Monday, July 7, 2014

увидимся скоро! (See you soon!)

Dear everyone who has read all 100 of my weekly emails,

If there is one word to describe my two years as a representative of Jesus Christ, it would be the word: change. Change in every sense of the word. Change that is only possible through Jesus Christ. I have loved every day of my mission, and I will forever be grateful for the people that I've been able to meet, teach, and love. This country and these people will always have a special place in my heart. Just know that true happiness only comes from living the gospel. There really is no other way. I've seen it in myself and in the Moldovan people who have accepted it and lived it. What can I say about two years as a missionary? It's been worth it, and I'll miss it a lot. See you on Wednesday!

-Elder Farnworth

My farewell party. I'll explain those pictures in the background when I get home.

Last picture with the Balti branch :(

D&C 4:  4 For behold the field is white already to harvest

Monday, June 30, 2014

What a huge privilege it has been to serve the Lord in Chisinau and Balti.

Dear everyone,

This next week is my last week in Moldova. I cannot begin to describe the feelings I have knowing that my time here is coming to an end. I'll be leaving on a train next Monday from Chisinau so I can be in Bucharest on Tuesday for my exit interview with the NEW mission president. Yes, President Ivory and his family have arrived, and he now presides over this mission. We haven't really been able to formally welcome them, but I'm excited to meet him and let him know how much we love and support him even though we haven't even met yet. We will dearly miss President and Sister Hill. They have been around for almost my entire 2 years as a missionary, and I will never forget them. They have done so much for this mission and for me. 

What a huge privilege it has been to serve the Lord in Chisinau and Balti. Really. Inviting and helping these people come unto Christ has been the most satisfying thing I've ever done in my life. I've had many memorable times, and many difficult times; but, no matter what kind of "time" I was having, God was always there to teach me, comfort me, help me understand my trials, and give me the strength needed to preach the gospel. I've seen so many people make incredible changes in their lives in order to follow Christ, and I have been so lucky to be a part of it. And through doing what a missionary does, I have been able to see myself be converted. I honestly did not have a testimony of my own before my mission. People have always said, "I know FOR MYSELF that this is true" but I didn't really understand what they did in order to know for themselves. Now I understand. We taught others that they needed to read the Book of Mormon with a sincere heart, ponder the things that we taught them, and pray about it's truthfulness, but what was I doing? Was I doing those same things that we invited others to do? Was I sincerely reading, pondering, and praying to know for myself? The answer is yes, and that is what I am still doing/will keep doing for the rest of my life. We have to know for ourselves of the truthfulness of the restoration every single day. I'm grateful to my Heavenly Father for helping me to gain the testimony that I now have, and for showing others through me that anything is possible with God. Christ lives, His atonement is real, the church and gospel are true and always will be, and miracles still exist in our day.  

Shoot. I took too long writing that. Sorry. Well. I'll quickly go through what happened this week. We did some more service at Valeas. Her roof was leaking, so we hopped on her roof and filled holes with foam when we found them. When we went finding, we found a man named Vladimir who has an 8 year old daughter. The first time we met him, he was drunk, but we still gave him a Book of Mormon and our number. Two days later he called and wanted us to come over and teach him more, but he never answered his phone when we called back to set up a time. We called him back around 18 times, not even joking, and he never answered. We thought that something bad might have happened, but as we were on our way to church on Sunday we got another call from him. He said that he had been reading and that he had a problem about the Angel Moroni appearing to Joseph Smith. He wanted to talk about it all right then, but we told him that we would come over after church to talk about it. He agreed on 3 pm and said that he would be waiting for us. So after church we hurried over and there's this grandma that lives with him that wouldn't let us in even though he told us to come over. How frustrating it was to know that Satan was working through that lady so we couldn't teach this man and his daughter the gospel! And even then he didn't answer his phone....... Anyway, we also had another combined institute in Chisinau. It was a great turn out. Elder Westover and I also got to buy a birthday present for Dima and give it to him while we were there. It was so good to see him. I'm really going to miss all these people that I've become so close with. 

