Hello hello! This week has been crazy and next week is looking to be even crazier. We have been working a lot with Marilena this week to insure that she is ready for her baptism this upcoming Saturday! She had her interview this past Saturday and is good to go! We are so excited for her but this means this week will be lots of meeting with her and getting all the details settled for the baptism.
On Friday, we went out with Marilena to visit her parents who live in the countryside (la țara) in the town of Lăceni. It was kind of a stressful day — we had an appointment at 4 and Marilena told us to meet her to catch the bus out there at 2. But she had forgotten about a medical appointment she needed to be at so she did not meet up with us until about 2:45 or 3. We drove over to Lăceni with a friend of hers and got there at 3:30, which is when we were supposed to be catching the bus BACK to Alexandria…so we had to call and cancel our appointment and ended up staying out at her house with her parents until about 6:30 (her father was willing to drive us home, but had something to do until 6). It was absolutely beautiful out there and so quiet and peaceful. I really like Marilena’s mom — she is a really sweet, really down-to-earth woman. We shared a little bit of our message with her and while she mentioned that she is Orthodox and never going to change, she kept mentioning how much she liked us, how respectful and well-behaved we were. I think the best thing we can do many times as missionaries is just be good, Christ-like examples. Because many people know nothing about the Church (or they know a million terrible rumors), being good examples as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is really some of the most important work we can do.
Self-timer picture with Marilena’s mom (got the chair in the bottom right corner…oops)
General Conference was this weekend! We watched the Saturday morning and Sunday morning sessions live (at 7 pm here on Saturday and Sunday nights). Gina had us over for dinner at her house on Saturday before the session and we were able to meet her parents! Her mother is so sweet (and looks EXACTLY like Gina) and it was very fun to get to talk with her and get to see Gina with her family. We also watched the Saturday morning session in Romanian for church on Sunday. I loved all the messages that I heard and I cannot wait to watch the rest sometime soon. I especially loved President Uchtdorf and Elder Bednar. Both of them had such great messages of hope — living an attitude of gratitude even during difficult times and bearing our burdens with the help of the Savior. Both were messages I needed to hear now and it strengthened my testimony of modern-day revelation.
Our new district is going well! Elder Heyrend is pretty funny and he and Elder Pischke were already friends from before, so there did not have to be an awkward ”getting to know you” period. He could just jump right in! He is also REALLY good at Romanian, so he has already been very helpful in explaining concepts that I still do not understand.
This week is going to be a crazy one — Tuesday we have zone training meeting in București (which means getting up at 5:00 in the morning to catch the bus) where Sora Ruiz and I will be doing a presentation on the Book of Mormon and how to use it more effectively in our teaching; Wednesday we will probably be moving apartments; Thursday we will be having interviews with President and Sora Hill; and Saturday we will be having a branch activity AND Marliena’s baptism. I am sure I will have PLENTY to talk about this next Monday!
Marliena’s mom, me, Marilena, and a donkey!
TERRIBLE NEWS: I had to kill a cockroach this morning in the bathroom. It was terrifying and gross and I hated it and I am so glad to be moving apartments so soon. Sorry elders! Hehe.
The work is continuing onward and we are so excited about all the great things happening here in Alexandria. Things get stressful sometimes, but when they do, I think of you all and how you are rooting for me out here. I miss you a lot and think about you often. I hope everything is going well for you back home and know how much I love you!