Monday, December 30, 2013

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas day.

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas day. The food, the atmosphere, family, the music; I'm sure it was just like it always is.

Christmas Day at the Schwartz'.
We did way too much traveling this week back and forth between Balti and Chisinau. But the days when we were in Balti were really great. We got to meet with our investigators often. Nastia is still doing great. We had a lesson with her on Tuesday and we went over 1 Nephi 4. I KNEW that she would bring up the question, "Why did God command Nephi to kill? That's against the commandments!" So, we talked about how God has a righteous purpose behind every commandment. He commanded Nephi to kill Laban because they needed the plates of brass (which contained many writings of biblical prophets.) 

13 Behold the Lord aslayeth the bwicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is cbetter that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in dunbelief.

Then we all tried to figure out why God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son. Well. Honestly, we don't have the answers to everything. BUT the Doctrine and Covenants does: 

36 Abraham was commanded to offer his son Isaac; nevertheless, it was written: Thou shalt not kill. Abraham, however, did not refuse, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness.

She also prayed for the first time at the end of our lesson! It was great. She was so nervous because she had never prayed the way that we do, but she did really well. I love when people just go for it and do something that they've never done, especially when it's learning about Christ's true church. 

We received some sad news this week from Denis at one of our lessons. I asked him how life was and he said, "Well. I am leaving to Bulgaria.... and I'll be back on the 15th of January..... Is it possible to move the baptismal date?" He seemed really bummed, but we told him that it was very possible to move the date! We all, I guess you could say, felt relief that the baptism will still happen. Sadly, we just have to wait a little longer. It's okay though, because we were able to teach him all the lessons before he left. So when he gets back, we'll review them and keep preparing him for baptism.

Hot chocolate church tours haven't been going as well as we'd like them to, but something really great came out of the one we did on Saturday. A young member brought two of her friends (we gave them the names of Banana and Cheese), we invited them to come to church on Sunday and they came! They stayed for all three hours and it's because my companion did an awesome lesson on Lehi's Dream that all 7 of the kids really enjoyed. They told us that they want to come back tomorrow and the next day and the next day after that. Well. We'll see!

Sunday night we went to go finish knocking the building that we found Nastia in and we found someone else who told us to come back tomorrow (today)! We were also able to give a woman, who had heard about us before, a Book of Mormon. We have found around 5 potentials in this one building, and one of them is even an investigator! Building up an area is tough, but worth every second. I love finding, but I love teaching even more.

Funny experiences of the week: A beggar told Elder Monroe that he was going to marry him if he didn't give him money. Also, Elder Westover called Nastia to invite her to church, but she couldn't because her daughter was sick, so he asked if we could come by on Tuesday. "But that's New Years!" - Nastia. My companion was thinking "Okay, then Thursday?" but this is what came out of his mouth, "Okay, so Tuesday then?" We both laughed really hard. 

It was great to see all of your faces on Christmas and to see you open your presents. I really felt like I was in the room with you. As always, thanks for the emails and pictures, and I hope you have a happy new year! Love you!

-Elder Farnworth

 Laying on the floor at the Schwartz'.
A really fat duck.

Look! We got the whole family in the picture!

10 moldoveni, 1 întrebare: -Dacă toată lumea...

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas is just around the riverbend!

The Christmas tree decorated
Christmas is just around the riverbend!

This email will probably be pretty short due to the fact that I'll be seeing all of you in two days, but I'll do my best to include something worth reading.

Denis is still doing as great as ever. We were texting him last night because we didn't get the chance to ask him if he hasn't smoked still at, and his response was, "Without your help, I wouldn't have been able to handle quitting, so thank you for that." The thing is is that it wasn't us. It was us telling him that with Jesus Christ and the power of His Atonement it is POSSIBLE to quit. And he has! It's incredible to see people make these kinds of changes in their lives and to be a part of it. We also taught him about the Plan of Salvation earlier in the week and when we got to the Atonement part where Jesus prays of the Garden of Gethsemane, he asked if that was really in the Bible. So, we opened to Matthew 26:36-46 and the Spirit was strong while we read:
Rocky! We ran into each other while we were in Chisinau gettin Elder Westover's visa

36 ¶Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place calledaGethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and bpray yonder.
 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, andabegan to be sorrowful and very heavy.
 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is aexceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and bwatch with me.
 39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and aprayed, saying, O my bFather, if it be possible, let this ccup pass from me: nevertheless not as I dwill, but as ethou fwilt.
 40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them aasleep, and saith unto Peter, What, bcould ye not watch with me one hour?
 41 aWatch and bpray, that ye enter not into ctemptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
 42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy awill be done.
 43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
 44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
 45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is abetrayed into the hands of sinners.
 46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.

Nastia, our other investigator, is still interested in learning more. Having a two year old daughter makes it hard for her to come to church, but we enjoyed reading the Book of Mormon with her and answering the questions she had. She kept telling us, "I can't promise you that I'll become a member of your church right now, but maybe someday I will if I feel that this is all true." Well, now we just need to help her get to that point! That's all for this past week. We were really busy preparing for the branch Christmas party, but we're still working as hard as we can to find and teach. I love this quote by the prophet so I thought I would share it with all of you to end my email.
“When we keep the spirit of Christmas, we keep the Spirit of Christ, for the Christmas spirit is the Christ Spirit. It will block out all the distractions around us which can diminish Christmas and swallow up its true meaning." - President Thomas S. Monson

I love you all and have a very Merry Christmas!
Sister Nelli (The Chief) at the branch Christmas party displaying the wonderful food

-Elder Farnworth

Monday, December 16, 2013

"Happy First Snowfall!"

Dear Family and Friends,

We finally received our first snowfall! Everyone was wishing one another a "happy first snowfall" all over Balti. Sadly, it only lasted a day and now it's all mud, but we cherished those couple of days with a blanket of fresh, white snow on the ground.

