Monday, October 29, 2012

"Get comfortable with the uncomfortable"

 I always look forward to this day of the week! Sometimes it's really hard to be away from my comfortable lifestyle back at home for so long, but a mission is an opportunity of a lifetime to pave the way for the rest of my life. 1 Corinthians 13:11 does a good job of explaining what a mission does to us 19 year olds! 
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 

For the past three months I have been trying so hard to work on my patience... Patience to pick apart, understand, then respond to Russian, patience with my poor teaching skills, patience to accept Heavenly Father's time frame, and patience to work on patience. It's quite the process, and it takes a long time. I thought I was a pretty patient person... until I got here! I'm very disappointed in my effort to practice the language as much as possible though. My companion is very quiet (very good at Russian), a lot of people speak English here, but I have to work much harder or else I'm not going to learn the language. A MISSION IS HARD WORK. 

"Get comfortable with the uncomfortable". Brother Hollingshead, one of my language teachers in the MTC, said these wise words, and it's something I got to experience this past Thursday. I was on an exchange with Ct. Монро and as we were walking back to his apartment Wednesday night, he told me that we were going to go knocking! So we found two apartment complexes, and worked our way from the top to the bottom... I was very uncomfortable... We would switch off talking to people (when they would actually open their doors), but all of them would say either, "мне не нужны!" or "Я не хочу!" We did, however, give one guy a Book of Mormon and got a number from the last door we knocked. It sure is hard to find people here, but like I said, I'm working on being patient! 

So a typical day of eating for me is: breakfast - sugarless cereal with water, lunch - going out to eat (usually a restaurant because our apartment is way far away), and dinner - usually depends on what we feel like because we aren't the best cooks, and there's not much to choose from at the grocery stores besides potatoes! The members out here don't invite us to dinner because they don't have enough money, and they encourage us to make our own meals. Which is great, but I haven't really been able to experience Moldovan food because of it... The juice, fruit, and bakeries here are WAY good though. Apparently, Moldova has the richest soil in the world, so anything that comes out of the ground is delicious! 

Well. Ct. Smith and I are still working hard to find people and make it so we "leave the area better than we found it"! There's a lot of work to be done, but we're ready for it. I hope the pictures are good enough! I really like the one with "Jazz hotel", and I bet you can guess why ;) Love you all and as life goes on back at home, missionary work goes on here in Moldova.

-Elder Farnworth (Tell Connie I found a white feather in my hair last week, she'll know what I mean! ...Tell her that there are also no birds with white feathers here.)

P.S. I have no idea what I would want in a care package... Peanut butter would be great! Root beer extract... Ummmm can't really think of anything else right now... Just whatever you think would be good. I love you Dad and I'm glad I'm your son. I don't know how I'd be able to make it without all your support and love. Hope all that golfing was great! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Great Transition in to the Field

Dear Dad, Heidi, Matt, Lindsay, and whoever else reads this email,

As of the 18th of October, I have been on my mission for 3 months! Crazy... Feels like I got into the MTC just yesterday. And I can't believe Matt Petersen and Kyle Wheelhouse are already getting ready to LEAVE the MTC! I'm excited for them and the new life they get to live for the next two years that will change them in so many ways like my mission has changed me. 

So this week we had a lot of lessons fall through, and Eugene (our progressing investigator) wasn't able to come to church. Really bummed about it, but we get to start a new week! My companion and his last companion had a family of three who they hadn't met for a while, and so last week, I finally got to meet them. Their names are Alex, Marina, and Sasha. We had planned to talk to them about the importance of going to church, but they provided dinner (which was my FIRST Moldovan meal: they were these pizza-like tortillas that were stuffed with potatoes, cottage chesse, chesse, and cherries. It was really good!) anyway, this really kept us from teaching our lesson because they wanted to get to know me, I wanted to get to know them, and they just kept talking about everything that was going on in their lives. Eventually Ct. Smith got the Liahona from his backpack, commited them to read it, and then Alex gave us a ride home. The impressions I got from that meeting was that Marina seemed really interested in the gospel, but Alex, not so much. So, hopefully we can help him with that! Another interesting experience was when we taught Eugene about the story of Enos. We read it with him, and explained the process of repentance. We invited him to repent of his sins, and he said... no.... This really surprised us! So we explained that repentance is a blessing, and we use it so we can be truly happy... So we invited him again to use repentance every day, and he said... he would. To be honest, I think he just didn't understand the first time because we're teaching him in English, but after that we asked him if there was anything we could do for him and he said, "You've already done so much to help me in my life. Thank you." And I thought to myself, "It's not us, it's the gospel!" And boy is that the statement of the century. I wish everyone in the whole world could realize this, but if it was that way, then we'd already be in the Celestial kingdom!

