The Week of The Book of Mormon

Monday, June 30, 2014 at 9:53 a.m.

Hello Family and Friends!

So here’s this week!

Monday: We did contacting in the morning and then got groceries at Kaufland! Kaufland is amazing. And they even have their own theme song. Super legit. Then we contacted our way down to Centru, into their underground shopping (kinda like china town a bit). The library was closed that day but our friend, Adrian, kept it open just for us! He waited for us to do our internet which was so incredibly kind of him. All the library people love us because we come every week and are always way nicer than other people.

Tuesday: Because we ended our p-day two hours short on Monday, we got to go to the Zoo!! I could write a ton about this but to be honest, I really have no energy. The internet room is boiling hot and I can just feel the energy being sucked out of me. So just know that the zoo was awesome, the lion almost broke out of its cage thing to eat us, and birds were mating which made the elders feel awkward and Sora Newell and I just laughed. It was fantastic.

Wednesday: We had a lesson today in Campulung with our investigators there that was awesome! At the end, I asked one of them if they would pray and after bearing testimony of prayer and the blessings in my life because of it, she did! I was so happy that I hugged her afterwards. Haha, she probably thought I was crazy but I don’t even care. We also had a lesson with the members there about blessings and about keeping faith in Christ and the hope they can have in Him. It was a fantastic day. We also met our new missionary in Pitesti, Elder Manning. He came from Sibiu, so he knows Sora Timmins! He’s awesome. We got him covrigi cu ciocolata and sat in Centru to eat. Then we contacted our way home.

Thursday: Thursday we had district meeting as usual and then met with an English student named Felicia, who we love! She’s amazing. I can’t say anything about our meeting, but I have never met anyone as strong as this woman. Wow. I wish you could all know her story. It’s amazing, and I just hope and pray that one day she can accept the Gospel. After that, we had a lesson fall through so we contacted for the rest of the day with one of the members in the branch named Marius. Any day spent with Marius is a good day. This guy is hysterical. I have never laughed harder at things someone has said than at this guy. He speaks in English to us, really well actually, but his grammar is just off enough to make everything super funny. We love him. He’s also so strong in the Gospel. And is not afraid to tell anyone about it! It’s super awesome. I wish every member were like Marius.

Friday: We had a study with a member here named Brielle, so we went to her house near Gavana. It was so fun! We talked about Zion and lots of other interesting Gospel things. Then we contacted our way to Auchan. (We have English cards to give people so we literally can contact our way EVERYWHERE. Itโ€™s awesome.) Auchan is amazing. Sora Newell and I stood in the parking lot and just marveled. Auchan is kind of like Costco and right next to it is Obi which is like Home Depot. So we literally felt like we were in America, complete with the huge parking lot.

Saturday: Saturday we went to Campulung again and had a lesson with just one of our investigators this time. It was supposed to be on the second part of the plan of salvation, but ended up being about prayer the entire time. It was a really hard lesson and I talked a lot, but felt so discouraged because we were getting nowhere. It was hard. But he wants us to come back. So that’s good. We were leaving and we realized that although it seems impossible, he can still progress. And that we weren’t going to let Satan make us think that he couldn’t! We went to our member’s house out in the mountains, basically, and tried to have a lesson with her but she was working. So we ended up having an impromptu lesson with a 70 something year old man named Gheorghe.

Sunday: Sunday was great! We had awesome talks in Church and I’m beginning to be able to really listen and understand what they’re saying which is nice. Church doesn’t feel as long that way. ๐Ÿ™‚ We met Elder Swensen’s parents and after talking to his mom for a while, realized that she knows our family from Oakley, Idaho. Crazy small world. She’s going to email you, Mom, sometime soon I think :).

