Monday, February 24, 2014

Well. This week has a little bit of bad news, and a LOT of good news.

Combined institute lesson in Chisinau
Hello from Chisinau!

We decided to take our P-day in Chisinau because we have Zone Training Meeting tomorrow morning, so it will be nice to finally have some McDonalds.

Modeling in the forests' of Balti

Well. This week has a little bit of bad news, and a LOT of good news. Let's start with the bad news: We went back to Nina's apartment and she told us that her sister told her to never let us in again...... So she apologized and shut the door..... Finding new investigators is still a work in progress for us. We were really looking forward to start teaching her more, but she has her agency. And that's something we have to accept. However, we have met a guy who has met with the missionaries before and surprisingly knew a ton about the Book of Mormon.

Okay, now the good news: there was a combined institute class for Orhei, Balti, and Chisinau youth/investigators on Monday; so, we thought that if Nastia could come down with us and a member, it would help her a lot. When we called Nastia, she was all for it and was actually really excited to see what it would be like. As all four of us were walking to the church in Chisinau, I realized that we were on Dima's street and thought, "Okay. We NEED to stop by, see if he's home, and invite him to institute." It had been around 4 months since the last time I saw him and right when he answered the door, Elder Westover and I just got these big smiles on our faces and gave him a big hug. He was so happy to see us and was still the same Dima I remember. He said that he was going to the Internet cafe, but that he would come to institute right after. I just love that kid! I would write something about Lizzie (who was also at this institute lesson), but she wouldn't be very happy if it appeared on my blog, so I'll just have to tell you all when I get home :) Anyway, Nastia loved it and when we got back to Balti, the member texted us and said, "Your plan worked guys. She loved it and will talk to you tomorrow." ......Now let's fast forward to tomorrow when we went over to Nastia's for a lesson........ Lately, we've been trying really hard to help her to make the decision to get baptized and so we were hoping and praying that that was what she wanted to talk to us about. Well. 45 minutes into the lesson, she goes to get her daughter something to drink and the first words that came out of her mouth when she came back in were, "..... I want to be baptized next week." ..................................................................Great news, right?!?! I cannot begin to tell you how excited we were/are for her! These are the moments we work for, and she's 100% ready to make this important step in her life. When we went back on Thursday, she had read a lot of the Liahona conference issue that we gave her, marked it, had questions, and even answered one of the questions with the Book of Mormon on her own. How neat is that?! We're really happy for her, and the changes she's made in her life to follow Christ more fully. Next up.... her baptism!
Hawaiian haystacks with investigators and members!

I'm really struggling to write anything else that happened this week, so I'll just stop here. I hope you enjoy the news! Because we sure did! Love you! Have a wonderful week. 

Funny experience of the week: Nastia's little girl followed Elder Westover around while he passed the sacrament yesterday. I couldn't help but smile. Oh yeah, we also had 39 people at church. That was a great sight to see. 

-Elder Farnworth

P.S. We got to watch the USA vs. Canada hockey game at one of the members houses. Not all of it, but enough to say that we got to watch a little bit of the Olympics.

Monday, February 17, 2014

People will think that you're killers...

Dear everybody,

We almost forgot that Valentine's Day was this past week, and even though we didn't get to celebrate it like the rest of the world, it ended up being the best day of the week for our work. We got to go to one of the two restaurants here in Balti for lunch and eat with the other Elders, and after that we did some weekly planning, then went out to go knocking. Now before we went knocking, I bought a big bottle of juice because I was really thirsty. I, of course, did not drink all of it and as we were heading to our knocking area my companion asked me if I wanted to take the rest of the juice back to our apartment so I wouldn't have to carry it around. I told him that it was fine and that I would bring it along. Right as he asked that it reminded me of that time I was with Elder Monroe and I also had a bottle that turned out to be lucky. So I told him that it would bring us luck that night. We knocked, got rejected, knocked, got yelled at, then we got to a lady whose name was Nina. We told her about the Book of Mormon and how it was another testament of Jesus Christ. She held it in her hands and said something that almost everyone says, "I have a book like this, but it's called the Bible." We had to explain to her once again that it was not the Bible, but that it did support and expound upon the teachings in the Bible. She asked if she had to give it back later but we told her that it was hers forever.... I had never seen someone kiss the Book of Mormon before.... She then asked us if we would like to come in for tea. Well, of course we do! So she sat us down in her kitchen, and I'm not kidding when I tell you that she had the nicest apartment I've ever seen in Moldova. "Now, you two need to know that it's not safe that knock on doors at night. People will think that you're killers or thieves!" She obviously realized that we weren't either of those, but her neighbor thought we were. He was a 42 year old man who called her while we were sitting in her apartment and asked if she had let two guys in. "Yeah, and they're sitting here right now drinking tea with me!" She was such a hoot. It gets even better too. She takes care of her sister who has Parkinsons and has actually been to our English classes before. What are the chances?! I asked her if she reads the Bible, and she leaned in to me as if to tell me a secret and said, "To be honest, I don't read the Bible very often. I know that's bad...... Would you like something to eat?" While she warmed us up an entire meal, we continued to get to know her more and her religious background. As we were leaving, we thanked her for letting us in and giving us food, and invited her to read the introduction to the Book of Mormon before we come back on Tuesday. She said that she would right before she goes to bed. We are 95% sure that this woman is our next new investigator. We'll find out on Tuesday!