I haven't had one single bad day out here in Moldova, and one of the Sisters noticed. Last Monday, after I finished my email, we went out as a district to celebrate one of the Romanian Sisters 2 year anniversary of being a member of the church. As we all sat down at Andy's Pizza, Sister Jones said to me, "You know what? You're doing really good for you first two weeks in the field Elder Farnworth. Usually the new missionaries have those times of panic within the first two weeks, and they struggle a lot on the inside, but it seems like you aren't struggling at all." This was seriously a shocker to me. I mean, I haven't struggled transitioning into the mission field, but I didn't think I was doing great! I guess that's a good thing, right?

Thanks for the emails! I really enjoy reading what's going on back at home. It's such a blessing to have such an amazing family. Your support means everything to me, and I hope you all know how much I love you! I also found a shorter scripture for my missionary plaque: 
Alma 7: 23-24. Бог с тобой, доколе свидимся!

 23 And now I would that ye should be ahumble, and bebsubmissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.
 24 And see that ye have afaith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works.
-Elder Farnworth

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Moldova Week #2

Here I am, once again, at the internet cafe! I can't believe that two weeks ago, I talked to you on the phone at the airport. Time STILL flies by! I'm sorry that my email didn't get sent to you, apparently I tried sending too many pictures. Anyway, I've finally recovered from the jet lag and culture shock, and I'm loving minute of my mission! 
So this past week, I've been called a Jehovah's Witness and a Baptist. Apparently those religious groups have 19 year old young men walking around with nametags on too! And instead of homeless people, they have homeless dogs (and LOTS of them). I've seen a lot of interesting things/people in the two weeks I've been here... The weather has been great until last Monday. Ever since then, it's been REALLY cold, and It's been raining non-stop since Saturday too. Everyone speaks insanely fast. I'm kind of getting used to it and undesterstanding them a lot better, but it's seriously like they're mumbling! 

The church is very small in Moldova (Just so everyone knows, they speak Russian AND Romanian here. Two completely different cultures in one city). I had my first sacrament meeting just yesterday, and only 10 of the "150" members showed up. So the missionaries almost made up HALF of the congregation. Also, since it was my first Sunday, the zone leaders strongly encouraged me to bear my testimony... So I did... And it went pretty well! As for our investigators, we have about 5. Eugene is still meeting with us, and we've had a lot of lessons with him. In one of our lessons last week, we extended a baptismal date to him... He said he didn't know, pulled out his cross (which I had NO idea he had), and said he had already been baptized... So we told him about the Priesthood, and to pray about it. So tonight we will find out if he's received his answer. We also found a new investigator through our English class that we teach every Tuesday and Saturday. We had been praying for at least one of our students to talk to us after our lessons, and so, on Tuesday last week, after we finished our lesson a girl named Elizabeth came up to us and asked us what we do as missionaries! It was a miracle! We talked a little about what we believe, she said she doesn't believe in God but she believes in a "higher power"... So we gave her a Book of Mormon and told her to read it. 

Even though I'm not having much success right now, I'm working as hard as I can to learn the language and find people to teach. My companionship with Ct. Smith is going very well! We learn a lot from each other every day, and he's helping me a lot with the language and how everything "works" around here. I also haven't missed one day of journal writing! Thanks for giving me that goal Dad, and I bet you'd be delighted to know that I even got my companion to start writing in his journal again ;)

I am definitely seeing the blessings that come from working hard every day, and being exactly obedient. Without being set apart, I don't know how I'd be able to be a representative of Christ. This really is a special call from God to serve a mission. I'm as happy as I've ever been right now, and I know it's because I'm giving my all to this work! Please keep me updated on anything exciting that happens back at home. I love you all, and I think of you often.

-Elder Farnworth

When you want to send packages, you have to send them to the mission office, which should be the address in my mission call packet (and Facebook).

My favorite scripture (right now) would probably be... Hebrews 12:6-11. It has a "swear word" in it, but the docterine is what's most important! ;)

P.S. Go Jazz! Thanks for the article, I really enjoyed reading it. Two years from now, I'll be watching those games again, but in the meantime I have souls to save!

For whom the Lord loveth he achasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
 If ye aendure bchastening, God dealeth with you as with csons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
 Furthermore we have had afathers of our flesh which bcorrectedus, and we gave them creverence: shall we not much rather be indsubjection unto the eFather of fspirits, and live?
 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of hisaholiness.
 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the apeaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are bexercised thereby.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

10/8/12 FIRST WEEK IN THE CHISINAU (Kee-shi-now)

Привет моя семья! 

