Monday, January 28, 2013

Miracles!!! So many Miracles!!!

Dear Family and Friends,

I am so sorry to hear about the ice storms!!! And poor grandma! I will pray for her. I hope she's out of the hospital. That is so terrible. It was really warm throughout the week and then we  had a huge rain storm, and then we had a HUGE snow storm. It was so cool!!! Its freezing now, but bundled up I'm okay. I'm happy to have my furry hat to wear because it keeps me way warm. So, there is one thing I've thought that I'd like if you ever do send me a package (not that you need to, but if you ever do, this is what I would want). MUSIC. :) I should have brought my CDs but I didn't bring anything. So, if you ever do send a package, I have some lds cds in my room like the seminary sound tracks, prince of egypt, and pretty much anything you could buy at deseret book I  can have. Plus, if Ben's at home, he could burn some cds from my itunes. I think I have a playlist called mission music already. I inherited some cds from previous missionaries and some of them are good....and some of them are ......odd. There's this one funny song that I love that reminds me of Kelsi every day because its so country!!! I love it.

Note to Lauren--I actually can't receive emails from friends because that's a new rule in the mission. BUT. I want to tell you that I LOVE YOU. And I've learned on my mission that when I have no idea what's going on, when I am forced to rely wholly on the Lord, that is when he is able to bless me the greatest. That's how I ended up at HC 15, that's how I ended up here, and that's how I'm seeing all these miracles here. I'm glad you have so much faith! Also, I mailed a birthday postcard to you and it probably didn't get there in time for your birthday, but I've been thinking about and celebrating you all of January. :)

Zone Conference was SOOO GOOD!!! Let's just say I was blown away by the spirit and found so many ways to be a better missionary. Sister Jessica (Grandma wanted to know her first name) Shumway and I have changed some things to try to be even more obedient. For example, we used to save our dinner time until 8, but now we eat way earlier so we can work all night. I am so grateful to have awesome priesthood leaders who are inspired of the God to inspire and teach us as we do his work.

There have been so many cool things and miracles this week!!! The week when the elders were getting beat up and we couldn't wear our nametags, we kept on saying, there's always persecution before miracles. And BAM! Here are the rewards.

First of all, the weather of this was bipolar. For a few days it was so warm and sunny! Like May!!! I was so happy!!! We contacted on the streets those days and in one hour I got 6 or 7 received numbers of men who were interested in learning more!!!! Just to put this in perspective, in most WEEKS we get 4-7 receives. I got like 7 in one HOUR. It was crazy!!!

And the men who wanted to learn more are way cool!!! We've met with a few of them already. One of them said he usually doesn't talk to people like missionaries on the street, but that I was just so happy that he was curious enough to listen. Happiness does so many good things!!! He asked me why I'm so happy and full of light and I said, Its because of Jesus Christ! Because when you know about God, and His plan for you, you feel so happy and you're confident in what you're doing. It was pretty cool.

Another one of the guys is SOOOO cool!!! He was telling us about what he believed, and he was like, "everyone thinks I'm crazy, but I believe God has a body, that  He's different than Christ, and that we can become like God." WHAT!!! How did he figure out all that truth?!!!!! The whole time he was talking we kept on saying TOCHNO TAKA!!! Which is like THAT'S EXACTLY RIGHT!!!  He's sweet.

Another one of the  men we met with is 7th day adventist but decided to meet with us anyways. We were afraid it would turn into a bible bash but we prayed and it turned out being an awesome lesson! Plus, he brought his friend, and his friend was really open to our message too!!! Crazy!!! Where did these people come from? One of them told us that he believed that there was life after death, but that his church didn't believe so. And guess what we had prepared to share with him? Scriptures on life after death from the Bible and the BOM. What?!!!! Crazy Beans!!!!! When we asked them to read the BOM and pray about it he said,  "well, if it goes along with the Bible, of course its true." What?!!! That was so easy!!!

