Monday, March 31, 2014

D&C 88:73 "Behold, I will hasten my work in its time."

D&C 88:73 "Behold, I will hasten my work in its time."

The Lord is definitely hastening His work here in Balti! This past Saturday (and Sunday) a new member was added to the family of Christ (aka The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.) Our friend/brother, Anton, was baptized and confirmed. What a great day it was for all of us, and especially for him! A lot of people came to support and welcome him, and his parents were even able to watch from Moscow through Skype. I really cannot begin to describe how great this branch is and how loving, caring, and kind the members are to everyone. I think that because of this (and the scripture that I mentioned above), the work is going so well for us here. 
Anton and me

Anton, me, and Elder Streletski
As for the rest of our week, on Monday we spent most of the day helping a lady (who was having an extremely difficult time in her life) find a place to live, and the entire time we had no idea that her son was trying to contact her. After 3 hours, he was finally able to get our phone number and call us. He came and picked his mother up, we continued our P-day, ate lunch, then found out later that her son bought her an apartment! So, we helped her move the stuff she owned to her new home. She told us that she will come to church every day for the rest of her life because she now knows that God is aware of her needs and loves her. And she stuck to her word. She attended Anton's baptism and came to church the next day! The other Elders have also started to teach her about the restoration. It's the little things that can make all the difference!

I can't remember which day it was, but as I was doing personal study one day, a question popped into my mind, "How tightly are we holding on to Christ's outstretched hand?" I immediately related it to faith, and how if we have weak faith, our hand is like a limp fish in the palm of Christ's hand that will slip out easily; and, if we have strong faith, we are holding on for dear life and trusting that He will never let go. Because if one of us is to let go, it's never going to be Him. 

As far as Baba Tamara goes, every time we called her this week she just happened to be at the main play theater in the center of the city. She gave us a tour, had us meet the director of the theater, and even had us watch the last 2 minutes of a play in Moldovan. Her granddaughter was there too, so she had us meet her and talk to her about doing half English, half spiritual lessons. It didn't go as well as we would have liked it to, but we'll see where this goes in the coming weeks.

We had a "surprise" lesson with Nastia this week about Christlike attributes, and how we are supposed to develop them the best we can throughout our lives. She has actually been wanting to learn more about the New Testament lately, so it was good that we got to talk about all the characteristics of Christ. She's still doing amazing as the primary teacher and is helping us a lot with our missionary work!

Daylight savings = I got to conduct Sacrament Meeting for the first time in my life because our branch president forgot to change his clocks. It went great though! I bet you can imagine me saying, "Our opening hymn will be Be Still My Soul on page 60, and then we will have an opening prayer by Sister Nastia" then me walking from the stand to the piano to play. I don't know why, but it made me smile.

We've got a lot of work ahead of us this week and we're excited to see what happens! Love you all and enjoy General Conference!

-Elder Farnworth

Everyone thinks it's hilarious that I worked at a cemetery

Monday, March 24, 2014

"одна семья - Бельцы" One Family - Balti

Hmmm. Where to start? Well. Anton will be getting baptized next week! We're really really excited for it, and so is his grandma (and everybody else is the branch, of course.) He's been living with one of our recent converts (his grandma) for the past 5 or so months, coming to church almost every week, and meeting with the Elders pretty much the entire time. He has made some pretty big changes in his life and we finally decided that he was ready to be baptized. We've got quite the responsibility of making sure people are ready to make this step in their lives. Of course we want everybody we meet to be baptized, but only if we know that they'll endure to the end. And Antone will do just that.

On Tuesday, we had to go down to Chisinau to finish up Elder Streletskii's visa application, and while I was sitting in the hallway on a bench in the immigration office building, someone walked in that I thought I was never going to see again. It was Aba! I was so happy to see him, and he told me that he met some of the Elders in Chisinau not too long ago on the street and pretended like he didn't know anything about the Church. He never even told them that he investigated at one point, and told me, "This is our little secret." Ah man, he is so funny. Eventually we had to part ways, but God knew that we'd run into each other, and I hope that wasn't the last time I'll see him.

Baba Tamara is our new investigator. Elder Streletskii and Brother Monroe found her by knocking, and she is a hoot. She's 70 years old, has a really humble husband, read the Book of Mormon and marked what she liked/didn't like, has met with the Jehovah's Witnesses before us, and I sense that she has a true interest in our message. She told my companion that he doesn't know Russian very well, and then looked at me and said that I was spoke Russian well. It's the exact opposite! He's FROM Russian for goodness sakes! I don't know what she was thinking. Anyway, we started to tell her about Joseph Smith and then she said, "Goodbye." (in English) But it wasn't because she wanted us to leave, it was because she had been sick all week, had just gotten home from work, and thought it would be better if we talked more next time. So we left, and as we were leaving she said, "Guys, don't forget about me! I want you to come back okay?" Okay! We'll definitely be back before she knows it.

