Blackout Year

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Trying to make sure my gloves don’t catch fire
 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! And Happy Birthday, Mom!! I hope you all had a fun night and were able to go out and bang some pots and pans for me. We got voie to stay out until midnight so we went and sat outside the elders’ apartment, since they live in Centru, eating homemade pizookies from about 10 – 11:15 and then made our way to Piața Sfatului where the big stage with singers and fireworks all were. People were also setting off lots of paper lanterns, just like in Tangled! Romania also has like no laws about people having their own fireworks, so everyone in the huge crowd was setting off their own pretty strong fireworks. Luckily, no harm befell us. We actually ran into Teo and Levy and their families when we were walking through the crowd and Marius came to join us so we stayed with them until it turned 2014! Elder Montoya, Elder Brown and I all realized that this is our “blackout year” — the full year when we are in Romania. Actually, not every sister gets an entire calendar year, January to December, in the mission so I guess I’m kind of lucky in that way! After the big countdown (in Romanian of course), we made our way back home and got a good night’s sleep. 

 
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We also got voie to go see the Hobbit in theaters, so New Year’s Eve day was spent seeing “Hobbitul: Dezolarea lui Smaug 3D”! All the audio was in English thankfully and only the subtitles were in Romanian. Though that got hard when the elves or the orcs were talking haha. But the movie was SO AWESOME!!!! I think I laughed for about 10 minutes at the barrel river scene and 3D huge Shelobs are not my favorite things, turns out. But I was really overwhelmed by how much I related to Bilbo — he is thrown into this world as just a small hobbit with a huge task ahead of him that he doesn’t even know how to do. I’m sure Bilbo thinks all the time, “I’m not a burglar! I have never been away from the Shire! I don’t know how to get along with dwarves or fight a dragon!” And yet he still does it, and he amazes people in the process. It feels like that sometimes — I am thrown into this country as just a young girl with a huge task ahead of me that I don’t even know how to do. I think all the time, “I don’t know Romanian! I don’t know enough to be a missionary! I don’t know how to talk to these people or teach them anything!” And yet I still do it. I don’t know if people are amazed in the process, but I know that the part where Balin and Bilbo are walking down to Smaug’s lair and Bilbo says something, looks back and realizes Balin is gone, and just kind of stands there not knowing what to do — that part is probably how I feel about 80% of the time haha. I was reminded of a scripture in 1 Corinthians 1:27, “…and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” I definitely feel like a weak thing of the world many times, but the thought that He chose me to do this work is comforting. Gandalf knew Bilbo would learn and grow and be able to rise to the challenge ahead of him and likewise, Heavenly Father knows that I will learn and grow and be able to rise to the challenge ahead of me. Is it sacrilegious to compare Gandalf to God? Oops lol.
 
We found out transfers this past Saturday!! I will be staying in Brașov and Sora Ralls from Bountiful, Utah will be my new companion! She is in the picture of all of sisters at the zone conference from a couple weeks back — she’s the one with bright red hair haha. She is super bubbly and friendly and I am so excited to work with her! She is going into her 6th transfer and is really good at contacting so I’m excited to learn a LOT from her! I’m sad to be parting from Sora Drotar — she’s all that I’ve know thus far in the mission and I can’t imagine what the mission is going to be like without her as my companion. But she is off to Cluj to train another new sister! She just keeps training and training — probably cause she’s the best at it. She has relatives in Cluj (all of her brothers and sisters were born there before her parents left for America) so it will be awesome for her to be able to share the Gospel with them. The other big news is that we will be having two MORE elders come to Brașov — we will have 4 elders here and 6 missionaries total. Elder Montoya is going to Timișoara and we are getting Elder McBride to be Elder Brown’s companion, Elder Speyer and a new elder fresh out of the MTC! It’s so weird, I will be the missionary who has been in Brașov for the longest so I’ll be the one who knows the members the most, I’ll know the best where everything is…gonna be QUEEN OF BRAȘOV! Haha but I’m sure the others will catch on quickly. We have been visiting a lot of our investigators and the members so Sora Drotar can say her goodbyes. It’s hard since she has been here for almost 8 months — you make such close connections and friendships.
 
Some cool things that happened this week include meeting and teaching Elena, a woman who came to church last week out in Feldioara and wanted to meet with us. We went to her house and taught her with her two little ADORABLE granddaughters. The girls were kind of wild running all over the place, but we were able to teach Elena and she agreed to read and pray. She also said she was definitely coming to church this past Sunday — which she did! At our second lesson, we went over what she had read, 3 Nephi 11, the chapter in the Book of Mormon where Christ appears in the Americas. We talked about baptism and she agreed to prepare for a baptismal date of February 8! What a great ending note for Sora’s time here in Brașov! I am so excited to go out and teach her more and to get the members out in Feldioara involved in her lessons. She has gone through many hard things in her life, but she is so willing to listen, listen, and try for herself. We couldn’t ask anything more from her!
 
We also went to Lygya’s for lunch on New Year’s Day. Her mom made trout…like with the head still attached and we had to pull out the spine — it was intense but SO GOOD. Lygya is so sweet and she has truly become a friend to us. She takes us in for meals all the time and treats us like her own family. We had the feeling that we should give her a General Conference talk and so I printed out a talk from this past Conference, “The Strength to Endure”. We gave it to her and she immediately read it. She texted us that night saying thank you and compared us to a bomb squad that helped her stop from exploding. It was cool to see that the promptings we received were right and true and we helped her in some way.
 
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One of our last district pictures! 😦
 
We had a whole day of lessons on Friday with Marius — he came to 3 lessons with us out in Săcele with the Borbeas, Alexsandra, and Lenunța. He is SUCH a great member-present — he shared how he came to know the truth of what we were teaching, he shared personal experiences with different things like the Holy Ghost or the Book of Mormon, and he got along really well with everybody. I can see that he was a really effective missionary when he was in his mission in England.
 
Last news is that we had a big culinary adventure this week — ENCHILADAS! Not quite at all like Mexican food from home, but still really tasty in its own way. Gotta make do with what we got. But both Sora and I don’t like leftovers yet we ate these enchiladas for 3 days straight! Impressive, if I do say so myself. Also we made chocolate chip cookies for the pizookies we had on New Year’s Eve and they were SO GOOD! It’s always an adventure trying to find the ingredients (the troublesome one was baking soda), but they turned out great, I am proud to report.
 
I hope you all had a great New Year’s. I think about you all lots and hope you all have a very happy new year full of all the things you want and need. I miss you and love you lots. Hope you have a great week!
 
All my love,
Sora Amy
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