As I mentioned in my last email, we started off our week with the Christmas Zone Conference. Before everything started, Elder Monroe and I were walking up the stairs to the second floor of the Chisinau branch building and guess who walked through the door? Aba! It was, in no way, a coincidence that he decided to stop by the only day Elder Monroe and I would be in Chisinau at the same time. We were really happy to see him and ask him how he's doing. He'll be in Chisinau for two more years and hopefully I'll be able to see him one last time before I go home. I loved having the opportunity to teach him and get to know him earlier in the year. He's a great guy! Also, I got to meet the new Russian elder. Elder Streletski is his name and he's 6'4" 240 lbs!! He's a big guy. He drove tanks for the Russian army and boxed for 6 years. Him and his family could only go to church once a month, but his testimony and knowledge of the gospel is strong. He knows a tiny bit of English, but it's a lot of fun talking to him in Russian because I probably sound like a child.

Me and Elder Streletski


We had a really cool experience with finding this week. Last Sunday we knocked into a woman with a child who told us to come back on Tuesday. Unfortunately, we were in Chisinau on Tuesday so we had to stop by on Wednesday. At first I was thinking, "Well. Maybe she is just gonna be one of those people that are going to open the door, say that they changed their mind and then slam the door." But I was totally wrong. Right as she saw us she said, "Come in! Come in! I thought you were going to come yesterday, so I waited, but I'm glad you came today so please have a seat." The lesson went as follows: SHE SET ALL OF THE EXPECTATION FOR US. Baptism, reading, coming to church, praying, recognizing answers that come from the Holy Ghost, taking time to learn our message, and having members be present on lessons. She was really friendly and we talked a lot about the differences between The Church of Jesus Christ and the Orthodox Church, how we know what Jesus looks like (answer = Joseph Smith saw him face to face), the rules we have to follow as missionaries, and the Restoration. At the end of the lesson, she looked at us and said, "I want you to know that as I learn more about your message, I'm going to go on how I feel and if it makes sense." Our response was, "That is EXACTLY what we want you to do!" We set a return appointment for Friday with a member, but when we went back, she wasn't home. SO, we're going to go back as soon as possible because this lady is prepared.

Denis is making REALLY good progress towards his baptism. He came to church for the second week in a row, and we were able to the start the Quit Smoking Program on Thursday. He is already well on his way to fully quit smoking. Every day that we met with him, we asked him how his day went, his response was always, "Well. I haven't smoked!" There was also a day when we were cleaning the church and he randomly called and asked if we were at the church and if he could come by. We told him we were, so he came by, we sat down and talked about one of the most important things we teach people: the promises we make when we are baptized. We take upon ourselves the name of Christ and promise to follow Him for the rest of our lives AND we receive a remission of our sins. He's really quiet, but he has very good questions and makes sure that he understands our answers. After we finished cleaning, a member called Elder Westover and asked, "Do you Elders want to eat?!" This member had made some Red Borsh, she was bored, and didn't want to eat it all by herself. The whole time we were there she told us all sorts of stories about how she met the missionaries, how her parents thought she was a boy when she was born, how grateful she is for Elder Holt, and what she tells people about the church. At one point I tried saying something, but she just looked at me and said, "You eat. I'll talk." So I continued eating and let her talk! I just love the members here, they're so great.

Elder Fingerlee from the quorum of the 70 visited Chisinau on Saturday and left us with a message, "The church WILL grow here in Moldova, but it only will if you start inviting people to church to learn more about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ from the missionaries." This country will need 4 or 5 stakes before they can start building a temple, but I strongly believe that it will happen during my lifetime. I really do. As they all say in the Prince of Egypt, "There can be miracles, when you believe."

I hope you're all enjoying the break from school, and this special time of the year to remember Christ's birth and what He has done for every single one of us. Take time to out of your busy holiday schedules to ponder and reflect upon what a blessing it is to have a Savior who died for our sins and provided the only way to find true happiness. I love you and I can't wait to see all of you on Skype in 9 days! Happy Holidays!
Puttin' up the Christmas tree!

-Elder Farnworth

Monday, December 9, 2013

Denis accepted a baptismal date for the 4th of January!

Dear family and friends,

We have our zone conference today (on our P-day) so I'm in Chisinau right now getting my email time in (after a 4 hour train ride) so I apologize if it ends up being a shorter email than usual.
Blurry picture of us in the train we took two hours ago

WELL. It has finally snowed (not as much as it has there) and so Elder Westover and I bought a small Christmas tree and lights for our apartment. I just love this time of the year! Especially as a missionary because almost everybody is thinking about Christ is some way or another. A recent convert gave us a 25 Days of Christmas book with all sorts of Christmas stories,  Even though it gets dark at 4, and we rarely see the sun, we get to go around and tell people about how Christ is the only source of true happiness and light and we can all partake of it. Almost everybody has a belief in Christ here in Balti, but they just show it in different ways than we do.
Our Christmas setup
Our investigator, Denis, accepted a baptismal date for the 4th of January! It was actually a pretty funny experience because my companion extended the invitation and he simply answered, "Yeah." But for some reason, I didn't think that he really understood what we were asking him to do. So I repeated the commitment and he said, "Yes. I understood what he said and I'll be baptized." We all looked at each other and said, "Well great!" We invited him to church, he came, really enjoyed it, and the members really welcomed him in. Preparing someone for baptism is a great experience. The last time I was able to do this was actually with Elder Westover with Anya. This branch NEEDS a young priesthood holder, and he has been prepared.

There's a member who has been having some trouble believing that she will be able to see her two sons, and husband after she dies, so it was the perfect opportunity to show her the wooden Plan of Salvation visual aid that I have. It was probably the best Plan of Salvation lesson I've had on my mission. Testimony adds so much power to what we teach and when we told her that we knew that her two sons and husband are in the Spiritual World right now, she looked down to the ground and took a moment to take it in and she seemed to realize that they really are still alive and closer than she thinks. We WILL see all of our loved ones again.