Its ridiculous. I don't know how these things happen. All I know is that God prepares his children. Then he somehow leads the missionaries to them. Everything is in his hands, and I have no idea what's going on ever. Its awesome, though, getting to watch his hands work miracles in the lives of his children.

We had another lesson with Boris and Blagoi this week (the man who we randomly found and his friend who's had a BOM for 13 years) Blagoi got the Book of Mormon in Varna when he was visiting his family, but wasn't there long enough to meet with the missionaries. We got there and he  just went off on all these cool things he's learned about the Church. He already knows so much!!! ITs crazy!!! He was telling us about Lehi's family, about temples. When Boris asked why mormons don't wear crucifixes, Blagoi knew exactly what to tell him. We didn't have to say anything. At the beginning of the lesson Blagoi brought out some water, little glasses, and broken up pieces of bread for the sacrament...... He said that the sacrament was so beautiful on Sunday he wanted to have it again. We explained that the sacrament is an ordinance that needs to be done with priesthood authority, but that his desire to follow Christ was so wonderful. I was a little afraid we'd offend him by rejecting his sacrament, but he was totally fine. He put it away and was ready to learn more from us. We had an awesome  lesson and Blagoi said he's be baptized on March 30. Boris is still thinking of a date. They are SO COOL. I don't know how we find these people. When we left his house he loaded us down with oranges, bananas, apples, mandarines, chocolate, and the pretty sacrament glasses. He is so sweet and so loving. He says over and over, "I love you!!! You're like my children!! I'm just such a happy man! The Lord is so wonderful!!! I love life!" Ha ha, I love him so much!!!

I think that is all I have to report this week. Oh, one more thing---we  had so many people at CHurch this week again!!!! I think we had like 25, and that was with all the snow on the ground! (Bulgarians are terrified of snow, cold, wind, and some members refuse to come to church all winter) ALSO!!! Xristo, who was baptized this month, passed the sacrament this Sunday!!! IT was so sweet!!! I love that man so much!!! He is the sweetest man in the world. And I love his mustach, ha ha!

I love you all!!! Stay safe and smile lots!!!

Sister Stenquist

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hurray for Stara Zagora!!!


I'm happy to report that I am wearing my name tag right now. :) Our phone is working also. There's been no grafitti on the church this week which is great. Plus, the Church talked to the embassy who then called the Chief of Police in Stara Zagora and that perked him up in our defense. So they've rounded up some of the guys and the Elders are going to point out which ones they were and I'm pretty sure its all good now. Thank goodness. :) I'm so proud of our Church and all the cool connections they've got with everyone in order to protect its people. Its pretty cool.

It has been so warm the past few days here!!! It feels like April weather!!! I love it!!!

Tonight we're taking the train to Plovdiv with Elder Forshee and Elder Hoi (there's only two elders in Stara Zagora) because Zone Conference is tomorrow. President Malm, from Sweden, is coming to our Zone conference which is pretty cool and pretty intimidating. He's in the presidency for the Mission Area in Eastern Europe. I was invited to give the opening prayer in Bulgarian in front of that should be fun.

And, I gave a talk in Church yesterday!!! In Bulgarian!!! It was on callings and service in the Church. I "threw down" as they say, to try and get members on their toes and show them they NEED to serve. I am so tired of people telling me they can't have a calling, or can't learn more about Christ, because they don't have any time. I said, "I know your time is precious. But everyone of us has time to serve God who gave us life, the earth, and our Savior." Holy smokes people, you have time to serve!!!! I know your life is hard, and that you don't have any  money and you're desperate for work, and you don't think that you have any time to serve in the Church. But did you ever think that if you put God first and serve him that then he will be able to bless you. He'll bless you with peace, joy, love, and maybe even help you to find a job. But you've gotta put him first!!! I've been getting pretty feisty this week. One man on the street wasn't listening to me and so I said, "Yeah, but God only has ONE TRUE CHURCH and its THIS ONE!!!" You've gotta be bold, ya know? But you've also gotta listen to the spirit so I'm not always that forward with people. I'm getting better at being bold though.

