Guess what I found out this week?! Elder Garlick and I are RELATED, and my MTC companion Elder Grover is serving with an elder from Moldova right now. How crazy is that!? Elder Garlick's great great grandpa (Brigham Farnworth) is my great x3 grandpa's (Moroni Farnworth) brother. We would like to thank FamilySearch for that. Here's a picture: Mine is 2nd from the right, and his is 4th from the left.
HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY MATT!!!!! С Днём Рождения Мэтт! It's so crazy to think that he's 18 now. That was me about 2 years ago.... I just barely realized that my birthday is in less that 2 months.... Anyway. This week was awesome. The weather has made this entire country look Emerald City, and It's beautiful. I was getting tired of all the gray anyway. And guess who arrived this week in Moldova? Elder Hammer! The newest Russian elder! Can you believe that I was the last Russian elder to come into the country? It's good to have him here and Elder Monroe said that he's got the MTC fire with him, so that's going to help a lot with the work here. Seeing his jet-lag reminded me of when I got here and had no idea what was going on...
(Elder Garlick and I at a dancing and singing concert... You can see president and sister Hill in the background.)
Zone conference came and went this past week, and Elder Taylor (A Romanian missionary) had an awesome quote: "Make your mission sacred, not just great." That seemed to be the theme of the conference and they had us read our call letters again to be reminded of what we promised to do as missionaries. All the Moldovan missionaries also had separate meeting with President and Sister Hill the day after. We may or may not have more zebra companionships, and exchanges with the St. Petersburg mission as a result of that meeting. Maybe!
(Zone conference! Sister Sam and Elder Schiers)
Elder Garlick and I are working hard. We've been doing a ton of contacting, especially in the parks here. Which are huge and a lot of fun to talk to people in. One particular guy we met lived in Switzerland for 3 years, knew about the Mormons, and didn't want to take a Book of Mormon until after we shared the verse Alma 37:37. He bookmarked the page with our Mormon.org card and took it right out of our hands. It was pretty funny to see his reaction. That same night we got back home 15 minutes early, so Elder Garlick turned to me and said, "Let's go talk to some people." And right after he said that, Chief Police FHE guy (the one who gave us a ride home in his BMW) pulled up to the parking lot we were in and two Arabian guys name Mohammed, and Joseph, stopped and talked to us for 30 minutes. The Arabian guys had been living in Moldova for 3 years studying medicine, and have 3 years left. That's a long time! We got their numbers and hopefully we'll meet up soon. Another day we did "area book drop-bys". One of the people we wanted to stop by had been in jail for 36 years earlier in his life, but wanted to be baptized but he couldn't because he was on probation when these other elders were teaching him. And on the teaching record it said, "His probation ends in two years, visit him then!" And guess what? That was two years ago! So we found his door, but some other guy was living there and had no idea who the guy was that we were looking for. So we guessed that he was probably back in prison... who knows! After walking out of that apartment, we saw a guy sitting on a picnic table by himself so we went and talked to him. After explaining who we were, he told us how he wished that people in Moldova were the way they were 30-40 years ago, how the worldly things have corrupted our generation, and how grateful he was for what we were doing. So we gave him a restoration pamphlet and he wants to meet up again. I love talking to humble people, they are so nice and friendly! Another interesting lesson we had was yesterday with Vitalli and his family. It lasted 2 and a half hours and they threw questions and scenarios at us to challenge our beliefs. In the end, all I did was give him a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and told him to read it. Before I did that, we read Alma 40:11-14, and he like it so much that he almost read the entire chapter. Our commitment to him was to read the Book of Mormon more often because that's where he'll find his answers to many of his questions.
Elder Groberg and his new companion set a baptismal date with a former investigator! I'm tellin ya, area book work is productive. There's a million ways to do missionary work. I'm doing great here, and I hope you're all doing great in Orem (and other cities in Utah.... or wherever in the United States...) I love you!