Even though I'm finishing my service as a full-time missionary, my responsibilities as member-missionary will continue after my mission. There's work to do no matter what situation we find ourselves in. This is probably my last long letter from my mission, but we'll see. I love you and cannot wait to see all of you in 10 days.

-Elder Farnworth

Waterfall in Saharna (Our P-day last week)

Saharna. Pretty nice, huh?

Our combined institute group (and some missionaries from Orhei/Chisinau)

Dima and his new shirt

Monday, June 23, 2014


Dear Family and Friends,

I wonder how my times I've used that. Probably a lot. Anyway! This week was a great one. My companion has recovered....I hope.... and so we've been able to go out, find, and teach. I wanted to start this weekly letter out with how wonderfully simple True to The Faith is. I've been studying it a lot during personal study lately, and It has helped me to more clearly explain doctrine to people. Here's a secret: missionaries don't know everything. We seek and receive answers just like the rest of you! I hope none of you are shocked by this fact. The book is FILLED with precious truths that we ALL knew before we came to this earth, and it touches my soul when people we teach are reminded of those precious truths they once knew. You see their eyes light up and sometimes tears fill those eyes. It's something I've seen over and over and over throughout these two years.

When we went over to Nastia's for her recent convert lessons, she made a comment that really stuck with me. These aren't her exact words, but you'll get the main idea. She said, "I've noticed how much my prayers have changed. They've become more sincere. They've become more from the heart." I hope we can all say that as we move along in life. Because I remember when I was little I would be way too repetitive in my prayers; but, as I've tried to be more sincere and specific, I've seen blessings come more abundantly into my life. You're never talking to a ceiling when you pray, you're communicating with a loving Father in Heaven who has a body and spirit just like we do. That "precious truth" was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. People thought and still think that God is just a powerful spirit, but because of the First Vision, we know that God has a body of flesh and bones. A young, 14 year old boy saw Him and Jesus Christ standing next to one another. And through prayer we can know this for ourselves. 

Tamara is someone who is struggling to know for herself if our message is true. We had a great lesson this past week about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and how she needs to read and pray sincerely to receive those answers she's looking for. She's been having a problem with these two things, but I think this lesson helped her a lot. Well. It wasn't the lesson, it was the Holy Ghost helping her while we simply shared what we know to be true. Basically, Joseph Smith's situation is what Tamara's situation is. She sees all these churches, but doesn't know which path to take/which church to join. So we read James 1:5, and I think that in that moment she realized what she needs to do: ASK GOD. Before we left she told us, "I have a good jealously for you two. You firmly know you're on the right path and I hope to be like that someday." I really do believe that she will be like that someday, and only God knows when. In the meantime, we continue to invite and help her (and the people of Moldova) to come unto Christ. Or as I like to say, "Come closer to Christ."

Just for your information, my son, Elder Westover, has been on his mission for a year. He's growing up so fast! He's been a great example to me and to the missionaries around him, and he's done so much for these people. I'm grateful for the time I had to serve with him (and my other 10 companions) these past two years. Shoot. I forgot to write about a baptist lady that we met. Oh well. I'll have to tell you that story in two weeks! Anyway, I've said this a million times too, but I'll keep saying it until the day that I die: I LOVE YOU AND HAVE A HAPPY WEEK!

-Elder Farnworth 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Happy Birthday!

