Monday, August 26, 2013

HE'S HERE!!!!!

Waiting for the train....
HE'S HERE!!!!!!

The train... with our new companions on it....
Wednesday morning at 8:45 the train from Bucharest got into the Chisinau station. Elder Monroe and I had absolutely no idea who we were training until they got off the train and told us. My new companion (a.k.a my son) is................................................................................................................................................................................................... Elder Westover! He's from Weiser, Idaho, loves basketball, he's left handed, and his Dad is a nurse anesthetist. I don't know about you but that sounds exactly like me! He has some serious MTC fire, and it's helping so much. We've talked to a lot of people and he's willing and ready to talk to anybody and do anything to start a conversation. What a fantastic companion that I get the amazing opportunity to train. He has no fear and is getting to know the investigators, members, and missionaries really quickly. He even blessed the sacrament yesterday, had a bunch of requests from members thrown at him, almost had to give a 5 minute talk, and he handled it very well. I don't know how he's doing it, but he is!
Elder Westover and me!

We had a lot of cool experiences this week. There was one day where we didn't have enough time to go back home, so we decided to drop by a less-active family and give them a picture that was given to us by the Whiting's (former missionaries that served in Moldova). We went to the wrong apartment at first, and I thought we weren't going to find the right place, but then my memory kicked in and right as we were about to ring the doorbell, the door opened and the mother was pleasantly surprised to see us. She was leaving to a meeting somewhere, so we caught her right in time! We gave her the picture and she had me translate the English that was written on the back. As we were leaving, she helped us know what transport to get on to go back to the church and she expressed her gratitude for us stopping by. When we got back to the church, we met Dima and his friend Anna and had a lesson about the importance of the Book of Mormon. Dima wasn't paying any attention to what we were saying.... but his friend was. We were able to give her a copy of the Book of Mormon and invite her to read from it every day. She said she would! My companion shared Heleman 5:12, which is an AWESOME verse, and then bear testimony of it's truthfulness and how this book really will strengthen our faith in Christ. It was a powerful lesson, and it was Elder Westover's first lesson in Moldova! 

A lot of contacts happened in the park next to our apartment too. One guy was fishing, we saw him catch a big fish, so my companion said, "молодец!" and the guy turned around and said, "Hey, you two are really happy guys." Well of course we are! It's because we have an amazing message to share with you! Another time was when we were walking home with Vlad, and a guy next to a cotton candy machine asked if he could talk to us. We did, and at first it seemed like he just wanted to argue, but he really had a sincere question. He ended with saying how happy he was to meet some believers like us and he also wished us success. Multiple times we had people randomly call us and want to meet up too, so that's been good!

"Satan will send you people and God will send you people, the only difference is that God's people will keep commitments." - Presidnet Utchdorf. Before Brother Whiting (a former Moldovan missionary) told us this quote at a district/zone meeting, I had NEVER thought about this. A big bright light turned on in my head about being able to tell who has been prepared to receive the restored gospel: they'll keep their commitments! Well, I kind of already knew that, but now I know that Satan is also trying to send me people that will keep me from finding God's people. Elder Westover and I have a lot of potentials that we should be meeting with this week, and we're excited to get some new investigators.

Funny experience of the week: "Who is Nephi's dad?" - Me. "Moroni, Alma, my dad, M&M." - Dima. ......And this was right after we read 1 Nephi 1..... I couldn't help but laugh. 

Anyway! That's it for the week. I'm having a ton of fun with Elder Westover and we're working hard to find, teach, and baptize. I wish you could all be experiencing the missionary life right now, but I hope you all know that I love you, pray for you, and think about you every day! Have a wonderful week.

-Elder Farnworth

P.S. Thanks for the band-aid note Aunt Connie! It made my day when my companion handed it to me right as he got off the train. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Hello family and friends!

