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

Questions about my mission

[These are answers Emily wrote in answer to five questions from our ward to the missionaries to share with the youth.]

  1. How and when did you make the decision to serve a mission?

Around September of 2013 I was praying really intently for something that I wanted really badly. Every time I prayed about it, I got this nudge that maybe I should serve a mission. Well, my whole life I had never wanted to serve a mission and so I just ignored it, mostly out of fear that I would actually have to go if I listened to the prompting. The feeling got stronger and stronger. I received my patriarchal blessing and it mentioned a mission but again, I just ignored it because I didn’t want to go. Then I got my blessing in the mail and after reading it, the feeling to go on a mission was so strong that I couldn’t not go. I started papers and the process of going. But then again, I put it off and ignored those promptings to go. I was scared and although I felt the promptings to go, I didn’t have the strong desire within myself to serve that I knew I needed. So I waited and I prayed for that desire. It didn’t come for the longest time. In fact, it didn’t fully come until I was in the MTC. Anyway, on January 1, 2014 as I was praying I received what I like to call a kick in the pants from God. He just told me so strongly that I needed to serve a mission and that I needed to go NOW. And so I finally listened. I realized that even though I didn’t feel completely ready and even though I didn’t have that burning desire or conviction to serve, if I acted in faith and trusted the Lord, everything would work out and be ok. Circumstances were perfect for me to go, I withdrew from school and had my papers in within a week. I got my call exactly two weeks later.

  1. What was something you did prior to your mission that has made an impact in your service?

Something that I had established before my mission was a really good habit of prayer. I had learned to pray through my own experiences with real intent and to pray diligently. It was hard at first for me to pray with real intent, to even recognize what real intent was. But I was able to develop a very close relationship with my Father in Heaven through prayer that has greatly impacted me out here and been a source of great strength through everything.

  1. What was the biggest adjustment to life as a missionary and do you suggest anything for making the transition easier in this area?

For me the biggest transitions weren’t in spiritual matters. They were more in the day-to-day routines. Getting up at 6:30, working out right as you get up, establishing a good diet (when you’re busy it can be hard to eat healthy!), things like that. I would just say start practicing these things before you leave. It will be a lot easier, especially when you have to do it all on your own in more difficult companionships.

Probably the biggest transition though was communicating with others – with your companion, with leaders, with other missionaries. I had to learn what and how to communicate more effectively and openly. Sometimes it was hard to be open, especially when you don’t want to offend. Haha I’m not sure what to suggest for this one – I feel like it comes with the experience. Out here, I write a lot more about how and what I’m feeling and that helps. I have also learned to always always be open with my mission president. He will always help us as missionaries and do all he can.

  1. What is a difficult experience you have had and how do you work to overcome it?

Working with people in general. This sounds silly and basic, but it affects every aspect of your mission. Working with your companion, working with your district, working with senior couples, working with leaders, working with investigators and members, and so on. You meet every type of person out there and you’re not always going to get along with them all. But you still have to work with them. I have learned that the only people I need to worry about pleasing are the Lord and my mission president. If I can do that, everything else settles around me. I’m also constantly working to see others how God sees them and to pray for charity and to serve others. It’s nice as a missionary because we have an infinite amount of opportunities to serve others around us! When I am doing this, it’s easier to love those I work with and to have a spirit of unity and peace.

  1. What is a favorite experience and/or conversion story from your mission?

For me the coolest experience every day is just being an instrument in the Lord’s hands. Sometimes we don’t realize that we are and so it’s wonderful when we get to see the impact we make. A few weeks ago we taught a woman here in the branch. She is one of my best friends and we have a really strong, good relationship. A week before our lesson I had an amazing personal study as I read from the January Liahona, especially as I read the article about President Benson and his wife Flora. I had no idea why it was powerful to me at the time but I was grateful for what I felt and received as I read and studied and prayed.

*Note: Here in Romania, people dream. Not just fun, weird, silly dreams that you laugh about the next morning. People here dream vision-like dreams. They receive answers to their prayers in beautiful, vivid, powerful dreams. It was something I had never really thought happened as much anymore, but I have such a testimony now that God communicates with His children in this way still.

That night after my study, I had the thought to ask this woman if she had had any dreams about me. She often has dreams about people or things that end up happening, so I was curious. She was shocked and almost started crying as she told me that yes, she had had a dream about me and that she would explain it to me when we taught her next. She had no idea how I knew to ask her about her dream. I sat there after learning this, feeling like God was somehow working with me to help her.

