A beautiful experience, to be a missionary and I love it more than anything

Hi!!

I hope you guys had a beautiful Christmas, with lots of food, love, and family.

Our week was wonderful, definitely different but still wonderful. Since most people were with family or away for Christmas, most of our lessons were with members and less actives. Because most people were gone or unavailable, we used a lot of time to do awesome contacting activities. Tuesday, each companionship made cookies and then we met at the Bairs’ together to make plates of cookies for members and investigators. We had a ton of plates and went caroling and delivering and visiting for 7 hours! I had the same feeling I do after I spend a day at Disneyland: tired feet, happy heart. It was a great day. That night, Sora Robertson and I played some Christmas music and talked and laughed until we fell asleep. I love her!! We have so much fun.

Lots of Santas we found as we caroled Christmas Eve

Lots of Santas we found as we caroled Christmas Eve

Christmas day, we did studies in the morning and I felt so blessed for doing them as usual. I read some beautiful verses and learned and was grateful we stuck to our habits even on Christmas. Especially on Christmas! πŸ™‚ We went to visit Corina and read the Christmas story in Luke with her. She was so happy we had come to see her. After our lesson with her we went to have Christmas dinner with our district at the Bairs’. It was a lot of fun and we laughed a lot. After we had eaten, we went around and each of us said what we were thankful for, since we forgot to do that on Thanksgiving. It was wonderful and I loved what each person said. We really are so blessed. We got to watch a movie on Christmas and we chose “The Book Thief.” WORST DECISION EVER. I cried way too much. Should not have watched it on Christmas, haha. But then Skyping with my family made up for how sad it was. πŸ™‚ It was SO GOOD to see you all! I have the best family! And the best looking family, in case anyone was wondering :).

The rest of our week was full of more contacting and singing, and visiting more members, investigators and less active members. We had an exchange with the sisters here in Brasov on Saturday and it went really well! I love having a chance to work with lots of sisters. It’s a challenge and a blessing.

Sunday was a bit of a trip for me. Primary was rough rough rough. Scared me a little to have kids — haha, just kidding. But really, it was hard. Sora Robertson, Sora Bair and I just group hugged afterwards, trying not to cry. Thankfully, Relief Society was wonderful. What made me especially happy though was that so many people we are working with came to church! Our investigator brought her friend, who ended up being super interested in the church and left with a Book of Mormon, Violeta brought her husband (Yay!!!) and Sora Herghelegiu even came! I haven’t seen her at church for a while so that made me super happy. I love when people come to church.

It started snowing here the day after Christmas and hasn’t really stopped. Everything is covered in snow and the world looks and feels so clean and gorgeous. It has snowed all day and I feel like I’m living in a giant snow-globe. We have had a few snowball fights and I think I have a couple enemies, haha. Gotta be on my guard the next little while. πŸ™‚

Lots of snow!

Lots of snow!

This week I finished Acts and started in Romans, which is one of my favorite books ever. I’m going to give you the scriptures and you do the study and tell me what you got. πŸ™‚

Start in Romans 8:18. Then read D&C 58:2-4, D&C 63:66, and D&C 136:31.Β Then read Romans 8:28 and then go to Ezra 8:22 and Alma 36:3. From Alma, go to Mosiah 23:21, and from there 1 Nephi 13:37. Tell me what you find. πŸ™‚

I love you all. This is a beautiful experience, to be a missionary and I love it more than anything. I am so happy, I am learning so much, I am changing so much. I love my Savior and I love my Father in Heaven. I don’t deserve anything they give to me, but I love them all the more for the fact that they keep on giving me so much.

Be happy. πŸ™‚

Love you,

Sora Marcheschi

Me and sora robertson with a teddy bear in Centru. It's blurry but this just describes our companionship haha.

Me and sora robertson with a teddy bear in Centru. It’s blurry but this just describes our companionship haha.

You are loved, by One who knows you

Hope you’re all warm, safe, and happy. I am. πŸ™‚

This week was really good. It definitely had its downs but it was a week where I grew a lot and learned a lot, so that makes it great.

