The Lord visits us with assurances

hey everyone!

today I’m writing from a really slow computer with a really sticky keyboard. so it’s lowercase today guys. 🙂

i hope everyone had a great week! i love that we choose our happiness – we choose how we respond to our circumstances and what determines our happiness. so choose to just be happy, no matter what!

this week was busy busy and we’re tired, but so happy.

too many things happened this week to type them all, but i want to share how awesome brasov is. so here are some highlights this week:

– we got tons of referrals! like more than usual. we’ve been wanting to find solid new investigators and it’s slowly happening. right before i (probably) leave! I’ve been in brasov for 5 transfers now so most likely i’ll leave next week so i’m trying to soak it in as much as i can.

– we had the most awesome fhe. we did minute-to-win-it games. after english we invited everyone to stay and some cool new students stayed. they had such a good time too! it was so nice to see members and investigators having fun, just as people. there really was no division at all between them, which of course there shouldn’t be. the whole night was pretty hilarious, so i’ll get on sora bair to put up the pictures.

– constantina, our sweet investigator got really really sick this week. that’s not the highlight obviously, but it’s the coolest story. we didn’t know she had gotten sick, so we went over to her house and she beckoned us inside and dramatically waves her hands around telling us she is sick. but she has us come sit down anyway aha. she tells us that she was sick all night, and then goes and throws up in the bathroom. sora robertson and i just sat there waiting, kinda nervous. but then she comes out, has us come to her bedroom, gets in bed and tells us she wants a lesson. so cute! she read 1 nephi 14 outloud to us and we talked about the priesthood and how the bible was changed. she was teaching us a lot of it which was awesome. she doesn’t think she has great faith but she definitely does.

– zone conference. we had it thursday and president had some friends, the rutleys, here from england. so not only was i enchanted with their lovely accents, but what they shared with us was awesome too. sora ivory gave a great talk too. it was on our journey as a missionary. And that it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) end in a “where,” but in a “who.” i loved that and that’s how i’ve felt my entire mission. i just want to become, not to just go wherever life takes me. it was a good conference and i got some needed direction and revelation so i was happy. 🙂

– we had a ton of investigators come to church! like 7 i think. which was awesome. 4 of them are young and from our english class and we all were so excited. it was even more awesome because elder sanchez and i did “i stand all amazed” in sacrament. he played and i sang and it was so amazing. the spirit was just thick in the room. carmen was crying and it was just beautiful. i love singing! music is so amazingly powerful and i love that it touches people so individually.

i read two amazing verses this week while i was studying hope. they’re in alma 58:10-11.

10 Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, yea, and also give us strength that we might retain our cities, and our lands, and our possessions, for the support of our people.

11 Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.

i love that they say that they were “visited with assurances.” that is how the lord works – he calms our souls and assures us if we listen and look for it. i love the pattern too: prayer with real intent, answer of peace, and then the blessings of great faith and hope. what an amazing pattern we can apply in our lives! i know the lord answers our prayers. he is so acutely and intensely aware of us; our every feeling, every desire, every hope for our lives. and i know he wants to bless us and that he will. don’t give up on him, becuase he certainly hasn’t and will never give up on you.

i love you all!! say your prayers, read your scriptures, help others and you’ll be happy! 🙂

love sora marcheschi

Preparation day with Sora Robertson above Brasov

Preparation day with Sora Robertson above Brasov

Exchange with Sora Cox in Sibiu

Exchange with Sora Cox in Sibiu

With Cesar at the Pavels' home

With Cesar at the Pavels’ home

With some missionaries from my MTC district - in Sibiu

With some missionaries from my MTC district – in Sibiu

Thai food :)

Thai food 🙂

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He offered up His life for you. You can offer back your heart.

Hello!!!

How are you all? I hope you all had an awesome week.

