Sunday, November 30, 2014

Breaking the Ice

The woman playing the accordion in the video you saw, was probably Vera, she's about as culture as you can get :) She sometimes comes to the English classes.

Well, this week I finally got to see my first baptism! It was amazing, and Maria came so that was special. I was talking to Fratele Piper, a counselor in the branch, and he was excited about it and said that this baptism was "a break in the ice." I'm so glad the members are feeling the momentum from all this, things are just going to keep rolling from here.

Apparently someone commented to Sora Smith how all the sudden Arad has all this potential and fire going on, and she was just like "all the sudden? Noooo... this was months of hard work and preparation." Yup, it sure was. But man it's been so worth it.

We now have a new elder, Elder Chatterton in his fourth transfer.

Also there's this handicapped girl, Clara, who has been coming for the longest time to church all on her own, and now we have the confirmation to teach and baptize her, too. We'll involve her family in the lessons, who knows what will happen.

One of the counselors of the church presidency in Romania, President Chirila, came to Arad over the weekend and apparently things are going to start rolling a little further as pertaining to the functionality of the branch. It's been a long process, and it's definitely not over, but man Arad is being so blessed and going through so many changes, it's soon going to be so strong and I look forward to the day when it will be.

We went contacting in the village of Lipova just under where the ruins we always visit are. After tracting through the mud and encountering a flock of a million turkeys and then being chased off by an angry farmer man, and dropping a Book of Mormon while fleeing to safety (-5 beauty points for future husband) . . .

We found and spoke to one man chopping wood in front of a really humble home. Georgi's parents were Pentecostal but he doesn't believe there is a God after "praying for 20 years and not ever getting an answer". It was an interesting conversation, it went all over the place, but in the end he took a Book of Mormon and promised he would read it and try out the test in Moroni 10:3-5.

Let me tell you why he took the book and challenge.
It was not because we proved him wrong with some scripture/doctrinal fact.
It was not because we have clever words to get him to take it.
It was because of the pure and simple testimony that no one can deny.
This man didn't want to take the book, he didn't want to believe something that obviously has been hurting him for years. He's felt neglected by God and didn't want to believe He exists because it hurts.
We had no power to convince him of anything.
But, by bearing testimony, we allowed the spirit to grab a latch onto his heart and tell him the truths we cannot convince him of; that God loves him and this is His Son's church. That is an important lesson for anyone.
Arguing doesn't convert. Biblical evidence doesn't convert. Amazing doctrinal facts doesn't convert. The spirit does. The best way to bring the spirit into their hearts is your testimony.

Well, there you go.

The reason I share this is we had another visit with the Seres family where we took Elder Smith, and it ended up being a Mormon vs. Pentecostal, "let me show you where you're wrong" battle. No conversion took place. That never works.

We spent Thanksgiving with our district at the Smith's, and it was so great. We all pitched in and brought a dish, and I took the plunge and made pumpkin pie all from scratch (and I had to prepare the pumpkin myself... they don't sell canned pumpkin here.) It turned out great, I was actually a little nervous haha... but we ate, said what we were thankful for, and then argued over a game of phase 10, haha I was winning until everyone realized I was winning...

Shopping on Thanksgiving/P-day


Thanksgiving Card Game - Phase 10

And now we're here. This Saturday since it's both mine and Sora Routson's birthday we're going to buy a cake (because I still remember what happened last time I tried to make a cake on my birthday...) and set off lanterns like they have on Tangled. It will be fun.

Well, I've kind of exhausted my energy for writing so I'll end it here. I'll write again on Monday so chances are next email will be pretty short :)

Sora Smith the First

P.S. I promise I will send pictures Monday... :) I have a ton...

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