I guess I'll start out with the exciting news.... I'm training! President Hill gave me a call about 3 days ago and told me that I will be training one of the two new elders. I'm really excited, and looking forward to showing a brand new missionary the ropes of missionary work. I'm kind of nervous because I honestly don't think I'm good enough to train, but whom the Lord calls he qualifies. I have no idea what his name is yet, but I'll know when I pick him up in two days. You know what else this means? If I train for the full 12 weeks, then I'll be in Chisinau until November. I don't know how many times I've said this.... but that's more than a year in one city! I love everything about Chisinau though, so it's going to be fun.

Basically this entire week has helped me to realize the huge importance of working with members. We had to do some zone leader stuff last Tuesday at the Schwartz' home, and while we were there they told us about how they were talking to one of the long-time members here and he told them that we will start getting baptisms when the members know the missionaries and the missionaries know the members. So my trainee and I will be working a lot better with members! Elder Barney and I even went to the Tiukavkin family (they're some of the first members in Moldova) and asked them how the missionaries and members can work together better. They told us how this branch used to have so many youth, but then they all moved away to other countries, and they don't blame them. That's basically the situation for most of the converts here: they get baptized, then move. It's unfair to the long-time members, but we do the best we can with what we have. I tried explaining the Prodigal Son story from the Bible (and butchered it) they understood that situations are different around the world for the church, but in the end, we all need to understand that no matter where we are or what kind of situations we are in, we're still children of our loving Heavenly Father. He has a perfect plan, and sometimes that plan doesn't seem to be going the way we want it to, or it may even seem to be going better for others. "Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done."

A member's 18th birthday

 The new senior couples found us a kindergarten to do service at so they gave us some helping hands shirts and we went to work! I miss doing service. We met some really nice ladies (who only spoke Romanian) so my companion was the one that had to translate all the instruction given to us. We got to sweep, organize, clean, and set up a sleeping area for the children, and we also got to paint the playground area around the school. It was fun! Of course, we couldn't stay there all day, so we'll be going back tomorrow to finish. That same day we had our weekly sports night and the other Elders came up with the genius idea of playing dodgeball. At first there was only 2 people, but after the spiritual thought about 20 young people showed up and we had a blast! If we can get these weekly activities going, then I can see a lot of success coming our way.

Our service project at the kindergarten

We met a lot of interesting people this week. One guy read my nametag and said, "We're not in the last days!" And I tried telling him why we are, but he just turned around and shoved his hand in my face.... Just yesterday we went to my old area (Botanica) and did some proselyting there. A crazy guy drove us off the sidewalk with his bike and told us that we are some "fancy-pants robots" just trying to share lies. The only questions I asked him were, "What faith are you?" and "Where do you get your authority to perform the ordinances of salvation?" He just happened to be an Evangelist, and said that he got his authority from a spiritual experience. We told him, "No, you get authority from the laying on of hands and we can trace our authority all the way up to Jesus Christ." He didn't say anything for 10 seconds, then asked us if we had a Bible in our hands. As soon as we told him it was the Book of Mormon, he rode off on his bike. A few blocks later, a drunk guy talked to us and we basically refused to tell him our message because he wasn't going to remember anything we say the next day. He got very aggresive, so we just walked away.... Stupid alcohol! It seems like the crazy and drunk people always want to talk to us, but I always tell myself, "They're still children of God!" 

The mission office sent us a referral, so I called him yesterday and it looks like we'll be getting a new solid investigator this week! He said he's very interested in our message and wants us to come talk with him about the Book of Mormon, but the problem is is that he lives outside of Chisinau. I can't wait to go visit him with my new companion though!

Our Sunday meal consisting of apple-strawberry juice, pasta, and cornbread. Mmmm!
Elder Barney and I are splitting up this week, and we've had a good four weeks together. I've learned a lot from him, and it will be good to still have him here in Chisinau. I think he'll appreciate having a companion that speaks Romanian because I sure don't! I'm glad to all here that you had a good time up in Logan this past week, and I wish I could've been there! The best 18 months of your life is coming up this Wednesday Lindsay, and I'm excited to hear all about your first week in the MTC! Thanks for the pictures, I love you, and have a good week.

