Monday, July 29, 2013

Satisfying and Disappointing Week

Hello everybody!

Oh boy was it a stressful week. I'm now in my second zebra companionship, we spent most of our week in Bucharest (not to mention the 8 hour meeting at President Hill's house on Thursday), and two LONG train rides to/from Chisinau... It takes a lot of energy out of me, but I've recovered and I'm ready for more finding and teaching! 
Me and Дима!
This week has been both satisfying and disappointing. We've been working a lot with Дима in getting him ready for a set baptismal date, but he is really struggling to keep commitments and understand our message. We're helping him recognize answers to his prayers by asking specific questions. He said he has prayed about being baptized, but still hasn't received an answer. On Sunday we decided that we were going to pick him up for church, so we got to his house at 9 and his aunt told us that he was still asleep. So we went inside and sure enough, he was. I felt bad for doing this, but I tapped him on the shoulder saying, "Доброе утро Дима!" He was surprised to see us, but he got ready in 30 minutes and we walked with him to church. We're really trying to focus our finding efforts on English since we have such an amazing class, and we're looking forward to what's ahead. A lot of the investigators at church have been found through English, so maybe that's a sign? 

The Russian Elders (and one Romanian Elder) saying goodbye to Elder Schiers and Elder Jones
The Chisinau branch had their first BBQ since I've been here, and it was a huge success! About 60 investigators/members/english students came and it was a great opportunity for them to interact with one another. Some random kid came by and asked, "Hey, when is your church service?" Elder Barney handled it like a pro and got his number so we can meet with him later. I always look at these situations and think, "Is this someone that God has prepared for us to meet RIGHT NOW?" It helps me to stay positive and keep the faith. Speaking of Elder Barney, he's my new companion (if you didn't already know) and he's awesome! We really enjoy working together and he even kind of already knows the city since he was here in March. We're glad to have him back.
Me and Tudor at the branch BBQ!
Sorry about the short letter, not a ton happened this week since most of my time was spent in Romania, but enjoy the  pictures and as always, I love you and I hope you have a great week!

-Elder Farnworth

Monday, July 22, 2013

Changes Ahead

Hello family,

July 18th, 2012 - That was the day I said goodbye to my family, my friends, and my old life. I remember walking through the front doors, being guided by a bunch of relief society woman to a line, receiving my name tag and thinking, "Oh no... I have to learn THAT language?" Little did I know of the major changes (good ones) I would be forced to make in my short time at the MTC. 

This is just my opinion but I feel like I've made a TON of changes since then. I glad I haven't missed a single day of writing in my journal because that's been a good way for me to look back and see how I've changed. But now, I get to look forward to the year that I have in front of me.

Last lunch for Elder Schiers in Orhei. Brothers for life!
We have done a TON of villa knocking this week. It's a lot of fun and we meet a lot of interesting people. One day it was about 8:45 pm, and we thought, "Well, we have 15 minutes, let's walk down this street and ring the first doorbell we see." We ended up meeting a young man who's an engineer named Constantine and he really liked what we said about the Book of Mormon. We caught him right as he got home so we just stood at his gate and talked about the Book of Mormon for about 30 minutes. He mentioned how he always wondered who we were because he had seen us so many times at the supermarket down the street. The bummer was was that he worked every day, all day, so we'll have to catch him again when he's home. Very nice guy and he seemed like he'd want to meet again. The next experience was a man who yelled at us, told us that we didn't represent Christ, and that if he talked to us, it would be a sin because we are from the devil.... Ouch.... We just calmly told him to have a nice day and walked away. I sometimes wonder why people are that way, but that's life! The third experience was pretty funny. It happened just last night. We were in an area that has probably never been knocked, we rang a doorbell, no one answered, so we continued up the street, after 30 seconds a guy came out and yelled, "Hey! Did you ring my doorbell?" "Yes, we did." "Well what are you guys doing?" "We are here to talk about Jesus Christ." "Who?" "Jesus." "Ahhhhh.... I've been waiting for you." We both got really excited because that has never been said to us our entire missions. But that excitement quickly dissipated with his next statement, "I have a book that proves Jesus Christ doesn't exist." Well darn it... Our response should have been, "Well. We have a book that proves he does exist." But we just gave him our number and walked away.... We were SO CLOSE to one of those awesome missionary stories, but we'll just have to wait for another day!

A random donkey wandering the streets. He was nice enough to stand still for the photo.

Дима has kind of stopped coming to the church since he found out he wasn't going to EFY, but that doesn't mean we're going to give up! We call him everyday to see how he's doing, and one day he even called me and told us that he invited an American Embassy work to church. He's such a funny kid. I love the people that I get to meet here!