Later in the week we went over to her house for a lesson. I brought that January Liahona with me, thinking I might want it. Before our lesson she told me about her dream. In her dream she was praying and asking God all these questions and wanting to know the answers. Suddenly a man walked up behind her and called her by her name and asked her why she was asking so many questions. She said she wanted to know the answers and he told her that she didn’t have to ask. She started asking the man if she should ask different people, and named them to him. Every time he said no. Then he told her that she should talk to me, Sora Marcheschi, because “she is a messenger of God.” She said that then he said “Hurry, because you don’t have much time.”

In her dream we talked and I gave her some advice but she hasn’t told me what it was yet. But the man in her dream told her something about President Benson and his wife Flora. She told me she really didn’t know who they were other than that he was the President of the Church at one point. So then I pulled out the magazine and showed her the article about them. She started crying and said that this is what the man in her dream talked to her about. She told me that having these dreams was a new thing for her and that it was scary at first but that she loved that God had given her this gift. I felt so honored and I still get chills every time I think about it. I know that the Lord works through us to help His children, to serve them, to love them. We are His hands here on the earth and I don’t ever want to be anything else!

The trying of your faith worketh patience

So this week was transfers and it was my first transfers in a long time where I got to stay in my city! Every other transfer besides my first, I’ve had to go to Buc. It was really nice to have another whole week to just work.

Tuesday we met with a recent convert and had a good lesson with her. She is so awesome! She quit her old job because it required her to work on Sundays and she didn’t want that. Quitting your job and finding another can be really hard in Romania, but she found one less than a week later. Miracle right there. We were so proud of her and she was praying so hard that she would be able to come to church with this new job. So far it looks like she will be able to so we’re grateful! That night we had our last FHE/English activity of the transfer and watched “Finding Nemo” with people in our branch and our English students and some investigators. The Bairs made caramel popcorn and everyone had a really good time. It was great language study too with the subtitles. We learned how to say a lot of words, including “dude.” I haven’t said it yet in Romanian and I probably will have no reason to, but I loved learning more of the language! This will come as no surprise to anyone because I say this every week but I cried! I don’t think I’ve ever cried before when I watched that movie but it got to me this time. It’s when Nemo is hearing from the pelican that his dad has been scouring the ocean looking for him and he just can’t believe it. He looks so amazed and it just made me think of my dad here on earth and how much I love him and how I know we would do anything for each other. And it made me think of my Heavenly Father and how he does anything for me as well. I just felt really grateful that I have them in my life. 🙂

Wednesday the city felt so empty without two companionships! But we had a busy busy day. We met with our investigator Constantina. It was a beautiful lesson. She was obviously troubled about something and it was cool to see her trying to understand and learn and search for peace. I really feel like she is going to accept the Gospel, we just have to keep meeting with her. We met with Carmen after that to talk about the temple. We read through the booklet about the temple with her, only going halfway because of time. It made me miss the temple so badly! And reminded me of what I feel whenever I go. It is absolutely the most beautiful place and I can’t wait to be there again. I am so grateful for all we come to learn and understand there, especially that we are SO loved. That night we had a really cool lesson with three girls that came to our English class. They are awesome! Independent, confident, good girls. One is married with a little girl, and the other two are a little younger and working and in school. They are so normal and we’re excited to keep working with them, although it’s kind of nerve-wracking to be around girls our own age again!

Thursday we met our new district! Sora Parker and Elder Oldham came from Timisoara and Bucuresti, respectively, and seem happy to be here. We had an amazing lesson that night. We took Carmen with us to visit Violeta. We had a lesson on tithing and fasting. It was so nice to get any questions she had cleared up. She was really open with us about a lot of things and it was amazing to see Carmen doing missionary work. She is such a strength to this branch! She has a powerful testimony and just wants to help everyone she can. I’m so thankful for her!

Friday in our District Meeting we watched the devotional by Elder Ridd, about real intent. I LOVED EVERYTHING HE SAID. I totally related to everything he said. The rest of the week I feel like I’ve been trying to focus more on the “why” of everything I do. I really want to do everything because I love God. I want to feel like I have real intent. I know that when we do things with real intent, the results are much more rewarding and lasting.

