This has been such a great week, starting with the rest of P-day last week. We hiked up to the Braşov sign and since it’s not America, we were totally free to climb up and around all of the letters haha. I know the Hollywood sign has a huge fence around it that stops you from getting too close, but as you can see from the pictures, we could sit in, on, around, on top of the letters. It was an absolutely beautiful view from up above and we were up at the top around sun-down so we got to see the city light up…SO BEAUTIFUL! Made me so grateful that I’m serving here in Braşov. The hike down was a little sketchy since it was dark when we were coming down, but we made it through with no injuries or deaths. Also, the elders were wearing their proselyting clothes since they didn’t have time to change so we looked like we were their investigators or something haha. I was impressed that they hiked in white shirts, ties, and slacks. Kudos to them.
We also had lots of PARTIES this week!! Woo! We had a ward activity for Halloween which was really fun. Like I said last week, Romanians don’t celebrate Halloween, though they observe Day of the Dead on the first of November. We had a little party at the church where the kids had face painting, pumpkin carving, and lots of games. Sora Drotar and I did the game with donuts on a string and you have to try to eat yours without using your hands…but turns out nowhere do they have dounts…so we went with covrigi instead, which are kind of like thicker pretzel rings. Gotta make it Romanian! Sora Drotar and I were Mario/Marius and Luigi…they were the only costumes we could think of that we had the supplies for and I think they turned out pretty well! The kids really liked our mustaches haha.
We also held a surprise baby shower for Cristina, the branch president’s wife who had her baby a couple weeks ago. It was fun to surprise her and to decorate with some of the ward members. I’ve made it my goal this week to learn a new question each day that I can ask people — I just want to show these people how excited I am to be here and how much I want to serve them and work with them. The baby was adorable, as expected, and the ward members are so great — even though I don’t understand everything they say, I can feel of their friendliness and testimonies. It must be so hard to be a member here in Romania where the support is thin, so having such strong friendly members is so impressive and crucial to continuing to build the community here.
(Teo and Levy, a cute couple here in Braşov, Sora Drotar and I, Corina, and Sora Powell preparing for the surprise!)
We met with a great investigator this week, Julia. She is a 16 year old girl in Feldioara whose grandmother is also investigating and meeting with the elders. She is an old investigator that called us out of the blue this past week and when we met with her and asked at the end of the lesson if she wanted to be baptized, she said YES with such confidence and surety that it was amazing. She is like 8-months pregnant and shared with us an experience where she was in the hospital with contraction pains and had a dream where Christ appeared to her and told her to follow Him. Once she got out of the hospital, that is when she called us. How cool is that?? She is so sincere and you can tell that she just wants to follow Christ. We set a baptismal date with her for November 23rd and when we asked her when her baby is due she said, “Hm in like 2-3 weeks” and we sat for a second and then said, “…you mean, the 23rd?” Haha so the baptism may or may not be happening that day depending on the baby, but she is so excited to be baptized and I am so excited at the prospect of getting to help her prepare for baptism! It’s so amazing to be able to get to see the Atonement working in people’s lives and seeing the Lord work through me.
We also FINALLY met with Alexsandra, and I’m sad to say that she doesn’t feel like she should get baptized anymore. I think it’s that things are kind of stressful at home with money problems so she said she didn’t have any time to think about anything but her family. I can see that this is a trial of her faith that we are all presented with at times. Sora Drotar and I plan to visit a lot of times in the coming week, hoping that she will be really sensitive to the Spirit we bring when we visit and read from the Book of Mormon with her. Her family is SO kind — they gave us a dinner of ciorba (a Romanian soup that tasted a lot like minestrone) and they made me take some stockings and wear them home. Romanians are always very superstitious about getting cold leading to getting sick so they were appalled at the thought of me leaving in the cold without anything on my legs.
All of us after sacrament meeting in Feldioara!
This Sunday was a great day because of the opening of a building out in Feldioara!! It is a room rented out from a family who owns the whole building but it is such a big step forward. There is a plaque outside and everything — so official! This also means that we can really proselyte out in Feldioara. Before it was difficult because if someone wanted to get baptized, they could, but there wasn’t a meetinghouse close by and it costs more than most people could afford to come out to Braşov every single week for sacrament meeting. I am so excited at the prospect of now having a building out there, even if it is a simple room! It’s so cool to be able to see the Church growing in real time — plus it’s cool to be the first missionaries that where there when the Feldioara building was established. I bore my testimony at the Feldioara service, mostly because all of the other missionaries had gone and President Doru kept conspicuously coughing and looking at me pointedly haha. I ended up crying during my testimony — I think it’s because I can feel the Spirit so strongly when I speak Romanian because I am so weak and humbled by lack of ability to communicate. As we were leaving the building and walking over to our car, President Doru drove past shouting out of his car window “HURRAH FOR ISRAEL!!!” It was so cute and made me so happy haha.
Things are going well here and I miss you all so much! I love getting your emails and reading about all that is going on. Sorry if I don’t respond to everything you write — it’s always a stressful time here at the internet cafe. But I miss you, I love you, and I think about you every day. I know there is nowhere else I’m supposed to be right now and that knowledge gives me comfort when I miss you.
Hope everything goes well for you this week!