I hope everyone is enjoying the Christmas season. 🙂 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. 🙂
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 ‘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. 🙂 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. 🙂
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. 🙂 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. 🙂
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 ‘cause it even uses the word “she” instead of “he.” 🙂
“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. 🙂
I love you all!!! I love being here. 🙂 I hope you are all safe and happy!