Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you

Hey Everyone!!

I love this mission!!! It is so beautiful, the people are amazing and I am having so much fun. This week was busy but not busy, if that makes sense.

We had so many lessons fall through, and combine that with the traveling day for Zone Training Meeting and this week seemed to drag and fly by at the same time.

Zone Training was fantastic. We took a 6 am train to Sibiu, which is beautiful. It’s very similar to Brasov with lots of trees, and all, but Brasov is definitely bigger. We got to the Church and saw everyone else from Cluj and Sibiu and then started our meeting. We talked a lot about attitude; believing that there are people for us to find, that there are people that are ready to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, believing in ourselves and believing in the people that we teach and meet with. There were several presentations, and at the very end the Bairs, Elder Mayans, and Sora Honey bore their testimonies. It was a simple but powerful training meeting and I came away feeling really inspired and excited to find people and teach them.

One of my favorite lessons from this week was with the Pavel family. They have just gone through the temple and are some of the most amazing people I have met so far out here on my mission. We planned a lesson centered around Luke 22:31-32, which are two of my favorite verses in all scripture. The Bairs came with us to their lesson. We came into their home and you could just feel the Spirit there, in a way that was different than when we visit others. The Spirit was already there, before we got there. That was truly special to feel. We talked with them about their experience at the temple and then read the scripture with them. They bore such strong testimonies of sharing the gospel. We talked a lot about how Jesus prays for us, how He has suffered for us and how He knows exactly how to help us, in any situation. It was truly amazing. At one point in the lesson, I was almost in tears and I told them that the Spirit was there. I asked them if they could feel it, and they all said yes, they could. I just had to acknowledge the fact that it was here, with us, with them, in their home. They had their grandson there with them, who was 5 years old and is about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. I know, I know, I say that about all the kids here, but they’re just too cute! He is super shy but has opened up to me and will talk to me now. He’s adorable.

We also had the chance to meet a less-active member last night. When we met her, she was so excited and pleased to meet us. She told us that no one has come to visit her for over a year! No one. That made me so so sad. And so grateful that we were there to visit and teach her and love her. We had a lesson with her, her husband, and their two little sons, ages 7 and almost 2. We talked about President Packer’s conference talk, especially about his witness of the Savior Jesus Christ. Both she and her husband read with us and afterwards, she and I talked for a little bit. She was quite open with me, which was awesome because it helped me get to know her better and it showed that she felt comfortable enough with us to share as much as she did. She was the sweetest woman. She told us that she was sincerely sorry that she hadn’t been coming to church. At the end of our lesson with them, we invited them back to church and told them the blessing it would be to their family if they did. We also told them that we would definitely be back to visit again. I really want to do a FHE lesson with them and with the Bairs. I know this woman and her family will come back to church! They just need to be reminded of their testimonies and of the love their Savior has for them and most importantly, of the importance of taking the Sacrament each week. I know they’ll come back. As I reflected on that lesson later last night, I was again amazed at how Heavenly Father lets us feel of His love for His children. I love that woman and her family. And I hardly know them! Yet, I just genuinely love them. It’s amazing. It is one of my favorite things about a mission, how we are able to feel how much Heavenly Father loves us all.

This week honestly, was a little rough on me emotionally and everything was multiplied because I’m a girl, haha. That’s just the way it is sometimes. Thank goodness for Sora Honey. She suggested that I get a blessing and so we both got blessings from our branch mission leader Marius, on Tuesday night. He is a return missionary, who speaks fluent English (he served in England) and is an amazing member missionary. The Bairs were there with us and to help bring the Spirit, we sang some hymns and primary songs before we received our blessings. It was amazing. As I received my blessing, I knew, without a doubt, that it was from the Lord. Isn’t the Priesthood amazing?! I can’t even imagine this world without the blessing and power of the Priesthood. My testimony of the Priesthood is continually growing. I am so so grateful for it. I know that I definitely need the Priesthood in my home. I also want to tell you all (again ๐Ÿ™‚ ) about the power that comes from studying your scriptures. There is nowhere where you will find as much strength as you do there (apart from the temple. It’s even better if you read your scriptures in the temple!! ๐Ÿ™‚ ). Every day, I find answers to questions I didn’t know I had, prayers I don’t remember praying, etc. The Lord knows us and knows what we need, and if we would just search His scriptures, He could tell us so much more easily. Sometimes I think we are so hard to reach. I know the Lord answers every prayer/question/plea that we have, but do we let Him actually get the answer to us? Sometimes we do, but we would receive so so much more if we would be diligent about reading our scriptures. It is something I have come to absolutely love while being out here. It’s like the Lord himself says in D&C 88:63. “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

I love you ALL!!! I hope everyone’s doing great. If you ever need to talk, or anything, email me! I love talking to you all. ๐Ÿ™‚ (And no, that is not a plea for more letters, I promise, haha)

Love you! Stay classy ๐Ÿ™‚

Sora Emily Marcheschi

P.S. Another Spiritual Thought from my personal study this morning:

Luke 22:31-32 says:

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.

