This next week is my last week in Moldova. I cannot begin to describe the feelings I have knowing that my time here is coming to an end. I'll be leaving on a train next Monday from Chisinau so I can be in Bucharest on Tuesday for my exit interview with the NEW mission president. Yes, President Ivory and his family have arrived, and he now presides over this mission. We haven't really been able to formally welcome them, but I'm excited to meet him and let him know how much we love and support him even though we haven't even met yet. We will dearly miss President and Sister Hill. They have been around for almost my entire 2 years as a missionary, and I will never forget them. They have done so much for this mission and for me.
What a huge privilege it has been to serve the Lord in Chisinau and Balti. Really. Inviting and helping these people come unto Christ has been the most satisfying thing I've ever done in my life. I've had many memorable times, and many difficult times; but, no matter what kind of "time" I was having, God was always there to teach me, comfort me, help me understand my trials, and give me the strength needed to preach the gospel. I've seen so many people make incredible changes in their lives in order to follow Christ, and I have been so lucky to be a part of it. And through doing what a missionary does, I have been able to see myself be converted. I honestly did not have a testimony of my own before my mission. People have always said, "I know FOR MYSELF that this is true" but I didn't really understand what they did in order to know for themselves. Now I understand. We taught others that they needed to read the Book of Mormon with a sincere heart, ponder the things that we taught them, and pray about it's truthfulness, but what was I doing? Was I doing those same things that we invited others to do? Was I sincerely reading, pondering, and praying to know for myself? The answer is yes, and that is what I am still doing/will keep doing for the rest of my life. We have to know for ourselves of the truthfulness of the restoration every single day. I'm grateful to my Heavenly Father for helping me to gain the testimony that I now have, and for showing others through me that anything is possible with God. Christ lives, His atonement is real, the church and gospel are true and always will be, and miracles still exist in our day.
Shoot. I took too long writing that. Sorry. Well. I'll quickly go through what happened this week. We did some more service at Valeas. Her roof was leaking, so we hopped on her roof and filled holes with foam when we found them. When we went finding, we found a man named Vladimir who has an 8 year old daughter. The first time we met him, he was drunk, but we still gave him a Book of Mormon and our number. Two days later he called and wanted us to come over and teach him more, but he never answered his phone when we called back to set up a time. We called him back around 18 times, not even joking, and he never answered. We thought that something bad might have happened, but as we were on our way to church on Sunday we got another call from him. He said that he had been reading and that he had a problem about the Angel Moroni appearing to Joseph Smith. He wanted to talk about it all right then, but we told him that we would come over after church to talk about it. He agreed on 3 pm and said that he would be waiting for us. So after church we hurried over and there's this grandma that lives with him that wouldn't let us in even though he told us to come over. How frustrating it was to know that Satan was working through that lady so we couldn't teach this man and his daughter the gospel! And even then he didn't answer his phone....... Anyway, we also had another combined institute in Chisinau. It was a great turn out. Elder Westover and I also got to buy a birthday present for Dima and give it to him while we were there. It was so good to see him. I'm really going to miss all these people that I've become so close with.
Even though I'm finishing my service as a full-time missionary, my responsibilities as member-missionary will continue after my mission. There's work to do no matter what situation we find ourselves in. This is probably my last long letter from my mission, but we'll see. I love you and cannot wait to see all of you in 10 days.
|Waterfall in Saharna (Our P-day last week)|
|Saharna. Pretty nice, huh?|
|Our combined institute group (and some missionaries from Orhei/Chisinau)|
|Dima and his new shirt|