Man it seems like I just emailed you guys. The weeks just fly by. This was a solid week. We had the opportunity do some service as we picked cherries a couple of times for the branch president, helped strengthen our members through activities and visits, snuck in a little birthday present for one of our members, Leonard, as we went to watch the Harlem Globetrotters, continued to teach our wonderful friend and investigator Mirela, and were probably fed five our of the seven nights of the week... ya I'd say I am a Romanian food-aholic!
|Picking cherries on a beautiful Saturday morning!|
|Cirese... sweet cherries!|
|Leonard and us at the Globetrotters!|
|Enjoying the game|
|Selfie with Smiley!|
|Globy... Apparently the most famous mascot in the world_|
Something I love about Romanians is their hospitality. As English teachers, we have many students who we grow close to which lead into great teaching opportunities, as well as eager Romanian women who want to cook for us... and boy I am not complaining! The best meal was... oh man... probably stuffed peppers or the three course meal which included pig fat, cheeses, and veggies for the appetizer, a ciorba for the side, and grape leaf sarmale with homemade bread and a cherry cake for dessert! Is your mouth watering yet??? Romanians take their food very seriously, and are sure to not waste even the intestines of the pig. They adore you when you compliment them, and eat more than anyone else at the table (I know that from experience...) I love the family atmosphere that I feel when I am in a Romanian's home, and I reflect on how blessed my family is because we have the gospel. I share the picture of our family very often, and everyone either says that mom and dad are so young, or that we all look so happy! This isn't because we are perfect, but it is truly because of how blessed we are for keeping the commandments of God. It is hard to share this with these people who have held on to tradition for so long, but I will find those who are truly seeking for the truth and a positive change in their lives!
Thankfully, God has blessed Elder Krieger and I with many wonderful people here in Craiova to help bring unto Christ. I had many learning experiences this week that helped me understand my role as a missionary as well as a christian. First of all, the most rewarding thing to see as a missionary is progression in others. I am here for others, and I have such a desire and concern for those who I meet with to make steps to help them understand their divine potential. The wonderful thing is that I am not just helping them- they are helping me, and God is truly blessing both parties as we learn to turn outwards and follow the perfect example- Jesus Christ!
Let me tell you the parable of the time Elder Ditto was "spat" upon.
One day Elder Krieger and I had an appointment with our dear friend Mirela. The morning had been a little weird, as a result, our spirits were down and weren't in the right mindset. As we walked to Mirela's we passed a family/group of gypsies. They were laughing and having a good time, but their were two who were a little crazier and were beginning to get a little rowdy. We quickly walked passed them, but I heard a uncomfortable laugh that gradually got closer and closer to me, until I felt a surge of cold liquid all over my back... First thought that went into my mind was alcohol... I quickly snapped around, with my hands out, about to say some mean things in Romanian. Then I saw two things and felt another in the next one second...
1. The dude had a water bottle in his hand... phewf!
2. The embarrassment that was on their faces and most importantly, the spirit asking me, "what would Jesus do in this situation?"
Well, my hands were up so that was kind of an issue, but I quickly composed myself and tried to muster a smile and told them that it was ok. That's all I could do, so I just turned around and walked off. This moment was huge for me. I had an opportunity to turn outwards when the natural man inside was telling me to get big and angry. I am thankful that I didn't, but I felt like Jesus wouldn't have just said it was ok, but even would have took time to talk to them and make a new friend.
|Mirela brought us dinner!!|
We laughed it off, though, and went to meet with Mirela. Much to our delight, she had brought us lunch, with a big smile and all. She always makes our day, and takes out any anger or stress that we have and replaces it with love and happiness. I call her "Mirela Minuata" or Wonderful Mirela. Not only is she filled with brightness and love, but she is blossoming into a faithful woman. I remember first meeting with her in April and she didn't even really know that you could have a personal relationship with God. Now, she is an avid reader of The Book of Mormon and prays, with real intent too! This progression is just heart-warming to see.
Mirela isn't the only one who is learning to come unto Christ, though.
After our lesson with Mirala Minunata, we walked back the same way we came. Lo and behold, those same gypsy gangstas were there. This time, I came to them with a completely different attitude! They were quick to apologize and instead of staying ticked, I gave them bro hugs, those solve everything! We continued on to have a little conversation and we both parted ways, both being filled with the spirit of God, which is the love of God.
Ok, so maybe I wasn't "spat" upon, but that sounds a lot more dramatic than being sprayed by a water bottle. I am so thankful for this experience because It shows the power of turning outwards and striving to be like Christ! Regardless whether or not you are a Christian, everyone can follow the example that Christ set. It is so much more fulfilling and powerful, when we follow the example that Christ set with the vision that through His gospel, we can return to live with our loving Heavenly Father again. This is my goal and what better way to come a little close than to be a missionary for Him!
|We love Craiova!|
A couple times this week I felt like I lacked charity towards my fellow men. Charity is the pure love of Christ and isn't just something that I naturally have. Christ was an incredible example of this as he ministered to anyone who had faith in him, regardless of race or class. Not only did he help those but extended his long-suffering and humility to all those who he met, even ones who judged him. I love the image of the pharisees condemning the woman who had committed adultery. Christ's response to the pharisees was whoever is not guilty of sin, let him cast the first stone. None of them dared to cast the first stone, and Christ told them woman to go and sin no more. He is no respecter of persons, and at times I find myself judging others.
John 811 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
I decided to really work on this and found myself filled with the "light of life" as I strived to do what Jesus would do- what he has asked me, and all of us, to do!
Miracles and changes within happen as we lose ourselves in the service of others. Whether big or small, these miracles are evidence that God loves us and is ready to pore out his blessings as we strive to do our part in being true Christians- followers of the Master!
I love you all and SUMMER IS HERE!!!
|Elder Krieger getting his Aussie game on.|
|Still got it!|
|Leonard... the real pool shark|