Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 7, 2014

Hello again,

I don't understand how every Monday comes so quickly. I feel like it wasn't that long ago when I just wrote about the week before and how people yelled at us and it just wasn't very fun. Well, thankfully, this week was so much better then the last. Not without it's struggles, but oh gosh the Lord loves us so much and has sent little tender mercies that have me on my knees so grateful that I have the privilege to be a missionary.


Monday: Really weird Monday. We had a BBQ in the back of the villa and it was just a really really long P-day. We all went home smelling like smoke though and all Elder McAllister could say is "mmmm America" haha. Made me laugh. It was really nice though to have taken that time just to relax... Sora Uhl and I just feel like we can never get everything done in a p-day so for the most part they're pretty stressful. It was nice to finally relax for once.


Tuesday: Super weird day. For one... plenty of people where leaving from our district and two of the elders I have literally served around for 6 months. We did some contacting and as a goodbye (since the elders love this) we played some Frisbee. We called a few of our investigators but none of them worked out. Some of the Elder's investigators came though and it was a super fun game. I actually can throw a Frisbee and catch! haha. It was pretty fun and I felt sporty for once in my life. Especially since our Branch President is SOOO competitive.

We had a lesson with Vali too. It was super good. I mean the spirit was just there. We really wanted to know where she was going and what we really needed to focus on as we were teaching. I asked her about Joseph Smith and about how she feels and if she has prayed about it. Her response was," Yeah I have. I feel like it happened. It sounds weird and strange. A little crazy. But, I do believe that he saw God and Jesus Christ. That they spoke to him. I feel like it's all true. I just feel so good about all that I have learned." Oh if I could only explain how much my heart sang and how happy I was and I was just trying to not get all watery eyed and make a fool out of myself. But that's what she said and gosh it's so wonderful. We talked about baptism later and she just looked at us and said," You know I think it's great that you were all baptized older so it was your choice. She is progressing. She still hasn't come to church. So we are working on that. Small steps. Small small steps.


Wednesday: Ughh... not my favorite day. At all. We did some contacting and then we had a lesson with Alina. Alina the one I have been teaching basically since I got here. We went into that lesson to really talk about baptism and her progressing toward her date. She hasn't been praying to know if these things are true. She isn't applying what we have been teaching. She likes learning these new things... but gosh, she just doesn't want to change right now. I don't understand. I don't. We had her pray right then and there to see if our message was true. I felt the spirit and I am glad we did that. Then, she drops the bomb on us. She tells us that she is leaving the next week to Spain and wont be back until September. Really? That's it? Gosh, someone just stabbed me in the heart. I tried not to look as upset as I felt but I'm not very good at that. I'm happy she found a job. But I'm not happy. I just know how much more she could have had. I just know how much more happiness she would have had. I know these things. We said goodbye probably for the last time in person and I just sat down on the couch and cried. Oh agency. It is her choice. We have taught her with the spirit. She has a Book of Mormon. She has gone to church. She knows what she feels is true. It's just when she wants to accept it. We are going to get her address though and send some missionaries in Spain over to her.

Being in one area and teaching some of these people for so long and then having them drop off is seriously some of the saddest things. I. Hate. It.  I am so grateful that I have been in Constanta for this long. I love it. I just hate seeing those that have felt the spirit and have this knowledge of what is right and seeing them deny it... or reject it because it is too hard.

Now this is where I go on my little rant about Elder Holland's talk, because gosh it was so good. I hope you all were very attentive because that is Romania. That is what Romanian people are. There church is so easy. There Gods are so easy. All you have to do is say a few prayers and you are saved. It's so easy. As we were contacting a girl asked me how we really are saved. I asked her what she thought and she told me that it's like a giant scale that all good actions and desires will be on one side and the bad ones will be on the other. If you were 51% good you go to heaven if you were 51% bad you go to hell and that's it. Doesn't that sound easy? They just see salvation as something that you believe in and you get it. No wonder they don't want to meet with us. haha. We tell them all the things that they have to do and it isn't easy. It never is. Sora Uhl and I talk about this often and as amusing and funny it is to us to really see the Character of Christ and Heavenly Father and for these people to think that it is so easy. I love what Elder Holland said,"Really?". It was never easy. What He suffered? Are you kidding me? I can't even imagine. Yeah I suffer. Yeah missions are hard. Yeah I have had trials that make my knees buckle and have me cry out to Heavenly Father. But I can't even imagine what pains and trials He went through. And all these people, not just Romanians, but everyone thinks it is so easy. It really just made me think of how much more we have to share these things. How much more we have to raise our voice as a warning to people. I'm not saying anything drastic like "soap boxing" but how many people do we know that are dwindling in unbelief. How many of our neighbors really don't know. How many of them would be willing to listen though if we really did share and say hey did you know in the scriptures it says that "No unclean thing can enter into the presence of God?" That there is actual work to do. I don't know how many will listen. I mean. I don't have all the lessons in the world. But, I do know people listen. There are people that listen and care. There are people who do want to know more about the Savior. There are people that do struggle with trials and tribulations. Show them you love them enough to be bold and say,"Hey, it's not easy but what I can show you will bring you so much happiness. Please come." You will always be able to say that "yes, this was so worth it." It really is. 

