Un saptamana in Romania! Este forte minunat tara si eu se iubesc! (It is a wonderful country and I love it!) My new Preparation Day is on Monday, so I'll get to tell you about toate minunat (all the wonderful) things that have happened over the week, my first week in this frumoasa tara (beautiful country).
But first, comes multumesc mia (my thanks). Daca cu rugaciune (as with prayer), I want to thank before I tell of what I've done because without familia and friends and especially my Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ, I'm nothing. And last, but most certainly not least, to familia minunat mia! (My wonderful family!) Multumesc to Grandma and Grandpa Pearson and Grandma and Grandpa Lunt for those wonderful cards you gave me. I wish that there was some way I could properly express my gratitude to you but this will have to suffice: Multumesc, voi esteti minunat si eu ve iubesc! (Thank you, you are wonderful and I love you all!)
And now I'll try to tell you as much as I can about my wonderful experiences in this most amazing country! I'll begin by telling you about flying here. I got about 2 1/2 hours of sleep because we woke up at 3 in the morning to get on the bus and head to the Salt Lake airport for our flight at 8. I admit that we were all so tired; we mostly slept until we landed in New York. We had a quick lunch in the JFK airport before boarding the plane for Amsterdam. One of the stewardesses was very nice and asked us about the Church, I gave her a pass-along card when we landed. Then in the airport, Sora Mits and I met a man named Walle (like the movie) and we spoke about the Church and gave him a pass-along card as well. Landing in Romania was a seriously amazing experience, meeting President and Sister Ivory was incredible. They both are so kind and spiritually strong, I have enjoyed the time I have spent with them.
Romania is a beautiful country very similar to Ukraine, and has some of the most amazing parks you will ever see: so green and so many beautiful flowers. In Bucharest, on my first day, we had the chance to visit Paterul Central and stand on the very hill where Elder Russell M. Nelson dedicated Romania for the gospel. I can't even express how it felt to stand there, and to know that 25 years later, the Lord has called me to preach the joyous gospel of Jesus Christ and that He know that I can do it with His guidance. I felt that way when President Ivory told me that my first area would be in the beautiful mountains of Brasov and that my first companion would be Sister Susan Routson. She has been a huge blessing to me, she is so funny, positive, and happy, she has taught me so much about the language and about having courage to spread the gospel.
My whole district has been a blessing to me: the senior missionaries, Varsnic and Sora Bair are very supportive and funny and very good cooks! ;) Then there's Varsnic Spencer Evans who actually went to Olympus High with me, and his companion Varsnic Cressm an. Elder Swafford is serving in Brasov as well and his companion, Elder Sanchez, is just like him! :) The other suori, Sora Robertson and Sora Bagarda, are very patient and happy. Brasov is the most beautiful city, our apartment is right next to the mountains, and every day, we wake up to the beauty of the trees clinging to the mist as if they want to keep that beauty of the morning with them always. Every time I see this, I am reminded of the love of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for giving such beauty to this earth. The people are amazing as well, I've had the chance to meet with many investigators, less-actives, and members and I love them all. On Wednesday, I had the chance to help one investigator, Raluca, with her English and she took a Plan of Salvation pamphlet! To me, that just shows that when we show love and help towards people, they draw closer to the Lord because they want to feel that more. On Thursday, we met with two sweet little boys from Primary, Mihai and Ovidiu and then with the Nuti family, who are less-active, but very open and kind. Then on Friday, we shared a spiritual thought with a member named Corina, who loves art and cats and loves studying the gospel. We spoke about the love of our Heavenly Father, and I was able to say a lot! We also visited an investigator named Lidia, who is learning English and dearly loves Sora Bair and Sora Routson. We also spent a lot of time contacting, which is when we walk in the park or on the street handing out cards inviting people to English class on Tues and Sat, this is how we get a lot of investigators. I actually had a very minunat experience with this yesterday. Church had just finished and Sora Routson and I were waiting for the bus (we ride the bus a lot) and there was a lady who asked us what time the bus came and we told her. At that moment, I felt prompted to ask her a phrase I had been practicing: "Cum mergi asta pentru tine?" (How is your day going?) I was a little afraid to ask because I was worried that I would ask it wrong or she wouldn't understand me, but I felt it again, and gathering up my courage, I asked her. She didn't understand me, :), but that started a conversation where we learned that her name was Adriana and that she had one son who was away at school. She was so nice, and before she got off the bus, she took one of our English class cards and gave us her number, so I hope to see her tomorrow. Later, my companion told me that she had been praying that the Lord would put someone in our path right before we had met Adriana.
I've been thinking a lot this week about all that the Lord has taught me through the Spirit and through others. I've learned many wonderful lessons, but I think that the most important is this: we may hear and see the beauty and joy that comes from living the gospel, but the truest beauty and joy comes from the obedience and courage that it takes to share it. Courage is an attribute that is probably the most important, not just any courage, but the courage of the Lord. And this courage only comes from humbly asking the Lord for His Spirit through prayer and then striving to gain it through action. The Savior is our greatest example of courage, and He gives that courage to any that will ask sincerely. He has promised, "I will be merciful unto you; he that is weak among you hereafter, the same shall be made strong." (D&C 50:16) He has also promised, "as many as receive me give I power to become my sons [or daughters] and even so will i give power unto as many as receive me, power to become my sons [or daughters]." (D&C 39:4) Isn't this a glorious promise? All we must do is receive Him, and He will give us the power to truly become His servants and serve in His strength. I can think of no more comfort than can be found in these words, "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world." (1 John 4:4) I want to share this on my mission, so that others may know that if they come unto Christ, that they can overcome anything in the world because they have the strength of the Lord.