Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Hello everybody!

Mission conference was this week. Two 12-hour train rides, picked up that package you sent (thank you!!!!!), saw a picture of the next Russian elder, and a LOT of time to think about setting better goals for my mission and the rest of my life. It was a really fun to finally meet our "extended" family (the Romanian Elders and Sisters) down in Bucharest. We never get to see them because we're always up here in our small little group of 10 Russian elders, but they're still family either way! Kent F. Richards was the one who spoke to us for this conference. He basically just wanted us to simplify how we do our missionary work even more. Usually after conference we have to head quickly back up to Moldova, but we had a lot of miscommunication that lead to us missing our train and staying an extra day in Romania. So it was a nice vacation! ;) The train ride back really changed how I look at my mission. All of us were together in one, tiny compartment, and Elder Hollist wanted to talk about our mission/life goals so we could get to know each other better. While everyone was sharing where they want to be in the next two years or so, It made me realize how I need to be more serious about my goals because I was never really a "goal-setter" before my mission. So today, during personaly study, I took a long time to write down some goals to work on. I'm really excited to see how it goes!

The work has kind of slowed down here. We've been teaching some people for a while, but the finding has not been as successful. It's tough. It's really discouraging when nothing seems to go the way we would like it to. Elder Monroe and I have 4 more weeks together, so we looked at our situation and made a "goal" to work as hard as we can to find those who are searching for the gospel and that eternal happiness, and to bring them into the waters of baptism. This is going to be a huge test of my faith, but I look forward to what's going to happen. I'm excited for Erica and the life-changing experiences she's going to have in the next 18 months! There's no better time to go on a mission than now. The works seems to be progressing quickly throughout the world and that's because God is "hastening" his work. The missionary age was changed for a reason, and it's fun to see all these 18 and 19 year olds getting their calls to serve! I heard that we are not getting more Russian elders though...not sure if that's a rumor or not... It would be nice to double the amount of missionaries up here though!

Almost forgot, I said goodbye to Elder Awerkamp because he only has 4 weeks left on his mission, so I'll attach a picture of me and him.  It was good to talk to him and hear about his mission experiences. We also got new missionaries: Sister Cook, and Elder Barney. Look forward to getting to know them, they already seem like amazing people! Russian is as frustrating as it's ever been. We've been doing a horrible job of SYL-ing, so from now on we're speaking Russian ALL day instead of one hour in the morning and from 6-9 at night. I think it will help me improve a lot. "You try, you fail, you try, you fail, but the only true failure is when you stop trying." I will always remember those wise words from Elder Grover!

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week! Remember every member is a missionary, so make a GOAL to share the gospel with somebody this week.

-Elder Farnworth

Monday, February 18, 2013

The important thing is Staying

 Hello family!

Thanks for forwarding emails of Elders Wheelhouse, Peteresen, Chapman, and McClure. It was really cool to read them since they're all in different phases of missionary work, but at the same time it's fun to relate to the experiences they're having. It makes me happy to see all of my good friends going on missions and STAYING on missions. I'll always remember Dad's quote about how important staying on a mission is. 

Well, let's start with the good news... 2 of our investigators came to church yesterday! We only had sacrament meeting because the building was really cold (thanks to someone who forgot to pay the gas bills) but they really enjoyed it! The bad news is that Aba has disappeared and we haven't been able to contact him... It's sad when people that we come to love don't want to talk to us anymore... But no matter what, we still find. I really love to knock out here. It's fun to meet all sorts of people and talk to them about Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon. We're still teaching Коля. He's reading everything we ask him to. He's almost done with the Book of Mormon AND the Doctrine and Covenants. Just recently, we gave him Safety For the Soul to read and he loved it. He still thinks that the Orthodox church and our church are both right, but we're still trying to get him to understand the whole authority part of it. The gate to eternal life is baptism. To open that gate, you need keys. Without keys, you cannot open that gate. I just wish I could explain this in a clear way to him... But he told us this week how he always prays for us because he knows how it is to be away from family for 2 years. He was in the army. He also wants us to Skype him when we get home. I love these people!

We had our first missionary-planned youth activity this past week and it was really successful. A lot of our English students, young members, and investigators came. We were very surprised with how well the turn out was. Hopefully this gets the ball rolling on frequent youth activities that will eventually be planned by the branch instead of the missionaries. I feel like it's really going to help the youth grow!