After district meeting, we went to teach Teo, Carmen’s daughter, a lesson about Lehi’s dream. We made an “iron rod” for her out of string and then had “fruit” at the end of the journey. I used glow sticks (Thanks Bentley!!) and it turned out so good. She was loving every second of it. We read Lehi’s dream together afterwards and talked about how we hold to the iron rod. She loved it. Her grandpa told us yesterday that she talked about what she learned with him and that she loved it. It’s good to hear that things are sticking!

We had two 30/30s that day that were kind of strange lessons but that happens sometimes. We went to visit Cristina, our branch president’s wife after that and had such a good time. We talked about family history and keeping journals and she was so happy we had come. We went with Carmen again that night to visit a less active and it went well. We are glad she wants to work with us so much! It really makes a difference when members come with us on lessons.

Saturday we went to Feldioara and had a great day. It had started out a little weird but by the end of the day I was so happy. The best part was meeting with the Pavel family. It turned out just being Sora Pavel and her daughters, Veronica and Simona, both of whom are our investigators. We shared with them a story from an Ensign called “The Jadeite Cabbage.” We all got kind of emotional and the Spirit was so strong. As girls and as humans in general, we are just so hard on ourselves sometimes and it can be hard for us to see ourselves as God sees us. I know it’s hard for me sometimes and it was a sweet experience for me to be able to testify to these wonderful women, that I KNOW that my Heavenly Father loves me with an infinite love, that He has a beautiful plan for me and that He wants me to be incredibly happy and will help me to be so if I will but follow Him and His Son. Sora Pavel ended our lesson with a prayer and when she finished they were all crying. I loved it. It was a truly special night for me.

Sunday we had a fun church and it was fun to teach Primary. The kids were really good and it was nice to have them be so. 🙂

This morning I read James 1:2-3:

2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; (the JST of “divers temptations” is something like, “great afflictions” or trials)

3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

I have really felt that on my mission the two things that I am always constantly working on are faith and patience. And so often I read about the Lord trying them both because they go hand in hand.

I went then to James 5:11, which reminded me of how the Lord is so merciful and how He is always there and that when we endure our trials with patience and humility, He blesses us.

11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

I have such a testimony of this. I love that even in our trials the Lord expects us to keep going; to humble ourselves and to trust Him. I know that when we do this, we learn and grow and allow the Lord to make of us something that we could never make of ourselves on our own.

I love you all!! Have a good week and stay safe and happy! 🙂

Sora Marcheschi

With God, we really can do anything

Hey everyone!

Another great week. 🙂 Transfers are here and I’m staying another in Brasov with Sora Robertson. That’s going to be 5 in Brasov – 1/3 of my mission spent in the most amazing city with the most amazing people!

Monday we usually have our preparation day but we switched it to Wednesday to go on a trip with our district so we were able to visit two recent converts on Monday. One of them decided she wanted to dye her hair another color other than blonde. So we put my hair over hers to see what she would look like as a brunnette. And she looked SO GOOD. So she told us she would have us over to help her dye her hair later in the week.

Tuesday we went with Carmen out to Feldioara to see Nicoleta. Sora Robertson and I had planned this amazing lesson on tithing and why we have the law of the tithe. That can be a really hard lesson to share with people here because they are so poor and it can be really hard for them to handle. But Nicoleta wants to go to the temple so she needed to start being better with her tithing. Well, right off the bat she starts telling Carmen about how she has no money. Oops. Sora Robertson and I looked at each other and just decided to keep going with what we planned. So we had a lesson on tithing. And even though Nicoleta talked off topic randomly throughout the lesson, when we did get to talk and teach, it was really good. If anything, it was a good lesson for me to learn about tithing. 🙂 That night at English, we played charades and had so much fun! I love our English students.

Wednesday morning our district headed off to Peles castle in Sinaia. It was my second time going and it’s not any less impressive going again. It is AMAZING. And the setting was still gorgeous with all the snow. We had a lot of fun exploring the castle and taking lots of silly pictures as usual. We all ate together and then Sora Robertson and I left on a train for Bucuresti and then a train from there to Pitesti for our last exchange of the transfer. We got in and headed to the sisters’ place. It felt so weird to be back in my birth city again. It didn’t feel as much like home as I thought it would.