We had a total miracle this last week!!! It was SOOOOO COOOOOL!!!! Last Sunday we went to an apartment blok looking for an inactive member, but when we got there we realized our address didn't have the apartment number. So we decided to tract the whole blok. And of course, the door was open for us. (Entrances to apartment bloks are always kept locked, but somehow they are always open when we come to them. Its one of the coolest little miracles that we see every day. God isn't going to let a little lock keep us from working). The first door we came to we could hear a family yelling and shouting inside. It was so tempting to just move on to the next door and not knock on it. We prayed, and knocked. When the mom answered we talked to her for a bit but she wasn't interested and was about to shut the door when her husband came. He invited us in and we taught him for the next hour or so. And he listened!!! So many Bulgarians just talk ON and ON and ON about what they think and they don't listen to anything you say. But he listened. He came to Church yesterday and he brought his friend. Crazy!!! I was talking to his friend and he pointed to my Book of Mormon and said, "I have that book." I was like "What! What do you think about it?" He said, "I love it! It's wonderful." WHAT!!!!! THAT DOES NOT HAPPEN!!! Except that it just did!!! The two of them stayed for Sunday School and left with all the pamphlets they could find. We met with them that night. Both of them believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, that the Church is true, and both of them want to be BAPTIZED!!! WHAT?!!!! What in the world just happened????? It was so crazy. After our lesson on the Restoration we went to the man's house and he played the guitar and sang way cool Bulgarian songs. It was sweet! He also said that he's really excited about the church and he's going to have all of his children and grandchildren go to it in Varna. What in the world!!! He's had the Book of Mormon for 13 years, loves it, has read it, but has never met with missionaries before, and now he wants to be baptized, and is introducing his whole family to the church too. It is so crazy. I can't believe the miracles that happen every day. I never have any idea what's going on, where I should go, what I should say, and then these miracles just pop out of nowhere. Its crazy beans.

We also had a lot of sad lessons but what else is new. People just need to open up their hearts and then they'll see the truth. But when their hearts are closed the Spirit can't enter. It can be frustrating, but I am learning to have greater patience and perserverance.

Also, I am happy to report that I am finally loving Bulgaria like I feel like I should. I've liked it the whole time, but yesterday I could feel my love for Bulgaria glowing out of me. At Church people kept on telling me what a big smile I have which I think is funny that that's like the one thing people notice about me. Its because I'm happy because of the Gospel!!! Also, yesterday at Church 30 people came!!!!! It was so cool!!! Last week there were only about 15. The Bulgarian mission has had 14 baptisms since the beginning of the month. How crazy is that!!! That's so many baptisms for Bulgaria!!! We have one other investigator with a baptismal date but he can't get baptized until he comes to Church and he works every Sunday so.......we don't know what to do with him. Personally, I think he should take a leap of faith and quit his job. are so hard to come by, that I don't feel like I can ask him to do that. But am I just scared because I don't have enough faith? I don't know. I'm just glad that mom and dad have jobs. Jobs are so rare here--everyone is looking for a job. Or if they have a job, they never know when or if they'll get paid. Its really sad, but I'm just happy that I'm here to share a priceless message that is better than gold.

I am so glad that all of you sound so happy and active. It is good to stay busy with fun things.

I love you!!! thank you so much for all of your love and prayers. You are the best!!

