In the past month the Lord has blessed my tongue, as I feel like I am improving with the language everyday. Seven months ago I didn't know where Romania even was on the map, si acum pot vorbi in romana! Intr-adevar e un miracol.
|Domnul Marin... we see this nice gentleman every day on our way to the church|
The Lord has blessed me with an amazing opportunity to serve with Elder Miller. We really found the flow together, and I enjoy each day with him. It is a great blessing to serve with so many great lads. I have learned a lot from him.
|Elder Miller just preaching the good word|
The people I have met here is another blessing from God. I have grown so close to the members, our investigator friends, and of course coming to know my Savior even better as I have striven to use this sacred time to bless these people.
|Enjoying the beautiful evening in this beautiful city.|
This week was another incredible one. The beginning of the week was a little slow, but that is ok because I don't even really remember much from it! What a blessing that you seem to only remember the really good things that happen, and there were so many...
we began our morning looking for a less-active, and got to explore the unknown little streets of Craiova, as well as teaching a couple the restoration in a park. I love teaching the Restoration because my testimony is always strengthened when I teach and testify.
|Dusk in centru|
That afternoon, we met with our friend, Vicky. It was a gorgeous day and we took a stroll in centru vechi, and then ate Italian gelato... heaven! We laughed and talked, and then eventually we started talking about The Book of Mormon, and the role of the Holy Ghost. After reading in Mosiah 18, Vicky expressed a sincere desire to be baptized. She knows this is what God wants for her. The only thing is that it requires to give up a lot of things that will make her way different from all of her friends, and isn't sure if she is ready to do this. We talked more, Elder Miller said some really profound things that helped get her gears thinking about why God gives us commandments, and by the end of our meeting, she was really considering this. I am so excited for her, and admire her desire to follow the commandments God has given us. As discussed and shared experiences, it reminded me of why we need a prophet and modern day revelation. This is how God works, and He knows what we need in order to have the most happiness in our lives. Vicky will have to sacrifice a lot, but I can hardly wait to see the blessings God will pour upon her as she makes this important step.
We ended up being an hour late for our weekly billiards night with some of our members, but it didn't affect Elder Miller's and my game, as we came off with a "W" at 6-4...
|The billiards gang|
The next two days, consisted of our English class, meeting up with some potential investigators and inviting them to the lessons, and just working hard!
night was pretty important because the next day is which means (hopefully) our friends that we invited to church will come. Our church services have literally made a 180 degree turn in the past month. Our church meetings are so important because it is a place where the spirit dwells in great measure. We called all of our friends that we could think of and prayed really hard that night.
The next morning was spent preparing my talk and getting everything set for the meeting. It was about 10 minutes before and nobody but one of our members was there... I moment of despair kind of filled me. I want my friends sooo bad to experience what I experience every single . Well, in classic Romanian fashion, the mob showed up at about 3 minutes till. THREE OF OUR FRIENDS CAME!!! I was so excited, yet still a little nervous as to how the meeting would go. One of our progressing investigators who is a woman decided to come, and I was a little concerned because she was the only female...
Once the opening hymn began, peace filled my soul, which was a little reminder from God that He is directing his church, and that His spirit will be with us. Church was amazing, and my talk went really well. I also conducted our school lesson which was a little stressful, but everyone loved it, and most importantly, the spirit was there.
I could tell throughout the meeting that our friend Mirela was a little emotional. When we talked after she told me that she feels so much peace and rest in her soul. She even asked if it is normal to feel sleepy when you feel the Holy Ghost! She had been having sleeping issues that week and said that she feels like she can finally go to bed. I am so thankful she recognized the Holy Ghost and in more ways than one!
So, church was a miracle. It was a miracle that we had nine people at church, that our friends enjoyed the meeting, and most importantly, that the spirit was there! The Holy Ghost testifies of truth, and where ever a body of saints are gathered, so shall be the spirit of God. This little branch in Craiova of God's church IS changing people's lives. Man I am so thankful to be apart of this.
|Selfie with our Romanian mother, Mihaela|
|Mihaela and I... always joking|
The awesomeness didn't stop there, though! There is a 12 year-old boy that comes to our English class and we have become friends with him. We had a separate English lesson with him, played tennis de picior with him and his dad, and they invited Elder Miller and me to their home !
We were excited to go and praying for an opportunity to share the message that has blessed our family's lives. Doamna Buznea fed us THE most incredible Romanian food I have yet to eat... Mamaliga for an appetizer, incredible baked potatoes, chicken legs that even had aluminum on the ends so our fingers didn't get gross, cabbage salad, rolls, and two desserts at the end!!! Holy moly I was in heaven.
|The Buznea family... God placed this family in our lives|
Afterward, our friend, Sebestian "Sebi" played for us some melodies on their electric organ (a keyboard), and then some other melodies on the clarinet. He has talent!! It was great to just be with a family, and see them interact. It reminded me of being home with the fam. All families have quarrels, and all have an incredible link of love that is given to us by God!
Finally, the opportunity arose to talk with them about their thoughts on Christ and religion. They are orthodox, but like many in Romania, they don't really practice their religion, and don't have much of an interest in doing so. They expressed concerns as to why all churches teach something different, and how do we know what will happen after we die. They were seeking for truth.
Man, as I listened to them, I just thought about how scary and weird it must be to not truly understand God's divine plan for us. I don't know how I would live without knowing that after death, I will see my family again, and in fact be resurrected like Christ was and live with my family forever. This is what gives me so much peace in my life. This is why I am here. This is why God placed this family into my life.
I asked the mom what she believes happens after death. She told me "nothing." Then she said, "Well do you know more?"
I looked at Sebi, then his Dad, and then at her. It was another one of those moments where I felt God's love for His children at an incredible level. I testified to them of the reality of life after death, and that they can be a family forever. What joy filled the room!!!
We then talked about the reason why there are so many churches, and Elder Miller, for the first time, recited the first vision in Romanian to someone other than me. The spirit filled the room as he testified. We then showed them the Book of Mormon, and testified to them that the teachings in this book will bless their lives, because it blesses ours and our family's. This family has never tried applying the teachings of Jesus Christ into their lives, and boy am I giddy to help them on a path that will bless them for eternity.
|Centru Vechi... when the sun is out the world is out!|
As Elder Miller and I walked down that family's street, we just couldn't stop smiling. THIS is why we are here. WE are here for familia Buznea. God sent us to them, so that they can also partake of the joy that comes from living the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. How thankful am I to be in the front lines of this great work.
|Best saorma that I have had... thanks to my man Cosmin|
I know that this church is true with all of my heart. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and still communicates with us today through prophets and our own personal revelation that he grants to us as we pray to Him. The gospel the Jesus Christ preached and lived while he was on the earth has been restored to it's fullest in these latter-days. Truly, a home and one who is built upon the principles of His gospel WILL have greater happiness and peace in their lives. More than they could ever imagine. I know that because I experience this every day.
|Muzeul de Arte|
I pray that we might ever be faithful to the Lord and trust in His timing, and help our friends along the way.
All my love,