In the Strength of the Lord

Sorry I haven’t written a big email in a long time

…but sometimes I’m just too tired to write a long email by the time we get to internet. Doesn’t mean I don’t love all of you though! 🙂

This week was amazing!!!! But before I get to everything, here are some general updates since I haven’t emailed in a while:

– I’m training! My baby’s name is Sora Weaver and she’s wonderful. She was the only missionary to come this last transfer so she got lots of attention in the MTC and already speaks Romanian really well! So that makes part of my job a little easier. 🙂 We’ve had a great time together so far!

– Our district hiked up a huge mountain 3 weeks ago I think. It was the BEST!!! It was probably the highest I’ve ever been – Sora Honey and I sat on the very edge of the cliff (of course) and Sora Bair about had a heart attack, poor thing. I felt like I was in another world. It was absolutely beautiful.

Caraiman Peak with Sora Honey

Caraiman Peak with Sora Honey

View from Caraiman Peak--it was amazing!

View from Caraiman Peak–it was amazing!

The most beautiful place ever

The most beautiful place ever

We had zone conference this week. It was FANTASTIC. Both President and Sora Ivory gave wonderful talks and the whole time I just felt inspired and uplifted. During the talks, I kept getting all these names in my head of people that we need to teach and work with and love. It was really cool. President said something that really stuck with me. I’d heard things similar to it from other leaders but it’s never a bad thing to hear again. He said, “This is the most important work ever done. We are part of the most important work ever done in Romania and Moldova.” We also talked about how the Lord can’t bless us in this work until we have done all that we can. I have really gained a stronger testimony of that this week and last. President gave us all a copy of a talk Elder Bednar gave at BYU Provo in 2001, called “In the Strength of the Lord.” He asked us all to read it and study it as a companionship. Going along with the talk, we talked about the enabling power of the Atonement. If I’m honest, I don’t know that I had really felt the enabling power of the Atonement very much before my mission (or at least recognized it as that). I can think of one specific time period where I felt it and recognized it but other than that, the mission is where I’ve truly felt it. There have been countless days and nights where I feel lonely, or where I’m tired or when I am scared to talk to someone. And every time the Lord enables me to make it through, to have energy, to start a conversation. Every time. Without fail, He is always there for me. I love that.

So after reading that talk for my personal study on Wednesday morning and learning so much about the enabling power of the Atonement, we went out for our day of lessons in Feldioara. We had two great lessons with recent converts and we were loving but also really bold which always feels so good as a missionary. As we were heading to our next lesson, Sora Bair saw a man she knew and jumped out of the car to go talk to him. We quickly followed her and ended up receiving this man’s number so we could come visit him and his wife right after our next lesson. So after our next lesson, we found them and their house. There were 5 people there, including this man and his wife. We followed him into their tiny tiny house (smaller than my garage room, Mom and Dad) and sat down with him. As we started talking and visiting, the other people filed in and sat down around the room with us. They started asking us questions about our tags and then suddenly we were teaching a Restoration lesson. The Spirit in the room was the most powerful I have ever felt it in my life. As I was teaching, I literally was shaking from head to toe. I felt like Nephi did when he said that “…the Spirit of the Lord constraineth me that I should speak.” It was such a powerful experience. These people were so accepting of what we were teaching. We were bold and inviting and clear in our message and what we believe. It was without a doubt one of the best lessons so far on my mission and I feel privileged to have been a part of that experience.

Friday and Saturday we did English contacting as a district together in centru. It was so much fun! We did it in our regular pday clothes and had tons of success. Elder Hokkanen had his guitar and was playing, as we passed out English cards and talked with people about our English classes. This transfer, English is going to be legit! There have already been a ton of people that have called about the classes, so we’ll see how that goes tomorrow when it starts. We had a lesson on Friday with Teo, the daughter of a member, Carmen, that we are teaching and preparing for baptism. She is so wonderful and just gets everything. We went back Saturday for a lesson just with Carmen, her mom. We both had felt really strongly that Carmen needed something just for her, and in my personal study that morning I had read Sister Reeves’ talk from the Relief Society meeting of General Conference in 2012, called “The Lord Has Not Forgotten You.” We read it together and cried together and talked about the enabling power of the Atonement. It was a very tender experience. I think of Carmen like my mom away from home. She is one of the most amazing women I have ever met and had the privilege of knowing.

Sunday, we had 48 people at church!! Granted, we had some visitors from America and Bucuresti, but it felt wonderful. And our investigators were there! They had tried to come in on the bus we provide from Feldioara to Brasov, but were not allowed on, we’re not sure why. So Elder Bair and Marius drove out immediately to go pick them up. Thank goodness for them! I have been called to lead the music in Sacrament (this calling is following me all over the world, haha) and Sora Bair had asked me if I would teach Relief Society so I was a little overwhelmed with everything I was doing that day, including socializing and talking with the members and our investigators. I had remembered that morning during my personal study that I was teaching Relief Society (unless I write something down as a missionary, I forget it. There’s just way too much going on.) I was torn between two talks, “Trial of Your Faith” by Elder Andersen, and “The Lord Has Not Forgotten You,” the one we read with Carmen. So I just decided to focus on both. I started with the first and after about 10 minutes of discussion about our trials, our investigator opened up with tears streaming down her face about her trials and how she is so angry with God. I felt so strongly then, that I was only supposed to focus on the second talk after that. After she had spoken and a few others, I started to speak and got really emotional. In that moment Heavenly Father was letting me feel His love for each woman in that room and I was completely overwhelmed. I remember telling them all that I needed to tell them that their Heavenly Father loves them and will never forget them. I can’t remember anything else really that I said, only that by the end, almost everyone was crying. It was a wonderful hour spent together and the Spirit was amazingly strong.