Sister Stenquist

Monday, January 14, 2013

Baptism Week

I am just fine, don't worry. So are all of us. Happy happy happy. There's a group of young men in Stara Zagora who are giving the missionaries and the Church a lot of trouble. I think there's been like 10 incidents in the past 15 days or something? The Elders got punched and kicked one day on the street. They weren't hurt, really. They said the punches didn't hurt but the kick in the ankle kind of injured Elder Forshee's ankle for a bit. But they're fine. We sisters haven't had any trouble ever. But they also wrote on the Church door, "Death. This is not America" and crossed out the Church's name in permanent marker. So we cleaned it off. Then their "leader" came and talked to Elder Forshee last night and kind of threatened the Church a bit. And Saturday night they wrote on the Church again. They wrote, "You can't stop us." It's not that big of a deal, I don't think. But President Wilstead's first concern is for our safety. So this whole week we haven't been able to wear our nametags. It sucks!!! How are people supposed to know why I'm smiling at them if I don't have my nametag on?! Without it, I smile at people, and they just think I'm some weird happy girl. They don't know why I'm happy!!!! Also, we can't contact on the street. So we have been a hard time finding new investigators. We've been doing lots of tracting, from apartment to apartment, but this tends to be less effective. We won't be able to wear our nametags for another week or so. We're also supposed to take taxis to get everywhere......and sometimes we actually do this...... Everything is just so close in Stara Zagora. Plus, our phone has been broken so if we can't find a taxi we just walk. Apparently President is going to talk to Church headquarters tonight and they're going to make a decision about what to do. Stareshina Forshee thinks they might pull missionaries out of Stara Zagora! I don't think they will....they can't---the Branch is completely dependent on us and without us it would probably dissolve. I think it will all just blow over. The Elders compiled a report at the police station and President Wilstead has contacted the US Embassy and everything. What a big mess because of some stupid men. Just leave us alone! We're just trying to give people eternal salvation with their families!!! But no worries--Sisters are never hurt in Bulgaria. So I'm just fine. They'd better not take us out of here. And I want my name tag back on. And I want to be able to street contact.

Bad news. And good news. One baptism this week. One, meaning not two. It was really sad and tears have been shed. Andre was so excited and ready to be baptized. He had dreams confirming that the Church was true, for heaven's sake! But the morning of his baptism he got a feeling that he shouldn't get baptized. He really trusts his feelings, and so he called off his baptism. He is waiting for further instruction on what to do. It really confused him because he really knew that baptism and this Church were true and things he needed to do. We're praying for him and hopefully he'll get his answer. I want him to come back so bad.

On Saturday, Xristo got baptized. He is so cute. He's my new grandpa. :) Here's a story that illustrates Xristo. When we taught him the Word of Wisdom, he accepted it immediately even though he occasionally smokes and occasionally drinks alcohol. We asked him if he'd stop smoking and quoted Mark Twain, saying, "Quitting smoking is easy. I've done it a hundred times!" Get it? Xristo is always quoting authors and he is the sweetest mustachioed man in the world. When we called and told him about Andre he said, "don't worry, I'm not going to back out." And the morning of his baptism he called us just to let us know he was still strong and ready to get baptized. The baptismal font at teh Church is made out of blue tarp and strung up on a metal structure. The water was nice and warm because we heated it up. After President Mixaelov said the baptismal prayer, Xristo KNELT DOWN in the water. It was kind of funny, because that's not what people do....but it was also sweet because it showed his innocence and submission before God. Then he put his hand over his face----he didnt' plug his nose, he just put his hand over his face----and President Mixaelov put him in the water. He might have held him under the water a bit too long.....but they did it right the first time and that was that. He was given the Holy Ghost on Sunday. Hurray for Xristo!!!

Also, I got my first letters this week!!!! I got a postcard AND Christmas card from Beth!!!! Oh dear Beth, THANK YOU!!!!! President brought them to me the day Andre's baptism was cancelled and they were a little light on a pretty sad day. So thank you for your sweet cards. They only took about 2 weeks to get to me--I was suprised by how fast it was!!! Thank you!!! I love you!!!

