Sunday, July 14, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Last Monday we celebrated the 4th of July by going to an American family's house and having hamburgers and hot dogs. I realized I really don't miss American food that much. The two big things I miss are cheese crackers and refried beans. So the family gave me a can of refried beans as I was leaving. :) They were so good!

On the actual 4th we went to a Bulgarian member's house to eat French crepes. I thought that was pretty ironic--eating french crepes with a Bulgarian to celebrate America. It was really fun though! All the  members here are so humble and so giving. Their apartments are falling apart, but they feed us such good food.

I have a funny story about a member. There is a really funny, energetic, enthusiastic member who is just a hoot. On Sunday she came up to Elder Forshee to give him a biography on Thomas Jefferson. She said, "I prayed very hard to know which missionary has a big love for Thomas Jefferson so I could give him this. I received the revelation to give it to you."  Ha Ha, she's fantastic. Maybe a bit eccentric, but a gem.

Transfers! I am staying here in Sofia and Sister Cross is coming here. I'm really excited to work with her! She's a great missionary, and this will be her last transfer, so it will be a sprint to the finish line! I'm excited to work really hard!

On Saturday there was a baptism of the Elder's investigator, and after the baptism I was super happy. I came out of the room and this guy was like, "Whoah, you're shining!" Ha ha, I think he meant I was happy, hopefully. It made me laugh.

This week I learned to be grateful for where I am and what I'm doing. Two women who served here twenty years ago came to visit, and told us how different the Church is now. When they were here Church was basically a club for women, with no priesthood. Missionaries were Branch Presidents and Relief Society Presidents. The missionaries would get thrown in jail all the time so they had to carry toothbrushes around with them! Bulgaria might not be an "easy" mission, but it certainly is advancing. There are lots of things that have caused Bulgaria to be behind in progress (post-communism isn't the richest enviromnent for the Gospel) but its growing. I'm really grateful I don't have to worry about getting thrown in jail or beaten up. I'm so grateful for all the priesthood in Bulgaria. So many men are joining the Church and now all the Branch Presidents are Bulgarian! Its amazing. The members are really growing and learning to run the Church themselves. Its so amazing to have them have their own Church, instead of a Chuch run by missionaries. I am really grateful to be here now.

Budete zhivi i zdravi (May you be happy and healthy)
Sestra Stenquist

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