Sunday, February 12, 2017

The End of One Story But the Beginning of a New One

Ramura Iasi
Well, It doesnt come to me to believe that I am where I am right now.  It has literally been a short two years and I wish i was looking forward more to going home.  But alas, I have loved being a missionary and there is no greater joy.  I know that for sure.

This week was epic! We had some good experiences that were a good way to go out.
-Monday: we had a jolly old time doing "The Rounds" at the mall for the last time.  #poptags And then we played ping pong for a good long time to get some stress out.  It was very relaxing.
-Tuesday: we had the opportunity to have Paul and Madalina teach us 4 Elders how to make sarmale/ardei umpluti.  They were very delicious! STORY 1 Below
-Wednesday: we tried a new "happiness" streetboarding and tried asking people why they were happy or how happy they were.  That lead to some good convos and easily leads into the gospel if the opportunity arises.
-Thursday: We had our exchange with Elder Reed (my old comp and is also going home with me) and Elder Virdis.  It was a good day and we lots of fun saying goodbye to members and eating clatite. Elder Brownell and Elder Virdis had an awesome experience trying tomeet up with a less active member.  STORY 2 below. Later that night we had a "going away party" kinda thing.  We went to Vivo (the local burger joint) and made a reservation for 16 people.  It was a good crowd.
-Friday: We got tea with our friend Florin who is SUPER DOPE but not really interested in the Gospel.  No problem cuz he can still be our friend :)  We chatted and played cards and had a fun time.  He invited his Bae and 2 other friends of his named Iustina and Ioana.  They actually were really interested in why we were here and we had a good opportunity to explain to them about missionaries and our church.  Iustina was even interested in coming to church and we also invited them to our youth nights. It was a good chill time.  #teashops Later that night we had the youth night and played the Ellen Degeneres game "Charades".  It reminded me of the countless FHE and Sunday Night activities at the Rolands house :)  We had a fun time too.  It was awesome!
Chillin with da boyz getting tea
-Saturday: We had transfer boards get sent out.  It is a weird transfer and lots of changes are happening.  None of them really affect me but it was interesting to see nonetheless.  It was also sad cuz it is the first transfer board that im not on :( At the end of hte day, we had our international food activity with the branch.  Everyone brought some food and we explained where it originated form, why we brought it and why we like it.  Elder Brownell and I made HOT DOGS.  The American classic.  We also had everyone who could speak a different language bear their testimony in their respective language.  It was cool.  We had English, Romanian, Polish, French, German, and Arabic.  AWESOME!
-Sunday: We had Church and it was sad to say good bye :(  I gave a talk on the Atonement which i think is a good topic to end my mission on.  And Elder Baker and I are taking a train to Bucuresti Sunday night and we are gunna have lots of fun in Buc.

International Activity
Story 1:
We had another exchnage with Elder Baker and Elder Jerome.  They are the other elders in our district.  And i had the opportunity to exchange with Elder Baker.  We were preparing in the day and i told him how we are going to see Paul and Madalina today and make sarmale and probably do an english lesson with them.  Elder Baker asked me if they were investigators yet and i realized that i hadnt really tried to make them investigators and that that was weird that i was keeping them in the friend zone.
So when we entered to make sarmale and we finished all of that i had the intention of talking with them about the Gospel.  But, as we sat down they asked us all the questions about our church and it was awesome.  The Lord had given us that revelation and they acted upon it themselves.  We taught them about some of the Resto and the Book of Mormon.  Paul was actually really excited to read it and we invited them to church on Sunday.  It was a good lesson and discussion.  I was so grateful to Heavenly Father.

Story 2:
Elder Brownell and Elder Virdis went to go meet a less active named Adrian and called to meet up.  Adran said to meet at a bakery called "Petru".  They realized on this street were 2 "Petrus" and they went to the wrong one and called him after waiting for him there and they said to meet at the flower shop by the other Petru.  They go in the flower shop and see one guy there so they assume its Adrian.  They walk up to him see how he is doing, how his family is and start sharing stories and stuff about eachothers families.  The guy says he has to go soon and so Elder Brownell asks him if he has a copy of the BoM at his house and he said no and wanted to know what it was.  Elder Brownell thought that that was strange cuz he thought this guy was baptized and knew about the bom.  So he used the pictures int he front to explain what it was and this guys friend and a couple other people join in while he is teaching this guy.  And so he ends up teaching like 4 people about the bom and one guy was interested in learning more and to get tea sometime. One other guy asked them to follow him to his house and so the elders said goodbye to everyone else and followed this other guy now.  They asked him on the way to his house what his name was and he said "Adrian" and they were like "what? i thought i just talked to Adrian?"  Then they realized they just taught some random guy in the flowershop and like 3 other people and got a guys number to teach him again.  So it was a huge testimony that you dont know who is prepared to receive our message and that you just have to put yourself out there.  Even if it is by mistake haha.