Dear family and friends,

We had a pretty crazy week this week. Monday and Tuesday were spent in Chisinau, and I was lucky enough to have my birthday be on a P-day AGAIN. I spent the day buying souvenirs, and received many phone calls throughout the day from investigators, friends, members, and President and Sister Hill to wish me a happy birthday. I felt so loved! Getting back to Balti after four days in Chisinau was nice because Balti is my second home. And plus we were really tired from all the running around and traveling. On Wednesday we did some productive finding and while we were contacting on our way to lunch, I got a prompting to talk to a lady who was just about to pass us. We were in the middle of a conversation about the MTC, so my companion kept walking and talking while I tried to stop the lady. I feel bad that I didn't tell him, but it was a last second thing. Her name was Надежда and she had just moved to Balti and was doing some remodeling on her apartment which just happened to be not far from where we stood. She took a Book of Mormon, and we asked her for her number; but, she said that since she was doing remodeling, her phone wasn't set up yet. The good thing is is that we know where she lives. She told us that she's interested in learning more about any religion, so meeting with her shouldn't be a problem. Later in the day we went knocking, and oh boy did we get rejected a lot. When we walked out of the apartment block, I turned to my companion and said, "Much rejection cometh before acceptance!" Prepared people are behind these doors in Balti.... I mean, Nastia was behind one of them!

When we walked into the church Wednesday night, I could hear people in the kitchen as I walked by the closed door. I was really suspicious as to who was in there, but right as I was about to open the door, the door swung open and a birthday cake with firework candles came out to greet me. It was a surprise birthday party!!! It was a sight for sore eyes to see members and friends and the other elders in the kitchen singing Happy Birthday in English. I instantly got this huge smile on my face and started thanking everyone for being there. Dad, guess what kind of cake they made? Red Velvet! How did they know? It was so nice of all of them to put that surprise party together. These people are such a blessing in my life!

Thursday afternoon after we got done with our lesson with Nastia, my companion was feeling pretty sick and felt like he needed to call our mission president's wife and tell her how he feels. She told him that he should probably go to the hospital in Chisinau and get checked out. So, we went down to Chisinau again. To make a long story short, my companion has pneumonia. We have no idea how we got it, but he has it, and now he's on the road to recovery. The doctor told him that it was a good thing we went down to get it checked out because if we hadn't, his pneumonia could've gotten worse. So because of this, we spent the rest of our week mostly inside. I almost went insane because I'm not used to sitting inside for long periods of time, but we're doing the best we can with the situation that we have.

Here's something that I wanted to share with all of you. It's something that came to my mind during one of my personal studies. It's about commandments, and how each commandment has a blessing attached to it. What does this mean for us? If we don't try our best to follow EVERY commandment, then God cannot bless us. Can we afford not to have these blessings? I don't think so. Especially in our days when we really need these blessings. So if something is not right in your life, think of how well you're following God's commandments and then make a commitment to do better. Because the atonement is all about change and being better. It's a lifelong process!

Well. Once again, I'm running out of time. But I hope you all know how much I love you and look forward to seeing you soon. Have a fantastic week!

-Elder Farnworth

Monday, June 9, 2014

06/09/14 4 weeks left!

Dear everyone,

I am writing this email from Chisinau because we just finished our zone conference, and it was the last time we would get to see our beloved mission president and his wife. I sure will miss those two! They've been like my grandparents away from home for the past two years, and I cannot begin to tell you how much they've taught me. I also gave my "dying testimony" where the missionaries, who won't get to be at the next zone conference, have an opportunity to share their testimony about their missions and what they've learned in front of everyone. Tears didn't burst from my eyes, but my heart was full and my eyes watered as I shared with them what my mission means to me. I've never been the best at speaking/testifying in front of a large group of people, but I will treasure that moment for the rest of my life.  

Well. I usually like to look through my journal and write down experiences I had during the week to share in my weekly email, but I forgot to do that before we headed to Chisinau for 3 days. I'll try and remember as much as I can. 

