This week has been a weird one, but a good one. We had New Year’s which was awesome! For the holiday, we decided to have our Chișinău sisters exchange the following day so that we could all have a reason to sleep in the same apartment. We stayed up until midnight and did a tradition that Sora Allen had done before where you write your wish for the new year on a little slip of paper and then burn that paper and put the ashes in the cup you will drink out of at midnight. The soras had bought some apple cider (they could tell it wasn’t gonna be alcohol because of the Disney princesses on the wrapper haha). We all had trouble getting our wishes to burn because a huge chunk would burn, then it would get too close to our fingers and we would end up dropping the whole thing into the cup and half would be un-burned but soggy…but it eventually worked out and we had a great celebration! From our 8th floor apartment, we could see fireworks all over the city! And they kept going for at least a good hour or two…Moldova may be the poorest country in Europe, but the firework industry must be booming based on what I’ve seen.
My exchange the following day with Sora Allen was so GREAT! This was our 4th STL exchange together (plus another one we had when our companions went down to MLC back in October) and it never gets old! I love Sora Allen so much and it has been so amazing to watch her grow since I have seen her since her very first transfer in the mission. We had a great time contacting and just talking about everything. I told her about how I worry that with the end of my mission coming, I will leave and it will be like nothing happened, like I had no effect or made no difference. I worry that members will forget I ever was there and I know the day will come that not a single missionary in the mission knows who I was…and of course, that is how it should go. But she was so sweet and let me know how much of an effect our time together has had on her and how she is sure that other sisters I have served with and worked with feel the same. She talked about how Olea will never ever forget me and how that family will always remember me. It was so sweet and just what I needed to hear.
We met with a new investigator this week, Galina. She is from our English classes and is so great! She is a young mother who is a dentist that has a Ph.D. and is working on a master’s as well. One time during a spiritual thought, she kept asking lots of questions about what we believed so after the thought, we asked if she wanted to meet one on one and she said yes! We went over after church on Sunday and she was so great. She is super friendly and was really open to the message we had. She said she would read from the Book of Mormon and wants to meet again. Her adorable 8 year old daughter was OBSESSED with us…she painted a little ceramic monkey magnet for us and as we were leaving she goes, “Are you coming over tomorrow? Or the day after? Please say yes!!” Her big eyes just kept getting bigger as she excitedly asked us. They are such a beautiful family and I am so excited for us to be working with her.
I don’t have much time left, but there was a baptism here in the Russian branch! It was so wonderful to see someone make that covenant of baptism…and she still did it even in the cold water! Valea is such a sweetheart — she kept talking to me and Sora Gibson in Russian…one of the Russian elders told us later that she totally thought we understood perfectly. I guess I have learned to fake like I understand foreign languages pretty well. The mission just helps me grow in so many ways!
This Tuesday is Russian Orthodox Christmas, so I am excited to have Christmas part 2! I miss you all lots and can’t believe I will see you so soon!! Have a great week and know that I love you always. Thank you for all you do to support me, even if it’s just to think of me every once in a while 🙂
The title for this email comes from Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s talk from the priesthood session that so simply stated, “Seeing ourselves clearly is the beginning of wisdom.” This is my resolution for the year, to try to see myself clearly and truly understand my weaknesses and work on them while still recognizing my strengths in the process.