Monday, November 25, 2013

Our "not real" Thanksgiving

Ohhhhhh boy, let me just tell you that my companion and I are complete idiots...... We thought last Thursday was Thanksgiving....... So we made a nice meal and everything and celebrated it....... Isn't Thanksgiving usually on the THIRD Thursday? Anyway, we get to celebrate it again this week! It was a great Thursday either way.
Our not real Thanksgiving meal. 

Okay. First of all, our English classes are going really well. We have around 6 students who said they want to hear more about the church and now we're in the process of not awkwardly approaching them and scheduling lessons. It should turn out really well!

This week was filled with former investigator stop-by's. We prayerfully chose 4 each day out of a pile of around 100, and stopped by the addresses written on the teaching record. Unfortunately, a lot of them had moved and their numbers were disconnected BUT God blesses the feet of those who are moving. So we were blessed with a lot of people who were put in our path as we tried contacting former investigators. The first instance was this person we call the "Chicken Lady." A week before I came to Balti, Elder Westover and Elder Feil gave this lady a Book of Mormon, so on Thursday (when we celebrated Thanksgiving) we passed by and decided to buy a chicken. We talked to her, and she asked us how our success was. We asked her if she had read the Book of Mormon, and she did! But she had it at home. We're trying to figure out a way to go by and do something like mini spiritual thoughts, since she works all day every day in a stand, to see if she'll become an investigator. The second instance was when we were heading home after a LONG day of finding and a woman was talking to a man on the side of the road and right when she noticed us she said, "Hey! Where is Smith? (my trainer)" She told us how in the past she investigated but Elder Smith left, and lost contact with us. We invited her to church, but she didn't come. However, she has now come in contact with the missionaries again and that's a very good thing for us and her. The third instance was just yesterday. We dropped by a potential family to get their number so we could figure out a good time that works for them (since the husband works every day except for Sunday) for us to come by and talk more about the Book of Mormon, and on our way back to center on a nearly empty bus, the conductor lady walked up to us, put her hand on the Book of Mormon I had on my lap and asked, "How can I get acquainted with this book?" We handed it to her, and after she read the cover she said, "Oh! Wonderful! It's a book about Jesus Christ! Here. I'll give you my number and I'll call you tomorrow and we can talk about what I don't understand." Yes, we most certainly can! Looking back through the week, I can see how blessed we have been to come in contact with these people. Now, the next step is just keeping in contact with them, and setting up appointments.

Funny moment of the week: We were doing service at the newest convert's house moving really heavy bags of coal and at one point she asked Elder Westover how many bags were left and he said, "немного (a few)...... десять (ten)." She just busted out laughing (which made all four of us laugh) because we all knew that ten bags was not "a few." 

That's it for the week. I am still enjoying every single day of being here, and there's nothing else I would rather be doing! Missionary work has been a huge blessing in my life, and I hope the work that we're doing is doing the same for these peoples' lives. I love you all and I wish you a very very happy Thanksgiving!

-Elder Farnworth

Tangled lanterns for an english student's birthday

Squeezing through the дом's of Balti

Monday, November 18, 2013

"This all seems like a dream..."

Dear Family and Friends,

This all seems like a dream that I am actually serving in a different city. I'm finally in Balti! It's a dream come true I guess you could say. I've heard so much about this city and how well the missionary work is going up here, and they're right. The missionary work is going VERY well up here. In fact, my first day as a missionary here we had the baptism of that one lady I told you all about. I was also the one to interview her (interviews in another language are quite an experience!), and she wanted me to speak at her baptism, so I got to speak and it was awesome! She's going to be a great addition to this already incredible branch. The day after her baptism we dropped by to see how she was doing and she read us the testimony she wrote in her personal copy of the Book of Mormon which was thanking God for sending the Elders to her to show her the path that He wanted her to take. Heavenly Father sends missionaries to do just this: to help His children find their way back on the right path to eternal life. What a blessing it is to be a part of this work.

