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.

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