Well, to start off this email I just have to tell you that we found Thai and Indian food last Monday. So I was incredibly happy. That’s the only food I haven’t had since I came out here so it tasted so so good. We feasted Monday and Tuesday nights on Satay curry and Chicken Tikka Masala. 🙂

Tuesday as a companionship we strove for what we call a “perfect day” meaning that we taught three lessons (one each to an investigator, a less active and a member), did three hours of contacting, and did a POP (2 minute role play in Romanian) three times. We accomplished all of it which felt awesome. We had really good lessons with all three women we visited, and already had two hours of contacting but we weren’t sure how to fit in a third. Well, we ended up getting on the wrong bus which we rode for a while and a woman who had come to English before she sat down across from us. We talked with her for a long time and she told us that she’d love if we could come visit her! So we got in our third hour just like that. God recognizes our good goals and really does help us achieve them. That night we taught English which was a blast as usual and then had a really successful family home evening. We had some English students stay and then quite a few members and us. We played a bunch of games and everyone had a lot of fun. We have minute-to-win-it games planned for tomorrow’s FHE which will be hilarious. 🙂

Wednesday we had three lessons with new investigators! The first was a woman from our English class. The night before at English, we were reviewing the past tense so we asked everyone “What did you do today?” . When it was her turn, she said, “I read, from the Book of Mormon.” Hahaha, we were so happy! It was the cutest thing. We went up to her house which is on this hill overlooking Centru in Brasov, so it was absolutely gorgeous. We had a really wonderful lesson with her – she had read so much in the Book of Mormon already and is so receptive to the Spirit. She called us her angels. That was a really cool lesson. After our other two lessons with new investigators, we had a lesson with Violeta. We had a really cool lesson with her and Mihai on Mosiah 2: 20-21, 22, 24, 34 (the section in the middle about being indebted to Heavenly Father), and verse 41. I love teaching the gospel to kids and seeing how they apply it in their lives.  I just love that about the gospel in general – it applies to every part of our lives because God cares about every part of our lives.

Wednesday night, one companionship of sisters from Ploiesti came up for exchanges. We split for Thursday and I went with Sora Parr. She’s from St. George, Utah and is a lot of fun. We had our district meeting that morning and then had lessons with Corina and Cristina Mesco, the branch president’s wife. During our lesson with Corina we had planned a lesson but then she started showing us all these old pictures of her and her family that were so cool. We switched our plans and had a lesson on family history. She had just received a tablet from her cell phone company for being “a loyal customer,” haha, and so we were able to help her make a Familysearch account and start to enter in information about her family and put pictures on. She was so excited! And I was way excited. I haven’t done family history before but it is so cool! Especially with all this new technology that we have to use. I loved it. Our other lesson with Cristina was so so good. We talked about that chapter from Mosiah and just had a really good discussion. She wants to be better about reading in the scriptures every day. As a mom and a nursing student, she hardly has any time but she has been reading them on her phone and listening to them as she travels. We also talked about good ways to study the scriptures instead of just reading them.  That night, we all met at the other sisters’ apartment and made pancakes for dinner with peanut butter and syrup. It was a super fun night and breakfast for dinner tasted really good.

Friday morning we had a lesson with Teo, Carmen’s daughter. We taught it from the children’s section in the Liahona about the wise man and the foolish man (Matthew 7) and how we can build our lives on the rock that is our Savior. We had written out a bunch of actions, good and bad, and had her separate them into two groups and tell us where each one went. She did so well and Carmen was really proud of her. We gave her this rock that coincidentally was in the shape of a heart that we had written “Jesus” on so she can remember that if she builds her life on Him, she will be happy. After our lesson we ran home to grab our bags and then headed to the gara to catch our maxi taxi to Sibiu. Well, we waited for almost two hours because it was late, and then they took everyone else except us. We were at our limit and didn’t know what to do. Haha, it was not a pretty moment for either of us. Thankfully, the Bairs came to our rescue and drove us the two hours to Sibiu. It was a beautiful drive and the company was certainly much better than it would’ve been on the maxi.

When we got there we tried to go find dinner with the Sibiu sisters (Sora Cox and Sora Johnson – love them both so much!) but we couldn’t find a place we liked. We ended up ordering a HUGE pizza and eating it back at their apartment. The next morning we all ran to the church, worked out together there, and then ran back. We had district meeting together and then all ran to lunch. We had English after that and they had us help teach the beginner class. I got to teach them some words for Valentine’s Day, which we all had a lot of fun with. 🙂  Sora Cox and I had two lessons scheduled. On our way to one, she canceled, so we went to the other woman a little early. We walked to the edge of the town where she lived and when we got there she said come back another day. Despite those things happening, it was so much fun. It was beautiful that day, with lots of sun and it wasn’t too cold. So we did some less active finding. We walked to a couple more places, trying to find people and then headed back to the church for family home evening. Sora Cox and I gave the spiritual thought and then we played games with members, English students, and investigators. We got some lessons scheduled with new people for the sisters which was awesome! We ran to catch our bus (we’re always running to catch our rides, haha) and then it was at a different train station than we thought – one on the opposite side of the city. An awesome cab driver got us there in less than ten minutes (don’t ask me how…) and we got there in time. We made it thankfully and got home safely that night.

