So, there are 5 kids in primary and sometimes they all come but sometimes none of them come. Primary is hard because a couple of kids are completely spoiled and don't listen at all. The leaders think that primary is just play time so the kids don't know how to have a primary lesson. They just run and yell and barge into the sunday school class screaming "I'M THIRSTY!!! I NEED WATER!!!" So, the fact that we ever have a lesson, even if its only 10 minutes, is a miracle. I honestly don't know how to communicate with them AT ALL which is another barrier with Primary. We have one of the books that we use and sometimes we can get the kids to listen. And no, we don't have a Bulgarian songbook.
We went to Sofia Monday-Tuesday and stayed at the Sofia Sister's apartment. The bad news is.....I forgot to bring my passport so we didn't even accomplish anything. Oops. I didn't know I needed my passport.....But the good news is I saw the beautiful Church in downtown Sofia, I ate great Chinese food, talked to a man from China (and the sisters are going to bring him a Book of Mormon!), and I got to see Stareishina Breeze!!! Oh I miss him!!! It was so good to see my buddy from the MTC. He looked so happy, he was glowing. I was so happy to see him again!!! We're going to drive in again tomorrow morning at 6:00 am with my passport to get my visa work done. Hurrah for 3 hour bus rides to Sofia.....
My birthday was very good and also not so good. First, I got sick. I've been coughing and hacking and whooping all week long. I think its getting better now. Our first lesson didn't show up, neither did our third. Our second lesson was the WORST lesson Sister Shumway and I have ever had. It was pretty bad. Our phone kept on going off, one of the men kept on falling asleep, I don't know if either of the men are even interested, a member came 30 minutes late for the lesson, and the spirit was just there. It was bad. After that we had an unplanned lesson with Andrei---the 28 yr old man who was supposed to get baptized in January. He asked me to say the opening prayer and as I folded my arms and closed my eyes I just started sobbing!!! Oh man I love Andrei so much and I just want him to have all the blessings of baptism and other ordinances. I prayed, "Heavenly Father, We are grateful for love......" (We teach Andrei in English which is SO NICE!) After the prayer Andrei looked up at us and said, "I am going to be baptized this Sunday." SILENCE. WHAT? "I don't know what it was, but when you said something about love in the prayer, I just got this feeling, and I want to be baptized this Sunday." WHAT?! SILENCE. So, after a lesson and figuring things out, Andrei's going to be baptized. Sunday was too fast, there wasn't time for his interview and to quit smoking and such. But he's working towards it and has a really strong desire to be baptized. So, that was a pretty darn good birthday present. It was amazing.
After we saw Andrei we planned for a bit and talked with Deon, a funny man in his 20's with HUGE eyes. When he found out it was my birthday he jumped over and grabbed me in a hug! It was so shocking and funny! And then he held me at arm's length and pulled on my ears, explaining that that's what some Bulgarians do for birthdays. It was hilarious. I got a picture with him just so I can always remember that moment.
Then we went over to Blagoi's apartment at 8:00 for our dinner hour. His daughter has my same birthday, so we celebrated the birthday of his daughter and me. We had chocolate, tea, juice, nuts, prayed together, and they played the guitar and sang in Bulgarian. Oh I love those men so much!! They are just so nice. They gave me flowers, a vase for the flowers, a necklace, nylons (why?), and a bouquet of fake flowers. Blagoi is so kind and generous and he won't let us refuse anything he gives us. He says we're like his daughters and he is just so kind to us. It was an awesome way to end my birthday.
I've realized this week that I really love a lot of these Bulgarian people a ton. Xristo, Andrei, Boris, Blagoi, Raicho, Zladka, Mirena, Maria, Mariana, Zoya, President Mixaelov, Tanya, smokes I love them so much!!! Oh and Vera!!! I want to keep her with me forever! She's this tiny little Bulgarian baba (probably in her 80's or older) with a high voice who just wobbles around chatting about Christ with us. I love her! I can't imagine leaving these people and never seeing them again. Luckily some of them have computers and skype/facebook, but some of them I'll probably never communicate with after I leave Stara Zagora. Its so sad. I'm glad though, to know that I love people here because they deserve to be loved. I wish I could find jobs for all of them so they could have more comfortable lives. I'm happy to be able to share with them a message worth more than all the gold on earth though. That's pretty wonderful.
I love you all lots!