Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Miracles every day.
This week was so good!!! Missions are so darn cool.
Our apartment is an orange blok right off the glav, built pretty recently. The kitchen is really new and modern. Sister Shumway's bedroom walls are purple, mine are a lime green, and our kitchen/living room area has pink and fire truck red walls. Its very colorful. Our kitchen has an oven, microwave, washing machine, and we wash our dishes. We have two bathrooms, one with just a toilet and one with a shower.
The kids here are so cute!!! From what I can tell, most of the families with kids are the families who actually have money. We always see moms walking around with really fancy baby carriages that look modern and high-tech. Yeah, the people with the money have the babies. We live right by an elementary school and its fun to see the kids running around. Most families with kids don't want to talk to us, but we keep on trying.
This week we had some really awesome lessons. We met with Violetka at her house (the woman with a baptismal date who we stopped on the street last week). We taught her and her mom about the commandments to pray and read scriptures. Violetka is so cool because she feels the spirit so strongly. When we're talking, sometimes she'll just grab her heart and grin. She's so awesome. While we were talking she gave us about a pound of cheese EACH to eat, plus sausage and bread. I never thought I would eat as much as I did, but the cheese was SO GOOD!!! I love sirene. Its kind of like a mix of feta cheese and mozzarella. Its so yummy!!! I ate almost my whole plate....... As we were living she gave us a CHICKEN. A fat frozen chicken. And she gave it to us with some cheese. WE GOT A CHICKEN?!!! It was so funny and random. She gave it to us because it was Woman's Day, and apparently its a tradition to eat a chicken on woman's day and she had an extra, so she gave it to us. I don't even know how to cook an entire chicken......
I also had the most intense law of chastity lesson of my life. One of the good things about Bulgarians is that they're really blunt and open and they don't feel awkward about things like chastity. In fact, they're probably a little too open about it. Luckily I don't understand a lot of what people say when they're talking about their sins. Anyway, the lesson was way intense because our investigator kept on saying, "I can't." "I'm too weak." "I have faith in Christ but not in myself." And I got so mad! Hopefully with righteous anger...... But I stopped him and I said, "YES YOU CAN. It doesn't matter what YOU can do, with Christ you CAN do it. That's all that matters. If you turn to Christ you can do it." I hate hearing people's complaints as they give up on themselves! Anyways, hopefully he will keep his commitment and continue progressing. We love him a whole lot and he is really awesome. He's just got to turn his faith into action.
Blagoi came back from visiting his family in Varna! I missed him so much! He's the nicest man, going to be baptized on the 30 of March, and I don't think people come more prepared for the Gospel than he did. He LOVES the Church and the Gospel and Christ so much. With all of his heart. And, what is impressive, is that he is so passionate about it that he is sharing it with his whole family!!! He introduced us to his brother-in-law, (who according to Blagoi is also ready to learn the Gospel and be baptized) and his wife and daughter. I have never had an experience like I did at their house. You can never know what we do here as missionaries. Their daughter is 28 and has Rett Syndrome. The parents are so wonderful because while many people in Bulgaria would abandon their daughter because of finances, they love her and care for her. And entire one of their pensions goes to buying just diapers for her. Can you imagine? Half of your income for your daughter's diapers. Unfortunately, no doctor in Bulgaria knows very much about Rett Syndrome or how to help it and so the family is helpless to help their daughter. The past two weeks she's been violently convulsing and they don't know why or what medicine to get to help her. We sang to her hymns and primary songs and while we sang her muscles relaxed and she didn't convulse. When she did convulse I would hold her hand or try to steady her, rub her back and arms to bring her some comfort. Poor girl. I just wanted to heal her! Her mom has a hard time believing in Christ so we are going to help her find faith in Christ. Also, we're going to help them call England for information on how to help her and go to their house and sing to their daughter once a week. It was just a crazy experience to be sitting on the bed with this poor sick girl, singing "Abide with me, Tis Eventide," while seeing the pain and struggle she is going through. I am so grateful to be here as a representative of Christ, to spread peace that is only in the Gospel.
Missionary work is intense. I have never been so aware of the problems that each person has in their life. All of us are so fallen, and so dependent on Christ. I just want to help everyone come to Christ and have peace. I am grateful that I have peace in Christ, because if I didn't, seeing all of these sad lives would break me. But with Christ we can peace, and hope, because everything will be okay. It might not be now, but it will be.
Also, I realized this week how much I want to stay in Stara Zagora forever. Not because of itself, but because of the people here. I don't know how I am ever going to be able to say goodbye to Hristo and Blagoi and Maria and Andrei and Raicho and all of my friends here. They are amazing. They have so much faith. And they love me so much! They take care of me and pray for me and help us however they can. Even when they don't have much money, they send us away with apples, cheese, chickens, prayers and love. I'm pretty sure I should just stay in Stara Zagora my whole mission. I'd be okay with that. :)
I am so glad that spring is coming out at home! I love you and pray for you!
Love, Sister Stenquist