The attribute is a four letter word, and something that we all need to give and feel. L O V E. And more specifically, Christ-like love.
To start, I have been in Arad for almost four months now. That is a long time! In these four months, I have made friendships that will last far beyond this life. Something that I have truly come to love about being a missionary here is that most of the work is focused on the members of the church here. For a while, I struggled with this because my vision of missionary work was always teaching investigators and knocking on doors. Well ya this still happens, but the sacred call of being a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints extends far beyond teaching investigators and knocking on doors- it is also about establishing his church!
I think establishing the church is more than just finding new people to bring to church- it is also about helping those who have entered the waters of baptism. Being a member, especially here in Romania, is dang hard. Think about it- all of these people are first generation converts who have felt the power of the Holy Ghost, confirming to them that the things they have read are true. They have broken the chains of tradition and some have even been abandoned by their families. Yep, this is pretty much the norm here! I get a little emotional every time I think about the sacrifices that these faithful members make to partake of the blessings of salvation. This alone strengthens my testimony that Christ's church has been re-established on the earth.
Think about this scripture as you continue to read...
D&C 10:65 For, behold, I will gather them as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if they will not harden their hearts;
|Not a hen...but lots of pigeons|
I have grown close to all of the members here and two in particular really impacted me this week.
So every , we meet with Fratele Petrescu, my most favorite little old man ever. I just like talking with him, and seeing his perspective. Yes I also like listening to his funny high-pitched British accent, but that is just a plus! haha. He is very lonely, that poor old man. When I meet with him, I can just feel the love that God has for him. In some ways, I almost feel like our visits with him are what helps him remember that God is watching over him.
This visit in particular, I got to really have a great conversation with him, and when it was time to go, I gave him a big bear hug and told him, "I love you, Frate!" But these three words, with that four-letter word in the middle were more than just words. I realized that I truly have a deep concern and love for him- man it was almost a tangible feeling! I looked at him afterwards and I could tell it meant to much to him. We met at the church, so as I saw him off and watched him walk away, he turned around with his french beret on his head, smiled, and waved at me. An incredible feeling overcame me, and brought tears to my eyes. Wow. I just couldn't help but think about how much God loves this man. This little old man, who is lonely and maybe not the best hygiene, - HE MATTERS TO GOD. And he matters to me. I am so thankful that I had this experience that helped me realize that God truly loves all of His children, and that when we have an attitude of Christ-like love, our hearts can be changed.
|God loves all his children.|
The next day I found out that Sora Krnacs had been in the hospital. I gave her a call to see if us and the sisters could go visit her. She told me that she didn't want us to catch the flu by coming over but I insisted. So, we made the 40 km journey to Nadlac to her lovely little cottage. It breaks my heart every time I see her living conditions, but I stand in awe at the faith that this lady has. SHE HAS TRIALS. She has had cancer, she makes 80 lei ($20) a month, and works horrible hours. She has no indoor plumbing, no lights, rides her bike to work in the freezing cold, and makes the 2 hour journey to church whenever she can make it. Gosh, can you even imagine?
|Salt of the earth...Sis. Krnac's home|
So we enter into her house and give her the tea that we brought for her. We reminisce about Elder Day and she tells us that whenever she sees her beautiful stove, she thinks of Elder Day. I reminded her that we can use this as motivation to always strive to be faithful.
|The Arad District with Sora Krnacs|
Out of the blue she asks for a blessing for her sickness. Wooo her words were powerful and her faith worth more than anything in the world. I grabbed my trusty consecrated oil vial and Elder Wilstead anointed her with it. Then I sealed the blessing and gave her a blessing of healing and comfort. Giving blessings are one of the most special and faith-building experiences. When a worthy priesthood holder gives a blessing, the spirit truly guides their words. The sisters said that as I put my hands on her head, tears began to flow from that wonderful woman's eyes. Her hands clasped together and she was pleading with all of her might to God. I felt like my words were truly guided by the man upstairs, and my love and admiration for that woman grew so much. I gave her a big hug, and we just looked at each other for a second. Again, I got a little taste of how much God loves that woman. I truly felt JOY- The joy that only comes from serving and loving without a thought of reward.
|Sora Krancs. The most faithful lady I have ever met.|
These two incredible experiences were life-changing. Seeing God's love for his children first-hand is just special. When we go out with this love, regardless of our circumstances, we WILL be happier. We WILL make someone's burdens feel light and we WILL feel God's love for US.
I know that God loves each and everyone of us. We are his children! We can change the world with love. Heck, we are the chickens under his wings- He wants all of us to feel the comfort and love that he can provide!
|Just waiting for a train like...|
I LOVE each and everyone of you. Thank you for all of the love and support. I am so sorry if I cannot email everyone- these darn emails take forever to write!
Keep it real- LOVE LOVE LOVE!
P-day hike pictures