I wanted to end by sharing a scripture with you that really stuck out to me this week. It can apply to all of us: Jacob 5:21-23:

21And it came to pass that the servant said unto his master: How comest thou hither to plant this tree, or this branch of the tree? For behold, it was the poorest spot in all the land of thy vineyard. 
22And the Lord of the vineyard said unto him: Counsel me not; I knew that it was a poor spot of ground; wherefore, I said unto thee, I have nourished it this long time, and thou beholdest that it hath brought forth much fruit. 
23And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto his servant: Look hither; behold I have planted another branch of the tree also; and thou knowest that this spot of ground was poorer than the first. But, behold the tree...

Thanks for all the pictures, and have fun with all that snow! Love you!

-Elder Farnworth 

P.S. Transfers came...... Elder Monroe is training the Native from Rustov, Russia and I'm...................................................................................................................................................................................................................... still with Elder Westover! We were the only companionship that didn't change, and we're excited to spend another 6 weeks together.

Smokestack. There are TONS of them

Monday, December 2, 2013

My companion knits ALL THE TIME.

Dear Friends and Family,

It's O degrees Celsius and it hasn't even snowed yet..... Now what's up with that?! We're actually grateful for that though because it's supposed to be the worst winter ever here so hopefully we don't get icicles hanging from our nostrils in a couple weeks. Which reminds me, we're getting TWO NATIVES on the 10th. I may or may not be training one of them..... President hasn't really told us what's going to happen. Our second Thanksgiving was wonderful! We got to go down to Chisinau and eat a huge meal at the Schwartz apartment with all the Moldova missionaries. After we stuffed ourselves, with the approval of President Hill, we got to watch Fiddler on the Roof (One of Dad's favorite movies!) But of course, Thanksgiving isn't all about the food and relaxation, it's about our countless blessings that we have received from our loving Heavenly Father and it's a time to spend with family and let them know how much we love them. So, I want you all to know how much I love you and how grateful I am for your examples to me.
Thanksgiving at the Schwartz apartment in Chisinau.

Anyway! English has really been an effective finding tool for us. We actually got a new investigator from it this week. His name is Denis, he's an 18 year old young man who really wants to quit smoking and has been meeting with us often. We are going to start helping him to make reading the Book of Mormon a daily thing and hopefully he will recognize the feelings from the Spirit that our message is true. At one of our lessons, right as we sat down he asked, "What do you guys think is the worst sin?" Well, we told him about denying the Holy Ghost, but the answer he was thinking of was smoking. This helped us to know that he's wanting to make some major changes in his life. We told him, "You know, us teaching people English is a great thing, but there's more to what we do. We're here to help people change their lives and come unto Christ." So we went over the Word of Wisdom with him and promised that with Christ and God, quitting smoking is possible. The next student was a woman named Cristina and she has a child and a husband who knows English pretty well. We went over the Plan of Salvation pamphlet with her and at the end she asked a question that I had been waiting for, "What separates your church from all the other churches in the world?" It was a time where I got to testify of a living Prophet who speaks with God today, the fullness of the gospel and the keys of the Priesthood which were restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith, non-paid leaders, and that Jesus Christ is at the head of this church. She simply nodded her head and said, "Yeah. Well. Thanks for the lesson." We invited her to church, but she didn't come. People have their agency.... As missionaries, we invite and help. So now we just have to keep inviting and helping the people we teach come to church.
Our church..... Next to Babylon Cafe.

We visited some really great members this week too. The first one was a man whose wife is a Baptist. His name is Brother Valentin. We had a lesson outside in the cold, but right when I pulled my Bible out to share some scriptures, he looked at it and asked, "Where did you get such a beautiful, small Bible?" We asked him if he wanted one, and he did. (So when we were down in Chisinau we got one for him.) I read Proverbs 3:5-6 and when we finished reading, he looked up and said, "You read my mind. Never have these verses been so applicable to me than today. Thank you." On Sunday, we wrote a little note in his new Bible and he was like a child on Christmas when we told him that it was a gift from us. He put it in his suit jacket pocket and said, "Look, I'll put it here and every morning when I wake up I'll read a verse out of it." I love the members here! I would do anything for them. 

There are a million other things I could tell you, but I don't have all the time in the world. I hope this is sufficient for this week. I love you all and I hope the transition from the holiday break back into school and work isn't too painful. 

-Elder Farnworth

My companion knits ALL THE TIME.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Our "not real" Thanksgiving

Ohhhhhh boy, let me just tell you that my companion and I are complete idiots...... We thought last Thursday was Thanksgiving....... So we made a nice meal and everything and celebrated it....... Isn't Thanksgiving usually on the THIRD Thursday? Anyway, we get to celebrate it again this week! It was a great Thursday either way.
Our not real Thanksgiving meal. 

Okay. First of all, our English classes are going really well. We have around 6 students who said they want to hear more about the church and now we're in the process of not awkwardly approaching them and scheduling lessons. It should turn out really well!

This week was filled with former investigator stop-by's. We prayerfully chose 4 each day out of a pile of around 100, and stopped by the addresses written on the teaching record. Unfortunately, a lot of them had moved and their numbers were disconnected BUT God blesses the feet of those who are moving. So we were blessed with a lot of people who were put in our path as we tried contacting former investigators. The first instance was this person we call the "Chicken Lady." A week before I came to Balti, Elder Westover and Elder Feil gave this lady a Book of Mormon, so on Thursday (when we celebrated Thanksgiving) we passed by and decided to buy a chicken. We talked to her, and she asked us how our success was. We asked her if she had read the Book of Mormon, and she did! But she had it at home. We're trying to figure out a way to go by and do something like mini spiritual thoughts, since she works all day every day in a stand, to see if she'll become an investigator. The second instance was when we were heading home after a LONG day of finding and a woman was talking to a man on the side of the road and right when she noticed us she said, "Hey! Where is Smith? (my trainer)" She told us how in the past she investigated but Elder Smith left, and lost contact with us. We invited her to church, but she didn't come. However, she has now come in contact with the missionaries again and that's a very good thing for us and her. The third instance was just yesterday. We dropped by a potential family to get their number so we could figure out a good time that works for them (since the husband works every day except for Sunday) for us to come by and talk more about the Book of Mormon, and on our way back to center on a nearly empty bus, the conductor lady walked up to us, put her hand on the Book of Mormon I had on my lap and asked, "How can I get acquainted with this book?" We handed it to her, and after she read the cover she said, "Oh! Wonderful! It's a book about Jesus Christ! Here. I'll give you my number and I'll call you tomorrow and we can talk about what I don't understand." Yes, we most certainly can! Looking back through the week, I can see how blessed we have been to come in contact with these people. Now, the next step is just keeping in contact with them, and setting up appointments.

