Monday, October 28, 2013

I sure do love service!

Dear Family,

This was a week full of service. I've done more service this week than I've ever done on my entire mission. Tuesdays and Saturdays are our days for service at the kindergarten and one of the those days only Elder Hollist and I showed up, but there's this lady that plays the piano for the little kids and she came up to us asking if we could move some large wardrobes for her. She also wanted us to teach all the kindergarten teachers English, so looks like we'll have a lot to do next week! We also had a member (who has a legit Moldovan house out in a village not too far from Chisinau) ask us to help him with some chores at this house. We had to wake up really early to get there on time, but when we got there it was literally like we were 50 years in the past. They had 2 houses: one that was built around 1950 and another that was built later so they could have more living space. I'll attach some pictures. Anyway, we started out by raking some leaves and then this member came up to us (there were about 10 missionaries) and said, "Elders, leave this job to the sisters. Take these shovels and follow me." He took us to the back of his 3-acre garden, had us turn around to see the task ahead of us while saying, "We are going to manually rototill ALL of that." I'm pretty sure all of us were thinking, "Are you serious?" But we went to work right away! It was actually a lot of fun, and a lot of hard work. After working for about 5 hours, they fed us a huge meal and thanked us for our willingness to help them out because if it was just this member doing all the work then it would have taken him a week to finish it. I sure do love service! The very next morning our branch president had us come early in the morning to help clean the baptismal font. It was a very spiritual experience for me because the last time the font had been used was when Cristina was baptized. Over time it gathered dust, so we mopped it and made it look all nice and shiny again.

Me in front of their REALLY old house

Me and my shovel (brought me back to my cemetery days!)
Big meal the members had for us
The House.
Right now we are teaching a lot of English to 3 architects who work in the same firm. They are hilarious! We love talking to them and getting to know them. Also, we finally have an English class. Yes, I am now teaching medium because I had taught the same Advanced English class for a year straight. I'll miss them, but they're in good hands now. I'm excited to have new students and help them get better at English and learn some more about Jesus Christ and what we're all about.

This week we have FINALLY started our less-active rescue plan. The city is divided into 5 zones and each zone has leaders, which are members, and missionaries to help them out. The nice thing is is that the members are leading the way. We're really looking forward to a lot of growth in these next two months that will hopefully come from this plan. The branch also had an activity where they watched The Other Side of Heaven and a lot of non-members came. They all seemed to like it! 

We got to use our wooden Plan of Salvation visual aids and it worked out really well! We went knocking and if someone says, "cine acolo?" or "кто там?" that basically decides for us who is going to talk to the person. Almost the entire apartment complex was Russian, until we got to this one door where a young woman opened the door and she just happened to only speak Romanian. Elder Hollist showed her the Plan of Salvation and when he got to the three kingdoms, the girl asked, "Why are there 3? I thought there were only 2." So we had her read 1 Corinthians 15:40-41:

40 aThere are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the bcelestial is one, and the glory of the cterrestrial is another.
 41 There is one glory of the asun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the bstars: for one star cdiffereth from another star in dglory. 

It pretty much answered her question, and she expressed her interest in learning more about how in the world we have such information. Of course this was all in Romanian, but my companion was kind enough to let me know how it went.

So as many of you know, it was daylight savings, and that meant that we got an extra hour of sleep...But we forgot to change our clocks... So we woke up, got ready, ate breakfast, and then called the senior couples at 7:30 thinking it was 8:30 (they live in the same building as us) and asked them if we could get a ride to church. "Elders, it's daylight savings today!" - Sister Schwartz. We all got a good laugh out of it and we felt so dumb for our silly mistake. At least we got to get some personal study in! 

There's another experience that I forgot to write about, but I don't have any time so I'll just have to tell you when I get home in 8 months! Well. I hope you like the pictures and I also hope that my emails are interesting enough. I love you all and remember to always treat others like you would want to be treated!

-Elder Farnworth

Monday, October 21, 2013

No more 12 hour train rides?

Hello everybody!

Well. This entire week I was down in Bucharest for meetings. And it was the last time I will have to take two 12 hour trains and be in a country where pretty much no one speaks Russian. Hooray! BUT while I was there I was surprised with two big packages full of goodies that would make any missionary overjoyed. Thank you! I also put the family pictures in an album and you all look so great. Wish I could've been there!
Elder Adams and I at the Gara in Bucharest

We were lucky enough to have City Day on P-day last Monday. All of center was closed down and I'm pretty sure all of Chisinau was there. There were concerts, rugs, tons of people, BBQ's, stands selling wine, and lots of random activities. To my surprise it was a bigger celebration than the New Year. Basically, Monday was Chisinau's 577 birthday.

La multi ani Chisinau!

Oh my goodness, how could I forget. There's been a change-up amongst the companionships. Elder Hollist and I talked to our mission president about how the zone leaders need to be together, and so instead of having the zone leaders in different companionships, they have now been put together! So Elder Hollist and I have become companions. This is my third zebra companionship and I'm really excited. He's a great elder and I've known him from before when he was here about 8 months ago. Elder Lippert is now with his MTC companion, Elder Koch, and they seem to really be enjoying it. My time with Elder Lippert was short, but it was still productive!

