What a crazy week that started with me going to ROMANIA!!!!! I never really thought the day would come when I would step on Romanian soil again. Monday night Sora Gibson and I went to the other sisters’ apartment and stayed the night. At 4 am, the Flanders came to pick me up to take me to the airport to go to MLC. Normally I would have gone with Sora Bischoff, the other STL here, but she has yet to receive her green card for Moldova and neither have any of the other sisters so I went solo down to Buc. My companions for the day were Elder Daland and Elder Hammer, the zone leaders. It was pretty weird and I felt kind of lonely at random parts of the day without a companion. Just a preview of life post-mission when I won’t have a companion around me 24/7. WEIRD.
MLC was great — I loved seeing missionaries I haven’t seen in such a long time and it was really edifying to talk about all the things we are doing as a mission and how we are going to move forward. I am so excited to see the three Europe area goals come to pass: doubling the active membership, having each member prepare a name for the temple, and increasing the spiritual and temporal self-reliance of the members. I can hardly wait to see all the progress that will come because of these goals! We flew back that same day but we almost missed our flight. Our flight was at 4:30 and the meeting was still not over by 3:15. Finally at about 3:45 we left the mission office and Sora Ivory sped down the streets of Buc trying to get us there on time. We were already checked in, but we still had to do security and passport checks. I had my shoes untied in the car, ready to leap out. When we finally got through the passport check, we SPRINTED the entire length of the airport (of course our gate was one of the ones that was farthest away) and we arrive huffing and puffing to the gate to be told that our flight was delayed about 20 minutes! We would have barely just made it (we got to the gate at about 4:08 with the doors closing at 4:15) but thankfully instead we got to sit at the terminal for 20 minutes and catch our breath. We made it safely home but we were greeted by -10 C weather.
The next day was one of the hardest days of my mission. It was about -15 C all day with crazy winds and it was also Russian Orthodox Christmas…AKA everyone was busy or out of town, nobody wanted to meet, nobody was on the streets, etc. The combination of holidays and weather just made for a day where we didn’t know what to do. We tried to find less-actives and ended up in some really weird places. We were trying to find apartment 2 in a certain bloc but the bloc had like 10 different doors and none of those had apartment 2. Sora Gibson just randomly dialed an apartment number on one of the intercoms, 106, and we got a response! He let us in to the bloc and we started climbing the stairs but there were no doors for apartments…for at least 5 flights. We wondered where apartment 106 could possibly be and instead found what we are pretty sure is where Gollum would live in Moldova. We left the bloc before we could find any of the apartments so that will always remain a mystery…
We went bloc-knocking that night as well and met some really wonderful people and it was a testament to me that if I just try to do what I know I need to be doing, I will be blessed even if it seems a lot easier to just go home and call the day a bust.
We had another cool bloc-knocking experience. We got to a bloc and we prayed when we got to the top like we normally do. We prayed that the people would be prepared for the gospel, that their hearts would be softened and that they would be able to feel that we were meant to meet them. On the third door where we knocked, an older woman rejected us through the door (“Who are you?” “We’re missionaries and we have a survey!” “What? No, thanks.”) But then as we were walking away, she opened the door and said, “What kind of survey?” We asked her the questions and in the middle of it she goes, “Come in, it’s cold!” We ended up at Gheorghe and Larisa’s house for the next 45 minutes where they gave us some fruit tea, lots of baked goods, and they told us all about their family. They were so so so welcoming and I felt so much like I was at home instantly. We shared a spiritual thought with them and they were just the nicest. We invited them to English (they had been before so they could learn English for when they visit their daughter in Florida) and they said we were welcome back any time. They were some of the nicest people I have ever met and I felt like we could see their hearts softening in a matter of seconds.
We had an AMAZING lesson with Tatiana this past week. We haven’t been able to meet with her for about 3-4 weeks and so we were interested to see where the lesson would go. We asked her about how her Book of Mormon reading had been going and she says, “Well, I’m only up to 1 Nephi 9…but I have a LOT of questions.” She remembered everything so so so well and it was apparent that she was really concentrating and excited as she was reading. We talked about Lehi’s dream of the tree of life and all the history of Lehi’s family. It was funny because we normally do 30/30s with her, but when she arrived she says, “Let’s do the gospel part first” and we got so into our conversation that we didn’t even have time for the English which she didn’t seem to mind 🙂 I feel like I have really watched her progress over my time here in Chișinău and she has really become a good friend to me.
A lot of our lessons fell through this week, but I still feel like I can see the blessings all around me. I love serving a mission and especially serving here in Chișinău. Know that I miss you and I love you and I can’t believe I will see you so soon! I am a week away from my last transfer…CRAZY. I plan on making the most of this little time that I have left. But until I see you again, I think of you often and love you even more!