Funny moment of the week: We were doing service at the newest convert's house moving really heavy bags of coal and at one point she asked Elder Westover how many bags were left and he said, "немного (a few)...... десять (ten)." She just busted out laughing (which made all four of us laugh) because we all knew that ten bags was not "a few." 

That's it for the week. I am still enjoying every single day of being here, and there's nothing else I would rather be doing! Missionary work has been a huge blessing in my life, and I hope the work that we're doing is doing the same for these peoples' lives. I love you all and I wish you a very very happy Thanksgiving!

-Elder Farnworth

Tangled lanterns for an english student's birthday

Squeezing through the дом's of Balti

Monday, November 18, 2013

"This all seems like a dream..."

Dear Family and Friends,

This all seems like a dream that I am actually serving in a different city. I'm finally in Balti! It's a dream come true I guess you could say. I've heard so much about this city and how well the missionary work is going up here, and they're right. The missionary work is going VERY well up here. In fact, my first day as a missionary here we had the baptism of that one lady I told you all about. I was also the one to interview her (interviews in another language are quite an experience!), and she wanted me to speak at her baptism, so I got to speak and it was awesome! She's going to be a great addition to this already incredible branch. The day after her baptism we dropped by to see how she was doing and she read us the testimony she wrote in her personal copy of the Book of Mormon which was thanking God for sending the Elders to her to show her the path that He wanted her to take. Heavenly Father sends missionaries to do just this: to help His children find their way back on the right path to eternal life. What a blessing it is to be a part of this work.

Sunday was my 2nd favorite day of the week. Do you all remember Boris (my investigator) from the MTC? Well guess who just happens to be the branch president of the Balti branch? Boris! When he walked into church on Sunday I thought to myself, "Holy cow, this is the man that my MTC teacher (Brother Holt) was." He shook my hand and told me that he was glad to finally have me serving in his branch and that he was happy to see me. Also, they LOVE Brother Holt here. After Sunday school, a sister looked at me and announced, "Hey everybody! This is a student of Elder Holt!" Everyones' reactions were hilarious because they bombarded me with questions about how he's doing. For Priesthood it was just me, Elder Westover, and two other Brothers. I loved it and all we did was read 3 stories from the Liahona. There's such a good feeling here, and the members help us out so much with missionary work. It makes everything a million times better when we all work together to help the branch grow and get stronger. I love the members here! I can't wait to get to know them better. We finished our Sabbath Day with some knocking and used the survey again. Question 6 works like a charm! We found a father who took a Book of Mormon and said that we could come back anytime. It's great to have a Russian companion again, especially since it's Elder Westover. He's a fantastic companion.

I personally, love this photo. Look how happy she is!

Well. That's all for this week since it was transfers, and a lot of travelling was involved, but I am loving every second of being up here. We have a handful of good potentials (which include 2 families) and hopefully this week we can get some new investigators! I love you and hope you have a happy Thanksgiving! Don't eat too much food ;)

-Elder Farnworth

Random quote and fact of the week:

"You are what you believe." 

And the Book of Mormon has no culture, that's why anyone in the world who reads it can relate to what is written. Plus, it's the word of God and the word of God applies to everyone!

The baptism.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It's time...

Well. I have some really exciting and really sad news for all of you. Moldovan transfer calls were this Sunday, but I wasn't sure if it was going to be my last Sunday in Chisinau since we hadn't been called about where we were going until after church, so I didn't officially say goodbye to members and investigators..... So that is what I'll be doing with week...... On Thursday the 14th of November, I will be leaving Chisinau for the last time. President Hill is sending me to Balti to serve with Elder Westover again which I'm really happy about, but at the same time I can't believe that the time has actually come for me to leave these incredible people that I've come to know so deeply over these past 13 months. They're like a family to me, and I'm going to miss them A LOT. I've never been good with goodbye's, but I'll see them again!

Elder Brown and I on an exchange back at the good old Botanica apartment where I spent 6 months of my mission.
As far as the work goes, Elder Hollist and I did a lot of knocking. One night we were walking in center and I thought to myself that we should go back to a building that we passed and knock it. We didn't find anyone that was interested, and so we went to the next section. We kinda just stood outside staring at the building to see if there were a lot of lights on, and while we were standing there a man in a car drove up and asked us what we were looking for and who we were. Good questions! Elder Hollist told him about the Book of Mormon and gave it to him. He wasn't really interested, but the decision he made to take the Book of Mormon can change his life forever if he chooses to read it. Later in the week, we decided to use a survey while knocking, and it worked out really well! It had been a long time since we had found someone who was actually interested in what we had to say, and earlier in that same day I thought to myself, "God, if it be Thy will please guide us to someone who will listen to what we have to say tonight." We knocked on many doors, and got a lot of "no's" and "not interested" but the last door was a man in his 30's with a wife who answered every question of the survey. One of the questions was: Do you believe the Bible to be the word of God or just a history book? If you knew there was another book of scripture written by prophets that testifies of Christ, would you read this book? (Side note: I had my Book of Mormon hidden underneath the survey.) He said that would totally read it, so I "revealed" the Book of Mormon, brought his attention back to question 6 and said, "There IS another book of scripture that testifies of Christ, and you will find all the answers to the questions I just asked you in this book." He held it in his hands, opened it, and said, "Wow. Can I have it?" So we gave it to him, exchanged information, and asked him if we could could back. He said we could, so we're going to stop by before I head up to Balti. On our way home that same night, I looked up to the starry, night sky and said, "Thank you....." Tender mercies are what keep us going.
Elder Hollist and I knocking. It's that very same night where we found that man in his 30's.