Today: Today has been AWESOME. It’s American week at Lidl because of the fourth of July, so we went and bought things that we usually can’t, and had a BBQ in a park! We bought a little grill, set it up, made cheeseburgers and took lots of flag pictures. Ha, it has been great. President Ivory arrived yesterday in Buc and is now presiding over the mission. President Hill and Sora Hill left early this morning. I love those two so much. They are wonderful people, who, even in the short time I knew them here, meant so much to me and taught me a lot. They already feel like family.

I finished The Book of Mormon last night. It was the best experience. I felt so calm and happy. The Book of Mormon is true. I have no doubt in my heart or mind about that. It has every answer to any question we could ever have in this life. It is one of the greatest blessings we have. I couldn’t stop reading it. Haha, I literally was obsessed. I would bring my scriptures everywhere because I just couldn’t stop. The Book of Mormon is not only so spiritually amazing, but the stories are SO COOL! I was reading the war chapters in Alma and it felt like I was watching the most amazing movie in my head.

I love this Gospel. I love this mission. It’s hard but it’s amazing. I love all of you and pray for you every day!! I hope everyone is ok and that life is going well for everyone. ๐Ÿ™‚

Stay classy ๐Ÿ™‚

Em

Sora Newell and me at the zoo

Sora Newell and me at the zoo

RANCH--it's so beautiful!!

RANCH–it’s so beautiful!!

Our district celebrating July 4th early (during American week) with cheeseburgers and flags

Our district celebrating July 4th early with cheeseburgers and flags

The Week of NO FOOD

Monday, June 23, 2014 at 8:30 a.m.

So this week has been crazy. It was long and hard but not because of the work. I got super sick this week. I wasn’t able to keep food or water down for almost 6 days and had to go to the hospital. Thankfully I’m feeling a lot better thanks to an amazing companion and wonderful leaders and doctors. And of course, my Heavenly Father.

So here’s this week:

Tuesday: We did our studies in the morning and then prepped for English. At our English class we had our usual students Eugen, Florin and Felicia. They are so funny, especially when we speak English with them. We taught them question words and then played 2 truths and a lie. My three were 1) I have swum with fish and turtles in Hawaii, 2) I have already bought my wedding dress, and 3) I like shopping online better than actually going to the stores. Obviously #2 is the lie, but NO ONE GUESSED THAT. I felt like I seriously needed to reexamine my life if people couldn’t guess that I hadn’t already bought a wedding dress. Yikes. After our class Eugen wanted pictures so we took some pictures with our students and the elders.

Wednesday: This is basically just a day of me being so sick and not keeping food down. Sorry ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Thursday: Same thing. But after lunch we contacted! I felt awful but I didn’t want to just go home and rest. So we did about 3 hours and then I had to go home because I had no energy to even walk. I went to bed early because I felt so sick.

Friday: After I had been sick again, we finally decided to call Sora Hill. We explained the situation to her and she had us make an appointment at the hospital for as soon as possible. When we called back and told her the earliest a hospital here could see me was Monday, she told us to to come up to Buc the next day for an appointment there.