As far as Nastia and Denis go, we went back to the basics and invited them to keep working on reading the Book of Mormon often, and praying with real intent about our message that we have been teaching them. We were going to have a lesson with both of them, but Denis called and said that he couldn't make it; so, instead Nastia taught us Russian just before sports night started (I FINALLY figured out the difference between ш and щ.) They didn't come to church on Sunday, which was disappointing, but we are still praying for them in every single prayer. 

Yesterday we were street contacting and met two drunk guys who told us that they could prove us wrong and my companion asked them, "How?" They just stood there for 20 seconds trying to figure out what to say. It was so funny! Ohhh drunk people.... We just said that we know our message is true, shook their hands, and walked away. A few minutes later we met a man who had heard about us before, but we had the hardest time understanding him. We got his number though! I love the people that we get to meet everyday. There's quite a variety of them.

There are a lot of other things that happened this week, but I need to hurry and put pictures on this email before my time runs out.

Love you!

-Elder Farnworth

A Romanian word in Russian. Welcome to Moldova!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Service. It just makes you feel all good inside!

Dear family and friends,

There is so much to tell you this week. So hopefully I can fit it into this email.

Monday started out this great week. We went to go stop by a potential during P-day, and right before we left the apartment I grabbed two copies of the Book of Mormon so we could give one to this potential. On the bus on the way over there was an old man staring at me and pointing at the copies of the Book of Mormon I had in my hand. At first I thought he was pointing to something behind me, but he was actually pointing to the Book of Mormon. So I sat down, asked him if he had ever heard of the Book of Mormon and he said he hadn't. I handed one of the copies to him, gave him a brief overview, and invited him to read it. He said he would, and so my companion hurried and handed him our card before we had to get off the bus. You may be thinking, "Well, what happened after that?" Unfortunately, we're still waiting for him to call. But I just thought it was a cool experience because the potential that we stopped by actually wasn't home, and that the Book of Mormon didn't end up in the hands that we thought they were going to end up in. God works in mysterious ways!

We finally started the quit smoking program with Nastia this week and it was so funny what happened when we handed her the Declaration of Independence (a paper that participants sign before they start the program.) We had a member read the manual because Nastia gets frustrated when we read Russian, and after we handed her the paper, the member continued on without waiting for her to sign it and so Nastia said, "What are you doing?! This is a very important moment in my life!" We all laughed pretty hard, but it showed us that she was very serious about the step she was taking to change something in her life that's she's been wanting to change for a long time. The next time we stopped by she told us how she had been carrying around mandarins in his purse to help her resist the temptation to smoke, and about how many peels had accumulated since then. She's doing great!

Denis is still coming to church every Sunday, but we're really wanting him to make the decision to get baptized earlier. So, we read a lot of verses about procrastinating the day of our repentance/baptism and the consequences that come from that. As soon as we finished, my companion turned to him and asked, "Do you get the message we're trying to tell you?" His answer, "Yes, I understand." He's still unsure though. But we won't give up! He's a great kid and could help this branch out a lot.

