Doi Pastele in o ani! Sunt norocos! (Two Easters in One Year! I am so lucky!) :)
Buna ziua, draga familia si prietene mele! It's starting to feel like spring, it's still a little cold, but the trees are blossoming, the sky is blue and it is gorgeous! I can't believe that it is now my second spring in Romania, I remember coming and seeing the beautiful green parks and Easter decorations and feeling like the luckiest missionary in the world that I could serve here. It's a beautiful country, with wonderful people and Sora Green and I have seen wonderful miracles this week! We follow the Orthodox tradition of having it the first Sunday of May, but we still celebrated a little bit this Sunday, so I get two Easters in one year! Lucky me! :)
What a great week this was! We had Zone Conference this week, and we received wonderful counsel from President Ivory, Sora Ivory, and their friends the Randall famlily. Sora Ivory shared about how like the moon reflects the light of the sun, as missionaries, we reflect the light of the Son of God. But if we aren't completely obedient, we find ourselves moving away from His light. But faith moves us back until we are completely aligned with his will. Then President Ivory shared about how through the Savior, we can accomplish the impossible. He shared about how President Benson asked President Nelson to open Eastern Europe for the preaching of the gospel. It seemed impossible, there were so many obstacles. But President Nelson said, “The Lord is able to do His own work, and I was privileged to watch the unfolding of one miracle after another—always and only after I had brought my best thinking, my most courageous efforts, and my most fervent prayers to the task... you will make history too! You will be asked to accept challenging assignments and become an instrument in the Lord’s hands. And He will enable you to accomplish the impossible.” I love this testimony from an Apostle and from President Ivory: that through faith, diligent work, and obedience, we will see miracles unfold and accomplish what seems impossible. This week I have been able to witness this. I am so, so thankful for Easter and that through the miracle of the Atonement and Resurrection, Sora Green and I have experienced miracles of finding new people. The Easter video has been a wonderful tool for blocknocking, Sora Green and I have been trying hard to keep our goal of showing the film twice each day. Sora Green and I had planned to show the film to a less-active member we were trying to find, but I made a mistake and took us to a block we had been to already. I felt discouraged, but Sora Green said there must be a reason we were here, so we decided to blocknock. We missed a door and were about to leave, but we felt like we needed to go back. We did, and the woman who answered the door let us in! Her name is Camilia and she and her husband Livu have three beautiful children. We showed them the video and were able to speak to them about Christ and how important families are, they are very kind, very open people who love their family very much. We have already been back to them and we hope we can teach them again.
The next day, we decided to knock the block next door and the first door we knocked was a woman named Elena. She talked with us for a little bit and then said we could come back the next day! We came and had a wonderful discussion with her. She has had many trials and suffered much, but she is still so positive and faithful. We showed her the Easter film and were able to testify to her that God has a plan for her and loves her. She started crying when we left, the Spirit was very strong. When we left, I felt such gratitude for the Easter film, that through it we could meet and help people who need to feel hope, who need to know that they are loved. I am so thankful that I can testify that it is true: that our Father in Heaven sent His Son show us the way back. He gave us a perfect example to follow. He gave us perfect teachings. He gave us the Church, He gave us the gospel. But most important, He gave us a way to overcome our sins, our weaknesses, our pains and to live again with God and all who we love. He lives. I'm excited to hear the words of His prophets and apostles this week and to invite others to listen! I know it's not Easter yet in Romania, but for my family and friends, I decided to put my testimony of the Savior's Resurrection in the form of a poem. I have always loved the story where the Savior appears to Mary at the garden tomb so I put in a poem context, and also how we can find the Savior in our lives as well. I hope you like it!
He is here
Sometimes I feel like Mary of old,
Who, though the sun was rising, felt so dark and cold,
because in her mind and heart, all she heard were the words:
"He is not here."
Her tears fell on dusty stone, filled with her grief at the empty tomb.
Nothing can heal hear pain and take away her sorrow.
Not the beauty of the garden or the scent of the herbs.
Not angels or friends.
Because He is not here.
Then in her deepest agony, she hears a voice behind her.
And with one word, he changes her deep sadness to endless joy.
With one word, he takes the darkness away.
With one word, He heals, he comforts, he loves.
She turns and she is changed.
Her eyes can see the light shining from the sun dawning in the azure sky.
And the light shining from the one she loves so dearly.
She can hear the morning singing of the birds and the voice of her Master saying her name.
She can feel the warmth of a new spring day
And the warmth of His love in His hands, His eyes, His smile.
And at last, she can understand the words: "He is risen"
He is here.
Sometimes we may feel that we are lost, that we have lost Him.
We feel so lonely, so cold, because we think He is not here.
But He is always here.
He knows our name.
And if we listen, we can hear His voice, we can see His hand in our lives, we can feel His love.
We can understand that we don't need to be lost if we search for Him.
Because He will find us.
He is Here.