Thursday Sora Bynum and I headed up to Campulung to see the members there. That was the best! My very first lesson in Romania and I got to see them again! 🙂 I was so happy. We had a really good lesson with them on faith and it was so good to see that they were still doing so well. We came back and were able to see some other members there. It was weird but good to be back. We took another train home that night, and on our way to Buc to switch trains we sat with these two way cool women. We had all gotten on the train together in Pitesti and just decided to sit with them. One was an older lady named Viorica and the other was a younger woman named Corina. We talked with them the whole way to Buc and talked about everything: the church, life during communism, boys, the usual. 🙂 It was so awesome. We were able to give Corina our information so hopefully she writes us! It was nice to get home to Brasov. Traveling is making us tired!

Friday all our lessons but one cancelled on us, which way bummed us both out. It happens. But that one lesson was really good and our district meeting was amazing. Elder Cloward closed the meeting by asking us to think about how we truly see ourselves. Not how we want to see ourselves, but how we truly, honestly see ourselves and to write it down somewhere. Then he suggested that sometime this week we pray to see ourselves how God sees us. He said “If you can see yourself the way God sees you, you can see the world the way He sees the world.” I love that. I believe that! I think it also applies when you can see others the way God sees them. That night we did get to go see Carmen and Teo and have a meal and a lesson with them though. That was a very sacred lesson for me and I won’t ever forget it.

Saturday was packed! We had a piano 30/30 with our investigator Constantina and talked about the BoM with her. She had a lot of good questions and we committed her to read 3 Nephi 11-12. During English, we played “Do you love your neighbor?” and had a BLAST. Our whole class participated including the older ladies and men and everyone had so much fun. We had lunch with Carmen, Teo, Aurelian, his mom Ioana and his grandma Ana, and Constantina. What a funny group. Old Romanian women are hilarious. Constantina told us we were lucky we could eat fast food because we are young and slim but that the old women (and she pointed to her, Ana, and Ioana) are fat and have to watch what they eat. No shame! We had an interesting lesson after with Mihaela. She is very curious about our church but when we teach her we can’t tell if she’s bored or just analyzing what we’re saying.

That night we went with the Bairs to the Pavels. And had a GREAT lesson. We were going to talk about prophets and we did, but weaved in and out of the lesson were testimonies of prayer and the spirit. It was amazing. Veronica and Simona were both there (they are the daughters of the Pavels and are not members. I’ve been working with them ever since I got here six months ago.) and they were so eager and prepared to hear us. Veronia PRAYED!!!!! And it was the sweetest prayer. She was crying by the end and so obviously so was I. That was an amazing lesson.

This week I read a quote that I had found in July of last year. I love it and it was a great reminder to me of how we need to see ourselves.

“Over time, you will come to see yourself as you are seen and know yourself as you are known by the Savior,” he said. “Up to now, you have seen yourself ‘through a glass darkly’ [see 1 Corinthians 1:12]. In the next months and beyond, you will begin to grasp just how much you lack, how far you have to go to accomplish what God expects of you, and what He expects you to become. … The one who holds these high expectations, who is demanding so much of you, is the same one who has overcome the world, who wants to help you, and who can help you overcome whatever you must.” – Elder Christofferson

I love this!! With God, we really can do anything. He will always help us, all we need to do is ask and then do all we can. I know He is always there for us.

I love you all!!!

Sora Marcheschi

I love my mission. I love loving people!

Hello hello hello!

This week Sora Robertson and I had a busy week but it was so good!

Monday night (after another afternoon of our district drinking rooibos tea) we took a train to Buc for Mission Leadership Council the next day. We stayed with the sisters there which meant I got to see SORA HONEY!!!! So that was great.

MLC was amazing. All the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders were there and we were in a new mission office! It didn’t have any furnishings yet so we had just enough chairs for us and that was it. We all contributed and were able to discuss everything. I really liked that. I left feeling so motivated to just be better in every aspect. Sora Robertson and I made a list that night on the train going home of things we would do no matter what, to be the best missionaries we can be. I felt so grateful for a companion who is so willing to do everything she can to help me and to be the best she can be too. We’re doing really well. The next morning we just felt all these blessings being poured out upon us, more than I felt I could receive. We were smiling with tears in our eyes pretty much the entire morning. I love how quickly the Lord is to bless us all. We had a lesson with Carmen Wednesday morning and we could just both feel how blessed we were, as the Spirit truly led our lesson.