Sunday was my 2nd favorite day of the week. Do you all remember Boris (my investigator) from the MTC? Well guess who just happens to be the branch president of the Balti branch? Boris! When he walked into church on Sunday I thought to myself, "Holy cow, this is the man that my MTC teacher (Brother Holt) was." He shook my hand and told me that he was glad to finally have me serving in his branch and that he was happy to see me. Also, they LOVE Brother Holt here. After Sunday school, a sister looked at me and announced, "Hey everybody! This is a student of Elder Holt!" Everyones' reactions were hilarious because they bombarded me with questions about how he's doing. For Priesthood it was just me, Elder Westover, and two other Brothers. I loved it and all we did was read 3 stories from the Liahona. There's such a good feeling here, and the members help us out so much with missionary work. It makes everything a million times better when we all work together to help the branch grow and get stronger. I love the members here! I can't wait to get to know them better. We finished our Sabbath Day with some knocking and used the survey again. Question 6 works like a charm! We found a father who took a Book of Mormon and said that we could come back anytime. It's great to have a Russian companion again, especially since it's Elder Westover. He's a fantastic companion.

I personally, love this photo. Look how happy she is!

Well. That's all for this week since it was transfers, and a lot of travelling was involved, but I am loving every second of being up here. We have a handful of good potentials (which include 2 families) and hopefully this week we can get some new investigators! I love you and hope you have a happy Thanksgiving! Don't eat too much food ;)

-Elder Farnworth

Random quote and fact of the week:

"You are what you believe." 

And the Book of Mormon has no culture, that's why anyone in the world who reads it can relate to what is written. Plus, it's the word of God and the word of God applies to everyone!

The baptism.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

It's time...

Well. I have some really exciting and really sad news for all of you. Moldovan transfer calls were this Sunday, but I wasn't sure if it was going to be my last Sunday in Chisinau since we hadn't been called about where we were going until after church, so I didn't officially say goodbye to members and investigators..... So that is what I'll be doing with week...... On Thursday the 14th of November, I will be leaving Chisinau for the last time. President Hill is sending me to Balti to serve with Elder Westover again which I'm really happy about, but at the same time I can't believe that the time has actually come for me to leave these incredible people that I've come to know so deeply over these past 13 months. They're like a family to me, and I'm going to miss them A LOT. I've never been good with goodbye's, but I'll see them again!

Elder Brown and I on an exchange back at the good old Botanica apartment where I spent 6 months of my mission.
As far as the work goes, Elder Hollist and I did a lot of knocking. One night we were walking in center and I thought to myself that we should go back to a building that we passed and knock it. We didn't find anyone that was interested, and so we went to the next section. We kinda just stood outside staring at the building to see if there were a lot of lights on, and while we were standing there a man in a car drove up and asked us what we were looking for and who we were. Good questions! Elder Hollist told him about the Book of Mormon and gave it to him. He wasn't really interested, but the decision he made to take the Book of Mormon can change his life forever if he chooses to read it. Later in the week, we decided to use a survey while knocking, and it worked out really well! It had been a long time since we had found someone who was actually interested in what we had to say, and earlier in that same day I thought to myself, "God, if it be Thy will please guide us to someone who will listen to what we have to say tonight." We knocked on many doors, and got a lot of "no's" and "not interested" but the last door was a man in his 30's with a wife who answered every question of the survey. One of the questions was: Do you believe the Bible to be the word of God or just a history book? If you knew there was another book of scripture written by prophets that testifies of Christ, would you read this book? (Side note: I had my Book of Mormon hidden underneath the survey.) He said that would totally read it, so I "revealed" the Book of Mormon, brought his attention back to question 6 and said, "There IS another book of scripture that testifies of Christ, and you will find all the answers to the questions I just asked you in this book." He held it in his hands, opened it, and said, "Wow. Can I have it?" So we gave it to him, exchanged information, and asked him if we could could back. He said we could, so we're going to stop by before I head up to Balti. On our way home that same night, I looked up to the starry, night sky and said, "Thank you....." Tender mercies are what keep us going.
Elder Hollist and I knocking. It's that very same night where we found that man in his 30's.

