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 everyone......so 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. But.......jobs 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!!