Well stepping off my soap box now.


Back to Wednesday... after a few tears and vents where shed about our lesson with Alina. Andreea came. She is literally one of the biggest lights here in Romania. I am so happy that she wants to serve a mission. She is so so so wonderful. As that day didn't start off the best it did end on a happier note. If Andreea, sweet perfect Andreea, can take a year to be baptized and really then devote everything she has to the Savior. Alina can too make these changes. It may take more time. It may take more challenges. She can accept the gospel and let the atonement change her. 


Thursday: Contacting. Contacting. Contacting. and well more contacting. That's literally what my planner says haha. We spent most of the day outside talking to people. Normal. It was a pretty breezy day though and since the weather here can be beautiful in the morning and bitter cold with bitter winds and rain in the afternoon you just never know how to dress! That drives me absolutely crazy about Romania. It really does. It's beautiful and hot. Then it's freezing. MAKE UP YOUR MIND! haha. 

We were pretty chilled though when we came home and I just did not feel good. So I went to bed a bit early. Feel fine now just for the record :) 


Friday: Contacting. Normal. We went and did some Internet study though and watched the General Women broadcast. It was so good. I was so grateful for it. I had some beautiful answers to my prayers that day. Oh yeah. I wrote down a huge list of questions for Heavenly Father and have just prayed about them for the last week. I promise you that every single one of them was answered within just the two sessions I have watched. 

Anyways, We went over to the church and had a lesson with our different investigator named Alina. It was... well ok... she had just gotten fired from her job, so she was just very very distracted, and it just hmmm wasn't the best lesson. We really didn't get to teach what we wanted to teach because there was just so many distractions and questions and it was just hard to focus. We got out really late, and we just didn't leave with the peace knowing this is what she needed to know. *sigh* it happens. 


Saturday: District Meeting... I am not sure how I feel about our new district. Ugh... I'll get back to you on that. 

We did have a great lesson with Vali though and talked about Prophets. She thoughts it was beautiful and wanted to come to conference, she didn't. Still working on that. We are only going to have one more lesson with her and then she goes on vacation for like 3 weeks. We have to seriously find some new investigators. Praying that with the sun more so coming out these days that we will be able to find someone. That we will meet with someone who is prepared. Really really really praying for this. 

Later we watched the first session of General Conference. Elder Myler's tradition in his family is to always have crepes so he started making crepes and they were super good. It felt like being at home with Spencer's not quite crepes but definitely not pancakes that he would always make haha.
Oricum. I love General Conference. I really really do. I feel bad for how I really took advantage of it before my mission. Not really listening or focusing not really seeing how much it really does apply to me. How many things I could have learned. I mean hello! It's the Lord speaking to us! Duh! Well I have talked a little bit about General Conference and I have only seen the two morning sessions. That's what happens when the morning session starts at 7 at night. 


Sunday: Had sacrament and watched the Saturday Morning Session in Romanian. Elder Hollands talk was super funny in Romanian to me. He is just super passionate so it's funny with the translators. Alina and her fiance came the last 10 minutes of church which was a big step... well the fact that she brought her fiance. She said she would be late because he didn't feel very well. But they came. He talked to quite a few members and stayed as we had snacks after. Hoping it went well and he will come again. 


I feel like I have had such Tender Mercies and tender answers this week. The work is still hard. Nothing really changes that. I just can't complain though. No matter what happens here and how many people deny me, I can never deny what I really know to be true. I can't deny it ever. I was actually talking with Sora Uhl about this. That after all that has happened in my life, after all that I have seen on my mission, I can't deny the church. I have to stand as a witness and say that I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true. It is HIS Church. I know it. I know it. I know it. I know it. I can never look back and say that I no longer believe it. I can't. I just can't. I love this gospel. I love it more then anyone can ever know. I love my Savior. I love knowing that as I am here on a mission, as I struggle, I am never alone. I sincerely pray for anyone that does feel like they are going through something alone just to remember Elder Bendar's talk. "taking my yoke upon you." These burdens don't have to weigh us down. They don't. They should lift us up and look up and really see the arm of the Savior and how he has helped us.


I love you all so so so so much. I am so grateful for your letters. They inspire me. Just thank you.



Sora Stewart

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