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 🙂