Another wonderful week has past! I'm sorry I didn't email yesterday, I forgot to mention that we had zone conference this Monday! So yesterday, all four surori, Sister Bair, and her family visiting (the elders left the night before and Elder Bair drove down so they could drive back) hopped on a train at five AM and headed back to Bucharest! We were joined by missionaries from the west, so I got to see Sora Mits, Moon, Brinkman and Varsnic Jardine, Nango, Reed, Patterson, and Swafford! It was so wonderful seeing them and hearing how their doing and swapping stories. I am truly thankful for the opportunity to listen to President and Sister Ivory and other speakers who helped me to feel the Spirit and learn. But I'll talk more about that in a second.
Sorry, I want there to be enough room to tell you about all that has happened this week. I'll begin by telling you about the food. Soarma is a really great dish, it’s pita bread wrapped around chicken or lamb, fries, vegetables, and a delicious dressing. They also have really good bread like in Ukraine, and doughnuts as well. But my favorite Romanian food is probably covergi, which is like a preztel covered in sesame seed, the best ones are the ones with chocolate inside, I just finished one.:) Sister Bair makes all of us dinner on Sunday nights, I love her cooking!
I want to tell you about the Spiritual experiences that I have had this week, because I feel that it would be ungrateful to the Lord and to the Spirit if I didn't share them and testify. For contacting, President Ivory has challenged us to come up with creative ways to contact. So Sora Routson and I went to play basketball with Mihai & Ovidiu and about six of their friends. By the end, all six of them said that they want to come to church with Mihai and Ovidiu! I thought that Sora Routson was right, even just ordinary things like basketball can lead to people coming to church. All throughout the week, we have been having conversations with people in Romanian, and every time I open my mouth, I feel gratitude for my Heavenly Father that I can have the courage to speak with the Spirit. But the most special experiences this week occurred on Friday, Saturday, and Monday. First, on Friday, we had a lesson with Lidia, she was so happy to have us over and we had a wonderful conversation, she really is opening up to us more. Then after that, we head over to a beautiful square called, in English, "the Market of Advice". I was able to meet for the first time, two beautiful teenage girls who come frequently to English: Maria and Mimi. They are so friendly and they speak wonderful English. I hope that as we continue to build friendships, they will want to hear about the gospel. Then we had a lesson with Raluca at the Church, she was so happy because she got her visa and in a couple months will get to work in America! We showed her the "Because of Him" video, and she thought it was really interesting. I was able to bear my testimony of the truthfulness of what she saw and that I knew that the Savior does live and because He lives, we too may live again as we live like Him. But on Saturday, I had such a wonderful experience, I smile every time I think of it. On Saturday, we had English class, and when class was done, we had a spiritual thought and this time, it was Elder Evans and Elder Cressman, and Sora Routson and me. I was more than a little nervous, because this was only my second week and many of those who came were not members. I was the last one to speak, so when it came to me, I said a quiet prayer for courage and opened my mouth to speak. I can't even begin to describe the joy that filled my heart as I spoke of my wonderful family and their example for love for the Savior. I then testified that the Lord loves each one of us and how thankful I am to be a missionary and serve His children. I concluded by saying, "O iubesc Tatal Ceresc si Isus Hristos cu toate inima mia." (I love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ with all my heart.) In that moment, I felt the Spirit so strongly and I knew that the Lord has helped me to do this and that He loved me and was pleased with me. Afterwards, I saw Adriana, the lady we had met at the bus stop not only take a Book of Mormon, but take every pamphlet that was on the table! It felt like Christmas morning, I absolutely cannot wait to meet with her this week!
I've thought a lot about that these last two days and about our experience on Sunday and zone conference yesterday. At zone conference, we learned from a quote from Elder Bednar, "If we always do what we have always done, we will always get what we have always gotten." President Ivory challenged us to have the creative courage to trust in the Spirit of the Lord and find new ways to contact. Sister Ivory also shared with us a comparison between a butterfly and a missionary: the caterpillar uses a hard process and struggles in order to become a beautiful creature and fly. When she said this, I thought back to an experience we had on Sunday, we were supposed to meet a lady we met in the park for a lesson, but when we finally found her apartment, there was a man there who told us we were crazy and to go away. I also thought of a scripture Ether 12:26, then Romans 8: 36-38: "Fools mock...but my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of you because of your weakness." "Nay, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded that [nothing] shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." The Spirit brought peace to my heart, and tears to my eyes, because I knew without a shadow of a doubt that there is nothing I want more than to be able to say to the Lord on my mission and always: "Thy will be done in all things."
I would like to close with a thought from Brother Burbish, a close friend of the Ivory’s. "There is only one day that's better than being alive today, and that's tomorrow, because tomorrow will be even better." I would like to add, "And there's only one thing better than tomorrow and that's eternity, full of chances to spread the happiness and joy of the love of our Lord, and I don't want to miss a single minute of it!