Wrapping sarmale :) #yum
Spiritual Thought:

Well.  Im really sad to be honest.  Romania is like the best country on the planet and i have fallen in love with the people.  I cant believe everything happened so fast and i wish i could stay even longer since i feel like i have just started getting good at everything.  But thats just a sign that  God calls the weak to confound the wise.  I have learned many things on my mission about organizing time, befriending people, listening to people, helping them and loving them, talking to them, prioritizing things and many temporal and useful skills.  But the spiritual gains that i have obtained are so crucial.  I have built so many lasting ties with people, i have become closer to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, I have learned what it truly means to love someone, I have learned about the pains and joys the Saviour experienced in His mortal journey.  All these things will help me become the misisonary i wanna be back home as well as the man i want to be when i return.  They journey has been short and the tears, pain, and joy have been worth it.  The mission will be life long to bring souls unto Christ and to walk as he walked and to say what he would say.  Now i wont be able to always wear the badge, but i will be able to sill be empowered in a different way by Jesus Christ and his Atonement.

I know that God loves me and that He is with me.  I know that He worked miracles thorugh my hands and that i was able to follow the Spirit and preach the Gospel thanks to Him alone and not through my skills or efforts.  I love my Saviour and i hope to express this love for the rest of my days.

I love Romania and Moldova and i love the humble and wonderful people that live in these countries. It has been my greatest pleasure to serve them and to serve our Saviour.

Paul and Madalina

After a long day of sarmale

Chillin makin hot dogz

Florin is da bomb

In my natural habitat

President stoica!

Imma miss Simona :(

See yall in 2 (days that is)..

Monday, February 6, 2017

10 Zile si Gata

:(  Well...The end has come and im pretty sad about it and to say goodbye to all my friends.  Even if it is but a short while for some of those friends, there will still be a hole in my heart...

-We had our last english class #yay no more english :) Not sad about that ;)
-We had an exchange with Elder Kohler, the AP.  Theres suppose to be two APs but his comp was a russian and ended his mission in the middle of the there has been only one AP for the last 3 weeks...Its pretty cool i guess.  So our exchange was us trying ot block knock and talk to people in the Metro and having lots of fun X)  It was a dope exchange.
-We had zone conference in which we talked about the new key indicators and the schedule.  President Ivory talked about teaching repentance and it was awesome!  We had lots of super awesome discussions and it was a good conference.  At the end, me and 3 others bore their "Dying Testimony" as we call it.  It was sad to have to say goodbye to lots of the people i really know and love.
-We went street boarding and had the opportunity top teach a good amount of people about the Book of Mormon which was fun.  Same with block knocking.  At the end of one of the finding sessions, we randomly started trying to get people on buses and other sides of the street to wave back at us and it was actually pretty fun.  We are thinking to go finding with a "happy approach" kinda like this and dong a survey of some sort and see how that goes. I WILL NOT DIE!
-At church, we had a new member from texas join us.  He is married to a moldovan and is living in Romania for the next year.  SO SICK!  another american added to the branch.  We look forward to working with him.  It sucks im leaving as soon as it is happening. :(

Spiritual Thought:
This spiritual thought is brought to you by one of my best friends, Sora Torres. She shared this in Zone conference and it really stuck with me this week.

It started of with an equation:

Me + More = Christlike

It based off the common lie that i will eventually become christlike as i complete a checklist of gospel goals.  I gotta read my scriptures, pray, go to church and be more patient, more loving, etc.  But, what we learned is that this is what Satan wants us to think.  What the equation really should be is:

Me + Christ = More

We need not strive for perfection and making hte gospel a "checklist" of things that get us to Christlikeness.  When we actively  choose to include Christ in our lives, thats when we become MORE.  We read the scriptures to become closer to him, not just check it off the list.  We pray to become closer to him, not just to cross it off the list.

This mentality has really made me question my motives for things and in the most recent days i have felt so much closer to the Saviour.  I know that He loves me and I know He loves all of you.