Elder Westover had to leave the country due to not getting his visa work done on time, and so that means he will have to stay outside of Moldova for 6 months, or, by some miracle, get his visa paperwork in and come back. We're all praying that he can come back because if he can't, then that's a huge loss for us. 

Elder Hollist and I don't have any serious investigators at the moment, but we're working on it! It takes some time and a lot of effort to turn a new investigator into a progressing one. We even read some scriptures about the struggles missionaries had in the Book of Mormon:

Alma 20:30
30 And, as it happened, it was their lot to have fallen into the hands of a more hardened and a more astiffnecked people; therefore they would not hearken unto their words, and they had cast them out, and had smitten them, and had driven them from house to house, and from place to place, even until they had arrived in the land of Middoni; and there they were taken and cast into prison, and bound with bstrong cords, and kept in prison for many days, and were delivered by Lamoni and Ammon.

Alma 23:14
14 And the Amalekites were not aconverted, save only one; neither were any of the bAmulonites; but they did harden their hearts, and also the hearts of the Lamanites in that part of the land wheresoever they dwelt, yea, and all their villages and all their cities.

But there was also much success:

Alma 19:35
35 And it came to pass that there were many that did abelieve in their words; and as many as did believe were baptized; and they became a righteous people, and they did establish a church among them.

Alma 4:4
 4 And they began to establish the achurch more fully; yea, and many were bbaptized in the cwaters of Sidon and were joined to the church of God; yea, they were baptized by the hand of Alma, who had been consecrated the dhigh priest over the people of the church, by the hand of his father Alma.

I think this next scripture sums it all up:

Alma 26:37
 37 Now my brethren, we see that God is amindful of everybpeople, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.

The church is in its baby stages here, so it's very delicate. Me, my companion and all the other missionaries in Moldova have been trusted to handle everything with care and to find those who are ready and prepared to hear the good news of Jesus Christ and to bring them into the waters of baptism so they too can enjoy the blessings that come with making that sacred covenant with our Heavenly Father. I'll end with a really cool chain of events that I don't think I mentioned to you when I was with Elder Westover........... So the sisters here have an investigator named Victor right now and yesterday he brought one of his friends to church. The following events is how he came to find the church: about 3 or 4 weeks ago, while we were waiting to do service at the kindergarten, a teacher of a high school nearby walked past us and said, "Hey! You're those guys who teach free English. Would you mind coming to my class and teaching them about America's educational system?" How could we turn down such an opportunity?! So we went, talked to the class, and I noticed a kid on the front row who was listening to us very intently. So we gave him an English card and we went on our way. Not too many days later did we see him show up to English classes. To make a long story short, he kept coming to English, then transitioned into Sports Night, and now he's coming to church and investigating. Just think, if  that one simple act of teaching a random class about the educational system in America never happened, then this young man may have never found the gospel. Something as simple as standing around waiting to do some service can provide the way for someone to change their life. Just as much as I love seeing success in my own efforts, I love seeing other missionaries be able to see the fruits of their labors. There's nothing that brings me more joy than to see someone immerse themselves in the message that we have. 
Elder Ward, Me, Elder Rodenberg. Romanian-speaking elders that I'll probably never get to see again.

I challenge all who read this email to do something this week that will help the missionaries in your area find those who can enjoy the same blessings that we enjoy. Member-missionary work is SO IMPORTANT. I love you and thank you for your amazing examples to me. The field is white and ready to harvest!

-Elder Farnworth


"Dear Elder Farnworth,

It looks like the closest release date to your two-year anniversary of entering the MTC is July 9. Let's plan on that date, OK? I have changed it in the system." - President Hill

I'll be home on July 9th! Just wanted to let you all know.



Monday, October 14, 2013

A pretty great week...

Hello everybody!

Elder Lippert and I had a pretty great week. I have a lot of random experiences to tell you, so bare (bear) with me.

1. We were headed home one night on a Marshrootka and I noticed that this one girl had an iPhone with the new iOS. So I told Elder Lippert, "Hey, look at that, it's the new iOS." And right as I said that, the girl turned around and said, "Yes, it is the new iOS." (In perfect English). We kind of got caught off-guard, but we talked to her the rest of the way home. She had lived in New York for 11 years working for some company. She asked us what we were doing here, and so we told her that we were volunteer missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ. She thought it was pretty cool what we were doing. We were packed like sardines in the Marshrootka, so we weren't able to get her contact information. I hate when that happens! So Elder Lippert and I promised each other that we would never let that happen again.
Elder Lippert and I traveling with the Kneibs to the high school

2. We had a guy randomly call us and tell us that he had talked to us before about doing personal English lessons, and we were like "Well, okay, we've actually never talked to you before, but yeah! We'll definitely do some personal English lessons." So we met up at the church towards the evening. We got to know him a little and he said that he played basketball with an embassy worker in Moscow who was a Mormon and this friend told him that we did English lessons for free. So he came to us to learn some English! Towards the end of the lesson, we showed him that Book of Mormon and he instantly said, "That book, is a very interesting book." He had actually read almost the entire Book of Mormon, so we asked him if he would like to study it with us and he said "Of course!" He even wants to bring some friends along. So we're planning on meeting up with him again this week.