Tuesday we had a lesson with Nastia where our focus was getting her mom to start investigating. That was the goal of our lesson, and it worked out perfectly. We said, "Well. Nastia. We want to start doing discussions with your Mom. What do you think?" Her answer: "I've had a plan in my mind about doing that for a long time!" Great! What she wants to do is have us "casually" meet her and be like "Oh, the missionaries! I want you guys to meet my mom." And then work from there. Hopefully we can set that up on Wednesday. Also, as we were doing some park contacting one day, we took a little break on a bench and the thought came to my mind to call Baba Tamara. So I had my companion call her, and I could hear her yell, "Where are you!? Come over!" Typical Tamara. We ended up having a pretty great lesson with her on the Priesthood. She likes to say, "Show me where it is written in the Bible!" And this time she even said, "What are you here to prove?" We simply told her that we are not here to prove anything, but to inspire, lift, encourage, help, and invite others to know for themselves if our message is true. But that doesn't mean that answers aren't in the Bible. We read Hebrews 5 and showed her how God CALLS men to the priesthood, and how we have that same preisthood that Jesus gave to His apostles. There is nothing mores pleasing to my ears than to hear someone say, "Oh..... That answers my question. Thank you." The Holy Ghost is real, and He can bring a peaceful feeling into the room when people are reminded of the truths they were taught in the Pre-Mortal Existence. After we finished our little lesson, she turned to me and asked when I was leaving. I told her 4 weeks...... she responded with, "You know what, I am going to be very sad when you leave. You and Elder Streletski were the first ones to regularly come over to my home and it won't be the same with you gone." There is nothing better than the feelings that fill the soul when doing missionary work. I love these people a lot. I cannot begin to describe the love I have developed for these people of the past two years. They're my second family, and Moldova is my second home. They'll always have a special place in my heart. My favorite thing was what she said after our closing prayer. "You can't leave until my Katia knows English!" Oh, what a teaser she is!

Let me quickly explain why we were in Chisinau for 3 days. On Saturday all the branches in Moldova got together on the hill where M. Russell Ballard dedicated Moldova for the preaching of the Gospel. We took pictures, played games, and listened to a member re-tell his experience about the day Moldova was dedicated. I'd say about 100 people came, and it was great to see members/investigators/friends that I haven't seen for a long time. On Sunday we had our District Conference where a member of the Seventy came to speak to us. And of course today we had our zone conference. Pretty busy weekend. It will be nice to be in Balti tomorrow. Which is my birthday. Thanks for all the birthday wishes by the way and I'll see you all in four weeks!

With much love,

-Elder Farnworth

P.s. I would send pictures, but I forgot my cord..... Sorry! 

Monday, June 2, 2014

New companion=new energy for missionary work

Dear Family and Friends, 

New companion = new energy for missionary work, and recommiting ourselves to fulfilling our purpose as missionaries. Every day we have to be commited to what we were called to do, and that doesn't just go for us missionaries, it goes for anyone who made the covenant to be baptized!

Okay, I'll share with you what I call our "Sunday Miracle". So yesterday (Sunday), Our Branch President had me conduct sacrament meeting again, and of course it was Fast Sunday. So, as I was sitting at the piano playing the sacrament hymn, I got the prompting that I needed to bear my testimony because that's what we need to do as the branch presidency every Fast Sunday. And as we all know perfectly well, we usually like to brush off those promptings because we're usually too nervous (or there's some other reason) to go up and share our testimony. As soon as I started telling everyone that they now had the opportunity to share their testimonies, these words just came out of my mouth: "I would like to start by bearing my own testimony, and sharing something that I read in the Book of Mormon this morning." At this point there was no turning back! I continued by telling them about Helaman 3:27-29: 

27 Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name.
28 Yea, thus we see that the gate of heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God.
29 Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlastinggulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked—

