So many big things to update!! The first being that SORA RALLS AND I PIERCED OUR EARS!!!!! Neither of us had our ears pierced and so we thought, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we got our ears pierced together? How often do you meet another 22 year old girl without pierced ears?” Then, when the sister training leaders (STLs) came down to Braşov for exchanges, we decided to go for it! We went to a tattoo/piercing place (all four of us sister missionaries looking pretty out of place) and it barely took any time. We have to wear these ugly metal earrings for two weeks and then we can switch them out for cute earrings! Sora Ralls and I each periodically will say, “Hey, remember when we got our ears pierced in Romania?” A bonding activity like no other…we’ll always remember the time we served together.
Post-piercing with the most patient Romanian who put up with us stressing out like nobody’s business!
Having the STLs with us was SO FUN! They came in Wednesday night and then I spent Thursday with Sora DeRuvo (Sora Ralls’s trainer) and Sora Ralls spent the day with Sora Stapley. Sora DeRuvo and I worked on survey contacting — we have a prepared set of questions about faith and prayer and religion that get people talking about their relationship to religion and can set it up great for future lessons. We also taught a lesson to Adriana and Beatris about obedience, commandments, and the commandment to read the scriptures and pray daily. Adriana is so amazing and so prepared — she tears up in almost every lesson and the spirit of calm and peace you can feel in the house is truly beautiful. Sora DeRuvo and I also talked a lot about balance — balancing hard work and fun, balancing stress and efficiency, etc. She had the great insight that balance is achieved when we feel peace and that peace comes from the Holy Ghost. So we are balanced when we act in accord with the promptings of the Spirit and as long as we feel peace, we can be assured that we are following the Spirit.
Sora DeRuvo and I just loving contacting in Centru
This past Friday we had missionary reports — this is the time when the district leader interviews each missionary to evaluate how we have been doing and what we want for our next transfer (area, companion, assignments, etc). I requested a challenge — I know you usually get what you wish for in abundance, but I really do think I would grow from working in a city without tons of people to teach. I want to be better at contacting…and the only way to do that is to do more of it! It is pretty probable that I will be transferred out of Braşov after this transfer is over since I have been here for 3 already…but you never know! Sometimes President Hill never does the thing that is most expected. Sora Ralls and I are getting pretty anxious about transfer boards and we still have two weeks until they come out! We will be having our interviews with President tomorrow and I’ll try to get some hints out of him as to what might be happening to either of us next transfer.
This Saturday was Sora Ralls’s halfway mark! 9 months down, 9 more to go! We all got her a shirt from H&M with a cat on it (since she loves cats) and of course she absolutely LOVED it. We also went out to dinner at a 4-star Chinese restaurant…but we awkwardly had the WHOLE huge room to ourselves and the waiter was literally like our personal butler or something since there was no one else to attend to. Guess Romanians haven’t latched on to Chinese food that much…more for us Americans!
Elena’s granddaughters — the newest sister missionaries on the block!
The coolest thing that happened to us this week was our Day of Miracle and Wonder — Sunday! On Thursday, Sora Ralls and Sora Stapley taught Elena and it unexpectedly turned into a lesson about chastity when they realized that Elena was not married to the man she has been living with for the past 9 years. It is a difficult situation because Elena takes care of two of her adorable granddaughters so she cannot work. She doesn’t love the man and doesn’t want to marry him, but she needs to stay with him because of economic purposes. But she was willing to marry him if that meant that she could be baptized. Sora Ralls and I were super upset by this catch-22 — we understood that she wasn’t able to get baptized if she continued to live with him unmarried but we didn’t want her to marry a man she didn’t love that had “wronged her” (in her words). We had kind of resigned ourselves to the fact that she would choose what was best for her and we could only teach the standard. We went to her house on Sunday to walk with her to church and as we were leaving the house she said, “Oh, by the way, I don’t live here anymore. I moved out. He hit me and I decided to move out.” Her face was one of such pride and triumph. Sora Ralls and I could hardly believe what we had just heard. She had moved to a different home in Feldioara that she rented for the year. All the logistics are not entirely clear to me (Romanian still is pretty hard), but it is truly a miracle that she will be able to be baptized this Saturday!! It is also amazing how visibly we can see the Gospel changing this woman’s life — she had the courage to leave a man that she had been with for 9 years…all because of her deep, sincere desire to be baptized. She is such a great example to me of faith because faith requires action, and Elena made the biggest action she could make. I still can’t believe that this is all happening and I’ve had a day to process. Sora Ralls and I are truly witnesses to a miracle and I cannot wait to see Elena baptized! She is so faithful and she has such a strong testimony of the Gospel. Sora and I had both fasted for inspiration on this situation and we were amazed to see the answer to our prayers so quickly. The Lord works in mysterious ways, but His hand is apparent in so much of the things we do. We wouldn’t be able to do any of this without Him.
Today for P-Day, we went to Bran castle with Elder Speyer and Elder Houk. It was my second time, but I still liked it and it’s always good to get some silly photos. What would life be without them? I love our district and I wish Elder Brown and Elder McBride could have been there, but we’ll probably be off to dinner with them later today.
Self-timer always works wonders
I am so happy to be here in Romania and when I get to work with amazing people like Adriana and Elena, it makes it even more worth it. I miss you all every day, but I know I need to be here now. I have so much love for Romania — the language, the land, the people — and I can’t imagine being anywhere else. I miss you lots and love you even more! I hope you had a great week and that the next one will be even better!
I miss you and love you!