-Elder Farnworth

Monday, August 12, 2013

YOSO - You Only Serve Once

Dear Family, I can't believe that it's already time for the Perkes reunion! Please don't forget to send me some pictures! 

Do you all remember the phrase YOLO? Well, this week Elder Barney and I decided to change it to YOSO (You only serve once). I guess you could say it's the "theme" for the week, and It's really helping us to use every day to it's fullest.

Дима's phone hasn't been working for the past few days and... he has a girlfriend... so most of his days are spent with her.... plus he didn't show up at church yesterday so that worried us, but we should see him tonight. We are getting to the do-or-die point with him, and we may have to stop teaching him if he keeps not keeping commitments. We pray that we don't have to arrive at that point because he's been such a great addition to the branch here, and he's a potential priesthood holder. He's also been bringing his girlfriend to FHE, and all the activities that we've had. But as for new investigators, last week we called this lady from the potential investigator list in the area book from 2010 and we set up a day to meet at her home. It took us a long time to find her house, but when we did, she was standing in front of her home with a big smile on her face and welcomed us in like we were old friends. Her name is Людмила and her daughter and son-in-law just happen to be members in Italy! They made us an apple dessert, forced us to eat it all, and then talked with us for a long time about their experiences with past missionaries and why they know so much about the church. She really likes the church, and told us a really cool story about her getting from Moldova to Italy so she could work for 7 years to build the home she's living in today. She said that she was only able to do this with the help of God. We found out that previous missionaries did not give her a Book of Mormon, so we got to write out testimonies in one and give it to her to read. We can't wait to go back!

The Only Working Fountain in Moldova
Interviews with President and Sister Hill were great. President Hill told me that he might have me be a zone leader/trainer here in Chisinau (until November) and Elder Monroe be a zone leader/trainer in Orhei. So what does that mean? He doesn't have a lot of missionaries to work with, and it looks like I'll be in Chisinau for over a year. That's a LONG time, but every night as I'm walking home, I feel such an overwhelming sense of gratitude and happiness for the time that I've had in this city. I've had my highest highs and my lowest lows here, and if I have to stay here my entire mission, I'll be totally fine with it! Speaking of Elder Monroe, I got to do an exchange with him in Orhei and we spent most of the day with the branch president there. Being with this man made me think about how blessed we really are back home. He asked me how far a temple is from where I live and I told him, "15 minutes." The closest temple is 8 hours away from Orhei. These members sacrifice so much time and money to be able to go to the temple maybe 2 times a year, and we are so lucky to be able to go whenever we want. Take every opportunity to attend the temple! I regret not going as much as I should have before my mission, and now that I'm here, I can't wait for the day that I get to go again. 

One of our English students, Anna, wanted to hand out English cards at the park in center, so we set a time and did it. She was a pro! We've been wanting to find more advanced students, and she helped us out a lot. We even got to talk to a magician who spoke English very well. Elder Adams (my district leader) mentioned how this magician had amazing hair. So I'll attach a picture and you can see the hair for yourself. Anyway, this guy is a basketball trainer for little kids, and was doing these magic tricks for free because he said that kids can be trained better when they're in a "wow" state. We also got to tell him why we're here, and he thought it was really cool what we were doing. Well, we think so too! 

Saying Goodbye to the Pinders
Саша organized an elders quorum activity on Saturday and so we were able to invite our investigators to it. About 4 of the 6 we invited showed up, and we had a great time playing Russian Jeopardy. Except for the fact that my team had about 5 English-speakers and they had no idea what was going on. I tried my best to translate to all of them, and somehow we still won! After the activity I got to help teach one of the other elder's investigators named Vlad and ever since he's been meeting with the missionaries, he went from not believing in God to believing that He exists and answers prayers. His main problem is that he really likes Judaism, and also our church. So he told us that he really wants to get a clear answer from God before he gets baptized. So we read a lot of verses from Alma 32 (the ones about planting a seed) and talked about Elder Bednar's talk The Spirit of Revelation:

