La multi ani pentru mea si dragoste pentru voi! (Happy birthday for me and love for you!)
Buna seara! (Good evening!) Well, at least it's evening here. :) Nu pot sa cred ca am douazece de ani! (I can't believe that I am now 20 years old!) Dar Bacau este o loc foarte bun si Sora Cutler, Sora Spangler, si Sora Routson sunt surori foarte bun sa au pentru o celebatoare! (But Bacau is a great place and Sora Cutler, Sora Spangler and Sora Routson are great sisters to have for a birthday!)
You are the most wonderful family and friends that I could ever ask for, I don't know what I ever did to deserve you love and your examples and all that you have taught me and done for me, but every night, I thank Heavenly Father for the blessing of eternal families and good friends. This has been an incredible birthday, getting to hear from everybody is the best present ever!
Well, this last week has been amazing! I love snow, and I was hoping that we would get a little snow this month, at least on my birthday, and yesterday my wish was granted as we got a bit of a snowstorm! (Sora Cutler told me I should make my wishes more specific :)). But it's so beautiful, even if it is cold! I love serving in Bacau, and serving with Sora Cutler, Spangler and Routson! We are kind of like a quadship, they keep me laughing and that keeps me optimistic! They are also super hardworking and caring, their love for the branch and the investigators has brightened everyone!
English class is great, we have had super great spiritual thoughts about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon. Our students have loved them because we've been doing object lessons (like likening the Book of Mormon to a recipe for a happy life) and it gets them more involved and helps bring the Spirit. We want the Spirit to be in all that we teach, because that's what really matters.
I love our branch and we've been working a lot to help them too. For example, this week we have been studying about Revelation through Church attendance and Teaching people, not lessons. They have taken our Church services on Sunday from three to two hours which means that we have needed to cut back on the times for the Sunday School meeting and Relief Society/Priesthood meeting and Primary (got to help Irina teach her two girls, Larisa and Francesca, so cute!), so we have been studying and praying about how we can help make Sunday a better experience for all our members, less-actives and investigators. And the more I learn and study about the Sabbath, the more I realize that the Sabbath really is a delight, like it says in the scriptures and like President Nelson said in the April General Conference last year. It's a day when we start again because through the Atonement, we can leave our mistakes and everything that went wrong during the week behind and start again, trying harder to be better, to be more like the Savior. And when we try harder to teach people (members, less-actives, investigators, or even people we just met) because we care and not just because we want to say we taught a lesson, we get to know so many people who have such amazing stories and help them. In fact, just this week, we meet three new people and were able to teach them great lessons.
On Tuesday, we met with the other sisters and President Popescu (our branch president) to go over our goals for our branch. We got a referral online, a man named Gheorge said he was interested to know more about the Church and it turns out that he is President Popescu's friend from work! He's been sharing the gospel with Gheorge and gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon! I'm so thankful for him and for all the members who share the gospel with those they love. Never forget how much of an impact you have on the work and on other people!
On Friday, Sora Cutler and I were waiting for Sora Routson and Spangler to go to the church, when this father with a young girl came up to us and asked us "Ce faceti?" which means both "How are you doing?"/"What are you doing?" We told him we were doing great, and he asked us why we were here in Bacau. We told him we were missionaries and he asked us what we believed, so we had a great discussion with him (Paul and his daughter Emma, the wife was at work.) We got their number and are hoping to meet with them this week. I believe that they are an answer to our prayers, all four of us have been praying to find a family that can help our branch. The Lord really is blessing us and moving the work forward.
Then just yesterday, it was snowing and there was a strong, freezing wind blowing, but we still went out to do our contacting. We decided to go blocknocking (Knocking on the doors of a whole apartment building) so we wouldn't completely freeze. The first three there was no success, but on the fourth block, the lady at the door let us in! Her name is Gheorgeta and she's a retired English teacher who has come to our English class before! We got to show her the "Datoria Lui" (Because of Him) video, it was such a special experience because she shared how she prays daily because she's gained a belief that God really does love her. Sora Cutler and I were able to share our testimony of the love that the Holy Ghost brought of the love of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
If I have learned anything this week, I've gained a stronger testimony that the Lord loves us all individually, so oftentimes, He leads us to His children one by one. That way, we are able to get to know them, to share that love with them in a very personal way, the way Heavenly Father and the Savior feel about each of us. Everything, no matter how hard it is, all becomes worth it if even you can help one person feel closer to Them.
This Wednesday, we will be having a missionary broadcast from Elder Oaks, Bednar and Anderson. I am very excited to hear from these Apostles and the direction they will give us to help our branches, our investigators, and ourselves. The Lord will speak to us through them. I know He will.
Va iubesc! O saptemana placuta! (I love you! Have an amazing week!)
My computer won't let me send pictures, so I'll send some next week! Love to all!