Power went out when we were at Internet yesterday (though only on the street with the internet cafe) so I wasn’t able to send the long email yesterday, so here it is now! But sadly, today I forgot my card-reader so no pictures 😦 Sad day! But I’m glad to be able to share my week with you, even if a little late!
I don’t have much time this week to write, so the update will be short. I’m sorry!! It has been snowing for the past 2 days straight — winter has made its comeback. Because it has been so freakishly snowy, President and Sora Hill weren’t able to be here today for interviews and instead they are coming later in the week. President also let us know that because it was so snowy we were allowed to go see a movie in theaters for P-Day, so we went and saw “Frozen”! Apt given the weather outside haha. The movie was all in Romanian and I was surprised to see how much of it I understood. I’m sure I missed more of the wordplay or things like that, but I understood a lot of the humor and what was going on.
We started English classes this week and Sora Ralls and I are in charge of the advanced class. We only have about 5 students but they are all very talkative which is helpful. In advanced classes, we mostly just work on conversing completely in English so it’s nice that they talk on their own without us having to awkwardly try to begin conversations. We are also hopefully going to be meeting with many of the students, regardless of their level in English, one-on-one. We do these classes to find people to teach the Gospel so it’s exciting to see it be a useful tool for us.
We had some great lessons with Adriana and Beatris, the family two doors down from us. This past Monday, Ion, the husband, even sat in with the baby! When we taught them about families and how important they are in our church, Adriana asked if they would need to be married again in addition to being baptized again (which makes sense they were married in their church) and we were able to talk about temples a bit with them. We showed them a short video of the celebration of the opening of the Kiev temple. We were worried cause all the people in the video were speaking different languages with English subtitles, but luckily Adriana knows Russian since they are from Moldova originally! How lucky! She teared up twice during that lesson and we are working to make sure that they feel worthy enough to pray — we are emphasizing that we start from where we are because if we wait until we are better, we’ll never get there. It’s about progression, not perfection. Also a cool thing happened when we were looking to find a chapter to assign them to read. Adriana was also flipping through the Book of Mormon and she says, “Ion! Listen! I found something else beautiful!” and she started reading from 3 Nephi. It is amazing to see her desire to learn and grow. I am so excited that we are working with them.
We had a lesson with Elena out in Feldioara. She is coming along really well in her progress towards a February 8th baptismal date. We talked with her about following the prophet we have today and the Word of Wisdom. She was a little hesitant about giving up coffee, but agreed to try and live according to the Word of Wisdom. When we saw her at church on Sunday, she said she’s been abstaining from coffee — we are SO proud of her!!
We had so many non-members and investigators at church in Feldioara on Sunday. We had Elena of course and the Pavels’ son Nelu came with his wife Veronica and their kids Patrick (who is a member), Adelin, and their baby boy. Also, a different Elena (too many Elenas!!) who had sat in on church before, came again. We keep trying to set up with her but she resists. She said she would see us next Sunday and that we could talk after church then.
I have been absolutely loving my time with Sora Ralls. We prepared a chart to give to President when we have interviews. It compares our number of lessons and investigators with the standards of excellence set for the mission. We are either meeting or exceeding almost every standard only halfway through the transfer — all this to show President that it is in his best interest to keep us together since we work so effectively! And if he can’t keep us together, at least it will hopefully motivate him to put us together again in the future. We have been having a great time together and I’ve been loving serving with her. I can’t believe we are already halfway through our transfer together…it’s going by too quickly!!
I have been thinking a lot about “the natural man” this week and what we can do to overcome our natural, prideful selves. There was a scripture I found in Doctrine and Covenants 101:38, “And seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience you may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life.” I like the way it is phrased here — putting off the natural man means to seek to follow the will of the Lord and to align our will with His. I also like that patience is an important component. We need to be patient with ourselves when we do not immediately change all of our ways. I’ve learned on this mission that I can sometimes be a bit of a perfectionist and more than anything, I need to have patience with myself. If I am patient, I will in time be able to “possess” my soul — which I interpreted to mean that I will be able to be more in control of myself and put off that natural man. But patience is a pre-requisite that we need to work to develop, especially me.
I love and miss all of you and I promise I will send LOTS of pictures next week!! I love you and I promise I haven’t frozen too much yet. We have really nice heating in our apartment so we are more than comfortable there. It’s the walking-around-outside-all-day thing that gets a little old pretty quickly. But hot chocolate after a long day works wonders. I miss you and hope you all have wonderful weeks!
Lots of love,