Saturday: We took a train at 7:20 to Buc and then had some time before our appointment that we didn’t know how to fill so we called Sora Hill and she told us to be missionary tourists! So Sora Newell took me to Old Buc and showed me around. We saw tons of old churches, the National Bank, and so many little streets with tons of cafes and restaurants. Because it was Saturday morning, there were also lots of people selling their crafts, food, etc. at little stands. After going around Old Buc we went to my appointment at the hospital. Thankfully I was at a private clinic so it was nice inside instead of having peeling paint and stray dogs in the hallways. My doctor was so cute and she spoke English which we were thankful for. After telling her what was going on (and that I was NOT pregnant, haha) and answering her questions, she brought me lie down because she wanted to do an ultrasound. At this point I’m getting super excited because I was probably going to get one of those cool ultrasound pictures, just way ahead of when I thought I would ever get one, haha. She squeezed that jelly stuff onto my stomach and it’s cold just like everyone says! She could see how exciting and cool I thought it was so she showed me literally everything: my stomach, spleen, gallbladder, liver, kidneys, my aorta, etc. She gave me pictures of almost everything! She told me that everything looked ok and that she’s pretty sure I just had “acute gastritis” and that with some medicine (which we got for me right after) I should be fine. I’ll go back in a week for another ultrasound to make sure everything’s ok. Our plan after my appointment was to go to the office for refunds but the office elders were at a baptism, so we ended up heading over there. It was beautiful. The Panduri sisters sang the baptism song from the children’s songbook and I totally cried. It reminded me of watching all my siblings get baptized. ๐Ÿ™‚ The missionaries were all wondering why we were there and when we told them, they were worried and told me they hoped I got better. The pictures were a hit though. We got to talk to Sora Hill there and she was glad that I’d been to see someone before Monday. I took one of the pills I was prescribed so that I could eat again and then ate the first piece of food in 48 hours (a slice of banana bread) and I swear I heard heavenly choirs of angels singing. It was a glorious moment. I don’t know how Jesus fasted for 40 days. My “fast” wasn’t even willing and it was so difficult. I did notice though that I felt like I could focus more on the spiritual things this week so in a way, getting sick was a blessing. After the baptism we went with the office elders and grabbed food at afi palace which is this ginormous mall. It has like an entire ice rink and a cinema inside. Then we went to the office and grabbed our money and our mail (I got your letters Rose and Mom!! They both made me cry. I was so happy to hear from you ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and Sora Newell’s HUGE package from her mom. Literally the elders said it’s the largest one they’ve ever seen in the mission. I carried it on the metro to the gara and then instead of carrying it from the gara in Pitesti to our apartment, we took a cab :).

Sunday: I could eat! Haha, it was fantastic. And I hadn’t been sick. We had church in Pitesti and in Campulung and both were good. Maria (a three year old in Pitesti) was being a little devil, though, during Sacrament, haha. She loves to dig around in my bag for treats and anything she can get her hands on. Because I don’t know how to say much and because I can’t understand her very well because she’s three and slurs a little, I have no idea how to stop her. So she goes crazy in there.

So this week was the week of all weeks so far. It had lots of downs but I had some of the most amazing studies yet. I’m almost done with Alma in the Book of Mormon and I love that whole book. Even the war chapters. There’s a reason they’re included and it’s cool to find ways to apply them in our lives. It’s interesting being sick. Because everyone was focusing so much on me, I wanted to focus more on others and my prayers were more meaningful, full of gratitude and prayers for others instead of myself. I was so thankful for my companion who was always worried about me and did all she could to help, including making sure I didn’t feel bad when I needed to rest after being really sick. I would always feel so bad when I rested, but Sora Newell told me that I needed to get better in order to actually be truly effective. Which is true. I am ever thankful for my Savior and my Heavenly Father. I was reading in Alma 37 in verse 17. Alma tells his son:

“For he will fulfill all his promises which he shall make unto you…” (talking about the Lord). I love that. How many things has the Lord promised us? I can’t even count them. He continues in verses 36 & 37 and says:

“Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.ย Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto god; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.”

These have become two of my favorite scriptures. It’s a perfect recipe for life! I hope that we can all try a little harder to follow Alma’s counsel to his son as if it were from one of our own parents, or even better, from the Lord! (Cause it is ๐Ÿ™‚ )

You are all always in my prayers and I love you all so much!

Stay classy ๐Ÿ™‚

Sora Emily Marcheschi

Selflie while I waited for my companion to Skype on Mother's Day

Selflie while I waited for my companion to Skype on Mother’s Day

With our English class

With our English class

After being sick for a couple of days

After being sick for a couple of days

Disneyland!

Disneyland!

My favorite little street.

My favorite little street.

