It’s Italy week at Lidl so that’s totally appropriate. I was able to buy actual prosciutto which I can never find. So I’m quite happy today :).
This week was awesome! You already heard about Monday so I’ll start with Tuesday.
Tuesday was our first day of English for this transfer. And we love English, haha. Before that though, we went contacting around the city. That morning I had stubbed my left pinky toe pretty bad and I actually think it might be broken…it doesn’t look quite the same as the other one…oh well haha. So walking around was a bit interesting and we got more looks because of my limp but whatever. We had bought sandals on Monday so I wore those around thankfully so my toe didn’t get any more squished ha. Anyways, English! Our first class was super small but it was great. We only had Florin in our advanced class and we went over a bunch of grammar. It’s funny how much I’m learning about English from teaching it. Florin was also the only person who stayed for the spiritual thought. It was really cool. The elders taught about love, more specifically God’s love for us. Florin had a bunch of questions, like why do some people have really hard lives if God loves everyone, etc. You could tell that he hasn’t really felt love from God in his life very often, if at all. The elders did their best to answer him by the Spirit and then at the end, Elder Dearden asked me to pray. As I was praying, I felt the Spirit so strongly and God’s love for Florin so strongly as well. Things were coming to my mind that I had never thought to say and/or didn’t know how to say. But I was saying them all anyway. It was so cool. I could feel the Spirit and I really hope that Florin could too.
Wednesday we beat the elders to the train station around 7:10 in the morning for our train to Bucuresti (probably one of the bigger accomplishments for us hahaha). We go to Buc and went straight to the Panduri chapel for interviews with the Ivorys. We had some time while they interviewed other people, so Sora Newell retaught me how to play Table (ta-blay–it’s backgammon) and I love that game. It’s super fun and I want a board now so we can play at home. We took some pictures with President and Sister Ivory and then had interviews. I went with President first. He is so cool! He has already been on quite a few splits with the missionaries and he’s been in the country less than two weeks. Legit. We talked about my parents and my connection to Italy (both he and his wife served missions in Italy). We figured out Dad, that he was probably there just a few years before you! Super cool. It’s also awesome that he can pronounce my last name and know that it’s Italian! Romanians are constantly asking me if I’m Polynesian. That is so random! Do I look polynesian?!? Like really? Haha so weird. We talked about the language and he gave me some awesome advice. Every day he writes a page in Romanian. He writes prayers, his testimony, a lesson he wants to teach, etc. things like that. Or anything I wanted he said. But he said to write a page every day in a journal. We kept talking about how I was studying the language and he told me I was giving him good ideas. So that’s good! I really like him. He’s very business inclined but in the kind of way that reminds me of what people have told me about Nonno actually. He’s going to great things for this mission. Then I met with Sora Ivory. She is the sweetest. So easy to talk to and very loving. We talked about my family and how my mission has been. I told her I had just finished the Book of Mormon and she was so excited for me! She’s going to be a lot of fun to work with. She’s been going on splits with the missionaries as well! We started the conference after that and the ideas that President has for this mission are great. Their kids were there to introduce them and their family. Then their oldest daughter talked to us about loving to find people. She had been on a mission to Rome and I loved everything she said. Sora Ivory then talked to us about repentance. She asked us to think about our vision of who we are, and what this mission means to us. What is it going to do for us? She asked us where our hearts were. That was interesting to think about. I realized that my heart really was here in Romania. With these people. These members, their friends, all the people we pass. It’s an amazing feeling. We talked all together about how repentance is such a positive thing. It’s progression! It should never be viewed as a negative or sad thing. It’s a chance, a way, to grow closer to our Saviour and our Heavenly Father. I don’t know about you, but I want that! I was really inspired as I sat and listened to her speak. It was cool too to observe how President and Sora Ivory work together. They’re a total team. She was over her time by a little bit and President very kindly let her know and she acknowledged, and finished where she was. So professional. It was super awesome for us all to see how well they work together. President Ivory then talked to us about how the mission is going to go. He wants us to be constantly working with three groups of people: investigators, members and less actives. Elder Nelson said that if we are only working with one group of people that our conversion to the gospel isn’t as full as it could be if we work with all three. It felt so right to me. I had been wanting to work more with less actives and strengthening the members for a while so I was really excited! He said that as we work with and strengthen the members, they trust us more, we get more referrals, etc. and that the number of people we can teach actually increases! It’s going to be amazing. It already has been! As we left back to Pitesti, we were talking about what we could do for streetboarding the next day. I came up with the idea to have a focus just on suntmormon.ro which is the romanian mormon.org. I got more and more excited as we kept talking about it.