I've been in Chisinau for 6 days (1 in Bucharest), and I am loving every second of it! I can't believe I'm finally here, but it sure does beat the MTC by a long shot. Traveling over by myself wasn't too bad. The layovers were short, none of my flights were delayed, and some of them were even earlier than they should've been! I guess I'll go day by day from when I got off the plane to where I am right now...
First day: My flight from Amsterdam to Bucharest was nice and short. I got off the plane and had no idea where I was going and couldn't understand anything. Eventually I found my way to the baggage claim, got my luggage, and made my way outside to find my mission president. Boy was it sure nice to see them! They (President and Sister Hill, and the two Romania zone leaders) greeted me with smiles and hugs. To be honest, I can't really remember much because I was SO tired... But they helped me take my luggage to the car and then we drove over to the mission office. Driving here is insane, everybody uses their horns constantly, and the streets/cars are tiny! And this whole time I'm thinking to myself, "What in the world is going on?" Being exposed to this COMPLETELY different environment gave me the most overwhelming feeling of "culture shock." Anyway, when we got to the mission office, the first Elder I saw was Tyson Awerkamp! I totally forgot that he's in this mission! It was so good to see a familiar face, and I think it helped a lot with transitioning into the mission field. I basically sat around all day at the mission office, talked a lot with Elder Awerkamp, and took some naps. Yes, NAPS. I couldn't believe it either! They said that they usually took new missionaries out contacting their first day... But I didn't speak Romanian, so I got off the hook. That night I stayed with the zone leaders, got 4 hours of sleep, and took my first COLD shower in a LONG time... It was not the best way to start my day!

Rest of the week: So I traveled to Moldova in a tiny airplane haha it was awesome. The airport here is really small too, and the Russian Elders up here are seriously the best. All 7 of them were on a bench in the airport waiting for me, I told them how happy I was to finally be here and they all gave me hugs! And this is where I met my companion, Elder Smith. He's an awesome guy, and really quiet. He's been here for a little over a year, and we're definitely getting along well. Our apartment is WAY nice, and we have hot water AND a washer! As for the missionary life here, every morning we have 4 hours of study, then we go out and teach/find. The weird thing though is that we haven't contacted or tracted yet... I thought my companion would have shown me how it's done by now, but maybe this week we'll pick up the pace and get a lot more investigators. I LOVE my investigators already. We have 2 progressing investigators and their names are Eugene, and Azamat. Eugene has been working in America for the past 6 months and he just barely started up the discussions with us last week, and he seems really interested. He speaks English really well, and loves meeting with us. Azamat is an investigator Ct. Smith has had for a while, but he knows the bible really well, and says that having the Sabbath day on Sunday goes against the commandments... But it doesn't, so don't worry! ;) Oh yeah, I've had 2 lessons in English, and 1 in Russian. I'm kind of nervous for the upcoming Russian lessons, but my Russian is slowly getting better! We travel on buses and walk A LOT. It's definitely not like the MTC! But the meeting house here is basically just a 3 story house, and that is where we watched conference this weekend. I was afraid it would be in Russian, but they told me that they had it in English. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT ANNOUNCEMENT THOUGH!? Young men at 18, and young woman at 19?! It's so cool!! I was so excited to hear that news, and I hope Matt (and Braden Conrad, and David Blocker) are getting ready so they can go as soon as they can! :) Conference was great though. I think it was the first time I had ever stayed awake for every session and took notes on every speaker. I look forward to the next General Conference, and by that time, I'll be well into my mission! 
I love you all very much! I love it here already, and the people too. Life here in Chisinau is fantastic, and I feel God's love and support stronger and stronger every day. Hopefully by next week I'll have a lot of cool stories to tell, but I hope you are all doing well and thank you for your prayers and support.


Friday, October 5, 2012

He's Arrived!!

Brian is officially on the other side of the world!

"He left this morning on a plane for Chisinau, Moldova where he will be met by the missionaries there.  He will labor initially with Elder Smith in Chisinau.  We have 14 missionaries in Moldova--10 of them Russian-speaking.  There are also 2 senior couples in Chisinau working in humanitarian services and seminary and institute programs." - Quote from the letter we received from President Hill

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Picture Post #2

Brian is officially in Romania!! Here are some of the last photos of him in the MTC! We'll hopefully be updating soon with information!! (Click on one photo to view larger size and scroll through)