Remember that Martha woman I told you about last week? Well. We stopped by and it didn't turn out so well. She wasn't home. But as we were waiting for another potential to get home, my companion noticed a lady who was sitting on a bench nearby and said, "Let's go talk to her." So we did, and she was one of those people that are pretty set on their faith, but took a Book of Mormon and thanked us for sharing what we believe. We're planting a lot of seeds for the future; whether it be in 2 weeks, 2 months, or 2 years, missionaries will find her again.

Also, I had an exchange with Elder Westover this past Thursday and in the morning we went over to teach Nastia about missionary work (which she already knows a ton about.) We were really excited to see her because it had been a long time since we last taught her together. The spirit in her home is always so strong, and she told us about how she's been thinking of talking to her cousin about the Church and giving her a Book of Mormon (which she did by the way later on in the week.) "Every member a missionary" and Nastia understands that phrase very well! And just yesterday we took her to Sister Anna's apartment (one of the first members in Balti) and had Sister Anna share her conversion story. She met the missionaries the same way Nastia met us, and I hope it was a good experience for her to hear that.

That's all I have for this week. I hope it was a good enough update, and I love you all!

-Elder Farnworth
Doin' some service at Sister Valea's.

A cool poster they put on the building next to our church. "одна семья - Бельцы"

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Greetings from Balti, Moldova!

How are all of you doing? I hope your answer is as good as mine. Because we're doing great here! Raisa has been in the countryside for most of the week, but we were still able to have a couple lessons with her and set a baptismal date! And I don't know if I've mentioned Antone in past letters, but we also set a baptismal date with him. Even though he has a tough life situation, he's a good kid and we're looking forward to when he gets the priesthood and passes the sacrament. 

Nastia is BLOOMING as a recent convert. She is officially the primary teacher and is going above and beyond with her calling. She is loving it, the kids love having her as the teacher, and she even turned the primary room into an actual primary room filled with pictures, scripture quotes, and even put a whiteboard on the wall. When we went over to her apartment for recent convert lessons, we talked about some of my favorite topics: the temple, family, and callings. Family is extremely important to her and she loves how we can be sealed together forever in the temple. We even started working with her on family history work and it will be cool to see her entire family tree filled out. She also told us that she's learning a lot from preparing lessons for the primary kids, and has started from the beginning of Book of Mormon again. It still amazes me with how prepared she was by Heavenly Father. 

Here's a cool experience from when we were finding this week. We went to a potential that Elder Streletskii and Monroe gave a Book of Mormon to, and she wanted to give it back because she didn't understand it. Well. We told here that that is why we are here. We are here to teach people and help them to understand what our message is. Even though we were only in her doorway, the Spirit convinced her to keep the Book of Mormon and give it a chance. If there's something I really have a strong testimony of, it's that the little things we do build up to miracles. My mission has been full of doing small things here and there, and then seeing later down the road miracles that started with a simple testimony or small act of kindness. In fact, there's a great quote I found by Elder Holland not too long ago, and he said, "I suppose no one is as handsome or as beautiful as he or she wishes, or as brilliant in school or as witty in speech or as wealthy as we would like, but in a world of varied talents and fortunes that we can't always command, I think that makes even more attractive the qualities we can command - such qualities as thoughtfulness, patience, a kind word, and true delight in the accomplishment of another. These cost us nothing, and they can mean everything to the one who receives them." Which reminds me of when we were down in Chisinau for zone conference on Thursday. We were all standing in front of the McDonalds in center deciding where to eat and suddenly one of the zone leader's investigators, Sasha, shows up. I looked at him and thought, "There's no way that is the homeless man that was in Elder Hollist's and my English class in November." And sure enough it was! I had only known him for a week before I left to Balti, but while I've been gone, the zone leaders started teaching him, he quit smoking, he's been going to church, he found a job, cleaned himself up, and is now going to be baptized in two weeks. Want to know how he was found? Well. We were walking a member and some others to their bus stop one night, and we passed by this Sasha (who was sitting on the ground.) He said something that I didn't hear, but this member heard him. So she walked up to him, and invited him to English. I hope this member knows that from that simple act of kindness, this man has found hope and happiness in his life. You never know what you can say or do to someone that will change their life forever!

I don't think I've mentioned this either, but I am now officially the first counselor in the Balti branch presidency, and I'm loving working with President Reshetko (who is the "investigator" I taught in the MTC.) Yesterday we were able to talk about how we want everyone in the branch to have a calling, and we feel like it's going to help out a ton. There's a lot of work to do, but we do it one step at a time.

There's nothing more fulfilling than being a part of the work of salvation. Really. I'll never regret my decision to serve. The gospel is true!

Love you all and have a good week!

-Elder Farnworth
Our shower. I know, it's really nice.
Playin' football with some members and investigators!
Zone conference with Elder Rodenberg. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

I have survived a week with a Russian companion

Hello everyone!

Elder Monroe (or should I say Brother Monroe) is now back in America, and I have survived a week with a Russian companion. But in all seriousness I have been loving every minute of serving with Elder Streletskii. It's already easier to speak Russian, we get along really well, and we have been working really hard to improve our area.