Us at the high school taking a picture with the students in their "cultural room."
3. We made a goal to stop by some less-actives and it worked out better than we had thought it would. The first less active was a mother who had just had a baby girl, so we stopped by with one of the new Liahonas and we had no idea how everything was going to go when she opened the door. But right as she did, she said, "Come in and sit down!" Well great! So we went in, sat down, shared a message from the talk "His Grace is Sufficient", and asked her about how her husband is doing (he's a non-member). She told us that he's doing fine, and that she hopes he can be a member soon. The only problem he has is that he doesn't think he can quit smoking because where he works, everyone smokes. He has had most of the discussions from the missionaries, has nothing against the church, and she thinks that through her and her daughters' examples of going to church he can make good progress towards being baptized himself. The OTHER less active we dropped by actually didn't answer their door, so right as we got out of the elevator and the first floor, there she was! So she had us come in, meet her mother (who's a non-member) and towards the end of our lesson, her less-active son joined in. Great family! The son wants to do English lessons at their home, so hopefully we can start that up and start meeting with this family more often.

4. We had a another "closing ceremony" at a high school with the senior couple. It was at a village not far from Chisinau and right as we got there, there were about 300 students waiting for us. Pretty intimidating! We got to stand up front (again), as everyone gave their speeches, and after everything finished, a group of students took Elder Lippert and I around the school to see all the things that the church bought for the school. We told them what we're doing here and that if they were ever in Chisinau, they could come to our English classes. And guess what? One of them showed up! Pretty cool.

5. We were standing in front of a fountain in the park in center, and a couple walked up to us and asked us if we speak English in Romanian. They happened to be Baptists and they noticed our nametags and wanted to talk to us for a little bit. They were extremely nice, and told us thank you for sharing the gospel. They also mentioned how they have been working to get through the Book of Mormon because some people they met gave them one and invited them to read it. If there's one thing that unites Christians of different faiths, it's our faith in Jesus Christ and our knowledge that He is our Savior.

Well. I think that's it. Transfers came again, and I'll be in Chisinau for 6 more weeks. I'm still loving every minute of my mission and I love you all very much! Have a wonderful week.

-Elder Farnworth

The cultural clothing of Moldova

Monday, October 7, 2013

365 days in Chisinau!

Dear family and friends,

October 3rd, 2012

A dog that lives by our apartment. We made a home for it out of a laundry basket so it wouldn't freeze to death.

Some pictures that another elder took of me while doing service

 October 3rd, 2013. 365 days in the country of Moldova and the city of Chisinau. One year in the field!

This email is going to be kind of short due to us not having very much time today:

Monday: As we were sitting at internet cafe a man named Dan Kane (an American) walked up to us and said, "I don't mean to bother you, but I just want you to know that you Mormons walk the talk. I was here a few years back as a peace core volunteer and I did a project with your country directors (a senior couple) and never have I seen someone stick 100% to their word like they did." What a nice thing to say! He continued with wishing us with success and encouraging us to team up with the peace core and do some projects with them. 

Tuesday: Getting ready for zone conference by myself......

Wednesday: Zone conference ALL day. "Finding is a revelatory process." - President Hill. They've been really wanting us missionaries to find more and more. Jacod 5:7:

Andbblessed art thou; for because ye have been diligent in laboring with me in my vineyard, and have kept my commandments.... behold ye shall havedjoy with me because of the fruit of my vineyard.

Thursday: Elder Westover left, and Elder Lippert is now my companion. He's a recent convert of only 3 years from the south of London, England. He's a great companion! Day 365 in the country. The Schwartz moved in next door to us, and so they had us help them move a fridge with their landlord and after we finished, Elder Schwartz told us that we're going to try and teach  the landlord and his wife. So this next week we're gonna work on that! Towards the evening, I looked at my watch and said, "Well, we still have 45 minutes until we can go home." So we walked to a random apartment block and the first two doors had people who listened to us, talked to us, and took a Book of Mormon. Prepared people are out there! We're going to stop by tonight to see if they've read anything and hopefully teach them about the Restoration.

Friday: Service at the kindergarten, my companion telling me his conversion story (which is really cool!) and sports night (hopefully I can get some pictures of that)

Saturday: We did a spiritual thought in English where we invited everyone to come to conference. "A living prophet is going to speak to us tonight." Does anyone realize the huge importance of that phrase? A man who talks with God is going to speak to us! And just before conference started, we handed out cards that invited people to conference. That was fun because we don't get to invite people to come listen to a prophet's voice very often. 

Sunday: Don't freak out, but there was an earthquake in the middle of the night. It wasn't too bad, but no one was hurt and no damage was done to the city. But I have now officially been in the middle of an earthquake! Conference was amazing, and Thomas S. Monson IS A PROPHET OF GOD. I know this, and I hope you all do too. 

I'll leave you with my favorite conference quote from Elder Dieter F. Utchdorf, "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith."

Love you!

-Elder Farnworth