Monday our entire district went bowling together – I don’t know if I mentioned that last week but it’s worth mentioning again because of how funny it was. I feel like everyone’s true personality just comes out when they bowl. Elders were jumping, growling in frustration; I was bowling the way grandmas do, it was just great. We then slid down a hill of ice, more or less on our backs and bottoms, sort of accidentally on purpose if you know what I mean. It was a great, fun day.

Tuesday we had a lesson with our investigators Aurelian and his grandma, Ana. We made cookies with Aurelian who had a fantastic time licking every spoon we used, and then while they were baking, shared a message about the Book of Mormon and got him to commit to read a story a day in the picture Book of Mormon. Later that night we went with some of the elders to visit the Filip boys. We’ve been going four of us now because then we can teach Sora Filip, their grandma, while the elders are with the boys. We had a special lesson and talked about the Priesthood.

Wednesday was our busiest day. We met with Nicoleta first thing in the morning. She was excited to see us and much happier than when we saw her the week before. We had an awesome lesson with her. We read together parts of President Uchtdorf’s talk from the General Women’s meeting called “Living the Gospel Joyful.” When I first heard his talk, I cried a little and that same feeling was there when we read it with her. That talk is just so beautiful. We also watched “He is the Gift” with her and it was so special. I have watched that video several times in lessons but the Spirit was stronger in that lesson with her than ever before. We all were very teary and very happy. It was a really special feeling for me. As we were leaving I gave her a gold locket of mine for her Saint Day and she was so excited! She says she’s going to put a picture of us together inside. πŸ™‚

Afterwards we went to have a lesson with a new investigator from our English class, Constantina. We got to her house and her husband was there too so we had a lesson with both of them. We read part of a talk from conference in English with them to help their English and then had a Restoration lesson. I think it was the coolest one I’ve been a part of on my mission. They were so so accepting and are so prepared. Her husband, Emil, was even saying how in his study of other religions and theology that he agrees that there are dispensations and that God withholds revelation and authority and then gives it back when people are ready. It was SO cool! We had to leave and right then Constantina tells us that she wants to have a meal with us. We thought she meant later sometime. Well, no she meant right then. And they wouldn’t let us leave until we ate! So then she brings out carp soup and it just has chunks of carp in it with the skin/scales on it still and everything. I ended up with the tail. And the bones in it. And the scales. I don’t really know how I ate it. Very slowly I think. By then we really had to go, but they brought out breaded trout! Haha, we had to politely but firmly tell them we were going to be late if we stayed any longer. I felt so bad because then Constantina brought out this huge pastry apple cake she had made and cut us some to take with us. They were positively lovely people and invited us back and we’re going to actually eat a whole meal with them next time. πŸ™‚

We met with Cristina Borbea, our 11 year old investigator, and the Pavel family later that night. Both lessons were great. All of we sisters and Marius went to visit a recent convert, Rebecca, that night at her request and it was so much fun. She has this little bird and it loved me. Loved my hair, my skirt, my arms, everything. It would just fly to me/at me without warning. I’m sure Marius has the funniest pictures of me and that bird.

The bird who loved me!

The bird who loved me!

Thursday we made cookies for our district with cards and secret santa’d them to all of them. We had a lesson with an english student, her two boys, and one of their friends as well and it went well. They are going to come to our fhe tomorrow night which will be great!

