This week has been a funny and weird one. I’m writing to you right now from the mission office in București — we are here to hopefully get Sora Ruiz’s visa stuff alllllmost taken care of. She needs to get some papers today that will help her family in Mexico be able to get her criminal record which she can then take to the Romanian embassy in Budapest to file for a visa. So many steps and not too much time! We were actually here on Friday as well, but we didn’t have the right kind of pictures, so we had to schedule another appointment for today. Though Sora Ruiz and I didn’t mind that we got to go to the big city and eat at McDonalds! We are also excited at the prospect of getting to go SHOPPING in a real live MALL today! Living in Alexandria has its perks, but shopping and food options are not among them.
SO happy to be at McDonalds!
We also had exchanges this week! I got to work with Sora Adams and Sora Ruiz worked with Sora DeRuvo. It was fun to have 4 soras in the house and I loved getting to know Sora Adams better. She is 25, graduated from BYU-I with a degree in creative writing and probably wants to go into publishing as her big dream, if not to get published herself. So we’ll have to be sure to always keep a lookout for her name in Barnes and Noble in the future. She and I did a lot of contacting and then buying things to make the apartment safe — food storage, water supply, etc. We also had lunch outside with the elders because the weather has been BEAUTIFUL as of late! Sunshine, no clouds, not too hot — just my kind of weather. Sora Adams and I talked a lot about finding joy in the work, which is what I wanted to focus on for the exchange. And we decided the joy comes from knowing our purpose, serving others however we can, and acknowledging the little miracles that we witness daily. By working on those three things, I think I can definitely feel more joy in the work that I do and I know that it will make each day that much better, no matter how difficult it actually might be.
With Sora Adams
Sora DeRuvo and Sora Ruiz taught a great lesson to Marilena and the next day on Thursday, Sora Ruiz and I went back to teach her again. We were teaching her about baptism and how it is an important step in showing that we are willing to follow Christ. As we were testifying about that, Marilena started tearing up and then full-on crying as she explained to us about her health trials and how she feels so alone. We comforted her and let her know that she is never alone, reading to her from Alma 7:11-13 which so beautifully explains how Christ not only paid for our sins, He suffered all the injustices and sufferings that we suffer, all the difficulties and illnesses. He knows better than anyone what she is going through and He knows better than anyone how to comfort her. She was feeling better near the end of the lesson and it was a touching moment to be able to be there to comfort her. We met with her on Sunday morning before church and walked around, just talking, and then we all made our way to church.
This Sunday I spoke, giving a revised version of my talk that I last gave in Brașov about why the Book of Mormon was written and how we can become closer to Christ through it. The talk went great with no problems! But the funny part of Sunday started the night before when our water stopped working in the apartment. At first, it was just our kitchen sink and that wasn’t too bad — we would just get it fixed on Sunday or Monday. But then Saturday night our SHOWER stopped working as well — hot and cold water both. We went early early early in the morning Sunday morning to shower there (the church is a renovated house so it has a kitchen, bathroom, and shower) and it was so WEIRD to be showering at the church. We dropped our stuff off at home afterward and then just acted like nothing happened haha.
Oh so excited to be at the church at 7 am to take showers.
We also had a great lesson this week with Emanuela, a member here in Alexandria. She is about in her 30s, divorced, with a 14 year old son. We shared with her President Uchtdorf’s Forget Me Not talk from a couple years ago. We talked about each of the 5 points and drew her a big forget-me-not with a little note from us. She made us lunch — ciorba (soup) and fasole (some sort of beans that were SUPER GOOD!) It was fun to get to chat with her and ask her about her life, family, work, and how she came to be a member of the church. I love hearing the stories of members here in Romania — it gives me hope and encouragement to keep going cause I may find the next Emanuela! We also had a good lesson with Gina where she taught us. She prepared a lesson on friendships, being a good friend, and choosing good friends. I love lessons that apply gospel topics to real life! Always good.
The elders have been really great helps this week. Apparently there were a couple sister missionaries attacked outside of their apartment in Croatia this past week and the main problem seems to be that they did not have lights on the ground floor or first floor of their apartment building. Well…our apartment does not have an outside lock (meaning anyone can walk into the building) and we don’t have lights, so the office has been freaking out and the elders have done a lot of work to try to make sure we get those lights and locks. We got a light yesterday and the locks should be happening soon. They also made us lunch on Sunday since we didn’t have anyway to wash our dishes at home and would probably have to resort to peanut butter sandwiches without plates. Sora Ruiz and I are so lucky to have such great elders around!
This week has been good — full of weird things that Sora Ruiz and I just chalked up to “livin that Alexandria life.” The work is going well, we are happy and fulfilled, and once we get our water back, we will be all comfortable at home. I miss you all lots and think about you often. I hope you are happy, safe, and loving life! I still can’t quite believe I’m already a third of the way done with my mission, but looking back already at how much growth I have made, it’s amazing it’s only been six months.
I miss you, I love you, and hope you all have a great week!