Tuesday, April 16, 2013

April 15th , 2013


My wonderful friends and family, I feel as though this week was the longest most drawn out week possible, but then it was also the shortest. How do those two mix I honestly have no idea! After our horrible numbers last week with lessons Sora Ewell and I were really focused and made none stop phone calls and appointments. We were and are super focused on our goals for this area and we really want to help this area grow. Something that we noticed though with other branches around the country that a lot of the baptisms that were happening were all from member referrals. This work is so hard if the members are not with us 100 percent of the way. So we have been trying to focus on the members this week, and this upcoming week as well. We are going to share the story of Abish and how she "ran from house to house to have others witness the power of God". And also with this past general conference a talk that was given by Elder Anderson ""If you’re not a full-time missionary with a missionary badge pinned on your coat, now is the time to paint one on your heart—painted, as Paul said, “not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God.”" We are really trying to put on emphasize on these members that we can't do this without them. And so by the end of this week we are hoping to get at least one refferal. The branch does recognize the importance of missionary work though as on Saturday the branch has put together a 24 hour fast for missionary work. We are praying with all the lessons we have with these members that they will try to invite others to accept us into their homes.
We had a few lessons this week and some I truly believe are complete miracles! We met these two girls in Centru the other day and they just guided us to the bus stop. We paused before we left talked a little about our message and they gave us their numbers. The day we set up the appointment however was pouring down rain. Side note: It rains everyday here. The weather here is completely bipolar, but our farmer friends outside our window know exactly when the weather is going to be beautiful, or cold and wet. We look to them to see how the weather is going to be that day. Anyways so we were sure that they were not going to show up, since they had told us over the phone that they were already very firm in their faith, and then with the weather and they had already reschedualed before. Amazingly however they showed up. We walked over to the church (in the pouring rain) and we were able to give a great lesson. It was not the lesson we had intended, but it was definitly the lesson they needed. Sora Ewell on our walk over here had asked a random question (obviously not random to us who are members of the church) "Where do you think we were before this life) and that's when they listened. They had never even thought of that before and they stopped and really sank into our message of the plan of salvation. They were open and when they said the closing prayer they pleaded with Heavenly Father to really just know if this the path that they need to take. That if our message is true they would accept it. This was the golden perfect moment in my (small) missionary life.

We also had another experience that really shows us how the Lord puts people in our path. He is our proprietar, our landlord, turns out he and his family have taken the discussions before but with life they had gotten to busy. So we needed him to come down because my chair... well it's in half. IT WASN'T ME I SWEAR! Anyways and there were some other things wrong with our apartment that just needed to be fixed. So when he came over and he was just so open, friendly, and just ready to talk to us. He has made friends with many missionaries through out the years and he was telling us that one of the missionaries that was in Cluj and his wife are coming back and are going to be staying with his family for a little over a month. And then he invited us over for dinner and to meet his wife and his new baby girl. Now maybe this isn't a big deal to you all. But it was such a huge deal to us to have someone accept us, accept who we are and what we teach and to invite us over. It was a huge deal with us. So we are praying that we will be able to teach this young wonderful family and hopefully with the help of this Old missionary help them come to church!

