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.
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 🙂
Sora Emily Marcheschi