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

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