Monday, October 10, 2016

Always a Reason to Celebrate

Buna tuturor! 

This week has been amazing. Sora Padgett and I feel like our hard work is really starting to pay off with the Lord's help, and it's super exciting to be a part of!

The big highlight of the week was celebrating our branch president getting married on Saturday, and having an incredible branch conference on Sunday! Both Radu (the BP) and his new wife Dominica spoke, along with President and Sora Ivory. The room was completely full, except for one empty seat in the whole place (over 50 people!) There was such an incredible spirit there, being gathered with all sorts of wonderful people. Our friend Mihaela, a lady we met from our english classes, came for the first time and she loved it! She especially liked Sora Ivory's lesson on doing things step by step, (just as the pioneers did) and talking to Sora Ivory in italian!

Mihaela, the lady that came to church, started learning english with us at the beginning of the transfer, and initially wanted to start meeting to help her get ready for an interview to go work in England. After working in Italy and trying to get back on her feet here in Iasi, she's had a rough time without much support from family. But, after we had a spiritual thought in our english class on the Plan of Salvation, she really opened up in our first lesson with her. She told us about her experience a few years ago of "dying" and coming back. She said in the vision she had while outside her body, she heard a voice say that she was going to have a chance to go back and do better, not only for herself, but to help others. She agrees with everything in the Plan of Salvation, and is eager to make positive changes in her life. We explained that just as she wants our help to get to England, God wants to help us return to live in His presence, and He has given us the way to do that. We are grateful that she is open and willing to learn; she's super solid! We talked a little bit about baptism in that first lesson, and she seemed open to it; she doesn't have a very religious background, and is really searching for something more.

One of the cool experiences we had was with Sora Silvia Anton (a painter/less active lady coming back) and Sora Cristina Dumitrasca. Sora Cristina has been having back problems lately, and didn't think she would be able to make it to church this Sunday . We called up Sora Anton to see if she could give her a ride, and they both came! When Sora Ivory was asking for example of generosity during her Sunday school lesson, Sora Cristina's hand shot up to share that experience. There was such a special spirit there, and Sora Anton was definitely grateful that her effort was noted and that it was appreciated. She told us Saturday night that in preparing for an art exhibition, she's been exhausted, and that she's missed church. She said she really wanted to come the next day. Being able to reach out to Sora Cristina was exactly what she needed. It's funny how sometimes when we are feeling like we are the ones that could use an extra hand, if we choose to turn outwards, the Lord will bless us more than we could imagine. I'm grateful that Sora Anton could teach me that.

It's weird to think that this time last year, I was spending one of my last nights in the MTC watching fireworks in Provo. A whole year in Romania has only made me more grateful for the wonderful people that exist all over the world, and even more grateful for where I come from and the principles of freedom and hope that have guided my path here.

Happy Independence day, eat some watermelon and count your blessings!!

Cu mult drag,

Sora Rich
July 4, 2016

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