Saturday we had zone conference in Ploiesti. Sora Robertson and I left early that morning and were actually the first ones to even show up at the building, ha. Our schedule for the conference included our Christmas party and then a Christmas concert for the branch there that night. We were singing in that so we practiced our song. And if anyone can tell me how to shrink (I know that’s the wrong word but I don’t know English very well anymore) a file so I can send it, you can hear all the songs we sang! Anyway, conference. It was wonderful. The best one I’ve had yet. President and Sora Ivory were so full of love and encouragement and I learned a lot. I felt like their messages were so inspired for me and I was thankful. Sora Ivory had made lunch for us with soup, salad, bread and lots of good cheese (including real parmesan – holla! It’s way expensive so I don’t buy it here. I have missed that.). We ate and then had a slideshow and prepped for the concert. The concert that night was so good! All the members in Ploiesti did something. The children had the cutest program and each part of the branch had something. Then it was the missionaries’ turn. Sora Robertson and I sang, “The First Noel” in Eomanian and it was good. Then Elder Cloward, Elder Hokkanen and I sang our “O Come O Come Emmanuel” song and it was the best one we’ve ever done. It was so fun. I love singing! The rest of the night went really well – one of the missionaries was Santa at the end which was hilarious. We rode back to Brasov with the Bairs and stopped in Busteni where we hiked the huge cross and took some pictures with the lights there. Some of the funniest moments on my mission happened while we were there but I am sworn to secrecy by the Bairs. I was crying laughing it was so funny though. Sora Robertson and I had both received our Christmas packages so we had Christmas early (Sorry Mom!! πŸ™‚ ) and opened them. It was really special. I cried a little when I saw a wrapped present from each of you! It was really cool. I am so blessed to have the family I have! Love you!

Sunday was my favorite day of the week though. Church was amazing. Our little Primary kids sang in church. We have been working on “Away in a Manger” and they sounded so good! After church we all went to the Bairs’ bloc and caroled on each floor. We got in so many doors, made awesome contacts, and even would have earned over 200 lei had we accepted money! So legit. And it was great contacting. We had our Sunday dinner and then planned our Christmas Eve and Christmas plans. We’re doing so much service! I love it. I can’t wait. πŸ™‚

Bowling for P-day today

Bowling for P-day today

Today in my personal study I read John 20. I am reading the gospels for Christmas and almost finished today but decided to save a little for tomorrow as well. But I have a verse that I love. It’s John 20:15-16. I love this story so much. I love how it took just her name from His lips for her to recognize Him. I also love the symbolism in how she turned to him and then called Him, Master. That is beautiful. I feel like I am always having to continually “turn” to Christ and be better, but every time I feel more committed, more grateful, more blessed.

I hope you all have a beautiful Christmas. You are loved, by One who knows you better than anyone else. Cherish that. I love you all too. πŸ™‚

Love,

Sora Marcheschi

Our sacrifices bring great blessings

Hey everyone!!

This was such an awesome week! We found out last Saturday that Sora Weaver was being transferred and that I was staying here and Sora Robertson would be my new companion. [Sora Robertson is from Saskatchewan, Canada.] So Tuesday we had a lot of people to see before Sora Weaver left.

Tuesday we saw a lot of our English students and had lessons with them. They all brought us little gifts!! Aurica gave us both scarves which was so so sweet, and then Daniela brought us a Christmas card that she wrote in English using Google Translate, haha. A for effort. πŸ™‚ Then Aurelian (I know he’s everyone’s favorite) came with his grandma and we were able to share the “He is the Gift” video with them and talk about Christmas and Christ. Everyone loves this video! Aurelian gave us both some traditional Romanian things made out of wood, including a pipe like Peter Pan has. It’s so pretty with lots of intricate carvings. We went right after that to visit members in Feldioara. We had a wonderful visit/lesson with them. It was good to just have a gospel discussion and be lifted by them. They are so faithful through all their hardships and set such a wonderful example for me. The Bairs took Sora Weaver and me out to dinner for the “last supper” as Elder Bair said. We ran out lastly to see the Filip boys one last time for Sora Weaver and then went home to finish her packing.

Wednesday we took an early train down to Bucuresti for transfers. My whole MTC district was there which was THE BEST! It felt like seeing my family again. We all went to the office together to do business quick and then had a real American meal at Ruby Tuesday’s! It was so so good. We were pretty lost for most of the day in Buc but we had fun. I met up with my new companion, Sora Robertson, and we went back with the rest of our district to Brasov. The Oradea missionaries were on our train so we got to talk with them and Aurelian’s mom was also on our train. She and I talked for a while which was really cool. She even helped me with our huge supply bag I had to carry! Our mission now has pass along cards that look like our nametags! They are super cool. On the back they say “Ask me why I’m spending a year and a half volunteering in Romania and Moldova.” They work so well because people always look at our tags and this way they remember us better.