Today, we hiked up to the Brasov sign above the city and climbed up onto the sign as well. It was super cool! Brasov has a sign like the Hollywood sign in California except it’s probably cooler. Tonight, we’re going to go watch the General Women’s Meeting with Sora Bair. Also, we watch General Conference at a little bit of a different time, so don’t ruin anything for me next week by mentioning anything super awesome. Wait until the week after next. 🙂

This week, as I was studying for some people, I was reading again in Hebrews, 1 Peter and the Doctrine and Covenants. I am always struck by how loving the Lord is with us. We are so so imperfect. Well, at least I am, haha. And I know how easy it is for those who know me to get frustrated with me, angry at me, disappointed by me, hurt by me, offended by me, annoyed by me, embarrassed by me, etc. Haha. I know that I still disappoint my Heavenly Father; I mean I make mistakes every day. But what is important to him is that I am trying, every day, to turn my will over to him. And as I do that, He enables me to carry out His work here in Romania, despite my personal afflictions, worries, weaknesses and sorrows. He carries me through them all, and brings me a happiness that is incomparable. I know He is always there for you all, wherever you are, whatever it is you’re going through. I promise you that if you turn everything over to Him, He will carry you and love you and give you the strength to endure this life. I love you all!!!!!

Stay classy 🙂

Love,
Sora Emily Marcheschi

Soras Honey and Bair with Emily

Soras Honey and Bair with Emily

Selfie with Sora Honey

Selfie with Sora Honey

Training!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Quick email: I am doing SO WELL. It was hard to say goodbye to Sora Honey but I love my trainee Sora Weaver!! She is amazing!!! She is so sweet and so teachable.  She is so brave too!! She always speaks when I ask her to and has already been doing little tasks like buying a bus ticket or ordering her own food.  I’m so so proud of her!! And I LOVE training.  It is such a blessing.  It’s so different but I feel wonderful.

I MISS THE TEMPLE!! I just finished Moses and it made me miss the temple.  I can’t wait until I can go again.   I hope you all had a great time at the temple rededication.

Love,

Sora Marcheschi

9.21.14 Sunday dinner at the Bairs' with our new district

9.21.14 Sunday dinner at the Bairs’ with our new district

9.22.14 Making brownies at the Bairs' for zone meeting

9.22.14 Making brownies at the Bairs’ for zone meeting

My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart.

Ciao! (They say that here too!)

How is everyone? Sorry I’ve been so awful at writing, haha. I’ve never been that great at it, and I’m surprised it’s been as easy as it has been thus far. Hopefully from here on out I won’t miss any more weeks. 🙂 Fingers crossed.

This week was so good. Not only in our missionary work, but in personal growth. It was super cool. Here are some of the best moments and then I’ll do the scripture/spiritual stuff towards the end, so if you don’t want read that far you can just stop after the stories. 🙂

This week we got a new investigator! Her name is Camelia. She walked into the church last Saturday asking about English, and after hearing about 30/30’s (where we teach ½ hour of English and ½ hour of the gospel), said that’s what she wanted. We met with her on Tuesday and had a good English lesson. Then we had a gospel lesson with her. We invited her to read the introduction of the Book of Mormon and to keep reading from the beginning. She is SO OPEN. Compared to most Romanians that I meet, she is far more progressive in her way of thinking about everything. It was super refreshing. She was very open to reading the Book of Mormon and is just one of the most lovely, classy women I have met here. She has so much promise and we’re way excited to keep meeting with her. Side note: She requested that the gospel be in English as well (she understands so much that it’s ok for her) and it is so weird to teach in English!! I almost prefer Romanian!

