Monday, July 7, 2014 at 9:35 a.m.

Hey HEy HEY! (read that like Fat Albert…haha)

How is everyone!? I hope you’re all in 90 degree weather like I am. It’s the best! Ha, I kid you not. It’s like being in hot yoga all day every day (shoutout to Chris, mom and Amers!). It’s cleansing. Hahaha, ok, enough joking. It really is beautiful here! God sends me lots of breezes during the day so I haven’t actually died yet. This week was great! We did the most contacting we have ever done which felt awesome and we exceeded most of our goals. That’s always the best feeling.

On Monday, I already told you all about the super awesome American party that we had. But we found out from Marius, that us grilling was illegal and that we were super lucky that the police didn’t catch us. Oops!

Tuesday we did our Bible Study with Brielle. That’s been a real blessing I think. It’s formed a great relationship between the three of us and has even stretched to her husband, which I think has helped him be more friendly to us. It’s made things at church a lot smoother which I am grateful for. We did English contacting the rest of that day. We’re trying to talk to as many people as we can, so that we have lots of people for English!

Wednesday we went to Campulung. Sora Newell and I wanted to do a bunch of contacting before our lesson with our members up there. So we literally walked all over the city. We got super awesome tan lines. And by super awesome, I mean super super bad. It’s embarrassing, haha. Oh well. 🙂 It was super beautiful though. And when we got lost in the middle of nowhere, we ran into some people who asked us if we were from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We were super confused but responded that we were. Then the man says, “I know Marius!!” Everyone seems to know Marius. Haha, that man knows the entire country. It’s super cool. Then we had a lesson with our members. We ended up teaching with the elders, which was cool. We took a maxi home as usual, and I still don’t do well on those bus things. I feel super sick every time. But they are fast and so much cheaper than taking a cab.

Thursday we had district meeting and then a lesson with Iosef. Iosef is amazing. He’s a teacher for his church and knows so much. You can see the light of Christ in his eyes whenever we talk and I love whenever we meet with him. He always “pups” us, which is kind of weird but I don’t mind much anymore. He doesn’t mean it in a creepy way at all so we don’t make a big deal of it. We had thought about what we wanted him to do from our lesson and we really wanted him to start reading from The Book of Mormon. I was especially adamant about that because of having finished it a few days before. We go into our lesson and are just talking a little bit. He had some questions that we got cleared up (he had confused what we believed with what the Jehovah’s witnesses believe about the second coming! oops) and then we started reading with him. We took turns reading each verse in 1 Nephi 1. That’s an amazing chapter. He loved it. He kept confirming everything we were explaining. It was really cool. I got to testify to him about how that book had changed my life and brought so much love and peace and guidance to me in my life and that it would do the same for him if he would keep reading it. He actually ended up taking another book and told us he was going to read it with his son!

Friday was the best day ever. We were having a party with the branch for the fourth of July. We had invited all the members and our English students and Marius had invited a ton of his friends. We weren’t sure how many people were going to come, but honestly we didn’t think that many would show up. Still, we bought a ton of food. We met the elders and Marius at Kaufland that morning and bought 7 kilos of meat, like 10 huge loaves of bread, haha, chips, watermelon, and toppings and condiments for burgers. Sora Newell and I made dessert. Sora Newell’s mom had sent her some baking stuff, so she had cupcakes and I made cookies. Haha, ok, it’s so funny ‘cause cookies just don’t work here. I don’t know how to explain it. They’re just not cookies. Either they’re like little cakes and are super fluffy, or they’re completely flat like they were on Friday. Ha, they still tasted awesome though which was good. We did weekly planning at the church while everything was baking. People started showing up way early (it started at 6). Marius and all his friends showed up first, so they just started playing ping pong. We got all the food together. It took the elders and the men a long time to grill but it was all good. Almost every member of the branch was there and one man even brought his nonmember wife and kids. One of our English students came with his sister and her children who have lived in California for the last 12 years, so we spoke with them a lot. One of the members named, Marius, who is the branch mission leader, invited a ton of his friends. They’re all teenagers, or people around our age, so we were playing ping pong and cards and just having tons of fun. It took forever but people were nice and patient. And then afterward Marius had fireworks stuck in the top of a watermelon, hahaha. Anything flies in Romania. I taught Marius’ friends how to play bs. It was funny because I didn’t know exactly how to explain it but I was trying. All the guys were laughing and copying me but I just went with it. It happens here. And they were being nice and not creepy which we appreciated. But they had the hardest time understanding how to play. It was super funny. They didn’t understand that when you don’t have the card, you are supposed to fake it and put another one down. They would just say “I don’t have it.” Haha, it was really fun. Then they taught us how to play a Romanian card game that’s really similar to UNO. It was a great time for everyone and we had several reports from members and nonmembers about how much fun they had and how nice we were. So we were really happy. 🙂

Saturday we did a lot of contacting. It was cool because we had come home for lunch and were really tired, hungry and hot. We honestly didn’t want to get up and keep going out. But we did and we talked to so many people! And they were all interested in what we were saying. Some women in the park we were in even got up and wanted to walk and talk with us! It was so much fun. Probably the most fun I’ve ever had contacting.

Sunday was great as usual. It was fast Sunday and almost every member got up to bear their testimony. That’s something I love about this branch. They have the most amazing testimonies and stories about their conversions. I love them all so much. I feel like they’re my little family here. I’m going to be really sad whenever I leave. Hopefully I’m here for a bit longer. We went contacting for about 3 hours after church and correlation. It had taken a while for correlation to start and by then we were starving. It was really really hot when we went out and there was hardly anyone outside. We walked for a while, talking with anyone we saw, but it got super hard to have energy. When we got home afterwards, I was so hot that I stuck my head in our freezer, haha. We were talking about how amazing Christ was for doing that for 40 days. We really appreciated that moment in his life right then. We had an AMAZING dinner and I don’t know that I’ve ever been more happy/relieved in my life than I was right then. It was awesome.

Today I died my hair! It was scary, haha. But it looks fantastic, haha. Sora Newell was laughing so hard at how funny I looked with my hair in two buns on the sides of my head but you know, you gotta do what you gotta do. We went with our elders down to this park and rented go kart bikes and rode around for about 45 minutes. It’s been a fun relaxing day.

The language is coming slowly…it’s hard, haha. The work is slow too but we have some good people we’re teaching. English starts again this week and we have our first zone conference with President Ivory so we’ll see how things change! I’m doing well. I feel really inadequate a lot of the time, not even just with the language, but just who I am as a person. I feel like I don’t deserve all the things that I have been blessed with and I feel so bad that I have to use the Atonement so often. It’s hard to feel like I want to change but then have such a difficult time actually doing it. How do we ever “forsake” our weaknesses? Haha, I feel like I will never fully do that.

I hope everyone is doing well and that you are all happy, reading your scriptures and praying every day! I know that doing those things will bring you so close to the Lord and that you will be happier. 🙂

Lots of love to everyone!
Stay classy 🙂
Sora Emily Marcheschi

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