As for the changes ahead, Elder Monroe and I are finally splitting up. President Hill called us and said that there will be THREE Zebra companionships in Moldova: 2 in Chisinau, and 1 in Orhei. He's going to whitewash Orhei, and I'll still be Zone Leader in Chisinua with Elder Barney. So guess what that means? After 7 months of being the advanced English teachers, we had to say goodbye to Elder Monroe. So our class made chicken, potatoes, and brownies for us. I'm gonna miss teaching English with Elder Monroe, but the Lord puts us where He needs us! I've spent around 6 months with this Elder, and we've had our lowest and highest times together. Бог с тобой пока не свидимся! 

Our English class. Best English students in the world.
Well. I love you all, and as always, I hope you have a wonderful week full of happy memories with family and friends. The church is true!

-Elder Farnworth

Monday, July 15, 2013

Almost 1 year!!

Good morning everybody! Two more missionaries left this week: Elder Jiles and Elder Garlick. AND two ones arrived: Elder Fiel and Elder Danielson. As zone leaders we got to welcome them into the country and get them on their way to Balti to be trained. They're going to be dynamite missionaries, and we're very excited for their success.

Seeing Elder Jiles and Garlick off at the train station

Towards the beginning of my mission, I would count the weeks I had until my year mark. Some time in my first transfer, I stopped counting and decided that I don't really need to do that. When I woke up this morning, I realized that in THREE days, I am at the half-way point of my mission. To be honest, I can't believe it. Time here is like a snow ball that gains speed as it gets further and further down the mountain. But I love being able to look back and relive all the special moments I've had here.

We started our week with our phone ringing Tuesday morning at 1 am. We were really confused why someone was calling us so early, but we answered it anyway.... It was Дима... He wanted us to pray for him to receive help from God, so we told him we would and then we hung up. Elder Monroe and I just laid in our beds so confused, but it gave me some time to ponder the great love I have for these people, especially Дима. He's a good kid, and I'm glad we get to teach him now.

Us and the Pinders going to visit a family out in Cricova (a city with the largest winery in Europe)

The strangest chain of events that happened this week was when Elder Monroe and I decided to go villa contacting. It's a little more difficult sometimes because every villa here is surrounded by a fence, and some of them don't even have doorbells. But anyway, the first villa we knocked gave us a referral! It was an older man, he wasn't very interested, but he said that he had a friend who might be. So later in the week we called this man and set up an appointment to meet at his work. We walked into a dark building and a lady told us to go down a hall and into the room at the end. First thing I thought when I walked into the room was, "Oh my goodness, this guy acts/talks exactly like Коля!" His name was Constantine, he was a wine seller, a very wealthy man, and an atheist with Buddhist beliefs. He wasn't interested in any way, shape, or form, but we let him share his ideas with us and as we were leaving he said, "You know what? I don't even drink! I just do it for the money!" We were shocked to hear that this man didn't drink. But there's nothing wrong with that! Later in the week I started a contact on the street with, "спасибо!" instead of "hello!". Thank goodness the lady didn't think I was crazy, and not talk to us. Nothing came from it, but Elder Monroe likes to remind me of that moment.

We fasted 4 days this week because we wanted to show Heavenly Father that we really want to find his prepared children, and even though we didn't see any huge miracles or success, we're able to look back and see how these days helped us be closer to God. AND. President Covalli (the branch president here) even had us teach Sunday School again. And guess what we taught about? Fasting. It was awesome, and a lot of fun. 

Same family with their son who is receiving a wheelchair from the church

Well. I think that's it for the week. Next week is transfers and President Hill told me that Elder Monroe and I will be splitting up, and probably put with Romanian elders. Who knows, I may even be leaving Chisinau finally! Have a wonderful week. Love you!

-Elder Farnworth

P.S. The kids in our neighborhood all call us magicians, and so we've taken upon ourselves the title of "The Magicians of Буюкань", and I'm also on Youtube. I was interviewed 2 weeks ago by some random people, and one of my English students told me that she saw a video of me on Youtube being interviewed. Crazy, huh? 

I also apologize for not describing the pictures I send...

Monday, July 8, 2013

Looks like I'll be in Chisinau for a while....

Hello everybody! How was your 4th of July? Good? Bine? Хорошо? Thanks for all the pictures from your many activities, they looked like a lot of fun, and all of you are looking great as always. I especially loved the pictures of Shay in her white baptismal clothes. 

So there's these things called "transfers" and they happen at the most random times for us, sometimes they don't even happen at all! This week after we spent all day Friday in Iasi (the second city I've seen in Romania) for Zone Conference, we were on our way home and President Hill called us for transfers. Now before I reveal the results, I just want to let you know that we are getting two new Russian missionaries fresh out of the MTC this week.... Drum roll please..... The two new elders will be trained by Elder Hammer and Elder Lippert in Balti while Elder Monroe and I.... are STILL together for two more weeks.... At least..... Can you believe that!? Elder Monroe and I have spent 1/4th of our missions together. It's a good thing he's my favorite companion! Who knows, we may even end up serving for another 3 months. It's okay though because we have a ton of fun doing missionary work. 

