Monday, May 27, 2013

Rain Rain Rain & Thunderstorms

RAIN, RAIN, AND THUNDERSTORMS this whole week....

But a very productive week nonetheless. I can't remember if I mentioned in my email last week the young man we met named Дима, but he is an amazing kid! He's 15 years old, he's so friendly to everyone he meets, and he comes to EVERYTHING. Church, institute, family home evening, sports night, and individual lessons. We're also in the process of getting him to EFY, so in lessons he always asks Heavenly Father to help him go to Germany for EFY. He's got a long ways to go in his understanding of our message, but for now, he's well on his way to being the next priesthood holder. We were also able to stop by Коля and see how he's doing, and he's doing great! He read the Plan of Salvation pamphlet, but disagreed with the doctrine that we lived with Heavenly Father before this life. I told him that if he knows that Joseph Smith was a prophet, then he should have no problem with that doctrine because it revealed to him from God. It's also written in the Bible - - Jeremiah 1:5 - - "Before I aformed thee in the belly I bknew thee;" THERE IT IS! But I forgot the reference during the lesson, so I wasn't able to share that with him, but we'll be back!

A goal that we've made in our companionship is to get to know the members better, so we were able to stop by 3 families this week to see how they're doing. The first family is a older man and his wife. He's a part of the district presidency, but his wife has been less-active. When we went over, the first thing he had us do was open up to Alma 58: 10-11

 10 Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God, that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, yea, and also give us strength that we might retain our cities, and our lands, and our possessions, for the support of our people.

 11 Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea, insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our adeliverance in him.

He continued to tell us about the trial his family is going through at this time: his granddaughter has leukemia and she's only 3 years old. That was extremely sad news to hear. The faith that these members have is incredible. They have such a strong relationship with God, they understand the gospel so well, and they look forward with optimism and faith. So this Sunday, we fasted for them and their granddaughter. We got to church and guess who we saw? This man's less-active wife! And I later found out that she paid tithing for the first time as a member. That's a miracle!
Brother Socolov (the RM) has been helping us a TON with our missionary work. We've had lessons with him, we've gone contacting with him, and his testimony and love for the gospel is so contagious. We love him and his willingness to help out. My second round of interviews were also this past Saturday, and it was good to see President and Sister Hill up here is Chisinau. We also had interviews with the Assistants. They told us how we need to use the Book of Mormon more in our contacting, so right after they told us that, we went out and gave it a try, and in the space of 20 minutes, we were able to give a Book of Mormon away, and get two numbers from two very nice ladies. We then returned to the church and told them of our experience. God knows what we need to do! 

Well, there's more to write, but not enough time to write it, but I love you all and hope you have a great week! And Happy Graduation Matt!!
-Elder Farnworth

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

10 MONTHS!!!

Dear Family,

Sorry for the day late email. President Hill gave us permission to do P-day today, since we helped a member build his house yesterday. 

Well. I'm STILL in Chisinau, and I'm STILL loving every minute of missionary work here. We've done a lot of finding this week, and again, a lot of our previous investigators have disappeared... But we still pray for their return to listen to the wonderful message we have to offer! An elder that's from the branch returned home from his mission last Thursday, and he's been helping us A LOT with member present lessons and finding. He really understands the meaning of "Every member a missionary." His name is Саша Соколов and guess who his last companion was before he went home? Elder Grover! My companion from the MTC. So he was able to give me a letter from him, and from his RM "countenance", I could tell that he was a hard-working missionary. He's one happy guy! He was also able to give his homecoming talk on Sunday in front of 5 investigators who were able to attend. I always feel like every week builds up to our investigators (and members) coming to church and being able to feel the strong spirit there. It's such a great feeling to see someone that we're teaching to walk through the doors of the chapel. One young man in particular, Дима, was a part of those 5 investigators. We met him through a group of younger guys who we let play basketball at the church, and he expressed his desire to quite smoking and to turn his life around. That is EXACTLY what our message can do. So we started meeting with him, he came to institute Saturday night, and then came to church the following day. A member of the branch presidency even expressed to us afterwards how golden this young man is. So we plan to keep working with him and help him change his life. 

I've been thinking a lot this week about the question, "What helps me to make the every day decision of continuing to be a member of the church of Jesus Christ?" The answer was pretty simple: I'm happy. Of course, there's a million other reasons, but they all fall back to the happiness I experience by embracing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Would I want to deprive myself of that? Of course not! And that's why I'm here, to help others find that same happiness that I've found. I'm happy because I have a testimony of the truth, and I have seen that the application of scriptures from the Bible and the Book of Mormon helps me gain an understanding of God's plan for me, and find the right direction in life. In short, to find happiness. Because that's what God wants for each and every one of us. Sadly, I haven't seen anybody go through with their decision to be baptized yet, but either way I know they're strengthening their testimony and their faith in Jesus Christ, and they're on their way to finding happiness.

"With time, our definition of 'hard' changes." Something that was hard for me 10 months ago when I entered the MTC, isn't hard to me now. But something that is hard to me now won't be hard 10 months from now. Life is all about progress. The blessings of the gospel are more abundant when we make good progress. I don't think I've ever been so aware of how much progress I need to make than on my mission, or been so aware of the blessings I have received. I wish you could all experience the missionary environment because it's fantastic! In the meantime I hope life back home is treating you well, and that you're happy even when life gets stressful. 

"We decide to live the gospel every day." - Саша Соколов. Choose the right! I love you you all!