The next day was a really good day at church. Sacrament meeting was awesome. Carmen spoke about agency and Elder Hokkanen spoke about the Plan of Salvation. The hymns that day were also all some of my favorites; “How Firm A Foundation,” “I Stand All Amazed,” and “Where Can I Turn For Peace?”. It was just a beautiful meeting. We were both exhausted from traveling but the day was great. We had a good district dinner at the Bairs’. Sora Ruiz had made some good Mexican dish, which was super super spicy, ha, but so good. We planned out this week’s activities afterwards and then headed home for weekly planning.

This week seemed more exhausting than most so I was grateful for really good studies.

I focused a lot on Mosiah 2-4. I love those chapters! I especially love in Mosiah 2: 34 where it says “…ye are eternally indebted to you heavenly Father, to render to him all that you have and are….” That’s basically the great trial of this life I think – to give all that we have and are to the Lord. It’s hard! I have to re-do it every day, haha. But I love trying. It gets easier the more I try and I can see so many blessings from doing it. I still fail, much more than I’d like to, but I can see how the Atonement works to help change me and help me be better every day. I can see it working when I make mistakes, as I sincerely try harder to change and to recommit.  If we continue in Mosiah 3: 18-19, 21, we can see how we give him all that we have and are: we are to become as little children.

My favorite verses I read this week are in Mosiah 4: 9-10, 11. I especially love the promises in verse 11, that we “…shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of [our] sins; and [we] shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created [us], or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.” I LOVE that. I can say for sure that I know that is true. When we try our best to do what is right, we are so happy! And we are filled with His love. We can feel His love for us, and we feel it for others around us.  I just know that as we try to give our hearts to Him, through changing ourselves we are so happy. I read a talk this week by Elder Kearon called “Messages of Love” and I love this part of it. He says:

“Let your hearts feel the reality of Lehi’s teaching about your perfectly loving and perfectly forgiving Savior: ‘Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit’ (2 Nephi 2:7). He offered Himself as a sacrifice for you, and His suffering can answer the ends of the law for you. ‘Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more’ (D&C 58:42). Can we ever hear this promise too often? These scriptures, and many others, can bring you the strength and the determination to act, to change, to repent, and to offer up to the Lord your broken heart and contrite spirit. He offered up His life for you. You can offer back your heart.”

If we can do this, no matter how long it takes us, we will be so blessed. 🙂

I love you all!! I love being here, loving all these amazing people. Do something nice for someone this week, without expecting anything in return. We will change the world through our actions of love, no matter how small they may be or seem.

Love you!

Sora Marcheschi

Pictures

Redirection that comes from daily prayer is always a good thing

Hey guys!

Hopefully you all had great weeks!! Ours was pretty good. We had a busy week but it was full of fun and good work.

Tuesday we exchanged with the sisters here in Brasov and I got to go with Sora Parker. We had a way good day, visiting Carmen, and then having a lesson with Constantina our investigator. Our lesson with her was way good – she’s been progressing but has kind of gotten to a stand-still and I really wanted to figure out what was happening. We talked with her about the Restoration again. I’ve gained such a testimony of teaching the Restoration. If people understand that and gain a testimony of that, then everything makes sense.

Wednesday we had a really full day. We had a lesson early in the day with Sora Miron. The Bairs took us out to her place and we worked on dresses first. Sora Miron is a master seamstress and is making us dresses. We went to a fabric store on Monday to buy fabric and then showed her what we wanted and she will have them done in two weeks. We had a lesson with her about the children of Israel and after we shared some verses she ended up taking the lesson in a different direction but it worked out perfectly because we could see her applying their situation and their story in her own life. I love when that happens! We met Carmen after to go visit a less active sister and it was a good visit but we’re stuck as to how to get her to come to church consistently. She’s been coming on and off ever since before I arrived and nothing has helped. That evening we had a lesson with our investigator Kristina, who we haven’t been able to see in a while so we were happy. We talked a lot about Heavenly Father and our relationship to Him and with Him. She was asking us a lot about trials we’ve had in our lives because we’re members which ironically made me excited because it means she’s thinking about our church and what it would mean if she were baptized! We are going to have her over to Carmen’s this week and invite her to be baptized again so we’ll see what happens. We left around 5 for Buc and stayed the night with Sora Honey and her companion!