On Wednesday, we had a lesson/visit with the less active we are working with. Her name is Violeta and I LOVE HER. She is completely wonderful. She has two little boys who are just about my favorite people ever, and a great husband. We went with Marius and had a lesson with them about families, including the family proclamation. We read it all together and just talked about what it literally meant, what it meant for us, and what we need to do in this life in order to be with our families forever. The Spirit was really there and was really strong. Her littler 9 year old even participated. He was quite attentive, which is rare for him, haha, and was explaining back to me what we were talking about. I loved it. We invited her and her family to come again to church this week and she was so eager and willing to come, they just didn’t have the money to come. That is one of the hardest things about Romania, and one of the hardest things for me to see, all the poverty here. That being said, these good people are so kind and loving and faithful. They already have my whole heart and I would do ANYTHING for them. Every day, I just wish there was more that I could do for them. And I guess that’s really what love is, if you cut to the core – service. There is a member in the branch here who is amazing and crazy and wonderful. She’s a total crack up and makes us laugh all the time. We know that she doesn’t have much, in the way of family or temporal means, but she is so so faithful in this gospel. This week she was playing with and complimenting a necklace I was wearing. The thought came to my mind to just take it off and give it to her. So I did. I don’t think I have ever seen someone so excited. She was so happy. And I think I was even happier than she was. It’s crazy sometimes, but as a missionary (and after) it’s so important to follow any good thought that we have. After all: “But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God” (Moroni 7:13). One thing I’ve learned out here and just in life, is that it’s always better to just follow the good thoughts that come to my head because they’re most likely promptings and if they’re not…well they probably always are, haha.

Thursday we had an exchange with our STLs (sister training leaders). After having district meeting, Sora Robertson and I drove out to Feldioara with the Bairs. We first visited with Elena, who has been less active lately. She came to church last Sunday with was fantastic. She has two twin granddaughters that she is raising as her own and really is such a strong woman, what with all that she’s had to endure. While we visited and taught her a lesson, I noticed that she seemed to have a little more light than she did the previous week. Because SHE CAME TO CHURCH! It makes such a huge difference in our lives and I’m beginning to see the physical change it makes in us. By going to church and partaking of the Sacrament, we allow ourselves to let the light of Christ shine more brightly in us and through us to then reach others.

After meeting with Elena, we went to another family’s house. They hadn’t answered my calls that day to make sure we could still come over, but they haven’t been to church in a month so we decided to just go over. Well, we got there and I decided to call them one last time. The girlfriend of this family’s son answered and told us to just come in! So we went in and had a lesson with her. We found out that she is actually baptized too! Crazy. Sora Bair and Elder Bair were great because they kept her 4 month old baby girl occupied and quiet so we could have her full attention in our lesson. We hadn’t prepared for this girl but I can testify that the Spirit just works through you in moments like that. I thought and prayed to Heavenly Father to help me know what this girl needed to know. All I got was “Just tell her that I love her.” So simple. 🙂 So we did. We taught her about how much God loves us, and reminded her about the wonderful blessings He has promised us if we will keep our covenants and prepare to make more covenants with Him in the temple. She has a sweet and strong desire to go to the temple with all her family and we told her that for this to be possible, she needed to be coming to church. Before we closed our lesson, we sang “Be Still My Soul.” She didn’t know the hymn at first but loved it. She closed the lesson with a sincere prayer. I came away from that lesson feeling so blessed that we could have that opportunity to meet with her. It’s amazing how the Lord places you in people’s paths and vice versa. If the woman we originally were going to meet with had been there, we probably wouldn’t have been able to have that same experience. But that experience was in the Lord’s plan for this girl and in His plan for me. And it was amazing.

Saturday we had a lesson in Harman with the Filip Family. We brought Marius with us, because we really want these boys to have a stable, strong, fun, priesthood example. They were so great during this lesson. This family has one of the hardest situations but is so faithful and good. I have so much respect and love for Sora Filip and for these little boys. Sora Honey led a lesson about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or as we like to call it “Cinci pasi.” (There’s a cedilla on the “s” so it makes a “sh” sound, fyi :).) I love teaching these boys. They are so crazy and have some of the shortest attention spans ever, but they really do know the gospel. And they feel it too. They have this special ability to be sensitive to the Spirit. We committed them to pray together each night before they go to bed, just the four boys. It was such a cute and good lesson. We then missed our bus home and basically ended up walking most of the way home from Harman (about 8 miles? idk, but it was long and hot, ha.)

Ok, here’s (more of) my spiritual thoughts from this week. I got to read a talk called “The Fourth Missionary.” It is one of the most amazing things I’ve read. I love it. It just really inspired me to be the absolute best missionary I can be. If you haven’t read this talk, go read it! It not only applies to missionaries, but to us all. All of us should aspire to be “The Fourth Missionary.” It’s really the only way we will be truly happy in this life and the next. One of my favorite parts in it, is actually a quote from C.S. Lewis. He writes as if God were speaking to us, which I loved. He says:

Give me all. I don’t want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work: I want You. All of you. I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man, but to kill it. No half-measures will do. I don’t want to only prune a branch here and another there; rather, I want the whole tree out. Hand it all over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them all over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart” (Mere Christianity, pg. 167).

I had read this quote before, when a good friend lent me Mere Christianity, but it didn’t hit me then quite like it hit me this week. That’s exactly what I want to do, what I’m trying to do, what I will always be trying to do, every day. The Lord needs our hearts, our wills. Only then, can we truly be happy and truly serve and love others. I think He can fill our heart with so much more love than we can produce on our own. Isn’t that amazing? We can love more, when we surrender our hearts to Him. So cool.

I love you all!!! Hope everyone is well. I pray for all of you every night and love you so much. Thank you always for the encouragement and love.

Stay classy 🙂

Love,

Sora Marcheschi