Lots to update for this week! One of the things we did this week was work with a lot of members gearing up for the Christmas activity we had on Saturday. We spent 3 hours on Tuesday helping Sora Gorgos sew little outfits for her grandson’s kindergarten. They are doing a Christmas program and we are making little Santa outfits for them. But we felt a little deceived because we thought we were making clothes for like homeless children in need, not costumes for them. But oh well, I guess it’s more that we are doing service for Sora Gorgos with her project. We were all sitting there (us four soras, Sora Flanders, and Sora Cooley) all just sewing away madly. We are going over on Tuesday to finish up the last little bits of that.
We also visited with Tania — we had a great lesson about how to share the Christmas spirit with others this season and she helped us learn a verse of “O, Little Town of Bethlehem” in Russian. We had a fun time with Sora Berdeu this week as well. We were helping her brainstorm ideas of games to play at the activity. Every time we suggested a game she would say, “That’s…nice. But I just have in my head a different vision of what I want it to be like.” After a while she finally got to an idea she liked, so if nothing else, we were there to help along the brainstorming process haha. We talked with her about faith and how it can be strengthened and then carry us through whatever our trials might be. We had a visit with Sora Gordienco and her daughter Palina. They are so sweet and made us dinner and dessert! People always said, you won’t get fed in this mission, and yet time and time again, people force the food on me! It was a great time and then we had a lesson about prophets and how we can sustain and follow the prophet. We talked about the branch split and how it was hard on her and how she still struggles with it a little bit. But I felt like in this last lesson that she opened up to us more. She isn’t super good at Romanian but she gets by well enough and we are still able to talk and I feel like she started to trust us more too. We are excited to help her come back to full activity and to come to fully accept the branch split. We also had a lesson with Olea who we have not been able to meet with for a couple weeks now. She has been doing some things at the university so her free time has been limited, but we were able to come over and have a really great lesson about missionary work. She teared up when we read D&C section 4 together. She and Anatol both asked President Covali for them to be more involved with missionary work — they are just the best members ever. They have such pure, righteous desires and I feel like they just understand the Gospel so well. Olea and her example inspire me all the time and I dread the day I have to leave her 😦
We also met this week with some of our investigators. We met with Diana once and talked with her about needing to read and pray. It is kind of sad, we feel like she is losing her desire. I feel like so many obstacles have been thrown in her way and they just keep coming. She was in the hospital, her phone was gone with her dad for a whole weekend and she couldn’t talk to us, she is staying with a family friend for a while and has to take care of the kids, her tests for school are all stacking up…and it feels like all those things are getting in the way of her progression. We emphasized to her that reading the scriptures, even for a little bit each day, and praying will give her the strength and the ability to do all the other things she needs to do. She just seems to have lost that crazy, enthusiastic desire she had at the beginning when she started meeting with us. We are not sure how to get it back, but we will help her as much as we can. We also met with Nadejda, a great investigator we met through English classes. She is seriously so wonderful. She just gets things so quickly and she is such a true seeker of the truth. We had a lesson with her on Saturday, right before the branch activity.
Things were pretty crazy leading up to the branch activity. We had a lesson with some of our 30/30 students at 2, but we were still fiendishly baking cookies up until that point and still were baking when they arrived so we just kind of finished up while teaching them some English haha. Then we met with Nadejda right before and had to finish quickly because people kept interrupting and needing the room we were using. Nadejda stayed for the activity and it went really well except that all the kids of the branches kept going CRAZY! They were all just walking where they wanted to haha. We did a live nativity as the missionaries/youth and it went really well! Sora Gibson and I sang some Christmas songs on the ukulele and we even did one verse in Russian which we had learned from Tania 🙂 We surprised all the Russian members with that one! After all the festivities, we had lots and lots and lots of food. It was so fun to celebrate all together with the members.
One last thing about this week: Elders Bateman and Boydstun have been working hard to get us to be able to show “He is the Gift” in the park because there are electrical plugs outside. So last night, we brought out a projector, a laptop, we hung up a white sheet between some trees, and we put on a show, complete with speakers! It was a really really awesome experience — some people stopped and sat on the benches to watch and others only saw for a couple moments, but it was so amazing nonetheless to be able to share the Christmas spirit with others.
Merry merry Christmas to everyone back home! Hope you have a happy holiday season and know that I am thinking of you!! I miss you, I love you, and I hope you are all happy, home, and safe, surrounded by your families. I am so glad to be here surrounded by my Moldovan family and to be a missionary. I can’t imagine anything better.
I love you and I miss you!
Lots of Christmas love,