But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

If you go down and read the JST of verse 31, it says:

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired you, that he may sift the children of the kingdom as wheat.

Think about that! To me, that shows how influential every one of us is!! Satan doesn’t just want to make you miserable, he wants EVERYONE to be miserable. And if he can get one of us to fall away, he can lead away so many more, because we weren’t there to influence others for good. That was a super cool thing to realize this morning. ๐Ÿ™‚

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First week in Brasov!

So, everyone. You may or may not remember from my last letter, but one of my companions from the MTC and I are serving together and WE’RE ONLY IN OUR THIRD TRANSFER people!!!! Crazy stuff. But it’s been so legit so far. Here’s my week in review:

Tuesday we visited with Brielle like normal and I got to say goodbye to her and little Gidi, her son. I spent some time packing, and then we had a branch activity that night. It was great to say goodbye to people one last time. For those who know how much I pack, it will be no surprise to you that the rest of that night was spent packing…ce sฤƒ fac?

Wednesday we took a 6:20 train to Bucuresti. Marius came to see us off and ran alongside the train as it left, haha so great. We got into Buc and waited at the gara with some other missionaries. Elder Boydstun, Elder Weis, and Elder Dronyk from my MTC district were all there! I hadn’t seen Elder Boydstun since coming into the country so it was a great reunion for all of us. Our little group went off to get our visas so we can stay here and then did some errands around Buc. It was just like old times in the MTC being all together! I definitely have the best MTC district ever. We all agree on that. ๐Ÿ™‚ Sora Honey got to Buc around 12 and that was one of the best moments! We can’t believe we’re serving together already – it feels completely unreal and we feel so spoiled! We did some business at the mission office and then we were on our own all the way back to BraลŸov. Some amazing elders helped us with my bags (they pretty much have their place in heaven secured with that act alone – no one should ever have to lift my bags) and we got settled on our train and were off. We talked about our transfers and caught up for about the first hour. Then the train conductor came over to get our tickets. He ended up coming back and talking with us for the next 3 HOURS of our train ride, all the way until we got there. It was the coolest experience. We were both worried about how well we would be able to communicate with people without a companion who was a little older and knew the language better than we do. But all our fears were gone after successfully talking with this man for the train ride. It was SO COOL! We talked about what we were doing here, gave him a conference Liahona (the office elders had played a joke on us and given us like 30 copies!!) which he was really excited to read. He told us that we were doing a great work here, helping people to be happier and bringing happiness wherever we went. He showed us some books he was reading, and they were near death experience books. I thought of you Mom!! He was really spiritual and although he was Orthodox, he was so so open to anything spiritual. I’m sure that God let us have that opportunity to speak with him, to help us know that we could do this transfer together and not worry too much about how we would communicate. And Sora Honey and I work so well together! What I don’t understand or know what to say, she does and vice versa! So it works perfectly!

After talking with the train conductor for three hours on our way to Brasov - with his hat on

After talking with the train conductor for three hours on our way to Brasov – with his hat on

We got into BraลŸov and the senior missionary Elder, named Elder Bair picked us up. We had lots of help from nice people at the gara getting my bags off the train and under control. Seriously, anyone who helps me with my bags is automatically an angel in my mind, whether or not they’re drunk, high, whatever. They’re awesome in my mind, haha.

Beautiful Brasov!

Beautiful Brasov!

So Elder Bair got us and took us to our apartment. Elder Bair is awesome! He totally reminds me of my Grandpa Huff, corny jokes and all. He even likes overly salted popcorn too! We’ve bonded over our love for food with lots of salt. ๐Ÿ™‚ He’s fantastic, as is his wife. They are a huge blessing to the work here in BraลŸov and I’m so enjoying working with them so far.

View from our apartment in Brasov

View from our apartment in Brasov

Thursday we got up and ran (YES!) and then got cleaning supplies. We cleaned the entire apartment from 8 until 4. Yes it took us that long. And Sora Honey wants me to say that the mess wasn’t hers!! ๐Ÿ™‚ There literally wasn’t even a place for me to unpack my things really before we cleaned. We deep cleaned that apartment so hard, but now it’s beautiful and feels so open and light! We also had NO FOOD. There was only a carton of eggs in the fridge and some bread, because we basically threw out everything else, it was so gross. The Bairs took us to buy food later that day, so we could be ready to just go to work. We felt so much better after cleaning and really felt that now we would be able to work and feel the Spirit at home now that it was clean.

