This week has been a bit of strange one. Lots of weird things kept happening and it just basically seemed like almost every companionship had something going on. Regardless, we were able to have some really great experiences. We were able to meet with Eugenia, this absolutely wonderful member who is 30, originally from Moldova, but has been living in Italy for the last little while. We had a lesson with her and her aunt and uncle who are not members. The uncle introduced himself as Leonardo, “DiCaprio or DaVinci…you decide.” Haha he was a funny guy and I loved getting to know Eugenia even a little bit better. We also were able to meet with Sora Gașnaș, a member who basically helps the mission run here in Moldova — she is like the office elders for us out here, helping us with paperwork for visas, housing, and phones. She is SUCH a patient woman. We visited her at her home where the kids were going CRAZY and she just patiently attended to any problems, all while carrying on a conversation with us like it was no big deal. It was really great to get to talk to her in a normal setting, rather than in a “Can you please help us out?!!?” way like it normally happens when we call with some sort of emergency. We of course met with Olea and went with the elders to teach the family all together on Saturday evening. We ended up reading from the Doctrine and Covenants together. The whole family has been coming to Institute classes where we are reading the D&C so they are excited to be reading it together outside of classes. On Sunday, they both bore such BEAUTIFUL testimonies during sacrament meeting and I literally almost started crying. I cannot believe these faithful people have only been members for a month — I can hardly wait to come back one day in the future and see what strong pillars of the branch here in Chișinău they have become.
I went on an exchange this week with Sora Bynum in Orhei and it was a blast! We exchanged Thursday night and she and I headed back to Orhei. The next day at 11 was supposed to be a “flash mob” that one of their English students was participating in. So we showed up in the city center and it ended up being more of a group presentation by a charity about helping others. It was very nice, but I think maybe Moldovans don’t quite understand the idea of a flash mob…it wasn’t very flashy or mobby. But it was still fun and we got some free balloons out of the deal! After lunch with the elders there, we went out to Pelivan, a small village outside of Orhei. We headed on the MOST cramped maxi-taxi I have ever ridden in my life. I was standing and my entire body was up against Sora Bynum and the woman behind me was similarly close to me. Sora Bynum and I just ended up laughing it off because it was almost too comical to be true. In Pelivan, we visited a member out there who is the mother of a member, Tania, here in Chișinău! She is such a sweet woman and I could see where Tania gets her sweetness from. We shared with her the talk President Uchtdorf gave at the Woman’s Conference about God’s love. She has been through a lot of hard things and she still keeps going — the people here never cease to amaze me. While out in Pelivan, Sora Bynum had me try drinking well water which was actually pretty good. I am positive that I have had water from a well out here before, especially when I eat at anyone’s home who lives in the countryside, but there is a certain charm from pulling the water out of the well yourself. After making it back to Orhei, Sora Bynum and I headed back to Chișinău to exchange back.
Today, our district headed out to Orhei Vechi, a place that reminds me a lot of Țipova, the place we went for our branch activity a while back. There is a beautiful trail along a ridge, an underground monastery, and lots of fun caves to hide in and explore. We hiked around, took funny pictures, played real-life Temple Run (like the iPhone game), and just had a lot of fun. It was good after the weird week we had and I even got to touch a goat and have my own pet lizard, Percy! Elder Chapman, one of the Orhei elders caught it for me. The Orhei district was also up there at the same time, but we only overlapped for a little bit, sadly. We are back here now and we don’t have much time so I should be finishing up.
I love you all so much and hope you have a great week. I miss you lots and think about you all the time. Know that I love you and hope you’re having a great week!!