"I invite you to consider two experiences most of us have had with light.
The first experience occurred as we entered a dark room and turned on a light switch. Remember how in an instant a bright flood of illumination filled the room and caused the darkness to disappear. What previously had been unseen and uncertain became clear and recognizable. This experience was characterized by immediate and intense recognition of light. 
The second experience took place as we watched night turn into morning. Do you recall the slow and almost imperceptible increase in light on the horizon? In contrast to turning on a light in a dark room, the light from the rising sun did not immediately burst forth. Rather, gradually and steadily the intensity of the light increased, and the darkness of night was replaced by the radiance of morning. Eventually, the sun did dawn over the skyline. But the visual evidence of the sun’s impending arrival was apparent hours before the sun actually appeared over the horizon. This experience was characterized by subtle and gradual discernment of light."
The second experience is what this investigator is having. His answers have been "subtle and gradual." I really wish I could keep teaching him, but it was only one time so I'm excited to see where he goes from here! We found out that he lived close to us so we walked home through the park with him. He asked us a lot of questions about missions and even told us that he thinks that missionary work is such a good thing in the world today.
Magician Guy with Fabulous Hair
The Pinders left back home this morning and so yesterday they gave their farewell talks. It was really sad to see them go because they have done so much for the people of Moldova, and they were always so happy. We're gonna miss having them here! They were such a great example to me of dedicated service, and so I hope I can live up to their example by working as hard as I can until I get off the plane in the Salt Lake City airport. "Whether you think you can or can't, you're right." Optimism and positivity is what makes life great, and if we have a positive attitude towards life, then life will be positive. I love missionary work, I love all of you, and I hope you have a positive week!
-Elder Farnworth

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Week with Дима

Guten morgen everybody! It's another beautiful day in Chisinau Moldova and my email this week will be me going through every day of the week. Basically we've been trying to meet with Дима every day of the week, so most of the stories will have him in them.

Tuesday (Вторник): We had zone training meeting, which consists of Elder Barney and I teaching and training the missionaries for 3 straight hours, and setting goals for our zone. We talked a lot about accountability, and using our planners better. The Sisters gave an excellent lesson on how we need to remember that our most important accountability is to our Heavenly Father, and how He doesn't expect us to be perfect in this life, but He does expect us to be righteous. "Only let your sins bother you, not your failures. Failures make us imperfect, and sins make us unrighteous." - Sister Case. I don't know if you have all noticed, but I have an obsession with quotes! So because of their presentation it has made me want to improve my teaching skills, so at the end of each day I can be accountable to my Heavenly Father about the effort I've put forth in clearly and effectively sharing the gospel with His children in Moldova. Дима came to Family Home Evening that night, and after we finished, we all went to the second floor to talk with everybody for a little bit and while we were socializing, Дима was in another room hiding behind a door saying, "I want to be baptized!" President Covalli was talking to us and noticed what Дима was saying, so he got him to come out from behind the door and told him, "Okay, if you want to be baptized you have to do these things: 1st - Go back to school. 2nd - Be taught ALL the lessons from the Elders. And 3rd - Come talk to me and then we can figure out if you're ready to be baptized." His reaction was one of a little kid realizing that there will be no Christmas this year. Preparing people for baptism is SO important because if they aren't prepared, there's a high chance they will be less-active soon after their baptism. So hopefully Дима understands this, and is willing to make the necessary steps.

A random forest in one of the biggest parks in Chisinau (always got my Book of Mormon with me!)
Wednesday (Среда): We took Дима to the Schwartz house to have a lesson about the importance of education and going back to school. Sister Schwartz has been a teacher for 20+ years and so she helped a ton on this lesson. But Дима doesn't speak English and Sister Schwartz only speaks a little Russian.... So I translated the entire time.... It was good though! At first he was a little reluctant on the concept of having to go back to school, but at the end of the lesson we had him pray.... "God, please help me to be able to go back to school because I know you can provide a way." Дима's prayers are always really good because he has a very personal relationship with God, and he's always willing to pray. 

