This past week was great!! Thursday was Thanksgiving and we moved our P-Day to that day, as you saw. It was so fun to eat all together and the food was SO GOOD. We had 20 of us younger missionaries and our 3 senior couples all together in one big room. I couldn’t stop smiling and saying, “I am just SO happy right now!” The cream corn was a success — Elder Flanders said, “Wow Sora Bray…this corn is pretty bad. We’re gonna need you to practice every week and bring over a nice big batch for us every time…” hahaha. We spent most of the day just hanging out all together and it was one of the best P-Days ever! After that, Sora Bynum and I went back to Orhei to have our exchange the next day. We had a great maxi-taxi ride except every time it stopped, it would turn on these BLINDINGLY bright lights above all the seats. We spent Friday celebrating the one-year anniversary of sisters coming to Orhei with a good lunch and even cake! Orhei was opened to sisters just a transfer or two before Alexandria — crazy to think that almost a year ago I was going to Alexandria for the first time! We had a great lesson about the Restoration with the sisters’ investigator, Ludmila. She had the cutest little dog named Lika — she reminded me a lot of Nikki so I gave her LOTS of love. After that, we got my things and went to the church for game night. I learned a new card game that was weirdly fun once you got over the fact that you would be bad at it the first couple rounds. We met our companions at the maxi-taxi station and Sora Gibson and I made our way back home.
This week we taught Diana twice and both times were great. But we haven’t heard from her for a couple days now — radio silence can be really frustrating when you are a missionary!! We are still not sure when she will be baptized because we want to be sure that she is really ready and prepared, but hopefully it will be within the next couple weeks. We just want to make sure that she is ready to be committed to coming to church every single week. She has such a great desire and faith, but like any teenager, sometimes putting your priorities in order when it comes to time can be really hard. But when we taught her about the temple, she absolutely LOVED it. I can hardly wait for her to be baptized and to keep progressing in the Gospel.
We had a cool lesson this week with the Cooleys, the new senior couple. We went and taught two men who work for this media company that will be working for the Church to do some publicity — kind of like the “I’m a Mormon” campaign, but for Moldova. The Cooleys were meeting with them and invited us to come and teach them about the Plan of Salvation to help them better understand who we are. Sora Gibson had taught one of them, Alexander, before with Sora Bischoff when we were on exchanges last transfer, so she told me about how weird yet awesome it was. It basically felt like a business meeting with the Spirit there. They were really receptive and listened to our message and I feel like part of it spoke to them. Liviu, the other man who Sora Gibson hadn’t met before, said he really liked the idea that there isn’t really hell, just that each person will be where they feel most comfortable, whether that is the celestial kingdom or elsewhere.
We met with a couple members and less-actives this week as well. We met with Eugenia and challenged her to give out a copy of the Book of Mormon to a friend or co-worker. She is such a faithful member and we are really excited to get her more involved with our missionary work. She had some food waiting for us — salad that was BRIGHT pink. We asked her what was in it and she goes, “….mice…” Sora Gibson and I both look at each other with big eyes, wondering what we are about to get ourselves into. But then she started explaining in Romanian and we realized it was a translation error and we weren’t actually going to be eating mice, thankfully. The salad was pink because of the beets in it. You would not believe how many vegetables I have eaten out here on my mission — one time I even ate an olive, pit and all! We also met with Sora Gasnaş, the member who basically runs the office for the missionaries out here in Moldova. She met us outside her apartment building and took us to a different door than usual. Turns out, she was taking us over to her sister’s apartment! She has 3 sisters — two of them live in the same apartment building, one floor apart, one lives in the building next door, and the other lives across the street. They are all SO close and it was so cute to see them all together. We got to know Doina and Nina better, the oldest and the younger middle sister. I had seen Nina maybe once before at church (she is a member) and I had never met Doina before. They are such tight-knit sisters and it made me so happy to be spending time with them. Sora Gibson and I also loved that it felt like Sora Gasnaş trusts us a lot, enough to have us over at her sister’s home for dinner!
This Sunday were elections for Moldova. It is crazy to get ads for the communist party in our mailbox and to hear that the split is about 52-48 in favor of democracy, with the other part in favor of communism. But nothing too crazy happened to threaten our safety as missionaries, so we had a normal day of church and proselyting. Church was strange in the smaller Romanian branch — it reminded me of all the other branches I have served in with about 25 people there. I had to translate during Sacrament meeting when Sora Cooley gave a talk. It was pretty intimidating since most people there are much better at speaking Romanian than I am. I also gave the Relief Society lesson which was fun and terrifying all at the same time. After church and lunch, we went streetboarding! We didn’t have that much success because it seems like nobody was outside (it was pretty freezing so I don’t blame them). But we still had fun and I FINALLY got to streetboard. Streetboarding is basically having like a science fair poster with information about the church with pictures and then you wait for the people to come talk to you! But when people don’t come talk to you, it makes it a little harder haha. But all in all, a good day.
This has been a great week and I absolutely love being here. I am so grateful for this opportunity to be in Romania and Moldova. I am so so so happy every day and I can’t wait to share this joy with you. I love you so much and miss you even more. Hope you have a great week and a great beginning of December!
All my love,