Bună! To clear up any confusion: I can’t access Facebook at all until I get home in March of 2015 and I also can’t access my Dartmouth or normal Gmail email accounts. If you need to get in touch with me, the only ways are snail mail or through emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sorry for any confusion and sorry if you think I’ve been ignoring you or something. I swear I haven’t!
It has been both a great and difficult week for lots of different reasons. To start with the great:
Thanksgiving! Our meal came together BEAUTIFULLY! I made cream corn that turned out great, as well as some ambrosia, but I think I accidentally put too much nutmeg in it cause it tasted kinda weird, but oh well. Sora Drotar made green bean casserole (the hardest part was trying to find a substitute for french-fried onions — we went with potato chip sticks) and scalloped potatoes. The elders pulled through surprisingly well with REALLY good stuffing and rolls. The Powells took care of the turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, and apple streudel. It tasted like a real Thanksgiving dinner! And I felt SUPER tired after eating, so it had the same effect as a real Thanksgiving dinner too. The Lorax was super cute, as expected. It felt like I was in America so it was a shock when we left the Powells and I heard Romanian again and had to ride on the bus.
Another fun thing was finding out TRANSFERS! I can’t believe I’m already done with my first transfer…oh how time flies. Transfers come out every Saturday before the Wednesday when we all travel at 11:00 am. So basically every district gathers around the computer to wait for the transfer boards to be uploaded to the Google drive the mission shares. It was funny though because the boards came out like 35-40 minutes late. I think too many people were on the Google drive at the same time so the site crashed and we had to get it emailed to us each individually. When it was like 11:05, there was a Google doc all the missionaries were writing on with everyone freaking out and just wanting to know what was going to happen. I am staying here in Brașov with Sora Drotar, Elder Montoya is staying and becoming our district leader, and Elder Reid is leaving us for Cluj 😦 We are getting Elder Brown in his place who I may or may not have met during my first two days in the country — it’s all a blur. But it’s sad because the first district leader you have is your “dad” and your trainer is your “mom” — but now I have Elder Montoya as my “step-dad” since Elder Reid is off to Cluj. However, Sora Drotar and I are so excited to be together for Christmas AND New Year’s! This will be Sora Drotar’s fifth transfer here, over 7 months! So it will be really hard for her when she finally does get transferred, whenever that will be.
Stress rising as we wait for 35 minutes for the transfer boards
I get to go to București on Wednesday for transfers to get my visa, which means I also get to see Sora Merkley and Sora O’Brien again!! It will be fun to be reunited even if for a short time and it will also be weird since we’ve been apart for 6 weeks to see how each of us have changed, if at all.
I also tried some more Romanian food this week — sarmale! It is cabbage rolls that are filled with rice and meat and spices that are cooked for a really long time in a tomato-y sauce. It basically tasted like stuffed peppers without the pepper part. I had them at the house of the Nuți family, a less-active family here. They are very friendly and open and love having the missionaries over but don’t see the need for religion or going to church. They also had some disagreements with members in the past so it’s hard to get them to become active again. But we still visit from time to time and they are so friendly that it’s always fun.
We had some great lessons this week with Mândra, Alexsandra, and Lygya. We’ve also been visiting members to be able to work with them more. I get this feeling that if we would include the members more, we would be able to get so much more effective work done. The feeling in a lesson when a member is present is so much more directed and I can tell the difference effects the investigators as well.
When we visited the Pavels, a family in Rotbav, we found that their daughter Simona had been reading in the Book of Mormon on her own! Simona is in her late-20s, early-30s, and always sits in on our lessons or comes to Church but has never shown a real step forward of her own. We are hoping to work with her in talking about prayer and we hope that when she prays about these things for herself, she will know they are true and gain that witness.
Sora and I doing some chalk contacting where we draw the Plan of Salvation — it usually catches people’s attention and kids can get involved in helping us color.
Now for some of the more difficult (“faith-testing and strengthening”) things:
Julia’s baptism didn’t go through. We’ve heard so many different stories about why or who didn’t want her to get baptized — whether it was her mother or her boyfriend who didn’t want to get married. But the general story we got was that she wasn’t going to be baptized any time soon. We are hoping to still be able to teach her the lessons and that she still comes to church, even if she isn’t going to be baptized in the near future. I think she will get baptized one day — her faith is very strong and she knows this is the right path, but she just isn’t ready to take that step right now.
The elders had a baptism scheduled for tomorrow but their investigator let them know today that he couldn’t do it. I think he was worried about how his ex-wife and children would think of him if he became a “pocăit”. I am seeing time and time again how difficult the culture is to overcome, but that just makes me all the more impressed with those people who did overcome that barrier and decide to be baptized. I have such a huge respect for them and their faith.
I have so many more things to say, but Sora and I had to limit ourselves on Internet time today to give enough time for me to buy a coat — it’s raining and super cold outside and we hear forecasts of snow this week. My time for fun in the sun has ended, sadly. I’m sorry that I’m not really able to respond in depth to any of the emails you sent this week, but I love reading them and hearing about life at home! I hope all goes well for you this week and that you eat lotsa cream corn for me 🙂 I’ll probably make some more this Thursday to commemorate the holiday officially haha. Mostly I just want to eat more cream corn.
I love you all lots and miss you even more! Have a happy thanksgiving and know that I am always thinking of you!!