BIG NEWS FIRST! I have been transferred to Alexandria to open the city to sisters with a brand-new baby missionary straight from the MTC! Alexandria is one of the smallest cities we have missionaries in — up until now, it has been only one set of elders there for as long as I have known it. It is a city of about 32,000 to the south of Bucureşti, really close to the Bulgarian border, and I hear they have three (three!) traffic lights haha. All the elders that know Alexandria don’t have good things to say about it, but I’m not worried. There isn’t anything my optimism can’t handle. As far as President Hill knows, there have never been sisters in Alexandria before so me and my new companion will be history-makers! Some of the cities being opened this transfer have had sisters before and they have been taken out for whatever reason, but Alexandria never has before. I’m also SO excited to be a trainer!! Sora Ralls will be staying here in Braşov and training as well! We are so excited and keep thinking of things we have to do for our new missionaries (“We have to make sure they eat Sugus and Joes and covrigi!” “We have to buy them scarves that match!” “I hope they are friends with each other at the MTC right now!!”) It’s kind of nice to have Sora Ralls here to freak out with about training. The idea that I will now be expected to take all the speaking responsibilities upon me as well as supporting my companion during the 12 most stressful weeks of her mission — it’s kind of daunting. I just want to be sure that I teach her well and that she will feel loved. I will get to meet her this Wednesday and then we are shipped off to Alexandria. I’m kind of nervous about the idea of opening a city — contacting all the time, no lessons to teach for at least the first part, trying to establish ourselves in a new apartment and figure out all the transportation and layout of the city. But I am SO excited at this opportunity to grow as a missionary and also as a person.
The rest of this week has been so fun! We went to Peleş on Wednesday for the second half of P-Day and the Mihai Bravu district from Buc was there! I got to see Sora Polatis and Sora Peterson as well as all the elders! We got to go in the castle this time!! It is SO BEAUTIFUL. There is a retractable glass ceiling, lots of secret passageways through cabinets and of course garish decorations EVERYWHERE. I wish I could include some pictures, but there are just too many to even try to begin. After the castle tour, we went to grab a quick lunch and made it to the train just in time to go back.
This week was the Powells’s 5 year anniversary on Valentine’s Day! They have served 2 senior couple missions, so 4 of their 5 anniversaries have been while they have been on missions. We decided to do something cute for them so we set up a room in the church like a restaurant, made some pasta with alfredo sauce and garlic bread, and pretended like we were going to have district meeting as usual. When they arrived at the church, Elder McBride told them the meeting had been moved to the room we had all set up and they were so SURPRISED! We served them and left them alone for an hour to have a nice little date for their anniversary 🙂
This Sunday was my last Sunday in the branch and I was also assigned to give a talk about the Book of Mormon. I spent most of Saturdaywriting it and having Marius go over it. Then I called Sora Drotar later that night and ran through it with her too…she’ll always be my mom haha. The talk went really well and I especially liked a passage in the scriptures that I based the talk around, Jacob 4:3-6. My favorite part is in verse 6: “Wherefore, we search the prophets, and have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken…” This is a recipe for us in our lives as well — we can search the words of the prophets and receive personal revelation and with all these witnesses, we can obtain a hope and our faith will become unshaken. I talked mostly about why the Book of Mormon was written and how we can come closer to Christ through reading it. After sacrament meeting, I took lots of pictures with the branch members to be able to remember them. It’s hard to leave this branch — it’s so well functioning and full of so many strong members that are willing and ready to do missionary work. What a blessing it has been to be here in Braşov. Like I said in my testimony at the end of my talk, Braşov will always have a special place in my heart.
We’re finishing up lots of loose ends here today and tomorrow — we want to end the transfer with a new baptismal date! How fun would it be as a new missionary to come to a baptismal date waiting for you?! We met this wonderful woman, Maria, who randomly came to church this past Sunday. She said sisters had given her a pamphlet a while ago and she finally decided to come. She seems very promising. We are also going to try to commit our neighbors, Beatris and Adriana, to baptism. They are so welcoming and agree with so many of the things we teach. Adriana tears up at least twice every lesson and talks about how much her family needs to make these changes.
I am so excited for what is waiting for me. It’s going to be a struggle, but I am so so looking forward to the growth and the happiness that will also be there. I love you all so much and I think of you every day. I miss you lots and love hearing about your weeks. I hope you are all safe, happy, and loving life!
Miss you and love you,
Sora Ralls and me out in Feldioara
Me and Teo
Caugh Marius with an unexpected selfie