The other night we were walking home and Sister Shumway said--let's walk this way, there's more light." So we walked a different way. On the corner of the street a man called out to us "Hey, you speak English?!" His name is Boris and he's from Greece, just visiting Bulgaria for fun. He had perfect English which I always appreciate! We explained that we're missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ and gave him a pass along card. We talked for a bit, and then as we were leaving I said, "God loves you!" [which isn't weird because I say this to pretty much everyone....This is what I say when people reject us and are shutting their door on us--God loves you!!!] He turned to us and said, "God does not love me. He punishes me. He took my son. My son died last year and God was punishing me." I had so much pity and love for this man because he just needed to understand God's plan ofl love!!! So we taught him that he will see his son again. God does love him. God loves him so much that He gave His son to die for him. And through Jesus Christ, he and his son can live together forever with God. He said, "You have given me new hope tonight. I did not have hope before. Now I have some hope that I will see my son again." He promised to look up and to contact the missionaries in Greece. I really hope he does!!! It was just so fantastic though. This is what following the spirit looks like. You have no idea what you're doing. You choose to walk down a street, thinking that it has more light. But really God is just guiding you to someone who is waiting for the light of the Gospel. It's just crazy.

We met with Petko for the second time this week. The first time we met with him was my first week in Bulgaria. And in the past three weeks he's read half the Book of Mormon!!! Crazy!!! I just don't know why he's interested....if he's just curious or if he's actually pondering the message. For example, in the lesson I think he told me about 5 or 6 times how beautiful I am. And he told me how fashionable I am. And he kept on making off-topic comments like that. This usually means that the man isn't actually interested in the Church, he's just interested in gettting to know these religious American women. But he read half of the Book of Mormon!!! And he asked some really good questions. We'll figure it out. Oh, he also told me that I BEAM when I smile. Beam, like a sunshine ray. I wanted to be like----that's because the Church makes me so happy!! Its not me beaming, its the light of the gospel!!!! I don't think he understood though.

We met with another man in his apartment and I don't think we'll meet with him again. I'm pretty sure he's just interested in the Church as a study---he doesn't really believe in God, but he studies lots of religions as a hobby. He told me how beautiful I am. He told me how big my eyes are. He tried to kiss us as we left. And I don't want to go back. The spirit was nonexistent as we were talking with him, and if the spirit isn't there, there is no point in teaching.

There is lots of work to be done. I am learning to love the work more and more. Sister Shumway is a wonderful trainer because she LOVES working. So we try to work as hard as we can and be exactly obedient. Lots to be done. I am trying to become a good missionary. Lots to learn. Lots to do.

Love you much. Thank you for your love and prayers!!!

Sister Stenquist

Monday, January 7, 2013

Xristo and Andre are getting baptized!!!

I don't even know what happened this week. We worked, I know we did, but I can't even remember what happened......its all becoming a blurr!

Andre and Xristo are getting baptized on Wednesday and Saturday!!! I am so happy for them. When it was announced in Church Andre raised his arms like a victory. And it is a victory!!! They are so sweet and I love them so much. This week we taught ALL the commandments to Xristo--Ten Commandments, Chastity, Tithing, Church attendance, Scripture Study, Prayer, Fasting, Fast Offerings, and he accepted them ALL with no problem. I tell you, these people are so amazing. I don't know where they come from. All I know is that its not me or Sister Shumway doing the work. Its all God.

Yesterday we met with the sweetest woman in the world. It was her first time meeting with missionaries. We asked her what role religion has played in her life and she explained that its very hard for her to understand which church is right, and what is truth. She explained that her husband left her and her two kids and she has a hard time understanding why that would happen to her. Her spirit is so sweet. She listened to us. We explained the restoration to her, how the church blesses lives, and how there is a Savior for her. When we asked her how she felt about it she said, "Its friendly to me. I feel a little like I want to cry." She is so sweet. I just want her to have the blessings of the Gospel!!!! She didn't make a concrete appointment to meet next but said she'd read the Book of Mormon and pray. I want her to come back so bad. I want to help her. I hope and pray she meets with us again.

We also met this awesome 21 year old on the street. She's really pretty and was so friendly and nice. Most young people just blow us off but as soon as we explained who we were she asked "What are the three things that  make you happiest?" And I didn't know what to say!!! I said Jesus Christ, my family, and then I was lost for words at her boldness and honest curiosity. She wants to meet again and I'm excited to talk to her!!! She is fantastic.