So during Zone Conferences, they have a segment where departing missionaries bare their testimonies, and those departing missionaries were 4 of the 10 Russian elders. I got pretty close to crying when they all got up and talked about how important it is to love the people, and the love that they have for the people of Moldova. It's very bittersweet to see their 2-year missions come to an end for a group of Elders that have become my brothers, but I know that this brotherhood that we have will last forever.

As for the rest of the week, we had one day where we were planning for an empty day (which means that we'd be finding ALL day) and guess who called? Aba! I don't know why, but there are month long periods where we don't hear from him and suddenly we see him on the street one day and we're meeting up again. It was so good to see him, and he told us that he would be staying in Moldova for 2 more years due to a company change. Is this a coincidence? Of course not! We had a great lesson on Mosiah 4 with him and we talked about how there are so many lessons packed into that chapter and the last verse sums it all up, "O man, remember [these lessons], and perish not." IT'S SO SIMPLE. All we need to do it remember and apply these lessons that God has put in the Book of Mormon in order for us to not perish. I also love how no matter how many times I read the Book of Mormon, there's always something new to learn, or something that I've never noticed before. It really is the word of God, and has power beyond our comprehension.

We also did some service this week for a guy ridding his yard of weeds. Elder Monroe and I kinda started it and then Elder Garlick and Elder Koch showed up later with Дима. He is such a funny kid, and I have such a special love for him. There was also a man who was really drunk that talked to us the entire time about politics, Russia, America, and awards he received in his lifetime. He was even so kind to buy us cookies and juice! The thing that's tough about drunk people though is that anything you say to them they'll just forget it the next day. So we weren't able to have much of a gospel discussion. On Sunday, the Sunday School teacher wasn't there so guess who got to teach? We did! Luckily Elder Monroe is quick on his feet, so we taught a Plan of Salvation story that went terribly, due to our poor Russian, but investigators and members still participated and seemed to get the point. It was a great opportunity to improve my story-telling capabilities, and see what I can improve on.

Elder Garlick and Elder Jiles are going home to America this week, so that means Elder Monroe and I will be taking over Elder Garlick's area/investigators and that will keep us very busy. We look forward to it, since it was the last area we were in together! We'll definitely go visit past investigators. It's crazy to think that my year mark is in ten days, and that I've only been in one city for 10 months. But I'll still loving it, I'm healthy, I'm happy, and I hope you are all doing the same. Please keep Moldova in your prayers because the people here really need this gospel. I hope that I have done and continue to do all that God wants me to do. Have a good week! Love you!

-Elder Farnworth

Monday, July 1, 2013

Another Week Come and Gone in Beautiful Chisinau, Moldova

The month of my year mark has arrived. 17 days.... I apologize for not explaining why we were chased in my last email.... BUT I didn't explain because we didn't know why we were chased. It was a very odd/scary moment for us, and we'll never know why we were chased!

Another week has come and gone in beautiful Chisinau, Moldova and our recent convert (as of Saturday) is now in America living with a young Mormon couple. Great for her! But not so much for us. We will miss seeing her every Sunday, but it will be good for her to see how the church runs in America. 

Not a lot to write this week, but I was able to witness God's hand in our work. I had an exchange with Elder Stinson in Orhei this week and the entire time I was praying that we would be able to find someone (especially a family) during the time that I was there. I kept telling Elder Stinson that we both need to have the faith that even though Orhei is the smallest city in the mission, finding can still be done. Both of us didn't know the area so well, but I knew there was a park in the middle of town. We walked up to the staircase overlooking the park and all we could see was about 3 or 4 people total. So we walked up to a couple sitting on a bench, and I'm thinking, "What in the world am I going to say to them...?" I promptly made the decision to just ask them for directions to a street I already knew. They were very kind about it and somehow the conversation turned into talking about who we were and why we were carrying around blue books. We explained everything and they told us that they had been to "every church in Orhei" except for ours. I handed them a Plan of Salvation pamphlet (with our information) and they gave us their number. We also invited them to church on Sunday and they said they would try to come. Oh yeah, something else they told us... They have 3 children: 20 year old son, 19 year old daughter, and 15 year old boy. THIS IS THE FAMILY WE WERE LOOKING FOR. This experience showed me that when we have faith and continually have a prayer in our heart, God will lead us to those who are prepared to listen. Later in the week, we also met a girl who lived with a Mormon family for a year in California. However, she is leaving back to America this week... Darn... What else happened this week... Oh! A member from Italy invited all the missionaries to a pizza place to eat dinner, and she brought like 10 of her family members. We got to get to know her parents and I think they liked us a lot. Well... they seemed to!

As for the weather, It has been raining non-stop for the past 2 days, so we've been knocking and knocking and knocking. We were able to give a handful of copies of the Book of Mormon away, but no one let us in for a lesson. Oh wait, one young man did! Let's just say he is a younger version of Коля.... He spoke Russian at a million miles an hour, and had a lot of questions. It was a very interesting lesson... 

Thank you for all the pictures and emails. It always makes me happy to see an email from each of you every week, and to see how you're doing. I love you, and still pray for you. Have a great week.

-Elder Farnworth