Big news first: transfers!! We were all freaking out about what transfer boards would bring and we were pretty upset because the transfer board came out at 9 AM on Sunday…which would normally be fine for anybody, but we are the only branch in the whole mission with church at 9 AM (they changed the times when our branches split). So we weren’t able to know transfer boards until after sacrament meeting. And the verdict is…WE ALL STAY THE SAME! I will be with Sora Gibson for a third and Sora Allen and Sora Bischoff are staying together for a third as well! All the Russian elders are the same and the only change will be Elder Lex who is finishing his mission. Elder Bateman will be coming to take Elder Lex’s spot. Sora Bischoff and I will both be STLs, even though we aren’t companions. We don’t know what that exactly means, but it’s exciting nonetheless.
This week has been eventful — exchanges both with Sora Seare and Sora Bischoff and then getting sick in the middle of all of that! On Thursday night, the Orhei sisters came down and Sora Gibson and Sora Bynum went back that evening. All day Friday was a day with Sora Seare and I absolutely loved it!! We went to go teach Olea in the morning but she wasn’t home so we were stuck outside in the freezing rain…literally rain that had frozen in the middle of the air and were little balls of ice when they were coming down. We came back home for lunch and then had a lesson with Diana and then one with Tatiana before heading back to Orhei. With Diana, we introduced her to family history and temple work and she was SO excited by it. She took a picture of my family tree so that she could go on FamilySearch.org right after the lesson and get started. With Tatiana, it was really interesting. She is a 30/30 investigator who is actually pretty interested in the Gospel but she is very hesitant to make any commitments. I asked her if she had the chance to read at all since we hadn’t seen her for about three weeks and she says, “Well…I had the chance, but I didn’t take it.” Then she talked about the video “The Restoration” that we had watched the time before and how she understood from it that we need to ask and then ACT if we want any answers to questions. So she understands what she needs to do, she just needs to DO it now! I think she will actually read from the Book of Mormon this week, so I am pretty hopeful!! Sora Seare and I hurried over to the maxi-taxi station and I was pretty worried about the timing of everything. The last maxi-taxi from Orhei to Chișinău is at about 6:15 and we were projected to be in Orhei at about 6…but then we kept hitting terrible traffice leaving Chișinău and I was worried we would have to spend a night over there. But thankfully, it all worked out for the best and we made our way home that night…just in time for us to switch with the other Chișinău sisters so I could have my exchange with Sora Bischoff.
At this point I was getting pretty sick, but I tried to keep pushing on. Sora Bischoff and I had such a great conversation that night, I absolutely loved it. My favorite part of doing all these exchanges is getting to know so many sisters on a deeper level. It’s like my circle of companions gets to expand every time 🙂 We had our last English class on Saturday and for our spiritual thought, we gathered everyone together and watched the new video on lds.org, “He is the Gift”. It’s awesome if you haven’t seen it yet! We also had come early and put together little bags of candy for all the English students to wish them a Merry Christmas! Afterwards, we went to a museum with a lot of the missionaries and Olea. It was supposed to be her with Anatol and the kids, but circumstance didn’t allow for that, so we just went with Olea instead. It was a really interesting museum about the history of Moldova, but during the trip I was feeling worse and worse. Sora Bischoff and I had planned to do some bloc-knocking after that but I needed to go home and get some sleep instead. I felt better yesterday and I’m feeling even better today. I feel so bad that Sora Bischoff got the short end of the stick since she had sick Sora Bray, but such is life sometimes.
Some fun things from this week:
-successful bloc-knocking and contacting! Sora Gibson and I have been lucky to keep running into really awesome people. We met a super sweet man named Valentin while we were bloc-knocking. We were able to share the Book of Mormon with him and he seemed really interested in it. We accidentally ran into Sora Tiukafkin in the same bloc! We had no idea she lived there and she was just as surprised to find us there at her door. She let us in for a couple minutes and we met her adorable granddaughter 🙂 And in traditional Moldovan hospitality, she sent us away with some food. We also met a really awesome guy, Iuliu, at a bus stop. He asked us, “Are you Mormons?” in English. We talked to him a little bit and it turned out that he had spent a year in St. George, UT as an exchange student and he had gone to church a couple times and had also been to activities. We are excited to invite him to activities here! We also discovered a new contacting technique — this coffee place called Tucano that reminds us a LOT of Starbucks. The girl who took our order asked us in English if we were Mormons and we talked to her as well as a couple of the other workers about our English classes. It is always fun to talk to someone in English cause I can fully be myself. We are excited to go back!
-visit with the Vizitivs! We went over to their apartment after church yesterday. It was funny because President Vizitiv had to go do some district president things for about an hour so he left us alone with Sora Vizitiv who knows pretty minimal Romanian…but we shared our family pictures, she shared hers, and we got to hear a lot about her life which I absolutely loved! And she did SO much better in Romanian than she gives herself credit for! When President came back, we had a lesson about how to share the gift of Christ this Christmas season, focusing on Jeffrey R. Holland’s talk from this last conference. After that, we broke our fast together eating some sort of Ukranian-style stroganoff-y thing that was super good and then some pumpkin cake for dessert. Everything we ate, even the apple juice, was all home-made and home-grown. We talked for a little bit more and then we were off. As we were getting all of our things together, they mentioned how we were pretty much like their daughters 🙂 I love them so much!!
-seeing Centru all lit up! We made sure we made our way through Centru one evening to see the huge tree and all the lights. They even have an ice-skating rink right there for everyone. I hear the ice-skating is actually pretty expensive, but I love the atmosphere of the Christmas spirit that is everywhere.
Everything is so great here in Chișinău! I love life so much and I am so excited for Christmas in just a couple weeks! Sora Gibson and I realized we will hit our 100 day together mark 1 day after Christmas haha. It will just be a week of celebration!! I love you all and miss you all so much, but I am so happy to be here as well. I think of you often and hope you have an amazing week.