All the food in Sora Newel''s package from her mother

All the food in Sora Newel”s package from her mother

Me with the coolest photos ever, ha

Me with the coolest photos ever, ha

Church in Campulung

Church in Campulung

Vlad the Impaler, haha

Vlad the Impaler, haha

The strangest statue I have EVER seen!  We did not even know what to think, haha.

The strangest statue I have EVER seen! We did not even know what to think, haha.

 

Zone Conference in Bucuresti – a great week

Monday, June 16, 2014 at 9:31 a.m.

I don’t really have time to finish my long email but I had a really great week. Today I’m missing home and everything but this week was good. I got to see Sora Honey at Zone Conference in Bucuresti which was like seeing family. We were both crying a little, haha. I wish I could teleport quickly to just give you all hugs. That would be awesome.

Sora Marcheschi

 

Zone conference with Sora Hill and Sora Newell

Zone conference with Sora Hill and Sora Newell

Zone conference with Elders and Sora Honey

Zone conference with Elders and Sora Honey

6.16.14 zone conf w: Elders & Sora Honey

Marius, on the bench, a member helping us streetboard

Marius, on the bench, a member helping us streetboard

Heaven clouds!!

Heaven clouds!!

Monday, June 9, 2014 at 12:10 p.m.

Hello Everyone!

This week was crazy. I feel like every week is crazy. The time passes so quickly. I feel like I was just emailing last Monday. Once again, this week had its ups and its downs.

Highlights:
– We finally got to have another lesson with two of our recent converts, who I just love to death. The little girl is my favorite person here, haha (besides Sora Newell ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and it was so good to see her again.
– We celebrated my two-month mark (haha, not a huge deal but it was fun anyway) with pizza! It was so salty (Shoutout to the Marcheschis and our love of salt!) which was awesome.
– Street Contacting: Ah this is so hard but you feel so good when you do it. You feel so gutsy. Like you can do anything.
– Zone Leaders were here!

Lowlights:
– Rain. Haha, so much rain. This was so bad, but became so funny to Sora Newell and me. We never have our umbrellas when it rains, but always have them when it looks like it will rain and then doesn’t.
– I unknowingly ingested rum again. Rough.
– I discovered I don’t know how to hold an umbrella over two people, unfortunately. Poor Sora Newell kept getting hit in the head, haha.- Our oven caught on fire.

Haha so here’s the week for you.

Monday: While we were having dinner at the pizza place, we saw on the news that the King of Spain abdicated his throne to his son. Crazy!

Tuesday: We went street contacting today and it’s so hard but it really does make you feel like you can do anything. We found a college campus that we’re going to go and visit this week and talk with some people our own age. Then we had English which is seriously one of my favorite parts of our week. After English, we talked with a woman and her son who come to the Beginning class. She told us that she loves that we have a light about us and that we’re happy. She said that Romanians fast to be happy and we’re always happy. She seems really interested in the Gospel and receptive to the Spirit but she and her son are going to Spain until September. Hopefully I’ll still be here when she gets back to talk with her more about the Gospel.

Wednesday: We went up to Campulung and tried to contact but it was POURING rain. Literally we were soaking wet. And we didn’t bring our umbrellas of course. Elder Dearden gave us his umbrella. It was broken and little, hahaha, but it was so nice of him. The elders just do work; they take whatever comes, including rain. So Sora Newell and I shared his umbrella. This is when we discovered that I don’t know how to hold an umbrella over two people without hitting the other in the head, haha. Oops. We had a lesson with a recent convert, which was really good. At the end of the lesson, her husband came in and they started asking me over and over if I had a boyfriend. Hahaha, the people here are always wondering that. Or if I’m married. Or why I’m not married. Hahahaha, I laugh every time.