Thursday we had MLC (mission leadership council) at our new mission office in Bucuresti. It is super super nice and now that the furniture is there and it’s designed, it’s really awesome. We started our meeting with a presentation from the Assistants to the President about the WHY behind everything we’re doing. It was really inspiring and I loved everything they said. Ultimately, it should be because we love the Savior. Sora Ivory gave a really good presentation on redirecting ourselves in our lives when we get stuck. She has a real talent of being relatable with us even when she presents and it shows. Redirection is always a good thing – we should be redirecting and recorrecting ourselves all the time. A huge part of that is daily prayer and making sure we are staying close to our Father in Heaven. It was so nice for me to be with all these other great missionaries. I always feel like I learn so much from them and that it just feels good and strengthening to be with them. After the entire meeting (it went until about 4) those who had trains to wait for got to watch “Meet the Mormons.” I thought it was really good! A little cheesy but I loved it. Our train was super late that night and we got home and just collapsed into our beds.

Friday we had a good district meeting and then we went with Carmen out to Feldioara to visit some members, less actives and investigators out there. She is so wonderful with everyone! She is such a help to us in our lesson and work.

Saturday after English we met up with our investigators and met one of their husbands. It was awesome to get an in with him and we got invited over to their place so we ate with them. Before we started eating, our investigator Roxana (whose husband invited us over) said, “Wait! The girls pray before they eat!” It was awesome! We invited her to prayer and she had forgotten so I taught her really quickly right then and there and then she said the cutest prayer. It was really sincere and I was so happy she remembered we pray. They both invited us back which we’re excited about!

Sunday I gave my FIRST talk in Church since coming to Romania. Almost a year and I hadn’t spoken yet. Haha. I spoke on the Restoration and I was so so nervous. I love speaking in Church but doing it in Romaninan is a completely different story. Thankfully it went really really well and so many members told me they loved it and that they felt the Spirit. That’s all I wanted so I was happy. 🙂

This week I’ve been studying my patriarchal blessing a ton. More than other weeks out here. I love knowing that I have such a good map to help direct me in my life. I feel so blessed to be a missionary here and to be able to love these people and share the gospel with them.

I hope you all stay safe and happy! Love you. 🙂

Love,

Sora Marcheschi

Obedience really is happiness

Hi everyone, 🙂

I hope you all had an awesome week! Ours was busy, and hard, and I learned a lot. It was one of those weeks where I really sought for revelation and God gave it to me little by little.

After internet last Monday, we met up with three young investigators we have to eat with them and they brought a friend. We got to just have a natural conversation with all of them about their lives and apply gospel principles to what each was going through. It made me realize how easy it will be to share the gospel when I get home.

Here are the highlights from this week:

– Awesome lesson with Constantina. We gave her a soft baptismal commitment and she accepted, even though she is very hesitant to leave the traditions of her Orthodox faith. She continues to come to church every week! And all the members love her and have just embraced her already as one of their own. I love seeing that. 🙂

– Wednesday we had four lessons which felt so good. They all went really well too. We committed Cristina Borbea to fast with us on Sunday for a baptismal date, and then shared a really cool lesson with two other families about our “daily bread,” aka daily scripture study and prayer. They both loved it, especially Violeta’s family. We got there and there was already such a good spirit in their home. Her son Mihai was so well behaved (he’s normally a little wild but I love the kid) and participated SO much. He wanted to read every scripture we read and then made his mom promise that they would read about Nephi right after we left. I love seeing families come together to live the gospel.