Thursday we had district meeting and then we all went caroling. Our district is super musical which I LOVE. We sang in a piata and there was this sweet girl who stayed the entire time. We talked with her and are going to meet with her this week so we’re excited. After that we came home for Sora Robertson to unpack and we weekly planned which was perfect β€˜cause the rest of our weekend was full full full.

Friday we spent most of the day preparing for our Christmas party the next day. That morning we had an amazingly special lesson with Camelia. We have been going really slowly with her but Friday we made good progress. We had an English lesson by reading from a book with her. She had been reading “Alice in Wonderland” but the language in there is such old English and it’s British English too so it was super confusing. Sora Bair told her that she would pick up a different book for her to read. So we got there and Sora Bair had bought “The Fault in Our Stars” which I love! So Camelia started reading it out loud to us. Hahaha, within the first three pages there were about 3 different variations describing male body parts (all having to do with cancer, so it was at least kind of medical) and then a not so nice term for an illegitimate son. Elder Bair and Sora Robertson and I were trying so so hard not to laugh and Sora Bair just looked so embarrassed, hahahah. Camelia didn’t quiet understand and thought we were laughing at how she was speaking so then she started laughing and it was just super funny. Sora Bair did a good job of explaining those words in nice, simple terms that glossed over the root meaning, haha. But thankfully after that we actually had a super spiritual lesson. We talked with her about prayer. It was really special for me since that is one of the things I love the most. At the end of our lesson we invited her to just try praying how we pray every day for a week and that if she didn’t like it she didn’t have to try it again. I testified of the blessings that would come into her life and got a bit teary. I love prayer. I know she will be so happy as she prays every day, with a sincere heart. She said she would try it!!! I was ecstatic. So so happy. The rest of the day we spent cleaning and decorating the church and cooking lots of sarmale for Saturday.

Saturday morning I made penuche for the party and we went over to the church to practice our music and parts for the Christmas program. We did Christmas around the world and I talked a little bit about Italy, and some traditions and food from there. I sang a carol called “Tu scendi dalle stelle” which means “you come down from the stars” and is beautiful. Elder Cloward and I sang an arrangement we did of “O come O come Emmanuel” and all the Primary kids sang a Romanian carol called “O Ce Veste Minutata” which is one of my favorites. After the program we had a huge meal with lots of food from different countries and lots of sarmale, haha. Then Sora Ruiz had made two pinatas for Mexico and the kids hit them and got candy. But I swear when they broke it, it was the most frightening thing I’ve ever seen. They all rushed and hit and kicked and bit each other to get to the candy. And then they demolished the already broken pinatas. It was SCARY. After that all the missionaries took investigators to Centru to get hot chocolate. It was a long long day but really fun.

Sunday was wonderful. We were exhausted and really sore but Sacrament meeting was great. Elder Critchlow was there and it was so nice to hear a talk in English. I think English will be an amazing thing to hear again when I’m back. He gave a wonderful talk about giving and sacrificing for Christmas. Primary was wonderful and the kids were actually somewhat reverent so I counted it as a win for us. Relief Society was good too and then we had Pandoro (a sweet bread from Italy with powdered sugar) at the end, just we girls. Everyone wanted seconds. πŸ™‚ Our district went to Centru after to carol and we had a huge crowd! Elder Cloward and I sang that song again and everyone was recording us! That’s kind of a cool but funny feeling, knowing that people you don’t know have a video of you….mhm. Cool but weird. Dinner at the Bairs was great as usual, filled with jokes, silly pictures, and Elder Hokkanen trying to get us all to stand instead of sit when we practiced our carols. I love it here.

I read a scripture this week that I love. It’s Luke 18:29-30.

“And he said unto them, Very I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake,

Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.”

Our sacrifices bring great blessings. Just remember that. πŸ™‚

Love you all!!!!

Sora Marcheschi

Part of our MTC district at transfers!

Part of our MTC district at transfers!

12.15.14 Sora Robertson and Santa cab driver

Santa was our cab driver!

12.15.14 w: Sora Robertson by Brasov Christmas tree

With Sora Robertson in front of the Brasov Christmas tree

 

When I believe, the Lord fulfills His promises

Hello Hello!!!

