that to talk about the temple. We read through the booklet about the temple with her, only going halfway because of time. It made me miss the temple so badly! And reminded me of what I feel whenever I go. It is absolutely the most beautiful place and I can’t wait to be there again. I am so grateful for all we come to learn and understand there, especially that we are SO loved. That night we had a really cool lesson with three girls that came to our English class. They are awesome! Independent, confident, good girls. One is married with a little girl, and the other two are a little younger and working and in school. They are so normal and we’re excited to keep working with them, although it’s kind of nerve-wracking to be around girls our own age again!

Thursday we met our new district! Sora Parker and Elder Oldham came from Timisoara and Bucuresti, respectively, and seem happy to be here. We had an amazing lesson that night. We took Carmen with us to visit Violeta. We had a lesson on tithing and fasting. It was so nice to get any questions she had cleared up. She was really open with us about a lot of things and it was amazing to see Carmen doing missionary work. She is such a strength to this branch! She has a powerful testimony and just wants to help everyone she can. I’m so thankful for her!

Friday in our District Meeting we watched the devotional by Elder Ridd, about real intent. I LOVED EVERYTHING HE SAID. I totally related to everything he said. The rest of the week I feel like I’ve been trying to focus more on the “why” of everything I do. I really want to do everything because I love God. I want to feel like I have real intent. I know that when we do things with real intent, the results are much more rewarding and lasting.

After district meeting, we went to teach Teo, Carmen’s daughter, a lesson about Lehi’s dream. We made an “iron rod” for her out of string and then had “fruit” at the end of the journey. I used glow sticks (Thanks Bentley!!) and it turned out so good. She was loving every second of it. We read Lehi’s dream together afterwards and talked about how we hold to the iron rod. She loved it. Her grandpa told us yesterday that she talked about what she learned with him and that she loved it. It’s good to hear that things are sticking!

We had two 30/30s that day that were kind of strange lessons but that happens sometimes. We went to visit Cristina, our branch president’s wife after that and had such a good time. We talked about family history and keeping journals and she was so happy we had come. We went with Carmen again that night to visit a less active and it went well. We are glad she wants to work with us so much! It really makes a difference when members come with us on lessons.

Saturday we went to Feldioara and had a great day. It had started out a little weird but by the end of the day I was so happy. The best part was meeting with the Pavel family. It turned out just being Sora Pavel and her daughters, Veronica and Simona, both of whom are our investigators. We shared with them a story from an Ensign called “The Jadeite Cabbage.” We all got kind of emotional and the Spirit was so strong. As girls and as humans in general, we are just so hard on ourselves sometimes and it can be hard for us to see ourselves as God sees us. I know it’s hard for me sometimes and it was a sweet experience for me to be able to testify to these wonderful women, that I KNOW that my Heavenly Father loves me with an infinite love, that He has a beautiful plan for me and that He wants me to be incredibly happy and will help me to be so if I will but follow Him and His Son. Sora Pavel ended our lesson with a prayer and when she finished they were all crying. I loved it. It was a truly special night for me.

Sunday we had a fun church and it was fun to teach Primary. The kids were really good and it was nice to have them be so. 🙂

This morning I read James 1:2-3:

2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; (the JST of “divers temptations” is something like, “great afflictions” or trials)

3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

I have really felt that on my mission the two things that I am always constantly working on are faith and patience. And so often I read about the Lord trying them both because they go hand in hand.

I went then to James 5:11, which reminded me of how the Lord is so merciful and how He is always there and that when we endure our trials with patience and humility, He blesses us.

11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

I have such a testimony of this. I love that even in our trials the Lord expects us to keep going; to humble ourselves and to trust Him. I know that when we do this, we learn and grow and allow the Lord to make of us something that we could never make of ourselves on our own.

I love you all!! Have a good week and stay safe and happy! 🙂

Sora Marcheschi