– We had a lesson this week with a member in our branch that’s been there forever and who everyone just loves. She’s a special human being and we loved our lesson with her. We took an experience from the YW personal progress booklet about faith and made it our lesson. We taught about the plan of salvation and read some scriptures with her and then had her teach it back to us, using a diagram she made. Well we had no idea that she’s super good at drawing. She whipped out a picture of the earth in about 6 seconds flat (no kidding) complete with near perfect country shapes and correct placement. Then she colored it in, including brown for where deserts are and the north and south poles were light blue for “ice!” as she said. She gave us the diagram and we hung it up in our apartment. 🙂

– We contacted in the Bairs’ bloc this week. We went back to a bunch of people that we sang Christmas carols to and got some funny responses. This one guy answered the door in his sweats and Nike shirt, holding his iPad with his earbuds in, took one look at us, shook his finger and said, “Ummm, nuuu.” He closed the door and we had to take a 5 minute pause to stop laughing. BUT, then we ran into the lady we were hoping to run into by contacting there. We sang to her at Christmas and the Bairs have talked with her and wanted to go back and she was home! I asked her if we could come in just for a little to talk with her and share a quick message. She was so inviting and let us in without a thought. We had a really cool talk and set up plans to have her down for dinner with the Bairs sometime this week. So that’ll be cool.

– We had the best lesson with a less active family that we have never met before. We went with the Bairs to their house and the Spirit in their home and in their family was STRONG. They have a 12 year old that has been doing personal progress on her own!! I was so proud of her. She’s such a sweetheart. We had a really beautiful lesson on repentance. I love talking about repentance. It is never something that we should fear, but something that we should look forward to. It can bring a negative connotation but it really is something that I love doing. It’s an opportunity for us to change, to become better and be happier! Yes, sometimes it’s hard but I feel closer than ever to my Savior when I am trying to change and improve and that’s an amazing feeling.

This week I think I had the best studies so far of my entire mission. I really really was seeking for knowledge and inspiration and guidance. As I reflected today on everything I learned this week they all merged together and I realized that I had learned some powerful things.

The first thing is that the Lord tries our faith and our patience.

I can’t explain everything since there isn’t time but I’ll include the scriptures and quotes that I read and studied.

– Hebrews 11:13, 40

– James 1:2-3

– 1 Peter 1: 6-7, 13 (I love these ones!)

– 1 Peter 4: 12-14

– 1 Nephi 7: 12-13, 17-18

“Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your own disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more (Proverbs 3:11-12). He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion [two very important gifts] which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain.”

– Elder Richard G. Scott

The second was obedience. Just the principle itself, but also that obedience really is happiness. It is the law of God. I learned that to take upon ourselves the name of Christ means to live a life of obedience, to follow His example which was one of complete and total humility, obedience, and submission to His Father.

– Philippeans 2:8

– Isaiah 50:5

– 2 Corinthians 10:3-6

– Romans 12: 1-2, 14

– “The Will of the Father in All Things” – Elder Holland (This is a BYU speech and it’s AMAZING. I studied it for three days.)

“Knowledge is gained by obedience.” – Bruce R. McConkie

Sub-topic under obedience, is that we are only saved through grace if we are trying to be obedient, if we are submitting ourselves to the Father.

– 2 Nephi 2:7; 10:24-25; 31:7, 13

– Jacob 4:10-11

– Mosiah 3: 12, 17-19, 21; 4:6-8, 10, 11-12; 5:7-9; 13:28-32

– Alma 7:15

– Alma 29 (blessings of being obedient and of submitting)

– Alma 34: 15-17

– Alma 36

– Alma 42:4 (cross reference Alma 34:32)

– Alma 42: 22-24

A scripture I love that applies to both of these is found in 1 Peter 5:6-10.

Another amazing principle I learned is that one way the Lord tries or proves our faith is through trials of obedience. Will we be obedient to Him no matter what, no matter what others say, no matter how hard it us, no matter if we understand why or not?

– D&C 132: 49-50 (read the section to know the context)

– Luke 14:33

– D&C 5: 22

– Genesis 22:1-12 (I love this story more and more)

– 1 Nephi 3:7, 15; 1 Nephi 4:1, 3, 6-18, 34

And lastly, I’m learning the “why” behind it all. What the Lord is asking us through every trial of faith, patience, and obedience is this: Do you trust me? Do you love me more than all of these?

– “The First Great Commandment” – Elder Holland

Anyways. For those of you who made it through and read ALL the scriptures, BRAVO. Good job. Gold stars for you. I know it’s long, but my studies meant everything to me this week. I loved them so I shared them. 🙂

I love you all!! Stay safe and happy. 🙂

Sora Marcheschi