Sunday, July 26, 2015

Second p-zi in Chișinau!!!!

First sunset in Chisinau, Moldova!!!!

This week was full of miracles and interesting people and experiences, I can't believe it's only been seven days since last Monday haha. Everything is a total whirlwind here as we've started our English courses five days a week; Sora Koth and I teach 2 Medium classes and a Beginner+ class. We love all our students tons and even sometimes run into them on the bus and at the park!! They're always super cute and come up and say hi to us in English. One of our most interesting experiences teaching was during our Beginner+ class. There was a new guy sitting in the back of the class, and we were teaching about how to talk about your family (siblings, parents, cousins, etc.). After each grammar principle that we taught, he tried to tell us that we were wrong (in broken english). It was a test of our patience for sure to try to explain to him why we say things a certain way. Pretty soon though, our class was tired of him trying to argue with us. There were a few of our students that told him straight up that if he thought he knew english better than native speakers, than he should leave. It was crazy to watch him storm out after that, but we were grateful to have our students back us up. We've only been teaching them english for a week but they already feel like our good friends. One of the girls we've really gotten to know from English class is Victoria- she teaches violin and is studying to practice law!! Until I find a violin of my own here in Moldova, she said that as long as we keep teaching her English, I can practice with her violin! She's a miracle for sure. Another miracle this week was getting to meet with Anastasia- a referral from the elders. She's 18 years old, but she's already had a really rough life. Her dad died when she was very young, and since then she hasn't really felt like she's loved by anyone but her boyfriend, who just moved to America. She explained to us how badly she wants to go to America and start a new life, but she needs money to get there. In the midst of explaining this to us, she stopped mid-sentence and stared off into space. She apologized and said that sometimes when she looks at paintings, she feels like she's actually there. She had been looking at a picture of Christ being baptized, which just happened to be right behind where Sora Koth and I were sitting. We wanted to badly to invite her to be baptized right then and there, but she still thinks that the path to happiness is America. The next time we meet with her, we are going to try to help her understand that the path to happiness is the gospel of Jesus Christ. We know that even though things are hard for her right now, God has big plans in store for her!! After two hours of listening to Anastasia talk about her life, Sora Koth and I were completely in tears. We know how much God loves her and want her so badly to know that. 

Another miracle that happened on Saturday was that we had a baptism in the Russian branch- a dad who had been less active got to baptize his eight year old daughter! It was awesome to see how the branch family reached out and loved them- we are all God's children and he wants us all to make it back to him!!

I love you all so much and hope you have a great week!!! Remember to look for miracles every day!!!!

Cu mult drag, 

Sora Rich
Sevghi, a girl in the Romanian branch, who we got to skype with in the MTC!!

 View from the church balcony after it flash rained
 Elder Weaver and Elder Oak teaching English at the church- on the first day of classes, we had over 170 students total!!!
Giant chess game in Centru!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

First p-zi in the field!!!!! (Vaca sfanta, I'm in Chisinau) Safe and sound!

Allo, everyone!!!

So, the last week and a half has been absolutely insane, I'll try to cram the highlights in to this update! 

Early Monday morning we left the Provo MTC, and after a long day of traveling, we arrived in Bucharest on Tuesday at around 1pm local time. We got to meet up with a bunch of missionaries at Cișmigiu Gardens, the park where Elder Nelson dedicated Romania for missionary work, that came to Buch for transfer day. It was way cool to see both Elder Cressman and Sora Brinkman there! After staying at a hotel that night, we went on a run with President Ivory, his niece Meg who is staying there  for the next month, and all the new missionary trainers and new missionaries. Elder Cressman is training Elder Brown, which is super awesome!! It will be way cool to meet back up with everyone at the Brașov conference after being in different areas for a month. The whole mission is coming together and we are going to go on a hike and have dinner at a castle!! Super fun. 

It was blazing hot in Buch but Chisinau is a lot cooler ((((: My trainer is Sora Koth and she is absolutely awesome!!  She is amazing!! It's awesome to learn from her every single day. She's from Cincinatti, has an amazing voice, loves keeping the fridge stoked with Pepsi, and has been out for about 10 months- she knows the members here well and is stoked to teach me everything she knows! As a mission, we are trying to all teach the Restoration at least once every day. It's a good reminder for us to teach simply and in a way that is applicable to each individual, whether it's a member, an investigator, our companion, or someone random we meet on the bus. President Ivory challenged us to write down our own "Joseph Smith story", or why this gospel is so important to us and why we are serving in Romania. I think it will be helpful to share with people, especially since the church is so new here in Moldova!! We have one investigator right now, but we are hoping to find more people through the english classes we will start teaching this week.

Anyways, I am sitting in an internet cafe in Centru, Chisinau (key-she-no) and there are tons of Russian dudes here yelling at their online games haha it's way funny.  that's about all the time I have, but I am excited for what lies ahead here in Chisinau!! Thank you all for your prayers, and I hope you have an awesome week!!!!

Cu drag,

Sora Rich

5th (and last) P-zi in the MTC!!!!!! July 1

Allo everyone!!

As you may have heard, this is my last few days in the MTC; by Tuesday afternoon next week, we will have arrived in Bucharest! We are all feeling pretty alright about the language, but have been reassured that it will all go out the window when we get there haha. To practice verb conjugations, we have races in the two classrooms on the whiteboards. So far, Elder Brown and Sora Armstrong are the reigning champions! 
This week was very exciting with all the new mission presidents here, as well as tons of general authorities. We got to hear from Elder and Sister Sitati (of the Seventy) last night, and they both talked about how important it is to not get stuck on your mistakes. Learning a new language, that's something very important to remember. We all make mistakes with the language, but we just have to laugh, pick ourselves up, and move on. It's the same with the mistakes that we make in life; we must, as Elder Sitati said, "let our mistakes propel us forward and make us better." He also said that we must always be hopeful; if you don't have hope, you aren't going anywhere!
Some of you may recall that last week, there were bats in our residence building; as a result of several sisters having first hand experiences with them, they moved all of the sisters out of the building and set the ones that encountered bats up with appointments to get rabies shots. We are so grateful we weren't in that group!! 
As my time at the MTC comes to a close, I can honestly say that through teaching our investigators here and learning about the culture of Romania, I have a genuine love for the people in Romania and Moldova that I haven't even met yet. My testimony of this gospel has grown so much in the last month and a half, and I am excited to share with the people in Romania the love that Heavenly Father has for them! 

I love you all tons and hope you have a great week!!
Cu drag, 

Sora Rich

4th P-zi in the MTC!!!!!!!

Jun 24

Allo, everyone!!!!

I'm going to apologize in advance, because this email is going to be kind of short!! But, shout out to everyone that sent me mail this week, I'm writing you all back this afternoon! (((: Everything here is super crazy, as there are 126 mission presidents and their wives here until Sunday for the New Mission President's seminar! Elder Nash (of the Seventy) and his wife came to speak for the devotional! One of my favorite things he said was, "don't hold anything back from the Lord, and he will return all that you give to him more than you ever could. I'm grateful for this opportunity to do just that! The speaker on Sunday was AMAZING- and just so happened to be the father of one of the sorelli (sisters) going to Italy: Brother Littlefield! I loved what he said about our success as missionaries depending alot on our faith, and how what you believe determines how hard you will work. I know this to be true! 
On a less spiritual note, there are bats in the vents on our floor. In one of the rooms right next to ours, there was a poor sister who woke up at 5am with a bat crawling up her arm! We all joked that we're all going to be turned into vampires before we even get to Romania haha.

Again, apologies for today's email being so short. I love you all and hope you have a great week!!!

Cu drag, 

Sora Rich