I've been eating lots of banitza this week. :) It is SOOOO good!!!!! IT is this yummy fluffy buttery bread with different cheese in it. It comes in different shapes and sizes and I love it. There are banitza stands all over. I have never eaten this much bread in my life!!! But the crazy thing, I don't think I've gained any weight--actually, my skirts are getting bigger on me. I guess its because of all the walking. Yay for being able to eat banitza!

This week was pretty warm for a few days. IT was like spring!!! But today it is very cold again. I am sooooooo excited for summer. Then the fruits and vegetables will be even better and I won't have to be smothered in layers of clothing all the time.

My Bulgarian is.....improving....I think.....maybe....maybe not. It might be, I just don't really notice it? We don't get a full hour of  language study every day because we're so busy and I don't really know how to study in the field. At the mtc I just reviewed my flash cards all the time every day. But how do you learn when you're running around from place to place? I'm figuring it out. This week when we contacted on the street, we started contacting ALONE. So I, alone, just walk up to Bulgarians and start talking to them about God and Jesus Christ and the Church. Its pretty crazy. I don't really understand what they're saying. But I try to talk to them. Hopefully I'm improving.

I'm sorry its so cold in Utah!!! Bundle up! Thank you for all your love and emails!!!

Sister Stenquist

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Straveite!!! Happy New Years!!!

Oh, where to start?

So Christmas morning we had "breakfast" at Snegina's apartment. She lives in this tiny apartment with NO heating. It was so cold!!! We sat on her bed together and ate biscuits in a hot drink. The biscuits are like.....hard crackers pretty much. She's so sweet though. Maybe a little crazy. but really sweet and SO TALKATIVE and really loves the Church. But she doesn't really have any friends or family around so it was good to visit with her.

For lunch we went to Mirena's apartment and she had made a delicous meal out of the food we had bought for  her on Christmas eve. We also brought a present of stickers and candy for her kids and they were so cute. When I left her house the little girl, Vili, gave me a kiss on the cheek. It was so sweet!!!

Then for dinner we went to Maria's. She is an angel!!! Her kids don't live around here so she invited 7 missionaries over for dinner. she had the table set all beautifully and then she fed us a SEVEN COURSE DINNER!!!! AHH!!! It was sooo good but I was sooo full. We ate all of it. We thought we were going to burst after course 4, but somehow we made it to the end. She is such a sweetheart, I love her. She was baptized last year and we really are trying to get her to go to the temple to do the temple work for her husband and be sealed with him.

This month Sister Shumway and I have THREE BAPTISMS scheduled!!! Crazy!!! Hopefully they'll all actually happen.

First, there's Andre. He is SO COOL. One of the coolest people I've ever met. He's always been on this spiritual quest to come closer to God and he's really sensitive to spiritual things. When he first met Sister Shumway and her companion on the street he told them they were generators of light. In every lesson I am just blown away with his understanding of things, even though he's only known the missionaries for a month or so. He was so prepared for the message of the gospel. I am so excited for him!!! He's getting baptized on the 9th!!!!! Pray for him if you can because even though he's so ready, he's had to quit smoking this week, so he needs all the strength he can get.

Second there's Xristo. I love Xristo!!! He has so much faith!!! He's an older man with a brustly gray mustache and he's so nice. He brought us chocolate for New Years yesterday. He has tons of questions about God and the gospel, but he has faith that all his questions will be resolved in time. He has great faith and he knows that this is the true church, so he's going to be baptized on the 12th. We still need to teach him all the commandments, though, and I think he'll accept them all. I am so excited for him. He is going to be such a great strength to our branch.

Then there's Raicho. Raicho is the man who was supposed to get baptized in December but backed out. The reasons why he backed out are pretty lame. So we're trying to help him have more faith and charity. I really hope he sticks to his commitment to be baptized this time. I hope we can figure out how to help him in every way we can.