I hope everyone is enjoying the Christmas season. πŸ™‚ If you haven’t heard about this yet, go watch “He is the Gift” on mormon.org/christmas. It is so beautiful. We’ve been using it in lessons and sharing it with people in the branch, asking them what their gifts to Christ will be for Christmas. Think about that this week: What will your gift be to Christ? I know what mine is. πŸ™‚

This week was so great!!!

Monday was Romania National Day. We met up in Centru and there was a huge parade with the military band and afterwards, traditional Romanian dancing and people singing carols with shirts that said, “Let’s be friends” but obviously in Romanian. We sang carols with them and then went to a place that an investigator told us about called “The Tea Spot.” I felt like I was walking into a Dr. Seuss novel. The walls were all painted in different colors and there were the oddest knicknacks all over. There was even a huge treasure chest in the girls’ bathroom. Who knows? Haha, but they had the absolute best hot chocolate I’ve ever had!! It was probably just melted chocolate and not that good for me but when it’s that good, who cares?

Tuesday we had a lesson with an investigator at the Bairs’. It went so well! She was so so open and receptive and interested in the Book of Mormon and the Restoration. It was so cool! Sadly she left Brasov for Christmas but we’ll see her again in January.

Wednesday we spent most of our day trying to get Sora Weaver a visa. It’s taken so long!! We’ve had to make two trips to Bucuresti and finally are trying to do it here in Brasov. But it was a long process. Hopefully she gets accepted and doesn’t have to be shipped mid-transfer to Moldova!! That night we went out to Harman to see my favorite 4 boys in the entire world; the Filips. The elders came with us to help teach and we had a wonderful time. We talked about Christmas and what they could give Jesus. We sang some Christmas songs and some hymns which Sora Filip loved and said we should do more often. It felt so good to be with them and to feel the spirit in their home.

Thursday we did an exchange with the sisters here in Brasov. I went with Sora Cox which was super fun for us since we were in the MTC together. We had a lesson with a new investigator, Constantina. She is so awesome!!! She and her husband went to our church back in β€˜91 right after the revolution when the church here was only in English and they used a translator. That’s crazy!!! She is really interested and has so many questions. My favorite: “If we all believe in God, why are we not united? Why are we not all one church?” Good question. πŸ™‚ That night we visited Loana and then Violeta and her family. It was so good. We sang some hymns with both of them and they loved it. I don’t know why I haven’t sung more out here. So silly of me. It changes the atmosphere of lessons instantly. I love it. πŸ™‚

Friday we had a lesson with Camelia at the Bairs’. She had so much fun! She loves Sora Bair and they bonded over the fact that it’s so much harder to learn a language when you are older. We shared “He is the Gift” with her and then talked about the Atonement. I got a little emotional during it, as I usually do when talking about the Atonement. We went to visit Corina, a member here, after that and then went to an English student’s house. She had prepared lunch/dinner for us which we were not expecting, so we were already full. Awkward. Also, she tried to serve us “strength,” aka ALCOHOL. Like the strongest smelling stuff I’ve ever smelled in my entire life. It almost smelled like rubbing alcohol, haha. It was hilarious. In Romania, they celebrate Santa Claus and St. Nicholas – they’re two different people for them here. So December 6th is St. Nicholas day and he comes to good children and puts sweets and treats in their boots, kinda like we do with stockings. So this woman gave us chocolates for St. Nicholas day! So sweet of her.

Right after that we went out to Feldioara with the Bairs and met with members and less actives there. We had a miracle lesson with Elena – she brought over a friend and the friend’s daughters who we are now going to teach. They loved the Christmas songs we sang with them and our message about Christmas. The daughters especially are interested. It’s been super interesting how most people we are teaching and baptizing right now are in two age groups: 30/40s and youth/kids.