All of you remember how much I love Keane right? Well when we went to go visit Rocky (the guy with the Waffle shop in the mall), Everybodys Changing came on the radio! You have no idea how excited I was to hear them again. I felt bad though because my focus was more on the song than on the conversation. Oops! Russian is still a struggle for me, it's quite a complex language. A lot of the time people don't understand what I say, but it just makes me want to get better at speaking. We often just laugh when we say something to somebody on the streets and they respond with, "Could you say that in Russian?" Gah! We just said it in Russian! Hmmmm, what else.... Mission conference this week. Should be fun. Not looking forward to the train ride though... 

It's always fun to read what's going on back at home in your lives. Thanks for keeping me updated! Dad, have fun with all that golfing! Give everybody a big hug for me (you know, since Valentine's Day was last week) I wish you all could be here, and I think about you daily. Love you all and have a fantastic week!

-Elder Farnworth

P.S. If ANYONE wants to email me, they can. The rule is is that I can only reply to my family through email. So if someone other than my family sends an email, I'll respond with a letter. It just makes the process quicker. I would love to hear from people whose addresses I don't have! Also, can you send up 2 more journals? I'm almost done with my second one. I really liked the ones that Grandma and Grandpa P. gave to me before I left, so if you could find the same ones that would be great!

Scripture of the week: D&C 127:2

 2 And as for the aperils which I am called to pass through, they seem but a small thing to me, as the benvy and wrath of man have been my common lot all the days of my life; and for what cause it seems mysterious, unless I was cordained from before the foundation of the world for some good end, or bad, as you may choose to call it. Judge ye for yourselves. God dknoweth all these things, whether it be good or bad. But nevertheless, deep water is what I am wont to swim in. It all has become a second nature to me; and I feel, like Paul, to glory in etribulation; for to this day has the God of my fathers delivered me out of them all, and will deliver me from henceforth; for behold, and lo, I shall triumph over all my enemies, for the Lord God hath spoken it.

Q & A

1. What are the missionaries like that you serve with? What do you enjoy doing together?
We're all a big happy family up here. I LOVE the elders and sisters I work with. We really like to eat together on P-days. Because there's really not much else to do here. Elder Monroe and I like to explore the city when no one else is around.

2. Do you pull any pranks or have you had any pulled on you?
Yeah. One comes to mind. My bed is one a couch, but the couch folds out. So one night Elder Monroe pushed the couch back in, so when I sat on my bed, I fell to the floor. I'll think of some other pranks for next week ;)

3. What is the thing that has been the biggest surprise for you about Moldova and the people there?
THE PEOPLE ARE SO NICE, AND THE LANDSCAPE IS BEAUTIFUL. I love everything about this country. Nothing negative whatsoever. Best mission in the world ;)

Monday, February 11, 2013

"Activity NOT Activities"

"Activities is the genius of this church" - Elder Ward "No Ward, it's ACTIVITY." - The rest of the missionaries.

Okay, quick question... Do any of you know who Bill Warren is? The Bromanians met him on the street a couple days ago, and apparently he's a really famous gospel singer in America? We got a good laugh from hearing the experience they had because he gave them a card that said, "Bill Warren: Author, Singer, Explorer" There's no way of us being able to find out over here, so if you can find any info on him, let me know!

Ever since I've been here in good old Chisinau, the attendance at church has been really poor, but yesterday we had the most people I've seen since my first Sunday! It was 10:00 am, and not very many of the members had arrived at church yet; but, at around 10:05, it seemed like 35 people suddenly appeared in the chapel! There were some less-actives, more members than usual, and some investigators of the other missionaries. It was fantastic. We would've loved to see our investigator (Aba) there, but he couldn't make it. 

One of the lessons we had with Коля this week was an interesting one. Basically the question we wanted him to answer was if he had a desire to keep ALL the commandments of God. Well, he said he did, but he also said he wasn't perfect. So as we were talking about the coffee and tea part of the Word of Wisdom, he stops us and says, "Guys, wait, my wife sent me some candy from Italy and I want you to try it." He got out the package and the picture on the package was... a cup of coffee... We were thinking, "We're not going to eat those!" but he told us that you "dip" them in coffee. So, we took his word for it, took a bite, and there was coffee in the middle of it... We both looked at each other and the look on our faces was, "Oh no... We broke the Word of Wisdom..." We couldn't spit it out in front of him, so after the lesson, Elder Monroe and I talked about it, and we made the conclusion that this situation counted towards breaking the Word of Wisdom, but did NOT count as a sin on our part, or on our investigators part. Funny story though! Breaking the Word of Wisdom while teaching the Word of Wisdom. Don't try this at home kids!