Thursday we prepped for streetboarding for most of the day, cutting out tons of pictures of Latter Day Saints from Liahonas and getting the materials we needed. We put together this awesome poster of Mormons all around the world. We had them grouped in regions and then specified the specific countries they are from. Often here, Romanians think that our church is just in America, or that it’s an American church. So we hoped that this would help show that we have people everywhere. It turned out to be an awesome way of contacting. People who had seen us streetboarding before came up and told me that this was much better and more eye catching. I talked to someone on my own too! So I was really proud of myself. I just wanted to talk to everyone and it was so much easier for some reason. Well, because God was helping me. Duh 🙂 haha
Friday we had another activity with members and non members. We had planned on doing a sports night and playing ultimate frisbee and futbol (soccer). I was giving the spiritual thought for it and during my studies that morning had been praying to know what I should share. I felt that I should focus on how we are never forgotten to the Lord and was going to share the verse where the Lord tells us that we are engraven upon the palms of His hands. So beautiful. Anyways, so I had done studies and all and then gotten snacks for our activity. We showed up at 5 and no one was there. We waited and waited and waited haha and finally Marius came with one of his friends. He told us more of his friends were showing up in a little bit. We got to calling more people and making sure they knew where it was and everything. In the meantime, we were throwing the frisbee (I’m pretty bad at that….) and kicking around the soccer ball. Marius’ friends showed up and we started the game. Sora Newell hurt her knee pretty bad right before we started though, so she sat out and read while we played. I’m still not any good at soccer. Mission goal haha. Maybe. We’ll see how that goes. It’s just really embarrassing to play around 7 year olds who are insanely better than you. Soccer is huge here and kids are really really really good. I love it. I want them to teach me haha. After we played, we had our spiritual thought. I was nervous cause they were all teenagers but I shared what I had. One of Marius’ friends was sitting by me and was helping me when I was reading the scripture with the words I didn’t know how to pronounce, which means he was reading along! So cool. My thought ended up turning into an hour discussion with these guys about God and science and we gave this one guy a Book of Mormon and set up another time to talk more with him. Oh, I forgot! So because I’m not that great at soccer and I was scared of the 7 year olds, I had wandered to the side of the field. This man came up to me and asked me where I was from. I told him America. He was one of the dads of the kids that was playing with us and we just started talking about why I was there and if I liked Romania. Then this guys pulls up the Bible on his phone and we just start reading together. It was so cool! We talked about the Book of Mormon and although he wasn’t interested we still had a super cool conversation. I felt so awesome, especially because it’s getting way easier to talk to people on my own in Romanian.
Saturday we had two lessons in Campulung. They were both really good, although we feel that one of our investigators is so skeptical. It makes it really hard to teach him. He’s told us that he already feels “close enough” to God. So we’re kind of stuck with him, but we both feel like there’s just something special about him and that we need to keep teaching him. We’ll see what happens.
Sunday I gave my first talk! It was on repentance and I was nervous but everyone told me it was really good. We had church in both Pitesti and Campulung so it was a long day but I was really happy. 🙂
I love this work. A year ago, who knew I’d be saying I love being a missionary?? Ha not me. This was never what I wanted, but it was what I needed. And what I needed has now become what I want. I can’t even imagine leaving these people. And I’m only in my second transfer! It’s going to be so hard to leave after 14 more months here. I’m already planning my trips back here. 🙂
I love you all!! Stay safe and keep reading your scriptures. They’re the best books you could possibly read!
Haha ok. Love you all tons. Thank you for your prayers, love, encouragement and examples. You’re the best 🙂