A lot of really great things are happening here, and I'm excited to see how it all turns out while I'm gone. There are a lot of great investigators who are keeping their commitments, well-planned activities that are helping less-actives come back into the fold, and huge English classes that are helping us to find those who are willing to listen to the message of the Restoration. I am so lucky to have been able to serve here and I will never forget the experiences that I have had. Next week I'll be in Balti, a city that I've been wanting to serve in for a while now, and the work will continue here. Thank you all for your emails, letters, support, and love. I am so blessed to have such amazing family and friends. Always remember that God has His own time frame and it's not only His will be done, but in His own timing. I love you!

-Elder Farnworth

A chess board just magically appeared in the Lake Park, so we played a quick game. I lost... But only because my companion is a genius.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Still in Chisinau...

Hello family and friends!

English classes have officially started! We had a about 14 students show up and our class was in the smallest room, so Elder Hollist and I had to sit on tiny chairs in the middle of the room so we could fit everyone. It was pretty funny. We also love our class already. We have a great group of people and they are a lot of fun to talk to. 

We spent Halloween in Balti. I did an exchange with Elder Westover and it was like a mini reunion. It was good to be back with my "son" for a day and talk about all the experiences he's having in Balti (a city that I still hope to serve in). There's a woman up there getting ready to be baptized and she really loves having all the elders come over; so, all 6 of us decided to drop by! Elder Monroe wanted Elder Hollist and I to hide until they went inside and then knock on the door after about 2 minutes. So we did, and she looked out her window with a puzzled look on her face and right as she saw us she said, "There's more of you!?" And she just had this huge smile on her face and we couldn't help but smile too. We were all welcomed into her cozy home and throughout the course of the lesson she kept saying, "Ohhhhh my elders." Anyway, her son was murdered a while back and she's so good of a person that she forgave the one that killed her son. Now THAT is Christlike. I really admire her for doing that. She has also had a lot of her friends ask who is always visiting her and she simply says, "They are missionaries for THE Church of Jesus Christ." Right before we were about to leave she gave us rocks as reminders to always pray and believe. I've now got that rock sitting on my study desk back at our apartment. I am so glad that I got to meet this sincere, happy, loving, forgiving, funny, and humble woman. She'll be a great addition to the Balti branch and hopefully I'll get to see her baptism! Also, Elder Westover and I met a MORMON from St. George in a restaurant. He said the word, "stake" and it gave him away. It's a small world!

"не холодно?" About 8 different people asked Elder Hollist this question as we were walking to do service for the kindergarten piano lady, Maria, at her house. We have done SO MUCH SERVICE and it's been really great for us. We were able to give a Book of Mormon to this woman's daughter even though she said she was skeptical, but she ended up coming to church! Elder Hollist told me later in the same day that "If there's anything I have confidence in, it's the Book of Mormon." I agree 100%. While we were eating dinner with them Maria asked me, "Farnworth, why are you so serious?" I responded by saying, "Because you're all speaking Romanian!" So she switched into Russian from that time on and it made me laugh. Later in that same day, we were at this place called the American Resource Center and we had a kid ask us if we regret making the decision to go on a mission. We told him, "Absolutely not." Even though a lot of people think we're crazy for doing this, I would never trade these two years for anything. I'm doing this because it's true. I'm also doing this because I know Christ is the Savior of the world (and that includes Moldova) and these people need to know that.

Well. I thank you all for your continued support, love, and prayers on my behalf and I want you all to know that I love you and pray for you every single day. Hope the snow isn't making everyone too cold! But whether there's snow or no snow, have a great week anyway! 

-Elder Farnworth

Monday, October 28, 2013

I sure do love service!

Dear Family,

This was a week full of service. I've done more service this week than I've ever done on my entire mission. Tuesdays and Saturdays are our days for service at the kindergarten and one of the those days only Elder Hollist and I showed up, but there's this lady that plays the piano for the little kids and she came up to us asking if we could move some large wardrobes for her. She also wanted us to teach all the kindergarten teachers English, so looks like we'll have a lot to do next week! We also had a member (who has a legit Moldovan house out in a village not too far from Chisinau) ask us to help him with some chores at this house. We had to wake up really early to get there on time, but when we got there it was literally like we were 50 years in the past. They had 2 houses: one that was built around 1950 and another that was built later so they could have more living space. I'll attach some pictures. Anyway, we started out by raking some leaves and then this member came up to us (there were about 10 missionaries) and said, "Elders, leave this job to the sisters. Take these shovels and follow me." He took us to the back of his 3-acre garden, had us turn around to see the task ahead of us while saying, "We are going to manually rototill ALL of that." I'm pretty sure all of us were thinking, "Are you serious?" But we went to work right away! It was actually a lot of fun, and a lot of hard work. After working for about 5 hours, they fed us a huge meal and thanked us for our willingness to help them out because if it was just this member doing all the work then it would have taken him a week to finish it. I sure do love service! The very next morning our branch president had us come early in the morning to help clean the baptismal font. It was a very spiritual experience for me because the last time the font had been used was when Cristina was baptized. Over time it gathered dust, so we mopped it and made it look all nice and shiny again.

Me in front of their REALLY old house

Me and my shovel (brought me back to my cemetery days!)
Big meal the members had for us
The House.
Right now we are teaching a lot of English to 3 architects who work in the same firm. They are hilarious! We love talking to them and getting to know them. Also, we finally have an English class. Yes, I am now teaching medium because I had taught the same Advanced English class for a year straight. I'll miss them, but they're in good hands now. I'm excited to have new students and help them get better at English and learn some more about Jesus Christ and what we're all about.

This week we have FINALLY started our less-active rescue plan. The city is divided into 5 zones and each zone has leaders, which are members, and missionaries to help them out. The nice thing is is that the members are leading the way. We're really looking forward to a lot of growth in these next two months that will hopefully come from this plan. The branch also had an activity where they watched The Other Side of Heaven and a lot of non-members came. They all seemed to like it! 