A recent converts birthday was this week, so she had us come over and learn how to make gulipsy. It's about time I learned how to make a Moldovan dish! We also got to meet her sister and her niece. After we sang happy birthday, she said, "как красиво!" and blew out the candles. She cried and as she always does, thanked us for everything that we've done for her. Best birthday party I've ever been to! We also got to give people donated wheelchairs the same day. There's nothing more satisfying that seeing a big smile on someones face from an act of service. It just makes you feel all good inside! 

Sister Valea's birthday.
Us at Sister Valea's making gulipsy.
Oh yeah, there were also 31 people at church on Sunday. That's the most people I've seen since I've been here in Balti. We hope that it goes up from here because this branch is ready for a growth spurt. Okay, I almost got everything in that I wanted to say. If any of you have not read Jesus the Christ, read it as soon as possible! I've been reading it a lot lately, and I am amazed with the detail given about Jesus' life and how much it has strengthened my testimony of Him. I don't know why I didn't read it earlier in my mission. If any of you are struggling with your testimony, always remember the primary answer of "pray, read your scriptures, and go to church!" That's the key! Thanks for your mails, and I hope you have a wonderful week.

Love you!

-Elder Farnworth

Gulipsy! One of the three main foods of Moldova.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Luckily we're not in Siberia...

Good morning everybody!

-20 degrees Celsius this past week. Luckily we're not in Siberia where's it's probably -50. Our branch president and I had a nice discussion just before church yesterday about how compared to Russia, it's actually not too cold here. He's right!

We've been finding more really great potentials and stopped by previous ones this past week. When we stopped by ones we had already found, the first potential didn't answer their door after ringing the doorbell twice, so we moved on to the second potential. The first time we met this lady, she was really nice, took a Book of Mormon, and told us to come back. This time someone else was behind the door and they didn't sound very happy. At first we thought that we might have knocked on the wrong door, but after looking in our planners, we figured out that it was the right one. Confused, we continued on to our third potential. The lady who answered the door remembered who we were but apologized that she couldn't meet that night because she was going to the hospital the next day. Feeling a little let down, we went back to the first potential and knocked on her door one more time before we left the area..... And she answered! She also remembered us and said that she had just gotten home from work and was making dinner so we set up an appointment today to go back. We're praying that she lets us in a has time to sit down and talk about our message.

Nastia has been making a ton of great progress. We taught her about the Word of Wisdom, and like everyone does, she didn't understand why tea was not allowed. But we told her that God has revealed to us through Joseph Smith that alcohol, coffee, tea, narcotics, and tobacco are substances that we must completely avoid no matter what. While she was quietly thinking, I opened up Ether 12:27, handed it to her, and told her to read it out loud. "What does this verse mean to you?" we asked. "Well. It means that God will show us our weaknesses and turn them into strengths.... So..... I can quit smoking." Exactly! We told her about the program that we did with Denis and how well it worked, and she said that she wants to give it a try. Two days later we went back over and she told us how she hadn't smoked yet that day and was really excited about it, which made us excited for her! Unfortunately, we couldn't start the program that day because a member was going to help us, but was unable to be in on the lesson. So, what did we end up talking about? Baptism! I opened up my planner and read to her all the things she will need to do before she's baptized and she agreed to do whatever it takes. She has even thought about who she wants to baptize her, and who to invite to her baptism! "I'll start thinking about WHEN I want to be baptized too and then tell you when I decide." Wow. Missionary work gets so much better when someone decides they are going to work towards getting baptized! I love it.

Sister Valea didn't have wood to warm up her home on Friday, so we went over on I think the coldest day of the week and chopped wood right outside her door. Despite the fact that my toes were completely numb and I couldn't feel my face, we kept chopping wood until there was no more to chop. After we finished, she had us come in, warm ourselves up, and fed us some lunch (mamaliga, some kind of berries, and fruit tea) and thanked us and Heavenly Father for everything that the Church of Jesus Christ has done for her. Every time we've stopped by since then I've asked her, "Are you nice and warm Sister Valea?" She just gets a big smile on her face and says, "Yes! Of course!" Friday night we stopped by a member who hasn't been able to go to church since her daughter died and she said something that just strengthened my love for these people. "You know, every missionary that has ever served here has loved it. You want to know why? It's because of the people." Couldn't say it any better.

Well. I sure do love all of you a lot and I hope you have a fantastic week. Thank you for all your support and love. Don't know how I'd get through each day without it! Love you!

-Elder Farnworth

P.S. Sorry. No pictures this week.