Martha, Martha

This past week has been really fun! Sora Ralls and I have been having a blast working together. She is so great at helping me be happier every day. We have a whiteboard in our apartment that is just a huge checklist of things to eat and things to cook together. Then we have a little side list that are our missionary-related goals haha. Of course, that is always our focus, but I love the fun goals that we have that can make the days go by quicker. We are going to be spending this P-Day at the Powells’ apartment playing games and having a relaxing night. It should be very fun. We already got lunch with the elders earlier at our favorite shaorma place and tried to go shopping, but all the cute clothes are super expensive and all the cheap clothes are not that cute…come on, Brașov! Get it together!!

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Looks like America — homemade pizza, root beer, and ranch dressing!

 
This past Thursday, we had a great lesson with Adriana and Beatris, our neighbors that we started teaching last Monday. We taught them about the Plan of Salvation and Adriana was asking Beatris, “Did you understand what they said? Well, they explained that after we die, our bodies stay here and our spirits go to the Spirit World.” We didn’t even need to check if she understood, she offered it on her own! At the end of the lesson, we started talking about baptism — she asked us at what age we baptize our children. We explained that we don’t baptize children until they are 8 when they are more cognizant of the choices they are making and can be accountable for them. Then she told us about a friend she had that was baptized in a different church and when that friend made the decision to be baptized, she was a completely changed person (for the better) and started living a new life. The spirit was so strong as she described the change in her friend. We invited her to be baptized and she seems very receptive and open to the idea. We’ll be teaching them again today and we are excited to give her a date to work towards. We also want the father to be in on the lessons — they are such a cute young family that I know would be strengthened even more by the Gospel.
 
That same day, I was getting a little stressed. Things kept going wrong and the things we had to do kept piling up; one of the members, Corina, was trying to set up visiting teaching visits with us and kept handing over the phone for me to talk to all these less-actives I had never met — I already get stressed during Romanian phone calls…but I get REALLY stressed during Romanian phone calls with people I have never met before; we didn’t have enough time to do any of the things we needed to do; our proprietar was getting mad about us not paying our bills on time but the banks had already closed for the day so we couldn’t solve anything. It was just one of those days where it seems like everything makes me stressed but I can’t do anything productive because of a lack of time. Sora Ralls sat me down and pulled out her scriptures and we read from Luke 10:38-42, the story of Jesus visiting the home of Mary and Martha. These words hit me really hard as we read: “But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful…” I realized how much of my time as a missionary I am Martha — cumbered about much serving, stressed and weighed down by the little minute details, the “treaba” of missionary life. And the words of the Savior were just what I needed to hear at that moment — Amy, Amy, thou art careful and troubled about many things, but one thing is needful. He knows that I am careful and troubled about my work here and it was a loving reminder that I need to always keep in mind the larger purpose of my missionary work and not get caught up in the small stuff. 
 
The next day, we had a lesson with Elena out in Feldioara and Elena Pavel came out to be a member-present. I had never taught a lesson with Elena before, but she was PERFECT as a member-present. She didn’t overpower the lesson, she bore powerful testimony of the truths she knew and how they affected her life, and she even invited Elena’s husband, who doesn’t really participate, to come to church that Sunday. The two adorable/crazy granddaughters were asleep so it was amazing — no distractions, just a great Spirit-filled lesson about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love teaching with Sora Ralls because I feel like she really connects with the investigators and really shows her sincerity as she teaches. Elena is still on track for being baptized February 8 and we are starting to teach her the commandments this week — Sora Ralls and I are both a little nervous cause neither of us have ever gotten this far in teaching an investigator! But we are excited to be helping someone on that path and to be doing it together. That same day, we went to help the elders move to a new apartment. The 4 elders had been living all together in the same apartment until another apartment was found. Thankfully they found one and the “love-shack” phase of this transfer is over for them. 
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Me and Cristina Borbea (with Fratele Borbea in the background)
 
We taught a great lesson with the Borbeas and Sora Ralls got to meet them officially! We taught about repentance and compared it to a backpack with each heavy book added being a sin or mistake we make. And when we repent, it’s like all the books are taken out of our backpacks and we don’t have to carry around that guilt any more. The kids really liked it and we had a cool moment where Andrei excitedly asked if he could get baptized. We have very tentatively set a date of March 8 and we think having a goal to work towards will maybe help him be calmer when he’s at church or during lessons. He has a TON of energy and so we think having a set date as a goal will help him focus that energy towards learning the Gospel.
 
This Sunday, President Chirila, the first counselor in the Mission Presidency, visited Brașov and Feldioara. He gave a fantastic talk about choice and missionary work. He talked about how it is our choice to work alongside the Lord in doing missionary work. He is such a powerful speaker and I loved his testimony. At Feldioara, we had so many investigators come! Elena and her girls came, as well as Simona, the Pavels’ daughter that we have been teaching, and Mioara and Gabi, the proprietar of the building and her daughter. Gabi’s cousin and brother also sat in — we basically had a full house! It definitely feels like things are on their way to happening out there. I am so excited to see how the church grows.
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Finding a particularly nice cat while we were contacting
 
Sora Ralls and I have been having stress-releasing dance parties regularly, eating lots of good food, and just having lots of fun serving together while we work hard at the same time. She mentioned this week that I am different than she thought I would be based on the few times she had met me before — she called me her little “onion” since I have so many layers to me. I can’t believe it has only been 2 weeks that we have been together; it feels like so much longer.
 
I am having a great time and growing so much each day. I love and miss each of you. I love hearing from you and getting to hear about your lives, even if I don’t necessarily reply with too much…such is the life when you have only a couple hours to write a week. But know that I value every letter or email I get so much!! I miss you all and hope you all have a great week!
 
Cu drag,
Sora Amy
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