Saturday was our last English class and we did Christmas words and then we showed them the song “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” For the past two weeks we’ve listened to more classic Christmas songs like “White Christmas” or “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” So this week we had a little more fun with the song. And they loved it, haha. So many of our English students brought us gifts for St. Nicholas day. We took lots of pictures and had a lot of fun. We met with Carmen and had lunch with her afterwards to say goodbye for Sora Weaver (OH! I forgot – I’m staying in Brasov for another transfer and Sora Weaver is going to Buc!) and then to plan for our Christmas party this week. After that, we all went down to Centru with members and investigators for the tree lighting. In the center of town here there is a huge huge tree, probably about the size of the one in New York. All around it are little wooden stands/shops with arts & crafts and food for Christmas. All of Brasov was there!! We got there and Carmen dropped us off with Teo and we went and saw the tree light up. It was magical. I felt like a little girl as I saw all the lights turn on and heard the Christmas music. Carmen and Marius joined us later for a Christmas concert by a famous Romanian singer, Andra, and then there were fireworks. RIGHT OVER OUR HEADS. Well, they actually started a little bit away but then moved right above us. They were amazing. Easily one of the best fireworks shows I’ve seen. But little things kept falling on us, hahaha. It was funny. Carmen treated us all to hot chocolate afterwards and then we went to the church to clean it for Sunday.

Sunday morning I woke up and started making ragu sauce for homemade lasagna that I was making for the district for our Sunday dinner. Church was so good but so crazy. There were so so many kids there which was quite overwhelming in Primary. I understand how moms feel now, when they say that it can be hard to find your own spiritual fulfillment at church when it’s like that. I felt like I was being pulled and called in every direction to help someone, haha. But it always feels good to help. πŸ™‚ I finished the lasagna afterwards while Sora Weaver packed for transfers, and then we had dinner. Everyone loved it, thankfully, haha, and then we made funfetti cake (S/O to Bentley Hensel!!! Thank you!!) for Sora Weaver’s birthday which is the day after transfers so we celebrated it here. We practiced carols as a district afterwards so that we can go caroling all together sometime this week. We got home and I just crashed on our couch, I was so tired! It was a great day though. I always love Sundays. Our cute investigator, Cristina, made me come up with her to bear her testimony. She was holding my hand so so tight, but she did such a fantastic job! She told me after that her heart had been beating so fast. πŸ™‚

Today has been more relaxed, which is nice.

I found some amazing scriptures this week. The first is Luke 1:45. It’s Elisabeth talking to Mary. I love it. I took it totally out of context and just applied it to myself, which was great β€˜cause it even uses the word “she” instead of “he.” πŸ™‚

“And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.”

I love how I am promised that when I believe, the Lord fulfills His promises to me. I have already seen that in my life. It’s so amazing!!

The second was Luke 4: 13-14.

“And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season. And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit….”

After we are tempted and overcome, we have the Spirit with us stronger than before. We are blessed with an increase of the Spirit. πŸ™‚

I love you all!!! I love being here. πŸ™‚ I hope you are all safe and happy!

Love,
Emily/Sora Marcheschi

12.8.14 Christmast tree lighting Brasov

Getting ready for the Brasov Christmas tree lighting

After the lighting!

After the lighting!

With Sora Weaver and Teo

With Sora Weaver and Teo

Nativity in the square

Nativity in the square

Lights everywhere

Lights everywhere

Tribulation worketh patience

I hope everyone had an awesome Thanksgiving and that you’re surviving the scary weather I’ve been hearing about back in America. Lots of snow or something? Our English students keep telling me that everyone in America is dying because of all the snow. I really hope that’s not true. It’s so weird to hear the news of the “outside world” β€˜cause it just sounds awful! People dying, race riots, Putin. Geez. I kind of like not being informed about everything that’s going on. It’s a lot more happy. πŸ™‚

This last week was good! It was a bit harder because I got really sick last Sunday and it lasted until today (I’m still a little sniffly ha) but we had a good week still.

Since my Thanksgiving email was less than stellar due to having little time and also a headache, here’s a retake on what I’m thankful for. πŸ™‚

I’m thankful for the scriptures. Every day I get the opportunity to learn and to feel the Spirit in a way that isn’t possible doing anything else. I love the scriptures. I learn something new every day. I always can feel how much God loves me when I read.

