Monday, April 28, 2014

"practice, practice, practice."

Dear everyone,

Remember that groundskeeper guy, Micheal, that I mentioned in my last email? Well, we went back to that same park this past week and as we were walking we saw a man, and I said to my companion, "No way... It's him!" He just happened to be walking around when we walked by; so, we talked to him, asked him if he had read the Book of Mormon, and if he had any questions. He had read some of it, but had no questions. We said that we would like to share more and teach him about our message, but he said he was busy with work. Darn it. We'll need to stop by one more time to show him that we're serious about what we have because it's for everyone!

Usually members take over after investigators are baptized, but since we have such a small branch here, that responsibility is placed upon our shoulders. So, we switch off with the other Elders every week with teaching Nastia the recent convert lessons. Going over to teach Nastia is always a great experience because every time we go over she shares with us something new she learned, a scripture she found, or a question she has about a gospel principle. In turn, we get to answer her questions, share experiences, and learn together. This week we talked about the Saul-Paul conversion and related it to Isaiah 1:18. Towards the end of the chapter, it talked about Peter and how he performed miracles in the name of Jesus Christ. This concept lead to our next lesson where we talked about the sacred calling of Apostles, and how Christ calls Apostles today the same way He did in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants. Really. Study it for yourself and you'll find the same pattern. It's neat to know that Christ still leads His church today through a living prophet and a quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Us and Sevghi at the combined institute activity!
Remember what happened when we had a combined Institute for all Moldova in Chisinau? Well. We had another one and this time we tried to invite as many people as possible from Balti. We called, and called, and called, and ended up having 6 young people come with us. Of course, we would've liked everyone that we invited to come, but the group that came with us was a good group. President Iachimov (I hope I spelled his name right) presented to us about why the Book of Mormon is named the way it is, and how because of the Book of Mormon we can draw one line from the Bible and connect it with the Book of Mormon to establish one truth for everyone. He's an amazing teacher! Also, while I was there I got to see a member that I haven't seen since I served in Chisinau. It was Sevghi! And we gave each other a big handshake when we crossed paths in the church. I played the piano and she lead the opening hymn for this combined institute activity, and before we started she to turned to me and said, "Hey! This is just like the good old days!" It sure was, and it made me think about how much I'll miss it all when I leave.

Galina, Vitali, and Tamara are our investigators right now. Galina is the lady that has had missionaries over in the past, and we were finally able to go over and see how she is doing. She said that she wanted to come to the baptisms/church, but "things" came up. As we started our lessons she told us to wait a minute while she got her copies of the Book of Mormon. She came back with FOUR old translations. I don't know why in the world she had that many, but she did! We gave her a new translation, and then she said something that really surprised me, "This is the same New Testament that the Jehovah's Witnesses gave to me." Wait, what? We were really confused as to why she thought that the Book of Mormon was the Bible; so, it was the perfect opportunity to go over what the Book of Mormon is and read the introduction together. We gave her homework to read 3 Nephi 11 and really pray about it with a sincere heart. Her birthday was on Sunday so we didn't get to go over a second time during the week, but hopefully she does her homework! 

With Vitali we're taking baby steps. He is a great man with a very strong belief in God, but has a hard time understanding that there's only one true church. As for Tamara, when we called her she told us to hurry and come over so we could talk about the Restoration pamphlet. She had a great question that went something like this, "If Christ suffered for all the sins of people who have lived, are living, and will live, then why does He require something from us?" My companion explained it very well to her, but she just wouldn't listen to him. Thank goodness for the Holy Ghost because it told me to use the Brad Wilcox Piano Analogy from his talk His Grace is Sufficient:

"Christ’s arrangement with us is similar to a mom providing music lessons for her child. Mom pays the piano teacher. How many know what I am talking about? Because Mom pays the debt in full, she can turn to her child and ask for something. What is it? Practice! Does the child’s practice pay the piano teacher? No. Does the child’s practice repay Mom for paying the piano teacher? No. Practicing is how the child shows appreciation for Mom’s incredible gift. It is how he takes advantage of the amazing opportunity Mom is giving him to live his life at a higher level. Mom’s joy is found not in getting repaid but in seeing her gift used—seeing her child improve. And so she continues to call for practice, practice, practice."
Random parade outside our apartment during studies.

Obviously I wasn't able to explain it like that in Russian, but she got the point and it answered her question. I'm so glad I read that talk because a member of the Godhead knew that I had read it many times and that it could answer her question. Well. That's it for the week. I love you all and you're in my prayers! Have a good week.

