This has been a long, but a wonderful week! We have been doing a lot to make sure that all my paperwork is ready to submit to the Romanian embassy to apply for a Romanian visa. I had a health appointment at the hospital here, went to the American embassy to get my criminal record, and have been talking a lot to the office elders to get all the forms filled out like I need to. They will be sending up the others documents as soon as they are all done and then I just need to submit everything and hopefully it will all work out!
The kind of crazy thing of this week was what happened with Diana. Last Wednesday, we got a call from a random number during lunch. We thought it was just going to be someone asking about English classes, but it was Diana. She said, “Listen! I don’t have much time, but this is Diana, and I am in the hospital. An ambulance picked me up from school and I am here. This is a doctor’s phone so don’t call it back. I love you, bye!” We were pretty startled and worried about what could possibly be happening. She hadn’t been feeling well for the past couple weeks, feeling faint, and she always looked like she should probably be at home sleeping or resting. We were unable to communicate with her for a couple days, but finally she came back to us this past Monday! Apparently she has spent a lot of her life eating only one meal a day and it seems like her stomach had finally given up the fight and so she is dealing with the consequences now. But she is looking better and the baptism will probably be a week from tomorrow.
This past Saturday was a big branch activity to celebrate the 17 year anniversary of the first 5 baptisms here in Chișinău. Sora Berdeu was kind of the master-of-ceremonies and she had slideshows and speakers to talk about the growth of the church here in Moldova. She had us missionaries sing “Secret Prayer” and then as a Relief Society we sang “You Can Make the Pathway Bright.” President and Sora Ivory were there as well as some visitors, including the Cooleys, the newest senior couple here in Chișinău! They are from the Sacramento area and will be working on helping start a self-reliance center for the church. After all the speakers and singing, we had FOOD. Man, Moldovans know how to throw a party when it comes to food. There was SO MUCH and it was all SO GOOD. Everyone stayed and had a good time which was awesome. As we were cleaning up, I was by myself mopping the whole chapel when President Vizitiv comes up, grabs the mop from my hands, and sends me away haha. Later I asked him if I could take over for him since he had done about half and he tells me, “I can’t stand by and watch you mop all by yourself! I can’t let myself do that!” And I said, “But that’s how I feel too! I can’t let others do all the work!” And he laughed and came over and gave me a big hug hahaha. He told me and Sora Gibson that we have to come over before the weather gets really bad to visit his garden and to share a lesson with him and his wife. That will be pretty interesting since he speaks pretty minimal Romanian and his wife speaks even less, but I absolutely LOVE the Vizitivs and I can’t wait to visit them!
We were pretty curious as to why President Ivory was with us on Saturday and Sunday — the branch activity? the new senior couple? But our questions were answered when he announced during Sacrament meeting that the Chișinău branch was being divided into Chișinău Romanian speaking and Chișinău Russian speaking. This is the first branch-splitting that I have ever heard of here on my mission, but I’m not surprised that it happened here. It will be hard because there will be gaps to fill in within each branch, but I know this will be an opportunity for all of us to grow. President Kabak will be the branch president of the Russian branch and what is REALLY amazing is that Anatol will be the second counselor in the Romanian branch!! Only two months after he was baptized and he is already a member of the branch presidency! Relief Society was pretty sad — all the ladies ended up crying at some point. I didn’t understand most of the lesson since it was in Russian, but I overheard the sister translating for Sora Ivory and she said, “I don’t know why we have to be separated, but if the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles think it must be like this, then we will follow.” They are all so faithful and wonderful ladies. Even though I wasn’t able to understand them, I could always feel their love and I will miss them. We will still have activities together, but our Sunday meetings will be at different times.
President Ivory believes that we can have 100 active members here in Chișinău by next Christmas — that would mean 50 active members in each branch. Currently we have about 60 in the one branch, so it will be a big push for that to happen. But I have faith that it can happen. Something amazing is happening here in Chișinău and I am so glad to be a part of it!
I won’t say too much about what happened from Monday until today so that I have things to say when I get to Internet next Monday, but today will be awesome!! We are having Thanksgiving with all the Moldovan missionaries in just a couple hours and I am so excited to see what 3 senior couples and 20 missionaries can [literally] cook up. It has been snowing a little bit here too! Looks like winter is finally here, but we haven’t had any big snowstorms yet or any snow that has really stuck, thankfully.
I am so thankful for so many things on this Thanksgiving Day. I am grateful for you and the love and support you have always given me throughout my life, whether it was helping me do a science report on the height of a flagpole, helping me apply to graduate school, supporting my decision to come on a mission, or showing me your love every week through emails or letters. I am so grateful for this chance that I have to be on a mission, to be serving the Lord and the people of Romania and Moldova that I love so much. I am so grateful for this Gospel that has brought so much happiness to my life. I am grateful for all of my friends from home as well as all the companions and missionaries I have served around. I am grateful for the joy and happiness I feel in my life and all the many sources of that happiness.
Wishing you only the best today!
P.S. This week’s email title comes from me, explaining to Sora Gibson about why I like to drink juice way more than water…I thought it made sense…