Hope you’re all warm, safe, and happy. I am. 🙂
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. 🙂
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. 🙂
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.
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!! 🙂 ) 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. 🙂
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. 🙂