We left after meeting with Carmen for our exchange with the sisters in Sibiu. We ended up waiting in the freezing cold for half an hour while our maxi was late (Brasov has been in the negatives this whole week!) but we made people watching friends with this cute old couple. The wife was leaving for a trip and her husband was just so helpful and caring. He stayed while she got on the maxi, and just waited until she left. He waved goodbye the whole time and Sora Robertson and I were beside ourselves, it was way too cute. Well, our maxi taxi was impossibly cold but we made it to Sibiu. Where it was also impossibly cold. We had to take cabs everywhere. Sora Robertson took me to the famous Sibiu sandwich shop. WHICH WAS AMAZING. Mainly because there was a space heater for my feet but the sandwiches were good too. She also took me that night to see an investigator there named Traian. He is basically Sora Robertson’s best friend and calls her his granddaughter. Traian is like the old man from Up, except happy and not grumpy. He plays the harmonia and is fantastic! He played for us and it was the cutest thing ever. He asked me what I wanted to do in life. HAHAHA. I told him that I was studying French and psychology before my mission but that my dream was to sing. He said, “If you have a voice, use it! If that is your dream, follow it!” I think that was the most inspired I’ve ever been to actually do that! By the end of our lesson and visit, he was calling me his granddaughter too. I call that a success. 🙂

The next day we split with the sisters in Sibiu and had a great day. It was below freezing once again and as we walked to the church for district meeting, MY HAIR FROZE. I went gray for about 5 minutes. It was one of the most frightening experiences ‘cause I didn’t realize that it had frozen and I thought my hair was just freaking out and actually turning gray. Dumb, but I thought that. Sora Johnson and I went back to see Traian that day and had a lesson with him. It went really well. She was able to lead our lesson and he played his harmonica for us again. At the end of our lesson he offered us these cherry chocolates. We ate them, not knowing the inside was straight brandy. It burned. So bad. Ick. We got into Brasov that night (after taking another freezing maxi taxi home) and both felt so happy to be home!

We came back and had full days the rest of the week which felt great. We had some great lessons with members talking about family history and sharing the Europe area goal to find one family member to do temple work for, and helping other members get ready to go to the temple this year. That makes me so excited for them! The temple is so important to me and I can’t wait for others to receive the blessings there.

Saturday we had a super fun English class and afterwards we did some hot chocolate contacting. Our district made hot chocolate, put out a sign and talked with people that walked by the church. It was so fun! While the hot chocolate was heating up, we made two snowmen and then got in a huge snowball fight. I got hit straight in the face TWICE, and I loved it. Being a missionary is so fun. Teo was helping us the whole time, but she was constantly switching teams. 🙂

That morning in my personal study I read what I think is one of my new favorite scriptures. It’s in 1 Corinthians 15:10. It says:

“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was in me.”

How beautiful. Every single one of us, is who we are because of the grace of God. And at least for me, I don’t want that grace to be in vain. I am trying to work as hard as I can, to give all that I have, to love in entirety, to try to say “Thank you” for His grace in my life.

I love my mission. I love loving people. It brings me so much joy. These people make my heart so happy and I love doing all I can to serve them.

I love all of you! You are so important to me and I’m so thankful for you guys. 🙂 Stay happy!

Cu toate dragoste,

Sora Marcheschi

Fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, today as I’m sitting here in the internet cafe all the teenage boys are calling Sora Robertson and me virgins. It’s true and that’s a good thing. 🙂 On a more serious note, this week was amazing. It was a little slower because for a few days Romania pretty much shuts down completely for New Years, but it was a good week.

Highlights of the week:

– Our lesson with Sora Miron. My skirt had ripped a few weeks ago in the back (whoops!) and so we took it and some other things to Sora Miron’s to get them fixed. She is an awesome seamstress but hasn’t ever taken a class for it or anything. Legit. We get there and she has PUPPIES. Little little puppies. I died and went to heaven. They were so cute. They kept pawing at me and falling asleep on my coat and just being adorable. I wanted to take them all home. Sora Miron fixed my skirt and then we visited and had a way cool lesson on New Year’s goals and sharing the gospel. She ended up telling us about several spiritual experiences she has had. Romanians receive amazing dreams. Amazing dreams. I had no idea that things like that still happened but it’s like Joseph from the Bible. It’s incredible.