We got to use our wooden Plan of Salvation visual aids and it worked out really well! We went knocking and if someone says, "cine acolo?" or "кто там?" that basically decides for us who is going to talk to the person. Almost the entire apartment complex was Russian, until we got to this one door where a young woman opened the door and she just happened to only speak Romanian. Elder Hollist showed her the Plan of Salvation and when he got to the three kingdoms, the girl asked, "Why are there 3? I thought there were only 2." So we had her read 1 Corinthians 15:40-41:

40 aThere are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the bcelestial is one, and the glory of the cterrestrial is another.
 41 There is one glory of the asun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the bstars: for one star cdiffereth from another star in dglory. 

It pretty much answered her question, and she expressed her interest in learning more about how in the world we have such information. Of course this was all in Romanian, but my companion was kind enough to let me know how it went.

So as many of you know, it was daylight savings, and that meant that we got an extra hour of sleep...But we forgot to change our clocks... So we woke up, got ready, ate breakfast, and then called the senior couples at 7:30 thinking it was 8:30 (they live in the same building as us) and asked them if we could get a ride to church. "Elders, it's daylight savings today!" - Sister Schwartz. We all got a good laugh out of it and we felt so dumb for our silly mistake. At least we got to get some personal study in! 

There's another experience that I forgot to write about, but I don't have any time so I'll just have to tell you when I get home in 8 months! Well. I hope you like the pictures and I also hope that my emails are interesting enough. I love you all and remember to always treat others like you would want to be treated!

-Elder Farnworth

Monday, October 21, 2013

No more 12 hour train rides?

Hello everybody!

Well. This entire week I was down in Bucharest for meetings. And it was the last time I will have to take two 12 hour trains and be in a country where pretty much no one speaks Russian. Hooray! BUT while I was there I was surprised with two big packages full of goodies that would make any missionary overjoyed. Thank you! I also put the family pictures in an album and you all look so great. Wish I could've been there!
Elder Adams and I at the Gara in Bucharest

We were lucky enough to have City Day on P-day last Monday. All of center was closed down and I'm pretty sure all of Chisinau was there. There were concerts, rugs, tons of people, BBQ's, stands selling wine, and lots of random activities. To my surprise it was a bigger celebration than the New Year. Basically, Monday was Chisinau's 577 birthday.

La multi ani Chisinau!

Oh my goodness, how could I forget. There's been a change-up amongst the companionships. Elder Hollist and I talked to our mission president about how the zone leaders need to be together, and so instead of having the zone leaders in different companionships, they have now been put together! So Elder Hollist and I have become companions. This is my third zebra companionship and I'm really excited. He's a great elder and I've known him from before when he was here about 8 months ago. Elder Lippert is now with his MTC companion, Elder Koch, and they seem to really be enjoying it. My time with Elder Lippert was short, but it was still productive!

Elder Westover had to leave the country due to not getting his visa work done on time, and so that means he will have to stay outside of Moldova for 6 months, or, by some miracle, get his visa paperwork in and come back. We're all praying that he can come back because if he can't, then that's a huge loss for us. 

Elder Hollist and I don't have any serious investigators at the moment, but we're working on it! It takes some time and a lot of effort to turn a new investigator into a progressing one. We even read some scriptures about the struggles missionaries had in the Book of Mormon:

Alma 20:30
30 And, as it happened, it was their lot to have fallen into the hands of a more hardened and a more astiffnecked people; therefore they would not hearken unto their words, and they had cast them out, and had smitten them, and had driven them from house to house, and from place to place, even until they had arrived in the land of Middoni; and there they were taken and cast into prison, and bound with bstrong cords, and kept in prison for many days, and were delivered by Lamoni and Ammon.

Alma 23:14
14 And the Amalekites were not aconverted, save only one; neither were any of the bAmulonites; but they did harden their hearts, and also the hearts of the Lamanites in that part of the land wheresoever they dwelt, yea, and all their villages and all their cities.

But there was also much success:

Alma 19:35
35 And it came to pass that there were many that did abelieve in their words; and as many as did believe were baptized; and they became a righteous people, and they did establish a church among them.

Alma 4:4
 4 And they began to establish the achurch more fully; yea, and many were bbaptized in the cwaters of Sidon and were joined to the church of God; yea, they were baptized by the hand of Alma, who had been consecrated the dhigh priest over the people of the church, by the hand of his father Alma.

I think this next scripture sums it all up:

Alma 26:37
 37 Now my brethren, we see that God is amindful of everybpeople, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.

The church is in its baby stages here, so it's very delicate. Me, my companion and all the other missionaries in Moldova have been trusted to handle everything with care and to find those who are ready and prepared to hear the good news of Jesus Christ and to bring them into the waters of baptism so they too can enjoy the blessings that come with making that sacred covenant with our Heavenly Father. I'll end with a really cool chain of events that I don't think I mentioned to you when I was with Elder Westover........... So the sisters here have an investigator named Victor right now and yesterday he brought one of his friends to church. The following events is how he came to find the church: about 3 or 4 weeks ago, while we were waiting to do service at the kindergarten, a teacher of a high school nearby walked past us and said, "Hey! You're those guys who teach free English. Would you mind coming to my class and teaching them about America's educational system?" How could we turn down such an opportunity?! So we went, talked to the class, and I noticed a kid on the front row who was listening to us very intently. So we gave him an English card and we went on our way. Not too many days later did we see him show up to English classes. To make a long story short, he kept coming to English, then transitioned into Sports Night, and now he's coming to church and investigating. Just think, if  that one simple act of teaching a random class about the educational system in America never happened, then this young man may have never found the gospel. Something as simple as standing around waiting to do some service can provide the way for someone to change their life. Just as much as I love seeing success in my own efforts, I love seeing other missionaries be able to see the fruits of their labors. There's nothing that brings me more joy than to see someone immerse themselves in the message that we have. 
Elder Ward, Me, Elder Rodenberg. Romanian-speaking elders that I'll probably never get to see again.

I challenge all who read this email to do something this week that will help the missionaries in your area find those who can enjoy the same blessings that we enjoy. Member-missionary work is SO IMPORTANT. I love you and thank you for your amazing examples to me. The field is white and ready to harvest!