I’m thankful for how gorgeous it is here. It rained this week really hard and then everything froze. Every branch, leaf, and blade of grass is frozen in a sheen of ice. It’s beautiful. And then it snowed. So it feels and looks like Narnia here. I love it. Even though it’s so cold and my feet freeze, haha.

I’m thankful for the people of Romania. They are the most hospitable, generous, warm, and loving people. When they love you, they really love you. They will give and give and give until it hurts. But that’s what love is. I am so grateful I get to love them. They have my heart. I love when they scold me for not wearing tights, haha. I love when they kiss us and tell us we’re just the most beautiful things they’ve ever seen. I love our English student who tells me every class that I look just like Kate Middleton. I will take that compliment any day, thank you. I am thankful for Aurelian, our 9 year old English investigator who wants us to help him learn English and is absolutely in love with me. I feel quite honored to be this kid’s first crush. That’s new for me and I’m figuring out how to navigate it, haha, but he’s so sweet and loves coming to church and being in primary so we figure that it’s not just me that he likes. Phew.

I am so thankful for the members here in Brasov. They have adopted me into their family and I love them dearly. There’s Carmen, the Relief Society President who was just baptized in June, who treats me like a daughter and a sister all at the same time. We talk about boys, school, life, the gospel, etc. She is my best friend! Her little daughter Teo is my other best friend, haha. She and I love to play together, sing and play the piano after church. Carmen looks out for us and we love her for it. Then there’s Violeta, a member who has been less active who has become another best friend. She has a heart of gold and wants so badly to be more active. She came to a baptism we had here on Saturday night and told me that she was so thankful for us and that she feels like she’s becoming a member again. I was so happy! And thankful! I am thankful for so so many people to love. Sometimes I feel stretched and like I can’t possibly love any more people; that I can’t possibly have more to give than I have already given. But that’s the great thing about love – when you love more and sacrifice more, your capacity to love increases. How greatly our Savior must love us. His ultimate and infinite sacrifice for us means that His capacity to love us is ultimate and infinite as well. That is wonderful to think about.

I am thankful for my trials. I am also learning to be thankful for my trials during my trials and not just after. There’s a quote from C.S. Lewis that says, “God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way.” I really believe that. My trials really do teach me something, and always bring me strength. In Romans (one of the best books!!!) 5:1-6 it says:

β€œTherefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in the glory of God.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; and experience, hope;
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”

My trials help me learn patience, something I sorely need, haha. Patience with myself, with others, and patience in Christ and my Heavenly Father. It is also true, that my trials bring me hope. How wonderful is that? We can have hope through our trials. What a blessing. I am thankful for everyone who has patience with me and hope in me. Thank you. πŸ™‚

I am thankful that I get to wear out my life (and my shoes) in the service of my Savior. There is nothing that makes me happier or brings greater peace, and direction to my life.

I am so eternally thankful for a family who has chosen the better part and who teaches me to do the same. They are my bestest bestest friends and although I miss them dearly, I am looking forward to the day when seeing them again is even sweeter because we have been apart. I am strengthened always by their testimonies, their examples, and their love for me and everyone. I am so blessed.

I am thankful for all of the wonderful friends God has placed in my life who have shaped my life and changed me for the better! You are amazing and I am thankful for each and every one of you.

I am thankful for my Father in Heaven who loves me infinitely, who has given me all that I have and desires to give me even more. How blessed I am! I am so thankful that He has a plan for me and for everyone and that His greatest wish is to be with all of us again. What a party that will be. πŸ™‚

Last, but in no way least, I am grateful for and to my Savior, my Brother, my Healer, and my Friend. He is everything to me and I just want to try to do all I can for Him, even if I keep failing. One of my favorite scriptures is Psalms 37:23-24.

“The steps of a good man [or woman] are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.”

That’s how I feel – upheld.

I love you all! I’m sorry if this was preachy, or just way too long, haha, but once you start talking about what you’re thankful for it can be kind of hard to stop. πŸ™‚ Thank you for putting up with me. πŸ™‚

Love you all,

Em

A winter wonderland!

A winter wonderland!

Caroling outside

Caroling outside

My toes were freezing!

My toes were freezing!

The joy of the season

The joy of the season