Later in the week, we decided to go visit Коля again. We had some time before the appointment, so we went knocking. The whole time I had a water bottle that I needed to throw away, so as soon as we got to his street, we either had to turn right and find a trash can, or turn left and just go to the lesson with the big bottle of water in my hand. The Spirit told me to go right. So we went right and a few steps down the street we heard someone say, "Hey guys, I had no idea you were coming by tonight." And guess who it was...? Коля! He was just getting some potatoes from the store, and he saw us walking up the street. I had that annoyingly big water bottle for a reason. Without it, we would've never seen him that night.

Yesterday we went knocking with the Bromanians. While they did they survey thing, Elder Monroe and I just did our own thing. One lady acted like she was expecting us, but it turned out that she thought that we were the police. As we were leaving her apartment, she told us to come back if we liked her daughter... We had no idea what to say to that so we just said, "Yeah... Have a nice night!" Maybe 14 doors later, an old woman answered the door, had no idea what we were doing, but let us in anyway! She was a part of the Russian Orthodox church, but enjoyed reading books from other churches. So when we showed her the Book of Mormon, she seemed really interested. She took the book with care and we set up an appointment for next week. It's amazing to see the power that this book has when people haven't even opened it.

We're still working with a lot of investigators to help them progress towards baptism. Elder Monroe is a fantastic companion, and we've been together for 10 weeks now. Not a lot of missionaries can say that! Haven't gotten that package yet, but I should in about two weeks when we go down to Romania for mission conference. Love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

-Elder Farnworth

Scripture of the week: D&C 112:11

11 I know thy heart, and have heard thy prayers concerning thy brethren. Be not partial towards them in love above many others, but let thy alove be for them as for thyself; and let thy love abound unto all men, and unto all who love my name.

Monday, February 4, 2013

"Dedication Hill"

Wow. January has passed, and my 4th transfer has officially started here in Chisinau. 4 transfers, 2 companions, and 1 city. If there's one thing I've noticed, it's that time goes by faster and faster the further I get into my mission. I can't believe that Elder Wheelhouse is a senior companion before I am! To be honest, I'm pretty nervous to be a senior companion/trainer because after this transfer, Elder Peterson leaves and someone has to train the new guy. Don't know who it will be yet, but it's probably going to be Elder Monroe.

Last P-day the whole district went up to "Dedication Hill" and it brought back a lot of good memories of my first day in the country... It was a lot less cold/white back on October 3rd!

This week, we've had a TON of well-taught lessons, but not a single baptismal date set. I keep hearing about all these baptisms in other parts of the mission and I always ask myself, "Why aren't we experiencing that success? We're working really hard and nothing seems to be coming from it." It's often very discouraging, baptisms are what we are working towards, but there's so much more that needs to come before the baptism. We ARE experiencing success. We ARE finding God's prepared children. Our hard work IS paying off. Our investigators need that truelasting conversion. There's a ton of less-active members here, and it just kills me... I just have to realize that what's happening right now is God's will, and that His time is much different than my time. Dad, what you said in your email was an answer I've been looking for for a while, "...sometimes prayers aren't answered like we want but that that doesn't change our faith. Our faith is in Christ, not some outcome." I shouldn't let my faith take a downfall just because something doesn't happen the way I want it to. We base ourselves upon the rock of Christ, not the rock of outcomes. Heleman 5:12 took on a lot more meaning after teaching from this scripture a lot this week:

12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon thearock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your bfoundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty cstorm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

It sounds like Blakes experience was like mine. The MTC was tough for me. It was nothing like I expected. It was a completely different way of life, and to be honest, I almost went home the first week. But I am so grateful that I did not give up. Even out here in Moldova I'm still struggling with some aspects of missionary work, but that's because Heavenly Father wants to test me and see how I can handle the "mighty winds". The winds aren't as mighty as they were 6 months ago, but they're still blowing. 

I'll try and send more pictures of my apartment and other stuff, but you got to send that picture of your goatee! The weather here still reminds me a lot of Utah weather (hot, cold, hot, cold), but apparently February is supposed to be the coldest month of the year. Today is BEAUTIFUL, but we'll see how the rest of the month turns out. I hope you all have a good week, and I should have some pretty exciting stories for next week. Love you!

-Elder Farnworth