-Elder Farnworth

Monday, May 13, 2013

Missionary work is MOVING

Hello my most favorite people in the world! This email will be a short one because I feel like I'll be repeating things you've already heard... So here it is!

Your smiling faces and voices are still clear in my mind as I type this email thinking about all of you. What a blessing technology is when we live on opposite sides of the world and are still able to communicate in the blink of an eye. I remember Christmas day when I had the same opportunity of using Skype and it felt like I hadn't even left home yet! Mother's Day seemed to contain the same feeling! It was a little tough for me as I thought about mom all day, but being able to see all 4 of you last night (that I've spent 19 years of my life with) helped to focus my thoughts to the wonderful, strong family that Mom and Dad raised with their righteous examples and love towards each other and to their kids. I couldn't imagine a better environment to grow up in! I've seen the many blessings that come from a strong family, and I am so grateful for what Mom did for us to lead us down the right path in life. Even though her life was cut short here on earth, the plan of salvation reassures me of where she is right now and that we will all be able to see her again as an eternal family.

Missionary work here is Chisinau is MOVING. We should have at least 3 baptisms within the next month and one of them should be a man Elder Garlick and I are currently teaching. Hard work really does pay off. No matter how long it takes, Heavenly Father rewards those who work with patience and diligence. We're still not there quite yet, but we're getting really close to the top of the mountain. And I know that when we get there, we're going to really enjoy the view.

The beard looks great Dad! Hope you're not too sad about the loss. I'm glad that my logic helped make the final decision! Happy Birthday again Lindsay and Matt, I wish I could be there for your graduation at the end of May, but the accomplishment of going through 12 years of school and receiving that diploma is an amazing feeling. Endure to the end, don't get lazy! I really loved seeing all of you, and I hope you're enjoying every opportunity that life has to offer. I hope you know how much I look up to all of you, and can't wait to see you again. Я люблю вас!

-Elder Farnworth

Monday, May 6, 2013

"Life was hard, but it was worth it."

Happy day after Easter everybody! 
"Христос воскрес." – Missionaries "воистину!" - People of Moldova

The Orthodox church celebrated Easter yesterday, and we had the amazing opportunity to celebrate with them at Midnight Mass. A ton of people gathered at the main church in center, and among them was a small group of young men (and women) dressed in white shirts, ties, and nametags! It was a great experience to share with people what we're doing here, and to also see how other churches celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Jehovah's Witnesses also had their Congress (General Conference) on Saturday and Sunday. There were SO MANY of them outside our apartment. Remember how we have a soccer stadium right next to our apartment? Well. That's where they had their meetings. It was kind of intimidating to walk outside in the morning, but I walk among them every day.

The assistants had Elder Monroe and I go down to Bucharest this past week one day early for Mission Leader Council just so we wouldn't be tired during the meeting (But we were tired anyway). We were really grateful for that extra day because it was probably the most relaxing day of our mission! We took the whole day to explore Bucharest, and enjoy the things that we don't have in Moldova (ex: Subway, Pizza Hut, the underground metro, big malls, a different culture, a massive city, and people who only speak Romanian) And even though we don't speak Romanian all that well, we were still able to do some missionary work. One guy came up to us while we were walking around and asked us in English, "Do you believe in God?" ...Of course we do! He continued to explain how he knows about the Mormons, gave us his number, and really wanted to meet up the same day to talk some more. We told him that we live in Moldova and that we'd give his number to elders who serve in Bucharest. As for the Mission Leader Council, it was the first time I had been in the mission home! They fed us breakfast and lunch, and we had a really good meeting about how we can do better.

We've been trying to meet with Aba a lot this week, but the lessons just haven't happened.... We heard from Elder and Sister Pinde

r that his co-workers have been hassling him about meeting with us... That's just really unfair to him, and to us... So we're still going to try and meet with him as much as possible because he's a really humble guy and we love him! We also dropped by Rocky this week at his Waffles place, but he was asleep, so we let him enjoy his nap.... BUT. Later that night, we were walking around center, and we suddenly realized that he was walking right in front of us! So we called out his name, and walked and talked around the park. After a while, he brought us to this random girl and asked her, "Would you like to speak to the Mormon missionaries?" She didn't understand English, so we kind of laughed and continued to explain in Russian. She accepted the invitation to listen, so all 4 of us sat down on a bench and we had a lesson on the restoration right there. She seemed very interested, so we gave her a Book of Mormon, and the sisters scheduled a lesson with her this next week. Looks like Elder Garlick and I should go contacting with Rocky more often!

Sunday was a really special day not only because I had the opportunity to speak in church... for the first time on my mission... but the wonderful message of Christ's resurrection was in every ones minds. "Through him came the resurrection of all men, women, and children who have ever been—or ever will be—born into the world." - Howard W. Hunter. What a blessing is it to have the knowledge of Christ and His life, the Atonement, and His resurrection. The evidence from the Bible of the resurrected Son of Man is incredible evidence that God exists, and that this life is not the end. I just wish every day was Easter, because that's how it should be: remembering Christ every day.

Oh yeah, our neighbors say hi! Just as we were about to leave our apartment Sunday morning, our neighbor Sam knocked on our door, and invited us over for lunch. I'll attach some pictures in another email so you can see the food that we ate and who our neighbors are. Even though we didn't have a lot of lessons this week, I feel like we were still fulfilling our purpose as missionaries by helping others come unto Christ. I could say it a million times: missionary work is hard, but it's worth it! I'm sure we will all say the same thing when we are standing before our Heavenly Father after we die, "Life was hard, but it was worth it." I love you all, and I hope you have a wonderful week.

-Elder Farnworth