It all started with a simple post in an expats Facebook group asking for suggestions about what to do in Bucharest, the city where we were living. My companion, Sister Smith, first received a message request from a guy named S., so we looked through his profile and decided to talk to him. He had just moved from his home country of Sri Lanka to Bucharest, Romania. S. asked us what we were doing in Bucharest and we explained our purpose as missionaries. We then invited him to come to church and he came! We gave him the Book of Mormon in English and taught him about the Restoration. We were concerned about how well he understood what we were teaching since he was still learning English. We taught him some more through texts and short video calls, and continued to invite him to church. He kept coming and felt really good. He explained that he believed 'in the Jesus' and wanted to learn more. We continued to teach him and found out that he wanted to be baptized.
S. was using Google Translate to understand more of what we were teaching about Joseph Smith and the restoration. We decided we needed to find a copy of the Book of Mormon in his native language (Sinhala) and someone to help us teach him. By some miracle and after some deep digging, we found a Book of Mormon in Sinhala at our church building. We also got in contact with Elder Sellar from Sri Lanka, who speaks Sinhala. He had been serving in Brazil but was sent back home due to COVID-19. Elder Sellar was so excited to meet S. and to help us teach him. With the communication barriers mostly eliminated, we quickly taught S. the gospel lessons! He loves reading the Book of Mormon and soon gained a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet. We had many lessons through WhatsApp video.
We also involved a wonderful senior couple, the Matthews, in helping us teach S. The Matthews and S. quickly became great friends. We held lessons with my companions Sister Smith and Sister Bauco, S., the Matthews, Elder Sellar and me. Elder Sellar was even able to help send copies of the Book of Mormon to the rest of S.'s family in Sri Lanka. S. continued to grow and we invited him to be baptized on August 15th. His baptism was such a wonderful day and he was just glowing. I loved what he said at his baptism, 'Who knew that one Facebook message would be a victory point for life?!' S. continues to love reading from the Book of Mormon and has already received the priesthood. He told us the other day, 'If I laugh and have a smiley face, then it is all good.' We are so very grateful for technology as S. would not have been found nor taught without the help of it. God works in marvelous and mysterious ways!
Sister Eliza Kartchner
Hungary / Romania Mission