Friday we had lessons with people here. It’s taking me a little while to remember everyone and their backgrounds/stories but I already love them all so much. We visited a member named Ioana, who is just the most darling old woman. You can tell her anything and it won’t matter, all she needs is to just feel loved. She is so sweet. Then we got to meet with a younger member named Veronica. She was so cute! Her sister had just had a baby (we’re pretty sure that it had literally just happened in their little house!!) so we couldn’t talk long but she was excited to meet me and we’re going to meet with her again in about 2 hours. Before we met with both of them though, Sora Honey took me to the Centru here to get a Gigi’s. It’s this amazing patisserie where they sell the best covrigi cu ciocolata EVER. It was the best thing in my entire life.

In Brasov centru with covrigi cu cioccolata from Gigis

In Brasov centru with covrigi cu cioccolata from Gigis

It was kinda rainy that day but we walked around Centru just talking with people. As we walked around, I heard some people speaking English. The guy sounded British, so I told Sora Honey and we went over to talk to them. He actually was Australian and his girlfriend was from California. They were traveling and were lost, so they were SO happy to find people who spoke English. We directed them to their hostel and talked on the way there. We told them if they needed anything to just call us and gave them our number. They were super nice and so grateful. After our lessons we got a call from them inviting us out to dinner with them. We were eating as a district that night, so we just went with them and didn’t eat. It was such a great missionary experience. We talked the whole time about what we were doing here on missions and about the church and just about life and what they believed. It was a really great experience. They told us we gave Mormons a good name! ๐Ÿ™‚ Heck yeah! We had dinner that night with our district in Centru. Elder Houk is training a new missionary which is so fun! We got to hear a bit about the MTC and our teachers which was great.

Saturday we had correlation and I met the branch mission leader, Marius. He is amazing. He is such a great missionary and does so so much to help us out. We talked about a lot of things that will help the work here and how we can better missionaries. If any of you have not seen the new Mormon Message called “The Hope of God’s Light” you should go watch it! It is amazing, especially for those who are questioning if God is even there. We ran quick to Kaufland after correlation to grab suc for the first Linger Longer the branch was having that Sunday and then went home to weekly plan. We have SO MUCH WORK to do here, and I can’t wait to do it, especially with Sora Honey. It’s going to be amazing. There are so many people to love and I can’t wait to love them. That’s honestly my favorite thing about a mission. I get to love SO many people! It’s such a blessing. We went out to a village called Feldioara to try and visit with some less active members but neither of them could meet. We were disappointed and felt bad because the Bairs had driven us out there. But they didn’t mind at all! In fact, they were happy because they got to then show us some fortified castles/churches out there. ๐Ÿ™‚ We came home and kept weekly planning and then went to bed in our wonderful clean apartment!

Sunday was amazing!! We had 51 people at church which President congratulated us on. We had really tried to contact as many people as we could in the couple days preceeding Sunday and it was a success. One of the women we had tried to visit on Saturday came and she was wonderful. We sat together the whole time and she told us that she wants us to come over and bring Preach My Gospel and study it with her. There are such wonderful people here in this branch. I am so looking forward to getting to know them all and serving them and loving them.

This mission is the best place in the entire world! I am so so blessed to be here and to serve with one of my best friends! We have so much fun that we feel spoiled. But we are working so incredibly hard this transfer as well. It’s going to be amazing. I can’t wait to start!

I love you all so much! You are always in my thoughts and prayers!! Stay safe, and stay classy ๐Ÿ™‚

Love,

Sora Emily Marcheschi

Clouds in Brasov

Clouds in Brasov

Last week in Pitesti…

Hey everyone!!!

This week was amazing!!! It was just packed with wonderful moments. Monday was a great, relaxing p day and I’m so glad I got to talk with some of you! It always makes my day :).

Tuesday we met with Brielle again and she shared part of a book with us, written by Chieko N. Okazaki, who I think was a counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency a while back. It made me cry. I’ll paste it at the end of this letter for anyone who wants to read it. It’s just a very profound take on the Atonement and I loved hearing it. It really filled something in my heart that was missing for a few weeks out here. Anyway, hopefully you guys like it. I’d love to hear any thoughts about it as well!! It had rained really hard the night before and it was cloudy all day. Then about an hour before we had our English class it poured, harder than it has since I’ve been here. The walkways, grassy areas, and streets were flooded with about 3 inches of water. It was really bad. Sora Newell and I were dying laughing as we struggled to make our way to take a cab to the church. I thankfully had my rainboots so I just splashed around, but Sora Newell’s feet were soaking. There really was no way to go around it at all, you just had to go through the water, haha. Because it was raining so hard, no one came to our English class. Then after English, it stopped raining, haha. This is just how things work in the Romania/Moldova Mission :).