In verse 27 it talks about prayer, in verse 28 it talks about going to church (well, that's how I understood it), and in verse 29 it talks about reading the scriptures. The point of my testimony was to share how through following these simple steps we can gain a testimony of our own. I was/am grateful for the opportunity that I had to share my testimony with the members, but this wasn't our "Sunday Miracle". That happened later in the day. First I just wanted to share with you how great our church meetings were. Anyway, Denis passed the sacrament for the first time, he did it perfectly, and he didn't even look nervous! After church we had a meeting with the Branch President and the Relief Society President and they asked us if there were any copies of the Book of Mormon they could give to people. I have no idea how they didn't know this, but we let them know that there were, and the Branch President's response was great, "Ok, good. Because I have some people that I want to give the Book of Mormon to." This branch amazes me more and more every week. Okay, now we'll get to the "Sunday Miracle". Around 6 pm we got a call from Denis asking if we could meet him in center. So we went to center and found him sitting on a bench. We sat down with him and he talked with us for a little bit. Then comes a person on rollerblades we know to tell us hi. She was with a friend who had the exact same name as her. We had met her before, but only briefly. I had a Book of Mormon laying down next to me on the bench, and this girl pointed to it and asked if she could take a look at it. "Можно" (my favorite word in the Russian language) we said, and handed it to her. We took this opportunity to explain what it was and then told her that it was a gift from us. She looked really surprised, but took it and thanked us. She continued rollerblading, and then after 10 minutes she came back, sat on the bench with us and asked, "Okay, so you guys are missionaries/believers. I have dreams that happen very often. They scare me sometimes. Is this a gift from God?" Honestly, we didn't have an answer for her right then, but we got her number, and went right to our apartment to find the answer in the sciprtures. We found the answer pretty quickly in Alma and Moroni, then sent her a text saying that we had an answer for her and that we'd like to meet to talk more about it. Ten minutes later we got a text from her saying that she would like to. Great! And the cool thing was was that Denis helped us out and we're hoping he can be there on the lesson with us tonight. There ya have it, our "Sunday Miracle"!

Park contacting has been pretty interesting. We walked past this one lady three times before we realized that we needed to talk to her. She let us sit down and we taught her about the restoration. She took a Book of Mormon and we got her number. She said she had heard about the Book of Mormon before but had never been able to get a hold of one. We tried calling her two or three times on Saturday to invite her to church, but her phone was off. These things happen sometimes. We hope she answers her phone today.

Oh! We also met a couple on the bus. The man was from New Jersey and his wife was actually from Balti. They met on the internet in 2002, and then got married pretty quickly in Moscow. They were really nice and we had a pleasant conversation with them before we had to part ways.

Well. There are some other things I wanted to write down, but I don't have enough time. Just know that I'm doing well and I'm still loving every day of my mission.

Love you!

-Elder Farnworth

Quote of the week: "Man may deceive his fellow-men, deception may follow deception, and the children of the wicked one may have power to seduce the foolish and untaught, till naught but fiction feeds the many, and the fruit of falsehood carries in its current the giddy to the grave; but one touch with the finger of his love, yes, one ray of glory from the upper world, or one word from the mouth of the Savior, from the bosom of eternity, strikes it all into insignificance, and blots it forever from the mind." - Oliver Cowdery

Monday, May 26, 2014

I have a new companion!

Hello everyone!

I'll start off with the news: I have a new companion! His name is Elder Chapman: he was born in Chisinau, lived in Ukraine for a while, then moved to America and that's where he was baptized. He knows Russian and English fluently, and I'm excited to work with him and see what we can do together for the last transfer of my mission. Elder Streletski is now with Elder Westover, and I'll miss that big teddy bear! (He's not going to be very happy that I wrote that). I'm just glad that we're all still in the same district. 

Well. I guess I'll explain a little bit about our fun P-day last week. We went to Old Orhei (a place that I went to towards the beginning of my mission) and spent the day there. We forgot to bring water with us and by the end of our excursion we were very sun burnt, tired, and dehydrated. It was beautiful there though. It's a big U-shaped hill with a river running along the side of it. There were some cave-like places, and a monastery inside the hill that we got to explore. I'll send some pictures.