Thursday (Четверг): The best way to describe this lesson is like watching a scary movie: there are moments that make you really nervous, but at the end you realize, "Okay... it wasn't that bad." I think this lesson was the first time I have ever had Дима's full attention, and we talked about the importance of reading the Book of Mormon. He got very defensive at one point, I got very nervous, and I sent up multiple prayers to Heavenly Father to help me be patient and keep the situation calm. He answered those prayers, and Дима realized our purpose with him and committed to read the Book of Mormon every night over the phone with me. Thank goodness for a loving father in heaven who is always willing to help in our time of need!

It's fishing season!
Friday (Пятница): Weekly planning is every Friday so we did that, and randomly during planning I got the impression to call some former investigators. So thanks to missionaries who keep progress records updated, we were able to find 3 new people who want to meet up again. Hopefully we can get some solid new investigators this week because we're really struggling to find. In the evening, we went street contacting in center and I we had a very odd experience. I noticed a very strangely dressed woman staring at us, so we approached her and she asked, "What's that in your hands?" It was the Book of Mormon, of course, and so we provided an answer, then suddenly a guy comes out of nowhere and starts talking to elder Barney. We turned our attention to him and right as we did that, the strange lady put a cigarette on my Book of Mormon and ran away. I guess you could say I was shocked, so the guy we were talking to grabbed the cigarette, threw it on the ground and said, "That lady worships the Devil." Then he walked away.... We both kinda just stood there and thought, "What in the world just happened?" We recovered, continued walking, and a block later ran into some English-speaking Jehovah's Witnesses in front of McDonalds. They were so nice to us, asked us how our work was going, got to know us, and wished us the best. We mentioned the same things to them, and continued on our way. The Lord put all sorts of people in our path that night! 

Saturday (Суббота): This day was FULL of contacting in the hot sun. We had many ice cream breaks, didn't see much success, but as we were walking back to the church for an appointment, Elder Barney handed a Belgium guy an English card. This man was a devout Catholic and said this to us, "I don't wish you any success, but I wish you a good day." Wait, what...? To make a long story short, it turned into an hour long conversation at a cafe about his incorrect information about the Book of Mormon, and him telling us about why he's in Moldova. It was really interesting and he ended up being a really nice guy. After we explained what the Book of Mormon is, he said that he had no idea that it was written around the same time as the Bible, and that he was enlightened by what we told him. He's only in Moldova for a week, but we exchanged numbers and we hope to be in contact with him later!

Weekly Planning
Sunday (Воскресенье): The best day of the week by far. It was Fast Sunday (which meant testimony meeting) and the YSA came back from their conference in Slovakia, and an elder who served here two years ago came with his entire family. So every seat in the chapel was filled. A lot of investigators came too. Anyway, while саша was bearing his testimony Дима asked me if he could go up there and say something. So he did. And it was wonderful! Even though he told everyone he was a Mormon and that all religions are the same, he bore a sweet testimony of his relationship with God. As he came to sit back down, he had a huge grin on his face. It brought a big smile to my face. I patted him on the back and said, "Good job, Дима." Then another investigator got up. Do you remember Elena? The one that I gave my first blessing in Russian to? Well she got up and bore a powerful testimony about the truthfulness of the church and how she's still on her path to baptism, but that she knows God will help her every step of the way. I am SO blessed to have been in Chisinau for this long because I've been able to see the amazing changes that investigators make in their lives. I cannot express my deep feelings about how God really does live and that He has a perfect plan for all His children. I've SEEN how He works, and it's incredible.

This is probably the most I've written on my mission so far, so I hope it gives you an idea of how the work is going here. I'm still loving every minute of it, and I want you all to know that I love you and I still pray for you every single day. Thank you for your prayers and have a spiritually uplifting week!

-Elder Farnworth