This was a whirlwind of a week. I don't really have a crazy story this week, but I do have a few highlights and tender mercies that we were blessed with as Elder Meek, Elder Atkinson and I worked our tails off. Winter decided to come back and we had to face snow storms, sickness, and new assignments, but through it all we kept on humming "Called to Serve"... one of the most special things about being a missionary is the "missionary mantle." We are endowed with power, ordained servants of the Lord Jesus Christ to bring souls unto Him. This calling is the most rewarding, and joyful thing I have ever done. Every time when I think I can't go on, or I have learned it all... the Lord always gives us another trial or opportunity to grow and come closer to him.
Here are some of the highlights this week while being a missionary in the land of the Republic of Moldova:
Exchange to Orhei
Our zone leaders felt like it would be a good use of our time to join forces with Elder Baker and Elder Wilkes in the small town of Orhei (45 minutes north of Chisinau) for a half a day. On Monday night, we had a lesson, and then grabbed our night packs and searched for a "maxi taxi" (ghetto shuttle bus). Much to our chagrin, the maxi taxi station was empty, and it didn't look like we were going to be able to get to Orhei. We then saw a little maroon Dacia Logan with a green "taxi" light. We asked the guy if he would be able to take us all the way to Orhei. The man didn't even hesitate and we were on our way! I won't say if there were seat-belts or not in the back seat, but we did make it to Orhei safely and ended up paying the guy 400 lei ($25).
|Street Boarding on the only "big" street in Orhei!|
The next day we labored with all our might to bring souls unto Christ, despite battling the freezing temperatures, and my cold. We gave away THIRTEEN Book of Mormons, and found several people that were interested in the unique promise contained in the book.
|Just like old times|
|Elder Baker is the best!|
Alex Temporal and Spiritual
Alex had been coming to our advanced English class for a while and one day confronted us about taking private lessons. We agreed to teach him English for thirty minutes and then to teach him for thirty minutes about what we believe. One meeting turned into many, and within a month, we were able to set a baptismal date with Alex for the .
|The Elders and Alex|
Alex is unique as I have been able to help him develop spiritually, as well as temporally- helping him prepare for an interview with his dream company. Something that I love about our church is the attitude of ensuring that self-reliance. The modern-day prophets have emphasized this in so many ways throughout the years, and seeing people struggle in Moldova temporally has echoed this truth to me. I am grateful for the humility and desire that Alex has to improve his life so that his family might have a better future is inspiring to me. I know that living the gospel of Jesus Christ is truly the way to true happiness- following the council of the prophets ensures safety in this life!
I met with Andrei [the man that had lost the church for five years after being baptized in Czech] at the new market just the other day. Andrei told me that he has been coming home with empty pockets- that he hasn't been able to provide his family with income.
|Andrei Gondiu - My brother.|
This man has rock solid faith- he like Paul glories in his infirmities, but recognizes that he needs to find a way to provide for his family. I shared with Andrei a scripture that I had recently read.
Mosiah 24:1414 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
This scripture truly calmed his soul. I testified to him that the Lord knows his sufferings, and will provide a way to provide for his family. Like Alex, Andrei is a true warrior and an inspiration to me as who I want to become as a father.
Restoration with humble family
We were able to meet with a family who I met on the street last Sunday in their home on the 9th floor of an old block on the outskirts of Chisinau. There we had a traditional Moldovan meeting with fruit tea with organic honey, fresh walnuts, cookies- the works! We taught them the message of the the restoration and testified of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and showed them how they too could receive this witness.
|The Best Two Years|
I love missionary life, and I love Chisinau.
|I made the Elders heart pancakes for Valentines day!|
...and that's why the Lord sent me back to Bucharest!
SURPRISE!!!! Yup, I took an early morning plane and arrived this morning.
|Peacin' out of Chisinau|
As I walked up the airplane stairs onto the plane, I took one last glimpse at the hills around Chisinau. The Lord truly put me through a refinement process I never would have imagined here in Chisinau. Now I am closing this chapter and beginning another one as an office elder in the capital of Romania. I am excited to see how the Lord will use my talents and what I will learn in these last six months as a full-time representative of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Hurrah for Israel!
All my love,
|Brother Virlan... I look up to this man|
|Dorin... my first friend in Chisinau!|
|Elder Griffeth... a life long friend|
|Visiting Fratele Hanganu|
|Victor gave his first lesson in Sunday school... he rocked it even at 84 years old!|