Sorry for the delay of a couple days, but here I am to update you on my past week! Sora Drotar and I finished off our last week together with a great day Tuesday where we visited Ioana, a recent convert Sora Drotar had baptized before I arrived, because it was her birthday! Levy had bought a cake and we brought a little sparkler left over from New Year’s. We had our last lesson with Alexsandra (…more on that later…) and then we went over to Levy and Teo’s house to play Rummy. We had ended our P-Day early the day before so we spent a couple hours there with them and it was so fun!! It was hard to think about the fact that each thing Sora Drotar and I did was probably the last time we would do it together. It’s so hard to get used to change, but I think that is what a mission definitely prepares us for — every six weeks, life changes and you’re never sure how it’s going to go. But we trust that President knows what he’s doing and that the Lord has great things in store for us.
The next morning, we headed out to the gară, got on our train, and we were off to Buc! The first person I saw when we got off the train? Sora Merkley!! She gave me a huge spin-around, feet-off-the-ground hug and it was great. We spent some time talking to the missionaries there and got some Subway — always a highlight of transfers. I also ran into Sora O’Brien and she gave me a huge spin-around, feet-off-the-ground hug. I’m not sure what it is about me, but lots of people seem to do that with me. I got my package!! And I have been wearing those tights like there is no tomorrow — after all that trouble, I’m so glad to finally have them. Sora Ralls’s train from Craiova came in at about 2:30 and our train back to Braşov was at 3:30 so she only had a short time at the gară but we went to Subway together (like I said, it’s the highlight) and talked more once we got on the train too. Sora Ralls is originally born in Roseville, California and has lived most of her life in Bountiful, Utah. Her mom is an epidemiologist (she was surprised I knew what that meant) and she has 2 sisters and a brother. We got along instantly and it has been SO FUN serving with her. We have problems where we go to bed late because we just keep talking to each other and we can’t stop. We also both love candy — I worry that I might finally start gaining weight. But she is also really into cooking (we have a huge list of things to eat and things to cook) so maybe it won’t be too bad for us. We have been serving for only a week and it feels like we have already been together for so long — it’s great! You know when you meet someone and you instantly get along and can talk about anything? It’s like that.
On Thursday, we went out to the countryside with Levy and the Powells to visit a couple members who live about an hour or an hour and a half away. We taught them a lesson about how to remain active and converted to the Gospel, even if they can’t be active in the Church. I think it is so important for these far-out members who can’t come in to church every week to know how important it is to live the principles of the Gospel even though there is no way for anyone to know if they are not. We also got stuck in some CRAZY mud…literally looked like we were wearing an extra pair of shoes haha.
Our district: Elder Speyer, Elder Houk, me, Sora Ralls, Elder McBride, and Elder Brown
We had our first district meeting and it was great to meet the district. Elder McBride and I learned that we both are ESFPs (and we are both obsessed with the Myers-Briggs test) and we learned more about each of the elders in our district. I gave a spiritual thought on happiness and how we can choose to be happy — I especially love the scripture Alma 27:18, “Behold, this is joy which none receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness.” If we humbly seek after happiness through our actions and through prayer, we can be blessed with joy.
We went out with Marius to teach Elena, our investigator with the baptismal date out in Feldioara. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and her granddaughters were kind of crazy so I’m not sure how much she got or understood (and we’ll definitely have to go over it again), but she continues diligently to read and I am so proud of her. However, she didn’t come to church this past Sunday because her back was really hurting her so I hope that doesn’t interfere with her progress as an investigator at all. She said the sweetest thing in the closing prayer she offered at the end of our lesson. She said, “I thank you for these two girls and that I have felt better in my life since meeting them.” It was simple, but to me it was a testimony that the Gospel can help each person with any problems. We don’t need to speak perfect Romanian for this woman to feel Christ’s love for her through the power of the Holy Ghost.
English contacting in Centru — who wouldn’t want free English classes from us?!
We have been working a LOT on English contacting and getting the word out about our classes. We are really excited and hope we get lots of younger people to come. One of our tactics was to leave an invitation in the mailboxes of everyone in our apartment building. We got a call from someone who lives two doors down from us — she wasn’t able to come to classes and wanted us to come do 30-30. It’s so fun to have an investigator who lives on our floor — we don’t even need to put on our jackets! They are a very cute young family. The 10 year old daughter, Beatris, is who we are actually teaching English. She is a couple years behind her classmates in English so she needs to catch up. We had a lesson with Adriala, the mother, about the Restoration and she was so kind and receptive. She asked us about church services on Sunday and mentioned that she had never always had religion in her life but she sees the need for it as she has grown up. We hope she will come to church on Sunday and we can’t wait to keep teaching our neighbors!
Tuesday was Zone Training up in Sibiu. Our zone is Braşov, Cluj, and Sibiu so I got to see Sora Drotar again after less than a week apart! The zone leaders had asked Sora Ralls and me to give a presentation on loving your companion. We started out by teaching as if we didn’t really like each other — correcting each other, blaming each other for forgetting stuff, cutting over each other, etc. We made the point that maybe our bad teaching was a bit of an exaggeration, but definitely that parts of that can happen if we don’t love our companions. We had each person write on a sticky note things they love about their companion to put in a place they will see it often. We also gave out cookies as an object lesson — if we don’t have eggs in a cookie, it falls apart and looks pretty unappealing. But if we have the eggs (aka the LOVE in our companionship), everything (like the Gospel) looks a lot more appealing.
Our district hung around Sibiu afterward for a little bit and got lunch with everyone. Sora Drotar is doing great and I got to meet her new trainee, Sora Johnson! Can’t believe that was ME two transfers ago! We ran into a member from America as we were walking around. Nothing quite like hearing, “It’s the missionaries!” in English and in an excited voice — don’t get either of those very often. We made our way back to Braşov on a maxi-taxi (something inbetween a van and a bus) and bonded as a cramped-together district — we all talked about our favorite music and lots of great things. I already love this district. They are so fun and yet they get lots of work done — basically the best combination to find in missionaries.
Today Sora Ralls and I spent our P-Day going on a date at the cutest restaurant in Braşov. It was such a nice restaurant but it cost the same as McDonald’s…what a DEAL! As we were talking, we realized we would TOTALLY be friends in real life without having to be companions before…but being companions just makes it all the better cause we get to share so much in so short a time.
The actual face I make when I have to make a phone call in Romanian
It has been a great week and I am so excited to see what happens this transfer. I think about all of you every single day and love you so much. I hope you all have a great week and I can’t wait to update you more on our adventures next week! I can feel your love for me and I hope you can feel my love for you too!
Love you always,