A lot of really great things are happening here, and I'm excited to see how it all turns out while I'm gone. There are a lot of great investigators who are keeping their commitments, well-planned activities that are helping less-actives come back into the fold, and huge English classes that are helping us to find those who are willing to listen to the message of the Restoration. I am so lucky to have been able to serve here and I will never forget the experiences that I have had. Next week I'll be in Balti, a city that I've been wanting to serve in for a while now, and the work will continue here. Thank you all for your emails, letters, support, and love. I am so blessed to have such amazing family and friends. Always remember that God has His own time frame and it's not only His will be done, but in His own timing. I love you!

-Elder Farnworth

A chess board just magically appeared in the Lake Park, so we played a quick game. I lost... But only because my companion is a genius.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Still in Chisinau...

Hello family and friends!

English classes have officially started! We had a about 14 students show up and our class was in the smallest room, so Elder Hollist and I had to sit on tiny chairs in the middle of the room so we could fit everyone. It was pretty funny. We also love our class already. We have a great group of people and they are a lot of fun to talk to. 

We spent Halloween in Balti. I did an exchange with Elder Westover and it was like a mini reunion. It was good to be back with my "son" for a day and talk about all the experiences he's having in Balti (a city that I still hope to serve in). There's a woman up there getting ready to be baptized and she really loves having all the elders come over; so, all 6 of us decided to drop by! Elder Monroe wanted Elder Hollist and I to hide until they went inside and then knock on the door after about 2 minutes. So we did, and she looked out her window with a puzzled look on her face and right as she saw us she said, "There's more of you!?" And she just had this huge smile on her face and we couldn't help but smile too. We were all welcomed into her cozy home and throughout the course of the lesson she kept saying, "Ohhhhh my elders." Anyway, her son was murdered a while back and she's so good of a person that she forgave the one that killed her son. Now THAT is Christlike. I really admire her for doing that. She has also had a lot of her friends ask who is always visiting her and she simply says, "They are missionaries for THE Church of Jesus Christ." Right before we were about to leave she gave us rocks as reminders to always pray and believe. I've now got that rock sitting on my study desk back at our apartment. I am so glad that I got to meet this sincere, happy, loving, forgiving, funny, and humble woman. She'll be a great addition to the Balti branch and hopefully I'll get to see her baptism! Also, Elder Westover and I met a MORMON from St. George in a restaurant. He said the word, "stake" and it gave him away. It's a small world!

"не холодно?" About 8 different people asked Elder Hollist this question as we were walking to do service for the kindergarten piano lady, Maria, at her house. We have done SO MUCH SERVICE and it's been really great for us. We were able to give a Book of Mormon to this woman's daughter even though she said she was skeptical, but she ended up coming to church! Elder Hollist told me later in the same day that "If there's anything I have confidence in, it's the Book of Mormon." I agree 100%. While we were eating dinner with them Maria asked me, "Farnworth, why are you so serious?" I responded by saying, "Because you're all speaking Romanian!" So she switched into Russian from that time on and it made me laugh. Later in that same day, we were at this place called the American Resource Center and we had a kid ask us if we regret making the decision to go on a mission. We told him, "Absolutely not." Even though a lot of people think we're crazy for doing this, I would never trade these two years for anything. I'm doing this because it's true. I'm also doing this because I know Christ is the Savior of the world (and that includes Moldova) and these people need to know that.

Well. I thank you all for your continued support, love, and prayers on my behalf and I want you all to know that I love you and pray for you every single day. Hope the snow isn't making everyone too cold! But whether there's snow or no snow, have a great week anyway! 

-Elder Farnworth