This week also was extremely hard for me. As I was told by President Hill that my grandmother had passed away. It was really interesting experience for me, especially at this state in my life. We had had district meeting that day and Sora Ewell and I were asked to present something. So we decided to talk on Love, loving members, loving our investigators, and just seeing how the Lord loves us, and how we can show Him our love. We each went around and talked about how they recognize the love of God in their lives when Elder Lund talked about his grandmother. And how in his family there aren't many members and so his grandmother writes him a dear Elder every week and an email and in these letters he obtains so many answers to his prayers. That through his grandmother he can see how much the Lord loves him. And while I was listening I just remember having the feeling come over me and saying,"She's gone." I knew that I was expecting this but I wasn't sure how I would take the sorrow that fills someone when you have this kind of imformation. I didn't know what to think at that moment as I really didn't know if she was gone or what was going on except for the fact that I just had that small whisper. What happened about 30 minutes later getting off the bus and into our apartment for lunch, seeing that we had a missed call from President Hill. And that's when I knew, I dídn't need to hear his voice, I knew. And in those moment when I looked to the future and I knew I wouldn't see her again. And all I had were my memories, there would be no more future experiences. So that's when I knew, after I talked to President HIll, that I had to get down on my knees and just pray to Heavenly Father. Pray to Him for help and guidance, and pray to know to really really TRULY know that the Plan of Salvation was real. I believed it of course and I have always felt that it was real, but I needed to know. I needed to know that I will see her again, that I will see those that I am sealed to and I will have that everlasting joy with them. I do. I do know that this is real. I know that the work I am doing is honestly the most important work I could honestly ever do. To help bring others the gospel of Jesus Christ. To help them understand that we can be "Forever Families" and that I honestly KNOW that I will see those that pass on, and that I will have my family forever. And I do. I know this I know this with all my heart. I am so grateful for this blessing, this answer, this experience no matter how much saddness I feel for the loss of my grandma. I feel so much happier knowing I will see her again, in a much better world then this, with all the time in the world. And that she no longer has to suffer the pains of this world, that she is happy and that she is doing EXACTLY what I am doing, just in a different place.

I have had some tender mercies this week, and some really just funny moments that just make this work so much fun.

- They Boyds: They are the senior couple in this mission and they are amazing. Actually today Sora Ewell and I are going to her house to make cookies with her. And just to spend time with her and have companion study with her. WE LOVE HER. Her faith is absolutely amazing. And her stories of her trials and the love she has for God and her family is just so amazing.

Something I feel like I need to learn is love. Now I love everybody I do. And I'm happy and I just show others compassion, but to truly truly love someone and see someone through the eyes of Heavenly Father I have a hard time doing. Especially when they give me the finger! (not the actual finger) I look to Sora Boyd and her husband and even Sora Ewell. They love so openely and they show actually show their love to everyone. They hug and laugh and touch and just honestly love people. I'm working on that. I want to achieve this kind of love in my life. It is honestly the purest kind of love. Which was really kinda cool that this was continually being brought in though my week as I was reading my scriptures and a verse, not even a verse a sentence pops out to me in Moroni 8:16 "For perfect love casteth out all fear." I love this and this is exactly what they show. I want this so much and so this is my goal at the moment is to show others this perfect love.

- Block Knocking: I finally went block knocking which was so much fun. Even when people slam the doors and keep yelling out,"We have a bible. We don't need anything else." We went with the zone leaders since they had a note that just told them that Mănăştur was the place to go. So they go up to the last block until you litterally hit the forest on the top floor last door. They knock and they are let in by a brother and sister. They gave them the first lesson, set up a return appointment, and this two actually came to church on Sunday. Seriously. How on earth does this happen! These are miracles! Now we didn't have much success, but we saw success and that gave us hope as the Elders were accepted again into another famiies home!

- Little Old Ladies: I love the little old ladies here. They are wonderful. And it super cute since they actually care about your health. There is this little lady that just lives around the corner who at night sells a bunch of things from her garden. We stop and talk with her a little each night  and we bought some fresh garlic one time. I was not wearing tights or boots that night. It was not cold. I was not cold, I walk around all day in a jacket, and on buses it gets hot. And I really really really really hate tights. So I don't wear them. These little old ladies yell at me all the time. Okay not yell but they look at me shake their heads and in Romanian tell me, "You'll sick yourself!" I have had this comment made 5 times this week. :( And I got sick. Sometimes little old ladies know. It was a funny aspect in our lives this week.

- GOOD NEWS: So because I am still in training we watch a bunch of district videos on how to work with the Ward Mission Leader and the Bishop and Members. So as we are watching Sora Ewell and I look at each other and just shake our heads because we have not seen our ward mission leader. Because he hasn't been to church. Nor has he made any contact with us. So are goal was now to reactivate the ward mission leader. But goodnews he went to church sunday so now we have one less member to reactivate :) It was a good week.

I love you all!
Sora Stewart

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