Thursday: We had district meeting and our zone leaders were here for exchanges with the elders. We all did our parts for the meeting and then Elder Contos shared what he learned in his personal study in Jacob 5 about the olive tree. We were dying laughing because Elder Contos was talking about the roots and what they mean, except he’s from Idaho so he says “ruts.” We quieted down for a bit but then Elder Contos started talking about how he couldn’t figure out what the roots symbolized and he said, “What the heck are the “ruts”? We laughed and I said, “That’s what we’re all wondering!” It was too great. After, we all got lunch and then went contacting. Sora Newell and I weren’t very successful and came back to the church feeling pretty discouraged. Our Elders gave us good advice and later that night called to offer us blessings if we ever wanted them. It was so sweet. I love the priesthood and the worthy men who are able to administer to those who are in need of the blessings the Lord can offer.

Friday: Friday was crazy! We did our studies and then I was making cookies for less actives, when Sora Newell comes in and tells me that one of our potential investigators just called and wants to meet us in 10 minutes. We rush to get out the door and hurried to McDonalds to have an impromptu “lesson.” It turned out to be amazing. This man told us that he felt something powerful in his heart when we were speaking and that there’s a light about us. He said we have a spiritual presence and that he would pray about our message. He also said he would pray for us to find men to marry! Hahahah, EVERYONE thinks it’s crazy we’re not married or dating people. We got a call at the end of our lesson from our proprietor telling us that there was a fire in our apartment. Great. We ran back to our apartment and our oven had caught on fire from cookies, ahhhh. My disasters in the kitchen seem to never end, hahahah. Rough life. We went and got a fan to get the smell out of our apartment and I put it together using my pocket knife! That thing has seriously been the best investment ever. I take it everywhere and always use it.

Saturday: English was huge on Saturday! We had 9 people in our class, which is the largest it’s been since we started. Sora Newell and I had the spiritual thought afterwards and we talked about The Book of Mormon. The Spirit was there and I could feel it as we testified to the students about the truths in the book and how they could pray about it to know the truth for themselves.

I have no more time to write but I’ll tell you more next week! I love you all!! Go read Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter! They’re amazing. Absolutely amazing. ๐Ÿ™‚

LOVE YOU!!!

Sora Marcheschi

“I need disciples”

Monday, June 2, 2014 at 9:37 a.m. (6:37 p.m. Romanian time)

So this week was long and tough but there were some great moments! I don’t have a long time to write but I’ll give you the highlights and lowlights…is that a word..? Anyway, you know what I mean :).

Highlights:
– Grocery Shopping. This is still my favorite type of shopping. Even in Europe. Especially in Europe.

– We started English classes! They are super fun to teach and we have some really advanced students we teach so we basically only speak English with them. On Saturday we taught them present continuous tense, past continuous, and perfect past. Then we had them tell stories to use the tenses. The first story ended up being about Cinderella. She was going to Brans Castle but she got taken by Dracula. Thankfully she was saved by Eugen, who is one of the students in the class. When we asked Eugen what he said to Cinderella when he saved her, he said, “Come on baby!” We laughed. Other stories included Obama saving the Thanksgiving turkey, and Superman saving Lois Lane from Iron Man (Romanians were creative that day!!).

– We found potential investigators and had quite a few lessons set up for this week which was awesome.

– We had streetboarding in Centru and talked to quite a few people. And then one of them even came to Church the next day! We were excited about that. ๐Ÿ™‚

Lowlights:
– Our lessons all fell through and the one we did have, ended up being with basically a crazy man. He literally had no faith in anything. I don’t know how that even happens. It was so sad to me.

– On Friday we went to Campulung and our other lesson fell through there, so we went to the membersโ€™ to do a recent convert lesson. While there, we discovered that the only priesthood holder in Campulung doesn’t believe the Church was restored among many other things, and was only baptized “because the sisters asked {him} to be.” We left that lesson very discouraged, frustrated, worried for his family, and confused.

– After that lesson we decided we needed cheering up so we stopped for cake and ice cream. Sadly, my cake was full of rum.

– It rained the whole way home and we were basically soaking by the time we got to our bloc.

