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.