Wednesday I finished another journal! Which meant I got to start a new one obviously, which I love doing – something about new starts, clean slates, all that stuff you find in Pinterest quotes and all. It was also Sora Newell’s birthday!! I got up a little earlier to make her a huge birthday omelette complete with tomatoes, onions, cheese, and spinach (we FINALLY found some baby spinach leaves at Kaufland). I was ridiculously happy). It was so beautiful, haha. Who knew I could make omelettes? She was really happy and we ate breakfast together and then finished getting ready for our day. We took a maxi taxi up to Campulung. Usually the maxis are super hot, stuffy and smell really bad. But I told Sora Newell that I prayed that one of her birthday gifts would be a good maxi that wasn’t hot. And our maxi had AIR CONDITIONING people!! God answers even the smallest prayers that seem super unimportant – just โ€˜cause He loves us :). We got to Campulung and headed over to a memberโ€™s house. They ended up taking us up into the hills because it was Sora Newell’s birthday. We had a lesson with them, helping them understand how to give talks in church, and then we did an English lesson for 30 minutes with them. They are such wonderful people. The ground we were sitting on was so wet, so I basically stood for 2 hours, ha, and Sora Newell was soaking when she got off the ground. Her brown skirt looked black from all the water. She literally could wring out water, haha. It was good fun. We got dinner for Sora Newell’s birthday and then went home and had strawberry cake with strawberry frosting. Ha, she likes pink :). Oh and on our way home, a bird pooped on Sora Newell!!! It was super funny. We were all laughing really hard.

Thursday we had a really cool district meeting! We all went around and told each other what we admired about each other. It was neat to hear what people thought of each other (good things obviously!) because it made you think of things you hadn’t before, even about yourself. There were things people said about me that I wouldn’t have noticed, but were really great to hear. It always makes you feel better about yourself :). We had planned to go sing at a children’s hospital that day, but when we got there, the guards wouldn’t let us in. So instead I had a feeling we should go to Trivale and just talk to people. We wandered for a while, and then we passed a couple sitting on a bench. I had a feeling to go over but we kept walking a little bit. Then I just stopped walking and stood there, ha. Sora Newell looked back and said, “that couple?” I said, “yep” so we walked back over and started talking to them. It was a great conversation! We talked about the gospel, about our lives, what we do as missionaries, what Romania was like under communist rule, tons of stuff! Sora Newell told me afterwards that she was glad I had stopped because she had a feeling too, but didn’t know if it was right. I’m glad we stopped and talked with them :).

Friday was crazy. After our personal study we got a call from the elders telling us that there was a town north of us that was damaged really badly from massive flash flooding and we needed to go help them out. So we headed over as quickly as we could and spent the whole day there helping. First we helped clean up their cemetery. There were tons of graves that were completely destroyed and washed into the river. It’s so sad because ancestors mean everything to these people. Then we went across the river and helped a family shovel mud out of their house. In their living room, the mud had been 1 meter high! After shoveling it out, we tore up their floor. Then the mother fed us! I couldn’t believe it. After pretty much losing everything, she was so hospitable and shared the little food that they had with us. These people are amazing to me.

Saturday was transfer board day…..AND I’m going to BRAศ˜OV! To serve (AGAIN) with Sora Honey!! She was my MTC companion. We cannot believe that we are already companions again. It’s crazy. It’s going to be super hard because we’re both so so young in the mission and don’t know the language super well, but I am excited to serve with her :). Can’t wait!! But I am also incredibly sad to be leaving Pitesti. I love these people so much, my heart is breaking to leave them. On Sunday it was fast and testimony meeting. I was really nervous, but I wanted to bear my testimony for this branch and let them know how much I loved them. I was the very last one to speak and I started crying right when I started to speak. I just told them what I knew was true and how much I love them. It was incredibly hard to say goodbye to everyone, especially my little friend, Maria. I will miss her tons!

This week I have been reading through the Doctrine & Covenants. One of the scripture passages that I absolutely love is found in D&C 45: 3-5. It says “Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleadingย your cause before him – Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified; Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethen that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.” How amazing is that?? I had to ask myself, “How many times has the Savior had to say this for me? How many times each day does He say this?” I can’t begin to comprehend His love for me, but I am forever grateful that I can feel it always in my life.

I love you all!! Stay safe, pray and read your scriptures ๐Ÿ™‚ and stay classy ๐Ÿ™‚

Love you all!!!!

Love you all!!!!