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

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