Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Moldovan Miracle

Allo everyone!!!

So, due to the craziness of the past few weeks, I'm sorry to say that I haven't written as much as I would have liked. But, I am calling myself to repentance and writing an actual letter today! Okay. First of all, this week is the start of the new transfer, and I found out yesterday that Sora Koth is leaving Chisinau to go back to Romania (Constanta) and starting Thursday, Sora Seare is my new companion!! Super sad to say goodbye to her, but also super excited to "kill" Sora Seare- as this is her last transfer in the mission. So I will for sure be staying in Chisinau until at least December 23, the end of next transfer. It's weird to think that my fate is sealed to stay in Moldova for nearly the first six months of my mission, but I couldn't be more happy about it. I love the people here to death, and truly believe that this place is the "promised land"!!

To catch everyone up, we had an amazing zone training weekend a couple weeks ago, where we had the opportunity to hear from Elder Leimer of the Quorum of the Seventy speak. He came to Chisinau and gave talks in both the Romanian and Russian branches on the importance of church attendance, and "being true to what we know is true". It was a really inspiring message, which President Ivory related to us the next day during zone training. 

Ever since I came into the country, I have heard  President Ivory talk about "The Moldovan Miracle". At zone training, he shared with us exactly what his vision is for this miracle-  100 people attending church in Chisinau, and 150 people in all of Moldova- before the end of this year. For this to happen will truly be a miracle; as of right now, we have about 70 people between the Russian and Romanian branches here, and around 40 people between Orhei and Balti (the other two cities in Chisinau open to missionaries). He promised us that if we are all in, and everything we are doing has a purpose, we will see this miracle happen before the end of the year, with the Lord's help: "If we're all in, there's no question the Lord will make it happen." 

Last Sunday, Elder Newbern and I had a chance to speak in the Romanian branch about this goal- and asked for the members to join us. I focused my (first talk in Romanian!) on how we don't always see the blessings of sharing the gospel, or the impact we make, but our example and efforts always make a difference. I shared the story of Abinadi, how he made the ultimate sacrifice for what he believed, and didn't get to see the impact he made on Alma, who because of Abinadi, changed thousands of lives. Sora Koth always says that Abinadi is probably one of the most underrated Book of Mormon prophets, and without him, a large portion of the Book of Mormon wouldn't exist. It's true! And there is so much to be learned from the power of one. We may not always see the result of our obedience and sacrifice, but we will see the Moldovan miracle happen before the end of this year if we are ALL in. As a mission, we all pray at 6^30am, 10am, and 10pm. We are now asking the members to join us in praying at 7am and 10pm for this miracle to happen. We know that it will take all of our efforts for President Ivory's promise to be fulfilled, and we are ready to work harder than we ever have!! 

Yesterday, we decided as the Russian district (Elders Findlay & Tita, Robinson & Johnson, Becker & Savage, and Sora Koth & I) that we would all fast together for miracles to happen in Moldova. Even though Sora Koth is leaving and Elders Johnson and Robinson and I are moving over to the Romanian district, it was a very unifying moment for us all to remember that no matter where we are, we all have the same purpose- to put in the work to make miracles happen, and pray harder than we ever have for the Lord's help in everything we do. 

As for the miracles that we have already begun to see here as answers to our prayers, Elena has been coming to church for 3 weeks in a row now! We talked to her this week about baptism, and even though her mom won't let her make that decision yet (she's only 16), she is still excited to read the Book of Mormon everyday, and has become good friends with the people in the Romanian branch, as well as one of our other investigators, Axenia! Super cool. 

We started teaching another really cool girl this week named Marina. She's been going to the elders' beginning english class for the last transfer, but she is totally not a beginner! Plus, we planned on giving her a Romanian Book of Mormon this week, but it turned out that she already had one! She had been reading it every morning, in addition to every night, she would translate it into Russian for her husband who doesn't speak Romanian. Unbelievably awesome girl! We told her that we also had Book of Mormons in Russian, and we gave her one to give to her husband. Her whole face lit up, she was so excited to give it to him! Last night, we had a chance to go over to their house with the Russian elders (Tita and Findlay) to teach the Restoration. We did the lesson in mostly Romanian and translated the parts Marina's husband (Mihai) didn't get into Russian. It was one of the best lessons I've taught out here, despite the language barrier between us and the elders. We are excited to see the light that comes into their lives as they continue to read the Book of Mormon together and look for answers to their questions!

Oh, even more exciting news. President Ceban, the branch president of the Romanian branch, got married on Friday! Him and his now wife, Iulia, will be going with the rest of the branch at the end of October to the temple in Kiev, Ukraine, and will be sealed there! Sora Koth and I got the chance to go to the wedding and reception to take pictures, something missionaries usually wouldn't be allowed to do, but that President Ceban requested, as our wedding gift to him haha. All I have to say is, Moldovan weddings are a blast!!

I think that's about it for now, if you made it to the end of this letter, I applaud you! Thanks for your continual love and support and prayers, it really means the world to me! No matter what the next seven days have in store for you, find some way to make it a dope week!!

Cu mult drag,

Sora Rich

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