Last picture with Elder Monroe
 Elder Streletskii and I!
He's been taking me around to all the people that him and Elder Monroe met, and one of them was an 84 year old communist man who has some serious health problems. He let us into his front room, and there we had a lesson with him. He believes there's a God, but wouldn't take a Book of Mormon because he thought that someone else needs it more than he does. We asked him if we could come by once a week and read from the Book of Mormon, and he said that would be fine. So I think with that all we can do is work our way up to the point where he will take a Book of Mormon and read it on his own. 

One of our investigators right now is a 38 year old woman with the mind of a 12 year old. She was taught by Elder Monroe when he first started his mission. She's very sincere, willing to learn, and has a desire to be baptized. Her name is Raisa and I loved the lesson that we had with her about the Plan of Salvation this past week. We planned during companion study to use pictures and that wooden Plan of Salvation thing that you sent me Dad, and it worked like a charm. When we finished, she pointed to the Celestial Kingdom and said, "I want to live there." This showed me that she understood the purpose of the Plan of Happiness. How I taught primary is how we teach Raisa because she's a very precious soul of our Loving Father in Heaven and He expects us to teach her so she can understand. We tried going by a second time but she wasn't home. Instead her Mom told us that we should come back in the summer when she has lots of strawberries, apples, grapes, and other fruits for us to eat. Okay..... We will definitely do that. Tonight she should be home, and we hope to set a baptismal date with her.

We also got to go out to a village to a less-active family (who are actually great members that are unable to come to church every week due to little money) and it was enjoyable. They fed us lots of food, and we talked about the importance of keeping the Sabbath Day holy. This is the second time I have seen the mother, and the first time I had seen the son. We see her daughter often for Sports Night since they study in Balti during the week, then go home for the weekend. They all understand the importance of keeping the commandments of God and have strong testimonies. It was a good thing we went out to check up on them, and I wish we could go out to the villages more often!

Eating some Moldovan food with that family out in a village called Edineț
That's not everything that happened this week, but once again, I have 2 minutes left on my computer time. I hope you enjoyed the email. Have a good week.

Love you!

-Elder Farnworth

P.S. I'll try and get pictures on later in the day.

Funny experience of the week: we were knocking and this lady opens her door, walks to her kitchen, and Elder Streletskii turns to me and says, "Shoot! We've accidental knocked on this ladies door TWICE before!" I couldn't help but laugh at the situation as we walked in and sat down. Him and Elder Monroe were at this lady's house two Saturdays ago and he totally forgot that we were in her apartment building! Her name is Galina and she knows a lot about the Church and really likes it. We had a lesson about the organization of Christ's Church and how it was restored through Joseph Smith. She really loved not letting us talk, but we scheduled a lesson for next Wednesday. She's got great potential! 

Some more pictures of our adventures.

The bus stop close to Edinet.

My first time in a legit Russian car.

Our view from the back seat of the car.

Monday, March 3, 2014

"Don't avoid situations or people because your eyes don't see their potential."

Hmmmm. Well. This week was fantastic. First of all, I would like to inform you that after today I am no longer going to be serving with Elder Westover. We have served together for a total of around 4 months, and I'm gonna miss doing missionary work with him! He was one of my favorite companions. Dad, you'll be pretty excited for this news. My next companion is going to be Elder Streletskii. The native! He's going to help me a TON with my Russian, and we'll still be in Balti, so that's good for all of us. 

We started off the week with Zone Training Meeting and here's a quote that I wrote down from that meeting, "Don't avoid situations or people because your eyes don't see their potential." And that's exactly what we did with Nastia. We first met her on December 11th, 2013, taught her, worked with her, tried our best to answer her many questions, and helped her to reach her potential that our Heavenly Father saw in one of His special daughters. She realized that potential, did what we committed her to do, changed so many things in her life, and now she is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She now has a great testimony of the Book of Mormon, and an even better understanding of how important her Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement is. We couldn't have asked for a better baptism! A lot of people came to support her on this special day and I'm sure she will never forget it. Because I definitely won't. We were really blessed to be able to see everything from beginning to end, and what better way to end a companionship than with the baptism of someone we came to know and love so much. Our next step is getting her a calling (hopefully to teach the little ones in Primary.) She now has this new light about her and always has a smile on her face. And of course we couldn't have done this without the help of members and the spirit. And it looks like we'll be seeing more people make this step in the coming months!
Us and Nastia (and her little girl)
Everyone that came to her baptism

And last but not least, Elder Monroe will be going home this week. He has finished his 2 year calling as a worthy servant of the Lord and many of the Russian Elders and missionaries in this mission look up to him in many ways. I will never forget the 6 months we got to serve together and the many lessons that he has taught me. We're gonna miss him! And it's gonna be tough to say goodbye.

Saying goodbye to Elder Monroe in Balti.
As for me, I've almost moved everything to my new apartment and I'm ready to see more miracles this next transfer with a new companion. Thank you all for you prayers and emails. I hope you have a wonderful week. Love you!

-Elder Farnworth