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