This week has been pretty weird. Tuesday was a good full day where we met with Sora Berdeu and Tania, another member. Sora Berdeu made us bookmarks with a picture of us on it — SO CUTE! She also asked if we could specifically have a lesson about Alma 32 and she asked if we could start with a hymn — “Teach Me to Walk in the Light.” She showed us an old old picture of her with some of the first missionaries to teach her and she said she finally looked at the back for the first time where one of the missionaries had written that chapter and that hymn. Every time we visit her, it gives me hope and faith that the little things we do as missionaries will inspire the people we teach for years to come. She talked about how she interpreted Alma 32 in regards to her family — she is the only member, but she knows that the seed is planted in the hearts of her daughters and it just needs more time and care to grow. We will be visiting her tomorrow so that is exciting as always.
After her, we visited with Tania, a wonderful member who is in her 30s. She has been through a LOT in her life and yet she still holds on so faithfully to the Gospel — she is a real inspiration to me. She was talking about her boy troubles and we offered her our help…”Just call us whenever you need help with anything…even if it’s just what to say back to his texts!” She laughed super hard and said we were hilarious so we’re glad we could make her happy haha.
We met with Diana after that where she gave us the bad news that she would not be able to be baptized on Saturday because it is the anniversary of her grandmother’s death. On the year anniversary, in Orthodox culture, the whole family gathers together and eats a meal in honor of that person so she needed to be out at the countryside starting Friday evening until Sunday afternoon. We were pretty deflated hearing that she wouldn’t be able to be baptized on Saturday, but we comforted her and let her know that all will be well. We had to hurry after our lesson to go to our first English class of the transfer. Sora Gibson and I are teaching Beginner+ or Beginner 2.0 for all those people who know the basics, but aren’t quite at the medium level yet. We had to find space for the class since there aren’t any other rooms, so we were in the large supply room/closet. Our 13 students were pretty cramped, but I think they all liked the class. We taught them “How ya doin’?”, “What’s up?”, and many more colloquial sayings. After family night, we made our way home and had the Orhei sisters with us as well! The next morning, we woke up at 2:45 AM…yeah, that was terrible…to get ready and to drop me off at the Covalis’ house while the rest of the missionaries went to Iaşi for a mission conference with Elder Kearon, a member of the Seventy.
I arrived at the Covalis at 4 AM, slept on their kitchen table for a couple hours and then when President Covali left for work, they let me nap in their bed. I was there until about 12 when Eugenia, another member, came to take me to the church so that I could see some of the conference on Skype. Even though I was only able to see an hour or two of the conference, it was still really uplifting and amazing. Elder Kearon is from England and when President Ivory introduced me to him over Skype, he goes, “Bray…is she one of us? Is she a Brit?” He knows a couple of Brays over there in England who I am sure I am somehow related to, but it was funny that he immediately recognized the name as being English. My favorite line from the conference was when he said, in a British accent of course, “We deal well with resistance. And we always have.” It helped motivate me this week whenever I felt some resistance — BRING IT ON! I THRIVE ON THIS RESISTANCE AND I ALWAYS HAVE!
After the conference, I went home with Olea to wait for the other missionaries to come back and pick me up. I hated throughout the day how I felt like I was being babysat since I couldn’t go anywhere by myself. But the members are all so amazing in helping me and staying with me for hours. I can’t thank them enough for taking in a homeless, companion-less sister missionary. The sisters came back and picked me up around 8:30 and we deliriously made our way home after a LONG day. On Thursday, we met with Diana and helped Olea with some of the things she needed to do around the house but couldn’t do alone.
Friday was the Missionary Leadership Council with Elder Kearon in Buc but I couldn’t go so Soras Bischoff and Bynum went in my place. Apparently it was “the most spiritual meeting I have ever been to in my whole life” (direct quote from the zone leaders). I was pretty sad to be missing it, especially since it would be my last chance to see Sora Ralls or Sora Merrill before they both go home, but that is how things go sometimes I guess. Good thing I do well with resistance! And I always have!
Saturday was the baptism of Diana, a woman the Russian elders have been teaching. She is literally the cutest woman and she was so nervous about the water…I had a bit of Marilena flashbacks, but luckily everything went well 🙂 We sisters sang “How Great Thou Art” for a musical number and Diana was just so happy. On Sunday, I performed a musical number in church where I played an arrangement of “I Know that My Redeemer Lives” and Nina, one of the members here sang. She has an AMAZING voice and it went off almost flawlessly! It was so great and I’m so glad she performed with me!
Lots of great stuff is happening here. Sora Gibson and I are putting our all into contacting this week and we are looking forward to our Diana probably being baptized this Saturday! I love you all so much and I am so glad that I am here. I miss you lots. Hope you all have a great week!
Love, love, and more love,
FYI: Next week, we are moving P-Day to Thursday to celebrate Thanksgiving so you can expect a letter on Thanksgiving Day itself!