– New Year’s Eve with Carmen and her family! She invited us over for dinner and we got to share a message with her mom who isn’t a member. She was sweet and it was a good night. It was -7° F here that night and we froze!!! We had to take a cab home cause it was too cold and because it was NYE, they were all busy. We found a personal number in our phone of a cab driver so we called him. He was quite friendly and we ended up getting our New Year’s kisses (on the cheeks thankfully!!) from our cab driver. It was not our favorite thing haha. If I haven’t mentioned it before, everyone here kisses on the cheeks. It’s a European thing. We’re not supposed to do it obviously, but half of the time it’s too late by the time you can do anything about it. They just go for it ‘cause it’s their culture! It’s going to be strange not doing that to everyone back in Utah hahaha.

– Fireworks! Here it’s totally legal (or if it’s not no one cares) to light fireworks everywhere. Like the huge ones. So at midnight, for probably 20 minutes, everyone and their dog was lighting fireworks. We stood on our balcony and watched them go off all over the city. They also light those lanterns and let them fly away which looked so pretty all over the city too.

– New Year’s Day breakfast with the district. We made waffles! We all did language study afterwards which was super fun and really helpful as well. That night we had my favorite lesson of the week with the Pavel family. They were so so excited we had come and we had a beautiful lesson with them about goals and about how they help us progress. The whole family was there and afterwards they fed us dinner! Sora Pavel had made sarmale and cozonac and lots more. We were so full, but it was the sweetest expression of love because they don’t have much. I wanted to cry. They are amazing people.

– Exchanges with the sisters in Ploiesti. They came in to Brasov Thursday night and we exchanged the next day. Sora Barrera and I went to Feldioara and had awesome lessons. We got to see two members that she had taught before baptism and they were excited and happy to see her. We had a great lesson with Nicoleta about the Book of Mormon and then a miracle lesson with Raluca. Raluca hasn’t been coming to church for a while because she feels like she doesn’t have time with everything she has to do. Sora Barrera reminded her that she had made a covenant to follow Christ and that if she did that, He would help her with everything. We asked her to pray and ask for an answer about how she can go to church while still having time for homework and helping her mom. She said she would and the spirit was so strong! I was really happy with the progress we could see in her.

– Dinner with Constantina and Emil at the Bairs. They are a crack up. Husband and Wife and the most funny people. Constantina likes to talk all the time and is constantly trying to make sure her husband understands what she says in English, even though he knows it better than she does. He just sits there watching her, with this loving twinkle in his eyes and laughs this hysterical laugh. It makes us laugh and then when he sees us laughing he laughs more. It’s great. We love them. They are amazingly receptive and accepting of the gospel as well. They keep commitments like coming to church (Constantina came before she even had a lesson with us!) and we’re going to keep meeting with them to talk more about the Book of Mormon and to review the Restoration lesson and go from there.

So many fun, funny, and amazing things happened this week! It’s just been a really fun week. We’ve had good lessons and I love teaching with Sora Robertson. I feel like we can just teach together easily and it flows back and forth. She is hysterical and we have fun and laugh but it’s so easy for us to teach together and work in sync. I love it!

This week I read a section in the Doctrine &Covenants that I LOVE. I have always loved it but I felt its relevance especially powerfully this week. It’s D&C 122, where Joseph is in Liberty Jail and the Lord tells him that even if he passes through the most awful things, if people reject him, say false things about him, if he’s torn from his family, etc., that all those things would be for his good and would give him experience. Then come my favorite verses:

8 The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?

9 Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever.

I love that. We are never alone. We are always in His hands and He is continually molding and shaping and refining us through our experiences. Isaiah 64:8 is another scripture that I really like that talks about how we are clay in the potter’s hands. What a cool image!

I love you all!!! Stay safe, read your scriptures, keep praying, and remember how loved you are!

Sora Marcheschi

My companion and I the Saturday before Christmas just before opening our Christmas packages. We couldn't wait. :)

My companion and me the Saturday before Christmas just before opening our Christmas packages. We couldn’t wait. 🙂

Today we went to this place and played board games (Settlers of Catan) with our entire district, an investigator and a member, and I got the cutest hot chocolate that had rainbow jimmies on top so of course Sora Robertson took a picture.

Today we went to this place and played board games (Settlers of Catan) with our entire district, an investigator and a member, and I got the cutest hot chocolate that had rainbow jimmies on top so of course Sora Robertson took a picture.

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Jimmies!

Jimmies!