-Elder Farnworth


"Dear Elder Farnworth,

It looks like the closest release date to your two-year anniversary of entering the MTC is July 9. Let's plan on that date, OK? I have changed it in the system." - President Hill

I'll be home on July 9th! Just wanted to let you all know.



Monday, October 14, 2013

A pretty great week...

Hello everybody!

Elder Lippert and I had a pretty great week. I have a lot of random experiences to tell you, so bare (bear) with me.

1. We were headed home one night on a Marshrootka and I noticed that this one girl had an iPhone with the new iOS. So I told Elder Lippert, "Hey, look at that, it's the new iOS." And right as I said that, the girl turned around and said, "Yes, it is the new iOS." (In perfect English). We kind of got caught off-guard, but we talked to her the rest of the way home. She had lived in New York for 11 years working for some company. She asked us what we were doing here, and so we told her that we were volunteer missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ. She thought it was pretty cool what we were doing. We were packed like sardines in the Marshrootka, so we weren't able to get her contact information. I hate when that happens! So Elder Lippert and I promised each other that we would never let that happen again.
Elder Lippert and I traveling with the Kneibs to the high school

2. We had a guy randomly call us and tell us that he had talked to us before about doing personal English lessons, and we were like "Well, okay, we've actually never talked to you before, but yeah! We'll definitely do some personal English lessons." So we met up at the church towards the evening. We got to know him a little and he said that he played basketball with an embassy worker in Moscow who was a Mormon and this friend told him that we did English lessons for free. So he came to us to learn some English! Towards the end of the lesson, we showed him that Book of Mormon and he instantly said, "That book, is a very interesting book." He had actually read almost the entire Book of Mormon, so we asked him if he would like to study it with us and he said "Of course!" He even wants to bring some friends along. So we're planning on meeting up with him again this week.

Us at the high school taking a picture with the students in their "cultural room."
3. We made a goal to stop by some less-actives and it worked out better than we had thought it would. The first less active was a mother who had just had a baby girl, so we stopped by with one of the new Liahonas and we had no idea how everything was going to go when she opened the door. But right as she did, she said, "Come in and sit down!" Well great! So we went in, sat down, shared a message from the talk "His Grace is Sufficient", and asked her about how her husband is doing (he's a non-member). She told us that he's doing fine, and that she hopes he can be a member soon. The only problem he has is that he doesn't think he can quit smoking because where he works, everyone smokes. He has had most of the discussions from the missionaries, has nothing against the church, and she thinks that through her and her daughters' examples of going to church he can make good progress towards being baptized himself. The OTHER less active we dropped by actually didn't answer their door, so right as we got out of the elevator and the first floor, there she was! So she had us come in, meet her mother (who's a non-member) and towards the end of our lesson, her less-active son joined in. Great family! The son wants to do English lessons at their home, so hopefully we can start that up and start meeting with this family more often.

4. We had a another "closing ceremony" at a high school with the senior couple. It was at a village not far from Chisinau and right as we got there, there were about 300 students waiting for us. Pretty intimidating! We got to stand up front (again), as everyone gave their speeches, and after everything finished, a group of students took Elder Lippert and I around the school to see all the things that the church bought for the school. We told them what we're doing here and that if they were ever in Chisinau, they could come to our English classes. And guess what? One of them showed up! Pretty cool.

5. We were standing in front of a fountain in the park in center, and a couple walked up to us and asked us if we speak English in Romanian. They happened to be Baptists and they noticed our nametags and wanted to talk to us for a little bit. They were extremely nice, and told us thank you for sharing the gospel. They also mentioned how they have been working to get through the Book of Mormon because some people they met gave them one and invited them to read it. If there's one thing that unites Christians of different faiths, it's our faith in Jesus Christ and our knowledge that He is our Savior.

Well. I think that's it. Transfers came again, and I'll be in Chisinau for 6 more weeks. I'm still loving every minute of my mission and I love you all very much! Have a wonderful week.

-Elder Farnworth

The cultural clothing of Moldova

Monday, October 7, 2013

365 days in Chisinau!

Dear family and friends,

October 3rd, 2012

A dog that lives by our apartment. We made a home for it out of a laundry basket so it wouldn't freeze to death.

Some pictures that another elder took of me while doing service

 October 3rd, 2013. 365 days in the country of Moldova and the city of Chisinau. One year in the field!

This email is going to be kind of short due to us not having very much time today:

Monday: As we were sitting at internet cafe a man named Dan Kane (an American) walked up to us and said, "I don't mean to bother you, but I just want you to know that you Mormons walk the talk. I was here a few years back as a peace core volunteer and I did a project with your country directors (a senior couple) and never have I seen someone stick 100% to their word like they did." What a nice thing to say! He continued with wishing us with success and encouraging us to team up with the peace core and do some projects with them. 

Tuesday: Getting ready for zone conference by myself......

Wednesday: Zone conference ALL day. "Finding is a revelatory process." - President Hill. They've been really wanting us missionaries to find more and more. Jacod 5:7:

Andbblessed art thou; for because ye have been diligent in laboring with me in my vineyard, and have kept my commandments.... behold ye shall havedjoy with me because of the fruit of my vineyard.

Thursday: Elder Westover left, and Elder Lippert is now my companion. He's a recent convert of only 3 years from the south of London, England. He's a great companion! Day 365 in the country. The Schwartz moved in next door to us, and so they had us help them move a fridge with their landlord and after we finished, Elder Schwartz told us that we're going to try and teach  the landlord and his wife. So this next week we're gonna work on that! Towards the evening, I looked at my watch and said, "Well, we still have 45 minutes until we can go home." So we walked to a random apartment block and the first two doors had people who listened to us, talked to us, and took a Book of Mormon. Prepared people are out there! We're going to stop by tonight to see if they've read anything and hopefully teach them about the Restoration.