-Elder Farnworth

P.S. Great news! Denis told us all yesterday after Sacrament Meeting that he wants to get baptized for sure in May!

Nice view of a little part of Balti from the lake.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Христос воскрес! Воистину воскрес! (Christ has risen! Truly risen!)

Hello Everybody,

Sorry for the day-late email! We were out in a village visiting a less-active family all day yesterday and we got back late and had no time to email, so our mission president gave us permission to write to all of you today.

With that family out in a village 40 minutes away from Balti
To start off, the other Elders have been working really hard with a lot of their investigators and were able to bring one of them unto the waters of baptism this past Saturday. It was a lady found through a recent convert, and she'll be a great addition to the branch. We've got a lot of really awesome recent converts that are helping the branch out a lot!

Also, the clouds filled with unlimited water have finally decided to stop pouring rain this past week, and on one of the days that it rained we stopped by Vitali (a former investigator who is now an investigator again), and realized that his number was at our apartment. Even though we were unable to call him, we banged a rock on his front gate (don't worry, we didn't damage anything) and yelled his name hoping that he would hear us. Unfortunately, he did not hear us and so we went back to the apartment, called him, and he told us how he doesn't want us to come over when it rains. Odd. But it's not our house, so what can we do? We also invited him to the baptism and he came! It's the third baptism he has been too, and hopefully it helped. Now that the sun is out, we can stop by and see how he's doing.

Hittin' carpets for Baba Tamara!
On Thursday, Baba Tamara called and said that she wanted us to see her granddaughter's piano recital. So went with her and her husband to a music school close to our apartment and for most of the time we talked about how we celebrate Easter in America. When we sat down to listen to the students play, she turned to me and said, "Preach to me! I'm a person you just met on the street. What do you say to them?" I've been through this situation a million times, so I just started telling her how we tell people about the Book of Mormon and how it's another testament of Jesus Christ. As I gave her a brief overview of the Book of Mormon, I could tell people around us were listening. Of course, this was a piano recital so I had to be quiet when they started to play, but never did I think I'd proselyte in a music school. Pretty cool! The next day she had us come over and do some service for her. We hit carpets with a bat-looking thing, and combed off the hair that had probably been on there for a long time.That was the job I got stuck with and it wasn't very pleasant. After we finished she had us come in and fed us a delicious meal. Right before we were about to start eating she got a phone call, so each of us looked at each other and said, "Let's pray so we can eat." So we prayed, and before we left she mentioned how she really liked that we prayed before we ate. "Show us how you pray!" she continued, and Elder Streletski prayed. She also really liked how we pray! Great! There's already a lot of things she likes about the church, so that puts us on the right track.

Survey contacting in parks = a lot of fun. Especially when people answer the questions and get really interested in what we have to say. We actually met the groundskeeper of a park near the church and he took a Book of Mormon. We also met a lot of "other" people where it didn't turn out so well. Nevertheless, we really enjoy survey contacting, especially since the weather is nice.

For Easter our mission president gave us permission to stay up and see how the Orthodox church celebrates Easter. At 2:30 am Sunday morning, we went with Nastia to her old church and she showed us what they do. Everyone had candles and as we stood outside, we listened to the choir that was singing inside. To be honest, I love my sleep and staying up wasn't my favorite thing but it was for the memories! 

Христос воскрес! Воистину воскрес! Love you!

-Elder Farnworth

Cool experience of the week: For district meeting, Elder Westover had us ask each other random questions then open up to a random page in the Book of Mormon to answer the question. It worked every time! You should all try it out for Family Home Evening or something.

We found this little bear while we were out contacting. Just wanted to take a picture with him.

I just love Balti!

Monday, April 14, 2014


Dear Family and Friends,

I would just like to inform everyone that I did that "P.S." last week because Elder Feil and Elder Westover thought it would be funny to give their mothers a shout-out. So I hope no one thought it was odd! But in all seriousness, thank you for reading my weekly emails. 

Anyway, this week was a pretty bad one for us because all the sicknesses that should've come earlier in my mission decided to come all at once for these past 5 days. A fever, pink eye, a nasal infection, strep throat, and the most painful headache I've ever had in my life. My poor companion has had to deal with me getting a lot of rest, and recovering for almost the entire week. However, we still got out and did what we could!
Elders Westover and Streletskii cuttin' down a tree in New Balti