Orhei Vechi
 A church there.
On Tuesday we were in Chisinau for our Zone Training Meeting, and before we headed back to Balti we waited in the center park to give some "congratulation" notes to a someone that was just baptized in the Chisinau branch. While we waited, the other elders noticed a guy walk by and said, "Hey Elder Farnworth, isn't that Aba?" I quickly turned my head and sure enough it was! We yelled his name to get his attention but he had some earphones in, so they told me to get up and run after him. So I got up, ran up from behind him, and tapped him on the shoulder. He was very surprised/happy to see me, and offered to walk me back to the bench where we were all sitting. He was heading to a meeting, but took some time to talk to all of us and see how we were doing. I don't know why, but I see him almost every time I am in Chisinau. I'll have to call the elders serving there and have them give him a call so they can start meeting again.

The next day while the other elders were at the church in the morning (they had to open it so a member from Germany, who checks the buildings, could use the internet for a conference call) a lady came in and asked if they could help her. Her name was Aleona. She went to the mayor of the city to ask for some pampers for her bed-ridden mother, but they refused and told her to either go to our church, or a church down the street from us for help. She obviously decided to go to our church. Her husband had died recently from cancer and needed some help because she has been taking care of her mother and 5-year old daughter. This is when Elder Westover gave me a call and told me about the situation. Luckily we had some pampers that were donated from a member in Italy in our building, so we gave her those. She couldn't carry them by herself, so Elder Streletski and I helped her carry them back to her apartment. When we got there she introduced us to her mother and gave us some apples and candy before we left. While we were on the bus headed back to the church, we got a call from her saying that her mother broke down in tears after we left and wanted to thank us for helping her. I really like what it says in the For the Strength of You, "Service to others is an important characteristic of a disciple of Jesus Christ. A disciple is willing to bear other people’s burdens and to comfort those who need comfort. Often Heavenly Father will meet the needs of others through you." She ended up coming to the third hour of church on Sunday and talked to our branch president to thank him personally. Can you imagine how uplifted Christ felt when He served everyone around him? Being a missionary has given me a little taste of how Christ felt when He went about serving others. It's a feeling you just can't get enough of!

Balti's birthday was also this past week and literally EVERYONE was in center celebrating the entire day. There's a member I've mentioned in previous emails, Sister Anna, who is stuck at home all the time, so right after studies we went over to her apartment to see how she was doing. We got there the same time that her sister did, so she opened the door for us and the first view we had of Sister Anna was her using her walker to walk around with a big smile on her face. She sat down on her couch, I sat on her left, and Elder Streletski sat on her right. We spent around 45 minutes sharing our thoughts, and feelings about the Plan of Salvation and the whole time there was just a good spirit in the room. She's been having a lot of health issues, but you know what she told us? "I'm not afraid to die because of the knowledge that I have." We're not sure how much more time she has left on earth, but we enjoy every minute we get to spend with talking to her. It's a good thing we went over the degrees of glory because she said, "I don't want to stay in Heaven, I want to be on Earth! Because I love Earth!" She thought that there was just going to be only people dressed in white in heaven, but we assured her that everything that is here will be there, but much better. She was happy to hear that.

Guess who received the Priesthood? Denis! We finally have a new priesthood holder in the branch and it will be so great to see him passing/blessing the sacrament each week. We are so blessed up here right now, and we pray and hope that the blessings will keep coming for this branch. Thank you all for the support you've given me throughout these two years. Love you!

"God's number is always in our hearts. We don't need a money or a phone to call him." - Natasha (Our institute teacher)

-Elder Farnworth

P.s. The guy who owns our building told us this, "Every Elder should have my number. If you ever have any problems with people, give me a call and I'll handle the situation." Well that's nice of him! I wonder what would happen if we called....

Elder Streletskii's favorite car.

 A small town nearby

Another group picture

My "senior picture". 

One more group picture where only Elder Westover and I are looking

Group picture in the "caves"

We found a Hobbit Hole. With "clean" water inside.

Walkin' through a herd of goats/sheep.

.... A cow.....

The staircase down to the monastery built inside the hill.

Yes, these are the Elders I serve around.

City Day.

Remember the window that I talked about a long time ago? I finally got a picture of it.