Friday: Service at the kindergarten, my companion telling me his conversion story (which is really cool!) and sports night (hopefully I can get some pictures of that)

Saturday: We did a spiritual thought in English where we invited everyone to come to conference. "A living prophet is going to speak to us tonight." Does anyone realize the huge importance of that phrase? A man who talks with God is going to speak to us! And just before conference started, we handed out cards that invited people to conference. That was fun because we don't get to invite people to come listen to a prophet's voice very often. 

Sunday: Don't freak out, but there was an earthquake in the middle of the night. It wasn't too bad, but no one was hurt and no damage was done to the city. But I have now officially been in the middle of an earthquake! Conference was amazing, and Thomas S. Monson IS A PROPHET OF GOD. I know this, and I hope you all do too. 

I'll leave you with my favorite conference quote from Elder Dieter F. Utchdorf, "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith."

Love you!

-Elder Farnworth

Monday, September 30, 2013

Ooooookay. Missionary work, gotta love it!

Hello family!

To start off, I want you to WATCH THIS LINK:


Okay. Did you watch it? Thoughts? Did you see me and all the missionaries??? Pretty cool, huh?! Yes, the many hours of service that we put in at that kindergarten contributed towards this celebration of a newly built kitchen that was funded by the United States and the church. A senior missionary and Elder Adams were interviewed by the news while Elder Westover and I got to stand up at the front as representatives for the church. After the ribbon was cut, we got to watch the little kids do a Moldovan dance and sing. It was the cutest thing I've ever seen! Later, they invited us into a room to eat with the U.S. Ambassador for Moldova, the teachers, faculty, and organizations that helped build the kitchen. We danced in a circle, sang some Moldovan songs, and talked with everybody. It was great publicity for the church and it was the perfect opportunity to talk about what we're all about. This was an experience that I will never forget. 

The Kindergarten. Elder Kneib just getting done with his speech about what the church provided and how many hours of service the Elders gave (which was about 110+ hours)

Cultural Dance!

The next biggest thing was Russian transfers..... Elder Monroe gave me a call (since he's the other zone leader) and told me who is going where..... I will STILL be in Chisinau with Elder Lippert (he's from England) and Elder Westover is heading up to Balti to be with Elder Feil. I can't believe that I'm already parting ways with my "son" after only 6 weeks. I have no idea how much longer I'll be here, but once again, it's a good thing I love everything about Chisinau. October 3rd is my year mark in the country AND this city. 

Funny experience of the week: We were doing some survey contacting in a park in my old area and while we were talking to each other we noticed a guy in a speedo slowly walking towards us. I don't know about you, but that's just akward. He was about 15 feet away when he yelled out, "Is that the Book of Mormon?!" At first we were hesitant to approach him, but as missionaries it is our responsibility to talk to as many people as God puts in our path. So we talked to him. His name was Paul and he knew the previous branch president here because they were Jehovah's Witnesses together. It's a small world! He wanted a new copy of the Book of Mormon because he didn't know where his old copy was. He was really nice to us, wished us success, and told us to stop by the park anytime because he's always "working out."

Ooooookay. Missionary work, gotta love it!

As for Anya, we're still getting her ready for baptism. She cancelled a few lessons on us this week, but it's totally understandable when you're that age, and there are other things you'd rather be doing. We hope and pray that everything goes through smoothly. It will be different having a companion again who knows the language. I'm excited, but I'll miss working with Elder Westover. He'll do great in Balti! I think that's it for the week. Love you all and have a good week!

-Elder Farnworth

"Missionaries are full time teachers, and members are full time finders." - David A. Bednar

"You can teach only what you know. You can teach powerfully only what you have a testimony of." - Unknown

Monday, September 23, 2013

.... all the Russian elders rejoiced. It was a good day for us.

Hello everybody!

Sometimes I forget that I have a mission blog, and investigators like to let me know about the things I write, but hey! At least people are STILL reading my weekly letters! And just so you all know, we've only had three Russian copies of the Book of Mormon for the past three months, and we received around 150 this past week

Stefan cel Mare holding up his cross, us holding up our copies of the Книга Мормона

.... all the Russian elders rejoiced. It was a good day for us.

This week went by way too fast. I can't believe it's already P-day again. Has anyone heard about missionaries receiving their 88:73's? (Hint: look up D&C 88:73)

P-day picture in front of a big thing in the center of Chisinau.
Lessons with Anya: A member helped out on one of the lessons, and she bore a strong testimony about how she knew that she would be able to help her family be together forever if she got baptized. She teared up, and it made me tear up too!  Elder Westover was able to lead the lesson, and it made me a proud "father" with how well he taught and testified. Another lesson was the Word of Wisdom lesson, which kind of made me nervous since a LOT of people here love tea, coffee, and smoking, but she had no problems except for green tea and was willing to change right away! We still have a lot to teach her, and there were a few days where we had no way of getting in contact with her, but she showed up to church and that was a big relief. It's so amazing to be able to see someone make the necessary steps towards baptism. Jesus Christ can and will change those who are willing to change. One morning, my companion was praying to find something for one of our investigators, and he came across Alma 32:16 -

16 Therefore, blessed are they who ahumble themselves without being bcompelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God, and is baptized withoutcstubbornness of heart, yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe.

We also had the opportunity to teach one of my old English students who came into Elder Hollist's class and said, "I want to learn more about your church. How can I do that?" So they went through the Restoration and gave him a Book of Mormon. The next day, they invited us to help teach, since his first language is Russian, and this English student told us about how he learned English in prison. He compared that learning environment which he created for himself to the environment that we have at Family Home Evening. He found God in prison. And now he's found the only true church on earth by going to FHE. 

It's starting to get dark around 7:30 now, so our street contacting time has now become our knocking time. I'm approaching my year mark in Chisinau, and I can't believe that I'll be in the same apartment that I was when I first got here. It's a good thing I love it here! 

A good father with his two sons at the lake park.
Well. I sure do love all of you. Thank you for your emails and words of encouragement. They are a source of strength to me. Always remember that promptings are usually answers to someones' prayers! So let's look up to President Monson's example and follow the promptings that we receive. Have a great week!

-Elder Farnworth