Well, my last transfer boards and the big news is that I am STAYING! I thought for sure that I was leaving — I’m not even sure why, but I had the feeling that I was going. Sora Gibson and I met with lots of members and investigators this week to say goodbye to them. It was hard because we weren’t sure which of us would be leaving but we were pretty much 100% positive that one of us would go. We ended up basically having a goodbye lesson at each place which was pretty sad.
Transfer board Sunday was pretty stressful. Sora Gibson was asked to speak earlier in the week so she prepared her talk and then when we were visiting with Sora Covali Saturday night, she asked if we could do the Relief Society lesson. We agreed…until we remembered that we had agreed to do a musical number with Nina in the Russian branch sacrament meeting which is the same time as Relief Society in the Romanian branch. Thankfully, we figured it out: Sora Gibson would do an hour-long exchange with Sora Bischoff and do the musical number and Sora Allen and I would go to Relief Society. During sacrament meeting, as they go to announce the speakers, they announce that it will be Sora Gibson followed by…SORA BRAY. They asked me to share my experiences from serving in Moldova, so during the first half of Sora Gibson’s talk I was frantically trying to pull my thoughts together. I ended up sharing my feelings about how I felt like the branch members had truly built Zion among themselves and how much I felt their love and faith every single time I met with them. I ended up crying (sigh) and it was compounded by the fact that I still wasn’t sure at that point if I was leaving or not. Transfer boards came out at 9 am…right when sacrament meeting started…so we were all pretty nervous about what was going to happen. Afterward, I saw the news that I am staying and Sora Barrera is coming to be my companion!! She was trained by Sora Ralls right after I left Brașov and she trained Sora Gibson so we’ve served with each other’s companions a lot. She is from El Salvador originally and studies at BYU. I am so excited to work with her and have her “kill” me — I have heard only amazing things about her 🙂 🙂 🙂 Sora Gibson will be going to Arad, Sora Allen will be going to Ploiești, Sora Bischoff will be staying here in Chișinău and she will be training!! We say goodbye to Elder Hammer later today to send him off to America…in just six weeks, that will be ME. Crazy, right?? But, getting back to Sunday, we went to Relief Society and Sora Covali introduced me as “the savior on mount Zion” having agreed to teach the lesson only the night before and then to speak in sacrament meeting with only 10 minutes notice haha. But the lesson went well and I was so relieved to just go home and not speak publicly in Romanian for at least a little bit.
We had a couple awesome experiences this week:
– Less-active finding with the Flanders: we tried to find some members who have not come to church in over 10 years by going to their houses/apartments as listed in the branch directory. None of their phone numbers worked so we got the Flanders to come exploring Chișinău with us. One less-active lived on a street without any public transportation leading over there, so we walked for about 25 minutes away from the main street and finally made our way to the littlest street. After not finding him and none of his neighbors even recognizing the name, we decided that the faster way out would be down through the forest that surrounded the street. We started what ended up being a 45 minute hike in the snow. We were amazed that the Flanders were such troopers! They amaze me!
– Visit with Sora Kabak: The Kabaks are one of the families in the Russian branch and they both speak almost no Romanian. We made friends with their granddaughter, Dasha, who came to church a couple times when she was visiting her grandparents for the holidays. She can speak English pretty well and she is just the biggest sweetheart. She invited us over for lunch so we had the chance to visit with Sora Kabak…turns out, she speaks English pretty well too!! We were shocked!!! She managed to talk to us for about 2 hours! It was amazing to get to connect with her and find out that her daughter and son-in-law live in NEW HAMPSHIRE! We talked about New Hampshire for a good 35 minutes straight…it was awesome. The members here continue to surprise and amaze me every single day.
Lots of other fun stuff happened (all the missionaries having a potluck yesterday to say goodbye to the Kneibs, one of our senior couples who left this morning, and Elder Hammer; three lessons with our English students Valeria, Adrian, and Veaceslav; all the missionaries stuffed into Sora Gorgos’s little apartment for a dinner) and I wish I could elaborate on all of it!
I miss you and I love you all so much! I am so so excited for this last transfer where I can give my all and leave my whole heart here in Moldova. I love this country and I feel so blessed and happy to be here. I love you and think of you often! Have the best week ever!