– I got shot this week in the leg, as we were walking to the church for English. I walked on it for a little and was able to make it to the church where I could sit down. Thankfully it was only with a bb gun, so all I had was a welt on the back of my leg. But still! I got shot. Who can say that??

Friday night after we came home, soaking wet, we changed and then came and just sat on our floor and cried. Sora Newell and I had an amazing talk about the Savior and the Atonement and how we need His help to do this. I can honestly say that the next few days I truly felt strengthened and uplifted by the arm of the Lord. I am so forever grateful for the grace and mercy He extends to me and to everyone. Without it, this life would be hard to bear.

So you don’t think that I’m sad and down, I’m really not!! I love it here. And I love being here. Sometimes we miss America, (especially when my cake is full of alcohol), but we truly do love Romania. I was studying the talk Elder Holland gave called “The First Great Commandment,” this week. He gave it right after President Monson announced the age change for missionary service. I love everything he teaches here. He elaborates on what the Lord might’ve said to Peter after Peter and the other disciples return to fishing after the death and resurrection of the Lord. The Lord asks Peter three time if he loves Him and to each, Peter responds with a โ€œyes.โ€ Then the Lord says, (this is Elder Hollandโ€™s nonscriptural elaboration ๐Ÿ™‚ ) โ€œThen Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish? What I need, Peter, are disciples – and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world. So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally until the day in which they will do to you exactly what they did to me.โ€

I LOVE that. I cry every time I read it. I feel like the Savior is saying that directly to me. I love my Savior. So so much. He has given me everything that is truly important to me. I could not be here without Him and I could not become who I can become without Him. So my life will always be dedicated to Him, serving in whatever capacity I am needed. Elder Holland later says, โ€œAfter an encounter with the living Son of the living God, nothing is ever again to be as it was before.โ€ That is so true. Once we have felt the Savior’s hand in our lives, changing us, lifting us, strengthening us, loving us, how can we ever be the same? How can we be the same people we were before? To know the Savior is to change your life. It is to follow Him, it is to become like Him, it is to do and to say exactly as He would do and say. It is to love like He loves and to serve like He serves. I never want to be the Emily I was before my mission. I want to let my Savior lead me to change and to become a new Emily, a devoted and loving disciple of Christ, whom He can trust.

The mission is hard. But it is exactly what I need. It is exactly what anyone needs if they desire to know the Savior and to become like Him.

I love you all SO much. I pray for you every day and hope you are all doing amazing! For my fellow missionaries out there, keep serving and do it with a smile. I promise it will help. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s actually scientifically proven that if you smile, it releases endorphins, which make you happy, which makes you smile for real. So even if you have to fake a smile, just do it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Stay classy, and stay loyal ๐Ÿ™‚

Love love love,
Sora Emily Marcheschi

Me with my first shawarma.  It was ... ok, haha.  It had French Fries in it which was super weird.

Me with my first shawarma. It was … ok, haha. It had French Fries in it which was super weird.

This is my best friend, little Alexandra!  She and I are seriously attached at the hip whenever we go to Campulung.  I love her, she's the cutest.

This is my best friend, little Alexandra! She and I are seriously attached at the hip whenever we go to Campulung. I love her, she’s the cutest.

This is big Alexandra and I love her so much.  She has incredible faith and is so enthusiastic about the Gospel.  (Romanians don't really smile, just so you know.)

This is big Alexandra and I love her so much. She has incredible faith and is so enthusiastic about the Gospel. (Romanians don’t really smile, just so you know.)

Our awesome Elders in Pitesti

Our awesome Elders in Pitesti

The park!  It's basically a forest but it reminds me a little of parks in NY and Boston.

The park! It’s basically a forest but it reminds me a little of parks in NY and Boston.

After district conference with some members, including President and Sister Hill

After district conference with some members, including President and Sister Hill

 

This member, Marius, has a big personality!

This member, Marius, has a big personality!

With the Cartea lui Mormon