And with these three baptisms and their confirmations and priesthood ordinations we'll double the number of worthy priesthood holders in the branch!!!! Which means that we'll have a bulgarian branch president, a bulgarian bless the sacrament, and a bulgarian passing the sacrament!!! So exciting!!!!

because you see, right now, missionaries pretty much do everything in  Stara Zagora. I don't know what they would do without us. We clean the church, set up church, pick up after Church, call people to remind them about Church, we are the only support system because relief society and priesthood really isn't set up, and we pretty much do everything. there are two callings in the ward right now--branch president and relief society president, but they don't have anything set up and all the other members are afraid of receiving callings. but stara zagora can't be strong and grow until they have callings and start strengthening each other!!!!! we're working on this.

We had a couple other really cool lessons this week!!! We were going door to door in one apartment building wishing people Happy Holidays and giving them the Living Christ. At one door a young man invited us in and so we went into the kitchen where his three friends were ( now my coat smells like smoke). They're all from Iraq and Syria!!!!! And they're all Muslim, so they were asking us (somewhat synically) what we think of Jesus Christ. We told them about Jesus Christ and then I started teaching them the Plan of Salvation. They thought it was really interesting. And one of them really wants to meet with us again to learn more about the Plan of Salvation!!! I'm so excited to meet with him again!!! When we were talking to them, I figured that they probably wouldn't open their hearts to Jesus Christ at the time, but that the Plan of Salvation would be good for them to hear and help them open their hearts to our message. I am so excited to teach them. They would never be able to learn about the Gospel in their homes, but since they're students here, we met them, and now we get to teach them!!! Another miracle, we just happen to have  a Book of Mormon in Arabic in our apartment that we can give him. How crazy is that! Coincidence? I think not!!!! Miracles!!!

There are seriously miracles every day and I love it. I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!! One woman had called us requesting a Book of Mormon so one night we went to look for her apartment, even though we didn't have a map. Somehow, we walked right to her apartment building. It was awesome. But the door to the building was locked. So, we folded our arms in the parking lot and prayed to know what to do next. Within one or two minutes after the prayer, a man and woman came around the building and unlocked the door to go to their apartment. And we found the woman's apartment and she was so awesome!!! She invited us into her house, fed us yummy food in her kitchen, and we taught her the Restoration. She was so sweet. Some Bulgarians are really closed off to the message and don't want to read, don't want to find out, just want to talk and show you why they're right and won't open their hearts an inch. But this woman was so open. She asked us what she needed to do, and we explained that she needed to read and pray. And she wants to meet with us again!!! I hope that she keeps her heart open, that the Book of Mormon touches her soul, and that she continues to grow in faith. She is wonderful.

I am healthy and happy. Sometimes I feel so small here, and it is so tempting to think that I can't do anything or be as good as other missionaries. But I tell myself no! I can do it! I am here because God wants me HERE. And I can do it. I miss family and friends, everyone I love, but I'm trying really hard to not let that get me down. Actually, it just pushes me to want to work harder. I did not leave everyone I love for nothing. I made the sacrifice because I wanted to bring people to Jesus Christ, and by golly I'm going to do it.

I love you all so much. God is so great!!! He is a God of miracles!!! Some people here are so discouraged because they have nothing. NOTHING. They're barely have food to feed their families, and are about to get kicked out of their apartments. But when they tell me of the their troubles I don't cry. I feel like I should feel so sad and cry but I can't!!! All I can see is them dressed in white in the Celestial Kingdom free of all the burdens of life. I know they'll get there someday. And yeah, their life here is hard. But it will only be a moment. God is so good. We need to have faith in Him. I pray all the time for greater faith in Him and in His plan and His timing. I don't think I'll ever have enough faith.

I love you. Happy New Years!!! This is going to be a crazy new year of miracles!!!! I am so excited!!!!!

Sister Stenquist