On Tuesday we were in Chisinau for Zone Training Meeting all day, and Wednesday was spent doing some more service for a recent convert out in New Balti. The weather was beautiful, it was 75 degrees, and we did a lot of yard work. She had us prune trees, gather and throw away trash, plant plants, chop wood, and many other chores. The lunch break was interesting. We made a salad out of the plants she had in her garden and she made eggs on her old school stove which she had inside her home. She always likes to tell us when we finish up how she could never do this kind of work without our help. The lyrics to Have I Done Any Good? always pop into my mind at the end of each day when I kneel down and give a report to my Heavenly Father:
Elder Westover and Sister Valea startin' the fire in the old school stove

  • 1. Have I done any good in the world today?
    Have I helped anyone in need?
    Have I cheered up the sad and made someone feel glad?
    If not, I have failed indeed.
    Has anyone's burden been lighter today
    Because I was willing to share?
    Have the sick and the weary been helped on their way?
    When they needed my help was I there?
  • (Chorus)
    Then wake up and do something more
    Than dream of your mansion above.
    Doing good is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure,
    A blessing of duty and love.
  • 2. There are chances for work all around just now,
    Opportunities right in our way.
    Do not let them pass by, saying, "Sometime I'll try,"
    But go and do something today.
    'Tis noble of man to work and to give;
    Love's labor has merit alone.
    Only he who does something helps others to live.
    To God each good work will be known.
Doing good REALLY is a "joy beyond measure", and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest good we can do for those around us. It's good news that a surprisingly large number of people don't know about, so I hope that you can find someone you know (even if you live in Utah where almost everyone you know is Mormon) and share what the Gospel of Jesus Christ has done for you in your life.

And even though it was a week later, we got to watch General Conference with all the members on Saturday and Sunday. It was so nice to watch it at the normal times! My favorite talk was probably Elder Holland's talk. All the talks were very memorable, but his talk was the one that stood out to me the most. I also got to see Lindsay which was really cool! Hopefully next conference I can be there in person ;)

Anyway, I wish I had more to tell, but me being sick made it difficult to be out all week. Next week should have some pretty neat experiences though! Love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!

-Elder Farnworth

The salad we made for our lunch break

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

"будь здоров!"

To start off this email, I just want to thank the Empty Nester's group back home for what they sent me in the mail. I really appreciate it, and it was great to hear from all of them!

I cannot begin to tell you how many times a day I sneeze. In Russian we say, "будь здоров!" and my companion has probably said it a million times already. Yes, allergy season has arrived, and it's much worse here than it was back in Orem, Utah.  But that's okay, because it will pass hopefully before July.

Raisa is back! Last Monday the other Elders saw her on the bus so that was great news to hear. Unfortunately, we had no time to stop by. Next week for sure. Thursday was a pretty great day for us. We had about 6 straight hours of contacting which actually turned into about 2 of those hours doing area book work. I sat down, opened our extremely organized and well-kept area book (you may think I'm joking, but I'm not), and started looking through former investigators and organizing them into groups. When I found someone that I felt would be good, Elder Streletski would call them, see if they remembered us, and if they're interested in having the discussions again. To make a long story short, we were able to set up 2 lessons the next day, and ended up finding 2 new investigators! One of them even came to church! God has given us area books for a reason and these people have had seeds planted in their hearts that need some water (the Book of Mormon) and sun (the Love of God/Gospel of Jesus Christ) to help them progress more and more until they decide to make that baptismal covenant with their Heavenly Father. So, if we give them the right amount of sun and water, they'll start to make changes (growth) in their lives and turn into a beautiful flower! *Sorry for the cheesy example, Alma 32 kept popping into my head as I was writing this*

Anton is doing great. We were able to have a lesson about Priesthood with him, and he's pretty excited to receive it next Sunday. We showed him how to pass the Sacrament, and he said, "I already know what to do because I watched Elder Westover pass it every Sunday!" See what examples can do? Recent converts are such a blessing to the church!

Testimony meeting yesterday (yes, we had church while the rest of the world watched General Conference) was easily one of the best testimony meetings I've ever been to. Nastia, Anton, a non-member, and almost all of the members got up and bore powerful testimonies. Here's a great quote from a member that I wrote down, "After I joined the church, satan started to tempt me a lot. Then I knew that I joined the true church because in other churches, everything was great." She is so right! satan goes after the Church of Jesus Christ because he knows it's the only true church on earth, so stay strong everybody!

I decided to end my email with a scripture that Elder Feil shared with me just now, 2 John 1:12: 

 12 Having many things to write unto you, I would not awrite with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.

Have a great week! Love you!

-Elder Farnworth

P.S. I'd like to thank all of those who read my blog. Especially my number one fans: Jill Feil and Kathy Westover.

We really wanted to go to Odessa

The Engine of a Moldovan train

Wall graffiti in Chisinau