Hristos A Inviat...Adeverat, A Inviat! (Christ was resurrected, He truly was resurrected!
I hope you all had a wonderful week! I know it wasn't Easter for anyone in America, but still, I hope it was wonderful! Easter is a very big holiday in Romania! It means lots of food, almost everyone leaves to visit family and we showed the Hallelujah movie to a lot of people! For Romania, Easter means bright red eggs, lots of cozanac (Romania sweet bread) and instead of saying hello, saying "Hristos a inviat!" to which the other person responds "Adeverat, a inviat!" (Christ was resurrected, He truly was resurrected!)
I am so thankful to be here in Bucuresti! I have learned so much from being here, especially this week! One of the biggest lessons I learned this week is that even when it feels like nothing is going right, the Lord will lead us to something wonderful, if we open our hearts to the Spirit and ask in faith. I saw that at the beginning of this week, I was feeling overwhelmed and praying for peace. I didn't seem to be getting a response, then I was invited to sit with Sora Green at the training meeting and we watched the video Missionary work and the Atonement. Elder Holland was speaking and he said these words that brought the Spirit in to the room and to my heart: "Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is this so hard? Why doesn’t it go better? You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary. Now, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe that missionaries and investigators, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price. For that reason I don’t believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul. If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, “Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass,” then little wonder that salvation is not a whimsical or easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way. The Atonement will carry the missionaries perhaps even more importantly than it will carry the investigators. When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life." That video was an answer to my prayer, because it brought the peace of the Holy Ghost to my heart and I felt such overwhelming love and gratitude for the Savior's Atonement, which gives me and all of us the strength to accomplish whatever it takes to be the missionary He knows we can be. I am so happy that we were able to celebrate Easter this Sunday and be reminded of the blessings of the truth of the Ressurection and the Atonement. We were able to see wonderful things happen this week, we met some wonderful people who we are hoping to meet with again. Sora Green is amazing, if people can't meet with us or lessons fall through, she always puts a smile on her face and says, "This must be happening for a reason! There must be someone the Lord wants us to find! Let's go contacting!" This has helped us to meet wonderful people like Costin and Madalina in the park, Floria on the tramvi, and Claudia and Corina on the metro! Her great faith and optimism has allowed the Spirit to be our guide in finding those who are prepared! I love serving with her!
We have also found two new investigators: Keiko and Steluta. Keiko (or Giorgiana) is an English student who has come to a couple activities. She has a lot of questions about what we believe and likes the way that she feels when she is with us. Steluta is the mother of a 4-month old girl and a new English student. She asked us a lot of questions about our church, she loved the Easter video and we left her with a Family Proclamation. We are hoping to set a baptismal date with Aurelia this month, I am praying that she will accept because I know this will be a blessing and help her come closer to Christ.
I want to close with bearing my testimony of the glorious reality of the Atonement and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. I know many testimonies have been offered, but this is truly my own testimony: Jesus Christ is our Savior. He lives. He suffered for our sins and trials, He died on the cross and He lived again. He lives. He knows us. He loves us. I know it. I love Him. I am not perfect, but I love Him. And I know that through His love, if I act in love, I can leave the past behind and move forward. I can do anything with Him by my side. He is the only way back to Heavenly Father. And through Him, not only can we live again, but live with Him, our Heavenly Father, and those we love forever. I know this is true and I am so thankful I can share this truth, that He is risen.
Some pictures of my exchange with Sora Padgett and the Easter bunny comes to Romania! :)